My long hours of sleep have come to their natural conclusion and I slept for less than an hour and a half last night, disappointingly.
Baz the Rev was telling an anecdote about a recent visit to London, where he was quite disconcerted to be offered a seat by a young man on the Tube. I laughed hollowly and said I’d had the same thing happen myself and been grateful to accept it (I’m some years younger than Baz) – and I know I told you the most recent times because it was when I had a bad hip (though it was usually on the bus, because I couldn’t manage all the walking required on Tube journeys) – but I can’t remember whether or not I’ve ever told you about the first time it happened. And if I can’t, odds are you can’t either.
I had taken Ro to London for a day out – he was quite a little boy, four or so. It might have been before he started school, that being the reason El and Al weren’t with us. We’d had a splendid day, though I can’t remember what we’d done – probably his first visit to the Natural History Museum. We had walked a long way and we were both ready to flop. And we got onto the train and there was just one seat. I looked at him. “You sit down,” I told him, “You’re more tired than I am.” So he did, and a young man was sitting opposite him, wearing one of those massive rucksacks that goes right up behind your head, and I know that if I tried one of them I’d flounder under it and lie on my back like a stranded ladybird. But he leapt up and offered me his seat. I was embarrassed, said it was quite all right, but he was insistent, so I sat down. Then, of course, I had to tell Ro to get up and give him his seat. Then I invited Ro to come and sit on my lap. It was the most farcical comedy of good manners you could imagine, heaven knows what the rest of the carriage thought about it.