Birdsong and a red brick wall

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All the birds are singing as I weave my way through bumper to bumper traffic on the Middleway, ignoring irate drivers who gesticulate wildly at me for having the audacity to walk on a pedestrian green, leaving them stranded in the box junction they impatiently straddled in heavy, slow moving traffic.

With my back to the fumes and fury of rush hour, I look up and spot the first signs of sap green new growth emerging from the bare branches of the tree on the corner, and take a left down the first side street. Silence, but for birdsong. I love spring, it’s my favourite season, and tonight is the first time since October where my evening walk has taken place entirely in daylight. I feel euphoric, my senses heightened, another winter safely behind me.

The blossom is early this year, and a magnolia tree in someone’s garden looks close to blooming. Daylight illuminates the textured brickwork of old walls, in deep shades of orange and red. In stark contrast to the uniform hued brickwork of 1980s and 1990s architecture, I love old redbrick walls for their patchwork of texture and colour. No two bricks are alike, and they are a joy to run both hands and eyes over. After six months of only seeing these walls under yellow street lights, it feels like I’m seeing them anew.

On the sixties estate, I pass by a row of garages, one door lifted and the sound of a radio or podcast drifting on the air, an accompaniment to someone’s evening cycling workout. It’s a lovely evening for it, and it makes me smile to see signs of life and activity, as the seasons shift on the cusp of spring.

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