The Grinch

Electricians installing street lamps

As we set off this morning for Jackie to drive me to New Milton, and back this afternoon, for my lunch date with Carol, the sunlight on the house at the corner of Hordle Lane attracted my attention. It was then I noticed the electricians installing street lamps on an existing pole.

The attractive early light was short-lived. In London the skies were overcast, and at home there was much rain.

My up journey to Waterloo proved to be interesting. Perhaps because it is Friday, the only seat I was able to find was occupied by a pile of bags and coats. It was one of two groups of four flanking the gangway. Pointing out that there were no other available seats I politely asked for this one to be vacated. It was. With no problem.

Thus I became surrounded by a party of one man and six women out for a day in London. Naturally there was much conversation which did not detract too much from my reading. It was when sandwiches were dished out that I began to feel I was decidedly in the way. One of the women diagonally opposite handed them out. Without a word to me, the gentleman to my left stretched out his arm across the front of me. Swallowing my discomfort, I said nothing. The second time I refrained, but knew one more occasion would warrant a word.

There was a third passage of packaged sandwich. I pointed out to the man that I had been very polite when I had asked for the heap on the seat to be removed and would appreciate it if I were accorded a certain amount of courtesy when stretching across me. A somewhat surprised exchange followed.220px-How_the_Grinch_Stole_Christmas_cover I said I did not wish to spoil their party, but would appreciate their registering that I was actually there.

There followed a long silence, during which the gentleman read his Daily Mail, taking great care to keep his elbow way from me. Feeling very Grinch-like, I said I would try to find a seat elsewhere, but my fellow passengers urged me to stay.

The thaw continued. Conversation resumed, and, having been offered a sandwich, I was even included. We parted at the terminal station with good wishes all round. I was not asked to carve the turkey, but I felt as if I had gone through the whole gamut of Dr Seuss’s story, since filmed, about his famous curmudgeon.

In ‘Farewell To Westminster‘ I mentioned how the Victorian town hall in which I had worked, had, except for its facade, been demolished for a different use. Many such buildings erected in a more optimistic era for permanent purposes, have met similar fates. Wimbledon’s 1930s Town Hall, gutted to make way for supermarket shelves, is now a Tesco’s.

Alongside Waterloo Station, in Waterloo Road, the London County Council Fire Brigade Station of 2010 has undergone a similar transformation. Where once firefighters had slid out of bed and down their pole, leaped into their engines, and sped out into the busy road to attend to flaming buildings, a gastropub named The Fire Station now serves food, such as wood-fired pizzas and thirst- quenching liquid refreshment.

Fire station 1Fire Station 2

In the first of these two photographs the cyclists could possibly arrive at Euston before the bus bound for that other London Terminal station. The TO LET board advertises refurbished characterful offices.

Crane at work 1Crane at work 2

The crane is working on a large corner development.


Whilst taking the second of these pictures, from The Cut, I wondered what the painter L.S.Lowry would have made of the scene.

1930 Coming from the Mill (smaller size)

‘Coming from the Mill’ is just one of his famous works portraying unconnected pedestrians.

Carol and I enjoyed our meal and each other’s company at Tas, where we received our usual warm welcome and attentive service.


  1. The incident you mention was funny although I am assuming it must not have been very funny to live on the spot there. The reference to the grinch made me smile. It was one of the favourite movies of my youngest son.

  2. Not for the first time in reading your posts Derrick I have admired your ability to make your point in a calm and polite manner and win over the folk who display social ignorance. I am busy noting these lessons and one day may master the art of civil grinchness. 🙂

  3. Comparing your photo to the Lowry painting, I was struck by the similarities but especially by the difference in human posture….everyone seems bent, in the painting. I thought maybe they were walking into the wind, but that probably isn’t so, because all are in this posture, no matter what direction they travel….fun to ponder. And I am glad you were able to part with your fellow travelers without rancor. Did you accept the offer of a sandwich, and eat it?

  4. It certainly wouldn’t have killed them to say, “Excuse me” before passing the sandwiches. Their mamas didn’t teach them very well 😉

  5. Before reading your description under the Lowry painting, I thought I was looking at ice skaters. It looks like the people in the background are gliding on white ice, while the few in the foreground are just standing still. (Good thing I don’t see any balls.) 🙂

  6. I have decided to rename your blog “Everyday and Quite Lively Adventures with Derrick.” I may rename it again as it seems to make its own genre as it goes! 🙂 I enjoyed the trip as well as your assertive interaction. Glad it ended up well.

  7. I can imagine that exchange you had with the ill mannered group. Lol. I can almost hear your calm but firm British intonations. I’m quite impressed to hear that you are not a “yes man” and can be quite the badass! I cannot be more thrilled right now to be one of your readers, daring Derrick. Haha!! ???

  8. I, too, admire your calmness in that situation. The last two photos are telling stories. Thank you for sharing, Derrick.

  9. It is awkward yo insert an opinion into a group. I dislike saying anything but mentioning that reaching across me warrants an “excuse me” would possibly also been greeted with silence. I would have said domethung. I was tense, waiting for the air to clear in your story. So glad they eventually realized uou are a nice gentleman who deserves to be included.
    The huge brick building being gutted seems lovely and glad historic places not torn down. The L.S. Lowry painting f I es seem to carry a similar feeling or aura, as the area pictured in your own post!

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