the sun is out in this city and the flowers show all the colours of spring. Yesterday was the first day we could spend just for us both, so we decided on a walk. Starting with the New River path which is part of the Capital Ring Walk, we walked towards the south east, and passed two water reservoirs on which there is a sailing school and a "lakeside café".
A heron just stood next to the river and did not move an inch. Our first break was at a café inside Clissold park, surrounded by mothers with kids and teenagers just out of school in their uniforms, fighting each other either about girls or girls about boys or just because there is a drinking fountain which can be used.
On one of the benches a meeting of pairs took place: two old white men in wheelchairs, two ultra orthodox jewish men in their tweens and two black men in their thirties. All of them on or around one bench talking and eating, what was the connection between them? Who was the nursing whom? A writing circle, discribing Stokey's park landscape? A club of magicians, practising outdoor magic? A three-generation gay annual meeting...?
We walked on and found an old cemetery, Abney Park, completely overgrown with plants and bushes, broken tombstones scattered around, a lot with inscriptions of children who died below the age of 1 year about 150 years ago. The central chapel empty and out of use, some grave cover stones half open as if someone had escaped... at nighttime there would be quite a diffrent story to be told walking in here.
Walking down Cazenove street: more Haredim on cycles, running down to the next shtiebel, fetching the children from the jewish primary school, coming back with shopping bags, stopping to have a chat with a neighbour, a Bengali muslim man, who is sitting in his red Toyota car. An old age home, jewish, another, municipal school next to it, opposite a Koran school, a punk in a blond mohawk crossing the street, a blue Ford with open windows and full volume Rap music passing by, inside a black youngster with sunglasses... what a street. At the next crossing the picture changes, council housing, people on the street waiting for the bus, young women standing at a corner, smoking and chatting, an old lady sitting on a wall with her walking stick, sunglasses and a small transistor radio next to her, listining to the raggae music channel...
We catch the bus at Clapton towards Whitechapel, crossing Hackney central, Cambridge Heath and Bethnal Green, Bethnal Green Road full of people, clothes stalls in the street, shop owners in front of their shops, enjoying the sun, chatting, all over people talking with each other... a barber in the sun with his eyes closed talking to a customer (?), who obviously doesn't need a hair cut, he is bald, schoolchildren running down the street, nearly knocking over a man with "the lite" newspaper, turning into a alleyway leading to a green patch and football pitch. Approaching Liverpool street station, the crowd increases in density, we take Liverpool street down to Finsbury circle, a green park enclosure with white collar people sitting in the sun having their lunch, an NHS ambulance worker with full gear next to his ambulance cycle, resting before his next call. At Moorgate, we find our way to the entrance of the pedestrian highway towards the Barbican.
Concrete buildings with plants and water, a mixture between a 70s urban dream construction and a modernist nightmare, the sunny weather smiled upon it today. Our second break, next to the water, feeling a bit tired, resting inside the center, writing some postcards, then going back on the 141 bus, home. A wonderful day!