Ealing Walking, Talking and Exploring Group is also on Facebook and Eventbrite.
As we were talking I noticed the elderly man in a bright red jumper working with the volunteers. Somehow, we started talking and this is how I met Derek. He lives nearby, on the other side of the M40, close to John Perryn School and St Dunstan's has always been his church. He was christened there and his parents gave him two names: Derek Leonard, after his grandfathers. He was seven when WW2 broke out. On finding out that I had come by bike, as he was seeing me off, he smiled broadly and told me that he was a member of The Middlesex Road Club for many years. So many happy memories he surely has of those years. When he held the door open for me he pointed at the font which occupies a strange place: outside, opposite the entrance on the lawn. Derek is not at all happy about it. He said he had protested against it being left outdoors at the mercy of elements and local vandals, but to no avail. I can understand him. After all, it's the very same font he was christened in. I looked at the scene at that very moment and simply had to preserve the scene with my smartphone camera. Derek agreed for me to take a picture of him in the bright red jumper, the font behind him and the dark blue sky in the background.
Regretfully, I couldn't stay longer to listen to Derek's memories. I gave him my card if he wanted to call me for a chat, but I don't think he will call. As we were parting I gave him a hug and we stayed close for a moment, and I tell you, Dear Reader, a very powerful moment it was.
To me it was a very meaningful experience, this relatively short time with an old man I may never meet again, a man who has stories to tell, but not someone to listen to them.
Yes, you can see water cascading onto the sofa with a strange object on it!