Walks to Remember

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As I type this, I have some burgers sitting out, ready to be cooked up. But I had a flash of inspiration as I remembered some of the really dumb things I’ve done back when I was working.

Not in the kitchen; obviously I try to be professional and give no one a reason to doubt me, but I mean my journeys there and back. While I don’t live in the suburbs, I live in an area of London with below average tube and bus connections for zone 2. I’ve had to change multiple times to get to somewhere considered “close”. As well as this, oyster fares like to slowly build up, and before I know it, I’m paying a lot of money for a relatively simple journey.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a massive fan of walking. I love to walk everywhere. I’m the annoying friend who considers a 2 hour walk a short journey. I don’t remember the last time I’ve taken the train anywhere north of the river. Granted, I don’t really go out, but given the option to, I’d definitely walk.

The best walk I had was after my first shift at Wembley stadium. I had taken the bus there, at about 6am, and by the time it was done, it was mid to late afternoon, and the weather was sunny, and the heat was more enjoyable to that of the kitchen. So I decided to walk back, using my vague knowledge of the bus route, and the very limited times I had gone there or to the arena next door for concerts. Being the type of person I am, I didn’t want to use my phone to track the route at all, to prove a point, so I called my mum to tell her my plan, put my phone on flight mode with my favourite music playing, and set on my way.

The same thing happened that does happen whenever I walk home from a shift after a while. The adrenaline wears off, and the physical tiredness sets in; carrying all my uniform and knives in an oversized rucksack that sticks to my back weirdly and makes it sweat. The music stops being upbeat, and I start paying attention to the lyrics and questioning my existence. Then coincidentally there’s a tube or a bus station that’s vaguely in my direction and I think, should I give up?

And then I think, there is no way I’m spending ¬£1.50 to go one station. No matter how close it is to my house. And in the case of Wembley, I’d still have to walk at least another 20 minutes to get home. It’s just not worth it. And I walk away, knowing the ancestors would be proud of me.

When I get home though, mum always feels bad that I’ve walked for so long and she always questions me. I’ll say something like “oh it wasn’t that long,” and it turns out it was a 3 hour walk from Twickenham or something and the sun’s already starting to set. (I’ve done that by the way. Not fun. I took a really roundabout route to get to the station I’d use to get home but the line was going through part closures. You can guess what line I’m talking about; it never works correctly.)

For me, walks are a really good way to just reflect on stuff or even just zone out. I like listening to hype playlists and walking and pretending my life is more cool and dramatic than it actually is. A really nice place to walk is surprisingly Oxford street, but starting all the way in Shepherds Bush from Holland Park Avenue and finishing in Aldgate.

I said I’d walk to and from work just to prove a point, and I have to explain that I’m not proving it to anyone. I’m the type of person that likes to challenge themselves, but in a “bet you can’t” kind of way. I still have very childish tendencies, but I think that’s a good thing because my energy is usually 100, and I don’t think that challenges are too much for me.

(That’s something I discovered about myself on a walk home from uni, while listening to Beyonc√©’s Homecoming.)

An Evening Outside

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My siblings were really restless, so dad took us out to one of their favourite parks in London, Richmond Park. I don’t make it a habit to go to that area of London, but I figured the fresh air would be good. Besides, we hadn’t been outside in a good three months.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a massive hill, which my two youngest siblings immediately decided to race up. My remaining sister and I walked up slowly, talking about whatever it is sisters talk about while walking up a hill. It was apparently much quieter than normal but I couldn’t imagine people running around playing in an area like this, even without the restrictions.

Maybe we felt a little out of place, running around loudly and not really speaking like everyone else in the area. Maybe I’m compensating for that now by writing more formally than I’m used to. It didn’t matter though, because we were having fun, and the kids could run around.

At one point, we all settled down to chill and talk about birds, and I figured this was the best time to whip out my camera and take some aesthetic photos.

If there’s something you have to know about my dad, it’s that he’s always trying to take pictures of you. It doesn’t matter the situation, he’ll always be holding his phone saying something about “family selfie” and then posting it to his whatsapp story. He says I’m the one obsessed with social media but I haven’t seen him without his phone in his hand, typing away.

Think about that.

After visiting the park, we took the long route home, via Twickenham Stadium. Unfortunately, the nature of my job has seen me work many unforgiving shifts there, on both prep and match days. Getting back home on a match day after a tense 13 hour shift usually involves a walk to Hounslow East because the buses are full and traffic refuses to go. The walk is definitely worse than the shift. But I won’t go into that today; I would be here forever.

But I’ll sign off with a simple question. What is it about Whitton that is so unnerving at 8pm on a match day?