Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Sidewalk Encounter

Olga and I were walking in Cricklewood yesterday morning when I spied a woman coming toward us on the sidewalk. She appeared to be singing and swinging a handbag and even doing a little dance or skip. She was in a very good mood.

As she got closer I realized she was part singing, and part talking to herself. Brown hair, mid-40s, long gray sweater, a little rough around the edges. When she came close to us, she looked me in the eye, put her hand on my arm, and said:

"I used to ride horses. I'm a transsexual kind of bitch."

And then she kept going. Some workmen were nearby on a road project, and they all laughed. Every once in a while I'd glance down the sidewalk and she danced all the way to the corner, and even turned and did a little finger-in-the-air Travolta pose before turning onto the next street.

OK, I know it's mean to make light of someone's mental illness or drug abuse or whatever, but still. I admit it. I was amused. When I came home and told Dave about it, he said, "Well, you've got your blog post for tomorrow."

I spent the rest of the morning weeding the garden and planting more seedlings. We have a terrible weed here called dock that is a nightmare to control. It grows everywhere from seeds that can remain viable in soil for years, and it develops a long taproot like a carrot. You've got to remove the root or the weed will just grow back, and it's very hard, if not impossible, to pull up. You've got to dig it out.

So that's what I was doing. I think we had about a thousand dock plants out there. Now we have approximately 978. (You can appreciate the enormity of the task.)

That leaf in the photos, by the way, is not dock. It's just a cool leaf I found on the street.

I also planted a bunch more seedlings, and I have still more to go, although I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I think we're going to give some of the hollyhocks to a co-worker of Dave's who just got a new place with a garden, and I may give some to my friend Sally too.

I thought Olga would be happy after our long morning walk, but she began getting squirrelly in the afternoon so I took her to the Heath. I felt like hell after working in the garden but we managed to get through OK -- we were both dragging by the end. She's been asleep pretty much ever since. As I always say -- my objective is to exhaust the dog!


  1. This was going to be my comment:-

    I suspect that you have mis-remembered the street scene and that it was actually you yourself who called out, "I used to ride horses. I'm a transsexual kind of bitch."

    But then I guessed that you might find this silly remark quite offensive so I changed my mind and decided to write this instead:-

    Dock leaves are good for soothing nettle stings.

  2. I have to say that lately I have got a bit fed up with reading most of my blogs, they are usually of the same ilk.
    But, yours is always a breath of fresh air and I love it.
    The leaf is beautiful and makes me want to try to produce it in embroidery.
    In my opinion you should be up for a blog award.
    By the way, if you want eccentricity you need look no further than Brighton, lol, but I love it.

  3. Perhaps life is simply one example or another of trying to rid ourselves of what we perceive as the unwanted whether rooted in our gardens or ourselves.
    It's certainly true for me.
    "I used to ride horses. I am a transsexual kind of bitch."
    Wouldn't that be a perfect first-line for a novel? Or memoir?

  4. perhaps your encounter was not mentally ill, just someone who is perfectly comfortable with who they are and was in a very good mood. still too much rain here to do anything in the garden. I have zinnia seedlings to plant but I'm waiting for them to get a little bigger.

  5. With all the activity going on in your garden , I keep wondering, what would Dave do if he lived on an acreage.

  6. Slip of the tongue in the last post. Dave should be Steve. Sorry.

  7. Now that was one very strange encounter. The world is full of interesting people, isn't it? I happen to be in Oregon this weekend with seven friends. One is a great artist and I can picture him crafting a piece of art from your leaf image.

  8. I love chance comments like hers
    I once too a psychiatric patient out who said to a saleswoman in a department store out of the blue
    " I knew Hitler you know know...he had a massive dick!!"

  9. Reads like an interesting day Steve a chance encounter with a free spirit who dances and sings down the street spreading joy is ok in my books. Magic moments in the city enjoy
    your weekend.

  10. I think Olga's objective is to exhaust YOU!

  11. Your dock sounds a bit like our Japanese knotweed. Thank goodness we have none on our property yet, but it grows along the river bank not far from us, so it's probably only a matter of time. The closer you mow them to the ground the more they spread. They have a huge underground root system too.

    There is a kind of irony in describing a dog as squirrely, isn't there? lol

  12. YP: LOL -- you'll have to try harder than that to offend me! (I know I shouldn't issue this challenge, but there it is.)

    Briony: Well, thank you so much! It's a huge boost to know my daily rambling gives someone a sense of enjoyment. If you do anything with that leaf, let me know! :)

    Ms Moon: That line is definitely a good story opener! I suppose we can want to rid ourselves of the undesirable, but it's not always possible, is it?

    Ellen: I'm pretty sure this wasn't just happiness. But at least she WAS enjoying herself!

    Red: We could stand to have a bit more space than we have now -- and as I've often said, by London standards, we have a big garden -- but I'm not sure I'd want a ranch!

    Sharon: Have fun in Oregon! Are you posting from there?

    John: Ha! That's awesome.

    Comox: One of the best things about living in a city is all the characters out and about! And you're right, at least she was having fun and sharing it with us all.

    Catalyst: Ha! Well, that's a good point! Who's in charge here?!

    Jenny-O: We have no knotweed on our property, thankfully, but it's a huge problem in Britain. There's some down the street from us, growing in the driveway of a vacant house. I keep thinking someone needs to take care of that problem pronto! And yes, describing Olga as squirrelly is definitely a sort of inside joke. :)