Saturday, September 30, 2023

No More Apple Tree

Look what's disappeared! The apple-tree-in-a-bag! I wonder if it's been transplanted somewhere or if it simply got discarded. You know how, when a pet dies, parents sometimes tell little kids that it has "gone to live on a farm"? I suspect that tree has gone to live on a farm.

Olga is saying, "I didn't take it. I swear."

Another busy day yesterday. The 8th Graders were getting their school pictures taken in one of the rooms of the library, which resulted in mobs of yammering kids lined up all morning not too far from my desk. An aide was assigned to keep them more or less under control but that's a thankless and impossible task. When her shift ended, she walked past my desk, pinched her fingers together and said "My patience is like THIS."

After work, Dave and I went to a pub gathering for a friend of ours who's taking a year off work. He's sailing in the Canary Islands, getting some kind of captain's certification. His ultimate plan is to be at the helm of a boat in the Caribbean during the winter and into next spring, before coming back to school next fall. I guess there are rich people who hire captains to move around yachts and that sort of thing. It's a completely alien world to me, but hey, nice work if you can get it!

We took a bus home, and I made sure to sit by the window so I could get this footage of Emminster House being demolished. The first part of the building I show in the video used to be the Lillie Langtry pub. The demolition seems to be taking a long time -- the other buildings seemed to come down much more quickly. But maybe I just didn't see a lot of the work, or maybe there are special concerns with this one. All speculation on my part.

After I finished making that video, I turned to Dave and we were talking, and an older man came up to me and said, "Would you mind if I use your mobile phone to call my wife and tell her I'll be late?" I thought for a second and said, "I can't do that, I'm sorry." He gave me a dubious look and went back to his seat.

I felt bad about it, but I've heard too many stories about scammers doing things on borrowed phones. Once you hand your phone to someone, and it's unlocked (as it must be to make a call), they pretty much have control. He didn't look like a scammer, and unlike many people I don't have Apple Pay set up on my phone, but still -- you just never know.

I suppose I could have called her for him, but of course I didn't think of that in the moment (and after two pints of beer)!


Linda Sue said...

That was smart, not giving your phone to other hands, he could have sent smoke signals to his wife or asked the establishment to call her. I don’t believe him, anyway. The building tear down looks like a lot of London these days! So much doing and undoing. My guess is that the tree went up yonder, You should have carted it off when you first thought about it, probably. Adopting strays is your forte.

River said...

I wouldn't have handed him my phone either. Surely he has his own?

Frances said...

You were much nicer in your refusal than I would have been! What a weird thing to ask anyone.

Moving with Mitchell said...

It's a shame we have to be so careful. Even calling his wife for him would have given them your phone number and connected you directly. Who knows what that might have accomplished. The missing Tree In A Bag is going to occupy my thoughts. Can you knock on the door, please, and ask where it went. The idea of sailing for a captain's certification sounds like fun. The idea of piloting rich people in their yachts sounds like hell.

gz said...

Yes, best not to lend your phone to a stranger..
I hope the apple tree found a better home.

Ironic that just past the demolition site are far older houses....and what is coming down is not that old.

Debby said...

I guess I've never thought of it, but yes. You were very right in not handing your phone over to a stranger. Mitchell shocked me, but he's right too. Just by making a call on his behalf, you've provided your phone number to someone.

Andrew said...

Yes, the tree has gone to a nice country garden and will grow into a beautiful tree. Actually, such a tree would be worth selling at quite a decent price. Pulling down a pub called the The Lillie Langtry just sounds so wrong.

I would have given over my phone a few years ago, but I wouldn't now.

Claudia said...

I would have never have thought twice about giving my phone to someone to make a call home. I guess there are some risks. I have scolded my granddaughter several times for not asking someone to let her call to let me know she will be later than expected when picked up from a game or school. Her phone is always losing charge. I hate being paranoid but I guess that I need to rethink this.

Rachel Phillips said...

In the past I have helped travellers who have just arrived here from abroad by lending my mobile phone on trains, one was a Polish boy who had a rendezvous with what must have been a farm scheme in my area and needed to call them and one an American who had just arrived and was travelling to Cambridge and couldn't get his own phone to work. The man on the bus asking you was bizarre, I would have said no too, and from your description I would suggest it was a send up. He had probably seen you filming and was taking the mickey out of you.

Janie Junebug said...

I'd probably hand over my phone without a thought. You are wiser and more cautious than I am. Rich people definitely hire captains for their boats, sometimes to drive it when they are on it and sometimes to move it from one place to another when they're not on it. I think it would be more fun when the rich people aren't on the boat!


jenny_o said...

Clearly that older man without a cell phone was NOT Mr. Pudding (who has said he doesn't and never will have one) because be didn't tell you off! Lol

Seriously, I wouldn't have thought about a stranger using my phone but you were right.

Tasker Dunham said...

I think I would have phoned for him, but then mine does calls and texts only, nothing smart, a bit like me.

Ursula said...

As so often I find myself in the minority among commentators. Such a pity how suspicious people are. Maybe you looked approachable, a Mr Nice Guy.

I don't carry a smartphone (or any mobile) as I don't need one. Which doesn't stop me from occasionally asking a complete stranger if I could borrow theirs. Not once have I been refused or been given a funny look. Not once. They even dial the number for me and do refuse reimbursement.

I have deleted the rest of my comment - a reflection on what society is heading towards. And it's not good.


Ellen D. said...

I never thought about the scammers that might ask to use my phone. Thanks for the warning, Steve.

ellen abbott said...

how odd that he would ask you. were you and Dave the only other people on the bus? I don't know what I would have done in the same circumstance. I tend to be gullible and trusting. mobile phones are so ubiquitous but it's a shame that public pay phones are no longer available.

the trees days were numbered from the start. it could have survived in a big pot as long as it was watered and fertilized.

Catalyst said...

Yeah, that seems a bit curious. I'd not have handed over my phone either.

Maybe the people trying to raise that apple tree in a bag saw your earlier blog and decided to get rid of it before the Tree Bobbies came around to question them.

Ms. Moon said...

Well, we all knew that the apple tree's days were ending unless it could get planted properly and soon. Let us hope that that is how it happened. Please tell Olga that we do not blame her.
I don't know what I would have done in the phone situation. I have indeed heard that there are many scams afoot in London using the same technique so...

NewRobin13 said...

My first thought about the guy wanting to call his wife with your phone was for you to call her. It would have been interesting to see how he handled that. Why would his wife take a call from an unknown caller? I never do that. You made the right choice.
Now I'm wondering where that apple tree in the bag went.

Boud said...

I wonder if the man was where he wasn't supposed to be and actually wanted to check if he'd been caught on your video? This kind of thinking comes from reading too many spy stories and mysteries.

So long since I was on a bus, that was fun.

Red said...

Line ups for gr 8's is a recipe for disaster.

Margaret said...

I would feel weird about not helping but the rationale about scammers is (unfortunately) accurate these days. I get seasick so I'll have to get rich some other way!

Kelly said...

My first thought was that Olga looked a bit ashamed, but no.... I think she looks pissed. If she had an opposable thumb, she might indicate to you what her patience is like!

Sharon said...

That phone thing is a very tricky proposition. I wouldn't have done it either. In fact, I watched a movie last night where a young girl asked a stranger to use his phone and seeing him hand it to her gave me a little twinge of fear.
I enjoyed the short bus ride past the demolition site.

Sharon said...

I forgot to say, I'm going to think of that tree in a nice field somewhere surrounded by other fruit trees.

Jim Davis said...

You made the right call on the phone.

Allison said...

What will replace the demolished buildings? I wouldn't hand over the phone, or even make the call, since you've then given your number to a stranger.

Steve Reed said...

Linda Sue: I'm not sure I believe him either. And there are still working pay phones here and there.

River: Well, maybe not!

Frances: Ha! Dave said the same thing to me.

Mitchell: That is a VERY good point. I didn't even think of that.

GZ: Yes, it's interesting that while the mid-century Brutalist housing is coming down, the old Victorians persist!

Debby: It's sad we have to be so skeptical, isn't it?!

Andrew: Same here. A few years ago I wouldn't have thought anything of it.

Claudia: Well, I think your daughter could borrow a phone if it's from someone she knows, like a classmate. But I wouldn't expect her to borrow a total stranger's phone.

Rachel: I definitely do think he saw me filming and that's what prompted the question.

Janie: I agree! I'd much rather captain an empty boat. I think that's what my friend has in mind -- like moving from one port to another.

Jenny-O: He looked like he was considering telling me off but he didn't do it.

Tasker: Even with a simple phone, though, your number would have been revealed to the person you were calling. Maybe it wouldn't matter but you never know!

Ursula: Well, I'm sorry to be symptomatic of the downfall of Western society, but that's the world we live in these days. You must look very trustworthy!

Ellen D: I don't want people to be paranoid but it's something to consider.

Ellen: No, there were TONS of people on the bus, but I'd had my phone out when I made that video so he'd seen it.

Catalyst: And charged them with Tree Abuse!

Ms Moon: Not just London but elsewhere too! The only thing that makes me think the tree may have been properly transplanted is that, as Andrew said, a mature fruit tree is somewhat valuable.

Robin: THAT's a good point too! If she got a call from my phone would she even pick up?! I guess he could have left a message.

Boud: Virtual bus ride! He wouldn't have been on the video, but yeah, who knows if he was where he should have been!

Margaret: I did eventually work out a possible solution (see next post), which unfortunately I didn't have the time (or immediate wherewithal) to implement.

Kelly: LOL! She DOES look pissed. She's getting quite ornery in her old age.

Sharon: Modern phones contain so much intimate information about us and our lives. It's not like handing someone a desk phone back in the old days, you know?

Jim: Thanks for the vote of affirmation!

Allison: There's a huge plan to rebuild the estate with a mix of market-rate and affordable housing. But basically, gentrification.

Jeanie said...

You were smart on the phone. Last night i talked to a friend who had his phone/computer/IRA/and more hacked. Getting it straightened out has been a nightmare. Yes, I bet the apple tree was off to the farm. Have a wonderful Sunday.

37paddington said...

I’m glad to read this, because I might have just handed over my phone, but you’re absolutely right to be cautious and now I will be too!