It was only after three challenges I was able to get the photographs to accompany this piece. And to be fair, I can understand why the three train guards, a ticket inspector and a train driver might wonder why I was kneeling down on a grubby platform at London Victoria to get snaps of the grating late one weekday evening.
It was a morning last week when I got off my regular train, unusually having pulled into platform one, that I noticed a curiosity about the grating. The grates run in the middle between platforms one and two and are fastened by regular bolts. Along a twenty or thirty yard stretch, each and every bolt was capped with a beer bottle top.
Battling through the regular morning crush wasn't the best time to try and get closer to inspect these tops or photograph them so I returned in the evening.
It was too consistent to be an accident. Every bolt is neatly capped: Budweiser; Bishop’s Finger; Guinness; Stella Artois; Corona. They all feature and many more.
And I have absolutely no idea who put them there. Is this the idle decoration of a bored train cleaner trying to stamp a little of their identity on the station and liven up an otherwise mundane job? I find it hard to believe it is the work of late night revellers. There is too much deliberation for it to be the work of random drunks. Beside which, it's highly likely they'd have been stopped from such antics.
There we are. I know nothing further. If anyone has spotted this curio and can enlighten me any more I'd be most grateful, no pun intended.
My parents are landscape architects and designers and specialise in restoring public parks. For years a trip to one of these fabulous places would inevitably involve careful examination of path surfaces. I doubt anyone in the country has such an impressive archive of paving tiles and resin-bonded surfacing. Odd though I must have looked crouching, in a Panama, to get snaps of London Victoria's grating, I did at least feel I was in some way continuing a family tradition.
Those nice people at London Victoria tweeted me this afternoon though they were unable to shed much light on the mystery. This is what they had to say: