The Capital Ring is a strategic walking route that completely encircles inner and central London. It is approximately 78 miles long and cuts trough as many green spaces as is possible.
Part two of my walk along the Capital Ring and Dog and I left Tooting towards Wandsworth via Balham High Street. The route takes you alongside Du Cane Court, a 1930s residential block and when I was looking to buy my first flat in 1982 these were the cheapest you could buy in this part of London.
The Art Deco style, the antiquated décor generally held the price down. Now they are very sought after and the price, around £21,000 in 1982 for 2 bedrooms is pushing towards £500,000. Ridiculous.
Beyond the High Road we walked among a bevy of small children as school was just coming out. The children were delightful, the huge pantechnicons the carers drive less so.
Once the high pitched squealing faded into the background as so much hiss on my stereo of old we skirted through a small green triangle and reached Wandsworth station. A little pond life created interesting reflections at which we paused and shared an energy bar. In truth Dog was far from impressed.
There’s a distinct air of affluence now – the parks are full of state of the art buggies that seem to be as large as the huge cars we’ve just left behind; the dogs are bigger with their pedigrees proudly displayed in their studded collars; even the bins overflow with a manicured elegance. I’m out of my London comfort zone here; I need graffiti and grubbiness, shabby not chic.
Dog and I scurry onwards and soon enough we cross the road, leaving bespoke conservatories behind and in front the looming brooding presence of Wandsworth prison.
The parked cars have blacked out windows, the women pushing cheap buggies wear their orange hues with deliberate pride. Somehow this is more my town.
Round a few streets and past the Cemetery we are nearly at our end.
The River Wandle, now reed strewn and full of fish, wanders between the terraced houses and, before we head for Earlsfield Station, the Polish student in the cafe next door serves me a fabulous if unpronounceable cake. Unlike the muesli bar, Dog approves.