A hassle to get to Wimbledon, but not as much a hassle as I expected it to be.
Bus, train, then change train at Surbiton, for train to Wimbledon. Only around ten minutes wait at Surbiton.
At Surbiton, amazing setting sun, aligned with the tracks, turning everything gold.
Coming out of Wimbledon Station grim, even worse than Croydon. Hit with carbon monoxide poisoning, Large Starbucks across the road, and one on the platform.
The Starbucks was packed. What is wrong with people? Overpriced poor quality coffee, and they dodge tax.
In Waterstone’s I asked for NeverSeconds. They had not a clue. No, we do not have, and no it is not on order. They did at least direct me to a secondhand book shop.
The secondhand bookshop when I eventually found it, was a disappointment. £10 for a damaged hardback copy of The Zahir, £3 for a very dog-eared paperback copy of The Winner Stands Alone. There was only myself and one other person in the shop.
Where to eat? I was hungry.
A trek up a hill along a tree-lined road to Wimbledon Village. I was told there were restaurants, but very expensive and not very good.
I found a lovely little coffee shop cum bakery The Lawn Bakery just closing. An interesting restaurant called Butcher and Grill, which was quite literally a butcher and a restaurant.
£11-50 for a burger or more seemed standard, plus a 12.5% service charge.
I eventually settled on a restaurant with lots of wooden tables. It appeared to be a chain with a pretentious name pretending hard not to be a chain.
A bowl of soup £5-50. At the bottom of the menu, in tiny small print needing a magnifying glass to read, discretionary 12.5% service charge.
I called the waitress over. Do I have to pay this? Yes. Do you receive it? You know as well as I do that I do not.
I walked out.
Same in a Thai restaurant.
This is dishonesty bordering on fraud.
I ate in Wagamama. Service was very poor, but the food good. Not cheap, with an orange juice, over £11-50.
I can see why they are profitable. Ingredients very cheap, massive mark-up. But to be fair, they are using fresh ingredients, and everything is freshly cooked.
I would not normally eat in a chain. But I can see why Wagamama popular in Wimbledon when other restaurants blatantly rip people off. If they go out of business, they deserve to. As I left Wagamama, people were queuing to get in.
I then set off for St John’s church, my reason for being in Wimbledon, a puppet performance of Petrushka, part of the Wimbledon Music Festival.
Leaving, a walk to the station, luckily a bus came along, which dropped me off at the station.
I had been told to change at Surbiton, but it meant a long wait. I found I was better off changing at Woking. At Woking only a ten minutes wait. I then expected a long cold walk home, but luckily a bus pulled into the station, I jumped on.
I expected a hassle there and back, but although I had to change trains, it was not too bad.