Prior to leaving for station, encounter my dear friend, the mountain-climbing, yoghurt expert and book editor Rosser the T****r, for the first time since he moved in temporarily a week ago, prior to temporarily moving in with Christian fundamentalists in Teddington, prior to signing contract on new flat, jauntily galloping downstairs behind me. For a man of such towering intellect, seems to have difficulty computing that overcoat, boots and scarf, plus time of day, are suggestive of woman about to leave house for work. ‘Ask me again on Friday,’ Mr Rosser breezily replies, skedadalling doorwards when I ask him, over my shoulder, with chilly edge to voice that would put breeze up Emperor Penguin on Antarctic pack ice, How it is Going.
Walk to Esher station in high dudgeon. Temper not improved by normal palaver down Station Path – picturesque rural shortcut to station, running alongside Sandown Park racecourse, like tarmacked Green Lane, v pleasant when dry, blinking nightmare when it rains more than 1mm as gets flooded midway down. As has been raining pretty much solidly for a week, morning commute now involves picking up stranded worms from pavement and doing water jump across puddle on Station Path which, if lucky, does not result in soggy boots for rest of day when water come up over ankles. If very lucky, will actually remember not to take Path when it has been raining a gallon. Puddle extremely persistent for a puddle, having successfully seen off finest brains in Elmbridge Highways department whose high-level strategy to deal with issue normally is: throw some duckboards down on Path and get commuters to float across. Last winter, did bring in a Council bloke to dig drain on side of path, result, puddle as deep as ever, only no longer in situ for several days. Puddle in fact could do service as Sandown Park’s Water Jump. Manage to pick way across without ruining Italian boots so mood improves.
When train arrive, flounce into one of four empty seats in cosily over-heated train. At Surbiton eyeballs seared by fashion disaster plonking down opposite, young giant wearing ridiculous leather jacket studded at cuffs and collar by triangular chrome studs, and two hoods, neither of which attached to the jacket. One tight to the forehead, like a bandana, resting on eyebrows, the other like as a monk’s cowl. Bloke looks like medieval knight about to sally forth in tournament, sans horse and lance, in other words, like plonker. Only other blokes I’ve seen in this headgear are jockeys, trying to lose weight by turning outfits into mobile saunas.
Mood improves even more at Wimbledon Station when get hands on hot chocolate with cream on top though do draw line at extra chocolate on top of that though not at Kit-Kat.