In which I am accosted by an old major on the virtues of Trump

My maternal grandmother had a sharp and witty tongue, I am told. I don’t remember her – she died when I was 18 months old – but I could have done with her sharp tongue on a particular occasion last week.

I often work in coffee shops. I’m more productive in a setting other than home, and I love being out in Rochester, especially when the sun is shining.

The problem with Rochester though, or rather Medway (let’s be generous, here) is that it does tend to attract a lot of UKIP types. (Am I doing an Emily Thornberry?). I wouldn’t have thought it would attract a lot of Trump supporters though, surely his supporters are confined to the dusty roads of Texas…..

Yet this time last week, I had the fortune to meet such a person, in the most unlikely of places: a small independent art café, Café Nucleus, which sells crafts, sculptures and paintings by local artists.

Actually, that’s how this old gentleman – a doddery sergeant major type –  opened up dialogue with me, after I’d heard him complaining to the café owner (who was forced to listen to his vitriol) about the various irritations of women. How we can’t resist browsing in shops for hours, how we spend too much money, how we should be guided by our husbands/brothers/fathers/male dogs etc.

So he turns to me after all this and declares, “you’re not an arty type!”. I was busy at my laptop at the time. “No,” I say. “I’m a journalist.”

He appears bemused. “So she tells lies!”

If I had my maternal grandmother’s aforementioned sharp tongue, no doubt I’d have retorted with something cutting. Yet, for all my writing skills, I get flustered in the face of confrontation and it’s only afterwards I have my ‘why didn’t I say that?” moment. I think I laughed in what I hoped was a contemptuous sort of laugh. I doubt it, though.

A few minutes later, he drifts back to my table. “So, what do you think of my mate Trump, then?”

“Your mate is he?” I say. “I think he’s an odious man.”

The gentleman blinks, surprised. He looks away, slightly bemused, then says, with a faraway look in his eyes, “ah yes, they’re all against him. Everyone gangs up on him.”

I must have muttered something along the lines of Trump being misogynistic and odious (again) and other disjointed, one-word descriptions, because he replied, “well, we’ll see…” before wandering off again to converse with someone on the subject of art and women spending too much.

Frustrated, I turned to my online journalism group to see how they’d have responded differently. If nothing else, their suggested responses will be useful to save up in the ‘potential retort’ section of my brain to use for next time.


“You need a good Welsh word, Twlldyn!” (I believe this means arsehole….)

 “How far off can you fuck?”

  • “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”

“Are you on glue?”

“The I-Don’t-Give-A-Toss-What-You-Think-Stupid-Old-Bastard-Department is right down the street. Turn left at the lights. Have a nice day.”

“If I tell lies, why would you ask me for an opinion?”

“What do I think of Trump? I think his supporters should learn some f***ing manners and mind their own business”

“What do you think about Whotsit Hitler?”

“Ask me in two weeks’ time when he’s been impeached”

“with manners like yours, I’m not surprised you are friends with Trump!”

“Would you believe me if I told you?”

“I had an invisible friend once, but I grew out of it.”

“Fortunately for you, you’ll be long dead before we finish cleaning up your mate’s mess. Now toddle off, I have to work to pay your pension.”

Part two: Ponderings of the lies in British journalism


Blog, Human rights, Politics