The Fight or 'Discretion is the Better Part of Valour'
I am a religious person. I go to church regularly. I try to be kind and courteous. I don't smoke, spit, swear, gamble, steal, drink alcohol or take drugs. I don't shout at women drivers, mistreat animals or old people.
In fact i am an old person myself. I am 88 - but I am in good health, except for diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, asthma, coronary heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, glaucoma, deafness, tiredness, dizzy spells, insomnia and gout.
I think that people should be fair and courteous. So when I boarded the number 38 bus and saw a fit young man in a seat for disabled people I felt annoyed. At first I said nothing and continued to read my newspaper.
Then an elderly lady got on the bus with a heavy case. The young man didn't move. I spoke to the young man. I pointed out that the seat was for the elderly or the disabled. He ignored me. I persevered but he stayed where he was.
He was tall and good looking with broad shoulders. He was dressed in a neat jacket and trousers with slip-on shoes. By now all the passengers were watching. I said, ' Look, are you going to move and give that lady this seat - or not?' He continued to ignore me.
'This is your last warning' I said. No response; simply an icy stare. Then there was a gasp from the passengers when they heard me say, 'Move yourself right now or I am going to move you!'
He didn't move. Without further thought and intuitively recalling the judo of my youth, I placed my left foot against the bottom of his seat, grasped him firmly by the lapels and threw my weight backwards.
His weight carried him across the aisle. His head smashed against a metal seat. I heard the terrible sound of a fractured skull! His body fell onto me. I felt a prosthetic leg then another one.
The man's face was close to mine - covered in blood. In an instant I recognised him! The soldier in the paper this morning; the same bloody face being evacuated from the battle-ground in Afghanistan after saving the lives of three comrades. He had lost both legs and was now deaf and blind as well.
He was to meet the Queen today to receive Britain's highest award for valour. Today ! My God. What have I done ? I was so desperately ashamed. I wanted to hide. There was blood everywhere. I was struggling frantically but could not get free from under him.
Then I heard my wife's voice. 'What are you doing with these bedclothes. You are pulling them all over to your side of the bed. And you have spilled your coffee. What on earth have you been dreaming about?