Some nights when I walk I’m doing it to take in the particular sights and sounds of a town at night, and sometimes I’m doing it because there’s too much static in my head and getting my body moving seems to drain some of it off. Tonight was a combination of the two. I had some stuff to brood on while my legs carried me around some nearby streets, but I kept being jolted out of it by passing all these new constructions – there’s been a fair bit of demolition and rebuilding in my town over the last few years, mainly flats or townhouses replacing single-house blocks or going onto vacant lots. It was startling. I walked up and down some hillside streets overlooking the river, streets I haven’t really walked along for years since my night walks tapered off a bit, and it was startling to see the old, dim, weatherworn houses behind their trees being punctuated by big, hard, open, brightly-lit patches of concrete.
The new hospital was a particular shock. It’s now got a large, fenced-in, brightly-lit car park and a big Entrance that some architect obviously put a lot into, but I don’t like it much. I liked the old one. You felt like you were sneaking in a side door as you ducked in under a little overhang and went through a door set in a plain red brick wall. It was humble and, is this the word, approachable? I’ve had several occasions to take myself there in the night with something alarming wrong with me, and each time the modest little brick building helped me feel better. It was like a friendly arm round the shoulders and a “come in, tell me what’s wrong”. It didn’t look down its big steel and glass nose at you the way this one does.
Some night soon I’ll have to go south down the riverside path toward Karabar. It’s been ages since I explored those streets.