This weird thought came to me a couple of Sundays ago while watching New Victoria on ITV. Victoria, and a chap (could have been Lord Melbourne) were strolling through a park. I commented at the time that people in Victorian times seemed to walk very slowly. They were walking really slowly.
Fast forward a week and I am now in Munich, walking through the English Gardens. We had been walking at a good pace through the city of Munich, until we entered the English Gardens, and then we slowed down. This was an unconscious change (until I noticed it, that is). I questioned this. What had made us slow down? Then I remembered that scene in New Victoria. It wasn’t the era that made people walk slow, or the blood type (blue), but the environment. We had slowed down to a stroll, because we’d entered a well-manicured and relaxing garden.
I then thought back to my last trip to New York. New York is a city where strolling is not only frowned upon, it is trampled upon. The citizens of New York speed walk. They almost run. They have this amazing ability to run while walking. They speed past each other, never colliding, with their phones to their ears and coffee in their hands. Even preoccupied in two other activities (talking and drinking coffee), New Yorkers walk faster than me.
Two days later I was back in Shrewsbury and cycling with my children to school and I came across another slow-walking environment – Going To School. Parents and their children walk incredibly slowly to school. Even when my children and I walk to school, we don’t generally walk slowly (but that might have more to do timing than purpose).
So then I decided to create a list of places where people walk fast and people walk slowly, starting with the fastest (New York) to the slowest (Victorian park):
- New York
- Any airport
- Any train station
- Anywhere except the above, in the rain (although not much rain in an airport)
- UK town centre
- European city that is not London or Scandinavia
- Route to a primary school
- Route to an infant school
- Route to a secondary school (unless late)
- Route to a nursery
- Park in the 21st century
- Park in the 19th century
That’s it. I’m quite pleased with this particular Weird Thought. But wouldn’t it be fun to speed walk through the park and stroll through London during rush hour? Tempting.