One of the perks of the lockdown, and there haven’t been that many, has been the opportunity to know my local area and my neighbours better.
There are five parks nearby, and I could easily knock myself out looping through all of them for my daily dose of physical activity if I wanted to. There are the streets and houses that I admire on my way to the high street, particularly the house with a beautifully manicured garden and minimalistic interior design that I frankly wish it were mine.
There are three off-licence shops nearby. The first one – kind enough to store Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food for me; I can always rely on them for my sugar fix. The second one – the de facto choice for all sorts and the third. The third sets you back as much as Waitrose.
There are several pets nearby that bring me tremendous joy every time we meet. The best of them is Rascal, a gorgeous black cat that lives up the street opposite the park. He is kind enough to play, warm enough to cuddle, smart enough to know he should not cross the street and stay on his side of the road instead. There is the group of dogs whose owners take them out for company and exercise so religiously around the same time every day, you could set your clock to them.
There are the locals that I have got to know since March. The employees at the GP surgery who walk around the park to clear their minds and stretch their legs at lunch, the father and daughter who go for laps of the park together, the double-arm amputee gentleman whose daily routine includes laps of the park, too.
There is the gentleman who saw me reading in the park several weeks ago and asked me the subject of the book under my nose. I saw him sipping his tea out of a real cup on a bench this morning and then saw him again sitting on a different bench this afternoon as I was reading out of the same book. He got up and started walking away, turned around and asked: “You’re the girl who’s studying Brand Management, right? Good luck!” “Thanks!”
I hope I see him again tomorrow. I would like to know his name.