This weeks prompt on Sunday Scribblings is 'my oldest friend'
A few years back I ran a theatre restaurant. Every day we entertained the entertainers. A place where the stars of television and film could relax and wind down after an evening treading the boards.
Ask any of my staff and they will tell you who the greatest star was. He wasn't a celebrity in the true sense of the word, but his almost daily presence at the Stage Door Bistro made more of an impression than all of the stars added together.
He was Professor Britten. A man of some seventy years who looked much older due to failing health. When his taxi arrived, there was a rush to be the one to help him across the pavement to our door. There he would stand for a moment, wearing a double breasted Saville Row suit, a floppy bow tie and black and white patent leather shoes. On his head a wide brimmed black Amish hat. In his hand, an ivory topped cane.
Every day he would precariously perch on bar stool from where he would sit and flirt with my girls!
'My dear friend' he would say as I approached. He always called me that.
Sometimes we would take him home. He lived in a small annex in his son's house where he spent his days surrounded by teetering towers of text books and piles of academic papers. His writings helped to teach the children who attended his beloved Montessori schools.
He was a Buddhist. He came to it late in life.
He died too soon - he still had so much to give. The last thing he said to me was 'Goodbye my dear friend'.
He was buried in a cardboard coffin under a tree