Virtue’s reward


Oh, aglow with goodness, I am! Bursting my buttons with self-satisfied good-egginess. Not from the recent week in Ireland, across which we will stare with unseeing eyes, stopping only to note that Lent resolutions should – that’s SHOULD – be broken if a seven-year-old boy tells you he’s baked a cake especially to welcome you. Unfortunately the two handsome slices consumed so fast I nearly lost a finger fired the starting pistol for all manner of I’m-on-my-holidays confectionery mayhem. Add in the view from the hotel’s breakfast room window on the following Monday, which revealed snow blowing horizontally down the street, and yeah, let them eat cake.

No, the virtue comes in later, on my return to the bosom of South London. Another bout of window-staring unveiled a Nectar card in the vegetable patch. It had obviously come from the sodden, fox-chewed and stinking wallet that lay nearby, which I’d ignored for days because a) it looked like a chunk of plastic guttering, b) the foxes leave all manner of shit, some literal some metaphorical, on the lawn (the puzzling vulpine love of the single shoe is only one reason why I hate them) and c) heavy, sleety rain doesn’t tempt me outdoors. The wallet still had the cash in it, absolutely soaked through, paper driving licence, visa to foreign parts and lots of cards, so we pegged the papers up in the airing cupboard to dry – the place looked like a forger’s lair – and started several rounds of Hunt the Owner.

If the same happens to you, don’t bother to phone HSBC or the DVLA – they’ll do nothing whatever to contact the lossee. A friend said she had lost a wallet too; the finder rang all her cards’ helplines, and the only one that bothered its arse to let her know was RBS. Customer service gold star with oak leaf cluster for RBS; three weeks bathed in rain and fox spittle for HSBC.

An hour or so piddling about online yielded a nearby address, to which I walked round and stuck a note through the door. A phone call later and next morning wallet and owner were reunited – or more accurately, stinky wallet and jiffy bag of crinkly papers and cancelled cards were reunited with owner, and I sauntered home a bottle of champagne to the good. Still glowing with community spirit – and the prospect of enjoying a really generous thank you present. Hurrah for South London!


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