5 October 2022

Bert

This is my friend Bert - short for Albert. He's showing off his new false teeth which he picked up last Friday. They have caused him a degree of discomfort but he's getting used to them. Soon he'll be eating normally once more and hopefully putting on a bit of weight. When you are eighty five years old, losing more than a stone in weight because you are without a bottom set of gnashers is surely not good for your general health.

Bert has never had a mobile phone and has never been on a computer for any reason whatsoever. He lives with one foot in the past and can remember being evacuated from London's East End to rural Northamptonshire when he was just a nipper. He can also remember V.E. Day and has a prized photo of a street party with trestle tables and him sitting there amidst the happy people.

He is unfailingly upbeat and positive with a sunny philosophy of life - smile and the world smiles with you...  if you have ailments don't moan about them just try to battle through.... try to look on the bright side of life. He is also a staunch Labour Party supporter and like me he has never voted for any other political party.

Bert worked from the age of thirteen to seventy - always in manual jobs from the tanning industry in Northampton to concrete casting and railway carriage refurbishments in Sheffield . He also recalls with some affection his two years of National Service at Warcop in Cumberland in the 1950's. In fact it's amazing how vivid some of those memories are.

Bert likes to sing songs from long ago such as "Bringing My Baby Back Home", "We'll Meet Again" and "Have You Got a Light Boy?" - a novelty song by The Singing Postman from 1966.

Everybody likes Bert. He's just one of those people who radiates goodwill.

He still manages to trudge up to the pub three nights a week even though he will be 86 years old in November. I suppose there will come a day when his pub visits come to a halt and on that day I shall miss him.

Last night he said:-

"You really like me don't you?"

"Yes I do."

"Is it because I'm an old twat?"

"No. Your age doesn't mean anything to me Bert. I like you because of the man you are and because of your sunny character".

He smiled contentedly at that.

I reckon that I have known Bert for thirty three years. I met him in the pub soon after we moved to this suburb of the city, south of Endcliffe Park by the main road to The Peak District National Park. I am glad  he gave me permission to snap these pictures last night. They were the best of the bunch.

43 comments:

  1. I can see what a good and kind man Bert is from these pictures. What a nice smile! We should all follow his example as we age.

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    1. To be contented. To be happy. These are Bert's prime goals in life.

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  2. We all love someone like Bert. Life advice, yes mention your medical problems to those who might care, but never moan on about your health, whether it is good or bad. If you are in pain, that might not be so easy, but do put on a best face.

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  3. Bert is a great drinking friend to have. I imagine you have some great characters. I have always voted Labour? They are the party for the ordinary people.

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    1. It is sad that so many "ordinary people" can't see that reality.

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  4. Did Bert never marry? I imagine he would be a fine grandad.

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    1. Bert is a divorcee. He has two sons - both in their fifties and a granddaughter aged twelve.

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  5. In my world, someone like Bert is compared to a library due to their wealth of knowledge and experiences. When they die, it is much the same as setting fire to a library and all that knowledge and experience becomes lost forever.

    So when I meet someone like that who is a library, I try to learn as much as I can while it is still accessible to me.

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    1. That's a wonderful way of seeing old age Ed. I like it.

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    2. Echoing Neil.
      The finest three sentences I read today. Thank you!

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  6. Bert looks good!

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    1. He could arm wrestle you into submission Bob!

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  7. Neat neighbor, the world needs more like him

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    1. He has enriched my life - just through knowing him.

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  8. I genuinely wish I could sit across from Bert and enjoy a beer and a chat. What a lovely face he has. His sunny personality shines through.

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  9. Bert's song Have You Got A Light Boy? reminded me of AE Housman.
    A poem of friendship, mortality and a town in Shropshire, once called Salop.

    When I came last to Ludlow
    Amidst the moonlight pale,
    Two friends kept step beside me,
    Two honest lads and hale.

    Now Dick lies long in the churchyard,
    And Ned lies long in jail,
    And I come home to Ludlow
    Amidst the moonlight pale.

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    Replies
    1. Lovely lines. Thanks for sharing them. It is a poem I used to know well.

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  10. Bert reminds me of my friend George Pickles, who was the same age as Bert but sadly died very suddenly (sad for us, good for him - no long, drawn out suffering like what my Dad is going through at the moment) only a few weeks after I met up with him and his wife in Ripon this summer.
    He seems the same kind of decent man; honest, hard-working, upbeat and friendly. Yes indeed - smile, and the world smiles at you. I am very pleased for Bert to be able to smile with a full set of teeth again (let alone eat!), and for you to have such a good friend.
    Cheers, Bert!

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    Replies
    1. Sorry George Pickles has left to be a hornblower in the sky.

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  11. A very handsome man.

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    1. I will be telling him that Mary but please don't worry - I won't tell Glen!

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  12. Bert is a "National Treasure". There are so few of his generation left with such good memories and such pleasing personalities. That he has enriched your life just by knowing him is the finest compliment you could give him.
    Hope his teeth have bedded in!

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    Replies
    1. His mouth is still a bit sore but hopefully things will keep improving.

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  13. "A sunny philosophy of life" - certainly words to live by, Neil!
    All of the hours I have wasted worrying about something that never happens anyway!
    I am trying to do better...

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    1. As I often say to Bert - we cannot help who we are. You cannot playact your outlook on life.

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  14. YP: Do you like me because I'm a sad East Riding prat?
    TD: Where you were born does not matter to me.

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    Replies
    1. YP: It matters to me and I am not a prat.

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  15. I like that face. His good nature shines from it.

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    1. No religion whatsoever but a heart of gold.

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  16. He looks a nice guy and a good friend to have.

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    1. You are right ADDY - even though he originally hailed from that there London place .

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  17. Bert has a very friendly and humor filled face!

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    1. He's almost eighty six but at times it seems like his sixteen. He can be very naughty.

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  18. Fine post about a fine friend plus Hull 2 Wigan 1 – fine day!

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    1. We needed that victory Sean - after five straight defeats. And a new manager to come. Up The Tigers!

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    2. Yes, the three points were badly needed. Up the Tigers! Haaland for Hull! ;-)

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  19. he'll be even happier if he can get some decent food down the cake hatch!

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  20. Just one look at Bert says it all. He looks positive and relaxed.

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  21. He looks like a happy soul. He also looks like he has a good many years left.
    You missed my Sunday post, under the trickle down post. I thought you were in spam, but no spam at all when I checked.

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  22. Say a big hello to Bert from me next time you see him. He looks like a lovely man. ( and wish him good luck with the teeth!)

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  23. Lovely portrait of a lovely man. I think I would use the word 'grace' for him and also being stoical which is a strong virtue.

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  24. I envy anyone who's never been on a computer!

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