Updated: Jul 16, 2020
I wanted to avoid writing a post specifically about the coronavirus because my blog has always been a place of escape. Yet, I can't deny that the world we are living in right now will be one that will stick with us, both in reality and memory, for a long time. I can't pretend that it isn't happening but every now and then I can find ways to ease the anxiety that is embedded in our 'new normal.'
During the first stage of lockdown in the UK, we were only allowed an hour of daily exercise, these walks were my lifeline. As lockdown has started to ease and I'm able to go on more walks, for longer periods I've been rediscovering the area I have lived in over the last 4 years in a different light. I've realised walking around these quiet backstreets how many beautiful things I've taken for granted. Not only have I taken the smallest everyday memories for granted but the places, people and experiences.
So, in an ode to Sandi Toksvig's book 'Between the stops' where she urges us to discover our local area, I ventured out with a camera, deciding to take photos of anything that struck me. In this post, I will write about each one, in whichever way seems fit, in the hope that others too might find comfort in their walks and rediscovering the old and finding the new.
1- The road on my walk to college.
You accompanied me,
Source of pain for
A pulling towards my future,
A new life.
You've seen me,
Then one day you saw me
One last time,
Off to traverse tree-lined avenues.
Number 2- My college.
The quiet is haunting, even from outside. I remember one evening in my second year, staying late to set up a stall for our open evening and feeling spooked as student after student filtered out. The loud chattering that defined every moment of the last year gone. It didn't seem right that a place soaked to its very soul with education, discussion and learning should be stripped bare. An hour later and all was well again. New students, potential anxious parents, excited lecturers burst the building back to life. The college was a college again.
Today you aren't granted that. Each stony wall and wooden table left untouched. Books unread, pens still full of ink, not knowing when they will be read or when they can write again.
Education, school, college, isn't always a place of solace. It certainly wasn't always for me. Yet, within those walls, there will be classrooms, teachers, students, books, subjects that offer the tiniest slither of sunshine against a dull sky. It upsets me that there are hundreds of kids out there who need that chatter, noise, discussion, the life that comes with learning. It saved me and I hope my college can spring into life again soon.
Number 3- An old hospital building that has been converted into flats, I had to walk through these flats to get into city centre from my old house.
How I took you for granted,
Architecture that loomed over
My route to
Inducing muscle memory
Of the papery curtains between beds.
Seen a whole spectrum of humans in your square.
You have been
Purposed into a home,
Not for those who you hope will leave,
But for those,
you hope will stay.
Number 4- The pub where I went every Sunday night with my boyfriend and our old work colleagues after they finished their shift.
I have only ever pushed open your sticky red doors in the pitch black of night. I'm not even sure I realised they were red until today. I have stormed up that hill so many times tired, upset and come out laughing, joyous and filled with conversations that mean nothing and everything. It isn't about drinking, it isn't about the gin (however needed it has sometimes been!) it's about the atmosphere, the lightening of my heart. The sense that as I sit surrounded by smiling faces and conversations I belong. That for 45 minutes I can forget the world, forget responsibilities and just be.