Saturday, 8 April 2017

Some days I'm a bit like The Fast Show's Unlucky Alf - but today I was definitely "Brilliant!"

I went for my daily stroll at 2pm, and was walking along, unseeing, locked in my own head, vaguely worrying about this and that, when a tiny cyclist wearing a massive blue helmet came whizzing along the pavement straight towards me, a look of fierce concentration on his face. As he couldn't have been more than four, I decided it was probably safest just to get out of little monomaniac's determined way. His father followed along a few seconds later and smiled his thanks. Then what was presumably the little shaver's sister appeared - five, at most - and, without hesitation, I retreated into the safety of a gateway. "Thank you!" she sang out, as did her smiley mum a few seconds later. That unexpected display of good manners - and all that purposeful happiness and glowing parental pride - woke me up with a start...

...and, as I continued my walk, I realised, for the first time, what an absolutely perfect, beautiful, joyful day it was.

The sun was shining out of an unblemished sky; a slight breeze was blowing, taking the edge off the heat; all the Polish workmen had knocked off for day, leaving the streets quiet; the best of the blossom has been and gone, but there's enough of it left to add festive splashes of white and pink; the rows of well-tended little front gardens on both sides of the meandering street were suddenly stuffed with flowers and greenery; in the park at the the end of the road, behind a dignified line of plane trees, was a large, official swathe of dainty white narcissi.

As I walked along the strip of parkland among people walking their oddly well-behaved dogs and contented children, I couldn't noticing that the other single strollers I passed were all smiling - every one of them! They all looked as if they'd just received an unexpected piece of good news. Presumably, like me, they'd been startled awake by the sheer, balmy, gentle, caressing, soul-brightening beauty of this peaceful, leafy oasis in a huge North European city on an utterly perfect spring day. It made me want to throw up my arms and shout, "In't nature brilliant - it's got, like, trees and flowers and grass and sun and it makes everyone happy! In't London brilliant - it's, like, too big and dirty and crowded and there's too much crime and rubbish transport and too many crap schools and everyone's dead worried about their jobs and the cost of 'ousing and that, but it's got tons of green spaces and nice 'ouses and galleries and palaces and black caps and people who still teach their kids to say "Thank you" when an old bloke steps aside for them on the pavement! Brilliant!"

I'll probably be back as Unlucky Alf tomorrow, snarling and scowling and muttering "Oh, bugger!" - but days such as this one are a gift, and not to be wasted. I've just checked: the sky's still blue and people are still smiling - Brilliant!

1 comment:

  1. It was indeed a beautiful day yesterday (as indeed it is today) and I think you had a Robert Browning moment. You will know which poem I am referring to.