10 May 2024


Every person is different from the next and in my view they are all worth listening to. With every new interaction, we learn more about what it is to be a human being.

On Sunday night, I boarded the last number 88 bus with my friend Mike. It was waiting at the bus stop. The driver was out of his seat pacing the bottom deck with no other passengers on board. When the pneumatic doors opened, the driver joshed with us that he had been hoping to drive back into the city centre on his own.

I asked him if he liked a full bus or an empty one and he explained why he preferred the latter. After showing my senior citizen's pass I commented on his accent, "Are you from Northern Ireland?" He said he'd arrived in Sheffield from Belfast back in the 1990's.

"Your accent is still strong," I remarked.

"That's because I am proud of my heritage."

And the conversation continued with thoughts about how some people deliberately and proudly hang on to the accents of  childhood while others willingly ditch them and soon begin to speak like their new host community.

Last night (Thursday)  I ventured out to one of our local bars - "The Dark Horse". I had not been in there in months. By chance I met up with a senior academic I have known for several years. He works in The University of Sheffield specialising in Japanese.

He was keen to talk with me about issues he has recently experienced with the UK Border Force. Six months ago he married a Costa Rican woman in the Costa Rican embassy in Tokyo. The unusual venue was chosen with regard to documentation and officialdom. He wished to bring his new wife back to England to live with him but so far this has not proved possible. They have spent thousands of pounds. on visas and legal services but they are still separated.  He admitted that the difficulties threatened to drive a wedge between them and it was not what either of them had envisioned. There had been particular problems emanating from the fact that though English, he was actually born in Kenya when  his father worked there through the nineteen sixties.

I think it is good to be inquisitive about other people. Once we lose that delight and that curiosity our lives are diminished. As I say, everyone has different stories to tell.


With midnight fast approaching, soon I must mount our stairs ready for the early drive over to Liverpool. Thence to Portugal.


  1. That last guy's story is amazing. He's a citizen of the world. Bon voyage, or whatever they say in Portugal. Oh, wait, the Google knows: Boa Viagem!

  2. Safe travels! Have a wonderful time.

  3. Everybody has a story. for some you have to prod them for their story. Others just tell there story ...no questions asked.

  4. You'll be on the move now, so safe journey to all of you.

  5. Most people have an interesting story to tell, when we take time to listen. I need to listen more and talk less.

  6. I like that we are all different, imagine how bland the world would be if we were all the same. I like hearing accents and trying to work out where they are from. Not to mention the varieties of foods and clothing styles.

  7. I can understand why it is complicated and bureaucratic because of flight risk once she is here but it shouldn't cost that much to bring his wife to England. I think Kenya had independence by then, but he would have an English passport to travel, so presumably he is a UK citizen. Are your passports all up to date for your travel. I don't think you used to need them for Schengen countries.

  8. It took my son about a year and a half to bring his Rwandan wife to the US. He had to pay and then pay again when they said they couldn't find his first payment and if they did a search for that first payment it would delay his process! We all had to write letters of support and it just seemed to take forever! Happily, Edith has been here for awhile and is now an American citizen and they are living in the same city I live in.
    Hope your travels are safe and fabulous!

  9. Everyone does indeed have a story to tell. Absolutely. And they are often fascinating.

  10. I still speak like an American, despite having lived here 13 years. I think it's actually very hard to lose one's original accent. Speech patterns develop when we're so young, and they want to stay that way.

  11. By now I guess you and the entire Pudding Clan are in Portugal - enjoy!!
    Yes, everybody has a story to tell, even those who think they don't. I must admit I am not always ready to listen; sometimes all I want is a bit of peace and quiet, especially after a demanding day at work. Then my head needs a rest and there is no better way for that than a good long after-work walk.


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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