& I Will Walk 500 Miles

And I will walk 500 more. Once upon a time, the reason I would rack up my step count was because I was stomping around town. Days spent going up and down Soho and Mayfair or what felt like the entirety of East London- for errands or meals or to visit a particular shop (I once lugged a succulent plant around with me all day because the shop was irresistible) Buuuut now? Nowadays, I walk the entirety of my local area and its surrounding parks. I no longer hop on and off the tube (in time, yes, but not right now) but instead hop in and out of parks.

Instead of a cute handbag, I carry a ‘mummy’ bag. It’s grey, it’s shapeless, it has many pockets and holds everything from Ava’s nappies and spare clothes to my house keys and sunglasses. I have both a like and dislike for my buggy- like, because I can throw extras into the basket, plonk a coffee cup in the holder, and even hang a shopping bag on the side (plus, you know, that added bonus that it carries my child) and dislike, because I’m not confident enough to lug it onto a bus or down the tube steps by myself. Which means…I’ve gotten to know all the parks in a 5 mile radius. Okay, maybe 3 miles.

But actually, I like my local parks. They’ve been a godsend in this baby wrangling business. Getting outside into the fresh air somehow makes a fussing baby feel like not such a big deal. As Ava sleeps, I push my ‘mini van’ (or just the little Doona, if I’ve decided to leave the kitchen sink at home) armed with a picnic blanket and headphones and just nosy around. It’s a strange thing to adjust to, this motherhood thing. I don’t have Reply All emails to filter and no Outlook calendars to organise. It almost feels like a guilty pleasure meandering on grassy paths, watching the world go by.

Every other week or so, my mum friends and I meet at one of these local parks. We have a spot under some trees, up on a hill. Everyone brings a blanket and some snacks and it’s a lovely way to spend the afternoon- idle chit chat, sleepy babies. You catch a good breeze from that spot and every time we meet there, I go home with that summer feeling of dust and grass on my feet and sun in my hair and a baby conked out in her buggy. And then I hit the main road, the sound of sirens and buses and I’m brought back to earth- nope, you are most definitely still in North London boo.

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