The Differing Men From the Tip and the River Avon

Posted on January 11, 2014

One thing that sprung to my attention today was that amongst the hours of wallpaper stripping, hole filling and mending leaks whilst causing several more, is the lack of social interaction I have had recently.

This became apparent today when I realised that the person I have had the most conversations with lately was a bitter and angry man who had taken enough wrong turnings in life to end up director of operations at the local refuse tip.

Today, as he told me that it was typical that “The fucking sun is shining when no one is here, but when it was pissing down, everyone turned up” I thought that. on my umpteenth visit, we may be close to first name terms.

However, I blew our blossoming relationship of middle aged bitterness by inadvertently throwing cardboard into the wood skip, resulting in a cursory glare accompanied by a volley of industrial language under his breath as he angrily retrieved the remnants of my biblical error of judgement.

It dawned on me that he didn’t like me because during my numerous visits, I have only offered the scavenging bastard cardboard boxes and strips of wallpaper as a potential gift to compensate for his paltry income.

I have decided that as a punishment for his rejection of my friendly nature, tomorrow I am going to drive down there with my £400.00 mountain bike, before taking it out of the car and wheeling it towards him then  promptly putting it back in and driving off.

Not to be deterred by my failure of finding a new friend at the rubbish tip, I headed into Ringwood so I could take some perverse pleasure looking at the flooded banks of the River Avon that have caused misery to so many people but gleefully, not me.

The Flooded Banks of the Avon Basked in Winter Sunshine

The sight of these riverside homes on the precipice of disaster paled the pool of water on my kitchen floor into significance somewhat and as I walked along the bank I was soon in conversation with a man of about sixty.

It soon turned out that he was a born and bred Ringwood old boy whose hobbies included cricket, fishing, studying the weather and photography. I had a real urge to kidnap him and take him home with me, but I somehow resisted and sat down on a bench with him to discuss our favourite hobbies; it was bordering on romance.

One of the great things about meeting this guy was that he had an amazing encyclopaedic brain and better still, a local dialect that, despite still being in my county home of Hampshire, was incredibly different to what I was used to.

He had this surreal habit of describing everything as a Domesday scenario before ending his sentence with “You wouldn’t chuckle.”

“I’ll tell you what boy, that Aussie bowler, Mitchell Johnson, 90 plus baaarstard miles an hour…You wouldn’t chuckle”

“Hoo hoo hoo…Imagine having a house by the ol’ River Avon ‘ere…You wouldn’t chuckle.

“Fall off that bridge and you’d have a problem, you wouldn’t chuckle”

As we parted company, he gave me a little salute with half raised hand and said; “Nice to meet you, sorry if bored you with my ramblings”

” Not at all, I love you…I mean, I loved talking to you.”

I have been so engrossed in DIY that the old chap wouldn’t even begin to believe how nice it was to talk to someone more interesting and jovial than the grumpy old bastard at the tip. Last week I when Justine was at work, my conversations consisted of debating with the dog about when I should do some invoicing, and asking the woodchip if it still thought it was funny now I had exacted revenge on it with a steamer.

When I got back home, I finished the latest bit of wallpaper stripping and put my mountain bike in the car.

You wouldn’t chuckle.

1 Reply to "The Differing Men From the Tip and the River Avon"

  • Dave
    January 20, 2014 (2:08 pm)

    Hi Bob,
    As a fellow and slightly older follower of DIY escapades, cricket (until recently), weather forecasting by looking at he sky, photography and country pubs I have enjoyed my brief visit to your website. I came here looking for a decent boozer for a meeting in the Basingstoke area – think I might give The Bounty a try.

    Just one point which activated grumpy old man mode: “learning difficulties” does NOT mean that people, even under nine, have any less an intellect than you or me. I’m not a left-wing politically-correct nutter, or even a social worker (God forbid), just trying to dispel a few myths.

    Cheers and keep up the good work!

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