Sunday, 10 February 2013

Tubular circles

The party seems to have been a success.  Half a dozen girls and one boy (the boyfriend of one of them) stayed until noon to clean the bungalow thoroughly, which seems a bit depressingly gender-clichéd - I should say, a number stayed over, don't know how many.  I went out to sidesman at the early service, then into town to pick up the paper and, coming back down the drive, one lad was just setting off on foot.  I picked him up, turned the car round and drove him into town.  A completely unsuitable denim jacket, he'd have been freezing.

My long hours of sleep have come to their natural conclusion and I slept for less than an hour and a half last night, disappointingly.

Baz the Rev was telling an anecdote about a recent visit to London, where he was quite disconcerted to be offered a seat by a young man on the Tube.  I laughed hollowly and said I'd had the same thing happen myself and been grateful to accept it (I'm some years younger than Baz) - and I know I told you the most recent times because it was when I had a bad hip (though it was usually on the bus, because I couldn't manage all the walking required on Tube journeys) - but I can't remember whether or not I've ever told you about the first time it happened.  And if I can't, odds are you can't either.

I had taken Ro to London for a day out - he was quite a little boy, four or so.  It might have been before he started school, that being the reason El and Al weren't with us.  We'd had a splendid day, though I can't remember what we'd done - probably his first visit to the Natural History Museum.  We had walked a long way and we were both ready to flop.  And we got onto the train and there was just one seat.  I looked at him.  "You sit down," I told him, "You're more tired than I am."  So he did, and a young man was sitting opposite him, wearing one of those massive rucksacks that goes right up behind your head, and I know that if I tried one of them I'd flounder under it and lie on my back like a stranded ladybird.  But he leapt up and offered me his seat.  I was embarrassed, said it was quite all right, but he was insistent, so I sat down.  Then, of course, I had to tell Ro to get up and give him his seat.  Then I invited Ro to come and sit on my lap.  It was the most farcical comedy of good manners you could imagine, heaven knows what the rest of the carriage thought about it.  

8 comments:

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Z. Glad to hear you're feeling a bit better.
The last few times I've travelled in a full tube train I've been offered a seat by a youngster. In one sense I'm sorry that it's become obvious that I'm old enough to need this offer; but I do find it cheering that there are youngsters who have good manners and good will enough to make the offer.

Ros said...

Londoners used to be taught to give up their seats to pregnant or elderly ladies, the infirm, and people with young children.

However, the day I rose momentarily from my seat to hit the man exposing himself opposite me with a rolled up copy of the Evening Standard, a city gent was in my seat, face buried in the FT before I could say "W----R".

I am glad that chivalry exists once more.

janerowena said...

We have always made annual pilgrimages to London to see plays, visit museums etc., and I still find it hard when my son gently shoves me in the direction of an empty seat rather than me sending him towards one. Also when he takes heavy bags from me - I feel I should be taking his from him. Even though he is now 6' and I am 5'2". Yes, people always used to give their seats up to me while the children were small enough to sit on my lap.

Sablonneuse said...

So pleased to see you're still posting regularly. It's ages since I popped in for a visit. I was almost tempted to start blogging again as I'm in the process of adopting a dog (rescued form Eastern Europe with an interesting story to tell) but with all the extra walking there just isn't time . . . . .

Tim said...

Chivalry, there's a word to ponder.
Your Ro story was heart-warming, but as you suggest, good manners can easily tip into confrontation. 'I am politer than thou! and you better believe it, or ...'

Z said...

It's when you're given a seat by a young woman that you really feel old, Mike. But one must never embarrass them by saying no, of course.

I'd love to think you *accidentally* sat right down on him, Ros.

I love it when my sons carry stuff for me, Jane - and when Ro took me out for lunch for my birthday, it felt wonderful!

Sandy! How lovely to hear from you. Surely you could manage the odd update sometime, I'd really love to know how things are going.

It was just as well no one else was standing, Tim, it could have been a slow game of musical chairs!

Hang on, I've been signed out - I've got to fill in WV on my own blog!

mig said...

That's brilliant story - I can just imagine it.
I fondly recall Eldest, aged about 15, coming back across the lawn to relieve me of some shopping bags, saying "Oh I had to come and help - you looked so little and old". I would have been about 45 at the time.

Z said...

It's a sudden jolt when you realise that your children believe they are there to look after you, rather than you look after them. But once you adjust to it, it's absolutely lovely. And of course, you look after them too.