People are basically good I believe. 

Yesterday I traveled to London and as the train trundled along passing the green contoured large fields that turned into the grey suburbs of Basingstoke, the rain started to streak over the greasy windows. As we swayed in between the empty Battersea tower blocks a storm was drenching south London. Waterloo station was steaming, rain was beating every one to scuttling with bent heads, shadowing buildings and using sodden newspapers as head protection.

Charlotte (left) and my mother centre, Heron’s Ghyll 1947

I wanted to visit as I often do, my god-mother. She, a Lady in her own right, no children, had access to inherited wealth. She was my late mother’s best friend from school. The picture shows she and my mother, teenage friends with pig-tails, a moment in time,1947. Now she lies now in a beautiful bateau bed, barely awake. She is bent and gaunt like a sparrow. Her hair is thin and the Fijian angel nurse who lives full time with her, holds her hands and whispers gently, guiding her on her journey as the prognosis is without hope. Her life was one of comfort and remaining un-vaccinated as she never had or required an NHS number. Her father had died in 1940, a pilot in the Battle of Britain, leaving her without siblings but with, a difficult austere mother. She has loved my sister and I as my mother could not. I said goodbye, watched the workmen as they started to install a lift in her town house in Onslow Gardens, sadly it would never be used. I walked straight into the deluge again.

It was difficult to think straight with water draining down my back and as I passed a smart restaurant in Knightsbridge where ladies who lunch basked under the huge awnings with eco-beating heaters. I must have looked like a tramp, soaked, my back-pack misshapen and hair plastered to my head. A beautiful creature lent out, she could have been Asian, African or even an olive skinned European. She was beautiful. She handed me the most exquisite umbrella, it was monogrammed and then she winked at me.

On the train for home, the woman opposite looked very deep in thought and for my part I had lost my wallet. This was the start of my melt-down of calls cancelling cards but I thought not to panic. I knew that I had last used my cards in Waterloo station. I called Marks and Spencer, and again my luck was holding out? The wallet had been handed in and was in their safe. To return to the woman opposite. She had been working up in London, and was very smartly dressed. We chatted as the doors slid open and I learnt a little more about her. I judged her to be very confident and could deal with any situation. As we alighted at the station where her taxi was waiting I gave her the umbrella, my lucky umbrella, hoping it would bring her luck. It certainly made her smile.

He parting words to me were what we have today is more important than what we lost yesterday.

2 thoughts on “People are basically good.

  1. Beautifully written and quite an experience for you to remember always. I shall recall it as a memory, through your touching words and observant nature.

    How I wish I knew the future of the umbrella….

    Take care

    Always Maggie xx


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