Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I occasionally like to pretend that I am a tremendously good and kind person. In fact, I can be judgy and bitchy and as stubborn as twenty-seven mules in a box. I also have a fatal tendency to forget that not everyone sees the world as I do. I am prone to what my old dad calls 'making statements'. I can be frantically competitive. I really, really like being right. In other words, whatever I might like to think, I am not one of those properly good people, like Mrs March, or the mother in Little House on the Prairie, or Anne Eliot, possibly the goodest and yet least dull character in fiction.
In my fantasy goodness, I do, however, like to do those tiny acts of kindness that some people write about in small books that are sold by the tills of coffee shops. I am endlessly holding open doors for old ladies and letting people go before me in the supermarket queue and waving drivers on at roundabouts. I always smile at everyone in the street, and they give me doubtful or suspicious or pitying looks, clearly convinced that I have special needs, or am some kind of care in the community project. But today I did one of the minute acts of kindness and it really worked.
I went to Cirencester to run some errands, and it was one of those miraculous moments when everything you need is there, and nothing is out of stock, and the list has a long line of ticks against it. So I came back to the car park earlier than expected, and still had an hour left on my ticket. A pale young woman in a small beaten-up car was pulling into the space next to me. I waited, holding my tiny white ticket. I thought she might be alarmed by a stranger waving parking tickets at her, or need more than one hour, or find some other excuse to reject my offer. I have a cold and could not find my hairbrush this morning, so I did look a bit freakish, with my nose bright red, and my hair sticking up at the back, and my old baggy Nicole Fahri tweed with the holes in the pockets.
'I have an hour,' I said to the lady, as she emerged from her car. 'Would it be of any use to you?'
I brandished the paper, trying not to look too frightening.
The women smiled a beautiful smile.
'That would be absolutely brilliant,' she said.
I'm not sure which of us was more delighted.
I feel there is a moral in this story, but I have taken too much Benylin to work out what it it. Perhaps I should leave the last word to my friend the Two-Year-Old, who looked up suddenly in the middle of our most delicious lunch, gazed about the room, thought, smiled, and pronounced:
'It's not so bad'.
'No,' we all said in chorus. 'It really is not so bad at all.'
Pictures of the day are from the London trip. I grew slightly obsessed with herbs and flowers and a turquoise wall:
And, with slight inevitability, as a special Saturday treat, a quick reminder of what is awaiting me, five hundred miles north:
Have a marvellous weekend.