I hadn’t yet been given the nickname ‘Drip’ but this is as good an illustration as any of why I eventually earned it.
It was probably my ninth summer, back in the days when we had a lot more freedom both to wander at will and to make mistakes. My mistake wasn’t, as it happened, life-threatening, even though the last decision I made went against the only ‘beware of’ instruction I remembered receiving from my parents.
It was like this. I’d caught, on a warm and sunny afternoon, a bus to the nearest small town. (Ware, it was which, to those that didn’t know it, caused a string of daft and repetitive questions, which would have out-Pythoned Monty had he been around at the time).
Somehow, I’d spent more money that I should have and so didn’t have enough for the bus fare home. So I walked about a mile to what I thought was a suitably far enough away bus stop to eat up the difference in fare. Having arrived, I then looked at the timetable to see when the next bus was due (country buses were on the infrequent side). It took me some time to understand that the reason the timetable wasn’t making any sense to me was not because I couldn’t read it but because I didn’t own a watch and had not the faintest clue what the time was.
When that dawned on me I started walking, taking a longer route than necessary because I didn’t know the short cuts. So it was probably something more than four miles I walked, all the way through Stanstead Abbotts.
When a car stopped and offered a lift I studied them only briefly – a couple older than my parents, grey-haired and obviously anxious to be helpful. I accepted, gratefully and sat on the green leather seat, trying hard not to cry with relief and hoping they wouldn’t notice that my hands were so sweaty that they picked up the dye off the green leather seats
Plot Thickens (Thursday) a decision based on not enough information