By Jenni Frazer
August 8, 2011
Just when London and the metropolitan manners are getting truly awful, a timely reminder that there is life outside the Great Wen and, indeed, it is courteous.
I spent part of last week in Scotland, on the Isle of Arran and in Glasgow. The really striking thing about both places was the friendliness and politeness in shops, public transport, and restaurants. Not just regulation pleases and thank-yous; genuine, unforced greetings, people stopping in the street to help, incredible service in shops, whether we were buying or not. My friends and I asked someone the way in the street; she thought about it, told us, and then, realising that she had misled us, ran after us to re-direct us, and then waited at the place to make sure that we got there safely. Fairly extraordinary behaviour if one is used to the sheer surliness of the London commuter.
I'd like to swank and say that my fellow Scots are known for their devotion to politeness but I don't actually believe that to be the case. Rather, London is so full of bile that any departure from the "norm" is a much appreciated surprise. Almost certainly most places outside the capital are like this. We just forget, unfortunately.