Monday 4th May 2020
Took a walk, a first for me on my own. A part of me can’t be bothered to entertain myself, as if, well, what’s the flipping point? I tend towards the home, the computer, the indoors and domestic, living vicariously through a screen due to a crippling lifelong condition called Laziness. The time I do want to experience things trekking about and getting canoodley with life is abroad. As they say, joy is doubled when you share it with someone; I just don’t think it, feel it otherwise.
I’m built to spend time on my own, but not to experience happiness that way.
The streets are as to be expected -the place quiet but nowhere completely empty or like a ghost town. There’s a steady stream of odd cars, and a handful of people on each thoroughfare, with often a queue outside whichever shop that’s open, even the small family-run ones.
Many stores are shut, some looking permanently with newspapers over their glass, or hand drawn signs of desperately discounted pricing, one place wallpapered with A4s of £2. I had no idea what it once sold, the name itself giving no clues. Other places as if momentarily left. The ones still surviving were very much like the old fashioned stores before supermakets took over -bespoke service, specialised produce and community based chit-chat.
Others had added little touches, from antique points of sale and off props, to signs of human misjudgement, not just banal marketing campaigns and identikitted salon design.
Then from the streets to the parks, also slightly unkempt, but beautifully so.
Battersea Park has an odd expanse which looks a lot like a retro exhibition gardens. I couldn’t place it as to whether it was 1950s or 70s, though it was refurbed in 1994 according to the sign. They were fountainless, the flowerbeds starting to overgrow, the squared off trees untrimmed to lose their cubism. A landscape to myself.
There was a sense of an elegant decay, almost spookily so. No animals, just the rustling of leaves and water becoming a momento mori.
Gardeners had obviously been laid off or furloughed, with pavilions starting to muddy up and peel, the flower beds dying or getting invaded with weeds and grass. Some cages round the back were populated only by signs touting that the animals would be back soon -metal keeps also profuse and jungled. Hopefully whatever once dwelled there will appreciate the new foliage on return, if still alive.
The rest of the park was gloriously overgrown, nature returning. Fun police were nowhere, but weren’t really needed, with nary a soul for stretches. It was a Monday, everything was just getting on with it. Was good to get out, I see that now.
There’s something to be said about what you notice, about the conversations one has with themselves on a privated walk. Notably the fact you see, feel and experience more than what’s there.
I hope we’re all okay, that we go in peace.