Off My Trolley?

Usually, when I walk to the railway station of a morning on my way to work, I cut through the back alleys – it makes the walk a little more interesting and I get to become more familiar with the town that I’ve made my home for the last two decades. Quite often I’ll come across abandoned shopping trolleys (because some people wheel their shopping home and then abandon them) and, since I’m heading past the supermarket anyway, I’ll grab hold of them and take them along with me. It’d be churlish not to. Some mornings I’ll drop off two or three as I pass our local Tesco.

Well, since lockdown I haven’t been commuting (and, even now, I’m still waiting for the contract market to pick-up, because almost no-one’s been recruiting for the last five months) but I’d still go for my daily walks and I’d still grab a trolley if I saw one, then the supermarket staff would spray my hands with sanitiser when I dropped it off. I like to think that I’m doing a good deed and, anyway, who wants to live in the kind of town that’s littered with shopping trolleys abandoned all over the place?

Sometimes kids will pinch trolleys and wheel their mates around in them, then they’ll dump them outside the local police station on Stratford Road, which I presume amuses them.

Yesterday I got up and looked online to find that Metro had run one of my letters (I write quite a lot of letters to newspapers and some articles for political or satirical websites – it’s a hobby) so I decided to head to the railway station to pick up a copy. I’d noticed another shopping trolley had been dumped outside the cop shop a few days previously, so I figured I’d head past there and pick that up on my way.

I got dressed, had some breakfast and then headed off, through the park near my house and down to the police station, where I grabbed the trolley. Now I had to wheel it about a mile back to the supermarket, so off I set: past the Mitsubishi and Kia car dealerships, past Neal’s barbers, past the OneStop, past the Craufurd Arms, past a number of restaurants and take-aways, past the dog grooming salon, past Al’s Hobbies (an Aladdin’s cave of toys and models), past Modern Man hairdressers and another couple of barbers (there’s seemingly a lot of hair in Wolverton, although not on my head any more), past the dry cleaners, past The North-Western and then down the ramp at The Old Bath House to Tesco. Then I carried on over the railway bridge and down to the station where I grabbed a couple of copies of Metro and stopped for a chat with Lee, the station master.

After shooting the breeze for a while, I decided that, since it was a pleasant morning, I’d walk back through the Ouse Valley Park. We’re very lucky in Wolverton to have a nature reserve right on our doorstep, and I’ve been making a point of enjoying it whenever I have the time. There are geese, ducks, swans, cormorants, herons, wild ponies, cows, a lovely winding river and the Floodplain Forest, where quarrying has been returned to nature and allowed to grow wild. There are some photos here if you’d like to see them. 

A week or so ago, while walking this natural wonderland, I’d seen some kids pushing a trolley with their picnic things in it. I had hoped that they’d return it when they were done, but I hadn’t been terribly optimistic that they would. Anyway, on this occasion I caught sight of where they’d dumped it, on its side just over a barbed wire fence (put in place to keep people out of the wilded areas and to stop the ponies and cows from straying into the walkways). Well, I couldn’t leave it now that I’d seen it, so I hauled it back over the fence, along with the carrier bag containing the remnants of the picnic, and weighed up what to do with it.

I was over halfway through the park, so taking it back would have been a slog. Leaving it where it was wasn’t an option, so I continued my walk, pushing the trolley ahead of me. I was wearing jeans and a tatty old denim jacket with the sleeves rolled up (because the cuffs are frayed), and it occurred to me that I now looked like a bloke pushing his life possessions around in a trolley, so now I felt obliged to explain to everybody who I passed that the trolley had just been dumped and I was returning it; but this quickly became tiresome and I soon resorted to just shrugging at people as I passed them.

Shortly I reached the Iron Trunk Aqueduct, where the canal passes over the River Ouse, and I figured that the shortest route to return the trolley would be along the bank of that, so I dragged the metallic carriage up the steps and started to wheel it along the towpath, past all the barges which had stopped alongside for the summer. I passed The Galleon and went under one bridge, then at the next bridge I dragged the trolley up the steps (assisted this time by a gentleman who was walking the same way) and through a glade back to Stratford Road. I dropped the picnic remnants in a waste bin and started to push the trolley along the pavement. As I passed the police station, it occurred to me that this was exactly how I had started out some three hours or so earlier and that, to the eye of any casual observer, it must have appeared that I’d been taking this trolley (because they’re all functionally indistinguishable from each other) for a walk. “Ah well,” I thought, “at least it may make for an amusing anecdote.”

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About Fles

Early middle-aged (oh yes I am!), no longer long-haired but still speccy and decidedly still an increasingly opinionated git. I’m basically a believer in individualism, that everybody has their own perspective and inner-beauty. I try to find humour in every situation. I enjoy reading and writing poetry.
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4 Responses to Off My Trolley?

  1. Paul M Williamson says:

    Pleased to see you’re still doing your bit, Fles

  2. Thanks for taking us along on your walk.

  3. I miss Wolverton sometimes ☺️

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