I have never thought too much about Kidlington. It has been my home for nearly 19 years now and yet I have always seen it as a stopping place. A place where I would sleep and yet not stay, instead catching the number 2 bus into town at the first chance I could get.
And yet lockdown firmly rooted me back here.
No teenager wants to be stuck in their quiet village where their friends are flung across the country, exotic places like Hull and Wallingford. I spent the first few weeks of lockdown sitting in my room, consuming a ridiculous amount of Netflix and Pringles. There seemed no point in leaving.
Like most other people, I got the itch to go somewhere as the first month of lockdown passed me by. I was tired of the walls of my room, tired of wishing I was somewhere else, and tired of feeling so trapped.
To me, Kidlington has always consisted of bungalows and charity shops, red-brick houses and the occasional church. Lockdown has shown me otherwise.
The canal path is close to my house, and yet I have barely been there in my teenage years. Blessed with the sunshine and warmth, I found myself walking down it more and more as the days passed. There is a quiet sort of beauty in watching the houseboats bob in the water, the sun glinting through the overgrown trees on the side of the path. A small walkway into a place where summer feels eternal.
These walks around the village became longer and longer, leading me to the fields past St. Mary’s church and into a place I had never been before. With the sun as my only witness I spent hours walking along the tall grass and trees, occasionally spotting another person but feeling very much as though I had been transported to somewhere else. Somewhere where grass stretched out for as far as the eye could see, where the air was full of the sounds of birds and other animals.
It amazed me that I could walk through these fields and come out the other side to find a dual carriageway.
Lockdown has shown me that there is more to explore in this village than I had thought. That its charm is not only from the people that live here but also from the understated nature of its beauty. The small pockets of tranquility yet to be discovered.
To the naked eye it may not seem like a place of excitement or any special merit, but lockdown has uncovered the value of this village to me. My home. A place now to stop and appreciate.