Bumpkin here popped into Manchester at the weekend. It’s something I never do, and it wasn’t long before my bucolic senses were swamped by the urban swell. I drifted from street to street, intentionally lost, gazing up at towering edifices floating through the clouds. I imagined swapping the rural romanticism of dodgy drains and mite-infested hens for a trendy eyrie of glass and polished steel. How exciting to replace the prowling foxes and screeching owls with marauding humans whooping and shrieking through the night: one wilderness in exchange for another. But then I found myself an unwitting element in an altercation between stoned teenagers. It exposed me for what I was: a gullible tourist blundering around in an alien environment.
I retreated home to the owls and foxes. The savagery here is familiar: it feels safer. It will be some time, I think, before I feel another urge to go on safari.