Throughout my life I never considered something which I found to be mine to keep. It was my upbringing, the way my parents taught me, I was never to deprive someone of their belongings as long as I could find who they were. For small things such as coins dropped I never had qualms keeping hold of them for whoever had lost them would be impossible to find. I would even go as far as including the finding of bank notes as long as the circumstances were reasonable. If I found such things inside a building they would be handed in to their lost property department or to someone in authority. If however they were found in some remote place locating the owner would be impossible so large amounts of notes would be handed into the police station as lost property. If it were only one note I would consider keeping it if it was found in a remote place and in fact that happened to me some years ago as I was riding my bicycle. I found a ten pound note at the side of the road. It could have come from anywhere, even a passing vehicle and it would have been impossible to trace ownership so I kept it. Once, many years ago I had to make a call to the office from a phone box (we didn’t have mobile phones in those days). I discovered a purse which someone had left in the box so I opened it and found the owners address inside. I drove to their house and handed it back to them. It contained a couple of bank notes and some change. It was the right thing to do. Every reasonable opportunity to find the owner should always be taken when we find something which has been lost. We would expect the same consideration if we lost something wouldn’t we? Not everyone thinks that way unfortunately which is sad. I have lost things myself and never had anything returned to me save for the one time. On that occasion I had left my camera in a toilet of a restaurant E and I had visited in the Midlands. After telephoning the restaurant I was informed that a member of staff had seen it and put it in the safe. I posted her a cheque to cover the cost of returning it by post with a £25 bonus for her honesty and thanks. On my walks I sometimes find things which have been lost or misplaced and forgotten. Over the last few weeks I have found a child’s purse with a few coppers in it but unfortunately no name or address, a twenty pence piece, a five pence piece and a penny! None of these could be returned to their owners so they were kept. I even found a small can of rice pudding and a small can of mushy peas on a bench in the middle of nowhere one morning very early. They too were kept. Now on Sunday morning (18 th) I went for an early walk leaving the house at four o’clock. It wasn’t raining but I was dressed for it anyway. It poured down with rain about half-way through my walk however and I was glad to get back home. It wasn’t so much the rain itself but it had been driven by the wind and was in my face for quite some distance. Anyway just before it did rain I was walking along the Promenade in town when I noticed a large mobile phone lying all alone on one of the benches there.
There was nobody around so I put it in my pocket and made for the police station to hand it in. I don’t know why I bothered, there was nobody there to take it. That is the desk was closed for the night. There were officers inside on the upper floors of course but there was no way to contact them and no urgency to do so. I took the phone home and later called a woman who had left a message on it. I asked if she knew the phone’s owner and the woman replied yes it belonged to her husband and they had been looking frantically for it. When I mentioned that I had found it near to the hotel there she told me they were staying there. I made arrangements for them to collect the phone later in the morning but in the meantime I put it on my charger for its battery was showing low. The phone itself must have been quite expensive as it was a relatively new model (like the picture above). There was now way I was going to keep it of course……..that would be stealing.
More walking about on Monday….I could get used to this! I extended my usual walk of two to three miles and did five instead, something more like the distances I used to do a couple of years back. I used to regularly walk eight to ten miles then but I was younger and was working many hours each week then. For many years I went running, doing four miles each day and often eight or sixteen miles each week too but I gave up running about eighteen years ago. Actually running isn’t as good as it is made out to be and isn’t good for the joints and spine. Brisk walking is safer and just as good for the heart and general health as far as exercise is concerned. Running certainly builds up stamina though and is good for improving blood circulation. I always found it exhilarating and I could feel the beneficial effects of a long run for many hours afterward. A brisk walk has a similar though lesser effect. Anyway, I was nearly finished my walk and noticed something on top of a perimeter wall surrounding a nearby apartment block. It was a debit card. I examined it and found it to be a recent issue so not an old one someone might have discarded, if indeed anyone would discard such a thing by leaving it on a wall. It was issued by the Santander Bank to someone addressed as ‘Miss…’.
No doubt she would have been terrified at the thought of someone using it illegally and emptying her account in the process. People should be more careful with their credit and debit cards and indeed all their financial affairs. I took it home and showed it to E. and we agreed to take the journey into town immediately and hand it in to the branch of that bank, the only one in the district. Bank branches are getting thinner on the ground and soon there might not be any at all! Having done our good deed for the day I took E out-of-town to lunch. We spent the remainder of the afternoon out on the patio whilst the sun was still shining. Tuesday promised rain once more.
On Friday morning I had no plans for the day, no work or anything so I didn’t bother dressing in my work clothes. I had been up a couple of hours but as I was a little later in getting up than usual I skipped my usual breakfast and simply had a fruit juice and some melon. I spent some time on my computer then decided to prepare a chilli for later in the day. I was half-way through doing that when my cellphone rang. The caller asked me in an obvious American accent if I could fix an electrical problem she was experiencing with her immersion heaters. The house, or rather the apartment block was in the next town, about ten miles away. Allowing myself to finish preparing the chilli I gave her a time to expect me, an hour later. When I arrived I was greeted by a woman of similar age to myself, in fact I discovered later that she was two years my junior. It turns out that she actually lives in Richmond, Virginia but stays in Ormskirk here in the UK with her husband usually from May to the beginning of September. Her husband is Greek and before they met he had established a home in Ormskirk and loved living there. He became a little homesick once they moved to Richmond so they decided to live in the UK for part of the year. It seems to work for them. During the time I was there chatting with the lady I was checking out her electrical problem by the way! I think she enjoyed the chat, I know I did. She told me the story of how they first came to live part of the time here. They had flown into Manchester airport and took the train into Liverpool for the forward journey to Ormskirk. Alighting at the station they knew they had no English currency and decided to use their credit card to withdraw some cash however on leaving the train the lady discovered her handbag wasn’t with her, she had left it on the train. She turned back and explained to the staff that she had left her bag on the train which was still at the station. The staff insisted there was no bag on the train but allowed her to go and look anyway. When one of the cleaning staff saw her they called her boss and told him that they had found the owner of the bag. One of the staff had found it and handed it in to the office. The lady told me how much that meant to her that someone would be so considerate and not steal the bag as some might do. When the bag was returned to her she found her credit card but alas, it wouldn’t work in the UK They had to get a taxi to their hotel but had no cash. Furthermore they hadn’t eaten for many hours and couldn’t purchase a meal. In any case it was too late in the evening to buy anything. They had however some Euros and the cab driver said he would accept those in payment. Again they were amazed how considerate and helpful were everyone they met. On arrival at the hotel they asked if there was food available at such a late hour but they were told that unfortunately everyone who worked in the kitchen had gone home. Someone mentioned that there was a Mc Donalds restaurant nearby so they walked the short distance there but it was closed except for serving the drive-through customers. They explained their predicament at the window but were refused food as they were not driving through! Something about health and safety had been put forward for the let-down. On returning to the hotel hungry and tired they met one of the staff, a woman, in the car park about to leave for home. It was now after midnight. They mentioned what had happened to them and she told them to get into her car and she would drive them through Mc Donalds. They got their food and thanked the woman for her kind gesture, after all they were complete strangers to her and it was very late at night. Listening to her story and experiences I was touched and wished that she and her husband would never have a bad experience her in the UK. It is nice to know that there are still good people in this world who are ready to help others when they are in difficulty.
As for the job I was doing, I had quoted my minimum charge telling her that I wouldn’t be charging any more unless I had to buy a replacement part. I found I had no need to do that. I discovered one of the immersion heaters was faulty and would require replacing by her plumber and the other was not faulty but needed a minor repair to the earth connection. She thanked me for being prompt, for arriving when I said I would and for not overcharging her for the work I’d done. I hope she will always have nice stories about the UK to tell her friends back in Richmond, Virginia.
I was rather taken in by the young woman’s beauty as we sat and chatted over a cup of coffee. She wasn’t Irish but she did have that gift of the gab often attributed to Irish folk. She was very persuasive in her words and seemed to take to me as if we were long-lost sisters. I am trying to watch my weight and am very alert when it comes to what gets put into my mouth, avoiding as I do too much, if any, animal fats and things like bread but still I went along with her suggestion that she treat me to something nice. Somehow I trusted her for she seemed a very honest person, the sort you wouldn’t think twice about the possibility that she might not be all that she seemed. I was relaxed, I wasn’t concerned in the least so I followed along with her suggestion. It was a warm and sunny day as we walked along amongst the crowds of people in this foreign town and it was foreign. I knew we were not in England but I couldn’t quite make out just where we were. My friend had an olive complexion, just as they do in Mediterranean countries but she may equally have come from South America, I wasn’t really sure. Eventually we reached our goal, or rather the place she wanted me to visit and we sat down at a small circular table of the type you often see outside cafés and restaurants when it is hot and sunny. There was a red Gingham table-cloth with some condiments upon it. We sat opposite one another. A waiter appeared and said something to my friend but it was in a language I couldn’t understand, then he disappeared returning a couple of minutes later with one huge plate on which sat the biggest beef burger I had ever seen. It was huge with a capital H. It was several layers thick and each layer consisted of beef, cheese and salad. Sauces of unknown variety oozed from the joints and ran down the sides of a whopping soft bun which was covered in Sesame seeds. ‘It is for you’, my friend said. I tried to explain that I couldn’t eat such a thing because it was so unhealthy but I somehow felt threatened if I was to refuse. My friend began to smile but behind her smile I could sense a scheming mind. She had duped me into thinking that I could trust her and I felt such a fool. I didn’t know what to do and panic set into my heart. The waiter was in on the scam too for they both expected me to pay an enormous amount of money for the privilege of their services. All I wanted to do was to get out of there and I became desperate to do so. Just when I thought there was no escape from this terrible situation I woke up. It had all been a dream and I was released from my ordeal.