Introducing our new columnist, comedian and podcaster Dan McKeon, who’ll be giving us a view of his hometown through a light-hearted lens…
A great chunk of my life has been spent in Twickenham. For almost twenty-four consecutive years, I have lived through a consistently changing opinion of the place: from a strange road map starting with my primary school and the local park, to becoming more adventurous in finding its backroads and secret spots; then writing it off in teen-rebellion, returning to feeling trapped in lockdown and now finally seeing it for the home it’s been for me. Through all of those definitions, the riverside walk has always been a gorgeous escapist pleasure.
As you make your way towards the river, the grey vanishes little by little as you near Eel Pie Island. The pavement changes to cobbled streets and greenery begins to creep into your eye line. Glimpses of Eel Pie Island’s colourful and strewn horizon take you down the wet brick tunnel snaking by York House Gardens. Passing The Swan pub, I’d always love to see if the Thames’ broken banks had crept up to their Georgian garden seating. It’s always so dreamy and idyllic. When you begin to reach Radnor Gardens, the trees gloss over the sky as you make your way past other walkers.
In a year when walking became the only means of freedom for most of us, this stretch down towards Richmond was a treasured and humble luxury. Whether sun-drenched or just drenched, I’d never tire of hearing the soft ripples of the river. My mind would open up and I’d have a space of my own, even when surrounded by others on their daily exercise route.
When all parts of life were kept stationary, this pastoral portal was a much-needed source of renewal and a lesson in the benefits of routine. It’s nothing majorly life affirming but I can’t overestimate how much it helped being completely out of myself, even for just a few moments.
So get down to the riverside if you can. It’s definitely not too far.
Daniel McKeon is a comedian and podcaster, featured on the BBC New Comedy Show on BBC Radio Norfolk and BBC Radio Suffolk. You can listen to him on his podcast That’s Rich! and on Journify’s Anyway, What Else? which he also wrote and produced.