this is not one of those stories about Harriet, whom everyone knows. rather, here is the story, the mystery, if you will, of how a Welshman and a well bred Canadian met in a dilapidated café under a bridge in the city of London.
it was a white-box, a pop up, it was under a bridge in London. the sort of little café tourists only end up in when they're lost or it's raining the sort of rain it rains in December when thousands are out doing their holiday shopping. heavy.
the tea served so hot that no one left with all the taste buds they came in with. and not the sort of place you usually find a handsome Welshman dressed in a tailored suit with a matching coat, nor a woman in pearl studs and shiny brown pumps. certainly not one as fine as her, not Canadian anyway.
so it was hard for them not to notice one another, of course.
he was opening tiny milk packets and sugar packets and pouring them into his foam cup. packet after packet trying to mask the taste of burnt tea. a head nod to the lovely young lady.
then a turn. among half a dozen strangers, she cried. openly. weeping. a damsel in unabashed distress in such a way that only a finely dressed Canadian woman could get away with in a dingy London café under a bridge in the rain. it may not have been raining.
so he comforted her, naturally. handing her tissues and there-there-ing her.
that's how they met, you see. it must have been 2006, the year that Harriet died. but we still don't know how the Welshman and the Canadian ended up in the same café in London, or why the tea tasted so burnt yet people still paid 98p for it.
it is estimated that Harriet was 175 years old by then, yet even of that we are not so sure.