I miss unnecessary travel and the beauty of new places | Adrian Chiles | Opinion

Stuck at home, everyone is asking each other what they miss about how things used to be. I miss being able to get around the country. My work takes me to all sorts of random places I would never otherwise have cause to go to. And if work doesn’t deliver, I will just choose somewhere and go. My selection criterion is best illustrated in an exchange I had with a colleague at the BBC in Salford. I was looking for somewhere random to go one free Monday afternoon and was considering Chorley. “I live in Chorley,” said this chap. “What the fuck do you want to go to Chorley for?” Bingo, off to Chorley I went.

I bought a charger from a hardware store and had a chat with the owner. I bought a pie from a bakers and chewed it thoughtfully, beholding an optician’s shopfront advertising Professional Family Eyecare, wondering if the word “professional” was really necessary, implying, as it does, that such a thing as amateur eyecare might exist. I proceeded to a church where I spoke to an old man who told me he spent a few minutes there every day remembering his late wife. There was a park. Our country’s countless urban and suburban parks, be they grand – like Chorley’s Astley Park – or humble, are truly wonderful places. I finished with a cup of tea in a cafe where the owner was being noticeably kind to a chap with learning disabilities.

I have never made a trip like this anywhere and not found a bit of beauty. Being unquestionably an “unnecessary” journey, I won’t be doing anything like it any time soon. I miss it terribly. When my mum is asked why she is going anywhere, she will answer in Croatian: “Tak da mi rit vidi put” – so my arse can see the way. My arse is itching to get moving again.

It emerged this week that a senior colleague at the Guardian, in a lockdown clear-out of his pantry, found no fewer than eight jars of nutmeg. If you take too much nutmeg at one sitting it can be poisonous apparently, so I can’t help with a recipe to use much of it up. I do have something for other spices though. It’s an adaptation of a brilliant attempt at KFC spicing I read somewhere: 100g flour; 2tsp each celery salt, black pepper, paprika, oregano, garlic powder and ground cumin; 1 tsp each salt, cayenne and ground coriander. Omit or add as you please. You’ll not regret coating anything in it

Adrian Chiles is a Guardian columnist



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