A Summer Collection
A Summer Collection – Virginia’s Poem: The GA’s Walk: The Stick: From the Train Window
Virginia: “I thought a silly poem might bring the hint of a smile. I wrote it to try to cheer people up as the news continues to be so downbeat and generally depressing.”
Bertie: “Cheered us up, Virginia!”
The Gentle Author’s Walk
As we know, the GA is Bobby’s mentor. He may not know it, but he most definitely is. A new venture for him is his walking tours. Disenchanted by the prevalence of “Jack the Ripper” tours in Spitalfields, he now puts his amazing knowledge of Spitalfields to good purpose. For it’s people and it’s history. We went on one and really enjoyed it.
The stick has transformed Bobby into a more acceptable old person. With it, he walks slower. Scanning the floor ahead.
He has established “respect”. Is offered seats on buses and trains, and time and space to get on and off them. Space on escalators. It is a symbol of old age acceptability but has been mistaken as evidence of an adventurer. Especially with that hat. Even an explorer. For this is no ordinary “stick”.
Officially, it is a walking pole. Bought some years ago as a pair, his Pacer Poles have been everywhere and still do as walking aids out in the countryside and by the sea. Not Nordic walking, which is more challenging, but a considerable aid to traditional walking.
Andrew (Bobby’s son): “So why do you only take one for everyday life, especially in London?”
Bpbby: “As you know, Andrew, I have had a number of falls. All caused by tripping hazards. The last, in Islington, through a broken paving slab left me bruised but nothing broken. More than anything I experienced an awful loss of confidence.”
Two poles indicate to Joe Public that the person is a serious walker. One is seen as a walking stick, and commands respect accordingly. And you need one hand free for all the handrails you encounter. Psychologically he wouldn’t be seen dead with an old person’s walking stick. Too short, anyway!
From the Train Window
Bobby travels to London every week by train. Relaxes. Turns his phone off. Practices mindfulness by switching off completely and watching the world go by. At this time of year, the railway embankments become covered with wild flowers. A narrow strip of nature reserve in essence. One flower brought back memories.
We think it’s beautiful, and a great attraction to many insects. Moths in particular, including the spectacular Elephant Hawk-moth. We know this, because this moth also loves Fuschias. (More in a moment).
Rosebay Willowherb is very successful at colonising waste ground. In America, it is known as Fireweed, in recognition of its ability to colonise areas destroyed by forest fire. Over here, it was known for a while as “Bombweed” – forming colonies on the bomb sites of London. It is not suitable for most gardens, and is at its best when viewed en-masse on railway embankments and such like.
Bobby once grew Fuschias in a greenhouse. One day, he saw a beautiful moth resting on the inside frame. So beautiful to him that he shut the windows and door to stop it flying away before he could show his entomologist friend. And then let it fly away.
Weeks later, he went into the greenhouse to check his Fuschia cuttings and was dismayed to find them destroyed. Replaced by giant caterpillars. His entomologist friend came and took them away. They mimicked their life style by burying themselves in the soil inside a butterfly jar.
He looked after them for nearly a year, until they emerged as beautiful Elephant Hawk-moths and were set free. The name coming from the caterpillar’s defence mechanism of retracting its elephant trunk like nose to make eye spots on its body more prominent and frighten predators away.
“From the Train Window” could become a regular item.
Lighting a Candle for Diddley