Walking Diary – Regent’s Canal

by niadavies

Victoria Park, Bethnal Green. August 24th 2009

Victoria Park was the ‘Green Lung’ of the East End. Now the melting sun breaks fast into the trees. The canal is a shiny capillary – a vein of pale gold. The panting lungs are now of the joggers, too fast, ears plugged. ‘Apple has made music into wallpaper’ (Neil Young).

Those that know the grass under the crooked knee, those new east-enders, don’t jog. They know that the towpath is perfect for eaves-dropping – boats ablaze for summer, couples waltz-walking, the one-sided mobile phone rants for the walk home.

Moorhens joust in the park pond. The water has a brilliantine green film of algae across it – making it shine in an eerily, almost chemical way. A black heron and a white swan pick through the luminous swamp in a cartoonish waddle. On Bonner Street the bus driver on the parked 309 sits, arms folded, in his seat. He waits in the darkened bus, staring at the road.

A London sundown. It is Ramadan and my flatmate Hossam will be at home, waiting, food laid out before him.

© Nia Davies, 2009