||According to legend Dick
Turpin had two similar horses and after riding into town on one, he is
believed to have hidden the perspiring horse down a well in the yard of the
“Hoops.” He then fled to his room and jumped into bed. When his
pursuers rode into Royston and demanded Turpin surrender, he calmly denied
having been out and convinced them by showing his "fresh" horse in the
stables, proving that it had not been ridden that night. I often walk the
heathland around Royston, up acroos the ridge on the edge of the town,
towards a neighbouring village, Therfield, or cycle off-road on bridleways
in the area.
|I have now become
accustomed to the daily commute by train from Royston to Welwyn Garden City
and use the opportunity to read a book, which I find therapeutic and
relaxing. These have ranged from Bill Bryson's "Notes from a small
Island" to Gary Paulson's outstanding "Winterdance", Jon Krakauer's "Into
Thin Air" and Thom Hartman's excellent "The Last Hours of Ancient
Sunlight". Of late I have acquired a taste for autobiographies, including
those of Mike Oldfield, Petra Kelly (the late member of Germany's Green
Party in the 1990s), Lance Armstrong, Richard Branson , Jake White
(Springbok rugby coach),Sting and Helen Mirren.
I had the pleasure of hosting my eldest
brother and his wife for a week prior to their undertaking a month-long
luxury boat cruise of the Mediterranean. They had been travelling into
London on sight-seeing tours, having purchased weekly train tickets. On one
Saturday I joined them, having booked tickets for a West End play at
the Garrick Theatre,
Sheila Hancock in "The Anniversary".
We arrived at Royston station in a rush and a high-speed train to London was
due any minute. I stood at the rear of the queue at the ticket office, to
buy a ticket plus London underground day-pass (referred to as a Travelcard)
from Welwyn Garden City onwards, as my own monthly already covered the
journey to Welwyn Garden City. We also needed a parking lot ticket for
my vehicle, which could be purchased directly from the ticket office,
especially if the ticket issuing machines are out of order, as was the case
on that day. Logistically, the parking lot is located on the opposite
side of the railway line to the ticket office itself, accessible via the
stairway and bridge. Now the concern was that we would miss our train,
as we still had to place the parking ticket on the car windscreen before
returning to the platform.
My brother, not being shy by nature, applied lateral thinking in order
to save time. He approached a local towards the head of the queue, with
a request for him to purchase our vehicle ticket at the ticket office
itself, whilst simultaneously buying his own rail ticket. Not
being as confident as my brother, however, I gesticulated frantically to
him exclaiming: "Hey, Ed, you can't do that sort of thing here, they're
more reserved than we are". The irony was that the Roystoner had
not realised that parking tickets could be purchased at the ticket
office directly, so imagine his dilemma. The poor fellow, rather
surprised by the audacity of this request, assumed, therefore, that he
would have to leave his position in the queue and proceed across the
bridge, in order to accede to my brother's request. So he politely
turned to my brother and exclaimed: "But I'll miss my train"!
Once the simple, logical request was understood, we had a good laugh.
Needless to say, we were able to board our train on time.