01 April 2012

Never Sleeps

The other day I was meeting Inge de Bruin in Bayswater to try out rock climbing. More on that later, much later, so much later that you all will have forgotten that I said, "More on that later" or, if you haven't forgotten, I can plausibly deny ever having made such a wild and fanciful undertaking. And I will. That's a promise I can keep.

Look. If you must know. Let's just say indoor rock climbing may not be my metier and be done with it.

Anyway, none of this is the point! "Why, hazelblackberry," you say, "if not, then, pray tell, what is the point? We are all ears. Or, in this instance, eyes."

Here's my point. I arrived at the rendezvous early, and noticed that I'd happened to park opposite a lovely lot full of scrappy, rusty old junk, which also had the look of a fire having rrrrripped through it. As fires are wont to do. So I got out of the car to stare in wonder and appreciation at all the lovely rust, and to take a few pics.

I was lost in my own little world and it took me a moment to realise that a rather grizzled gentleman, of indeterminate age but decidedly determinate grizzliness, had pulled up at the kerb alongside me.

"Excuse me," he said, "what are you up to there?"

"I'm taking photos."

"Yeah, I can see that. But what are you up to?"

"Up to? I'm not up to anything. I'm taking photos."

"I own this place. I've had stuff stolen."

"Well, I'm not stealing anything. I'm taking photos." (I added to myself: I'm using the camera to steal the souls of all your lovely rusty things.)

He harrumphed. You know, in real life you rarely hear people harrumph so I confess to being a little charmed by the experience. Then he drove off.

Obviously not a terribly trusting man he reappeared not long after.

"You say you're taking photos?"

"Yes, I do and I am."

"I've had stuff stolen you know."

"You did mention that."

"What are you taking photos of?"

"The rust."


"Yes, rust."

"Are you an inspector or something?"

"No, I just rather like rust."

With another suspicious look, he drove away again.

As though he'd written this very three-act play himself, he returned a few minutes later, his metaphorical gun loaded and ready to go.

"Excuse me."

"Yes." (Or, as Bloody Ern might once have said, "Cobber, I excused you the first time I saw you.")

"Can I ask you something?"


"What's so good about rust?!"

With that, Inge de Bruin appeared and I was able to make my exit. "It looks good," I said. What I should have done was pointed to a couple of old chairs and lamps and added, "Though possibly not as interior decoration."

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