Images #5-8

Images of the Broadwalk, emails to MPs, the Welsh Harp and the A5.

FIVE

Staring out from a crater made of marble at a blue translucent shimmer. The reflection of a sign in the ground reads ‘WHSmith’. Pull myself up to run in a circle feeling like if I ever stop I’ll be swallowed by the ghosts. The Broadwalk is alive, but the mothers are cautious to keep their kids in sight. It’s just a few years after James Bulger and the fear still lingers. For us runners though, it’s a beeline to Toy Stack unless we’re stopped and told to keep our mothers in sight. The call of the yellow, the never-ending rows of plastic figurines, metal train sets and Scalextric. There is no worry, no quivering lips, only the smiles of children playing.

SIX

“Dear Mr. Dismore, my name is ????? and I’m writing to you today this letter to ask if you can have a skatepark installed in Mill Hill Park? Skateboarding is a great way for us young people of Barnet to let off a little bit of steam after school. Right now, our nearest skatepark is in Harrow which is either a 186 or a 340 bus away. It’s not easy for us to get to and it would be easier if there was one in Mill Hill Park. Right now, we would like a half-pipe and a grinding box. It would be really fun for young people. Please have a skatepark built in Mill Hill Park. Yours sincerely, ?????”

SEVEN

Mr. Green gathered us boys together after school and slung us in the back of the bus. A short drive, fifteen minutes, to the Welsh Harp. Out of the bus, through the gate (we learned the code) and into the BTYC. Quickly change before anyone tries to steal your towel. Out onto the tarmac, down the path and arrive at the toppers. Sling my boat together, head to wind, and be careful of the flying boom. Push my boat out onto the water, gusts blowing fiercely over the surface. Hop in, pull the tiller and off. Sailing across the murky pool, the Welsh Harp is my playground. To the west, looming large, the growing sight of the new Wembley Stadium. A hulking arch, piercing the skyline, a reminder that nothing can truly last.

EIGHT

The A5, much maligned, is in fact, if you look closely, a beautiful reminder of the value of connection. Marble Arch to Holyhead.

Never forget your brothers, for though they may be far, they are easy to reach.

Just take a right out of Loveridge Road, head up Shoot-Up Hill, out of breath on your bicycle, down the hill and keep on going. Nod to The Crown in County Cricklewood. Nod to the now demolished Brent Tavern, who’s ghostly green facade still lingers if you squint. Take your life into your hands on the Staples Corner Flyover. Keep going for long enough and you’ll arrive at the Irish Sea.

Never forget your brothers, for though they may be far, they are easy to reach.

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