It was not really a holiday, but time to visit my dad who lived in London. Not exactly the tourist version of London, more the real world, people working for their living or just enjoying the senior years of life. On my way to my father's house in the morning, combined with a bus journey, I walked along a residential street leading to the main road and bordered at the top with a few offices and small industries. Did I have my camera with me? Of course, a camera is part of my dress, I feel that something is missing without the camera. I then approached this "interesting" yard at the top of the street. The local YMCA was just around the corner and I found this a subject for a contrast photo, old and new.
I stood poised with my camera, focussing to what I needed. If I had been more interested in the details of what I was taking a photo of, I would have noticed him marching towards me with determined steps. My only rememberence is now the man you can see in the middle of the photo.
"Are you taking photos?" a voice said, making me look up into the eyes of a young man, with a definite somewhat foreign appearance. His next question quickly followed "Are you from an insurance company?". He was glaring at me and I thought now it has happened. What my other half is always telling me. "Be careful with your photography. Not everyone understands or likes being the subject of a photo."
"I just found it an interesting subject, with the YMCA building in the background. I am on holiday in England and like to take a few photos of the area where I am staying" was my feeble answer, hoping that my camera and I would survive.
"I see, you know we sometimes have inquisitive people here with a camera prying into our private business."
"No problem, but I was really just taking a photo. I can show it to you" and I made a feeble attempt to show him on the camerea screen. "I can even delete it from the camera", I suggested, although it was not my genuine wish, but I was slowly becoming a unsure.
"No, not necessary" was the answer "but just don't pry around too much. Not everyone is as understanding as I am".
We were having our conversation at the entrance gates to the yard. In the background I could see another figure standing at the entrance to the "office". I was really not sure if it was an office, imagining a smoky den with overflowing ashtrays and a gangster wearing dark glasses and of course the local river backed onto the office. Not the cleanest of rivers, brown muddy water, but flowing and even a few ducks found their nourishment in the waters.
"Jack, what is she doing. If she is causing trouble, I will pull in the boss. He will soon deal with a prying skirt and her inquisitive camera" called the voice from the office.
"No problem Sharpy" was the answer from my inquisitive friend (friend?). "She seems to be one of those arty farty camera people, taking photos to make herself interesting.
Ok Miss you better be on your way, before me and my partner think otherwise. Just take a bit of advice and ask first before you take a photo. OK?"
"Ok" was my answer and I moved on, taking a photo of the river on my way to the bus stop wondering what those murky depths might be hiding.
That evening I returned to my friend's house where I was staying and told her and her boyfriend about my experience at the Junkyard in the morning. Her boyfriend laughed so I got curious to know what the joke was.
"It's one of those places where they deal with second hand cars. Where they get them from and who they sell them to, or for what they are used is a bit doubtful. The place has always been there, and they are probably not too keen on insurance men, or paparazzi photographers."
I decided to take a different route to the bus stop in future. I had visions of landing in a river with my pockets full of stones to weigh me down, or trapped in an old car and submerged, forever a murky secret of the River Rom. One thing did interest me, why there were so many telephone wires leading from the junkyard to the post outside - probably just the english way of doing things.
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