Elbow room for thought 

Sherborne. The young man’s elbow met my ribs.  He was already seated on the overcrowded post – Christmas West Country train. The seat next to him was the only vacant one in the carriage. I sat down beside him. His body language spoke volumes -he didn’t want company. 

‘Phew’and ‘Ow’!  My rib winced as he presented a dagger sharp elbow that met my rib cage full on. We headed for open  country.   No hint of Christmas spirit here.  He seemed intent on commandeering his space and occupying the complete arm rest.  

Salisbury. Plans for ‘space invasion’ of my seat were advancing and, as his arm pushed mine sideways, he began to spread his legs too. 

What a wally.  This grandma can (if she wants) engage with games like these.  From years of experience – getting to the front of queues at railway stations in China, dealing with arm rest hoggers on long haul flights – I know that a series of deft moves can lull ‘space cadets’ into a sense of false security. With sharpened elbows hidden inside soft garments the tactic is to slightly lean forward, often on to a table, and allow the aggressor to take up the space. Then, as they relax to turn the page of their book or flip a channel there is often an  opportunity to move backwards and combine this with a gentle up and under arm reflex. This method allows you to gently claim the back portion of the arm rest and from then on it’s easy to  reclaim more lost ground.

I thought long and hard.  Silly boy. Must have had a bad  Christmas or maybe he was having trouble with his personal life.  Or maybe he was just a selfish little prick.

Andover.  A decision. Instead of games or confict I’d look for resolution.  I half turned, looked directly at him and asked gently “Do you have a problem with the arm rest ?” “Why” he retorted “Do you want it ? ”  I smiled, warmly but briefly, and answered  ” No, I thought perhaps we could just share it “.

His arm withered, his elbow withdrew. The space suddenly was more comfortable. He settled back comfortably into his own seat. I settled into mine.

Basingstoke. He politely asked to exit his window seat and scurried off  taking his space with him. 

The replacement passenger was large, jolly and full of ‘bon homie’. Our elbows hardly touched as we headed in our crowded carriage for Waterloo. Who would think that being given the elbow on a crowded train would provide such spacious food for thought. 


One thought on “Elbow room for thought 

  1. Ha Ha, both of us still at the keyboard… Maybe you succeeded in logging off before the clock hit 00:00!

    I want to learn how to do blogs for my Indian journey, which will be quite dramatically different from earlier plans courtesy of Prime Minister Modi and the falling £! I am going to Arogyaniketana in Hariharapura (www.arogyaniketana.com ) for 4 weeks, then will stay in the Guest House of the Ram Temple at the far end of Gokarna Beach, to hopefully spend my 7th week at Dunes (http://www.dunesgoa.com ) if they have space for me, then up to Mumbai to fly back on February 28th. So CHILL OUT TIME throughout – Rajasthan will be for another occasion!

    This means that I shall be back just in time for the Oxford Lieder Spring Festival of Song 3-4-5 March.

    I have found tenants for my part of the house to a very sweet 29 years-old French guy and his rather acerbic Peruvian-born Spanish naturalised partner for Jan and Feb (adorable Spanish Ana and Oriol have been in the Studio for 2 months, staying until end of Feb) so I can go away knowing that I have enough money for my trip and let the rather large hole in my bank account fill up while I am basking in the Indian sun and feasting on Ayurveda diet and treatments!

    Will be in London next weekend but I guess you must be there now post West Country and silly pricks… pity, we could have made coffee. Am seeing Alastair and Serena next Wednesday for lunch here, they’re hoping to see two properties. Keeping my fingers crossed, they’d be a real addition to my life: thank you for getting us together anyway.

    May grandma’s 2017 be one of peace, contentment and good health. Joëlle xxx



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