War Memorial Gary Trouton


August 2002

Does human nature extend to or national institutions?

Hello again,

As I write this (deadline day!), the sun is streaming through the window, the temperature is in the eighties and all should be well with the world. But not so. I had intended this month to report on an event that had restored my faith in human nature and so use this as the overall theme for my monthly contribution to the Pump. But more recent events have transpired to negate this intention!

But first, the act of kindness. On Thursday last I had a series of business meetings in London. In my haste to catch an earlier train from King's Cross I commandeered a taxi to make the journey as quickly as possible. I don't know if any of you have visited King's Cross lately, but the long term reconstruction and road works make this a nightmare destination for all London cabbies. Nevertheless, my cabbie delivered me and it was in no way his fault that the King's Lynn train departed two minutes before my arrival. I killed the almost hour-long wait by my usual browse through WH Smith's book shelves and then climbed on board the train when it arrived. Unusually, for me, I had left my mobile switched on and just five minutes before departure, it rang. It was Maureen, my wife, asking how I was going to get home? I said I had my ticket, so no problem. "But you haven't got your wallet", she said! "You've left in the taxi!" Quick panic and I hurriedly left the train to return to my drop off point where the cheerful cabbie re-united me with my wallet.

It appeared that his next fare had found the wallet and passed it to him. He then went to the trouble to ring 192 to get my home telephone number, from the address shown on my driving licence, and then rang Maureen to tell her of my misdemeanour. Lucky me, but it did quite restore my faith in human nature.

Then I heard of an event that showed the other side of the coin, albeit from one of our supposed national treasures. A very sick patient needed to be transported from Stoke Ferry to Cambridge for urgent treatment. Not a single ambulance could be found anywhere in West Norfolk to carry the patient. In the end an ambulance had to be borrowed from North London. Perhaps someone with knowledge of, or in the employment of, the West Norfolk Hospital Trust can explain how the vast sums of money poured into the NHS can still leave a rural community like Stoke Ferry bereft of a critical ambulance service!

Then, today's headlines in the Daily Mail and it's front page pictures show groups of young people openly smoking cannabis in Hyde Park. The Metropolitan Police appear unwilling to take any action against them, either for fear of contravening our beloved government's recent relaxation of drug laws or, because of a total lack of interest.

Interesting, isn't it, that my first item refers to two decent human beings trying to do their best for their fellow man whereas the second two refer to national institutions which, to use the common vernacular, appear not to care a toss about the citizens of UK plc!

Ray Thompson

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