Tales From The Riverbank

Needless to say, the promised phone call did not come from O2, and, by 6 p.m. yesterday afternoon, when we entered PREZZO restaurant in Leatherhead and I turned off the power, my long-standing number had not been transferred to the new phone which I could not use. As suspected, Helen had been trying to contact us on my mobile, but was sent to voicemail, which of course, I did not know.

PREZZO provided excellent food, but eleven of us were pressed around small tables placed together, which could really only have provided comfort for eight. My meal was a very spicy calzone which, with a glass of house red wine, despite the squash, I did enjoy. Service was friendly, but it was such a peak time, and the waiting staff had so little space in which to manoeuvre that they were fighting against the odds, and delivery of the food was rather slow.

The Grand DukeThe Godalming Operatic Society, conducted by Pat O’Connell, is a very accomplished amateur company, and in their production of The Grand Duke, they excelled themselves. The Gilbert & Sullivan operetta is so rarely performed that the cast were able to use a professional set of costumes that had only been used once before. This splendid apparel was complemented by superb sets. The choreography was outstanding and the ensemble performances stunning. There are a number of very good voices, and some wonderful actors in the society. They were all on excellent form. The many comic turns were delightful, and, although we were aware that the Director had tightened up the piece, I wondered why the work was not more popular. I have to confess that sometimes, at the theatre, I find myself checking my watch to see how much longer we have. I did not do this once last night.

During a convivial drink at the bar afterwards, I turned the power back on the phone. It was working. Shelly rang my number just to check all was well. It did not ring on my new phone, but went to voicemail, obviously still on my broken phone, left at home. I then rang Jackie’s mobile. What showed on her screen was the number that O2 had transferred erroneously and were meant to have corrected. I did my best to remain calm.

Bridge Street

Shortly before dawn, leaving the others sleeping in the comfortable and well appointed Travel Lodge where we spent the night, I took a walk down Bridge Street to

Leatherhead Bridge sign

Leatherhead Bridge 1

Leatherhead’s refurbished medieval bridge over the River Mole. With limited daylight, the street lamps burned on the water beneath.

Leatherhead Bridge 2

It wasn’t long before the lights were extinguished, although the sun was in no hurry to replace their effect on the stream.

River Mole

I wandered along Minchin Close to a small riverside park at the end of it. There I found evidence of an unknown group’s disenchantment with a scene straight out The Wind in the Willows.

Drinks on wall

Empty Stella bottles and plastic beakers, the contents of which I was not about to investigate, left on the walls

Drinks and detritus 1


distracted the observer from even more sordid detritus beneath them. A Doritos packet, bottle tops, ashes of burnt paper, and a garment I chose not to examine, were strewn about the ground.

Rubber band and bloodstainsBloodstained toilet paper

What looked like a broken rubber band, and bloodstained concrete and toilet paper suggested one particular tale.

Thinking that it was perhaps appropriate that the light this morning was so dismal, I walked back up Bridge Street to Costa’s for a pre-breakfast coffee to prepare me for my next bout with O2. Unfortunately, Costa’s have a rack containing newspapers. Across the front page of The Sunday Times was emblazoned the result of yesterday’s rugby match between England and Ireland, which I had hitherto studiously avoided learning because I had, I thought, recorded it.

Breakfast was taken by us, and by Pat, Christine, Helen, Bill, Shelly, and Ron, in Annie’s Cafe.

When calling O2, I was fortunate enough to be answered by Bella, the first person I felt I could trust to honour her promise to call me back, after she had listened to the story and learned that the Small and Medium Business department did not open until 9.30 a.m. It was now soon after 8. She said she would phone after she had spoken to them. Albeit not until mid-day she did try, but we were on the way home in a poor reception area. The voicemail message, still on the wrong number, said she would try again later. She did, but I didn’t hear it. It is not possible to call these numbers back.

The reason I did not hear the second call was because I was watching the England/Ireland game on catch up. When we first arrived home I had settled down to watch the recording of Friday’s match between Wales and France. 25 minutes into it the TV screen froze and BT’s You View box became so unresponsive that I couldn’t even turn it off. After unsuccessfully attempting to resume normal service, I slunk away to do something else, namely start on this post. Anything would have done. A couple of hours later I tried again. I am not prepared to go into yet more boring technical detail, except perhaps that I began by unplugging the whole thing, but suffice it to say I learned that the provider was updating the software, and eventually all was well. Maybe that was why yesterday’s recording had failed and I had to watch it on BBC iPlayer.

This evening Jackie and I dined at Lal Quilla, where we received our usual warm welcome, and excellent meals. My choice was king prawn naga. We shared special fried rice, egg paratha, and sag paneer; and both drank Kingfisher.

57 responses to “Tales From The Riverbank”

  1. I think there’s some kind of rule in the technology ether that we all have to take turns in being frustrated beyond measure by incompetency enacted by the different technology companies. I’m pretty sure there will be a prize for the person who rides the storm without losing their cool. So far, no finalists.

  2. If life is a series of crests and troughs, I would say you’ve been in one of those troughs. As if dealing with the tech problems weren’t enough to cause blind rage, coming upon bloodstained concrete and toilet paper on a walk at dawn….well, that just perfects the mood!

  3. We have resorted to pulling out the TV plug several time. Strange how this sophisticated technology still responds to the same basic tactics that used to unjam my Amstrad.

    Can’t avoid the suspicion that England are lining us up for an epic story of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory again.

  4. I hope things settle down soon with your business calls and television technological difficulty. I hate message machines or being put “on hold.”
    Here in U.S., for quite some time, it has been tiresome to watch the political news. The vandalism and disrespect for park property upsets me, Derrick. I hope garden prep and walks in lovely parks raise your spirits. Smiles, Robin

  5. What a beautiful bridge. So sorry about your phone AND the litter. I hope the phone at least is all good by the next post. The littler will no doubt show up in some other idyllic place. Perhaps there is only so much and it travels around?

  6. That’s such a splendid bridge. Thank you for thinking of us, even in one of those troughs Cynthia had mentioned! I daren’t ask about the ‘phone.

  7. One thing which you may know, is to hold the on/off switch pressed in (off) with your finger for ten seconds. If that doesn’t cure it, try switching off the power for one minute and then (our Sky+ Box at least) will reboot the whole system. And you are right about trying not to find out the result of matches. It is so frustrating if things go wrong!

  8. Interesting place and nice little operetta. Anywhere young people go now just tends to be strewn with litter. In the 70s there was an effective “Keep Britain Tidy Campaign” – I think we seriously need another this decade – as sell as being unsightly – the costs of continually clean up after them is enormous.

  9. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Very, very ugly. You packed a lot into this post. Hope your phone problems are soon sorted out.

  10. I’m intrigued to know why Godalming operatic society perform in Leatherhead. Guildford has three theatres and is much nearer. Having said that, I have been to the Leatherhead theatre a few times – most recently to see my niece in performance – and it is a very good venue.

  11. I’m glad that after all that you didn’t jump of the bridge Gawd,Hey maybe it was the empty bottles from the people who stole your O2 number and they was celebrating ,only teasing, but what a day or days ,,better keep an eye on your O2 bill,case it’s next stop Tin Buck Tu. Thankyou for adding me to your list From Janet

  12. What an experience Derrick, The Grand Duke Performance, and not only that, but with a professional set of costumes that had only been used once before, and with Professional Sets, the complete scenario you depict, demonstrates an excellent Operetta, my envious congratulations on attending such a fine performance.

  13. Interesting story. Glad you enjoyed the play. I suspect, by the evidence at hand, left by the riverside that someone had a little bit too much to drink, became obnoxious and received a bop on the nose and/or a split lip for their troubles or someone was drunkenly wallowing about the rivers edge, had themselves a slip and fall, receiving minor injuries causing an abrupt end to the revelry. Beautiful park and bridge although it’s sad to see such disrespect people have for their own community and nature in general. Id love to see it during the summer time. Anyway, cheers from British Columbia!

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