Reblogg. You may wonder why I show a picture of the clock at Waterloo for this piece. Some of you may know about Brookwood-its a specific station just beyond Woking and not that far from Guildford. More of that later. I had a painful call to review things recently when I had to attend a funeral. To make matters even closer to home, the individual concerned was younger that me. All of a sudden there was a serious call to look again at life and events.
A moments reflection however made me realise how lucky I had been. You may have read my piece entitled -Luck, Dates and timings
which takes the Harrods bomb as a pre Christmas appointment that I failed to keep. https://inspireretirenow.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=770&action=edit
In the same piece there were details of that road accident where the car turned over and ended up facing the way it had come. A few more feet or seconds and the second car that came far too fast could have altered everything and that was 40+ years ago.
Then a few years ago there was the heavy snows. The car was skidding on the ice and snow and I was bending down to check the tyres. The lorry’s axles were less than 3 feet away and yet for whatever higher purpose no injury occurred. It just shows how quickly and apparently randomly it can all come to an end
Anyway back to recent events.
The news that there was to be a funeral made me start to get ready. Out came the formal dark suit and a white shirt. Only it seemed I needed a new shirt. So off to the nearest town where I parked and paid 1 hours parking.
I’m not sure why but that hour gave enough time and experiences to review all the stages of life.
First to the coffee shop to gather my energy. First the cafe had a double door with doors that could be pushed or pulled. Only 1 half of the doors opened and then as a pull. Whilst drinking my coffee I saw so many customers tried to push/pull the wrong half, only then to push the other half door before finally correctly pulling on the left half door. This seemed to symbolise that life can look simple at times yet getting the correct action to open a door can be a challenge.
Once inside there were a few young people working hard on their computers via WiFi. They were wrestling with their key issues of the day with plans to make and articles to write. Ultimately hopes and dreams to fulfill.
At the counter the barista was courteous and helpful. I had just been taking a call on my phone to confirm what kind of coffee was required. I apologised and he explained that many continued their conversation and ignored the staff. A simple phrase comes to mind ” treat everybody with respect”- how many of us have failed that simple standard.
The barista making the coffee was wearing a university sweat shirt on with a logo of University of ………. 2017 leavers. I felt a sudden pang of remorse and wondered what their hopes and dreams had been when they went to University and incurred all that debt.
Then came a lady with a very new baby strapped in a baby wrap to her chest. The reason for this was that her baby’s pram was filled with a large cardboard box from one of those internet delivery companies. Its a reflection of the choices we make frequently between family and consumer goods.
Then on to get the white shirt. The store was a good one and the selection of shirts was large. Every neck size was on offer but each of these could be chosen with have a standard cut, slim cut, longer and shorter body cut, full collar, cut away collar, button down collar. A moments thought showed that they had to make a size, styling and cut to fit all types. In fact, as one day we will all need to attend a funeral the range is as wide as there are people
Beep, beep- the timer on my phone warned that I had only a few minutes left of my parking. So I hurried back to my car and I rushed ahead. In so doing I passed many who who were engrossed in the events of the day. Dressed in their office or casual clothes, or with children I rushed past them all.
I got to the car- the ticket was due to run out at 11.35 and now it was 11.40. It was then the symbolism of it all struck me. I had booked an hour and in that time had seen all the phases of life. The new born, those getting started on their education, those who had completed that but for whom the next stage was yet to start. Thinking back to all those types and sizes of shirt it was clear that we all face that same need- the only question is what stage are we at present and when. And all those people that I passed on the way- the present is only for the now and not forever.
On this occasion the parking enforcement officer had not caught up with me. It could have been so different at that time with the lorry in the snow. I just hope that my parking time on earth does not run out soon.
So consider every day on earth as a precious one to be used to best advantage. We can run to try and keep fit or walk however there is an outcome that awaits all of us.
As a colleague once said ” Name one irreplaceable man/woman in history”. So be inspired to make the most of your time and enjoy your retirement.
And to conclude this piece, why Brookwood? In the past, this station was specifically build to carry people to the Cemetery there. This was because of a shortage of space closer to London. Apparently they ran special funeral trains from Waterloo to the station and there is a gate from the platform to the cemetery. It is difficult to imagine such a train service.
Some of the phrases eg ” All aboard” must have sounded pretty strange although early deaths were a commoner occurrence. Enjoy your time before that journey.