After a weekend of blessing after blessing, I took the train home.
The boy could just reach the grab rail above the door of the tube train, and was hanging off it. His mother was a little embarrassed. I hung from the bar, knees bent, and did a pull-up. That started a conversation, and he tried a pull-up himself. We spoke of exercise: who needs gyms?
Getting to St Pancras, I was pleased to see I was late for my train. There is another in half an hour, and I could go and play the piano. I had seen one on the station when I arrived on Friday, pink with “Play me, I’m yours” on the open lid, and I fancied a try. There was a woman strumming at the keys, so I stood to listen. We agreed it had a lovely mellow tone, and I sat down to Giorni Dispari, then walked unhurriedly through the hot station to my train. John tells me he does not know where the pianos come from, but they are popping up all over the place. He meant London.
On the train, I sat beside a woman and across the table from her ten year old daughter, Isobella.
-May I sit here?
-It’s not reserved. She talks all the time.
-Well, actually, I like to talk on trains.
I felt tolerated by the mother in my chattiness rather than openly and entirely welcomed, but I do not think I irritated her too much. As it was too hot, I took off my wig and she asked me how my hair-loss had happened, which raises the possibility that she had not read me as TS. Oh, nobody knows, nothing can be done. Wigs are alright. It means I can have different hairstyles, I have a blonde one in my bag. Later, Isobella tried it on, and her mother (who knows my first name) failed to take a photo with her new iPhone.
Isobella is a precocious child whose role model is Karen on Outnumbered– she makes me watch it, said the mother. She is so bright, it is difficult, sometimes. Delightful problems, I think, and she agreed ruefully.
-If I win a million pounds on the lottery-
-The only way you will get a million pounds is if you make it, her mother rebuked gently.
-I persuaded my secretary not to play the lottery so much by saying how glad I was she played, cos it meant that next time I went to the Opera the seats would be cheaper.
Isobella has just got her first iPad, and when I asked she showed me Angry Birds, and then her other free Apps, which are better than the paid for apps. One is “Talking Tom”, an animated cat which repeats what you say in a higher voice- so I made my squeakiest voice, and it still managed to go higher. You touch a button on the side, and a baseball bat appears and whacks his head. Or you tap his nose a few times, and it is like a punch, a few taps knocks him on his back, where he lies a few moments before getting up.
-Can you tickle his tummy?
I reach out and rub my finger on the screen, and Talking Tom starts to purr.
I phoned Ahmed, an independent taxi-driver, to take me home from the station as the bus does not go on Sundays. He charged me 75% of the charge if I had just found him on the station rank. He came, even though Sunday was Eid al Fitr, the end of Ramadan and a feast day: I am sorry that he has to work so hard. I had not thought of it when I called him.