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On Hackney Downs, the grass is being worn down. It started towards the end of the first week; new tracks appearing on the field inside the concrete path. Elsewhere the ground has started to be flattened in even less obvious places: right over by the tennis courts, and by the wall with the murals on it, feet reaching the edges where no one used to go.

It's 6:30pm when I get there, rush hour, and people run while an overground train skirts one side of the park, shutting empty carriages east and west. At the entrance, two friends in leggings and trainers stand on separate sides of the road and wave, mock-hugging empty space.

This is the closest patch of green to my flat - it's here, Clissold Park, or London Fields - but Hackney Downs has always been the quieter place. So every evening I shut my laptop and leave my flat and join everyone else: walking alone, keeping to myself, headphones on, looking around and into the distance, trying to take the last bit of daylight in. 

And each evening the sun sets while I'm there and through the gap in the trees Canary Wharf's skyscrapers gleam against a pinkish sky; their red aircraft warning lights alerting nothing and no one, just blinking away on top of One Canada Square.

After a day inside, this is when my eyes get a break from only looking at what's in front of me. Isolation is a tricky, confronting bastard: no one mentioned how long you'd spend staring your life choices in the face. 

Three weeks ago one of my new housemates moved in (pro tip: if you have to live with a stranger during lockdown, opt for a pastry chef) - but to be honest it's still lonely, having someone I don't know that well yet in the flat. On the first Saturday night in, a screen - divided neatly into eight - showed me a live feed of my friends faces, and all of them had someone next to them except for me.

But now seems a good time to remind myself that at the moment, everyone's in the same position, stuck, probably thinking too much, contemplating whatever they chose. And if that thing you chose was to do something different and make new tracks, you've got to separate off, just flattening the ground at first, until eventually a new path shows. 
Read more thoughts from London here.

Three things I think you might like.

1. Read about one of London's most notorious tests. I could read every article on this topic and still be completely fascinated by how they do it.
3. Go to your wardrobe, put something nice on, then walk into your living room and sit down and pretend you've just paid £7 for that glass of wine in the West End before watching this.


I've made a spreadsheet called 'things to do while you're stuck at home.' It might come in useful. Also, for some reason I've had a load of new subscribers sign up recently while I've been doing...nothing to promote my newsletter whatsoever. So, welcome. Feel free to reply and say hello and let me know how you found me. 

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