Yesterday was National Walk to Work Day. I didn’t manage to walk to work (I barely managed to get out of bed), but I did walk home, through some of the unloveliest parts of south London. And yet. There’s so much more you see when you’re at ground level – much more, even, than you see from the bus, which I have always thought of as a fairly intimate means of travel. But I had never really noticed the war memorial at Stockwell, much less the lists of names engraved on it of Stockwell residents who died in the two world wars; including what looked like a whole family whose surname was “Burnley”, who I only noticed because Palace are playing Burney next weekend so the word jumped out at me. But there’s a story behind every name, and they’re probably all worth hearing.
Anyway, including a brief stop at the war memorial, two even briefer stops to smell lilac growing in people’s front gardens (lilac coming second in my list of smells that make me think of childhood summers, the first being hyacinths) and ten minutes in MK One buying wedding outfit accessories (not my wedding, someone else’s), the whole thing took an hour and a half. Which is…manageable. I might even do it again. But not today.