Tuesday, February 26, 2008

random meetings

I was dragged into 'the out' on Saturday, having spent much of my week s[k]ulking on the sofa. We walked to Plumstead where we didn't get books at the library and did get semolina flour from the Indian supermarket. On the way back we wandered the scenic route, and circled St Nicholas' church, wondering at its strange mush of styles and brickwork. We must have been pointing and staring, because a gentleman walking past us stopped and said 'it's a very old church'.

We stood and chatted to him for about fifteen or twenty minutes. He told us all about the church: built in 960, narrowly missed and damaged by a V2 in 1945, and then moved on to the school behind us where he 'got my first caning'. We learned of the deep shelters just up the road where passengers from the tram station could shelter, the pubs that used to stand every 50 yards up Woolwich High Street which his wife had had to go and retrieve her dad from as a child, of how he made it to school on the day of the V2 bomb along with two other children, how he and his friends rode a fire engine to a fire in Bostall Woods that they had reported, and how they had built fires in the woods themselves to bake potatoes while they played. His final tale was of how he would freewheel his bike down the street we were standing on and bang into the green phone box at the end of the road to stop. 'You got to stop somehow, haven't you?'

Then he wished us well and we him, and we went our separate ways. What a nice bloke.

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