I was on the train.
In the seats behind me, were two women. I couldn't see them, only hear their voices. One was young. Mid twenties at a guess, and very Sloaney. The other sounded older. Mumsie. Wiser. I didn't know that they were mother and daughter, but I assumed.
The train ran behind typical south London Victorian terraces. Two bed, one bath, small garden. Houses like mine.
The younger of the two women said, in her expensively educated drawl, "look at all those tiny little houses". I bristled out of a sense of loyalty to the bricks and mortar. "They're very Darwinian".
There was a pause. I tried to work out what she meant. After a moment, the older lady asked my question for me. "What?"
"Oh, silly me! Have I used the wrong word? OK, I mean they look 'Darwinesque'"
"What have the houses got to do with survival of the fittest?"
Now the turn of the younger to question. "What?"
"Darwin. He was the guy that developed the 'survival of the fittest' theory"
The younger girl sighed in a resigned way. Her manner suggested that she was tired of people correcting her. "No. He was the man that wrote the plays."
"Yes. Plays. For the telly. Like Oliver Twist and things like that."
A long pause. I didn't trust myself to start laughing. I didn't think I'd stop. I thought I'd burst. I held my breath in anticipation ...
"Do you mean 'Dickensian'?"
"Dickens? Darwin? Oh, well. I was nearly right".
Ladies and gentlemen ... I give you the future of our country!
house of eels: july 2017*
1 week ago