In our garden the blue tits crisscross the feeder, the robins are feeding an ivy-hidden nest, a blackbird has been singing since early morning. Leaving this domestic scene, I head down
the road for the higher, open ground of Fortune Green. I pass Maisie going to school and Sue
setting off for work. Where Achilles Road meets Fortune Green, I stop at the water fountain,
look across and remember the old bakehouse that once was, and the Saturday morning wine
shop that succeeded it.
I turn along the hedge checking the bins for the depredation of the late night foxes and the early morning squirrels. Later, paper in hand, I go into the Green by the old telephone boxes and admire the work of Sunday’s volunteer gardeners on the long curved beds.
The seats at this end, which give a terrific view of the Victorian terraces of the Greek Streets, are rightly popular at this time of the morning; a first look at the papers, a smoke, a substitute breakfast, a cup of coffee... and why not. The rest of the world goes by to the bus stops. Children welded to scooters make their way to local schools.
If nobody has fed the wretched pigeons, there is the occasional thrush or crow. I have a twinge of envy for my fellow country diarists in Strathcairn, Wenlock Edge and the New Forest and their exhaustive ticklists of birds. But then they don’t have Lords just down the road and Hampstead Heath a short walk away. And let’s give credit to Londoners, give them grass to lie on, benches to sit on, a playspace to play in and a dog-free area to kick a football around and they will go for it.
And as for dogs, any early morning lounger on the benches can be their own judge at their own private Crufts. Breed identification may not be easy but that’s part of the passing parade.
By now the sun has broken through the clouds above the Fire Station, it’s time to go home, open my paper and see if today’s Country Diary has anything interesting to say.
- Ted Booth (Guest Blogger)
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