20 Nov

I was pleased and grateful to receive  thank-you card from my little granddaughter today. She reached the ripe age of two recently and while she made her mark on the card, her mummy had written a lovely message of gratitude.

Perhaps in our brave new social media world a text or email is the time-efficient method of thanks but I liked the thought, elegance and effort of the envelope which dropped on my mat this morning. Of course there are the fringe benefits of calligraphy-recognition and knowing that just the odd envelope is personal rather than a flyer or bill. Pleases and thank yous being inculcated in the young are vital to their understanding of true worth. We need values which ground us in the appreciation of all the small gifts that humble human interaction can provide.

I always register good manners. The landlord at my local extends his arm across the beer taps to shake hands when customers come in. He’s from the Czech Republic. I have Lithuanian and Mauritian doctors. Both warm and polite and charming. Better still, they’re very good doctors. Next week when I have my prostate checked I won’t mind the ethnicity of the digit which investigates.

My optician, whom I visited this morning is of Indian extraction. Unfailingly polite to the point of deference…but very much in control too. So too the Albanian builders who are doing work at my house this morning. They work like stink and have and old fashioned air about them. Their manners are impeccable. Things that have been ingrained many years ago in family settings a thousand or more miles away and in circumstances far less comfortable than most on this side of Europe.

I left the optician and had coffee in the Victoria Centre, a large mall in Tunbridge Wells. Not one but two heavy-accented girls served me with charm and consideration. My blueberry muffin looked a little sad but I accepted it. Five minutes later and two bites in, one of the girls put another muffin on my table and said, with a smile of apology,

“We embarrassed. Muffin not good. Please, this better.”

I pause to answer the door… An Amazon parcel. Another Eastern European. Another smile and respectful exchange.

I hope that manners and gratitude don’t go out of fashion in our revved-up, screen-addicted world. The pleasure gained by giving and receiving simple courtesies is incalculable. The small acknowledgements which punctuate our days dozens of times over, form the basis for our acceptance, appreciation and gratitude for others.

I should say that, despite wanting to point out the wonderful contribution of other ethnic groups to our national courtesy quotient, there are countless numbers of jolly nice Brits in my village who also deal in good manners…but one or two who don’t. The last two rude people I encountered were elderly Brexiteers. I may be a little prejudiced and need counselling. I’m having a beer with a Brexiteer later. I’ll let you know if he has good manners.

In the meantime…

I look forward to my little granddaughter being able to write her own cards of gratitude and hope that the practice will continue for generations to come.




4 Responses to “Gratitude.”

  1. ENSEMBLE DIANA-RIDDICK November 20, 2018 at 3:27 pm #

    Dear Paul Love and value thank you letters and cards especially from the grandchildren. Good manners can change the mood of the day. An unexpected act of courtesy is uplifting while a surly grunt can ruin a pleasant meal. Like you I am blessed with Eastern European friends and students. And from diverse parts of Africa. All mood enhancing exchanges. Only bad moment in the last few months was with a surly chap at Lille Eurostar. I won’t bore with details but he said ‘ its not my fault what had been decided at Brussels ‘. The air was thick with unspoken and obvious retort. Glad to be back with lovely Romanian, Syrian and Polish friends who, quite simply, know how to behave. Love Diana

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. laurenpom November 20, 2018 at 8:03 pm #

    So lovely to read your note Paul. Here is an email to say you and Belinda are therefore perfect for each other as she is incredibly thoughtful and lovely. I love thinking of the two of you together. Perfect. Congradulations on your little granddaughter. All the best, Lauren

    Lauren Pomerantz


    • simplysorro November 20, 2018 at 9:04 pm #

      Hey Lauren. Thanks so much for your lovely message. Belinda is as always gorgeous and sends her love… along with mine. xx

  3. Nick December 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm #

    Well said Sorro as ever!

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