In a recent (pre-lock-down) press conference I was hugely encouraged when, in answer to a journalist’s question regarding possible police enforcement of the social distancing measures, our stoic PM squeaked ‘the Police?’ in so surprised a voice that the very idea seemed quite preposterous. That’s the British way! I said to myself. Self-imposing and selfless, we are! Not for us the heavy hand of the uniformed man, the grim demand for official papers! Makes a man proud…
You all know what happened next.
So now we are all allowed out but once a day. One (1) excursion for exercise, alone or with someone from our household, walking, running or cycling. Running and walking are not really my thing any more, nor cycling, actually; but I do have this baby:
It fits to the front of my wheelchair and converts it into a tricycle. It is propelled by ‘pedalling’ with one’s hands, assisted by an electric motor as needed / desired. It is a marvel.
As the weather is splendid – it has been ever since the lock-down started, a phenomenon known as the ‘Reverse Bank Holiday Effect’ – a few days ago I elected ‘cycling’ for my sanctioned daily exercise outing. South lies Wapping: charming but cobbled, and all the pubs are closed. North is Victoria Park – lovely, but already a frequent destination. East – God knows; the recently closed City airport, Canary Wharf and DLR stations with names like Mudchute. West though? West lies the City, the iridescent towers of which gleam richly down on us here in Whitechapel. Normally a throbbing mass of bankers, crawling traffic and – oddly for the richest square mile on the planet – really rough roads: where better to go in a lock-down?
In Maycomb, the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird, “…if one went for a walk with no definite purpose in mind, it was correct to believe one’s mind incapable of definite purpose”. Without wishing to align myself in any other way with the good folk of Maycomb, I do like an objective.
So I decided to visit all the Wren churches in the City. Apparently Sir Christopher designed 54 of the churches rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666. Since then some have been demolished to make way for Victorian progress; some lost their parishioners to the healthier suburbs and were also demolished (who knew the Victorians were such vandals?). Of course the Nazis took care of a good few (the picture at the head of this blog is one of them – lovely St Mildred’s, Bread St., where Shelley married). But many survive; the nearest to here is St Margaret Pattens. A 12 minute cycle and turn left at the Walky-Talky. I’ll let you know what I found.