Courtesy, Respect and a Smile.
Three lovely words, you must agree dear reader. Lady Perry and I have been on a mini holiday, one that was needed to re-charge the batteries after a period having to deal with just a little too many of lifes demands and complications. We decided to go to Dorset and stay at a superb bed and breakfast (4*) in a lovely area known as Broadstone, not far from Poole. (More on Poole later).
We arrived at our accommodation, unpacked and decided to take a stroll around the area. Within a few moments we were totally amazed. When needing to cross the road, motorists stopped and waved us across! They did this with a smiling face, presumably at the incredulous looks on our own faces. This was not a one-off, but happened on numerous occasions, one motorist actually reversing a little at a junction, in order to make it safer for us to cross. What a difference from city drivers whose main aim, it would seem, is to either run you down or shout obscenities at you whilst blocking your path, just for the offence of being a pedestrian.
We continued our stroll, entering various shops and receiving friendly greetings. When was the last time that happened to you in a shopping centre? Exactly.
We then walked along a purpose made, wide path, flanked by tall trees, adjacent to the main road. This path was used by cyclists and pedestrians alike. Stand by for the next amazing incident.....
Two cyclists approached us from the opposite direction. They slowed down when nearing us, looked over and wished us good afternoon whilst smiling, then continued on their way. We could scarcely believe it! Again, what a difference from city cyclists and Lycra clad loonies hurtling along at great speed, narrowly missing you and generally scaring the living daylights out of you, again, just for the offence of being a pedestrian. Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against cyclists or motorists, I am both. But what I am trying to illustrate here is the courtesy and respect shown to us in this small town, compared to the city.
Now, time for more on Poole, as promised. If you thought the city that you live near or perhaps, even more unfortunately within, was unfriendly to just about everyone, go to Poole, or Bournemouth. We have the good fortune to live about six miles away from our nearest city, a couple of minutes walk from being on the South Downs (smug mode entered). But on the rare visits to that city (only from dire neccesity) it is like entering a hostile, alien and forbidding place. But, it lacks in numbers (fortunately), that which Poole and Bournemouth do not. Roundabouts. Not just one or two, oh no, there must be hundreds of them. Not little ones. Some of them are so large as to require a map to try and navigate across them. One after another, so that if you are driving, it seems as if you are on a constant merry go round, except that the music is replaced by the constant drone of traffic noise. We could not get away quickly enough, but then, we like a quiet and friendly life. Which leads me on to the last word of the title. Smile.
Wherever Lady Perry and I find ourselves in the world, when speaking with someone (we get by in a few main languages) we always smile. Why? Because it is disarming, charming and the universal language of getting a helpful response. We once spent two weeks in the company of a lovely young lady who was half Brazilian and half Italian. At that time, she did not speak English, we did not speak Italian or Spanish. We spoke French and German, she did not.
But we had the most entertaining time, because we all smiled and with various gesticulations and facial expressions (again, universal) made ourselves understood. Also, by us all showing courtesy and respect. It leaves a lasting impression. Try it, you have nothing to lose and a great deal to gain. Until the next time, all the best from Grandad.......