Amelia and I are having a much easier day today. I am beginning to distinguish between cries of hunger, wind and boredom. Getting it right most, if not all, of the time has made for a happier time for the two of us. I even managed to get some reading done during her morning nap and that was the inspiration for our afternoon stroll.
I am reading a pre-publication copy of a collection of short stories by Gerard Donovan for review. The stories are all set in Ireland, so Millie and I thought it would be a good idea to take a walk around Kilburn, the Irish heart of London. At least, when I visited friends there 30 years ago, it could be identified as an Irish district. There are still Irish names on some of the pubs and cafes and I could recognise some Irish features among the elderly men sitting on roadside seats outside a bookmaker's, cigarette in one hand and newspaper showing today's racing fixtures in the other.
I looked at the shops and was delighted to see a newsagent's stand displaying copies of the Clare Champion, the Connacht Tribune, the Limerick Leader, Kerryman, Meath Chronicle, Wicklow Today, Mayo News, Sligo Champion and several others. I was relieved to see that there must still be a significant number of Irish people around. However the next newstand was full of Polish papers and the one after that, papers in what looked to me like Arabic script.
Kilburn High Road is now a cosmopolitan area, with colourful stalls full of fruit and vegetables for every cuisine from West Indies, Africa, India, Pakistan, Europe and the Middle East. I saw more women wearing hijabs than western dress and I felt oddly out of place pushing Millie's stroller, wearing t-shirt and casual trousers, while all the other grandmothers and mothers were covered from head to toe.
I really should get out and about more. Living in North Devon, we are cut off from what is happening in UK cities. Perhaps that is why the summer visitors find us all so quaint and old-fashioned!.