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On Not Being a Felon

As you already know I’m currently a little wandering nomad, flitting hither and thither until I can roost permanently in my new home in Wapping.

I went away for a few days to Stratford-upon-Avon (expect some moony-eyed lyrical blogs about the beauty of the countryside &c, shortly). Following this I made my way to my current demesne, the house of a friend who is at present out of the country.

Or at least, I thought I did. Sunday afternoon found me and one rather large heavy suitcase struggling up the walkway of a place bearing the number of my friend’s house. There had been some confusion with the taxi driver, so I was glad to be free of the overheated little car. Normally I consider taxis an extravagance roughly on the order of travelling by hot-air balloon, but I had many small fiddly parcels as well as my rather large heavy suitcase, and it appeared the trip from Bow to Blackheath by public transport would have involved a logistical exercise resembling the order of complexity of, say, the Discovery mission to Mars. So, taxi it was. But along the way my taxi and I became befuddled by a sign that said ‘to the Keep.’ Did this mean we were at the Keep, or that we were merely in the Keep’s vicinity?

The keys and I, we had a disagreement with the lock. In fact, it became increasingly clear that the keys and I were not at the right door. A rosy flush of embarrassment began to permeate my cheeks, and my eyes, I fancy, took on the shifty look of a person attempting a felony. Keys, suitcase, parcels and I tiptoed in an attitude of retreat back down the front walk.

Fortunately I was able to accost a passing jogger. (It’s a slippery slope when you’ve started on the road to crime.) The jogger, a kindly middle-aged man, pointed me in the right direction and told me everyone was always getting confused by that blessed sign.

I arrived, at last, at what was truly the right and proper door. I hoped.

And yet, me and my keys made no further headway. As I stood there, in front of the second door that was refusing to yield to my careful ministrations, I began to feel very small, and very, very much out of place. With my backpack straps straining against my shoulders I thought of Henry David Thoreau’s grand ode to the transcendance of traveling light, to leaving behind the material objects which strangle us, in ‘Walden’. I was about to skulk ignominously back down the second front walk of the day when I had a sudden revelation: I was using the wrong set of keys.

Gleefully, though with the still overhanging feeling that there remained the potential for mayhem to ensue, I scrabbled in my bag and produced–yes!–the RIGHT set of keys. Mercifully the keys confirmed that I was at last in the right place.

And now? Cup of tea in a typewriter mug, comfy sofa, and the sound of the wind in the trees. It’s good not being a felon.

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