It is good to meet up with friends and work colleagues. It is comforting to be with those with whom you have a shared history. Especially when you are getting on a bit.
I found one such group of colleagues that met monthly for lunch at a club not too far from where I lived and having gone to one lunch, I thought I would go to a second.
A journey by train and bus was required, however.
I had it all planned.
So, washed and scrubbed and wearing my favorite ‘bomber’ leather jacket (with the wool fleece collar), I set out for a brisk stroll to the station, where my journey would begin.
There was just one thing. I had run out of my blood pressure medicine, so on the way I had to stop at the pharmacy to restock.
No problem. I had allowed time.
One thing I hadn’t allowed for was that it was pension day so the pharmacy was full of old people getting their medications.
Battling walking sticks and frames and something resembling a geriatric mosh pit, I eventually got to hand my prescription in and was told to come back in about 30 minutes, seeing as they were very busy. I could see that.
No problem. I will miss the train I was aiming for so I won’t get to my destination of history sharing friends by mid day. Never mind I’ll only be thirty minutes late. I’ll read the paper and have a coffee while I wait and then get the next train.
Time’s up. I return to the pharmacy to discover they had mislayed the script. After it was rediscovered, I was invited to come back in 15mins.
No problem I should still make the next train.
Eventually, armed with my drugs and the recently acquired newspaper, I set out for the station arriving just in time to see my train disappearing despairingly down the track.
No problem. I will miss out on pre lunch drinks but I’ll get there for lunch.
Having got the next train and arriving at the station where I transfer to the bus, I set out on the short walk to the bus stop.
That’s when the rain started. The weather forecast hadn’t mentioned rain.
Putting the newspaper on my head in a somewhat futile attempt to keep dry, I strode on down the ‘street with no shelter’. Getting wet.
I had to cross a side street to get to the bus stop. The bus emerged from the side street and stopped at the bus stop. I, on the other side of the street, was unable to get across to it. Thwarted by traffic lights and endless traffic. The bus disappeared despairingly down the road.
There was beginning to be a problem.
The next bus available wasn’t going to quite take me to the club. There would be a short walk at the other end.
I would miss lunch but at least I would get there and have a few drinks. I should be able to get a packet of nuts or something.
The next bus duly arrived and deposited me a short walk away in the unannounced rain.
Off I went, newspaper on head, down the street with occasional shelter.
At last I arrived at my much anticipated citadel of historic friendships.
With my newspaper, which by this stage was paper maché, in my hand, my wool fleece collar oozing rain and leaving a trail of wet footprints with the occasional drip of water across the vestibule I announced to the receptionist, “I’m here for the lunch where do I sign in?”
She looked at me quizzically.
“Oh!” she said, “that was last week”.