Last night on my way home I popped in to visit a friend for a while. He lives in the kind of narrow street where you can just about look into your neighbour’s windows, and if you park up other cars just squeeze past without scraping you.
As we were sitting, chatting it became very noisy outside, mechancial noise, like maybe the garbage truck or roadworks, but it was a bit early for the one and a bit late for the other, and it seemed a bit too loud for someone doing DIYso I asked where it was coming from. My friend drew aside his curtain and pointed across the road.
Almost opposite there was a gap between buildings, a site for future construction, no doubt. It was walled off at street level, so when I got out of my car, which was parked alongside it, it was just another wall, and I didn’t take any notice. The noise was coming from this space between buildings.
Plodding happily away behind a rotorized tiller was a slightly paunchy, straw-hatted guy, who was churning up topsoil and what looked like straw, ploughing it into the soil. Around the edges of this plot were various plants and bushes, obviously lovingly cared for and flourishing. The sight was slightly surreal. This wasn’t exactly a city but still incongruous – such a site in the midst of the concrete. I imagined what it was like for him. Behind the wall he had locked out the street sounds and the crawling traffic, and created his own little bit of Paradise.
Lesson to us all?