She has a lot on her plate these days, so instead of showing me around her old stomping grounds, she sent me a detailed list of places that meant a lot to her while she lived there.
Last Thursday evening, I set off into the sunshine to explore Candace's neighbourhood. I armed myself with her email, and my pocket sized London A-Z map. There was something wonderful and relaxing about exploring this part of the city on my own, by foot with the summer sun streaming through the trees.
The first stop recquired me taking the tram from Wimbledon to Morden Road. I was searching for her old house where she lived with an Italian family living upstairs. She wrote specifically about the bench outside the front door as this was a spot with a lot of memories. She explained that her and her friends would gather outside smoking and chatting. The bench had been through a lot of their highs and lows.
My second stop was Cannizaro Park. While I struggled to find it initially (it was further from the town centre than I imagined, and I initially tried to approach it from the side, which I didn't realize was blocked off by residential streets). Candace was spot on. Cannizaro Park is a hidden oasis, and one of Wimbledon's best kept secrets. If you live nearby and haven't been, put it on your list as an excellent spot to spend a Sunday. There is even an Avery and a Rose garden, amongst other things.
My final spot was O'Neil's Pub on the High Street. It was here that Candace and her girlfriends would meet up every Thursday evening at seven. What started with four girls, over time, expanded to twenty people. Twenty 'inbetweeners' (expats and non residences) coming together in the same spot, once a week to socialize and support one another.
I loved seeing Wimbledon through the eyes of another. I had only been to watch the Tennis, trekking through the village while on route to the All England Club (and was in a hurry both times). As this was my first neighbourhood exploration (as part of my final project), I'm excited to see how the other visits pan out. I found I wasn't at all limited by Candace's list, if anything this only enhanced my experience. I found other great shops, restaurants, pubs, and green spaces. I enjoyed being lost, and finding my way. It made me alert to every turn, and every possible step in the wrong or right direction.
Stay tuned as the project continues.
Next stop: Brockley with Rose