First I spotted the children’s playground just off Clifford Avenue
Empty: that’s wasted real estate that is! Why’s it not sold? I mused.
Then I drove past Mortlake Cemetery on Lower Richmond Road:
Now that’s totally wasted real estate! (Except the crematorium, I suppose).
Up and over broad Chiswick Bridge, which spans the thickening Thames,
One crew rowing only; neither river boats nor barges came through my lens.
Turning from the A316 into “Riverside Drive”, I waited for just a bicycle
It’s like bloody North Korea… are we a land of the hammer and the sickle?
A hundred allotments to my left, but tending them? Not a sorry soul.
At Duke’s meadow next the Thames, a golf course – of 18 empty holes.
Cricket, football, rugby pitches, grass and astroturf – but no bloody teams.
I saw rows of netball courts, and tennis too – battered, hanging at the seams
A dilapidated bandstand, but for what? A stretch of grass, an acre wide
A rowing club, a jetty, hundred miles of river path, just to run and ride.
Bloody hell! I thought. Did Thatcher never happen? Does no one understand?
It’s real estate, it’s money, my God my God it’s downright wasted land.
Driving back, traffic free, I checked my eyes, to see if it was true;
The allotments, pitches, cemeteries, playgrounds, roads – all unused.
This country’s going to waste! A land of unsold real estate, by the lorry-load.
Approaching home, defeated, driving quietly up the Woodview Road
I saw parking space after parking space, vacant, all along the Green,
Turned into my road, stopped before my house, and began to scream
Is everything sacred? Does nothing have a price? Can a free Land be great?
Sunday morning, modern Britain: no cars, miles of wasted real estate.