The girls returned to school yesterday and I found myself alone for the first time in six weeks. I wandered down the road to buy a newspaper, delighting in the fact that there was no one at my elbow begging for sweets.
Elbow room and head space – that’s what I’ve missed. It’s been a lovely summer break, but it’s nice to be alone again for part of the day. A treat to walk around the neighbourhood and take in the changes that have occurred over the summer, such as these houses on Picton Street, which were spruced up in August.
Yesterday, I was struck by the lovely graffiti-like play of sunlight on the walls. In fact at first I really thought it was graffiti, a sort of weird washed out version of the Olympics logo!
Although Montpelier is fairly scuzzy in places – mindless tags adorn walls and bins, and we seem to have far more than our fair share or dog shit – the neighbourhood is also full of real beauty. In particular its wonderful mix of architecture: Georgian townhouses and cottages, Victorian villas and terraces, and even one or two interesting 20th and 21st-century additions. Of course there are plenty of duds in the mix as well, whole rows of dull, mean-looking 80s Toy Town nothingness. But the mix is the thing. For me the scuzz points up the beauty so, dog shit aside, I’m happy to put up with all the tagging, and even a bit of litter, because, when taken as a whole, Montpelier has immense charm and character.