Yesterday I took the number 7 bus into the centre of Brighton. Every bus in Brighton is named after a famous resident of the city. One is named after the deceased painter and sculptor Eric Gill who is the grand uncle of Polly. There was some controversy as it is said that Eric Gill allegedly had sexual relations not only with his immediate family but also his dog. Some people complained about the propriety of the naming of a bus after him to which the reply came that if similar investigation was made into the private lives of the other named personages the scheme would have to be scrapped. Welcome to Brighton.
A man boarded the bus at the Royal Sussex hospital. He was walking shakily and having seen The Theory of Everything I thought it might be motor neurone disease . The passenger announced he has schizophrenia and needed to talk. His request was accepted tolerantly by the passengers and he proceeded to declaim about the imminent arrival of Jesus to save us. Brighton is often and not unjustly regarded as a whacky place. There is a genuine tolerance here not a severe pc as it’s arguably the most permissive place in the UK which liberality extends to the mentally ill. Polly confirmed later that Brighton has a significant number of mentally ill and she has always seen them treated publicly with care.
Later in town I encountered Bob Tickler purchasing his favourite chocolate truffles and en route to his wine merchant. By this stage I was laden with shopping and he suggested we shared a taxi to his coastal apartment. Hardly had we entered the taxi then the loquacious driver engaged us in conversation. The conversation went from the poor road manners of cyclists, a familiar trope of taxi drivers, to the best place to buy a meat pie. His familiar manner was clearly irritating Bob who was trying to read the Financial Times. Seeing Bob’s purchases at the patisserie at Kemptown he said to him “I bet when you grew up bananas were a luxury.” Bob was not amused.