Lunch On The Green


Before we leave for New Milton for my London lunch trips, Jackie always asks me if I’ve got ‘all (my) bits’ with me. One was missing this morning. It was my mobile phone. A search among all the usual places revealed nothing. Jackie rang the number several times. Silence ensued. We then tried the car. A muffled ring-tone suggested that the device was under one of the seats. It wasn’t. Eventually I spotted it lodged between the front seats. On its side. Barely visible, and needing great dexterity to remove it from its hiding place.

I set back the meeting time with Norman at Tas in The Cut, and caught a later train.

Waterloo Millennium Green 1

This still gave me time to investigate Waterloo Millennium Green, where people enjoyed a lunch break in the sun and,

Waterloo Millennium Green 2

Waterloo Millenium Green 3Waterloo Millenium Green 4

a month earlier, I had seen scaffolding being erected. The huge temporary Old Vic stage had been completely dismantled and removed, leaving the dried grass to members of the basking public


Waterloo Millenium Green 5Waterloo Millenium Green 5

and pigeons.

It was after I took this last shot that a woman, whom I had not photographed, screamed at me and called me a pervert, and I decided to show a little discretion and walk away.

Norman and I enjoyed good conversation and lunch. My choice of main course was the best battered halibut I have ever tasted, followed by a excellent cold rice pudding, the name of which escapes me. As usual, we shared a bottle of the house red wine, served at the perfect temperature.

Especially when I take the slightly later train home, I tend to sit in the quiet carriage and avoid groups of businessmen. For those who are unaware, this carriage is one where passengers are not permitted to use mobile phones and must quieten other electronic quiet carriage, devices. This doesn’t deter everyone from talking at the tops of their voices.

Shortly before we were due to depart a gentleman rushed into the seat opposite me, spreading various items of luggage across the table. He then proceeded to have, interspersed with mouthfuls of salad-spilling burger, a work conversation at the top of his voice.

I gave him five minutes, which, in the circumstances I thought rather generous, and certainly more than some of the protagonists in the Dick Francis novel I was trying to read would have allowed. Not wishing actually to interrupt his flow, either of talk, or bits of burger, I tapped on the table and pointed to the signs, one of which was above his head. He shrugged and continued. An interruption became necessary. ‘You must comply with this’, I said, ‘that is why we sit in here’. So sotto voce as to be barely audible, he continued his conversation. When he had finished he apologised and politely called me sir.

Jackie collected me at New Milton and drove me home where, this evening, I needed no further sustenance.

65 responses to “Lunch On The Green”

  1. I enjoyed this post, Derrick, since 1. I can NEVER leave the house without going back for one of my ‘bits’ 2. I love Dick Francis and 3. the train episode would have driven me mad! I also liked the bit about the pervert! I’m always wary of photographing people, and too embarrassed to ask them.

  2. Interestingly, nobody, including the police, has the right to stop you taking photographs in a public place. The only exception might be public buildings in a terrorism context. So carry on Derrick! Don’t be put off by weirdoes!

    • Thanks, John. I do know that. I would normally ask permission for any recognisable shots anyway. Most are quite happy. Some aren’t, and I either don’t take them, or just delete them.

  3. I’ve never seen pigeons sitting on the grass like that. In such numbers. Must be the heat. Maybe that woman thought you were a pigeon fancier (?)

  4. Your trains have tables? I wonder if you’d take a picture of that for me-
    I would love to have a table between the seats. I have only seen that on long distance trains and in films from the 1940’s

    I enjoyed these and I feel oddly about photographing people so I would be too timid about it to do it for a living. Screamed at you? Yikes

    • Many thanks, Pleasant. I have the same diffidence about photographing people, which is why I usually ask. These distance shots were really a different matter. I’ve said a bit more on your exchange with arlingwoman. Incidentally, it gives me pleasure to see people get into conversation on my posts.

      • 120 miles one way or round trip? Quite a commute, wow. I suppose as far as trains go I have always been a romantic, which is why I asked the question. In a couple old British noir movies, there was a table between the seats, or highly upholstered seats, very nicely furnished. But then that was 1945.

        You do have an eye for photos, but I will say in those, I was puzzled how in any you showed a pervy side at all 🙂 She must have some reason to be overly interested in your picture taking

  5. Funny isn’t it? You are called a pervert for taking photos in a public place but the obnoxious slob on the train expectorating semi-masticated smelly garbage and treating his incarcerated fellow fare-paying travellers to a loud and uninteresting one sided conversation gets no ill treatment. Funny? Actually rather sad where we have gone as a species.

  6. That day would have “ruffled my feathers”! We too have quiet carriages, and it irritates everyone when passengers abuse the convention. And the woman abusing? Oh dear. There are some days when it would be better just to stay in bed 😀

  7. Thank you for taking us on your trip, Derrick. It sounds like you had a wonderful time and lunch with your friend, and an otherwise “interesting” day!
    I laughed at the woman calling you a pervert, and you seemed the very model of a polite gentleman the way you talked to the impolite businessman on the train.

  8. Oh dear, what a day. The lunch sounds good and I’m glad you’re home safely. Being called a pervert must have been disturbing. I do admire the way you dealt with the rude dude in the train. “You must comply with this…” I’ve never seen pigeons like that either. They must have wanted to be in the shade.

    • Many thanks, Lisa. That many pigeons is a common sight in London. But they are usually more active. It was very hot. I wasn’t really worried about ‘pervert’. She was at a safe distance, and it was in her mind, not mine.

  9. What a lovely place it reminded me of parc bastions in Geneva although less green. I guess you would like it there including the giant chess pieces and the crowd that gathers there to play. I used to often play there as it was near the University I went to. There nobody would call you a pervert for taking photographs of people. I mean that sounds absurd if you are not on the beach trying to take photos of people sunbathing topless or anything of the sort. As for the rude gentleman, you handled it pretty well I think. Sad that he did not actually cut off his conversation or just change carriages after apologising. People respect nothing much these days I find. Your last sentence made it sound like he had cut your appetite with his burger and screeching 😀

  10. Dear Derrick… I absolutely love all your posts and this one is no exception. You bring the nature to be the best possible way. I just loved the birds (pigeons) in the pictures.. Here, in Delhi as well there are a lot of them and are being fed by people often.. Thank you so much for sharing. You bring happiness with your posts to me.

  11. Ouch! she called you pervert 🙁
    I enjoyed the photos of what I jokingly term sun worship.

    Thank you for standing up for the rest of us. As one who used to frequently ride the train, I understand only too well.

  12. In all likelihood the lady needed an adjustment on her meds. Meanwhile no one notice use took photos of British aerial messaging resources gathered in a clandestine location. 🙂

  13. I have not yet been yelled at but the iPhone is so quick and discreet that I find that people hardly ever notice. I wonder if she’d screamed at a woman?

    I like b/w photos but I think in this instance the red bus demanded colour.

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