Wednesday, November 11, 2020


Many years ago through the dark mists of time, I got engaged. The engagement ring was a little Georgian ring with random diamonds set into silver foil to make them sparkle. It was bought one misty dawn from a nice lady at a stall in Caledonian Market in Bermondsey; it was delicate and discreet and looked fine on my bony fingers.

A few months later I was working as a cleaner for an agency, and one of my jobs was to clean a house where elders with learning difficulties lived. It was a gentle house, and comical in its way. When I vacuumed the living room, the line of old people on the sofa lifted their legs in the air in perfect synchronisation so that I could clean under their feet. They had their own chef and I was allowed to eat lunch with the staff around a formica table in the kitchen. It was curry, since you ask. It was nice.

It was a whole day's cleaning, and alas when I got home three or four of the tiny diamonds were missing from the engagement ring. They were replaced by a jeweller, but they were set without foil behind them so they look different to the others: they shine yellowish and the others shine silver. The thing is, it's all the more beautiful for being imperfect.

The marriage came and went and the ring is in a box waiting to be given to one of my daughters at some time in the future. It has it's own honourable history now, added to the life it had before it became mine.

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