Plog 27th October 2012

October 27th, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

I always buy in bulk when I’m feeling flush (!) since shopping is not my favourite hobby. Today elevated by the brilliant autumn sunshine, I steamed down the hill to the Arabic supermarket in Easton for some brown chick peas – garbanzo beans with the husks still on.  It is easier for a pedestrian to purchase dried pulses rather than having to heave home tins of beans in plastic bags.  With pillows of pulses I practiced my weight lifting:  10kg brown chick peas on an uphill climb.

Passing through a place where four subways converge underneath an intersection of main roads, I called in at the public toilets and cheerfully commented to the lavatory attendant: “It’s a beautiful day!”  “Not for me it isn’t,” she told me.  “I have to manage all these toilets and once I’ve finished there are two other sets of loos I have to look after.”  She sounded quite jaded by it all.  On my way out, I suggested she might like to have a go at street sweeping.  You are out in the fresh air all day and usually get finished by 4p.m.

“Not any more,” she told me.  Her husband works on the street sweeping and they have a shift pattern now, which means he often doesn’t finish until 9 p.m.  We got talking about London, where I had a street sweeping job.  She loves London.  Her father used to live in the West End and they moved him to Cornwall during the Second World War.  He used to take her to Cornwall when she was little.  Now she works in the public toilets and wouldn’t want to change since she really loves her job.  I said working in the fresh air keeps you fit; but she was evidence that a person can stay perfectly healthy in  loo cleaning work.

When I left, her countenance had completely changed from when we first started talking.  She enthusiastically wished me a wonderful evening, and I went out into the sunshine.

Here is a poem I wrote during a self-righteous streak of my adolescent years:


Whitewashed and gleaming in the sunlight
Like a much disinfected lavatory.
Automatically the people advance
Pass through the series of subways and lifts -
Tubes and valves -
To the disenchanting cess-pool
Of an East-end slum.
The eyes of a tewlve-year-old
Inflated and purple.
The hair dry and scrawny.
Sparce . . .
In all but chemicals.
So you think she thrives, do you?
Thrives, on the lungfuls of fumes
From the new model exhaust pipe
Of an air conditioned Porsche de Luxe.
It is she who clears the grime
That we create.
Us constipated capitalists.
If you have any comments or poetry, scatological or otherwise, please do not hesitate to drop me a line.

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