Saturday, 19 March 2011

Arise, Sir Ben. (Or Should it be Saint Ben?)

I have a friend called Ben. And I am proud to call him friend. I collect memorabilia; Ben collects old people; he has had at least three that I know of. Always neighbours, he visits them often; he fights their battles with the local council, usually concerning matters of care; He gives freely of his time well beyond an ordinary man's call of duty.
Ben is seventy one. He has also had, in the not too distant past quite a serious knee operation. This never stopped him caring for Guy, his most recent 'adopted' geriatric. Guy was a single minded gentleman whose life was much enhanced by Ben's equally single minded care in all things. It is no exaggeration to state that, without Ben, Guy's life would have been shorter and
certainly less fulfilled. They were in many ways a 'couple'. But a couple of what? You may well ask!
Guy was seriously limited concerning mobility and extremely elderly but this did not stop him exploring Derby and district. How could he fail to do so with a wheelchair to hand and Ben 'to boot'. Not the easiest of outings, Guy was no lightweight and Ben's knee surgery was not to be easily dismissed. But Ben usually made light of the problem. Even on the occasion a tyre fell off the wheelchair. Fortunately most young men are fit. At least that was so in the case of the two young men who lifted the wheel chair plus occupant into the air whilst the tyre was carefully replaced prior to the journey home. Not easily daunted were our intrepid travellers, though the trip to the supermarket nearly became 'a bridge too far'.
Guy had a penchant for fresh fish so, on a hot summer's day a trip to the local, though not too local Asda was welcomed by Guy with relish. A pleasant visit, mission accomplished, salmon to hand, the intrepid pair triumphantly set off for home. Only Ben has never been a driver, so he returned the way he knew as a passenger in his wife's car. Literally over the aforementioned 'bridge too far' which leads directly onto the A52. Now the A52 is a dual carriageway, Derby to Nottingham, very fast, very busy, no hard shoulder, no provision for pedestrians, (in fact pedestrians are forbidden). All facts lost on our doughty duo. Reminiscent of Batman and Robin, Laurel and Hardy, Mutt and Jeff; take your pick. The speeding traffic, inches away were ignored by the intrepid pair as they ploughed on with thoughts of tea and crumpet, or, in this case, fresh salmon sandwiches. That is, until the shrill sound of a siren shattered the air waves. How many passing motorists had rung 999 we'll never know; a fair number I guess. I'm not sure who was the most shocked, our intrepid duo or the passengers and driver in the police car who pulled in behind Ben and Guy. I know who was the most amused, the lady police officer who, though concerned, was nigh on having hysterics at the absurdity of the situation. Ideally, as the police suggested, the 'journey' needed terminating forthwith. Only it proved impossible to transfer Guy to the attending police vehicle. (an ambulance visited the scene, albeit briefly and was assured its presence was not necessary) Guy was for the first time concerned, for it was a hot day and salmon does not stay fresh when subjected to extreme heat! The answer was simplicity itself. A police escort to hold back traffic, allowing the dynamic duo to continue their way to the slip road ahead. A slow, laborious journey not helped by Guy dropping his walking stick several times as he concentrated on NOT dropping the salmon, a far more important item. To stop all traffic from overtaking was excellent. To stop traffic in BOTH directions from moving in order to allow the duo to cross the carriageway and exit showed the British police at their finest. Guy found the whole thing great fun. (He later suggested it was the best day he'd had in years.) Ben was embarrassed, and implored the police to not inform anyone concerning their unfortunate escapade. But as the lady constable informed, 'Keep it secret, the whole episode has been recorded on camera.' (Presumably for posterity, I personally have been surprised it has not surfaced on You Tube.)
An eventful afternoon worthy of a drink. Only the pub Ben and Guy called at on leaving the A52 was closed due to some problem with licences. Plus a detour to another pub proved no more fruitful, the time now way beyond the dinnertime opening hours. A can of beer on arrival home after an eventful day out Ben's only material reward for services rendered. Neither Ben, Guy or myself are religious in the accepted sense. But I tell you something, if there is a God up there in the sky, he was certainly looking over these two on that hot summer's day. And undoubtedly a good time was had by all.
Guy recently died. Sad in a way, but close to ninety years of age, the end of a long , interesting and happy life. Ben, no scholar, told me that Guy was having a 'humourist' funeral. I thought about it and concluded this would give anyone a cheerful send-off. I presumed you told the deceased's favourite jokes, sang happy songs and perhaps read excerpts from funny people, bits of Spike Milligan, and the like. In a way it was a pity Ben meant a 'humanist' funeral. All the same evidently it was far from a miserable affair and I'm sure Guy would have approved. And I trust there are other old people out there who lack that personal touch. If so please ring me for Ben's number. For I swear he's looking for someone else on whom to lavish his special brand of geriatric care and attention. Well done Ben, thou good and faithful servant.


Pat - Arkansas said...

Ben is a wonderful example of "love thy neighbor as thyself." A touching story, well told.

the fly in the web said...

Can he come to Costa Rica?
Here, thanks to th heat, one day you're dead...and it is announced on the morning loudspeaker van which goes round the town....there is an overnight vigil...not a wake at all...and then the mass and into the tiled tomb in the burial ground.

David Macaulay said...

exellent - great story, ken.

Pauline said...

I had to look up what a humanist funeral was! I think most of the funerals I go to these days would fall in that category,a few have had a bit of the humourist added in.
Thanks for the wonderful story. I hope Ben finds another adoptee.

quilterliz said...

G'day. Thank goodness for the Ben's of this world. They make it a better place. Take care...

Valerie said...

Marvellous story, Ken, both touching and amusing ... especially the part about 'riding' the motorway.

John Teal said...

to coin a phrase "Care in the community"


Akelamalu said...

What a wonderful example of human nature at it's best. :)

ADDY said...

What a fantastic story. Ben is a gem and the thought of them both on that dual carriageway had me smiling.

Ruth said...

What a wonderful story! I could just imagine that drive: it had my laughing out loud!

Hanny said...

Only a life lived for others is worth living.

Silently Contemplating said...

If there were more people in the world with even half the compassion that Ben has, our world would be a better place. Thank you for sharing his story...

JeannetteLS said...

How can Ben not find another adoptee? He looks--and the potential is, sadly, limitless--not sad, however for the lucky ones whom Ben finds. Thank you for sharing this story and telling it so well. there's a reason you have so many followers--or did you pay them all? HEY. I'm waitin' for MY Payment then. Been gone a couple of weeks, and it is good to be reading the blogs, good stories told by born storytellers.

Unknown said...

Thank goodness for people like your friend, Ben!

Georgilee said...

This is a lovely story of someone who was clearly a very dear friend to you. I think more people should write about people in their life that have had a profound effect. I'm glad he had a really good life :) Best wishes

Stranger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stranger said...

I could hook him up with my mother! Although she might be too much, even for Ben!

Debbie said...

God bless the unsung care givers in this world. It is the small joys or comfort that they bring to someone's life that can be priceless. Thank you for singing Ben's praises and for the smile.

Nota Bene said...

Am searching YouTube even as we speak...! Excellent

Andy said...

As usual, very eloquently written Ken. Thanks for sharing it.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Thank you all for your comments. There is no doubt Ben is special. Not perfect, mind you, but special. I am so pleased you all recognise this simple truth. Thanks.

Lê Thanh Đức said...

Libya Solutions

1 - United Nations: discussion (part) 'democracy' with 'country' (including 2 points - found: Consensus in the 'country')
+ Protesters' about 2 / 3 - The country people '(anti-government) -> governments' innovation completely. " Approximately 1 / 3 'country people' -> compromise 'response'.

+ The 'leader' country: tenure (and vote 'trend': two times a term.)

2 - (Outside) no intervention (internal):
conflict 'protest' - 4 elements:

+ Authorities 'response' 'rights' (people).

+ Review: 'water quantity' 'against government' (Libya. ..) - how to resolve 'demanding' people.

+ 'Government' is not 'resolutions'' Security Council United Nations' (votes' absolute ') and' leader 'is not' banned movement. "

+ The 'link in the region' 'not opposed' (ie the Arab League, ASEAN, Africa ...).

3 - Apply 'military intervention' (external) - based on:

+ Article 7 - The United Nations Charter

+ A country (outside) no intervention. Number of coordinated water (shown: part - many 'people' World).

4 - Make 'intervention measures' 'outside' 'purpose':

+ Prevent conflict (violence): 'government' and 'people - oppose'.

+ Response: 'government solutions' and (require) 'protesters'.

+ Intervention (external): 'solution' and stop (escalation) 'conflict' and 'faction' (in water).

+ 'Required' 'the government' (is): Negotiation - meet 'the people' -> stop 'intervention' (population: the decision).

5 - The 'intervention' ('outside' or 'water' 'participation'):

+ Response: desire 'majority, World - purpose (' on ') (Section 4).

+ Do not 'responsible' build 'new government' (citizens 'decision').

+ The (problem) 'conflict' Left: the 'UN' 'coordination' in every country and region.

United Nations implement 5 'elements' (above) is:

- Avoid (condition - in Libya), the protesters 'conflict' (assert basic 'human'). 'Government' apply 'the protesters' armed -> create 'force' rebel: repression.

- Avoid: the wrong intervention (external) as 'constraints' (factors '4 '- Section 2) and ('4 Factors' section 4).

- The solution (on the) 'did not happen Civil War' (by 'community' is not 'recognized' and 'isolation'.
Government (will) meet the 'right people' and (will) 'no fear' 'protests'.

Human civilization: to know - the unified 'solution' (above) -> is not 'civil war'.

Lê Thanh Đức said...

commentary 1:

Struggle with (the) 'Islamist ideology' and 'terrorist organizations' success in the Middle East - the countries in the region' striving democracy. "

1 - (when) The 'Middle East' achieve 'democracy' is:

+ Benefits and Life (People's) response.

+ People: 'participation' (good) in the 'government' (vote, requires' policy'...).

+ State: from 'people's' ownership and the 'power' properly executed.


People to participate in nation building (good) is 'to develop' (country) decided by the people themselves ('developing country': the level of 'intellectual', the 'satisfaction'.

The 'benefits' with 'the people'. "

2 - Prevent 'extremist Islamic ideology':

+ 'State' 'power' the right (not focused) and not 'some individuals'' spending power '(Reason: selective progressive and democratic' elections.)

The extremist Islamic ideology 'difficult' propaganda 'established: the State' Taliban style '.. By, 'Islamist ideology' applicable State 'Taliban model, the' accumulation of power '(' rule ') and' forced 'people (women lower benefits, lifestyle' draconian ' ...).

+ If 'sabotage': action 'life' (each 'people').

Government that 'the people' 'participation' at: the 'political apathy', with the 'opposition' policy. Meanwhile, 'the extremist Islamic organizations' (such as the AlQaeda organization'...): break 'the State' which 'people' less 'consensus'. 'Life' 'meet' so bad ... 'people' is not a strong fight.

'Terrorism' is: a / against 'the government' that people 'support' 'vote'; b / terrorism where 'public' as against 'the place to do business' (individual) people (life response: the 'public place' associated lifestyles life does not meet: the 'people' working poor and unemployed, so less' presence'...). Thus, 'rights' to people (a, b) they (will) fight 'keep well'.

+ Social Democracy: 'People' 'progress' (do not get dragged 'extremist Islamic ideology').

Middle Eastern countries like Egypt, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain ... striving democracy (good): prevent 'the extremist Islamic organizations. "

Democracy (good) 'each country' shall not 'affect - the dominant' countries: Russia, U.S., China, Iran and other countries ... 'good contact'.

Lê Thanh Đức said...

Solution Libya (next -> Resolution No. 1973 of the Security Council of the United Nations)

(3/23/2011, me and Development Programme UNDP United Nations; Le Thanh Duc 39 - 'Ngu Hai' - Vinh City)

'Coalition' 'Resolution 1973 of the United Nations' conflict and prevent violence against civilians.

Strategy (continued):

1 - 'coalition' - used (only) 'aircraft - the type monitored' supervision Libya.

a / - if 'Gadhafi government troops' use 'weapons' (heavy), such as tanks, artillery ... 'Allied forces' use 'jet' and 'missile': destruction.

b / - If: (repeat) occur 'conflicts - the Civil War' -> catastrophic 'ordinary people':

(When) a 'city' (or where): (continued) fighting took place -> 'coalition forces' use (group' infantry) 'landing': 'measures' to prevent (stop - both sides) - > then taking the (campaign)

Campaign (each place): (can) a day, a few days ... (optional) 'need time' (infantry) are present (there). Finished campaigns: withdrawal - 'instant' (group of soldiers) from Libya (the ground).

c / - 'infantry groups' implementation 'campaign' - to mobilize (from):

+ Warships; or

+ Countries' (near) to 'garrison' (temporary). When 'Mr. Gadhafi' 'resigned acceptance' -> 'troops' (where) retreat - 'instant' (end).

2 - The United Nations shall:

a / - Implementation: 'work' (humanitarian) with people.

b / - Promotion (all - the forces, factions ...) ceasefire. Negotiations 'establishment' 'Libyan authorities' new.

'Libyan government forces' (old) are allowed to 'join', 'son' of 'Mr. Gadhafi' allowed 'to participate' ('government of national reconciliation' new).

Lê Thanh Đức said...

3 - 'Mr. Gadhafi' not 'involved' 'new government', because:

a / - (number of) 'the protesters' - 'object' many (previously).

b / - Army 'Mr. Gadhafi' used 'mercenaries' lot. Country by the military people (consensus 'participation' - protection).

c / - 'Mr. Gadhafi' leaders 'long', not the 'trend' 'human progress', lack of 'democracy'. Countries China, Russia, Venezuela ... (also) did not support - 'leaders' 'holding power' for many years and did not vote.

d / - 'Mr. Gadhafi' no 'response' interests' (most of) the people (protesters: life).
'Mr. Gadhafi' must go and the 'private property' (property right). The 'other assets': the 'people of Libya' - reconstruction using 'country'.

4 - With time, if:

- 'Mr. Gadhafi' not resign.

- 'Conflict - hinder': 'the new government set up' - 'disaster' the people '.

- Preventing 'the protesters' or 'oppose' (method).

Will: use the 'super-talented soldiers' arrest Mr. Gadhafi. Reason 'arrest' 'Mr. Gadhafi': 'International Court of Justice' will (then) to investigate: 'Mr. Gadhafi' attack 'protesters'.

(When) - start 'Mr. Gadhafi', will:

- 'New government' and 'the people': the decision; or

- The countries with the United Nations perspective, 'Mr. Gadhafi' 'yes or no' exile.

5 - 'democracy' - the executable (right), will:

The people of Libya - receptive: 'method' produce 'progress' and 'operating state' ('election'). Unlike 'old regime' - 'mode' poor production; income people - divided by 'oil' (mostly). People required: good labor rights.

Democracy: The 'resource' is fine - not the 'dominant' (to: management and procurement; transparency). At that time, Russia, America, China, France ... not 'influence'.

EU: production methods, management of social progress -> Libya cooperation: transfer of 'technology'. Geographic locations: Libya near Europe -> exchange efficiency.

'Gadhafi personally' threat reduction 'security - peace' in Europe: the European People's struggling (to prevent threats).

UN: discussion (all countries) - 5 points (as above) -> execute 'peace and human progress', 'Libya happy people'.

Bish Bosh Bash said...

The scales of justice and a mans rite’s to (a) fish, working in perfect harmony for once. Good job the whinging tax paying public on the A52 never got to know what was really the cause of their delayed journey that day. The really sad travesty of justice though is that the Sir Bens of this rock go virtually unrecognised and un-exemplified in our wider society, while the ‘Katonas’ ‘Jordans’ ‘Hiltons’ and ‘V Beckhams’ hoover up vast financial rewards for simply exposing their vile, self serving, attention seeking personas. It’s time we cleaned up our priorities.