New job. New town. New colleagues. New commute.
Less time to write. More time to worry.
It’s a sunny week in early June, when Epsom hosts the Derby. The biggest event in the flat-racing calendar. The original article, the horse race founded by Lord Derby, after which so many imitations are named, all around the globe.
A few weeks have passed, and it may be summer at last, but here in Epsom a new and unfamiliar mould is pressing all around me. The sun is high outside, and today I need to escape the stuffy office, the grim shopping mall and the choking traffic, and to remind myself of who I am. Just for an hour, I need to run.
On this day, of all days, I turn my back on the ladies in posh hats and the dusty punters with their champagne-soaked shoes and shredded betting tickets. I head out of Epsom the other way.
And unexpectedly, I find that secret space. That place of natural beauty and freedom which I crave to find.Just a mile from the town centre, I pass a pond and pub beside a village green and trudge up along twisting paths towards Ashtead Common.
And here, I find lush grass to tread amidst ancient trees. I look out from darkest woodland onto ripening cornfields under open skies.
I run happily for half an hour in looping backtracks and then, around the corner of a clearing, a deer darts into the forest right in front of me.
I feel flush and flustered, and the office air stands tense and still and unforgiving in the early summer heat. I ponder that there’s no commendation, surely, for any newly-hired explorer who can’t find a mid-sized suburban town in broad daylight, and from point blank range.
But it doesn’t matter. Because now I know. Just a mile from where I sit in darkest suburbia, lies a hidden place where blue skies stretch forth untroubled above a canopy of deepest summer green.
New job. New town. New place to run.
Here, not twenty miles from Tower Bridge, I’ve discovered my secret space. And more than that, I’ve found a home.