I am neither a Street Pastor nor a Foodbank volunteer, but I hope I might be known as a Good Samaritan. Certainly, that was one person’s take on my action some time ago.
Following a bout of emergency hospital visits on my part, friends invited my husband and me to join them for coffee at The Grand Hotel. The seafront overlooking Torbay – famous, among other things, for being Napoleon’s last port of call before being exiled to St Helena – is one of our favourite haunts. Seated in the lounge, with views ranging from Hope’s Nose on one side to Corbyn’s Head on the other, we settled down for an evening of pleasure and relaxation. Our friendship with Richard and Maria goes back thirty years or more, but familiarity does not mean that we fall short of conversation. Far from it!
Nevertheless, I found my attention wandering throughout the evening. In one corner of the hotel lounge, a woman sat entirely alone, staring into the distance. Well-dressed and probably in her seventies, she was clearly a lady of substance, but what, I wondered, had brought her here? And why had she no one with her?