Friday, 7 April 2017

Science

The most upsetting thing happened yesterday morning whilst I was sitting in my usual seat in Costa looking out onto the street. An elderly homeless man stopped for a while on the pavement, before very slowly sinking to the ground and lying on the pavement, cigarette still in hand. He lay there for some time, his icy blue eyes staring at the people passing by, all of whom ignored him. Eventually the cigarette fell from his hand and he fell asleep for a while, before hauling himself up again, the dribble dripping from his chin.

He started to cross the road but as he walked, his trousers fell down. He wasn't wearing pants. He tried desperately to pull the trousers back up, but he couldn't reach down far enough. He merely shuffled to the side of the road. People around him laughed. The sight was desperately upsetting. 

I worked until the early afternoon before hot-footing it down to Kensington. I'd been nursing a bruised ego all day, so figured the best thing to do to cheer myself up would be to spend a couple of hours with old friends at the Science Museum. Fortunately, like a chariot laden with beautiful chocolates, my university friend, Tanya had ridden into town with her brood, so all my wishes were granted.

It's the first time, I think, that I've visited the science museum. I may have been as a child, although I think we used to save up Persil tokens and take the train from Bedford to London to visit the Natural History Museum... not that I was ever into museums. I was certainly bored rigid when it came to science. But it was a lot of fun to wander around with the kids, whilst catching up with Tanya and Paul. We realised that T and I have known each other for 25 years. That feels insane to me. We're so old!

The kids were on good form, and it's a great museum. My favourite part was a wall of classic cars all piled up on top of one another. They seemed curiously small. I think perhaps British cars were rather little in the 1950s and 60s.

There were a series of cabinets which were filled with all sorts of 20th Century curios including a load of stuff like cameras, fly-mos, early computers and Chopper bikes which I instantly recognised from my childhood. In a cabinet from the earlier part of the 20th Century, I was very moved to see a 'cello which had been made out of packing crates by First World War injured soldiers during the Battle of the Somme. So many of those soldiers were desperate for music. I've read many adverts placed in newspapers asking people to send instruments to the front line so that the lads could form ensembles. It's actually those sorts of stories which inspired my song, "I Miss The Music" which I understand the Northants Youth Choir are still performing.

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