Red telephone box

Rose's picture 2After coffee, I skived off, and walked up the path. I found myself in Ladybower, wigless, in wellies and jeans with a detectable odour of manure. The road, single track on a steep hill, curved round between large detached houses. To my left when I left the path I see a red telephone box. Does it work?

It is quite unlike the phone box outside my flat, of the replacement design. There, children have taken care to smash all the glass and remove the handset. There is a groove in the metal as if someone has taken a hacksaw to it, but that was too much trouble. This has all its glass intact, and a working phone within.

phone boxThere is a notice dated 2009 saying that as people object so strongly to the removal of this Great British Heritage object, BT leave them, but cease to maintain them. Locals may sponsor the phone box. It is filled with cobwebs, and its coin slot has been blocked: one may use a credit card.

I walked up a hill, on a straight path through woods. At one point I could see Bamford to my right, at another there were blackberries- and it is the phone box I choose to tell you about. Filled with cobwebs? Well, two or three cobwebs were covered with thick dust. Either someone could have cleaned it, rather than organised a “Save our Phonebox” campaign, or no-one cared about this one.

I’ve been at the Proust again. I don’t quite get it, but it is something about the feeling rather than the surface mattering.

Outside Sheffield station is a huge water feature, water flowing over metal. I sat in the sun drinking coffee, with fifty minutes to wait for my train to Bamford, and a smelly drunk approached me. He started by saying he needed the train fare to Doncaster, but then tried a different track. Ten years ago he was a company director. He had a few problems. Look at that car-park? He could build it far better than that, by himself. He has great building skills. So he would start a company, I would own 51% of it, and if I put up £100,000 to buy land and materials he would double that in four months, building a house on it.

Another man came over a couple of times, to use his lighter, then hung about a few yards away.

I did not mind hearing the story. At the end I did not explain that I did not have even £1000, but I did say I did not have that sort of money. Not did I have any spare change for a cup of tea.

Back at Swanston, I lugged my case from the station to the supermarket, where there was a choir singing on the grass, or screeching, rather, with a rock-band recorded accompaniment. It is the weight of the case I was lugging, made me- angry, I suppose, for the energy or determination that would give me to carry it. That affected the way I heard the choir. On the bus I chatted to a woman who had endured six buses with her dog Razzle. The dog was now fed up and uncooperative. She would have driven him to the vet for his arthritis injection, but she had broken her foot. Now sitting, all the carrying at an end, I could listen and sympathise.

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