Common courtesy rare

On leaving Alnwick just before 10am on Monday, September 10, and having negotiated the bank from the bridge at the lower end of Canongate on the B6346 my husband and I came across two horse riders side by side in the middle of the road.

The lead horse, a grey, did move ahead in a sort of Indian file, but did not move to the side of the road, but continued riding near the central line, while chatting aside to her friend, indeed looking back partially turned and evidently not concentrating on the road ahead.

Neither she nor her friend, dressed in a pink and black top riding a bay, had the common decency to acknowledge the fact that my husband had slowed the car right down – showing to my mind, a total lack of common courtesy.

As it was, with the way they were riding it was a good thing he had, it would have only taken the grey to shy or stumble and the rider would have been thrown across our bonnet, or at the very least have been deposited on the road, showing a lack of common sense as a very nasty accident could so easily have occurred.

A little later we were listening to BBC Radio 2 with Jeremy Vine, who was debating the rudeness shown by a bank employee to a customer, who was heard to comment in an insulting manner on the colour of said customer’s hair. It smacks of lack of respect for another, and yes lacks common courtesy and, dare I say, common decency as well.

The two incidences set me asking myself, what has happened to common courtesy along with it common sense and common decency?

There was a time when all these would have been the ‘norm’ of the day, perhaps the Oxford English dictionary entries should be changed and them all labelled as ‘rare’ – courtesy, sense and decency as we see very little evidence of them now.

If one has given respect to others on a road by lowering one’s speed, it is the height of rudeness and ill-manners not to show respect in the form of a nod of the head or wave of the hand in return.

Carole A Rae,

East Lilburn Farm Cottages,

Alnwick