Out of the Muffin Zone


Surrey is leafy. Every few weeks I think I’ll go out for a walk in all this “leafy” that I’m paying for on a par with Westminster and possibly Kensington. So yesterday I set off, the sun shining through the canopy of trees fringing a back road. Research has shown that Surrey gets 10% more sun than the national average.

But it comes off the rates.

I sat in the middle of a well-tended common with a feta cheese and beetroot salad that I’d picked up on special offer in Waitrose. It looked like this.


It was all going to go seriously North by Northwest.

I’d forgotten to keep to my allocated district. I had strayed into District Two under the mistaken impression the countryside was free for all. Surrey was about to show me what happens to people who stray out of their social demographic. It was, like, a re-run of The Prisoner, which is probably before your time so you’ll have to trust me on the synchronicity here.

Up in the high-saturation, blue sky a helicopter holding position the other side of the common moved my way and spent the next ten minutes doing circuits, getting lower and closer. Yes, I took it personally because there wasn’t another sodding person in sight and they were TOO LOW. Eventually, they moved away. I thought it was because I gave them the finger, because everyone knows you can see that from a thousand metres up in the air but it was because someone, somewhere in Surrey, had authorised Stage Two.

A council grass mower the size of the Death Star moved from a circuit of a neighbouring tree in my direction. I collected my stuff up and went to the tree he’d already done. As he came close I realised what was happening, he had orders to clear any social debris lower than banker or Chelsea footballer from cluttering up the landscape. He came close, but I was framing the shot or perhaps he didn’t want to untangle my sliced and diced body parts from the mechanism.

Then, in a 250-yard walk across a field, the entire Surrey demographic came out, primed like extras from The Truman Show. Two women with four dogs. The dogs were confused, their olfactory centres registered a District Nine female but they didn’t have the training to deal with it. A collection of Surrey people. If four well-meaning labradors didn’t know how to deal with me, they were well out of their depth. A male jogger who I could’ve creamed, if I had to, in six seconds. And the cyclist. Yes, you had the mountain bike (for a path across a field in Surrey? Please) and the gear but I could’ve taken you.

And the dogs, and the jogger and the Surrey extras.

But hey, you know what? You’ll all be holidaying in your second home in a couple of weeks. I’ll be back.




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