And hoping to stay that way. Not that I am wearing a mask these days, though my hand washing is still in the Lady Macbeth league. Buses are a problem, crowded, poorly ventilated but a necessary form of transport. I travelled on rather more than anticipated today. I actually anticipated not travelling on buses at all.
I had chosen a new (for me) Too Good To Go option. Bear in my mind that my three Too Good To Go interactions have been with the very wonderful Pipoca. I saw there was a fruit and veg option at a local Turkish shop. I gave it a go. It was only a slight detour from John’s workshop where I had arranged to meet him to collect the second of the two seagrass stools he has restored.
The walk was local, and I spent most of it dodging sunny pavements and main roads. I had two bags. A big one for the stool, a smaller one for the fruit and veg. I should have taken two big bags. I was presented with a plastic bag tied at the top full of ripe and very ripe fruit, three huge potatoes, some onions, aubergines, chillis and carrots. I was a bit taken aback. The bag was heavy and far bigger than I anticipated for my £2.50 outlay. Then I was given a second, mercifully much lighter bag with four bags of crisps just past their sell by date.
The walk to John’s workshop was only around twenty minutes, but after five I opted for the bus. Not the day for a heavy bag, said John, obviously somewhat surprised to see me so laden. We opened the bag of fruit and veg and he took some of the tomatoes and aubergines. But that was after he had given me water to drink and a chair to sit on. His workshop was a delight, it conjured images of my father, though his workshop was more ordered. He has finished restoring the blue harp, and has a second blue harp he’s working on. I took some bad pictures I have not yet downloaded. We talked. Finally I spotted my stool upside down in the corner. I had been distracted by the frame of a green harp hanging on a dowel, by the champagne box repurposed to hold tools. John said the box had an invoice which was dated during the Second World War. Were people really importing champagne from France to London at that time? Extraordinary.
So the conversation wandered on to rationing, whale meat (spook if I recall correctly), and my own move from vegetarianism to veganism, then back to Too good To Go. John had heard of it and had tried to install the app but his ‘phone was too old. This suggests a flaw in Too Good To Go: if you have to have an up to date phone in order to benefit it excludes people who may need it most. He was sufficiently impressed by my bag of swag to say he would upgrade his ‘phone.
He asked after Celia and I explained she is way this weekend in Rutland. I said I knew she would love his studio and he invited us both back. In turn I said we hope to have a neighbourhood Sausage Sizzle soon (sausages not obligatory) and he’d be welcome to join us. His workshop is close by the house where in the first lockdown Celia saw and admired the Triumph. It’s funny to think we so often walked by where he has been working.
Meeting John was a chance encounter occasioned by my desire to restore two small stools given to my sister and my self some sixty years ago. Serendipity or Kismet, a lucky day.
I shall look forward to seeing John’s workshop when London weather cools – sounds fascinating.
Yes, a treasure trove.
I meant to post this earlier and it may seem redundant given your latest post but … everyone I know who has had COVID was extremely vaxxed and reasonably diligent in the mask wearing except around known individuals. Keep wearing the masks – especially on public transit and tight spaces.
I now carry but rarely wear a mask. I do wash my hands a lot, and I think that makes a difference, but I am lucky in that I am usually able to wash my hands soon after leaving public transport. This is far from the case with others.
I love history and would love to travel now that my nest is nearly empty. If I’m ever your way I should like to spend one day the way you do: walking, going to a show, visiting at a shop, getting tea or other. I live way too far away to be able to do that, we have to drive. And we only have busses in the city, where I don’t live.
You know you have just described what I love about living in London, it’s the variety and accessibility. In the various lockdowns as I walked the neighbourhoods near my home, often with Celia, we noticed so many interesting things, each brought a little magic. Whether it was a beautiful bird shaped door knocker, the Triumph Spitfire I saw Celia fall in love with, the realisation that a building we had walked by many times was a convent, someone’s roses, a sleeping cat, mansion black above unassuming shops, yarn bombed park gates, each made us feel we had gained something precious. I keep thinking about leaving the capital. Property here is prohibitively expensive, and I long for more space, but there’s so much that keeps me here.