Waking at half past six, I was up and dressed by seven and out of the house at quarter past. It was a bright sharp morning with a blue sky and a chill in the air. Coming out of the Oval I turned right and took the familiar route into town.
There were few cars on the road and only one or two people and the day held that air of expectation that took me back to being on holiday. To warm slightly hazy Balinese mornings when most tourists are still asleep, the streets are empty and the shopkeepers are opening up. Women sweep the dust out over the step and set out the daily offering for the gods, a spoonful of rice, or noodles, red, white or yellow flowers in a woven basket; their ritual watched by sleepy yellow dogs while thin cats wash their paws in patches of sunlight.
There’s that feeling of possibility too in a big city like Bangkok, that time before the businesses open, the pavements are being washed and people, sitting on impossibly small plastic chairs, are eating their breakfast at street stalls.
Walking home up the hill, I was back in Bristol, taking Ollie to pre-school, walking hand in hand while he reads the numbers on the doors and points out where his friend Max lives and we look for the house with the butterfly on the wall. Sometimes, we have to stop to get a parking ticket, keying in a fictitious number to see if we get a ticket printed in red or brown. When we get to the top of the hill, he’s ready to run inside and start his day and I go back to Lucy’s grateful that I no longer had to wheel the buggy up that impossible slope.
There’s something about walking that triggers this many layered response. Today I was in different places, different times, on other days I find myself writing a new story in my head or coming up with an idea for a blog. Whichever, it makes my morning walk a rich and varied experience.