The Strange Case of Shad Thames

One of the reasons I moved to Shad Thames was the quietness. While Wandsworth Town out in Zone 2 was virtually suburbia in terms of London living, our flat was right on the beginning of the A3 with a bus stop outside. A bus stop! you say – How convenient. Yes, it was convenient, but it was perhaps one of the busiest bus stops in all of Londontown. 20 routes or some shit went through there, with buses stopping non-stop between the hours of 7am and 11pm.

Shad Thames – despite being right on top of Tower Bridge and in Zone 1 – is like Dickensian London in comparison. Minus all the grime and disease, of course. What I’m saying is, you turn off of Tower Bridge Road into Shad Thames and it’s dead quiet – cobbled, walk in the streets, old world and lovely.

Shad Thames by robbinhamman

Except, rather bafflingly, between the hours of 11pm and 7am.

The not-24-hour nature of London meant the buses stopped and my little flat in Wandsworth Town offered quiet respite at the midnight hour. I think I might’ve been awoken in the middle of the night once in the 2 years I lived there – likely due to rowdy drunken revelry, which will happen wherever you live in London.

But Shad Thames? This upright Dr Jekyll turns into Mr Hyde when the sun goes down.

When I first moved in, I sat bolt upright in bed at 3am because it sounded like a fucking aircraft carrier was trundling its way down the street just outside at 1mph.

And the number of times I’ve woken up at some ungodly hour to some unidentifiable – and very loud – noise, well, I can’t even tell you.

Last night, as I lay sleeping at 2am, a howling began. A screeching. Growling. Screaming. Shrieking. Was it an animal? Was it dying? Was something getting bummed outside my window? I did not know. But it slowly started moving down the street, the decibels lowering. I went back to sleep.

And then at 3am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street. I went back to sleep.

And then at 3:30am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street. I went back to sleep.

And then at 4am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street. I went back to sleep.

And then at 4:45am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street. I went back to sleep.

And then at 5:00am, it began again. And then moved slowly down the street.

And I went back to sleep. But, seriously…

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2 comments

  1. jen · December 31, 2011

    What was it? a fox?

    • Larissa · December 31, 2011

      I have no idea…

      Although some native Brits have suggested that it very well could have been a fox. If so, I have a new-found fear of these animals.

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