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4:32pm on Thursday, 8th November, 2012:

Not All Bad


Today, my mother went to London to a memorial event for veteran soldiers. She's not a veteran soldier, but she spends a lot of time with Eddie Slater, the National Chairman of the Normandy Veterans Association, who is pretty well blind. She acts as his eyes and takes the minutes at their meetings and so on. At today's event, she met the Duke of Edinburgh, who chatted to Eddie for quite a while. That's not the subject of this post, though, because this is an annual event and the Duke of Edinburgh is often there and he often chats to Eddie because they were both in the navy and the Duke recognises Eddie's cap badge as being a naval one.

After the event, my mother and Eddie took a taxi back to Liverpool Street because neither of them are good with escalators so they avoid the tube. The last time they took an escalator, someone from London Transport stopped it so they could walk down, which was rather embarrassing. For this reason, they take taxis. When they arrived at Liverpool Street, the taxi driver refused to take the fare from them: she'd seen Eddie's medals and said she never did take fares from war veterans, as a kind of thank you. Again, even though that's really generous and restores your faith in human nature, it turns out that lots of London taxi drivers have the same attitude and my mother and Eddie have had several free rides in London black cabs. That's not the subject of this post either.

My mother's intention at Liverpool Street was to buy some chips for lunch. However, they couldn't find the chip shop they'd used before, so they had to go somewhere else. They tried a few places, but they were all quite expensive. Eventually, with time getting on, they went into a pub called The Merchant. Even that was expensive by my mother's standards, but they decided they'd better eat there anyway, rather than continue to traipse around fruitlessly.

While they were eating, two men came over and said they'd seen that Eddie was a war veteran so had paid for his and my mother's meals. They gave them the receipt, then went back to their mates (probably to avoid the flow of embarrassingly profuse thanks my mother directed at them). This is not something that has happened to my mother and Eddie before, which is why I'm posting this.

The chances are, those two men were bank workers.

Despite public preconceptions to the contrary, they're not all bad.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).