Impulsive stealing. Loe Bar. No belts for men.

12 Aug

“Why did I do it?” is the headline in The Times this morning. A young lady graduate of university, set for a career in social work, took a flat-screen TV on the spur of the moment, during the recent mass smash-grab-torch raids, and has handed it in to police.

Instantly, I think of Jekyll and Hyde, and of a machine on Manual control or Automatic. Unless we are in conscious control, with rational thinking processes switched on, we can do stupid things.

“The best souvenirs are free” says C B Wentworth, in the title of a Post on offer in the WordPress Freshly Pressed feature this morning. It sounds as if he or she is talking about picking up shells and pebbles off the beach.

There are also interesting things that fall off trees, that are interesting and will preserve themselves indefinitely on your shelf, whilst it awaits more books.

Loe Bar, just east of Porthleven in Cornwall, is the best beach for pebbles that I (in my limited experience) know of, but beware…

Stay up on the dry shelf where the pebbles are wind-blown, trodden, and polished. Do not venture down, below the steep slope, to the gently crashing waves. The seventh, or the forty-ninth, or whatever, will swoosh in violently, with no warning, and grab you off your feet…

I was waiting for the yellow 26 on Alma Road, yesterday, when a middle-aged man with a modulated North of England accent addressed the old guy at the stop, and was ignored.

Then he addressed the second old guy. Oh. Yes. That was me. From inside, I do not look old. It is only to people on the outside (that judge by appearances) who decide that I am old.

The man was threading a bandage through the waistband loops of his dark-khaki pants. He was very fit, with a narrow waist, and no hips to speak of. He said:

“I’ve been to eight shops trying to get a belt. I HATE England. My belt broke. A man likes a belt… I keep this for strapping up my arm.”

I responded that I did not have the problem. The waistband of my jogger bottoms was elasticized. But I did express hearty agreement with him, generally along the lines of: things not being what they used to be.

The man had a tan over his Anglo-Saxon features. This fact, coupled with his unexpected hatred of what I had to presume was his native land, led me to Sherlock that he was a returned native. He must have spent many years abroad, in a sunnier climate.

He told me (when he could get a paragraph in edgeways between my brief interpolations) that nobody (except me, clearly) would reply to him, in England. They all ignored him when he spoke to them.

Then he mentioned the troubles last weekend.

I said my usual piece about how I once thought we were putting together a lovely rainbow nation, but unfortunately had gotten a bunch of maniacs in the mix, believing all sorts of extreme religion. He responded:

“I don’t know why people have to believe ANYTHING. I don’t believe anything.” I came back (with gesticulations):

“Exactly. Whatever we see in the microscope, or the telescope, exists.” To my astonishment he made eye contact and vouchsafed in a completely different, soft, conversational tone of voice:

“The quantum mechanics people interfere with that a bit…”

The man was educated!

He gave the wrong impression until it was brought out. You could have feathered me down with a knock. So I agreed:

“Oh, they are just IDIOTS. They’re Just science FICTION fans…”

With pants secure, he resumed his eastward stroll for Charminster, declaring his intention to try the motor-bike shop.

“I’ll get one with a skull buckle…” he added, in a possibly-jocular afterthought…

Five minutes later, we passed him in the bus. He was still only a third of the way to Charminster Road. Then he would have to motivate an equal hike down the hill to Saint Alban’s Crescent.

Young folk (Hip-Hoppers) and middle-aged folk (Punkers) have to either pay or tramp. Us 60-plus folk (Hippies and Teddy Boys) get the free bus ride. The country cannot afford it for much longer…


One Response to “Impulsive stealing. Loe Bar. No belts for men.”

  1. Vincent August 12, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    THIS is a great piece, Cy. Don’t you dare DELETE it!

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