Alfred Muggins Takes A Trip (To A Famous Old Town Cemetary To Walk The Dog but Ends Up In A Different Park Altogether!) : After The 3rd Lockdown
Alfred drove his wife Mrs Muggins down near the Town Centre to help a work colleague to do some driving practice in his car, as his driving test was coming up again soon.
After dropping her off the plan was that he would go to the Old Cemetary, fairly nearby, which they had rediscovered together about a year before, just before the First Coronavirus Lockdown. He would walk the little dog there, mindful that he had arrived in the Muggins family just after their previous visit, so he had never been there before.
This side of town seemed to get busier every time he came here. As he drove past the Cemetary there were cars everywhere. He noticed the parking on that street was all Permit Only for residents, or ticket machines for non residents. He had not remembered that he had probably had to pay for it last year, but the parking had not been so full last time either. He worried that he might not have enough pound coins in his pocket, as he was pretty sure he only had one left after sending Mrs Muggins’ son (who lived with them) to the local shop for some mouthwash, just yesterday. Even if he did have the right change, he judged that he would be lucky to find a spot which was big enough to park his wife’s big car, which he called the ‘Tank’, in. He liked the big car, loved driving it, but was not so keen on parking it in tight places, despite the rear view parking camera, which came on when in reverse gear. It was great for accelerating and going forwards, but for tight parking? – no! Panicking and indecisive, he drove past the Cemetary and further up the road. Why was it so busy? Of course there were so many offices and workplaces around here, and spaces were used up during the day!
Well he decided he would just drive on towards the larger and more familiar parks further out, not too far from where he had lived in the past. As he drove through busy roads he noticed there were very few parking places anywhere, and all of it restricted to either residents or the payment of coins into parking meters, or to restricted times! Bitterly he despaired of his home town. Why was it becoming so much busier? Did absolutely everyone have a car?
As he came to the first of the two bigger parks he noticed how busy it was for parking on the sides of the road, and in the park. It finally dawned on him then, ‘Of course, it is the Easter Holidays still!’ The kids were off school (Again!) They had only just gone back to school a couple of weeks before, after the 3rd Lockdown! Mothers, and parents generally, were taking them out for walks and even picnics. Older kids were walking around, and in small groups, and of course all the other dog walkers, like himself, were out in strength, as always, regardless of the weather. However the weather, although reasonably cold, was actually quite nice, and getting warmer!
He ended up driving to the same place he usually parked in when he came to either of these two parks, right next to them both. Although there had been some spaces on the road which went alongside the first park, he missed them each time, and sailed past, too late. It all proved one thing anyway? That he was very much a creature of habit, and not one to rock the boat!
Little dog had been wondering whether he was ever going to get his walk, and even Alfred had been starting to wonder. But now finally they were safely parked, (and for free!), and set out on a lovely walk up the slopes of park number 2 (named after a rich industrialist of the past, who had presumably donated the land kindly to the people of the City, during the increasingly enlightened Victorian Period), and through the woods.
He remembered orienteering here in the past with an old school friend, who lived near here, and playing tennis on the courts up the hill, and even golf on the top part, which Alfred and the little dog traversed on their way back. All of those activities seemed to be closed, or unused these days (in the decline of public services), although there were some oldish faithfuls (not much older than himself actually!) playing bowls on the bowling green. He was not quite sure if that was technically allowed yet, as the Covid Lockdown 3 rules began to relax? ‘Agh yes,’ he suddenly remembered, it was now officially allowed, since April the 1st, as an outdoor sport (no April Fool’s joke after all it seemed!).
At first, walking back over the golf course, he had been thinking (romantically!) the hole green ‘bunkers’ looked like the remnants of wartime shell holes or gun emplacements, but then he remembered it was just the golf course!
Anyway they had a lovely walk of exploration and reminiscence, and returned to the ‘Tank’ to call Mrs Muggins on his mobile. She still wasn’t finished, but Alfred didn’t mind too much (he was secretly rather pleased). It would take him another hour to do this piece of writing (in longhand in his current writing book, which he had brought with him for such an eventuality), and so it had! Then he would go and pick his wife up and return home.
He and little dog never got to the Cemetary, but so what! Alfred thought he had displayed great flexibility in the circumstances!