“I Wrote To F., And Got A Reply!”

A touching story.

During the pandemic, I ran an online pilgrimage, “walking” from north London to Canterbury on Google Street View. People from all over the place joined me virtually, as I clicked down the roads, and we shared stories.

One day I told a story about apologising to somebody I’d written about, 15 years earlier, when was on the Sunday Times. Despite being 15 years late, my apology had been graciously accepted by the person in question, whose initials are D.B.

I suppose I told the story to give a sense that it’s never too late.

One woman on the virtual pilgrimage that day seemed particularly struck by my story. She replied with a story of her own. And a few days later I got an email from her.

Scroll down to read it.

Flowers, based on a painting by Emily Powell.

By email, May 2021


How are you? I don’t know if you remember the story I read a few weeks ago on your pilgrimage. It was about puppy-love and unexpressed gratitude.

Well, I thought you would appreciate knowing that your story about D.B. moved me to think about taking action for myself.

So I finally did email that boy just now, to thank him and to apologise for being rude and for appearing ungrateful back then.

He’ll probably think I’m quite odd, and he would be right, because I am but sod it!

He is long overdue the apology and I now feel free of twenty five years of guilt.

The euphoria that pressing send created in me, led me to look up the idea of self-absolution.

I came across this quote that I thought you too would appreciate.

“There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Thanks JP, your session gave me the nudge I needed.