Yesterday I decided to walk from Stamford Hill to Stoke Newington via the residential backroads. My plan had been to go to Abney Park Cemetery (which turned out to be very muddy and full of warnings of wasp nests in the vicinity) and Clissold Park (which turned out to be very full of screaming toddlers and toy dogs). For some reason the sun had already faded by the time I actually walked down to Stoke Newington, so it seemed all grey and almost all of the shops were still shut for Christmas. Our friends were out of town, and the only people still on the street seemed to be people packing up their bags and foldable chairs into their cars after visiting the family, or people alighting from the buses with their crazy boxing day shopping bags from town. The streets were conspicuously empty. However, it was not entirely devoid of life. When I walked past the Stoke Newington Town Hall, I discovered that over the christmas holiday its entire front lawn had been quietly taken over by hundreds of little brown mushrooms, crawling out of a mound of hard black soil, and clustering right in front of the Town Hall sign.