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I wonder what the night will herald, she is thinking. On which star will I fall? And what may fall around me. The constellations have been wrapping around a tired, dismal metro-land for some time, and mostly are not even visible, seeing as though buildinglamps and headlights obscure the natural drapes. But the seafarers still go about their business, plotting their nautical adventures. What Morse-code signals from far-off outposts? What minute lights out there in the waters, that come into view every now and then? Moving so very slowly on the horizon’s edge. Sister ships grazing across the colourless waters, betraying the warmth of the huddled bodies in adjacent densities, plus there’s the unmistakable clink of glasses. Engines disturb the glacier cool. Wolf-like motorcades. Other noises muffled, so now there’s a constant nearside growl with a bed of ambiguous energies that resemble a frenzied wasp stuck in a cupboard close by. At some points I think I might be dropping in and out of consciousness, struggling when the wind dips below ‘really cold’, feeling as though my face is about to slide below the freezing water, suffocating, sputtering, drowning. Rows of soldiers in navies and greens begin to look like the landscape and sky itself, and I can only make out that they are not when their small movements offer little reminders it’s a human terrain.

According to the 1913 Ordnance Survey map, one side of this street was known as Normandy Place and the other side, Addison Place – and to confuse matters further, the Normandy pub was on the southern Addison side!

The street - just off Brixton Road - now goes under the name of Normandy Road.

The pub was previously known as the Cowley Arms (it’s listed in a 1944 index with that name) which suggests that it may have been renamed after the Normandy Landings of WW2.

To confuse things further, the 1881 Victorian index of pubs records the Cowley Arms as being on Melbourne Square, Kennington, LAMBETH. Melbourne Square was at the end of the road.

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© Copyright 2016 John Maher