As we got underway towards the city, I deliberated on the fact that my true place in life is now surely in the garden, trimming the privet hedge or mowing the lawn, or indeed, hitting golf balls with divine ferocity down the fairway – or simply being anywhere that my retirement status allowed me to be, this whilst others observed their eight-to-five responsibilities – I’ve been there already, I have also been to Soweto, in both cases, I now have no desire to return to either!

Why oh why did I breach the rules, comebacks are for deluded former boxers and long-forgotten crooners after all – not me, surely I waited too long for retirement bliss – and yet, there I was, part of a human tidal wave of mournful looking souls, those with about as much charisma and enthusiasm as that of someone awaiting execution.

Before too long, the irritating, ubiquitous tones of mobile phones started to saturate the carriage, thus making my attempt to enter into a decent Zen-like trance, pretty much unattainable, not improved by the fact that my choice of conveyance started to jump and lurch its way through a thicket of signals, then bumpily spurted past the outer suburbs of the city like a runaway horse.

Once the speed settled to a steady rocking, incomprehensible announcements spluttered forth about the whereabouts of the refreshment car and would the Chief Steward please make his way to some ill-defined location on the train – my quest for inner peace was doomed to failure from the very start – oh to be at home pruning my gladiolas!

The middle-aged lady who sat directly opposite me enjoyed more success in ‘switching-off’, she extracted from her handbag, two pills – a brand-named sedative and a homeopathic palliative, within seconds her eyes closed – and for the remainder of our unpleasant journey, she entered what can be best described as a period of yogic medication – I was immediately consumed with envy.

I recall my mother telling me that they used to have signs erected in railway stations during World War 2, asking of everyone who intended to take a trip; ‘Is your journey really necessary?’, it was almost as if the then Government, were nagging at people to reconsider their intended plans to travel.

Was my own journey really necessary on that indifferent day? I guess ‘No’ is the simple and straightforward answer, however, I had been assured that my attendance at the Army seminar, would see me partake in a delightful lunch – accompanied with some tasty liquid examples of Australian grape growing, and my expenses had been [thankfully] guaranteed.

But there was certainly no pot at gold at the end of my trail that day, truth be told, in the financial sense, there was not even enough profit to interest a Sunday Car Boot vendor, my reason for attending the convention was to broaden further my archaic mind – and to eventually ‘cash-in’ through producing a 10.000 word analysis for the MOD’s training mechanism.

Simple?…well, no, not really – as the minutes dragged by – it dawned on me that my retirement was actually a most splendid state-of-grace – I cursed myself for believing otherwise!

As ‘Platform Ten’ suddenly appeared directly to my left at Waterloo Station, I prayed briefly that my former survival instincts would kick-in as days gone by – and comfortably propel me through the station crowds towards a ‘standing-only’ position on the London Tube, this towards my final destination in the city center.

As I fleetingly stared at my fellow passengers, it struck me that a large proportion of them were incapable of hurtling through any thoroughfare, be it station or street, they just didn’t appear to be physically able.

Three of them must have had long-standing problems with furried arteries, coupled with a fear of bypass surgery, which could only impose further physical restraints on them – I doubted very much any member of this trio had even reached his or her fiftieth birthday – ‘Greasy Lil’ had much to answer for, I figured.

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