A Gentle Meeting

A month or so ago – 13th July to be exact – the tone of my daily rant was markedly different from the usual weary cynicism at the state of the world. I was actually nice about people, mainly because when I had been in trouble, they had rushed to help.

The day before that rant – and for once I wasn’t really having a go at the world – I had been sitting on a bench in Torpoint with my friend Margaret who is in the latter part of her eighties. Margaret inexplicably passed out, I dialled 999 -first time I have ever done so – and that was when the help arrived.

The real heroine of that day was a lady called Rachel, who brought poor Margaret round before the ambulance arrived and kept her calm while at the same time, soothing my own somewhat jangled nerves.

It took me a few days to identify Rachel. She turned out to be a Careworker with Torcare Homes and yesterday I brought her and Margaret together for the first time since that traumatic afternoon.

What a lovely meeting it turned out to be. We presented Rachel with a miniature orchid and a copy of In Livingstone’s Footsteps, duly signed by the Author – me. She was very appreciative and although she initially refused lunch, we enjoyed a gentle meal and a lot of talk.

I had only known Rachel over less than an hour of pretty traumatic time, but she proved to be a genuinely nice lady. The reason for the miniature orchid was that she had told me via email that she lives on a boat, but it turned out to be a hundred-and-eighty-foot former coal barge that was a great deal larger and roomier than my Princetown house. I could have presented her with a ruddy bamboo damnit! As Margaret also spent a couple of years living on a boat, they shared a great deal of experience.

From my point of view, Rachel’s personal life over the past few years closely mirrors mine so all in all, it was a truly excellent meeting that I hope will lead to more.

When the waitress came to lay the table, she commented on the little orchid and I explained that Rachel had come to our rescue and this was a very small thank you meeting. That of course made me all weepy and embarrassed at my own weakness. Not long afterward, when neither Rachel nor I could open a bottle of Elderflower cordial, I took it back to the reception area and asked for a replacement.

Huh! The girl behind the desk promptly twisted the damned top off the bottle, adding to my embarrassment. I am not a small man and I boxed for my country, yet this slip of a girl showed me up. She explained that she used her left hand, rather than her right. So did I as I am a natural corry-fister, but the lass explained that one should always use the ‘wrong’ hand in those circumstances. I can’t wait to try that out although I have my doubts. She was probably just stronger than me. Anyway, we both ended up laughing somewhat helplessly.

So all in all, it proved an excellent meeting. Margaret was able to meet her rescuer – I was but a helpless bystander at their original meeting – and I showed Rachel that my ‘Little Old Lady’ is really a ball of fiery energy rather than the sheet-white, comatose figure with a barely functioning pulse that she met a month ago.

No, I haven’t suddenly become a sweet and gentle old toppie who loves his fellow man. Tomorrow I will get back to my ranting, but for now I have to admit that some people really are rather nice.

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