Yes, We Do Have Toys


This dull and gloomy morning I travelled by my usual route to Carol’s in SW1.  Yesterday I described a bizarre passenger on the tube, and on 26th September an extraordinary coincidence.  Today I will focus on a typical sample of travellers on London’s underground.  In common with the overground railways London Underground Ltd. no longer term their clientele ‘passengers’.  Now we are all ‘customers’; such is the consequence of our nation’s all-consuming business ethic.  The snapshots which follow are representative of an everyday journey.  On the Northern Line from Colliers Wood to Stockwell, a number of races and both sexes were present.  An Asian man was studying a hefty tome, his document holder, until removed to make way for a paying customer, lying on the seat beside him; another probably originating from a different part of that  vast continent, was either working or playing on a mobile device; a Caucasian woman was reading a novel, and various others were reading Metro.  All were silent except a couple drinking takeaway coffee; the man of oriental appearance with a Scots accent.  I do not wish to indicate that they were slurping their coffee, simply that they were talking to each other.  As the carriage filled up newcomers had to stand.

Metro is a free newspaper widely distributed, and is, I believe, available in other editions in different cities.  Most are found discarded later in the day.  This despite notices in the trains asking people to take them home or place them in receptacles positioned outside stations for the purpose.  In terminal stations like Morden, staff traverse the carriages collecting the unwanted newspapers and dropping them into large transparent plastic bags.

From Stockwell to Victoria the crowd had thinned out.  Metro was still being read; one man’s choice was The Times; and another, plugged into earphones, was attempting The Telegraph crossword.  A young woman wrote in her diary.  A small baby, nestling in a buggy, was crying as his parents vainly tried to comfort him.

The platform and escalators at Victoria were swarming with hazardous wheelie bags.

Boris Bikes 10.12Boris Bikes (see August 29th) awaiting takers were lined up alongside Westminster Cathedral, facing a young man whose smart racing cycle rested against a wall as he consulted a map.  Mansion flats nearby were undergoing splendid maintenance; railings surrounding one block in Carlisle Place receiving a facelift; and brass fittings in the many entrances to Ashley Gardens glistening gold in the gloom.

As I left Carol’s the rain began and lethal umbrellas were brandished in their multitudes.

Knowing that Sam was planning a visit with Malachi this afternoon, when I returned to Morden I popped into Lidl to see if they had any toys on offer.  You never quite know what you will find in the central aisles bazaar.  As I didn’t think a drum kit would be appreciated by the parents of a new baby, or, for that matter, my neighbours, I left there disappointed; which is just as well because at one point later Malachi said he wanted to play with his drum.  I did, however, have a result in the Poundshop which stocked enough cars and farm animals to satisfy this lad who had asked for toys when visiting The Firs.  Danni had set an example when she bought some to produce at Mum’s party.  Taking a leaf out of Bill Burdett’s book (see 4th October), I hid them conspicuously around the flat.

When my grandson arrived he dragged me to a chair, got out his Leappad, which is a junior type of i-pad, and proceeded to show me how to play games on it.  ‘Oh, dear’, I thought, ‘I have been superceded by technology’.  I needn’t have worried, however, because he soon asked me why I hadn’t got any toys and I was able to send him on his treasure hunt.

This evening we raided the freezer for a medley meal consisting of Jackie’ bolognese sauce with freshly cooked pasta; and my chicken jalfrezi with Watch Me pilau rice, chapatis, and egg godamba roti.  Racking our brains we decided the Watch me contributions must have come from a doggie bag gleaned from an outing we had there with Jacqueline and Elizabeth.  Jackie finished the Wickham white wine and I began a bottle of Maipo Merlot 2010


3 responses to “Yes, We Do Have Toys”

    • That is so. And business is important to build the wealth to provide services. The reason for my comment is that the concept of service has all but disappeared from what were our traditional provisions, such as Social Services, utilities, etc.

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