bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

Disproportional Representation

Dear Rachel

I was cornered on a train from London to the eastern provinces by a lady novelist for three hours last week.  If you’ve never happened across a lady novelist, it’s what pretty much all middle class girls want to be before a) deciding to be a journalist instead, then b) deciding to be an English teacher instead before finally c) keeping a blog about the novel they are writing instead, instead of actually writing it.    The only good thing about a blog of that kind is that it at least it avoids the Big Three blog subjects: Having A Baby, Having A Cat, or Having An Illness.   Come to think of it, this blog also avoids those things, although as it is largely concerned with me wandering through London market trading life in a state of appalled resignation, it avoids almost everything else, too.

Our unlikely convergence had been sparked by a phone conversation I was having with our e-commerce gnome, Gary.    It is customary for me to call him on a Monday morning after visiting my wholesaler, to discuss the weekend’s trade and sundry other topics, such as how we managed to get into this shambles in the first place, and how can we make it stop.    As is also customary, the conversation started with Gary listing all the things either going wrong, or about to go wrong, with the business.    ‘On the plus side’ I said, striving as ever to put some kind of positive spin on the situation ‘At least we’re not being ruined by malevolent Twitter assassins, which would be easy for them to do as we’re pretty much ruined anyway, and on top of that I’ve got a latte and some Welshcakes from AMT.   I always win, Gary.’   I was unaware that I was being eavesdropped upon by the lady novelist as she briefly removed her earphones to rummage in a suitcase.  Returning to her keyboard, she felt compelled to leave the poetry blog she was updating to write this on Twitter:

Listening to this guy behind me telling someone on phone about how easy it is to use twitter to ruin people and how he always wins… #wanker

It being Twitter, I had no idea of this at the time.   Having presumably taught me some kind of a lesson – albeit a lesson for which I was not actually in the classroom – she replaced her earphones and continued writing poetry.

As I alighted from the carriage, I noticed her apparently struggling with luggage.    Declining my offer of assistance, she explained that she was balancing various holdalls and laptops cases and so forth about her person prior to walking the entire length of the train towards a connecting service.   Finding that I was now wandering along beside her, and that furthermore I was catching the same connecting service to the same final destination, I asked what had brought her to this part of the country in the first place.   Her answer – ‘I’m burying my father tomorrow’ – left me slightly stumped and unsure where to go, conversation-wise.    ‘But it’s ok, as I’m a romantic novelist’ she added, qualifying which variety of lady novelist she was and possibly noticing me umm-ing and ahh-ing and looking at the roof in a suddenly fascinated manner.   I had never associated lighthearted whimsy with the death of a parent before, but decided to sound very much like I completely knew what she meant, in order to move the conversation, that I now realised I was going to be having for quite some time, along a bit.

We found our connecting service, and made ourselves comfortable at a table by the bicycle compartment.    Shortly after we had done so, I realised how far I am away from the sensibilities of a romantic novelist when she leaned forward and said, ‘Oh by the way – I called you a wanker on Twitter earlier’.   Myself, I’d have either deleted the tweet, or saved it as an amusing story to tell friends after the subsequent marriage that, if you are a romantic novelist, probably happens pretty much every time you find yourself talking to a stranger on a train.   For this to work, however, would require me to want to marry someone who has as their Twitter biography: ‘Artful….Sharing all things Artful with yahs….Smooches…xOx‘ and who claims their location to be ‘Planet Artful‘.   True love will always find a way, I’m sure, but in this case only if you bludgeoned it with a table leg and bundled it into the back of a van.   We actually got on rather well, and I must say that after a shaky start, she turned out to be quite a good larf, and very interesting.   As we parted company she mentioned the possibility of deleting the tweet if she thought it necessary.   I’ve just checked, and it’s still there, so I can only assume that the jury is still out.

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Photards – this week’s voyages into photography are:

Top: Coat made from a single blanket in 1940.   It belongs to a friend I think I’ve mentioned before, who is setting himself up as an Ornamental Hermit.   If you’re wondering how much it costs to hire an Ornamental Hermit, it’s £3,000 a month, and you need to provide some kind of grotto.   For that, he’ll wear ragged clothes and contemplate profound things for you, regardless of the weather.   Bargain.   He once wrote ‘Real Life Is Not Here’ on the specials board outside a sandwich shop in which he was employed, then sat in the bin until he got fired.   This was shortly after being expelled from school for smoking in the class photograph.   The man’s a walking anecdote.

Middle: My lavish lighting display at Greenwich Market.   These are inspection lamps for looking under cars, and because I always use bulbs which are far too powerful, they slowly melt over the course of a long day.   You can see where this has started to happen on the right hand one.

Lower: Dog willing discarded chips to fall within snaffling distance using the power of his mind, Greenwich Market.   In the end, I did it for him.   His owner, who was in the chip shop, told me that he does this sort of thing all the time with various combinations of foodstuffs and passers-by, and as a result enjoys a considerably more varied and interesting diet than he does.

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