It’s week two of my Word of the Year. My word is aware and if you’d like to know how I got my word then the explanation is on this page.
This week I’ve been away over in London and Kent. I’ve spent more time in Kent as I’ve been visiting friends so I’ve been open to anything I’ve become aware of.
On the train journey to London a man got on and sat across the aisle from me. He got my attention and then began to explain that he was the first to tut at sniffers on trains but he had the beginnings of a cold so he would be sniffing a lot. He didn’t sniff a lot as it happened but because he’d told me in advance then, instead of shooting dirty looks across and him and not concentrate on what I was doing, I could blank the few times he did sniff out.
I get a bus from Paddington to Victoria when I travel through London. It’s much cheaper than getting a taxi (the miser in me comes out strong when it comes to taxis) and it’s quicker than the tube. It takes ages to get underground, I can’t never work out which platform I’m supposed to be on and I hate not being able to see where I’m going.
Since the works have been going on around Victoria (since the dawn of history) the bus has been stopping at Neathouse Place instead of the Victoria terminus. To get to Victoria station you have to walk through a diversion that takes you across two roads and I tend to almost run when doing this part because it’s crowded with people who don’t know where they’re going. This time I walked more slowly and for the first time I noticed there was a betting shop just by the bus stop and a cycle shop both of which I’ve gone past many times.
I spent one day taking photographs in Chislehurst and writing a review of a pub (there is such a thing as a free lunch!), meeting the manager of the pub for the first time even though we’ve been tweeting one another over a year now.
He is lovely! When somebody literally welcomes you with open arms you know you’ve met a genuinely gorgeous person. We had a hug and gabbled on with each other for a while and I think we both realised that we’d cemented a friendship that we didn’t know had happened. Wonderful.
On my last morning before I began to travel back home I sat in my hotel having a cooked breakfast and a pile of toast. I sat on a table on my own so I could drift off into a dream world and half think about the review I’d be writing on the way home on my train and half thinking of the great time I’d had with lovely friends.
An older lady came and sat at the far end of the table. There was lots of empty tables and we were the only women there so I presumed that she’d sat near me so I could act as a kind of security blanket. As she settled herself I looked towards her and smiled.
After we’d both eaten we did that satisfied leaning back into the chair with a cup of tea that means you’ve eaten too much but justifying it somehow. As we did this she began to talk about me and about the funeral she was attending that day. As our conversation meandered she mentioned that she was worried about her elderly cat who was unwell and spending time in a cattery while she was over in Kent. She was dashing back home to see him that day just in case.
I reassured her as best as I could and told her that I missed my three cats and my gorgeous dog all of whom battle to be at the centre of my universe. We showed each other photos of them and made genuine comments about how lovely they were. She went her way and I went mine.
I think the lesson I’ve learned this week is that I allow my past experiences to influence my current ones far too much; the pub manager was genuine and not just drumming up trade, the man on the train wasn’t being annoying he was quite embarrassed and the lady in the dining room didn’t need moral support because of the lack of women there, she needed to be reassured that the cat she loved would still be there when she got back home.