Jackie drove me to New Milton to catch the London train this morning. Although I arrived about 25 minutes early, it was touch and go whether I boarded the conveyance in possession of a ticket.
There was a traffic diversion in the town because it was market day. This delayed us a little. The ticket office was unmanned for twenty minutes. Quite a queue built up. I bought my ticket after the train had pulled into the station and leaped through the closing doors clutching wallet, tickets, railcard and change as well as my bag. A woman struggling with a wheeled container that wouldn’t fit the narrow aisles somewhat delayed my passage to a seat.
But, no matter, it was a warm and sunny day.
No matter, that is, until it was revealed that the other train that should have been attached to our four coach one at Southampton Central was not ready. We continued with our limited number of carriages. It became rather crowded, and rather warmer.
From Waterloo I travelled by the normal route to Norman’s new abode, and back.
There is a notorious scam or confidence trick I once saw performed in Central London. It remains amazing to me that this game still draws in punters, usually in crowded city streets, who believe they can outwit the shyster with his sleight of hand. He will stand by the side of the thoroughfare with playing cards in his hands, using some light, portable platform and encourage passers-by to ‘Find the Lady’. The lady in question is a queen, often of diamonds. Victims are enjoined to pick her out from between two aces. They will already have seen a stooge managing to pull this off and consider themselves capable of doing the same. They part with their stake money, and lose it. Sometimes time and again. Besides the trickster and his accomplice, the team is supplemented by others, strategically placed at convenient corners keeping an eye out for the police. When the law arrives a signal is given, the platform is lifted, and the players disperse.
Norman provided a lunch of succulent roast chicken, splendid savoury rice, runner beans, and piquant red cabbage, followed by apple strudel and cream. We shared an excellent 2011 bottle of unpronounceable Greek wine.
When we moved into our new house we stored a number of boxes of our most fragile or precious glassware and crockery in Helen and Bill’s garden shed. Jackie collected it today and I helped her unpack them after she collected me from the station and brought me home.
I have had little time for reading in the last month, but on the train made decent headway into Desmond Seward’s ‘The Wars of The Roses’. When I have finished it I will begin a welcome present that was awaiting me this evening. Barrie Haynes has sent me a copy of one of his novels, ‘Victoria’s Park’, as a gift for my ‘splendid new library’. He tells me he ‘painted the cover picture using household paint, a plastic knife and half a pasting table’.