A Long Hard Road

Prestwick Road 1950's

Terry Trainor

Stumbling down a mud road, on a 1950’s London overspill estate. Rain falling in buckets down my back dripping into my shirt, cold and wet. Boarded up new terraced houses will soon be somebodies home, now standing empty. Wind blowing shutter boards rattling against red brick window sills. Black L.C.C cast iron drainpipes and gutters.

Across the road a man stands by a concrete lampost shaped like a question mark not yet used. Trying to roll a cigarette his hands are wet the paper tears he shakes his wet head confused.

Walking past a working mans club at 10.30 am. a group outside the door sheltering from the wind, it is shut untill 11.00 am. Dumper trucks laying empty along the road, metal seats filling with water, a grey hard day. With many more to come.

The wind howled as it blew along the terraces, gusts billowing heavy coats foreward. Reminds me of a picture I once saw of an American actress her dress all blown up, can’t think of the name but it will come it always does. And how long is this road it goes on for miles it is called Prestwick Road? It twists through the estate a feeder for smaller roads. A dumping place for bricks and tar, curb stones, sand and scaffolding.

Two dogs run and bark at bricks left in the road. They stop as I walk past and look my way. Their teeth bared snarling looking for a weakness. I picked up a piece of board and threw it at them. They could run away the new residents could not.

Reaching the shops by the approach to the station I could see steam from a partly opened window and a smell of fried greasy food. Went into this cafe for a cup of hot steaming tea, sat by a window wiped off condenation to be able to look out.

A young girl takes orders and sighs constantly, is this what she dreamed of when leaving school? Bacon sandwiches the special of the day with a cup of Bill Taylors strong sweet tea the spoons on chains. (A legend in his own lunchtime) Men sat talking to each other about hard times, no work, no money and their favourite football teams.

Some of the men had one pound notes folded in their pockets checking it was still there. The money will be used in the betting shop when it opens and a lucky few who do win will be in a club forcing down pints of warm beer. Telling anyone who will listen of how well they were doing in London and why they had to be moved right out in the sticks?


This page was added on 11/03/2012.

Add your comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.

  • Great article. You can feel and smell the place.

    By BRIAN LAWRIE (15/03/2012)