The day

Today (well, yesterday) was a very nice day apart from a bad beginning. An overseas friends’ dad had died and Matt and I wrote a letter to say we were thinking of them. I took it to the Post Office. Barkingside Post Office is notorious for its queues and I was hurrying because we had guests. When I got to the window I briskly had the letter weighed (along with a card for somebody else in the US). I got the stamps, payed and vacated the window. They were themed stamps and with a lurch I noticed the stamp for the US was Return of the Mummy – what was the stamp for the condolence letter…? Frankenstein. How unpleasant. Nevertheless I posted it in a panic. Then I regretted it and thought about how I just should have gone into the newsagents and got two first-class stamps and stuck them on instead. What a proper idiot I am. That’s going to haunt me for some time.

Moving on, I was hanging out a load of Matt’s and my smalls and talking to the boys next door when I saw a mean looking plane flanked by two smaller ones fly over the house – ah it was Trooping the Colour today and that was the beginning of the fly-by.

Are these harriers?

The exciting thing about my road is that the fly-by is so low and so near that you can practically make out the crew. They fly so close to each other it’s untrue. I like the pot-bellied things with whirlygig satellites and antennae. One formation after another passed us – I kept thinking I wouldn’t get my camera because it was over, but more kept coming so eventually I did run and get it – these harriers are all I got. If indeed they are harriers – Barkingside 21, do you know? And how about this bug off Fullwell Ave (click it)?

During the fly-by the puppy turned up and soon after that three friends with a baby arrived and we went up Tomswood Hill and into Claybury Park. We ate at the picnic table by the pond. The woofler licked the mud underneath and generally mooched around. A beautiful acrobatic tern was still there since a week ago (it was a tern, B21) and I began to worry it was alone and out of its milieu. Somebody came with children and threw bread at the ducks. After they had gone, the dog bellyflopped in and hoovered up the bread. The tern made circuits, twisting and plummeting to get small fish from the surface (young perch, we think). Sometimes it rested on a post about 3 meters in from the bank and when the ridiculous plunging, thrashing dog came too close, it would discreetly leave the post. After about an hour it flew off, returning minutes later with loud squeaks and in the company of two other terns. One of them fed another.

The baby, whose habitual expression is sad bewilderment, breastfed and we ate crisp sandwiches and drank Bishops Finger, Peroni and apple juice. It was a beautiful day – sunny with fat clouds. Barkingside families were out, and Barkingside kids with bikes and missions. When the woofler climbed out of the muddy pond and I would decoy her away from the baby by running up and down. She didn’t scare too many children this time. The baby is a purple-kneed treasure.

We returned, sat in our ramshackle conservatory and listened to music. I took in the washing and the boys next door told me what they were doing for father’s day (I pieced together that the entire family will eat breakfast in his bed and that breakfast will be toast and jam. The littler son is a famously slapdash eater so dad is going to have a bed full of jammy crumbs). Then Matt and J went to Sharod for a take-out. Sharod is amazing for thrown-in free stuff – this time along with the bombay mix and the Cadbury’s Celebrations there was a bottle of Liebraumilch. (I find Sharod food too greasy and salty – seriously too greasy in fact – but good for flavour and their saag bhaji is peerlessly delicious). The baby slept on our bed. When they left I walked them to the bus stop in my new canvas and wood wedge sling-backs. I still hold out hope that I’ll be able to walk in them some day. We are a lucky set of friends – we live at each terminus of the 275 which runs between Barkingside and Walthamstow so the bus is always on time and we always get the seats we want. It’s a beautiful route over the top – cared-for suburbs, greenbelt, residual villages which you wouldn’t necessarily realise were villages on a map because they’ve been overgrown by the suburbs, and a bit of Epping Forest I think. The journey takes an hour.

Then, having only drunk a bit, I decided to do some yoga. The only thing between me and the terrible stiffness of somebody who spends their waking life at a computer is yoga. Yoga is the most deeply enjoyable and relieving stretching sensation I know. All of the postures flow, one to the other. Personally I’ve never had an ache or pain that hasn’t gone with yoga stretching (except the pain in my hip that I acquired during yoga stretching, that is). Five years ago yoga saved me from a foot operation predicted by the most recent of three podiatrists. It’s that good. And you don’t need to go to more than a few classes – you can get a book (or get given one like I did). Then whenever you feel stiff and sore, you can unroll your mat (if indeed you use a mat) and get going. I like ashtanga, which is more active.

And that was the day – the night is my business.


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