I seriously think this is the most interesting person I have stopped to date. I certainly was not expecting that when I headed to Columbia Road Flower Market yesterday afternoon for my weekly dose of triple chocolate brownie from Lily Vanilli.
I noticed him taking the bread crates away walking back to and fro. I wondered on how to best approach him so he doesn't get to refuse my request. There was no need for that as it turned out. He was the friendliest person ever, a cheeky chap. He started telling me all about how he's been coming to the flower market since 1950s and about his old Olympus camera he does street photography with, how he doesn't use or trust a computer, how he pays all his bills at the post office except for his water bill, which still comes in the name of the previous landlord even though he has lived in the flat for 35 years. And then he said that he got the place from the widow of the previous landlord who 'got him from Barnardo's'. 'You're Barnardo's child?', I asked. He smiled and nodded as he continued with the story about his flat.
Now for many of you out there, this might mean nothing. I only learnt what it means a few months back when reading 'At Home' by Bill Bryson. Until then I wasn't aware that Barnardo's was the very first charity in the UK looking after children from deprived backgrounds, offering shelter to the homeless youth in London and its creation was sadly preceded by that of RSPCA as in Victorian times animals carried higher esteem than impoverished children. To be Barnardo's child means to have been cared for by Barnardo's charity at some point. Their care homes had a reputation for being very strict back then.
We continued chatting about his life until it was time to go. He helps out his friend every Sunday put her stall away so after all the laughs and words we said 'See you next Sunday!' and I am already looking forward to that.