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Saturday 22 June 2024

Several good things

VR, St Albans, late 50s, before RR

Old age and one of its loathsome ailments have dealt VR a lousy hand. Normally I don’t blog about this, not thinking I’m entitled. VR thanks me for the work I now do around the house and in the garden; occasionally she complains about being helpless. More frequently she reminisces about good things.

It’s the late fifties. She’s a qualified state registered nurse yet is running a whole ward at Charing Cross Hospital (dead centre of London) in the absence of the more senior ward sister. Two days’ leave beckon and VR will spend them with her parents in Folkestone, sixty miles away. Utterly knackered, still wearing her uniform, she crosses the road and joins the ticket queue at Charing Cross station.

An unknown man behind her calls over her shoulder to the ticket clerk: “Make sure you give this nurse the right ticket and call her a porter.” (Yes, porters were available then.)

A porter arrives, takes her bag, escorts her to a less packed carriage. He calls out to the other passengers. “Anyone here going to Dover?” Dover is the stop beyond Folkestone. Hands are raised. Porter says, “This nurse will probably sleep. Make sure she’s woken to get off at Folkestone.”

VR is woken as ordered. On the platform she is greeted by another porter, ordered by the porter at Charing Cross. He guides her to a waiting taxi. She provides her parents’ address and is driven there.

 “No charge,” says the driver.


  1. Lovely story. What a beauty she is.

  2. What a heartwarming story. And yes, she's so beautiful!

  3. Colette/Beth: Agreed. Having seen photographs of me you may well wonder how our union came about.