Monday, 2 April 2012

Bedford Gurdwara and River - A Short Circular Palm Sunday Stroll

In which we take a short post-Sunday lunch stroll around Bedford Gurdwara, and I get all annoyed at people who think it's their right to shout at other people in the street.

Map: None used
Time: 30 mins
Distance: Not very long... half a mile?

Rating: Super Easy Walk. I didn't even have to change my shoes.

This walk was only a short one, and doesn't require special shoes., but it does fill the important gap on a sunny Sunday afternoon in between having lunch and it being time to justifiably go and get an icecream.

We started our walk at Bedford's Guru Nanak Gurdwara and headed along the path to its left towards the river. The Gurdwara is worth a look in itself - it's a fabulous white meringue of a building diagonally opposite a mosque; in fact, the whole of Bedford appears to fold its arms, raise an eyebrow and say "So, that whole thing about multiculturalism not working, eh? Explain that to me again?". Which is nice, really, because while me and my friends were wandering round feeding ducks, going to the park and then hunting down Kulfi icecream and sating my ever-keen lust for gulab jamun, another friend who is half Chinese-Malaysian elsewhere in the country was having vile children shout ethicity-related insults at her and her children while the father of these little delights watched on.

"Do people still do that?" announced my husband when I told him what had happened. Sadly, indeed so. Again, this was a man who late at night in Euston station asked me why I wasn't eating the crisps we'd just bought, and I had to tell him that he'd never been a woman over a size 14 seen eating anything as the pubs chuck out. The less gentlemanly members of society can be quite vocal if they see you doing that. So sadly, yes, people do shout at others in the street. It's shit.

Bedford river. Not enough ducks.
Anyway, walking. Head past the Gurdwara and continue towards the river. The view was only slightly marred by a group of drunks appearing from under the trees and throwing their cans on the grass. Once at the river, we glared balefully at the river for having a lack of ducks to feed, but it is very pretty nonetheless.

Turn right along the path by the river towards a number of really beautiful willows, much enjoyed by small children for running in and out of. As you continue along this path, you get further views of the Gurdwara.

I'm about to sound really middle class here, but it's the lack of manners that gets me. Who do these people are who think its fine to yell abuse at others? Well, sadly my friend found the answers for me this weekend - they're the ones who have been doing it since they were kids and their parents don't correct them. If in years to come I had found my son shouting anything at anyone in the street I would have some serious words to say to him about my disappointment in his behaviour.

As we continued along the river and did find some ducks to feed, and the view was very pretty.

A few years ago, while waiting to have a meeting with a couple of female students, another male student from another department made a leery. lairy comment at my girls as he passed. I gave him my opinion on this subject and later emailed his tutor reinforce the message about the lack of appropriacy of this behaviour in a learning environment. In the classroom with my students, I apologised on his behalf and reiterated how this was completely inappropriate, and they pretty much shrugged and said "It wasn't all that bad."

It was their acceptance that upset me; this was their life. Having total strangers make smutty comments was normal for them; it was a minor annoyance, like making tea to discover you've run out of milk.

Not long down this route, the path moves slightly away from the river, and a path leads off the the right, doubling back on the route you've taken. Follow this path under the willows, and then take the left hand fork leading you to the path you first came to. Turn left and return to the Gurdwara.

Things I Learnt

  • Bedford is the place to go to source a number of delicious sub-Indian continent related sweeties. This a good thing. They are also highly calorific in their deliciousness, and therefore must be saved for special occasions!
  • Where are all the ducks when you want to feed them?
  • Just don't shout at people in the street. It doesn't make anyone happy. Go home and have a cup of tea instead.

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