Berks

On way home from work, stop off at Marks and Spencer’s and purchase, after great deliberation, thermal vests, knickers, blouse and slippers for aged mother so that winter does not catch her unawares in her nursing home in freezing North Yorkshire. Am laden with other shopping like dromedary on Silk Road heading for Samarkand and shattered after long day at work. Sink gratefully on seat surrounded by bags at Oxford Circus Tube station. Tube trains arrives and leap on just in time having scrambled together shopping bags.

Stand in doorway on train, in perfect position to observe, as doors close, that have made tragic error, and left behind Marks & Spencer’s bag on seat. Realise have been total berk and can now kiss goodbye to M&S bag as no chance bag will not be swiped. Frantically jump off train at Piccadilly Circus after interminable journey from Oxford Circus, run up southward Bakerloo platform, rush desperately in interminable search of northward bound Bakerloo platform, catch train back to Oxford Circus, get off train and hurry back to southward bound Bakerloo platform. Although have not prayer of finding bag, hope springs eternal and cling to memory of having left wallet with Annual Season Ticket on wall outside entrance to South Kensington tunnel one torrid morning in early summer, where it was left unmolested by approximately 0.5 million visitors to the South Ken cultural hub.

However, when get back to southward bound Bakerloo platform, no bag in evidence. Has either been nicked by sub-human or else Tube employee has taken it to send to Lost Property. However, unless Tube employee Invisible Man or Woman, second scenario unlikely as no Tube employee in evidence on platform. Mooch grumpily up and down platform scanning seats, and under seats, scowling.

Leave Oxford Circus and scowl all way to Waterloo station. Take up escalator from tube to station concourse. Am behind girl who is behind bulky middle-aged bloke.

As ascend, bulky middle-aged bloke suddenly topples in slow motion backwards down escalator into me. Have flash back to little old lady’s backward swan dive down escalator earlier in summer. Feel sure must be cardiac arrest. Grab bloke’s jumper to arrest fall, but he continues to plummet backwards behind me down escalator.

As escalator continue to ascend, and bloke knocks people behind me down like nine pins, girl on step ahead of me turns and says, serenely:

‘I can’t apologise enough.’

Bloke, it seems, has had ‘a drink’.

Bloke, who it appears is girl’s father, picks himself up, and without a care in the world, gets back on the escalator, and then trots off across the Waterloo concourse with as steady a pace as a dromedary carrying the Queen of Sheba.

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