This is Stanley Green who regularly patrolled Oxford Street, London between 1968 and up to 1993 when he died. As a teenager wandering around London on Saturdays, I probably came across this man a couple of dozen times (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Green). I was reminded of this quintessential English eccentric by three people I met over the last few days who unexpectedly engaged me in conversation. Unlike Stanley, whom my teenage self found unsettling. I can now sustain whole conversations with people who make me marvel, with whom I have very little in common, who are on a substantially different wavelength but are interesting, have integrity and an openness. It doesn’t take much effort on my behalf because I invariably like them and enjoy their brief company. At the same time I’m aware how difficult and lonely it can be for people who don’t easily conform to conventional social norms. Am I over thinking this? Can’t help it, readers! I take most people seriously most of the time until they demonstrate this is not a sensible thing to do. And most the people I can’t take seriously, do conform to social norms in their interactions. So bring on eccentricity, I say, but not too much of it all in one go.
Wimpole Estate parkrun today. The weather in my village was relatively mild but when we arrived at Wimpole it was much colder and the wind was cutting.The light was poor and if I was more forward thinking, I would have employed someone with a SAD lamp strapped to their back to run directly in front of me. It was also very muddy and several people required to be hoisted out of vicious swamps by the emergency services. Anyway, I was one of a number of survivors who managed to stagger back to the superior National Trust cafe where I indulged myself with a fruit scone, butter and jam and a lovely cup of coffee. I kept good company with friends and met or observed parkrun royalty who were visiting from Headquarters.
Only eight days before Cambridge half marathon which most of my family and running friends are doing. There will be none of the stupidity of last year when I failed to drink during the race, and after finishing, which resulted in dehydration, an inability to walk and a nice trip in a Landrover to the medical tent. How magical water is! It didn’t take too long to recover but I won’t repeat the mistake.