Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Lucy in Wimbledon


Last Saturday I went up to Wimbledon to meet my nephew M--- and his girlfriend C--- for lunch. And this is a picture of myself about to tuck into some regular pub grub. Not very dainty fare, perhaps, but it's what I like to eat in ordinary pubs (as opposed to pubs that are really restaurants). However, do note the gin and tonic. I don't usually slurp pints nowadays, although teleport me to a country location such as Wiltshire and I'll try the local brew with relish. And why not?

I suppose the point of the photo is to show that I am not just a demi-mondaine who prowls the tolerant LGBT-soaked atmosphere of Brighton, and more specifically Kemp Town, but I venture out in to the wider world. That day it was the Smoke. And I went up by train. And this leads up to a little anecdote. I drove as far as Dorking, parked, bought a return ticket, and then looked for a ladies toilet because I was busting to go. On the main platform the gents was fully-functioning, but the ladies/disabled was locked - out of action because of 'vandalism'. There were 15 minutes till the waiting train left, so I had time to check it out for onboard loos. Hells bells, there were none! What to do? I'd never survive the onward journey to Wimbledon without a plumbing disaster. Well, there was an 'Information' office back on the main platform, wherein dwelt a gruff old geezer making announcements. Hmmm. He's going to say, 'Why arsk me, mate? Use the bloody gents, you wuss'. And all the time there's me, all girly as in the photo, complete with Prada handbag. Still, there was nothing for it but to try or die.

'Excuse me,' I said in my softest voice, 'Are there any toilets I can use?'
'You mean ladies toilets? Nah, they're closed. But if you step through here you can use the ones at the back, through that door.'
'Thank you very much.'
And I tottered into the building, not believing my luck. They were really quite nice toilets, too.
'Thank you so much,' I said sweetly to him as I emerged.

Well now, he didn't seem aurally impaired, nor blind, nor a fool. So what goes on? I couldn't quite believe that I had passed so easily. And yet if he thought I was an obvious tranny he wouldn't have helped. I pondered on this all the way up to Wimbledon. I was still pondering as I killed time looking at Italian jackets in Ely's department store, and then when standing outside the station entrance while M--- and C--- arrived. And I pondered again when, late in the afternoon, I had to wait 40 minutes on platform 8 at Wimbledon for the Dorking train. The only explanation had to be that he hadn't clocked me, any more than the people on platform 8 had clocked me, not even with 40 minutes in which to see past the hair and clothes. Very, very encouraging!

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