Having just passed through London Minstead this morning on the way to Southampton for my usual journey to Waterloo, we learned the true meaning of New Forest animals having no road sense, and a contributory factor to so many fatalities.
Fortunately Jackie, as usual, was driving slowly down this winding lane. In a flash, almost alongside the car, two ponies burst through the wayside gorse, scrambled awkwardly up a ditch, and staggered forward. As my driver, crying the warning, ‘No, no’, made an emergency stop, one of these creatures swerved and continued along the side of the vehicle. The other, practically touching the bonnet, without a sideways glance, tottered across the road in front of us. Anyone travelling a bit faster and not anticipating the reckless progress of the animal would most certainly have hit it.
This incident put me in mind of Gerhard, known as Garry, a temporary colleague in Mobil Shipping Company where I worked in a building appropriately named The Pill Box from 1963 -1966. Linking the central island on which this stood with the rear entrance of Waterloo Station was a zebra crossing. From my office window I once watched this high flying international management trainee, without warning, march across this pedestrian access bringing an approaching vehicle to a skidding halt. When I suggested to him that this might not be the most sensible way to use the crossing and that he might end up in the nearby St Thomas’s hospital, he replied: ‘Well, it would be his fault’. There wasn’t really any answer to that.
From Waterloo I took the same tube journey as last time to Preston Road, where the underground trains get to come up for air. From there I walked to Norman’s new home. This took me through the John Billam Sports Ground, which could have graced many a London suburb of its period.
One corner contains well-tended allotments which bore evidence of recent rotavation. A solitary jogger ran several laps of the perimeter, and I had a pleasant conversation with a young man who was honing his football skills in what I took to be a five-a-side enclosure. This was Yaw. It was good to meet him and shake his hand. He seemed to have tireless energy, but perhaps he appreciated the brief interlude my interruption had afforded him.
Norman fed us on shoulder of pork with flavoursome savoury rice, kale, and green beans, followed by blackberry and apple latticed flan. We shared a bottle of 2010 Chianti riserva.
I then travelled by Metropolitan, Jubilee, and Victoria lines to Victoria for a visit to Carol.
As I slid my left palm along a metal handrail in Victoria station my fingers momentarily adhered to a glutinous gobbet of gum on its underside.
After my normal journey back to Southampton Jackie met me and drove me home.
In case anyone, having read my last two posts, is wondering, I am still waiting for Penyards’ manager to ‘get back to me’.