It is getting late. The sun is setting, taking its majestic rays with it, there is a cool breeze in the air as I step out of my car and I take a moment to breathe in the sunset and digest its beauty.
I am late walking my dog, normally we walk in the late afternoon, without shadows for company, but today I am late. We start up the path through the centre of the park, Muttley’s snout down in the grass snuffling through the rich and abundant doggie smells that only he and his canine friends enjoy so much. Usually I love this walk as it is punctuated with bird song from the trees that line the park on either side. But tonight I hear no birds just the thrumming of a bass, turned up too high, creating the beat to some rap type music pouring from the open doors of a youths car.
I am at the epicentre of the park now and to my left is the rap vehicle with 8 or 9 teenage lads leading on the bonnet or sprawled across the park bench alongside the car. They are all smoking and all wear the same “uniform” of today. To my right is another group of youngsters with their own music system trying to compete, with an alternative style of sound that I am too old to be able to identify. They also lounge around their car, looking across at the rappers with expressions that tell their story.
It is suddenly quite dark and an unwelcome shiver forces its way down my back. I turn to return to the car and decide to take the rappers side of the street, as we approach, the lads are indifferent, smoking their cigarettes and giving Muttley a sideways glance, one holds out his hand and asks “is he OK?”
I smile at the question and reply “he might lick you to death!”
The lads laugh and now Muttley is in the centre of them accepting their fuss as if it his god given right. They are all laughing and joking and there is not one ounce of malice or threat amongst them.
Smiling our goodbyes we leave and I muse to myself “I am so lucky to live here, in Alhaurin de la Torre, Spain.”
I think of the news and the riots in what was my home country, and I think of this morning’s post on Facebook from Gail – “last night I was ashamed to British”. Me too Gail, me too.