As an observer of the absurd, I don’t know if I attract situations that make me laugh. Or if it’s just that I notice them. Or maybe they’re not that funny. And I’m the one who’s absurd. Answers on a postcard, please.
On Saturday we travelled up north to my nephew’s wedding. We were kind of seething with London transport because – despite careful planning – we missed our train out of Euston station. And in the UK, you cannot change a ticket you’ve booked in advance for a particular train.
So, safely on a freshly-booked train – eventually – I went to the on-board shop to buy some coffee to calm our nerves. I placed my order with the guy, he had a Saffa accent, and of course I had to comment on it. My sons think I have a compulsion in those kinds of situations, and I have to say something. Hmmmm. to that, I say: judge for yourselves.
As we were comparing notes of where we came from, a lively northern Irishman – whom we’d encountered a little earlier on the train – decided to join in the conversation.
He said, “South Africa!” It was more of a statement than any meaningful contribution to the conversation. So, the train chap said to him, “Oh, do you come from South Africa too?” To which he replied, “Naw.” He could have left it at that, but our Saffa went on, “Oh. So where do you come from?” The intrepid comedian answered, “Me mo’her.” And this is how it went from there:
Comedian: “Me mo’her.”
Saffa: “Sorry? So, are you her … husband?” (pointing at me)
Saffa: “So where do you come from?”
Comedian: “Me mam.”
Saffa: “Oh, so your mum comes from South Africa?”
At which point I beat a hasty retreat, and thought I would leave the two of them to continue to chuck meaningless words at each other like paper aeroplanes that never landed. But at least it made me laugh. And laugh.
So we eventually arrived in our northern town, checked in at our lovely guesthouse and were welcomed by the most friendly, kind and interested guesthouse owner ever. Nosy, in fact. But in a world where no-one really gives a darn, nosy is ok. And I’m not one who’s known for being short on conversation. So we did well together. Despite the fact that her hearing was not great and we did chat a few times at completely cross purposes. Sometimes it felt like paper aeroplanes too, but I busked and formed questions to fit what she was telling me. In retrospect.
Breakfast in a guesthouse is something else. It’s all so quiet – all the other guests (all four of them) always seem to know each other, and chat about their experiences of the town they’re visiting. And it seems that they visit at the same time every year. To do the same things. But to visit different restaurants. Just not the Italian ones. When they learnt that we lived in London, one couple said they didn’t really like London too much. And he said he couldn’t “be doing with the M1”. I didn’t know anyone ever said they couldn’t be “doing with” anything – but clearly people from Chester do!
The wedding was fabulous, but I’m not going to write about it here. Suffice to say, the sun shone on the beautiful young couple, and we were very glad to be there to share the day with them.
Sunshine signing off, till next time!