bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

A Frame Of Useless Limbs

Dear Rachel,

I find it’s best not to think about the things you are idly scratching off the ceiling of Northern Line tube carriages with your thumbnail as you travel southbound through the City.  Last week, however, I was scratching in this manner, vaguely aware that the substance I was idly flaking had very probably been in someone at some point in the recent past, and contemplating how a lady sitting nearby had managed to get her tights on while only having one arm.   The inoperative arm was still attached and there and everything, but in a sling, so I suppose she had a fighting chance, but it must still have been a bit tricky unless she had a husband to help.   I wondered what she would’ve done if she had hurt her arm halfway through putting her tights on, and whether in that situation you would either try and get them fully on or fully off before the ambulance arrived.  I like to think I would damn the torpedoes and finish the job, but I suppose I’ll never know for sure.

Before I had a chance to ask her, she disappeared into the general hit and sway at Warren Street station.  I was heading towards Tottenham Court Road for some general wheeling and dealing and ducking and diving, accompanied as usual on these missions by a yellow sack barrow with slightly misaligned wheels.  It has ‘Paul’s Trolley, East Yard, Camden Lock’ written on it, and comprises our entire vehicle fleet.  The fact that I haven’t traded in Camden Lock for a couple of years will testify to how old it is, and the identification scrawlings – exactly the same as those upon a similar barrow currently in a lock up in Lewisham – will testify to the futility of trying to stop Pikey Dave stealing your stuff.  The barrow takes some deft handling, as it tends to veer to the right, an eccentricity which gets more pronounced the more weight it is carrying.  This means that when carrying out delivery duty with it, it is vital to walk against the flow of traffic, or you’ll end up under a bus on Charing Cross Road.

As I shove and push and heft our vehicle fleet around the tunnels beneath central London, I often reflect upon how tricky it must be to negotiate Zone 1 in a wheelchair.   I reflect in particular upon the potential plight of a gentleman who sits in a wheelchair at Slough station watching the trains come and go.   I don’t know what disability he actually has – cerebral palsy maybe, or in any case one of the ones you’d rather pass up – but I always greatly moved and humbled when a train I am on goes past him as it lurches towards Paddington, as he is overcome with such joy that to see him is to see every species of human delight etched upon a single face.  I am on nodding terms with his companion, and the next time I see them I am going to point out that, if it isn’t too crass, I am adept at pushing heavy objects on wheels through the tube network, and therefore perhaps he would like to watch the Northern Line come at go at London Bridge, or the riot of locomotion that is Clapham Junction.  It would probably be wise to stand well clear of the wheelchair in this event, though, as I strongly suspect he would rocket skywards with excitement and enter geostationary orbit.

Twitter: Yawn.

Facebook: Lost a couple of people from the Facebook group this week, but then someone joined the fray, so we’ve levelled out at 117.


Top: Joe (left) and myself at his wedding.   My hair was the talk of Gloucestershire that day, and has remained so ever since.   I had had two bottles of wine at this point and felt well able to dispense avuncular advice and generally take charge of proceedings, which was fortunate considering I was the actual vicar.

Middle: Greenwich soft furnishings vendor with Buckley, his small daschund puppy.   Buckley always looks slightly worried, as if he is trying to work out how to save the economy or get more treats.   I wanted him to be called Mr Biscuits, but was overruled.

Lower: Soho Square.  Wheeling the vehicle fleet through here on a Monday morning, which is usually my first task of the week, is straightforward.

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