Greenwich Park

This Sunday nearly went down as another day I went to the gym. After I woke up, read a bit about Florentino and Fermina and got into my gym gear. When I found myself wondering whether I should go to the gym or go to Greenwich park, I stopped myself:

Until two months ago I hadn’t done any exercise in years. That is years. Plural. This question should not even be a question. To my own disgust I was turning in one of those people. The ones who are gym-obsessed, not because of maintaining physical health per se but more because of the extortionate fees that are being charged for the privilege of a month sweating on machines.

So I changed into jeans, jumper and boots and left the flat. I just had my boots re-heeled and after a whole year of trying to make my boots look worn in and scruffy, I noticed the man in the shop had polished them up so much they looked like new. Great, thanks…

After crossing the tunnel, I decided to go to Greenwich Market to find Mr Humbug.This is an old fashioned sweetshop which deserves to be endorsed if only for its slogan: Mr Humbug Suck it and See. It always surprises me that despite this they still get the kids in. when I chose the foam shrimp and banana’s the shopkeeper seemed genuinely disappointed in the lack of originality. I then also got some gobstoppers.The thing was I didn’t really want the foam sweets, but gobstoppers aren’t much fun if you can’t fish them out of your mouth now and then to see the colour change ( what is the point?) and I felt they were inappropriate for walking through the park.

The park isn’t huge, but my infamous disability still worried me: I cannot navigate to save my life. Quite literally actually.There is a near legendary story about me and my friend losing our classmates during a school trip to Paris, Père Lachaise – the graveyard- to be precise. The uproar it caused, more so because someone had seen my friend in tears and combined with my notorious sense of direction they nearly called out the gendarmerie. (Who found us anyway when our teacher made us do a presentation whilst sitting on the grave of Jean-Paul Sartre. He had a strange sense of humour… )

In the park, I decided to climb a bit higher thinking I would lose the sense of being in a city. The opposite is true: you become more aware of it as suddenly you can see beyond the edge of the park and there the city is in all her glory, impossible to ignore. The same applied to all the others in the park: real life people watching is so much better than the gym. Everywhere I saw families bonding with small children and grandparents, love-sick lovers oblivious to the rest of the world, groups of very loud American tourists ( is there any other kind?) and giggling girls who seem to live in herds throughout their teens and who all seem to take on the same look (Think Topshop and hairstraighteners). To my own surprise I felt a strange kind of relief in not yet/ anymore belonging to any of the above categories.

Back home, I put a Casablanca on (and only because I felt it was the kind of Sunday that should have an iconic film on. I have to admit that I still don’t really know what it is about – I just like the idea of it.) I cooked a casserole, baked a cake, polished my other boots, finished a short story, opened a bottle of wine and watched John and Edward make it to week 4 in horror.

I have written this whilst sucking on a gobstopper that has changed colour three times now: I might have trouble navigating sometimes, but I think this Sunday went pretty well.

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