Thursday, July 11, 2013

If I had a photograph of you

Grange Girl and I were sitting on the grass atop the Priory ruins, trying to imagine the park covered  by an enormous festival. At present it was just us and a seagull.
“Do you know what I’m most looking forward to about the Mumfords thingy?” Grangey asked, taking out a sandwich wrapped in grease-proof paper. The seagull cocked his head expectantly.
“Um, going to sleep early as usual, despite the revelry yards from your window? Wait, don’t unwrap the sandwich yet, let me take a picture so I can show the kids what 1950 looked like.”
She raised a cynical eyebrow while I lined up my phone. “What devilment is this? A hand-held device that steals your soul…”
“Please don’t do the ‘new-fangled technology’ riff again, you’ve already hurt my pedometer’s feelings.”
“Well, honestly! A gizmo that counts your steps? This is how to tell if you’ve walked enough: when you’re ready for a nice early bed.”
I took a picture of her so I could show the children what 1850 looked like.
“So, what are you looking forward to re Mumfords?” I asked, unpacking my hoisin duck and endemame bean wrap.
“Tourists,” she murmured indistinctly through a cheese and pickle barrier.
“Tories? You’re saying the Mumfords will attract unprecedented numbers of Tories and you’re looking forward to that because… no, I’m going to need some help here.”
“Tourists, you cloth-eared clod. Probably some will be Tories, but that’s statistics for you.”
A middle-aged (eg slightly older than us) woman approached. She was definitely a tourist, but kept her politics to herself. After a few kind comments about our lovely town, she asked how to get to the castle. I let Grangey tell her. Directions aren’t my strong suit. I regularly turn the wrong way after leaving my own house. Nonetheless, people always ask me the way, perhaps working on the same principle as that which compels cats to seek the laps of the allergic. I have often inadvertently sent tourists into a perpetual loop round the one-way system. Some may still be there.
After receiving the Grangey instructions, complete with map coordinates, and recommendations for other sites of interest, the woman toddled off happily.
“See?” said Grangey, offering her crust to the seagull, who ignored it and looked at me. They have a taste for hoisin sauce, do Lewes seagulls.  “This festival is a brilliant opportunity to show off our town’s many wonders. I love sharing them with new people.” She leaned against her rucksack and pulled up her thick hiking socks.
I said, “They ought to employ you to promote Lewes. You look like you’ve stepped out from one of those Golden Age posters.”
“Like this, you mean?” Grangey whipped out an iPad mini and Googled a ‘Travel by Train Today!’ image. To my incredulous look she said, “I believe I have previously mentioned that I am large and contain multitudes.” She opened a Tupperware and offered me and the seagull a hard-boiled egg. We both declined.

 Beth Miller. Published in Photo taken from Wiki Commons.