Sixty seconds. A hundred steps. That’s all it takes to remove myself from the humming modern city and walk into a minute’s worth of discovered peace.
And I have an anonymous selfish git to thank for this discovery. An individual so caught up in his (her?) own parking problems that they forgot to realise that they may in fact be blocking a whole car park by gaily leaving their car on the only passageway in the place, marked by a big yellow cross.
I never understand this lack of forward thinking but in this case I am glad their mother (father?) never taught them any parking manners. Because it forced me to wobblingly reverse back past the dinky-toy lines of cars and find another spot on one of the pretty narrow streets close by.
I’m going to be late, I’m going to be late. My recurring chant when I start work in the afternoon.
But what is this I see before me? A huge iron gate leading into the gardens of a tiny ancient museum. Maybe a short cut to be had here? It was worth a try.
Oh joy, oh bliss, oh cool air around my head and my toes! So much to look at but so little time to appreciate it all. My eyes darting all around trying to take in the trees, surely some of the biggest in this town – pines, chestnuts, limes, oaks. The flowers – rhododendrons, azaleas, tulips, with bright pink and purple blankets of petals dropped carelessly at their feet. The majestic stone statues and columns. Then the museum itself, a former working hospital built in 1175 (yes I really meant to write 1175) standing proudly in the midst of all this natural, historical beauty.
I would have stopped and sat down on one of the carved wooden benches to drink in the charm of this extraordinary little place but work beckoned and I had to quickly walk out through the other gate onto the busy, main road.
It took me exactly one minute to make this miniature journey back in time. But it is one I now do every day, deliberately parking in my newfound spot, far from the madding crush of aligned cars.
On my way in to work I dash. On my way home, if the gates are still open, I dawdle, lapping up the peace that emanates from this very special place.
So I’d like to take this opportunity to figuratively kiss your selfish feet, anonymous idiot. Every day is more beautiful now thanks to you.