So we're one month into the year 2019, and the British public learned that just because you voted for 'Brexit' two years ago doesn't mean we're any closer to it, really. There was a lot of snow, which was too much for the BBC and the trains. Meanwhile I hurtled back to my home town, dear old London.
|Dear Old London ~ Photo by Jennifer Pittam|
Whatever the weather, I travel widely in my job as a Clerk of the Court, to trials all over Great Britain. However, my home is in a semi-wild part of North London, once famous for coaching inns and highway men. Each morning, if I haven't been sent elsewhere, I whizz across the City to my regular courtroom. This is a feat in itself, because Londoners are legendary for their prejudice about 'venturing over the River', which in this case means the mighty River Thames (pronouned 'Tems').
|The Days of Horse-drawn Coaches - Photo by Jennifer Pittam|
I love my morning journey, even though it's in the 'rush hour' when all of London seems to want to go somewhere. Because my home is at the end of the metro, I can expect each morning, not only to get a seat, but my preferred seat in the front corner of the carriage. There, I write, read, meditate and listen to music without interruption. Except that, Londoners are so wonderfully voluble, talkative and reactive that I rarely take a trip without gleaning some sort of amusement from my fellow passengers.
|London Humour - Photo by Jennifer Pittam|
People will tell you that Londoners are surly, unfriendly people, but that's not true. We're just reserved with strangers. It's quite common on some of the main lines into the City to sit on a crowded train with no-one speaking at all. In a busy working day, many people treasure that 50 minutes solace amongst strangers as precious time to themselves. However, on a line like mine, the same people, more or less, board the train each day, and then something magical appears - London humour.
Two of my favourite travelling companions are Mrs D, or Marj, from No. 14, and her friend Mrs H, or Joyce, who lives above the newsagents' shop.
'I've started stocking up on drinks for Easter, Joyce'
'Have you, Marj?'
'I tried to get some of that yellow stuff, Joyce, but it's too dear in Tesco,'
'Avocado? I don't like it, Marj.'
'Advocaat. Do you find it too thick?'
'Yes' Marj, 'I do. How do they make the pears into a drink anyway?'
|'Joyce & Marj' - Photo by Tony Hall|
Competitions won: Coast to Coast Short Story Competition, 2nd Prize; Writers' Village Flash Fiction Competition, 1st Prize.