I had never met Albert but I felt I knew him. He only lived a couple of hundred yards from my house, albeit in another street, yet I never had a conversation with him other than to say ‘Hello’ in passing.
He was in his late eighties & used to wait at the end of his garden so he could talk to the children & parents as they walked past his house on the way home from school. He was a genuinely nice bloke. I expect he had little company so the short chats he had at the end of his garden must have been quite welcome to him.
My wife walked past his house every day as she took & collected ourÃ‚Â little ones. She started chatting with him a couple of years ago. Soemtimes it was just a nod, a smile & a greeting, other times it was a 15-20 minute conversation. In the course of these chats he revealed he used to be a police officer. When my wife said that her husband wasÃ‚Â a police officer he hooked on to the common factor & their chats often revolved around what either he or I had done in our service, where we worked, that kind of thing.
He started giving her photos he hadÃ‚Â during his service – he had retired when I was but a wee bairn – she had instructions to ‘take them home & show your husband’ and she duly did. I saw shots of him on traffic duty in the 50s, one of him meeting an important cardinal who visited the force area in the 60s, one of him at a rail crash, the same short of shots I have in my collection only the cars & uniforms are different. Every couple of months Mrs Weeks would come home from school with another photo or a press cutting.
Some of them he insisted I keep, others my wife returned. I kept meaning to pop round & meet him properly for a chat.
My wife told me she hadn’t seen Albert since the half-term break. She learned from a neighbour that sadly he died last week, so I won’t be able to meet him. I’m sure he was a wonderful chap, I hope he passed on his stories to many people.