I will allow a little bit of triumphant superiority to creep into today’s post. The triumphant superiority of one who has reaped the rewards of using Shank’s Pony as the primary mode of transport, day or night.
I used to wonder how people coped in the olden days, walking miles to market. Or even how people cope today without transport in those third world countries where water supplies are 10 or so miles away and have to be fetched and carried home every day.
My first junior school was 2 1/2 miles distant from the village I lived in and the local council graciously provided a free bus for us local kids. But we were reminded constantly that they were under no obligation to provide free transport for a journey of less than three miles.
As a seven year old, I couldn’t begin to imagine walking to and from the school – a five mile round trip – every day, in all weathers.
And so the two-to-three-miles-as-routine has been at the back of my mind for years and has driven much of my extended daily walking habits of the last few months. So much so that I now think nothing of walking two or three miles to get somewhere, even at night.
It has been a wonderful confirmation of the enduring fascination for me of the modern urban environment. I don’t know how to categorise this art experience – for art it surely is in some way – but I do know it is profoundly important. In some way yet to be worked through and explored.
In addition though, there are other magical and unexpected benefits.
Take this week. I have had two late night walks along a street with a mahonia in full bloom. The nighttime scent of a mahonia is one of the joys of spring.
I stood for ages by the garden wall, inhaling the intoxicating aroma. Luckily and unsurprisingly there were no other pedestrians in sight to challenge me for suspicious lurking, but I thought it a bit sad that noone else was enjoying the heavenly scent.
And digital technology, for all its cleverness, is incapable of allowing any reader to share in this magical moment. You’ll have to be content with a photo of the blossom.