On a sunny Wednesday

Fear of the unknown immobilises you. It fills out every pore, every crevice very slowly and steadily, weighing your limbs down until you’d much rather sit holed up in your little place of familiarity than venture out into a newness whose very idea you dread.

Take a deep breath. It is easier than you imagine. Stretch out those limbs. Dress comfortably. Look good. Smile. Go out. Look up at the sky, look into the distance, look at the couple walking with their baby in a pram towards you. Breathe deeply. The air is fresh and cool. The road is verdant. Many paths lead off it into parks. The waters in the lake glitter in the sunlight. Pine cones are scattered on the grass. Bluebells, roses, hydrangeas grow in multitudes. People drive up the road and walk and cycle. Cafes have a few early morning visitors sipping coffee and smoking. Shoppers are buying bread and fruit. You can walk as long and as far as you want.

There are fountains by the road to drink from, ancient ones made of wrought iron with animal heads for faucets. They trickle endlessly into stone basins below. There are still many Arab tourists around. The women sashay in their abayas, the children are dressed too warmly for this nippy autumn day. It is the last day of the summer holidays. There are still children on scooters by the lake. A group of them stand with their au pair feeding a pair of swans and a throng of mallards. A class of miniature pre-school children walk hand in hand with three accompanying adults one of whom tells them off loudly for something you cannot understand. A mother lies on her belly on the grass laughing and talking to her toddlers sitting by her. Builders repair a stretch of road close by.

God’s earth is beautiful and bountiful.

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