A River of Stones, Day Twenty-Five: Discovery

I assumed the eighteenth century house was the venue for the talk about its chequered history, but when I checked the details, I saw it was in a library I have never visited in an area I know only slightly. It wasn’t that far away from home, but an awkward journey by public transport, and too many busy main roads during rush hour for me to feel happy about the bike. I decided to walk. A slight tussle with Not Cat who thought he should be allowed out made me slightly late, so I set off at a good pace, practising the new techniques I am learning.
The first part of the walk was familiar territory, but when I turned off the main road into a street I have driven down but never walked before, I found an unsuspected neighbourhood of gracious houses either side of a generous street. The lights were on in most, but few had drawn their curtains. The rooms looked comfortable, there were high ceilings and works of art. There was a pub on the corner, and musicians were tuning mandolins and fiddles around a table inside. Early Victorian gave way to the details the later Victorians loved to include in brickwork above doors and windows. There were almshouses on one side of the road next to a park, locked against the dark. Another main road, and after some bleak, surely soon to be demolished buildings, there were cosy bars and restaurants, their names telling me of a local Portuguese community.
The flyer had advertised refreshments with the talk, and I anticipated cups of tea, which I don’t drink, plus a plate of biscuits. What delight then when I arrived at the threatened Victorian library to find wine, red and white! and nibbles. I walked home the same route. The next time, I’m going to do it in daylight.