Noticing what’s there.
I was thinking about how driving everywhere can de-personalise living somewhere.
The prompt for this line of thought was walking around in central Caversham during a weekday, including along alleys, and seeing hardly anyone.
Of course, you can both drive miles regularly but still walk in your local area. But it seems many people barely walk anywhere – whether through choice, necessity, life-style or any other reason. That all might be understandable, but I fear that with not walking comes the danger of de-personalisation. And I suspect that can result in caring less about where you live.
Putting that aside, I was also wondering about what I think of when I think of alleys. What does an alley come with? My off-the-cuff guess list is: pedestrians, push chairs, pooches and pedal cycles.
And there will be fly-tipping and graffiti, though in my experience not as much as I suspect is generally imagined. And there will be whatever else comes with people, especially people when they’re out of sight (!), but let’s not ponder that.
As a final thought, ‘Gasoline Alley’ might come to mind if you want a soundtrack. Perhaps you’ll think of Rod Stewart singing it, but Elkie Brooks also does a cracking version.
(She’s one of the wrongly little-known great blues singers. I saw her once, at Reading Festival on the fourth day. A bit like Brooks, the fourth day isn’t commonly known about. It was held in the back-stage area, primarily aimed at locals. I think it only happened twice.)
As well as the photo below, there’s a small gallery of alley images on Caversham’s sister site, RG4.