Encounters II

St John on PatmosGood afternoon, said the traffic warden. Well, I know someone who used to be a traffic warden, she is a decent sort, why should I be nasty to him?

-I’m glad you’re here, keeping the road clear, I said. (Oops, no need to be sycophantic.)
-Horrible weather.
-Mmm. West of Scotland weather- rain, then rain so fine it could be mist.
-Oddly enough, I am dry under all this.
-They do say, there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. (You’re usually safe with a platitude). He nodded.
-No-one would be chancing it, with you standing there?
-Actually, they do, he said, indicating someone pulling into the Disabled space diagonally opposite.
-Have fun, I said, as he went over to investigate, though it could be a disabled person. You don’t drive along with your blue badge on the dash.

After, I wondered if he had chatted because, standing there, I obscured the driver’s view of him. Surely that is too Machiavellian.


1.30am. I am awoken by banging on the door: Rapid knocks, then a pause, then more.
-Come on, Steph, let me in- (Steph is today’s pseudonym for my neighbour)

More banging.

Thuds, as the side of the fist. I could go, but I am not as quick in intelligence or reaction in the night, and want my wits about me. I lay there, a bit Madonna and Child enthronedfrightened, actually, but if he would break in he would have done it by now.
-This is the Police! Open up!

That’s an offence, imitating a police officer. More banging- I would say twenty minutes, but people are not good at estimating time in these circs. Eventually he went away.


9.50pm. Loud knock on the door. No, I am not answering at this hour. Then I see the hi-vis jacket and radio through the window, so decide I had better open up. I wish I had cleaned today.

-Are you Steph?
-No, she’s next door.
-We were told 69. Can we come in?
-No, it’s 69A.
-Have you seen her today?
-You’re worrying me, now. I haven’t seen her, but I was out the back and I heard someone in the house.

They go to knock on her door. It is none of my business, but I am glad to notice they have got in- without breaking in.


At the bus stop.

Martyrdom of St BartholomewYou see, when you’re seventy it’s just like when you’re twenty. You think you’ll live for ever, and you want to.
-OK. Say I told you you have twenty years of life left. What would you do with it?
They look at each other. “Mooch about, same as now.”


Hurrying into the town, I bid the postman “Good morning”.
-I’ll let you get past, Miss Flourish, I’m not in such a hurry as that.
-Oh wow! I would have thought you would remember street names, but remembering surnames is impressive.
-That is a high compliment, he said, from a member of Mensa.

Pictures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has just put a huge collection of images on line, free for non-commercial use.

Death of the Virgin

7 thoughts on “Encounters II

  1. I love how you’ve made every day life so fascinating by using such great description. New to your blog and already in love with it 🙂


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