Time Travel: My Croydon Rampage

Harry Goodwin 18 January 2021
Image credit: Creative Commons

It is the dawn of time: this earth which we know so well is a smouldering, inhospitable wilderness. Also, St. Paul’s Cathedral is looking a bit pokey. After moping around on the thatched roof for a bit and gazing out on the golden meadows of Hackney, I jumped down into a haystack. This was ill-advised: I banged my coccyx on the ground and yelped. A group of northern girls on a hen-do stumbled over to see if I was alright, so I beheaded them. First rule of being a Londoner: mind your own business.

A group of northern girls on a hen-do stumbled over to see if I was alright, so I beheaded them.

Unfortunately, my Supreme drip was now covered in brains and horse manure. I walked over to the JD Sports superstore and bought a head-to-toe Adidas grey tracksuit, before beating the shop assistant to death with his colleague’s body. Bargain! Still, I was in a bad mood. After a grim day at work, I needed to get down to Croydon for the Palace game – but the Overground was shut after my brother burned down the whole of Crawley. (At least that means no more Romesh Ranganathan.) As I waited by the river for my longship, I got talking to this friendly girl. I was telling her all about the time I ruined my family’s Christmas Eve when I accidentally shot her in the face with an arrow. It’s what my therapist calls self-sabotaging behaviour.

The celestial voice of Woden kept saying ‘Thameslink apologises for any disruption to your journey today’ until my longship finally pitched up. It was overcrowded and everyone smelled of sweat and cheap perfume. At one point, this Romano-British guy started playing the Godfather theme tune on his fiddle and got arsey when I wouldn’t give him any money. I threw him overboard. Taking personal command of the ship, I immediately crashed it into the Millennium Bridge. Some snotty monk shouted ‘What are you doing?’ I’m trying to cut toxic people out of my life, so I killed him and everyone else on board before swimming to shore.

I thought they were going to arrest me for, you know, massacring half of London

It was just one of those days. Two coppers blocked my path as I crawled ashore. I thought they were going to arrest me for, you know, massacring half of London. As it turned out, they actually thought that by walking around with a horn full of mead, I was breaking lockdown regulations. After texting the story to the Evening Standard’s exclusive desk, I fed them to my pet wolf Widmerpool.

I whistled to summon my horse, who had somehow got across the river by his own initiative. I galloped through Peckham, occasionally lancing a peasant just because. As I turned onto Lordship Lane, a Viking cyclist cut me up and then gave me the finger. I snapped. Dismounting, I said ‘Leave it out, you silly Cnut. You ain’t about that life’. I made a detour to dump his body in the Brockwell Lido. There, I was set upon by some bandits who kept calling me Old English curses like ‘blud’ and ‘paigon’. By the time I’d finished mopping their entrails into the pool, it was slightly dirtier than usual.

Ninety seconds later I made it to Croydon, where I paid homage to the local thegn Roy ‘Woy’ Hodgson. I then deployed my eagle to scout out the area. The Chennai Dosa restaurant and immigration-enforcement centre were where I expected them to be, but the bird couldn’t find Selhurst Park. Waylaying a passing serf, I learned that, due to a number of positive cases in the opposing squad, the match had been postponed from 837AD to 1066.

That was the last straw. I slaughtered the entire population of Croydon and burned all their farmland, before heading for Morley’s. While the housecarls outside cried for their mothers amid the slow agony of death, I tucked into my Spicy M Wings. As my brother yanked the remote out of my hands (‘You’ve desynchronised me!’) my mind was clear: this is a convincing and accurate reconstruction of daily life in Saxon England; it is quite invaluable for any historian with a Themes and Sources deadline to miss.