Yesterday morning I finished W. Somerset Maugham’s novel ‘Catalina’. Maugham is an excellent story-teller and this literally miraculous tale involving the machinations of a scheming prioress made very good light reading, perhaps especially because the characterisation lacked complexity. There was a cameo appearance by Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
This morning I walked through Morden Hall Park, along the Wandle Trail, and across Colliers Wood High Street to the Wandle Bank Water Meadow which I explored before retracing my steps. On the outward journey there was a familiar after the storm sense all around. Slugs and snails were in evidence. This had me reflecting that thrushes are a seriously endangered species. I am told that slug pellets have killed off these birds because their source of food is poisoned. In Newark we enjoyed an acre of pellet-free garden. So did the thrushes. We had no slugs or snails, except those whose shells we could hear the thrushes bashing on the stone paths. I saw no snails on the way back, perhaps because the sun had given up its unequal struggle with the clouds lowering overhead, or maybe because thrushes are alive and well in Morden.
Brambles and nettles were burgeoning and often difficult to avoid along the Wandle Trail, especially when slaloming around the puddles on the footpath. Along the Merton Abbey Mills stretch I had plenty of cause to be grateful for the work of Payback (see post of 24th. May). I noticed a few fallen trees, at least two of which now made primitive bridges across the river. Fishermen were stationed at intervals, particularly where the water was fast-flowing, as at Abbey Mills.
The Water Meadow had of course not been mown since the sweet smell which had alerted me to its presence as described in my post of 23rd. May. The Wandle itself runs alongside the small park which contains a serpentine stream, perhaps a tributary, currently choked with fallen cow parsley. As I was passing a group of dog walkers exchanging the usual tales of their pets, whilst the said pets were play-fighting, one of the animals which looked just like a wolf detatched itself from the others and, wet-nosing my hand attempted to frolic with me. ‘Leave it’ said it’s seemingly Korean woman owner. ‘Leave it!’. With what I hoped was a humorous expression, pointing at myself, I said: ‘I like the it in leave it.’ I’m not completely sure she got the joke.
In the late afternoon we collected Becky from hospital and drove her home. She is very well. As you approach the estate on which she lives there are frequent ‘sleeping policemen’, being humps in the road designed to force speed reduction. Jackie seemed to be leading a convoy of extremely patient cars who had to follow her driving very slowly out of consideration for Becky’s comfort. I don’t know about Becky but I certainly appreciated riding over the bumps more gently than usual.
After a takeaway curry from Deshi Spice in Mitcham Road and a bit of tidying up we left Becky and Flo to their own devices. Becky’s repast was tinned tomato soup.