Heavy rain was forecast again for today. As a weak sun was putting in an occasional appearance I set off early for lunch with Norman, hoping to get my walk to Colliers Wood in before the deluge. I was lucky. The footpaths through Morden Hall Park and the Wandle Trail, except for dogs, once more required the slalom technique. The animals did create quite a splash, so it was best to steer clear of them. As I paused to contemplate a photograph, two small, punchy looking terriers wearing scary chain collars tore round a bend and cornered me. When their owner came into view she cried: ‘Wayne, leave him alone’. Wayne and his companion both desisted. I quipped that that was more polite than I was accustomed to. ‘People’, I said, ‘usually shout ‘Leave it’ (see post of 18th. June). She replied that she could be horrible. Glancing at her familiars, I thought that maybe she could. Maybe the dogs upset my equilibrium, for the photograph was out of focus. The rain set in as I reached Abbey Mills.
Emerging into the sunshine from Neasden underground station, I was soon aware of the unmelodic blasting of car horns. Turning the bend by Harvest garage on my right, the cause became apparent. There was a vast tailback along Neasden Lane. A 4X4 had left the garage, managed to cross the road, and come to rest on the nose of a sports car on the opposite side. The sporty driver was somewhat disgruntled. As were a host of other motorists. The 4X4 backed up, leaving the centre of the road clear for other cars. Only for those in one direction. Which stream would give way was still open for negotiation. I left the rowdy scene, and further up the road came across a vehicle with its front wheels on the pavement. The crews of two police cars, who had obviously pulled this one over, were taking details from its Eastern European occupants. Just before the roundabout where the Lane joins the High Road, a taxi cab had broken down. The driver spent a long time on his mobile phone, whilst I was sitting reading outside St. Mary’s Church. Eventually a truck from J. Madden garages came to pick it up. The scene was a bit too close to the roundabout for the breakdown man’s liking, but he was cheerful enough. On my return to the station after lunch, traffic was solid on both sides of the road. A police dog car, its sirens wailing, wasn’t making much headway. Not a good day to be driving in this part of London.
The pools on the Neasden Lane pavements, pitted with sunken paving stones, were deeper and wider than those described earlier. This time it was small children who enjoyed splashing about in them. Their parents took their chances with the slow-moving traffic.
Norman provided an excellent meal of boiled bacon followed by rhubarb compote. The wine was Palataia 2011 Pinot Noir, a surprisingly good German red. Danni, please note I don’t need an evening repast after a Norman lunch.
Obediently keeping to the left on the way down the steps on my return to Neasden, I was confronted by a phalanx of women carrying buggies, with a man directly ahead of me, walking up the stairs, deep in a paperback book. I stood patiently facing him until he emerged from his novel and stepped aside.
In the Jubilee Line train, opposite me a man in a navy blue pin-striped suit sat next to a woman wearing a navy blue pin-striped Trilby. He had boarded the train some stations after her. They were therefore not otherwise together. I had already clocked her unusual appearance, including a large, gentleman’s style, watch strapped to the outside of her black sweater sleeve. Joining the man on the Victoria Line interchange platform, I apprised him of the juxtaposition. He was rather amused, especially as he had not noticed. I wondered if the elegant young woman had read George du Maurier’s eponymous novel, ‘Trilby’.