Day 16 of 80 — Deer

Around London in 80 days

In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.

And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.

Day 16 : Deer

London has a lot of green space ; in fact, it is said that 47% of London is green, if you add up all the parks and gardens public and private.

So when I first started looking for a room, I looked at the London map, searching for the biggest green patches. That is how I ended up living in Roehampton, right next to Richmond Park.

I arrived there straight from Belgium on May 24th, 2017. I left my suitcase in my room, unopened still, and immediately hopped on my bike to have a closer look at this park.

It was everything I had hoped for, and more. So much more ! Big and beautiful, enticing really. And the deer…

I had been told there were free-roaming deer in that park, but didn’t expect to be easy to find. Certainly did not expect them to be standing in a large pack just by the gate, as if to welcome me on my first visit. I cycled around until dusk, then went home, still in awe.

Over the next couple of years, that first room became home, and the park my garden ; I was there as often as I could, discovering new secret areas, flowers here, hills there, wild grass and neat areas. In the middle, a body of water that seemed stunning at any time of the day, in any weather. And of course, the deer were always there, looking out for me as I made my first steps in London.

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