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Friday, November 25, 2016

Remembering Louis Fussell- Part 3

Rutland Road, in which Louis Fussell lived in Bedford, and where I lived for around 4 years in the early 2000's, is off Midland Road. It's become very run down over the years. The road is in a sort of 'loop' which consists of Rutland Road, Gibbons Road and Grafton Road. It's sort of cut off from the rest of the roads around the area. It's one-way for traffic, coming in from the roundabout on Midland Road and Prebend Street. There is a bridge that links into Queen's Park and traffic filters in to the roundabout. This can be very difficult if you are driving over the bridge at peak times of the day and I can verify this as I had to drive a minibus when I was working as a carer and collected people from the day centre at the Westbourne Centre deep at the back of Queen's Park and this was always at the busiest time of day and coming out over the bridge could be very slow as the traffic built up back into Ford End Road. 

I had a job in a care home in Everton at the beginning of the 2000's and I used to do early shifts there and I had to start at 7 a.m. if I was on an early. It took me a good half-hour to drive to Everton, driving out of Bedford along Cardington Road  towards Willington and then crossing the A1 at Biggleswade. One particular morning I was caught in the one-way system of Rutland/Gibbons and Grafton Roads. It was the morning the dustbin men were out doing their rounds. I got to Grafton Road and I could see the dustcart ahead of me, blocking the entire road. Those roads weren't really designed for modern traffic. None of the houses had garages or driveways, so the residents had to park on the road outside, or as near outside, their homes as possible. This meant that, with cars parked on both sides of the road there was only a relatively narrow 'lane' to drive along in the centre. With a very large Bedford Council dustcart in the centre there was absolutely nowhere for me to pass. And the workmen who were busy moving wheely bins away from their parking spaces near the houses along the street, to be put on the lift on the rear of the dustcart and then be lifted up and tipped into the back of the wagon. They steadfastly refused to budge an inch, and time was ticking by as I had a half-hour journey to work ahead of me. I just had to wait. And they knew full well I was being held up. Well, they did eventually move out of my way, and I did manage to drive out of Bedford and, as far as I remember, I wasn't late for work either. Just as well there wasn't much traffic on the roads at that early hour.

Louis Fussell was something of a penny-pincher. There's nothing wrong with being careful of your money, of course. He seemed to have a problem with mobile phones. I can understand his generation having a problem with them. I don't think he would understand the obsession with this technology. I have mentioned my concerns with these gadgets, how some people seem constantly to be glued to their smartphones, how you see people walking along the street with their eyes glued to the little screens, either texting or looking at something such as Facebook. I don't think Facebook had started at the time I lived in Rutland Road. I think Louis concern was the cost of running a mobile. He didn't like using the thing. I'm sure he didn't have one of his own. I can't imagine him wanting one. Considering how many miles he rode on his bicycle (see earlier posts on this subject.) I can imagine that a mobile phone would have come in handy had he needed to phone for assistance if he had an accident or at least as a safety support measure. 

I have mentioned elsewhere about how Louis had paying 'guests' living in his home. Myself being one of them. He was never concerned about references. As long as you paid your rent he wasn't bothered. Thinking about it now, I think he was opening him self up to all sorts of problems and dangers. But I don't think he was too concerned, as he ought to have been. When I first lived there he had two young men living in the house. One at the front and the other at the back. One of them absconded, without paying his rent. I'm not sure exactly, I imagine he had back-rent to pay or something. I think he worked for a company between Bedford and Ampthill, I believe based at Houghton Conquest, but I'm not sure. Louis had no car for his own transport and went everywhere by bicycle. He found out where this young man worked (don't ask me how.) and went all the way to his employer's headquarters to try and track him down so as to get the owed money. It seemed to take him a considerable amount of time and effort but he did get the cash eventually. I think perhaps his employers made the young man pay it off directly from his wages, so much a month or something.

Another time he had a problem with his phone bill. He seemed to spend an extremely long time sitting on the telephone in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs, sitting on a chair, waiting. No doubt it was to get through to a callcentre or something. I think he was attempting to change his telephone provider and I expect it took an extremely long time for him to get through to the call centre. I can relate to this, as we had a similar problem when we finished with TalkTalk. We had a landline telephone as well as the internet. No, I don't think Louis would ever have broadband internet. Modern technology was far too much for him to understand. Not just understand, but to deal with such things as email, social media etc etc.

As mentioned in my earlier blog posts, Louis was a violin-maker, viola player (in a local orchestra) and wrote music. He wrote several symphonies, as well as other styles of orchestral music. These works were written on reams of paper, although someone transcribed his scores to a computer software system called 'Sibelius,' for which he paid. If he had only learnt to use a computer and then the software he might have saved himself a considerable amount of money. Then he would lay the scores on the floor and go through it all to make any corrections, no doubt in much the same way that an author goes through the manuscript of a novel or other work and editing out any mistakes.

There was one young man who came to live in the house. He had the front bedroom. He was French, and seemed somewhat lost. I'm not sure if he wasn't entirely 100%. He was convinced that his girlfriend was going to come and live with him in the house. Her name was Tina. He kept on and on about her. I can't remember where he worked. Probably for a tempt agency, as I had done for a while. No doubt in some warehouse, picking and packing, unloading lorries or similar. There are a number of such places in and around Bedford, such as Debenham's, Argos etc etc. Talk of 'Tina' seemed endless. He kept ringing this elusive female, but she seemed to be playing all sorts of evasive games with him, to such an extent that it seemed obvious that she had no intention of joining him. At last, after months and months, it appeared that he had found a suitable flat for them to live in, I believe on the other side of Bedford, in either Putnoe or Goldington. Then he began moving stuff across town. But he had no vehicle, neither a van or a car. He had, you won't believe this, a shopping trolley! Now, it must be a good four or five miles to Goldington, and would take perhaps ten minutes to get there by car. He put his belongings into this shopping trolley and pushed it there and must have unloaded it and then walked all the way back to Rutland Road for another load! This was on a Saturday, because I recall seeing him in the centre of town with the shopping trolley, and on one occasion he had the basic carcase of a chest of  drawers in  the thing, and a few house later he'd piled the drawers in the trolley, complete with clothes, all thrown in in a huge pile! I don't think 'Tina' ever appeared and I have no idea whether  he actually went to live in the flat on his own.
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