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Tuesday, October 03, 2006



There are people who do brighten your day in this dull, over managed world of ours. Radium in the pitchblende of life. Diamonds amongst the broken glass. One of my favourites has to be one of the little old ladies who lives along one of the back street beats. She must be well over ninety and needs sticks to get around, but she’s still lucid, bright as a button and has a wicked sense of humour. She’s an ex (B.O.A.C.) air stewardess whose response to the news of the new anti ageism legislation was; “Good, maybe I can get my old cabin crew job back.” I had to laugh. I’m guaranteed a guffaw every time she opens her door and beckons me over for a natter. Other people claim she’s got a few loose toys in the attic, but most of them never bother to talk to her. She’s got so many stories to tell and, damn the job for ten or fifteen minutes, I shall stop for a chat. She reads three newspapers a day (Times, Telegraph and Guardian) and thinks David Cameron has been cloned from leftover Tony Blair. Having seen this, I think she’s got a point.

As a storyteller of sorts myself, I love it when someone has experiences to pass on. Tales from the Lebanon in the 1960’s before it was a complete war zone. Egypt and the Middle East when the homicide bomber attacks were unheard of. We swapped a couple of anecdotes about Florence in Italy; mostly about the Italian style of driving and Berlusconi’s Duomo (A Dress code in a Cathedral! Enforced by armed Police, already.)

There may be people who decry the old, just because they’ve got a bit crusty and bits have started to fail and gone wrinkly, but they have so much to teach us about the way the world has been, if only we’d stop to learn.

When the pressure to perform all the time is relaxed a little, sometimes Walking the Streets isn’t a bad way to earn a living.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Cameron cloning Blair.... My wife already thinks Blair is re-using Thatcher's brain.... Full circle then?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 10:54:00 pm  
Blogger Bill Sticker said...


Cameron does seem to be very keen on recycling. Perhaps this is part of his new 'Green' strategy, recycling rubbish.



Wednesday, October 04, 2006 6:30:00 am  
Anonymous AZ USA said...

Three cheers to you for taking time out to talk to an elderly lady. I love the time I spend with my Aunt Jay, she's 88, and sharp as a tack!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 8:03:00 am  
Blogger Dodderyoldfart said...

That'll be my younger sister then ...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 9:26:00 am  
Anonymous Gimlet said...

How about asking her to write down some of her memories/anecdotes. Then maybe you could put them on the web for her (assuming she can't do that herself!). It seems such a shame that so many experiences and so much knowledge is just kept in peoples' heads and not shared and preserved.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 10:39:00 am  
Blogger Rhea said...

Oh I agree. When younger, I helped my Dad to decorate an elderly gentleman's bungalow. Turns out he'd been a missionary in the far east. He couldn't remember what he did last week but he could describe in great detail his experiences of Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong from between the two wars. Fascinating.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 11:40:00 pm  

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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