Miss Downs

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather I walked up to Wimbledon common just before midday with a couple of books and sat reading by the pond in which I’d sailed my boat as a child.  The bench I had chosen was inscribed IN MEMORY OF DOUGLAS WARD CAMPBELL.

As always when passing Wimbledon Library, situated adjacent to St. Mark’s Place, where Jack (see post of 13th. May) stood awaiting his next charge, my thoughts turn to Miss Downs.  Miss Downs was a teacher at St. Mary’s Russell Rd. Roman Catholic school which I and all my siblings attended.  Miss Downs was adamant that we should read three books a week.  Consequently, dutifully, if not religiously, Mum took us on a regular weekly trip to the library where these treasure troves were to be found.  Was anyone else out there nurtured on Patricia Lynch’s Brogeen stories?

Every Sunday morning my brother Chris and I would attend Mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart on Edge Hill and go on for breakfast at Auntie Gwen’s in Latimer Road.  Auntie Gwen was my godmother, not the proprietor of yet another greasy spoon.  Mum was not a Catholic and Dad, at that time, was not practising.  In our case ‘attend Mass’ was a loose description.  When we discovered that it was only if you missed the crucial parts of the ceremony each Sabbath that you were condemned to Hell, we started stretching it a bit.  We would sneak in just before the Gospel and slide out just after Communion.  What we didn’t know was that Miss Downs was part of the congregation.  It was therefore something of a shock when we were summoned to her room at school to be asked to explain our behaviour and to be given what for.  This seemed pretty bad luck to us, and a bit out of order.  The long arm of the school was everywhere.

So…… for a lifetime’s pleasure from reading, Miss Downs and Mum, I thank you.  I still read every day.  For a sharp lesson in the wisdom of sussing out every possible drawback when contemplating manipulating the rules, Miss Downs, I, er, thank you.

I took the 93 bus back today, walking the long way round from Morden Station and stopping for an excellent shish kebab with a first rate salad at Morden Best Kebabs on London Road.  I have not been able to eat a doner since Becky told me what went into them.

This evening Jackie and I ate at the Watch Me, our favourite Sri Lankan restaurant on Morden Road.  Presumably it gets its name from the fact that, if you feel so inclined, you can watch the team of chefs performing behind a long window.  The food is wonderful, especially for me as hot comes as standard.  The staff are all very friendly young men, one of whom plays cricket.  The atmosphere is of a family gathering.  Alomost all the other customers are Sri Lankan families, the women wearing gorgeous saris, especially if there is, as often, a party going on; and really very small children running about.  The fathers are very hands-on Dads.  Waiters are adept at weaving in and out of darting infants whilst balancing plates of food.  You are not expected to order your ‘mains’ until you have eaten your starters, and you are never approached with the bill.  As far as they are concerned you are there for the evening.  We are indebted to my sister Jacqueline for the introduction to this establishment.

Payback

Last night I finished reading Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.  This is a book which Judith Munns ‘loves’ and which Rachel Eales studied for GCSE.  In 1960, when I gained my English Literature A Level, five years before the trial of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, nothing so explicit would have graced the curriculum.  In her new introduction to this year’s Folio Society edition the author pays tribute to Orwell’s ‘1984’, to Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, and to Bradbury’s ‘Farenheit 451’.  All are futuristic novels based on social control and spywork.

The difference with Atwood’s book is that it focusses on the lives of women.  I found it thought provoking, flowing and brilliantly written.  As a man I can’t say I loved it.  This is because I found the treatment of the handmaids as sexual objects purely for procreation rather than any legitimate enjoyment most uncomfortable.  Maybe one has to be a woman to ‘love’ such a book.  Was your spelling of ‘Tail’ deliberate, Judith, or not?  Either way, I can fully understand it.

When the book came out the USSR was in the last throes of the communist grip.  There will always be people in such a regime who will break the rules.  Human nature and the desire for freedom of expression, however severely repressed, will come through.  There is a fireman in Bradbury’s book who preserves the literature he is meant to burn, and the Handmaid’s Commander collects forbidden reading material; belongs to a sex club (exclusively for the bosses and important trade connections); and plays Scrabble.  At great risk to them both the Commander involves the Handmaid in all this.

Margaret Atwood could not have known that by the early 21st. century it would be possible to form Scrabble friendships through the medium of the internet with people all over the world.  Yet it is through the game of Scrabble that the Commander chooses to initiate the emotionally intimate relationship he craves with the handmaid he is meant  mechanically to ‘fuck’ in his wife’s presence with neither pleasure nor verbal communication.

The humbling thing about Worldwide Scrabble on Facebook is that it is played in English.  People I am currently playing whose first language is not English are from The Phillipines, Singapore, Japan, Greece, and Nigeria.  And they are all capable of beating me.

On this warm and sunny morning of a day which soon became so hot and humid as to be oppressive I set off earlier than usual to walk to Colliers Wood with the intention of exploring the park on the High Street discovered yesterday.

In Sainsbury’s I joined a queue at the checkout behind a woman with what looked to be a whole week’s shop.  As I only had a bottle of wine I was taking to my friend Norman for lunch I began to feel I’d probably joined the wrong queue.  So quick and efficient, however, was the person on the till that I complimented her on her efficiency.  She was a youngish woman with a slight African accent and tribal marks incised in her cheeks.  She had a very modest yet humorous response.  Only then did I realise that she was sporting a badge proclaiming her as ‘top scanner of the week’.  She joked that she didn’t know how it had got there.

The visit to Wandle Park will have to wait.  This is because I got diverted in conversation with the ganger of a team working on the Wandle Trail.  I have reported earlier the marked difference between the amounts of litter on this trail and in Morden Hall Park.  This morning there was a whole gang working at clearing the litter, tidying the undergrowth and, where necessary, weeding and clearing the river.  Their leader, Mr. Everoy Naine, born in Jamaica in 1968, who came to this country when he was seven, was passionate and eloquent about what he and his crew were doing.  He is employed by the London Probation Trust to manage a crew of volunteer offenders attached to the project called Payback.  Everoy was keen on the actual task they were carrying out, proud of his workers, and wholly committed to giving his charges an opportunity.  One young man was involved and interested in our conversation and I told him I had done my first (approved school) after care work in 1966.  This impressed them both and it was then that Everoy said he had been born two years after this.  His young charge gave me his name and would have been happy for me to have used it, but we agreed that his privacy should be respected.

On the tube to and from Neasden I began reading Colin Dexter’s ‘The Remorseful Day’.

For Kate

As I had not seen them for a few days I had become rather worried about the foxes lately  All, however, must be well because, it being bin collection day, there was, this morning, the usual evidence of their presence all over the front lawn.

On this the second successive summery day I set off as usual on foot to Colliers Wood before boarding the Northern Line tube en route to SW1 for coffee with my friend Carol.  Near a bridge over the River Wandle close to the carpark serving Deen City Farm, which must have entertained countless three-year-olds, set in the ground lies a blue plaque in remembrance of Kate Brown, aged three, who, whilst playing on it, fell from the bridge in Autumn 1997.  Each time I pass this spot I spare a thought for this child and her parents.  Kate would now have been on the threshold of womanhood, and her parents will have lived years of chronic sorrow.  Maybe you will spare a similar thought.

———-

Being met with the surprising and incongruous sweet smell of freshly mown grass upon entering Colliers Wood’s bustling High Street, I was prompted to investigate the opposite side of the road and the gates to another National Trust property, namely Wandle Park and Water Meadow, maintained for them by Merton Council.  This will be worth a further exploration when I have more time.

Sandwiched between a wooden barrier and the precincts of Victoria Underground station is what is now effectively a long tunnel, presumably to be in place as long as it takes for the road works in progress in and around the bus station opposite the railway terminus to reach completion.  You would have to know that the Victoria cafe is hidden there to be able, as I did, to partake of one of its fry-ups.  Yes, a greasy spoon alongside Victoria station.  Not the Martin Cafe, but OK.

The mysterious clearing of the foxes’ leavings had again been carried out during the morning.

This evening’s meal, as Paul Tullett would express it, was Cobra beer with the accompaniment of Susan’s chicken from the freezer.  I always make enough to last a second time.

The Scent Of A Squirrel

Churchill lying in state004Last night I finished reading the National Trust guide to Chartwell which, as they say, is synonymous with Churchill.  Reading of the country’s reaction to his death took me back to 1965 when I was working for Mobil Shipping Company in a building nicknamed The Pill Box, situated outside Waterloo Station near the end of Westminster Bridge. Close to where St. Thomas’ hospital is now. Churchill lying in state002 From there it was possible to see the growing queues snaking along The Embankment waiting for some hours to pay their respects at his lying in state.Churchill lying in state001Churchill lying in state003Churchill lying in state005

I still have the colour slides I took of these people in their ’60s coats.

The Pill Box was so named because of its hexagonal shape.  Highly modern then, today it no longer exists, having been far too small and therefore insufficient investment for such a profitable site.

Such a warm, cloudless day as this demanded a walk in Morden Hall Park.  This it got, not just by me, but also by mothers and toddlers, some of whom were settling themselves on the grass, in anticipation of spending some time there on the first such day we have had since that freak one week spring in March.  A group of schoolchildren were having an alfresco lesson.  No longer was the park the sole province of hardy dog-walkers and intrepid old men.

The coot family has arrived.  This morning there were some chicks squeaking in the nest with their mouths open waiting to be fed, while two were trailing their parents and being given the first of the goodies that were being fished out of the water.  These two were not so daft.  By far the most plentiful birds at the moment, both in the park and Morden’s gardens, are magpies.  At one point I saw six together.  If, like me, you can’t get beyond two in the nursery rhyme, Google it to find out what I’m in for.  This, of course, is bad news for this year’s avian parents.  They can be heard in the gardens attempting to scare off the predators who are certain to reduce this summer’s dawn choruses.

The stream bore masses of yellow irises, and clover had arrived to join the now really profuse buttercups.

Those of you who may be puzzled by Louisa’s response to the squirrels in the loft are entitled to an explanation.  Some years ago, when Louisa and I were still living in Lindum House, and I was down in London working for a couple of days, she telephoned me to say there was something wrong with the shower water.  It had an horrible smell.  I said I would sort it out when I got home.  Thinking that Louisa (although that was never her wont) may have been being a bit fussy, I climbed into the shower cubicle to sample it……   No way was I going to shower in that!  I instantly recognised the most unsavoury stench as that of a dead rodent.  Before Louisa had existed we’d had a dead rat in Soho and that smell, once experienced, is never forgotten.

I ventured into the loft and, sure enough, floating in the albeit securely covered water tank, were the putrid remains of an adventurous squirrel.  How it got in there is a mystery.  Removal of the corpse was an extremely delicate task.  Imagine trying to scoop up a furry  jelly which hasn’t properly set.  Having drained the tank several times the water was still nauseous.  Knowing that Matthew would be able to advise on the problem I telephoned him.  He suggested a trip to the local swimming baths – not for a shower, but for a solution.  I just had time to get there before they closed, and a very kind young man, at some risk, he assured me, to his job, provided me with a bag of stuff.  This was to be applied to the water and subsequently drained off.  I had to do this three times before either of us dared contemplate a shower.  I hope the young man has risen up the ranks.

Our evening meal today consisted of fish and chips courtesy of Messrs. Young and McCain, Sainsbury’s Basic Mushy Peas and Hayward’s pickled onions washed down with a Shepherd Neame brew from Lidl at £1 a bottle.

Rabbits On The Roof

Listening to the squirrels scampering on our roof this morning reminded me of those in the loft of Lindum House in Newark who sounded as if they were wearing hob-nailed boots.  It is amazing how much noise they make.  This also gives me an excuse to tell a Soho story.

During the middle years of the 1970s we lived in Horse and Dolphin Yard in Soho.  Between Gerrard Street and Shaftsbury Avenue, this was a little-known mews where we had a flat in a Westminster City Council property.  Michael, in his early teens decided to keep and breed rabbits.  Now, there isn’t much room in Chinatown, so there was nothing for it but a rooftop farm.  Michael, always inventive, built a runway across the roofs in the Yard, using ladders to circumvent the different heights of the various roofs he had to pass before reaching his chosen site.  This was the flat roof of a music publisher’s offices. The staff there, incredibly, had no problem with what was happening. In those days produce for the myriad of chinese restaurants in Gerrard Street came in wooden boxes which were discarded and left for the binmen.  These boxes made good firewood, but Michael had other uses for them.  He used them to build rabbit hutches and to make a safety barrier for his pets around the perimeter of the roof.

An elderly woman in an upper floor of a block of flats overlooking the area got so much pleasure  from watching the rabbits frolicking in the sunlight that she took to leaving vegetable scraps on our doorstep to supplement their diet.

One of the ladders reaching from our roof to the next one spanned a skylight which was so begrimed as to be invisible.  That is why, when one of Michael’s friends decided to jump instead of using the ladder which Michael had carefully placed to avoid such an eventuality, he went clean through it.  I was summoned, peered through the window, and saw Simon in the clutches of a gentleman who had no intention of letting him go.  I rushed round into Gerrard Street, managed to work out in which building the boy was being held, searched through the warren of rooms until I came to the right one, and persuaded the man to release him.

I kid you not.  Every word of this is true.

Later in the morning, getting back in good time for a supervision session at midday, I made a long tour of Morden Hall Park.  In one of the areas where the heady scent of cow parsley is all pervading I stopped and chatted to a National Trust volunteer, armed with a grabber and a black bag, ‘litter-picking’.  He told me that there is a team of ‘litter-pickers each allocated a different area of the park.  We were standing in The North Meadow.  This explains why there is a marked difference litter-wise once one crosses the tramline into the local authority managed area of The Wandle Trail.  He suggested I needed a little dog for my daily walks.  I said I was quite satisfied with the Jack Russells belonging to my son and daughter.  Further on I met one of his colleagues.

The aroma in the rose garden was of horse shit.

This evening we had a wonderful steak pie by The Real Pie Shop of Crawley, bought at The Greens Farm Shop in Ockley.  As one of the vegetables I made my first ever braised red cabbage.  As Delia’s recipes are sometimes rather bland for me I may have been a bit heavy handed with the spices.  This might explain why Jackie said it tasted more like apple pie than red cabbage.

The Chicken Roundabout

In writing of roundabouts yesterday I forgot to mention the other chicken roundabout I know.  This is situated on the A143 between Ditchinham in Norfolk and Bungay in Suffolk where my friend Don lives.  For many years it was home to a variety of feral chickens.  These consisted of many different varieties, some quite exotic.  There is uncertainty about their origin but one local story is that the original ones were abandoned by a chicken farmer who had been forced to move.  Others had certainly been added by local people who didn’t want them any more.  Someone locally was feeding them.  In recent years they have been removed by groups concerned for their safety.  I believe the roundabout retains its name.

Roundabouts

Jackie and I had another drive into the Surrey countryside today, this time to Ockley for lunch at The King’s Arms where we had honeymooned in 1968.

Whilst passing the roundabout just outside Dorking which bears a sculpture of a giant chicken, I was reminded of the roundabouts in France.  Certainly in the area I am familiar with, around Bergerac in the Dordogne, there are numerous roundabouts carrying structures reflecting something of significance to the area.  One of those in Bergerac (the decision makers presumably having resisted the temptation to erect yet another statue of Cyrano),  contains seafaring figures pulling on ropes, an artificial beach, and running water.  This is situated on the riverside and speaks of the ancient barge-going traffic.  One in Les Landes has a huge chair which, upon investigation, turns out to be celebrating furniture makers of centuries ago.  A few more of these on our overcrowded roads would brighten up traffic queues.  (Except for The Chicken Roundabout on the A143).

And so to The King’s Arms, where this Knight eagerly opened his arms in 1968.  Surprisingly neither the pub nor the village seems to have changed much in 44 years.  It is a beautiful area with fond memories.  As we were keen not to leave the four year old Michael we only had a break of 4 days whilst Jackie’s mother Vonnie cared for him.  The excitement engendered by a shed fire, which seemed to bring out the whole village to watch the firemen do their stuff, was nothing compared to that of being alone together for the first time.

This Sunday the food was excellent and the beer acceptable.  Jackie had first-rate roast pork and I had fish in tempura batter and chips which were very good.  As far as I can tell, having consulted Chambers on our return home, tempura simply means deep-fried.  It certainly was deep-fried.  We each had very tasty and spicy butternut squash soup and sticky toffee pudding.

I am indebted to my then elderly friend, Kenneth Lovell, for the discovery of Ockley.  As a teenager I had spent a short holiday one summer with Ken and his friend George at Ken’s house there.  Ken and I used to draw and paint alongside each other at his house in Raynes Park when I was a teenager.  Ken, an artist and illustrator, would be working on his illustrations for S. G. Hulme Beaman’s Toytown series of books (on one of which Ken gave me the honour of a minor collaborative role) , and I would be receiving the benefit of his observations on my juvenile efforts.

Chartwell

Today we had another family gathering, this time with Michael, Becky, and Matthew and their families.  We went to Winston Churchill’s former home, now a National Trust propery at Chartwell and afterwards to Michael’s for a meal involving starters of barbecued sausages followed by chicken, salads and finally Eton mess.

A minor panic was calmed by the arrival of Matthew and his dog Oddie some while after the rest of us.  The arrangement was that we would all congregate at Chartwell.  Matthew was to ring Becky if he got lost.  The only problem was that both Becky and I had left our mobile phones behind and noone else was sure of Mat’s number.  In any event there was no signal at Chartwell.  We are now so dependent on mobile phones that it becomes disastrous if anything goes awry with them.  Anyway, panic averted.

Oddie is quite an old Jack Russell terrier.  It has become more and more marked lately that this formerly black and white dog has hair on his head and face which is now almost completely white.  Speculating about this it occurred to me that the same thing has happened to me.  Why not also to a dog?

After a pleasant drive through the Surrey and into the Kent countryside, we arrived at Chartwell, near Westerham in Kent, on a fine spring afternoon and had an idyllic walk in the grounds before visiting the house.  The greens of the trees, shrubs and fields are bright and fresh at this time of the year, as are the rape fields.  Chartwell is set in a beautiful wooded valley in the Kentish Weald.  The house itself is perched on the hillside offering stunning uninterrupted views of the grounds and the slopes beyond.  It is easy to see why Sir Winston chose this spot.  As in all National Trust properties the gardens are beautifully maintained, the spring flowers and shrubs, particularly rhododendrons and a magnolia, being now at their peak.

The house itself is a museum of Churchill’s life.  We are reminded of his honours, his many talents, and his very exciting existence.  He truly was one of the greatest Englishmen.  In the grounds is a smaller building which was his studio and is still stocked with many of his paintings.  I had an interesting discussion with one of the attendants about his painting style.  This in fact was in the main house, rather than the studio.  It was Heidi who accompanied me in the house and we spoke to the custodian of the kitchen about the recipe for Amber Apple pudding which she was reading in the open period cookery book on the kitchen table.

Back at Michael’s house we spent a pleasant while talking and telling stories.  Inevitably these involve what are known as Soho stories.  These are from the time of Michael’s years from 10 to 18 when we lived in Horse and Dolphin Yard, SW1.  Emily, Oliver, Alice and Flo know these stories off by heart, although they all took place before they were born.  When appropriate I will weave some of them into these annals.

A Cultural Experience

Early this morning we think we spotted the foxes’ den.  Between the side fence of our garden and the back fences of a terrace of houses there is what was clearly once an access path.  Each end of this has been blocked off and there is now no through way.  It is so undisturbed that one of the residents has put a gate in his fence and extended his garden to the edge of ours.  He has put in a brick path and is growing runner beans, tomatoes, and flowers in carefully tended soil.  (More encroachment is detailed in a further post).  Further down the path is a fence-high heap of sticks, rather like a beaver’s lodge or the nest of a roc, which has gradually, mysteriously, appeared.  Sitting on top of this pile, having the occasional scratch, was a fox cub.  It seems foxes are like dogs, in that they go round and round in circles settling into a resting position that they find comfortable.  Not surprising really.

I suppose urban foxes don’t need to go to earth, because people think they are so cute.  Some time ago I was consultant to an adoption agency in Putney.  There the foxes lived in an Andersen shelter.  Every spring the staff gathered at the upstairs window to watch the cubs gambolling on the lawn.

Just after 11, leaving the fox on his pile, I walked the circuit of Morden Park.  The atmosphere there was quite eerie.  Apart from one young man having a rant into his mobile phone and an ancient, knackered, overweight dog which seemed to have lost its owner, I encountered no other being in this wooded amenity, a short walk from an underground terminal station, and which takes an hour to circumnavigate.  Apart from the rant and the dog’s laboured panting, the only sound, until I came to the stretch alongside London Road, was that of birdsong.  It was almost, only almost, a relief to hear the roar of the traffic.

On this same London Road, on the site of what was once the Express Dairy, lies ‘the largest mosque in Eastern Europe’. Thinking that there was something incongruous about the huge hoardings virtually alongside advertising  Matalan bikinis, I decided to visit it.  Despite their preparing for a special event and it not really being convenient for a visitor to come, I was made most welcome and given a complete tour of what is clearly ‘a multipurpose complex’, with the exception of the womens’ prayer and other rooms.  The area is vast.  Having visited smaller London mosques I was unprepared for this.  In addition to the huge public prayer rooms there are administrative and service blocks containing offices; meeting rooms; a free homeopathic medical centre, residential and eating facilities; a huge sports hall; a library and bookshop; their own television channel broadcasting services all over the world; and no doubt more I haven’t mentioned.  Everything on an extremely large scale.

In the bookshop I was given a copy of the Koran and a book on the philosophy of Islam.

Security was understandably tight, with systems which would grace any airport, but I was given unrestricted access and didn’t have to go through the detector which my artifical hip would undoubtedly have set ringing.  At the moment they are hosting teams from all over the world taking part in a 20-20 cricket competition.  The teams were all accommodated there.  I was shown their sleeping area and welcomed into the dining hall where a wonderfully aromatic curry was being served.  I was invited to partake, but, since I was to be cooking liver, bacon and onions tonight, I declined.  Sadly.

This mosque complex dominates the southern skyline.  It is quite the most elegant building in Morden, contrasting with the 1960s Civic Centre and the rather earlier Underground station.  I had come prepared to make a comparison between the physical nourishment provide by the Express Dairy and the spiritual nourishment to be found in a mosque.  There is no comparison to be made.  As far as I can see this environment provides everything.

Walking through to the centre of Morden and back to Links Avenue I contemplated what I had just experienced.  The dominant sense was one of peace.  In the vast prayer area a smattering of people were positioned for silent prayer.  Here was, however, one contrast.  All was even quieter than the deserted public park I had just walked through.  But there was nothing eerie about it.

Trams And Trolley Buses

This morning the year’s new fox cubs were basking on the lawn with their mother, de-fleaing herself and looking more mangy than last year.  What they were basking in I am not sure, because there was no sun.

After watching the foxes for a while (I almost wrote ‘intruders’, but the fact is we are the intruders), I set off on foot for Wimbledon Village where I bought a birthday present in an antique shop I remembered from our year in the village.  Passing ‘Ely’s corner’ at the corner of Worple Road, I thought of the trolley buses of my childhood.  These were a post tram invention, utilising overhead wires providing the current which was fed to the buses through long connecting rods.  These were much longer than the links used by today’s Intercity trains.  Much delight was taken by all us children when the rods became dislodged.  It was a major undertaking to repair them, which was an entertainment in itself, and, of course, if it happened at the right time and in the right direction, the bus couldn’t take us to school.  In modern football parlance I’d say that was a result.

These buses just ran along Worple Road, providing a transport link between Wimbledon and Raynes Park.  Until the early 1950s Wimbledon sported both trolley buses and trams.

Having bought the present I walked back down the hill for a fry-up at the Mica, finally setting off back to Morden.

Whilst waiting on a red light at the ungated level crossing being approached by a tram in each direction I sensed that a young oriental jogger was going to continue on through the path of the trams.  She didn’t look from side to side and ignored the light.  I held up my hand indicating that she should stop. She took no apparent notice of me, glanced to her left, and ran on.  The tram that was the most dangerous missed her.  She was wearing specs with very thick lenses.  Maybe she couldn’t see.  Maybe she had confidence in her speed.

Today’s trams between Wimbledon and Croydon make use in part of disused railway tracks.  They do not run down Wimbledon Broadway as did the early trams of my boyhood.

This evening we ate gammon steaks, courtesy of LIdl, cooked by Jackie after I’d done the preparation.  This was after a telephone supervision session.  For those unfamiliar with Lidl I would say they are our most economical store providing food of excellent quality at very cheap prices.  In addition to the usual food supermarket offerings they have most interesting central aisles.  You never know what will be on offer there: perhaps a bathroom cabinet, a microwave oven, bikers’ gloves, socks, business suits, children’s toys; you name it you may, fleetingly, find it.  It’s better than a jumble sale because it’s all new and top quality.  When we first arrived in Morden, because my belongings are in four separate places, I found myself without underpants.  This was when I discovered that Morden does not have a mens’ clothes store.  ‘I know’, I thought, ‘I’ll try Lidl’.  And would you know, there they were, in the central aisle, two lovely pairs of Joop’s best.