To The Manor Bourne - Peter Clements

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Dear Meads Road bottle breaker,

I guess you had a great time last Friday. Some might say it was smashing.

It seems you enjoyed your bottle of beer ‘for the road’ so much that you decided the road itself should be gifted the dregs, as they seep off the shards of glass you caused to crash all over the tarmac.

I had the bravado, or rather bottle, in my youth to shatter the odd beer receptacle on a walk home too. Come on, we are all a bit silly when drunk. However, one thing I’d never had to do was deal with the consequences. Doing so last weekend was a sobering thought.

As I turned left out of Compton Place Road, I could see an elderly lady scratching away at the curb with her walking stick. Approaching, I noticed that she was attempting to divert fragments of broken glass away from her car tyres, for she needed to reverse over the area.

To be fair, she wasn’t that old, and was clearly fit enough to drive. Even so, she didn’t seem mobile enough to get down on her knees and pick up the pieces, something she would have to do if no one assisted. Naturally I obliged, although ironically I was a little lethargic about it having had a few too many myself the night before.

Yes, this was a trivial incident, it hardly warrants column inches. However, for me it really hit home. Seeing an elderly lady needing help made me think of my Nan, who lives alone in Bognor Regis. It dawned on me that I hadn’t contacted her for nearly 6 months, half a year! Time really does fly.

I wonder how many trivial incidents she has had to deal with, and if anyone has been there to help her (apart from family I mean). I wonder if her dog is ok, if her heater is still rattling, and if she has managed to complete any crosswords recently. I wonder if she still drinks tea from the mug I bought her when I was 17.

Bottle breaker, thanks for reminding me how important it is to keep in touch. Cheers to that.