Sod’s Law

On the train from Southampton to Waterloo, to which Jackie delivered me this morning, an extremely rowdy, already drunken group of young men bearing beer cans and plastic wine glasses, accompanied by very tiny fascinators flickering and wobbling above very weighty women wearing dresses to match, fortunately alighted at Winchester.  One of the men rested his shod foot on a window.  As they left, two of them didn’t know which way to turn with their unwieldy plastic packing case containing further cans.  I wondered how they would fare at Ascot.

I finished reading John S. Morrill’s ‘The Stuarts’ and began Paul Langford’s ‘The Eighteenth Century’ in the Oxford Illustrated History of Britain.

Clapham Junction embankment

We paused outside Clapham Junction where the embankment was incongruously meadow-like.

Going to Ascot

The Ascot crowds convening at Waterloo displayed far more elegance and fascination than my earlier companions on the train.

Having previously determined against it, my trip of a couple of days ago demonstrated that whichever way I walked I was not going to escape the global influx, so I took my usual route to Green Park to catch the Jubilee Line train to Neasden, and Norman’s for lunch.

London Eye

The London Eye attracted its usual long queues.

Child on father's shouldersA little girl riding along the Embankment perched on her father’s shoulders reminded me of Becky’s superbly adapted Fathers’ Day card.

Becky's Fathers' Day card She, too, will not have forgotten that climb up Mount Snowdon.   I had walked up and down the Miners’ Track with her on my shoulders.  Although I copped out of the last bit to the summit I had walked up this route regarded as the easy one without too much trepidation.  That was because we were walking through clouds.

On the way down when they had cleared I realised that there was a sheer drop either side of the narrowest section of the path.

After I’d got past it, my shirt was wringing wet.  The only trousers available in the 1970s were that sartorial aberration, flares.  This made me think of a glorious episode of ‘Minder’ set in the 1980s when they were no longer de rigueur, and the hapless Arthur Daley, played so well by the marvellous George Cole, bought a bargain box of jeans.  The dismay on his face when he opened the container elicited amused delight from Dennis Waterman’s beautifully depicted Terry, and howls of laughter from me.  The garments were, of course, flared.

Discarded carnationWestminster Bridge was slightly less populated than usual.  A carnation (see post of 28th February) had been discarded on the pavement.  Carnation toutFurther along a vociferously combative middle-aged woman demanded £20 from a reluctant young man on whom she had planted another.

Taxi broken down

Pelicans, St. James's ParkA London taxi had broken down in a most unfortunate spot.  The driver alternated between tinkering outside with the engine and revving up the accelerator inside his cab.

Basking on their rocks, St. James’s Park’s pelicans enjoyed the spray from the fountain which cooled them on another sultry day.

Building works and traffic chaos

Building works had brought single lane traffic to St. James’s Street.  One had to weave around stationary taxis to negotiate zebra crossings.  As the meters continue to click over whilst the cabs are not able to move, I dread to think what the fares cost.

As I sat down to Norman’s roast pork dinner, I burst out laughing.  In response to his query I related a conversation I had had with Jackie last night.  While we were enjoying her roast pork dinner she had said: ‘You will have roast pork tomorrow’. ‘Eh?’, said I, ‘How do you know what Norman will give me?’.  ‘Sod’s law’, she replied.

This prompted Norman to tell his sod’s law story.  ‘When you drop a slice of bread and jam on the floor it always lands jam side down’. ‘Yes……’, said I, sensing there was more to come.  ‘Except’, continued my friend, ‘when you are demonstrating sod’s law’.  Perfect.

Carta Roja gran reserva 2005 accompanied today’s meal that was completed by summer pudding which he knows is one of my favourites.

I went on to Carol’s and thence back to Southampton by my normal routes, and Jackie drove me back to Minstead.

‘Er Indoors

Judith photographing landscape 8.12

Last night and this morning I read ‘Roman Britain’, Peter Salway’s contribution to the 1984 Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, another of Ann’s books.

Thierry and Geoffrey arrived early to continue the work.  It won’t be finished before I leave, but, no matter, much was done.  They had been awaiting instruction from Saufiene who was in Tunisia.

When, in August last year, I had walked with Judith (posted 10th August), a broad circular route on the perimeter of which lies Mescoules, the conditions had been so different.  Then it had been a blazing hot day.  Today was cold, damp, and overcast.  Cattle in fieldCattle seemingly lying in a field amidst tall grass stirred themselves into an ungainly gallop as I approached, and stood expectantly by a water-trough in a far corner they knew I must pass.Calves  The adults soon lost interest in empty-handed me and, whilst they were there, visited the trough, now surrounded by a quagmire.  I retained the calves’ interest a bit longer.

Tractor tracksTractor tracks through a barleyfield left an interesting pattern, such as might be considered a crop circle message.

At least the snails were enjoying the weather.Snail

This seemed a longer stretch than I remember it.  Perhaps it does on a dull day without company.  Had I held my nerve for a few yards longer, I would have passed a smallholding I recognised and not felt the need to reassure myself by asking for directions of the only person I met en route.

A gentleman was standing, legs astride, with his back to me, beside his van parked alongside a house.  He emitted a stream, shook his right elbow, hoisted his shoulders in a shrug, and lifted the arm about a zip’s length.  The French are more relaxed about these things.  Perhaps it was his own house and he had forgotten to take a leak before he left it.  Having politely waited for him to finish I asked him the way to Sigoules.  To my relief, he confirmed my intentions and told me I had an hour to go.  Fortunately it only took 45 minutes, as the rain soon came down again.

Lunch at Le Code Bar consisted of noodle soup; chitterling salad; tender beef served with penne pasta; and apple tart.  I could have had salmon salad, but chose the chitterling because the only other time I had attempted to eat one it had been raw.  I swear the butcher had told me this was an option.  It hadn’t been palatable.  When I told David this he curled his lip in distaste.

Back at the house the trapdoor remained a problem.  Thierry is to make another, much lighter model, in his own workshop.  Even with a new system this very heavy, subject to moisture, and knackered current door will be cumbersome and just as difficult to dislodge.  I told him to stop struggling with it.

I shared great fun with the builders as I tried to explain the epithets ‘er indoors’ and ‘she who must be obeyed’ from the long-running television series ‘Minder’ and ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’.  They had asked me for the English version of femme, as in wife or Mrs.  I felt obliged to give them options.