Half an hour in Walthamstow

We grabbed a table outside Ricco’s and I ordered a cup of tea and a Greek salad with humus, I don’t quiet remember when I turned in to a humus eater or in fact when I became so dependant on tea but it seemed like a good combination to get me around the art trail.

From the stall behind me I heard the trader say to a customer ‘it will just be a little bit smaller darling, is that alright?’ I have no idea what she was talking about but it seemed to make her customer happy. They chatted for a while and their chuckles blended in to the sound of the train whizzing and creaking it’s way towards Liverpool street.

Two art trailers complete with trail guide and maps sat at one of the other tables and ordered coffee, shortly afterwards the peace was shattered by James a small boy with possibly the largest lungs on the face of the planet.

James’s Mum told him he was being a very naughty boy but James didn’t seem to care and carried on screaming. I’m not sure what was wrong but it stopped bothering him after his glass of coke arrived, I think his mum was happier than he was.

A laid back dad was rocking a pushchair with his foot which very nearly ended in disaster when the farm foods bags hanging from the back almost pulled it over. His partner gave him one of those looks that said more to him than words ever would.

My food arrived to the fanfare of the flipper flapping street cleaning machine that was trying to squeeze up the pavement and almost set James off again until his Mum mentioned toy shopping.

There was a flurry of excitement as a herd of young men darted out of the bookies to see their mates on the next table, no idea what they were talking about but it had them all laughing which attracted the attention of James and kept him occupied for a while.

I looked at the cafe across the road and saw a lady writing in a birthday card, I don’t know who it was for but I hope they were prepared for it as I’m pretty sure she was writing a novel.

The customer from the stall behind me was now reading the sign for eyebrow threading displayed in the shop window next door to the cafe. It costs three quid which is probably a good price, but it didn’t entice her in and she headed off up the market.

Laid back Dad and the partner with the look paid and left, the rest of the boys went in to the bookies to join the others and our fellow art trailers were lost in their trail guide. I meanwhile had finished my humus and my other half had planned the rest of our route so we settled up and went on our way.

Half an hour outside Ricco’s in Walthamstow, so many different people going about their day. Different voices and languages and a hundred different reasons that took us all to the same place at the same time.

It was an unremarkable 30 minutes I suppose, and I’m sure most of the people there won’t remember it. I will never know who the birthday card was for or if James got his toy, did the boys win in the bookies? and which venues did the trailers head for?

A micro slice of life in E17, it will never be repeated, never will that exact combination of people be in the same place at the same time again. It was ordinary but amazing.

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