Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Writing's On The Wall

A nice story, which is neither party political nor about boats, but which highlights some of the lovely and interesting people who come into my life through my job.

Earlier today I answered the phone to a Member. Let's call him Mr Parker. He was calling to see if he had paid his membership subscription as he had received a reminder letter. As I looked at his data I saw an old 'note' in the comments section of his membership record. The subject was "Has Unique Skill."  As I chatted, I clicked on the link to expand the note to see what his "unique skill" was.  The full note read,

"Has unique skill. He is third generation graphologist, his father worked for
resistance movement in Budapest during war. Mr Parker worked for Special Branch
advising on criminal behaviour and building psychological profile of criminals. Now retired,
willing to raise money for Party doing handwriting analysis at fetes and dinners etc"

The note was initialled BT and dated 1998. BT is Barry Thurnell, my predecessor but two, the Tunbridge Wells Agent back in the 1990s.

Given he had 'recently retired' in 1998 (14 years ago) I assumed he was probably into his late 70's and enjoying retirement. "Oh I am still at it," he announced, "in fact, just a few weeks ago I worked at a charitable dinner at the Grosvenor House and raised £1,500 for Childline".

As is the Conservative Agent's way, ££££££££ signs started flashing....

I mentioned the note I had found on his membership record, "are you still willing...?"  "Oh yes, I would be delighted. I phoned the office about 12 years ago and offered, but no-one took me up on the suggestion."

So now he is booked to appear at the Tunbridge Wells Conservative Christmas Fete. £2.50 a go for a two minute consultation. All proceeds to Party funds!  And if that goes well, he'll be at the Annual Dinner, too - at £10 a pop. 

As the conversation drew to a close, I said (half jokingly), "I am worried now that you are looking at my signature on your membership renewal letter and analysing me."  "Ah, you English are not at all like the Europeans. (Amen to that! - Ed.) "You are private people and you do try to hide your inner selves by not allowing your identities to come through in your writing. It makes my job harder, but not impossible. In Europe, people are more compliant. That's why we have put up with dictatorships. If a police man asks for your identity papers in Europe you just hand them over without question. In England, the very thought of the government making you carry identity papers brings about uproar and protest and the government backs down. That's what I love about this country."

How right you are, Mr Parker. That's what I love about this country, too. 

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