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Posts Tagged ‘Bonsai’

I had really enjoyed my first pottery class. Clive the course tutor had been very patient and even though my first “throw” was a little wonky in places and the handle had fallen off, I was quietly proud of my efforts.

Unfortunately I spent too long listening to Clive’s views on ceramic glazing and despite running all the way to the station missed the train for home. It would be at least an hour’s wait for the next one.

After five minutes or so I needed a pee and made my way along the Platform to the toilets. The Gents toilet had a heavy wooden door painted cream with the word “Gentlemen” painted in racing green on it.

I seized the large brass doorknob and pushed. It was an effort to open. As the door succumbed to my efforts I noticed that the toilets still retained splendid and ornate Edwardian finishings. White ceramic tiles with blue grouting, heavy brass piping to and from cisterns and intricately patterned wrought iron splash pads for the more athletic bladder. The conveniences were a gem of their kind. A real find.

I was admiring the ornate flourish of the manufacturer’s logo on the porcelain urinal when there was a rustling noise behind me. I ignored it and carried on with my tinkle. The rustling continued and was now accompanied by the sound of aged hinges creaking. I finished my business just as the shrill cry reverberated around the cool tile finish of the lavatory;

“Aiieeeee! Banzai! Banzai!”

I turned quickly, fumbling to rehouse my winkle. Again the shrill scream advanced towards me,

“Banzai, Todo, Todo. Aiieeeee!”

In front of me stood a member of the Imperial Japanese Army. He was in his late eighties and was dressed in ragged, patched battle fatigues but with a pair of Velcro fastened Reebok training shoes on his feet. He bore the insignia of a non-commissioned officer.

The soldier gurned with menace at me, baring four rotten teeth in the process. His dental hygiene regime was not of the highest order.

More worrying than halitosis was the aged rifle he pointed at me. A large steel bayonet wobbled precariously atop the barrel. Again he screamed and lunged forward. As he did so the bayonet drooped from its fastening and clattered on the floor.

My assailant muttered, probably an expletive in Japanese, bent down picked up the bayonet and began to berate it in a world weary manner. He lost interest in me and retreated to the toilet cubicle, closing its squeaking door behind him. He fumbled with his rifle. Again the bayonet clattered to the floor. Again he swore. A small wizened hand scurried around the cubicle floor until it seized the bayonet.

Even in all this excitement I remembered to complete my ablutions and gave my hands a thorough soaping and rinsing. A Dyson hand dryer had recently been fixed to the wall. Although out of keeping with the ambience of the rest of the toilet my hands were dried in an instant.

Had the fitter been confronted I wondered?

The sign on the ticket office window said “Back in 5 Mins”. Fully seven minutes elapsed before a man appeared. A bucked tooth harridan who could eat an apple through a letterbox.

“Yes sir, how can I help?”

“Did you know there is a Japanese Soldier in your toilet?”

“Met him then? Old Hidetoshi. Lovely old feller ain’t he?” The man replied in a broad West Country accent, “Been here since 1942 or summat like that. Still a few of them dug in on the Somerset border apparently.”

“Haven’t you told him the war’s over?”

“Countless times. The fact of the matter is – he’s can’t face going home defeated. Reckons he will bring shame on his family. So he lives here. In the toilet cubicle.”

There was a cruel matter of factness about the man’s attitude. “Besides,” he continued, “Hidetoshi is a dab hand at the old Bonsai malarkey. He’s helped us win the Station in Bloom competition for the past twenty years now. Wiped the smile off Reg Belcher’s face down at Cam and Dursley I can tell you. Go and take a look. Down at the bottom of Platform 1.”

I sauntered to the end of Platform 1. The man was correct. The small garden with bonsai trees, maple timber decking and a very attractive miniature water feature really was a sight to behold. The pebbles surrounding the trees has been individually shaped to provide a pattern of doves in flight. Tranquillity personified.

I walked back to the ticket office. As I walked past the toilet door I noticed it was slightly ajar. An aged rifle and bayonet protruded. Again the bayonet fell to the floor. Again I heard Japanese expletives.

The “Back in 5 Mins” sign had been put up in the ticket office window once more. I sat in the small waiting room and turned my attention to the mysteries of ceramic glazing.

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