Brief Encounter #4

john cleggJohn Clegg

SO there I am sitting in a forward facing seat on the 3.15pm train for Brighton waiting patiently at Victoria Station. I guess the year is 1979 or something close, but it is definitely summer and the warm air breezes gently through the open windows.

Just as the train is set to leave, the door next to me rattles open and a balding middle-aged man hops in and sits directly opposite me.

I look up, a spark flashes across my brain and a silent voice tells me: “I know him”.

He smiles at me, says “hello” and opens a newspaper. He spends the rest of his journey reading or glancing out of the window.

Our eyes do not meet again, but the longer the journey progresses the more convinced I am that I know this man. And I know him well…

Was I at University with him? Is he a neighbour of my parents? Is he the father of a friend? Where do I know him from?

The likely options tumble into my head.

Should I say hello? Should I ask if he knows me too? Should I make a move to even talk to him?

Then almost as soon as I gain the courage to open my mouth to speak, the train stops at Preston Park, the last stop before Brighton Central. The man opposite stands, opens the door and exits the train without passing me a glance.

Then the penny drops… yes, of course I know him: it is La-di-da Gunner Graham (actor John Clegg) from the hit TV sit-com It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.

I had watched and laughed at him countless times on TV… but had never met him in my life before that train journey!

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Author: seagullnic

Writer, editor, lecturer and part-time musician. Passions in life: my family, Bob Dylan, music of many genres, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, cooking plus good food and wine.

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