Down these mean streets a man must go

I hope everyone enjoyed a warn bank holiday weekend. For those of us who have dipped a toe in local politics, it is no holiday, but a long weekend of leafletting and door-knocking. Still, it can make for a good, healthy walk.

In previous years I have combined pavement-bashing with cycling to remoter houses, adapting my boots for pavement or fields. This year I was in a more constricted, suburbanised knot of residential houses, which is a more intense experience. To get a measure of the length of the walk is impossible: you cannot just measure the length of each stretch of each road and total them up a most of the distance may be nipping back and forth from street to doorway – a petty distance you may think but it all adds up, and after two thousand of them, that is a few miles just walking back and forth from the pavement even without the length of the street.

A road is a dull, grey landscape. Head down, foot before foot and it goes by.

You get variety: I missed the wide-open country vistas and landscape carved by nature’s hand into breathless beauty, now blooming in the richness of late Spring, but deep in the streets there is a microcosm if you look; a glimpse into the souls of thousands of individuals. Those long streets all built with identical houses in ranks like soldiers on parade, have changed as years pass over them, for householders put their own into their own houses, and even though I see no more than the front drive or garden and front door, in these little things the character of the owner may shine through (not always to their credit).

I just wish, as every leafletting street-hiker does, that when they replace their front door or build a porch, they would include a letterbox.

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