I wrote a section of ‘Burying Bad News’ in the summer which was a flashback to 1995 when Frances was a young GP in Feltham, in south-west London (famous for its Young Offenders’ Institution which takes the worst young criminals from the whole of London and visitors to which can often be seen on the local trains and buses).
I used to work there in theÂ late 80s/early 90s and often travelled through there for the rest of the 90s. The wholeÂ town centre was a 60s planning disaster andÂ over the last five or ten years it’s been completely redeveloped. My oldÂ office has been turnedÂ into Yuppie flats and theÂ local boozer (whose beer garden was the only bit of green in theÂ whole centre) has been flattened.
I went back there last nightÂ andÂ spent two or three hours in the Moon on the Square — a Wetherspoons pub which replaced the infamousÂ Cricketers, which was a place where 70-year-old Irishmen offered each other out for fights, customers let theirÂ rottweilers roam around and pushedÂ trolleys full of shopping into the pub fromÂ Tesco’s next door (Tesco has relocated down the road and has been joined in Feltham by Lidl, Aldi and Asda).
The whole area is a vast improvement on what it wasÂ likeÂ at the point I set my chapter.Â The beer was very good in the Wetherspoons too. It’s good to revisit the places that I’ve used for settings. I drove on the bridge over the Stokenchurch Gap cutting last week and I’ll try and get to the Tate Modern againÂ tomorrowÂ .