On this dull and humid morning I had intended to follow Jackie’s suggestion that I take a bus somewhere and walk around there. As I reached Morden bus station, a few drops of rain suggested I should pay attention to the weather forecast, and stay closer to home. I therefore backtracked and made a tour of the derelict school sportsground and Morden Park. I had received an e-mail from Mike Kindred telling me it was even hotter in the village I had just left.
As often, before 10 a.m. when they open, there was a queue outside Merton Citizen’s Advice Bureau. These offices, now found all over London, are charities where people in need may obtain information, and at certain dedicated times, free legal advice. Relying on various sources of funding, their opening hours are restricted. This put me in mind of Charles and Betty Wegg-Prosser. By the time I joined the Beauchamp Lodge Settlement Committee in 1974, Charles was no longer actively involved, although Betty was in the chair, where she remained for some years until I took over the position. She was still a lively and influential member. Settlements are charitable community organisations which either run or house activities, such as Adult Literacy schemes and various projects for young, disabled, or elderly people. There are also facilities for minority groups, often accommodating them until they are established enough to obtain their own premises. As a leading Labour Lawyer, Charles had founded the Paddington Citizen’s Advice Bureau. This was a couple who gave a great deal to the poor and underpriveleged of Paddington.
Passing the concrete slabs, on which I sometimes sit and read in the sunshine, at the opening to the former ILEA sportsground, I noticed three vans parked on the grass. A gang of men were laying something out beside them. Naturally I wandered over to investigate. They were in the process of erecting a marquee which was to house the expected overflow from the mosque which would be celebrating Eid at the weekend. Eid celebrates the end of Ramadin. It is an end to fasting. Although the mosque itself, a tour of which I described on 18th. May, has a great deal of accommodation, it was not expected to cope with the many thousands of people who would be converging on this small suburb at the weekend. Perhaps in preparation for this, the meadows were being mown by two enormous vehicles. This was much more sophisticated machinery than the scythe with which I had romantically cut down our orchard meadow in Lindum House every autumn, taking care not to slaughter that year’s young frogs which frantically leapt out of my way. For a different reason, I also carefully avoided disturbing bees’ nests when I applied the mower to it.
The windows and doors to the derelict building, posted on 29th. June, have now been cemented over, but someone has determinedly broken into two of them and placed an access board against one. The inside is still a complete shambles. The unofficial car parking area has had Flytipping (see 2nd. July) notices attached.
On a wooded footpath I came across a squirrel burying his nuts. When he had no trouble scampering away, I was reminded of the hoary old jocular definition of a macho man, being one who runs home from his vasectomy. The owner of an interested Alsatian made his dog sit down and watch me walk by. I thanked him. When I arrived back at Links Avenue, the rain was falling in earnest. Probably on Ernest as well, since he was going shopping.
Our repast this evening was a varied salad accompaned by Wickham Celebration rose, 2010