Today I’ve had a locksmith in, fixing our troublesome front door. What an amazing suprise. I was expecting the “I’ve come to fix yer door, luv” treatment, but instead I got intellectual conversation and a refreshing glimpse into the life of a person who is enthusiastic about the world around him. This delightful gentleman reguiled me with stories about his daughter, a ‘medical doctor’ who was evidently a source of limitless pride for him. He quizzed me about incunabula and what late-medieval people would have read. He told me about how medieval stone masons of York apparently took time out to build Skelton church (a church which I have had the pleasure of visiting in the past). We discussed cathedrals and minsters, and he informed me that Howden Minster in east Yorkshire is in fact still owned by the city of Durham – a relic of medieval inheritance and bequest if ever there was one. He listened attentively, perching on the edge of our corner seat, as I told him about the time that I found William Wordsworth’s signature in an old book What this reminded me of is that conversation that brightens up your day and gets the neurons firing can sometimes be found in sudden and unexpected places.
Oh, and the title of this blog post? My friendly locksmith treated me to a story about an elderly man he had met who survived a terrible battle of the Second World War because he had an awful case of hemmorhoids from sitting atop a hot engine for too long!