The Shock of the Old

Wednesday 24th June

The town of Eymet is 13th Century, and much of that mediaeval architecture remains, so it is definitely old.  But for me Eymet is my new life, I left the old one behind me in London.  And though parts of London are as old or even older most traces have been erased, and even ‘Historic’ buildings like the houses of Parliament or Bank of England are by Eymet standards pretty new.  And I consider London my old life.

But I have returned, for five days only I can assure you, and mostly for work.  The plane lands at Stansted and you join the lines of returnees at Passport Control then out, grab a coffee and a train to Liverpool Street.  It is here that I always suffer the Shock of the Old, life that is.  Hundreds of people all rushing about, desperate to catch their trains home.  Madness really, but I did something like this for over forty years, twice a day, rushing to get to work and home again.  The daft thing is that there are trains on the tube every couple of minutes, and even commuter trains are pretty frequent but for some reason we simply have to get on the first one, squashed and no seat maybe, but like lemmings we all jump off the cliff of sanity together.  I had to go to my Restaurant to pick up three weeks of paperwork and then back to Liverpool Street and home to Walton.  I had to stand in the queue for a ticket with a Senior person’s discount.  I waited over twenty minutes and though there were four staff windows open the queue barely moved, they all seemed to be having complex and long conversations.  Now in Eymet no-one rushes and we all wait….but my train was about to depart and it was an hour for the next one so I risked it and got on without a ticket.  I was quite prepared to pay the full fare and a fine too.  Luckily no inspector got on, but you see I was swept up by the madness, the Shock of the Old.