British Summer Time: Sunrise Walk 7
(26 October 2019)

From Saigon to Cork, with St. Ives, Northampton, and Bournville in between.

In Saigon, Patrick and Nina watched the evening bats shift to morning swallows, each taking advantage of the food supply above the local river. The city was quieter, less humid, with fewer people. Refreshing.

In England it was wet.

Sally and Chris walked ‘into the refreshing wind and light spray of rain’ in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire. Sally has been working on her own simultaneous artistic walking practice, something we will no doubt discuss in Plmyouth at the Walking’s New Movement conference.

In Northampton, the winter gulls danced on the Racecourse, reminding me to stop and look around, rather than just walk continuously. Walking in the drizzle, I imagined Patrick’s sunrise walk in Saigon, where the morning light wasn’t obscured by a consistent cloud cover. 

For Rosemary, Sally’s sister in Bournville, it was too wet to even take photographs. She and her dog Ritz, ‘wrapped warmly in waterproofs’, set out in the peaceful rain ‘to join other walkers in unknown places’. The sky was ‘heavy, dark grey with a hint of mauve’ and the sound of the rain peaceful. As she walked the birdless landscape lightened, trees ‘still black against this backdrop’. Ritz periodically stopped for a sniff; Rosemary looked east. Along with the rising sun, nature awakened: seven minutes past sunrise ‘a swarm of seagulls circle screaming overhead followed by a charm of magpies then quacking ducks appear as if from nowhere.’

In Cork, Maggie headed into the city along the River Lee, gulls and cormorants dotting the landscape. Her walk began and ended at Lover’s Walk. Once Leper’s Walk, the lane was long ago rebranded to commemorate Irish republican Robert Emmet and his fiance Sarah, who supposedly walked the lane prior to the British executing him for for treason.

From Saigon to Cork, swallows to gulls to cormorants, I am reminded that the sun and the birds have no borders. Though when they compete for our fish, all bets are off.