The parks appear in the city like lakes – your eyes rest there, refreshed and at ease, cleansed of soot.
Because wherever the city is not green it is quickly smothered in a thick blanket of soot and smells like a railway station – of old trains, dust and coal.
The railway stations are the places where England is most openly gloomy. Scrap iron piles up there and coal dust and heaps of rusting, tangled, disused rails. They are surrounded by desolate little allotments full of cabbages, where bits of underwear are hung out to dry and where there are sheds patched together like old sheets.
– Natalia Ginzburg (‘England: Eulogy and Lament’
from The Little Virtues, 21f.)