Image and Reality

A quiet day. Bright sunlight. No wind. I cycled into town, waving to Louise, the school crossing lady on the way. We often chat about the fortunes of Oxford United, as we did today when I was on my way home. Her family has been in the town for 400 years. As well as football we also talked about the recent town hall meeting about new housing. I don’t think our town was ever planned but its growth can be charted by its buildings. From north to south they are mediaeval, Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian. From east to west they are Victorian, Edwardian and then 20th Century. But it’s all very compact.

‘Have a good weekend’, Louise told her charges as they crossed the road.  She’s been doing this job for more than 20 years. There are many among these youngsters today whose mothers she knew as children. Louise (not her real name) also cleans the town museum, once its Magistrates’ Court.

I pedalled on home, over the car-crushed fruit of the great conker tree near my turning.

I put my bike in the garage and went in. The house was silent. Mrs Llew was in the garden.

Sometimes, in our sitting room, I look out of the front window and there, in the glass, I see a reflection of Mrs Llew working in the back garden. An image of her stays with me from a few weeks back.  She wore a  summer dress, light blue, cotton, calf length and flowing. I’m fond of the dress and told her. She pointed out, as she has before,  that it was old …

An image may be a signpost to a reality.  And this image of Mrs L. does not fade.

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