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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The small pleasures of autumn

Today's brief autumn pleasure: being seven years old again on Clapham Common.

The walk back from the Venn Street sorting office, bright morning sunshine, clutching latest eBay mistake under arms, saluting the crows and applauding their intolerance of the plump pigeons trespassing on their rightful bounty of stale mother's pride.

Dodging the young mums with their large babies and tiny dogs, sidestepping the late-for-work brigade legging it to the tube, dodging the 88 bus driver's determined attempts to soak all pedestrians by aiming at the biggest puddles.

In this late september, low angle sunshine, gleaming treasures reveal themselves on the too-green, dew-drenched grass. They are big fat conkers, left to rot since  few boys can be bothered to collect them these days it seems. I am incapable of passing without aiming a kick at one. And then another. And them I am seven again, but really I am Jimmy Greaves. An even plumper conker manifests itself a yard ahead of my right toe. I swerve and chip the little ballock expertly, it flies, curving a fabulous arc over the park bench, and then slamming itself, with a satisfying "dank-e" into the gleaming black door panel of a range-topping Audi parked on the north-side.

I turn on my heel and walk away, head down, fast, in case anyone had noticed.

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