Jackie drove me to New Milton this morning, for me to catch the train to Waterloo and lunch with Norman at Tas.


The platform planter’s pansies sparkled with a sprinkling of early rain on this bright, sunny, day.

The train was packed, with many people standing. I homed in on the one seat unoccupied by a person. It bore a back-pack with a collection of papers on the table in front of it. I asked the man next to it if there was anyone sitting there. ‘No’, he said, got to his feet, removed the offending items, and placed them in the rack above. I ask you.

Shelly and Ron

On leaving the main entrance of Waterloo Station I stood contemplating the remaining tower that is the sole survivor of the Shell complex being replaced by residential apartments, when I felt a gentle pressure on my shoulder and turned to see Shelly and Ron, on their way home from a night in London.

City Tour bus

Watching a City Tour bus approach the circular IMAX cinema, I wondered how long such a ride would take.

Plane tree knit and new building

The construction alongside the Old Fire Station is rising faster than the new Shell complex. Anyone caring to enlarge the image of the passing scaffolders’ lorry will be treated to a certain dubious witticism.  In Emma Cons Gardens, opposite the Old Vic theatre, it appeared that the plane trees were being afforded protection against the recent unseasonal frosts. They bore arboreal versions of Hampshire horses’ rugs.

Plane tree knitsWe Knit WaterlooWe Knit Waterloo - Lower Marsh notice

Closer inspection revealed that their decoration is the inaugural part of a project designed to knit together some of our capital’s shopping streets., in this case Lower Marsh and The Cut.

Waterloo Millennium Green

Across the road in Lower Marsh, once described to me as ‘A Beautiful Setting’ Waterloo Millennium Green was beginning to attract basking visitors.

BT engineers

In The Cut itself, I enjoyed an entertaining conversation with a couple of burrowing BT engineers, who were intrigued to learn of our frequent contact with their country colleagues.

Norman and I enjoyed an excellent meal at Tas. My choice was slices of sirloin steak cooked in a tomato and almond sauce, followed by  a delicately flavoured cold rice pudding. We shared a bottle of the house red wine.

I travelled to Brockenhurst on my return from Waterloo. Jackie met me there and drove Godfrey Smith, who I had met on the train, to his Sway destination on our way home.

Palm Bed 1Palm Bed 2

As I thought she would, Jackie had almost completed the planting of the Palm Bed.

The Road To Little Dribbling

Why is it that writers of book blurbs and their jacket designers will often describe them as hilariously funny  at the expense of any other quality they may have? So it is with those of Bill Bryson, which is probably why I have not read one before ‘The Road To Little Dribbling’ that I finished today.

The book is humorous of course, but it is also a fond bitter-sweet ramble through the author’s adopted land. I haven’t read ‘Notes From a Small Island’, but the Daily Telegraph’s description of that would fit this sequel much more appropriately than those that follow. Our friend Barrie Haynes passed this one on to me because he thought my writing similar. I take that as a compliment.

After my lunch, a slice of pizza was ample sustenance this evening.



  1. I really liked the book, and I have ordered it so that I can have my very own copy. Bryson eloquently articulated what he loves about England. Turns out, that’s why I love England, too.

  2. What a lovely photograph of the pansies. I loved the knitted up tree too 😀 and the palm bed looks really nice. Looking forward to pictures of it as it grows. Be well 🙂

  3. I’m about to start that Bryson book. Enjoyed Notes from a Small Island immensely. A City Bus tour can be as long or as short as you want – you can hop on and off all day and there are various different routes. SSF and I did one a while back which I blogged about. Fun day out!

  4. Now here’s the thing, to quote Bryson, he’s getting a bit too bitter as he ages. Dribbling was ok but not a snitch on Small Island, Big Country, the sublime AWalk in the Woods and Down Under. In the last if there is a better explanation of cricket I don’t know it. And if you do read Small Island the description of why he is ejected from his first B&B after using the toilet had me nearly expiring. Brilliant, but I’d wish he’d mellow not moan. Sorry to have missed you but next time, hey!

          1. I would have liked to make many comments, but I am so time poor at the moment, as you can tell by the block read. But the garden is looking great and I hope you get lots of time in the sun enjoying the fruits of your (mutual) labours.

  5. I haven’t read Bryson lately, but enjoyed his earlier books including the UK ramble. The pansy photo captures their happy-making ability wonderfully! I’m dubious about this yarn bombing thing – It started off being something done in secret and for fun …… it’s gotten altogether too serious and arty!

    1. Is there no casually-dropped phrase that some uber-keen community-marketer will co-opt to force into yet another punning initiative? Despite the quote from the participant who’d enjoyed it, I can’t help feeling this is supplanting the sort of quotidian interpersonal spirit which once arose naturally from us folks, y’know, actually TALKING to each other…
      “Artificiality” is the description that strikes me hardest.

  6. That pansy pic is brilliant. And I’m rather loving the tree blankets. There was a campaign in one city here that had folks placing knitted scarves around trees in the winter, to be utilized by the homeless, or whoever had the need. They didn’t stay long on those trees. ❤️

  7. Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors. His “Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” is a terrific look into American life in the 1950’s.

  8. Ha! Yes, I’d agree on the similarity of your writing, from my hazy memory of reading a Bill Bryson book years ago. Jokes when you least expect them, that make you re-read a line in case you missed something. Now, is ‘I ask you’ a typo, or is there meaning in that? I loved your description of your exchange with the BT engineers haha.

          1. Ah ok. Gotcha! I normally have stuff across another seat, but at the hint of people coming by, or people standing at a distance, i’d move my things. I have a pet peeve though when a person requests I move my things when there are other free seats- although I guess that is their right. *sigh* so hard to deal with humans in a daily basis haha.

  9. p.s. that tree knitting thing has been around in my part of the world for years now. also on sign posts, bicycle parking posts and any outdoor structure you can wrap yarn around.

  10. The yarn bombing I’ve seen is stitched into place when the piece of knitting or crochet is ready to be put on. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing some of that, but sloth always wins out.

    Have you read Bill Bryson’s “At Home”? I got my copy from your wonderful Book Depository, they have reasonable prices and FREE delivery all around the world.

    1. I found “At Home” the most disappointing of all his so far: it felt like the man had a publishing deal to fulfill, but not the inspiration. I thought I might have another go at it, in case I’d missed things first time round. We have a copy of that, you can have, D.
      My first encounter with BB was via Kerry Shale’s reading of “Neither Here Nor There” (a definitive Bryson interpreter, IMHO). When such humour was less prevalent, the opening “I come from Des Moines, Iowa. Somebody had to” seemed like comedy gold-dust, and had me hooked at once (as all first lines should).

  11. Derrick, I am so glad you serve us up a buffet of lovely and interesting images from places we may never see in person. I liked the thought of how long will it take to make the tour loop? I also am impressed at the couple who were just finishing a night on the town! The knitting project sounds great to revitalize and introduce people to a community within the city. Always a pleasure, off to work! xo

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