Sunday 3 August 2014

The Unknown Saint Of Cenarth

Q: Where does this path lead?

A: Down to the high tide version of the low tide picture at the head of my Blog (at the moment - it will change!)

Yes, I have enjoyed Sunday lunch at my Mum's with an old friend of the family. Most enjoyable and I found time for the walk illustrated above.

The Cardi in me noticed some drain pipe remnants in Mum's back yard - could they save me money fixing a land drain issue in Mrs Blog's garden? I measure them - probably not, they are 4 inch not 6 inch pipes. Ho hum.

This momentary breach of sabbatarian probity is punished an hour later. On the way home I get a puncture and pull into the White Hart pub car-park in Cenarth.

Panic. I don't even know where the spare is hidden! But I patiently read the manual and locate it strapped under the boot.

Feeling rather pleased I exhibit maximum Zen calmness, find all the kit, and work out what I have to do (Mrs B has no faith in me but I persist confidently).

But I fail. The nuts on the wheel will not budge.

At this point anti-sabbatarianism comes to my aid because the pub is open (it wouldn't have been a few years ago) and within it I find a saint who spends the next two hours helping me.

He too can't do it with the pathetic kit supplied and goes back to his farm to fetch a cross-wrench - he is held up by a herd of cows so takes ages.

But it too won't budge the nuts.

We both set off on foot to find something to help - he finds a bit of a tourist's caravan's TV aerial which might do it (I am tempted) but I find a scaffolding pipe which we put over the cross-wrench to create a 5 foot lever (clever, eh?) and together we finally loosen the bolts.

Then we find the spare is flat (possibly a criminal offence on my part? If you even ask the question the answer will be yes).

The patient saint drives me a long way to a garage and we blow up the spare and drive back and put it on.

Meanwhile Mrs B slightly offends the saint by asking him (to my horror) how long he has lived in the area. He says all his life.

This is an interesting lesson about local Welsh accents. Mrs B was brought up in the same county for heavens sake but admittedly at the other end of Carmarthenshire - but she swears he sounded alien to her ("surely some kind of Gog?").

But the saint puts up with all this to complete the job.

At this point you might agree with me that there is a potential embarrassment. I choose, I think quite well judged, to say:

"Look, you might take offence if I ask but is there anything I might pay or do for your trouble?"

Brilliantly the saint doesn't want anything, doesn't take offence, but laughs happily, waves his hand, and disappears into the pub again, unwilling even to hear our profuse thanks - so he is even unwilling to embarrass us because it would embarrass him.

We agree as we drive home that actually many people - maybe even most people? - would have helped like that.

No less credit to the saint but what a fantastic reminder of that great decency which surrounds us all.

Truly the bad people are a minority and, I swear and often argue with my friends, they have the worst deal - we can all see the high-profile nasty exceptions but even they are, I think, probably not happy.

This matters professionally too. In advancing the cause of people with a mental illness we should not make the mistake of thinking that most people's first instinct will be other than friendly and supportive.