I travelled by my usual means to Waterloo this morning, and from there took the Westminster Bridge route to Green Park. There was a long queue on the M27, making my arrival at Southampton Parkway a little late. Obligingly, the train was also tardy, but reached the London terminal on time.
Bright sunshine coursing through the passing trees and the carriage windows caused rapidly flickering strobe lights to dance across the pages of my book. Dull clouds and a biting wind swirled across and over the Thames in significant contrast as I walked across it.
There are about fifteen ticket outlets at Waterloo station where, on arrival, I now buy my return tickets. From half way along the row a shrill shriek of ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ shattered the calm. An otherwise elegant young woman kept up a similarly tongued tirade at the teller. I’m not sure quite what had distressed her, but she demanded the return of a ticket for which she had paid. She momentarily claimed the attention of all those serving behind the other counters. This rather disconcerted people in a hurry to buy their admission to the trains. She disappeared before I had reached the front of the queue.
A figure astride a plinth set high up on the wall of the former County Hall was either giving birth to or supported on the shoulders of a young Hercules.
Near the London Eye a cheery oriental gentleman representing Lion Travel held up a flag which brought his compatriots flocking to him.
Gulls swooped down on a glutinous white substance, perhaps emanating from McDonald’s opposite, smeared on the coping of the Embankment wall. When they had sufficiently sated themselves and gummed up their beaks, starlings eagerly scraped up the residue.
The lines William Wordsworth composed on Westminster Bridge have stood the test of time. The picture can be enlarged by clicking on it to facilitate reading this famous work which is often obscured by the sheer volume of visitors passing by.
In St. James’s Park a young squirrel disguised as a flattened teasel chewed a tourist’s tempting lure.
The window display of the wine merchants Justerini & Brooks in St. James’s Street suggested that, in Iberia and Italy at least, vintners still stop their bottles with corks.
Because he always opens the bottle before I arrive for lunch, I do not know whether the excellent St Emilion Norman served with our roast chicken was blessed with a cork or a screw top. Sainsbury’s apple strudel was to follow.
On the Victoria Line tube en route to Carol’s a pleasantly and persistently smiling young man, reading the Evening Standard whilst plugged into an electronic device, sat next to a fresh banana skin. When an elderly Chinese woman expressed interest in occupying the otherwise empty seat, he picked up the discard; nursed it carefully, whilst still managing to turn the pages of his newspaper; and carried it away when he left the train.
My normal journey from Carol’s to Southampton was uneventful, but poor Jackie, driving to meet me, had a reprise of this morning’s delay, because of an accident on the road ahead.