Yesterday, it was announced by the UK Peace Index that Lewisham is the "most un-peaceful" place in the country. As a resident of Lewisham I thought, as I'm sure other residents of Lewisham did, that I'm delighted.
I've only had two homes. Northern Ireland and Lewisham, so when I read that Lewisham is the most un-peaceful part of the country I couldn't help but think that it must be me. I just clearly make people very violently upset. The Troubles and topping the Un-Peaceful charts is too much of a coincidence. Obviously wherever I lay my hat, that's an area soon to be cordoned off while a police helicopter beams it's light on it. But I like Northern Ireland. I'm only mentally coming to terms with how The Troubles effected me (and let's face it, NOTHING happened to me during The Troubles) and for the first time in my life I actually feel pretty patriotic. Not nuts like some Northern Irish patriots - I don't go around marching or crying about a missing flag - I'm much more quietly patriotic. Fewer things have made me happier recently than the film Good Vibrations, I'm delighted that David Holmes is producing the new Primal Scream album and I love that Belfast has a growing comedy scene made up of Northern Irish comedians avoiding hack Northern Irish topics. I'm that sort of patriot. I feel like I'm Northern Ireland's childless aunt, watching her nieces and nephews doing so well. Oh, some of them aren't perfect but I'm proud of a lot of them. As for Lewisham...well, I had to think about that one.
I found out that Lewisham is the most un-peaceful place in the country as soon as I woke up. I mean, it isn't perfect. Sure, Lewisham council is actively helping local businesses by actively offering them work (see: http://tinyurl.com/aqon6h5), the major regeneration of the area means that new shops, homes, a gym (meh) and a cinema (yay!) are close to being completed and it's incredibly handy to go anywhere in London but...it isn't perfect. It's too hard to think also because I haven't had breakfast yet. I'll eat and then think about it.
I walked to El's Kitchen in the lovely, hot sunshine. Now, I'm sure you had the exact same sunshine wherever you live yesterday but I just didn't want you thinking that the sun is too intimidated by Lewisham. It gets to us as much as it gets anywhere. There's been a surge of lovely new places to eat in my part of Lewisham. It's all patisseries as far as the eye can see but I decided I wanted to make breakfast. I bought a fresh, homemade sourdough loaf, some homemade houmous and some vegan chocolate because THAT'S WHAT I HAVE FOR BREAKFAST, OK? And I can buy all those things in Lewisham.
I had breakfast in the garden because I can sit there listening to my neighbour's Radio 4. I have neighbours that are always gardening or cleaning their kitchen with the windows open so I can just sit there listening to free Radio 4. Yes, that's right: I steal Radio 4. Look at me, UK Peace Index! I'm one of Lewisham's crime statistics. I know you might get a tiny feeling of excitement occasionally stealing your neighbour's wifi but you don't know what smug is until you've got your feet up on a lounger, eating houmous on toasted sourdough while nicking loads of Radio 4 from kind people who suspect NOTHING. In LEWISHAM! But Radio 4 was distracting me. Lewisham is the most un-peaceful place in the country. I need to think about that.
Jerk suggested we go for a walk in the park. It's a beautiful day, so that sounded like a great opportunity to stroll and ponder this un-peaceful problem. We went to Ladywell Fields. We could have gone to Hilly Fields which is almost as nearby and it has that new cool cafe that's dog-friendly and terribly middle-class but I fancied a walk by the river. That's right, I had a stroll in the sunshine along a river. In LEWISHAM! But what with watching Jerk swim and seeing bright green parakeets fly around and looking at Dutch Elms, I forgot about thinking about the un-peaceful thing.
I mean, I can't honestly say I consider Lewisham to be peaceful. I hear sirens a lot but I always take a bit of comfort from that. A siren? Good. Something's being done about that bad thing. And there's not that many times when I go to the park and don't meet a "colourful character"...but that's all they are. Characters. Surely they're just put there for me so I can write a blog? I wouldn't call those chaps peaceful. But un-peaceful? Maybe we need to look at the needs of young people here. Most of the crime statistics seem to be made up of 16-24 year olds but i don't know any of them. Are they all stealing Radio 4? I need to think about that. It got to about 5.30 and I decided that maybe a beer would help me think.
I went to The Ravensbourne Arms. I could just as easily have gone to The Fox & Firkin because both of those bars are my favourites. Not just in Lewisham but my favourites full-stop. They're excellent pubs that don't treat you like a dick by charging £5 a pint. Rare these days. I sat in The Arms and did a bit of work on my laptop. It's always got a friendly buzz going on at The Arms (and The Fox too). Lovely staff and there's always a lot of people but it's never a place you can't do a spot of work in. That's right. I worked in a crowded but civilised pub, using their wifi and having a relaxing drink. In LEWISHAM! But the pub's so lovely that it's putting me off thinking about the un-peaceful thing. Plus it's starting to get dark. Best get some dinner and head home.
I bought some Chinese food from a great take-away called Home (could have gone for Indian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, Irish, British, Lebanese...pretty much anything) and walked through the dark streets of Lewisham. The area of London that is the most un-peaceful place in the country and now I'm walking it's dark streets at night time. Safely.
I got home and ate and I finally got round to thinking. My feet were up on the sofa and I had a sleeping dog on me and I thought about Lewisham, the most un-peaceful place in the country. And I thought, as I'm sure other residents of Lewisham did, that I'm delighted. If we're in the most un-peaceful place in the country then just think how tranquil everywhere else is.
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