Friday, 22 August 2008

On Hampstead Heath

With an hour to spare before a meeting in Hampstead last night, I strolled up onto the Heath. It was a beautiful late summer's evening, the sun beginning to set behind sturdy cumulus clouds. The August bank holiday fun fair was already set up in the lower car park, the bumper cars neatly parked, the Wurlitzer in wraps.

I wandered through the deserted site; I've always felt strangely drawn to the traveller lifestyle. A rottweiler looked up eagerly at my approach. Around the perimeter of the site the trailers are parked up, washing hangs on the line, the latest model 4x4s with personalised plates, the mobile homes spick and span. Coming back out onto the path just above the lower pond, a red transit passed me. I caught up with it as the occupants exited, a man and a handsome woman in her 40s - we smiled at each other as I approached, a companionable smile.
'Are you looking for work?' She asked me.
'No, I'm all right thanks.' I replied. She held my gaze.
'Well, if you're looking for work, or you know anyone who does, just call here - she indicated the large white trailer behind her - and ask for Barry.'

I walked on, between the ponds, through the wild woods towards Parliament Hill. I felt extremely pleased that she'd asked me that question, whatever the implications..

Sitting on top of Parliament Hill, looking out across London, I felt a peace I've never felt before. Deep and constant; my heart is finally opening.

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