We Get Lots Of Stick


En route to Morden by car from The Firs this morning Jackie and I were presented with incontrovertible evidence which solved the conundrum I posted on 23rd. June.  What little Flo once called ‘tree tunnels’ are definitely caused by large vans.

A motorcyclist who was driving rather precariously got me talking about my Uncle Bill who was a great favourite of Chris and me during the years he was engaged to Auntie Vic.  Bill Burdett was an immensely kind and generous man who lost his legs in a motor cycle accident, when, the story goes, rather than hit a pedestrian he swerved and went under a lorry.  Bill had been a keen cricketer, but could never play again.  In our teens, he obtained membership of Surrey County Cricket Club for my brother and me.  With or without him, we spent many happy hours at The Oval.  It was Bill who, when I was fifteen, taught me to solve The Times crossword, and to whom I dedicated my half of ‘Chambers Cryptic Crosswords and how to solve them’, which I co-wrote with Michael Kindred.  By this time he and Vic were married and had their four children, our cousins Barry, Susan, Neil, and Fenella.  It was their garden in Victory Avenue in Morden which, in the 1950s, was the first one not my own with which I helped out.  When we were very small Bill entertained us with ‘Silver’ or ‘Copper’ Fairies’.  This was a marvellous game in which invisible fairies hid silver or copper coins in various parts of the room and we excitedly searched them out.  We never saw any fairies but we found lots of silver sixpences. These were the equivalent of two and a half pence in modern money, but you could do a lot more with them.  The coppers were pennies and halfpennies which have no equivalent today.  They were just as welcome.

Clouds were louring over Morden Park, where I took a brief stroll before a brisk walk to Church Lane surgery to meet Jackie before returning to The Firs.  My lady has been signed off work for another week because of a chest infection.

The path alongside the railway has now been barred off.  The barrier which has, for the eighteen months we have been in Morden, been left open, thus allowing the parking of cars, is now chained up and padlocked.  The flytipping warning which it has carried for a month or two has been ineffective.  The consequence is that currently no-one has vehicular access.Barrier, Links Avenue 10.12  There was nothing beyond this obstacle but a tipped heap.  The small white van parked alongside the gate ensured that a cyclist was forced to dismount in order to manoeuvre her steed through the gap.

In the park two dog-walkers with ten charges between them were earning their money.  I spoke to the man, most of whose dogs were harmlessly off the lead.  He questioned my motives for wishing to photograph the group because, he said; ‘we get a lot of stick’.  I don’t think he was speaking of throwing sticks for the animals to fetch.  When I explained my purpose he said I could photograph the dogs, but not him.  I said that would miss the point, and put my camera away.  By this time the woman, tangled up with five leads, had moved on, so I added that the moment had gone.  This was all friendly enough, and he finished by saying: ‘another time, maybe’.  Further on, another man was training a sheepdog.  Why, in Morden, I wondered.

After a two hour congested drive we arrived at Eastern Nights where we had the usual excellent meal, Bangla, and Kingfisher.  Elizabeth was heating up yesterday’s boeuf bourgignon for herself when we returned to her home.


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