Was I cut out to be a tourist guide?

John Ward
John Ward
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WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

Being the now accepted windy day as par the norm in recent times, a trip or even a journey into town was required. It’s interesting that the nowadays trendy description of a ‘journey’ covers everything from the antics of ‘never do wells’ to dodgy sounding life stories or in lot of cases, both. In my case my journey was the need to pop around and buy a few bits and bobs, pay this and that and I really needed the stuff anyway, but if it’s on offer, it could or may happen depending on what size it is.

Once in town and feeling a bit uneasy as there were no roadworks in operation along the route which gives you the time to sit among such holdups, either to wait, read or have time to do the crossword, although at times I could think of a few crosswords that did not involve any clues or skull scratching and so the journey went okay and I did get to park reasonably well, although the usual reversing out of a space malarkey in quite a few cases had all the aura of seeing contestants taking part on an obstacle course and can be quite entertaining.

The marked out lines or bays in parking areas are there as being a guide and not a form of gladiatorial challenge as some seem to consider it. Once parked and walking towards the shopping area, I was nearly run over by somebody who lowered his window to ask, among other things, did I know where I was going or was I blind and I tactfully pointed out that I knew where I was going and no I was not blind although I pointed out, at no extra charge, that those big white painted things on the ground called arrows - that’s a-r-r-o-w-s – are there to assist the motorist to drive along in their general direction as in one way traffic and not an indication that the Olympic Archery Team are in training nearby, so despite the very expensive car, it’s a shame the person driving it was not aware of this minor point and made me wonder how long they have been afflicted like this and more to the point, how they have survived so far.

Once away from doing my diplomatic mutterings, I got into the town centre and I was wondering was I still cut out for this mind numbing thing called Life when a lady approached with a little query - its small breed of dog I believe - and asked, I quote at this point, “Is this the town centre or is there more to it than this?”. She explained that she had come from Cambridge but had brought her mother, who lives in Peterborough, to see friends in the area and was basically killing a bit of time before picking her up to take her home so I assumed she was on a fact-finding mission to see how we survive in our natural habitat, although perhaps more tat than habi based on her observations so far.

On looking round and back at her I explained this was indeed ‘it’- the Luftwaffe were not recently responsible or involved in any way for its current disposition, although word has it they did include it in their last apology for the wanton destruction because as is the case, much like it was all those years ago, they were ‘acting under orders’ although time has moved on and instead of bombers coming over to do their dastardly deeds, it’s now more civilised and its called business rates, rents with the occasional burst of planning permission and Health and Safety restraints slung into the equation that has the same effect in that it also leaves buildings gutted and empty but happily still standing, or at least this is the situation in most cases.

I also pointed out that the Japanese were not involved due to the travelling, the cold weather we get this side of the globe, but that is being dependent on whose forecast or guesswork you believe in (to be honest at one time, I was more engrossed in the shirt the perceived weather forecaster or fortune teller was wearing plus the multi-patterned (usually) tie dangling down the front of it looking like a barber’s razor strip) plus they had now veered away from the destructive side and were more involved in making things, mainly electrical that are smaller, compact and very expensive if brought when first launched on an unsuspecting public although there is an alternative.

It’s perhaps best to wait, and this can take anything from mere days to weeks, until the mark two model comes out and buy the mark one, less trendy but usually cheaper by now. Undaunted by this general overall help in chosen areas of conversation, she then went on to ask had I ‘lived here all my life?’ and I replied that One, no I go home once the essential business that brought me into town has been done and Two, I have not had a ’life’ yet so it’s presuming a lot to ask ‘all my life’.

It was during this cultural exchange that it made me wonder could I have been cut out to act as a tourist guide or similar soothsayer?

Thinking back a year ago, my ‘personal best’ in helping folk could well be the gent who accosted me with a map of the North Circular road area - the London one - and to be honest, until he showed me this I was not aware such maps existed but there you go or rather you might have done if used in a proper manner.

His query was: How far was he from the said North Circular road area that he was pointing his finger at and on said map or ‘mip’ as he actually spoke in a language that was basically ‘Allo, ‘Allo’ speak as in the TV series.

He explained that he was ‘peeking (picking?) his ‘ant’ (aunt?) ‘hoop’ (up?) at ‘wone’ (one?) ‘oh-click’ (o’clock?) at, and he pointed at a well rubbed or smudged bit on the mip/map and looking at my watch, unless he had an ‘hoolychropter’ (helicopter) or whathaveyou, this was looking decidedly iffy, from his point of view as to get to ‘Loondoon’ (London).

I tactfully pointed out we were standing in Spalding, not a particularly well known suburb of ‘Loondoon’, and it was ten fifty three as in morning, same day, time-wise and so looking like a bit of challenge really. I will point out that I did furtively look round to make sure “Candid Camera” had not started back and this was a ‘set up’ but all seemed well.

I suggested he best get to the A16, then on to Peterborough and the A1 as in ‘big roods’ and then to ‘Loondoon’ and this was greeted by ‘wus his cur (car) facing the root way?’ and just to make sure, I looked again to see if the Candid Camera lot had just arrived late, but no sign of them yet.

He eventually went away, folding his ‘mip’ as he went and I have not seen him or his ‘mip’ since – thankfully.