Friday, February 19, 2010
snake-pit, gamble, cakes
Cables weaving and burrowing beneath the pavement seem also to be looking for a purpose.
For many years now I have visited the dentist in Sevenoaks. When I had a car, there was no problem. Without a car, the train seemed the best way of getting there. But this meant a walk from Sevenoaks station up the steep hill to the the town, or a taxi. There is a bus service from Tunbridge Wells to Sevenoaks, and but some years ago it demonstrated its unreliabilty in dramatic fashion. First, the bus did not turn up and when it did an hour later, it broke down, and turned a 50 minute journey into one which lasted three and half hours. No way of travelling if you have an appointment. The bus does, however, stop outside the dentist. Recently we have formed the habit of taking the bus on the way home, a journey made all the more pleasant by the free bus-pass given to oldies like us. Yesterday, I thought that it would be worth the gamble of taking the bus in both directions. The 402 is scheduled to leave Tunbridge Wells railway station on the hour. I think to myself that if it is late, I can still fall back on the train. The bus is late. If I am to take the train, I must buy a ticket and be on the platform by five past to be sure of not missing it. I do not want to be defeated and at 11.05, I decide to stick it out. By 11.10 I am wondering whether the next train plus a telephone call to warn of lateness will save me the embarrasment of missing my appoinment with Tim, the dentist, who I have know for about 15 years and would not want for the world want to upset. At 11.11, the bus arrives. There are no traffic jams and no breakdowns. The driver puts his foot down to make up time. He drops me in Sevenoaks High Street at 11.50. There is time to do a couple of chores before the dentist. And when I turn up there I feel like Phileas Fog arriving at the Reform Club in London to collect his £20,000 wager for travelling round the world in 80 days.
Outside a restaurant in the Pantiles is notice "serving coffee and a selection of cakes". It strikes me at first that selection is entirely superflous, but on further thought realize that the word implies care and thoughtfullness. The cakes are not any old cakes.