Riding home in the dark is stupid and dangerous, so I decided, taking a deep breath that I would just have to stump up the money and get new batteries for all my bike lights... that had all seemingly stopped at the same time.
I asked around at work if anyone knew of anywhere cheap in Central London I could pop out to get the four 3 volt batteries I need.
I was told to visit the watch man at Piccadilly Station. Without thinking about it I set off just down the road from work. Sure enough in a tiny cupboard... literally a door a man was working away with an eye piece on what looked like a very expensive watch. The queue was three deep and I dutifully joined.
Waiting patiently it had become clear that the others in the queue were repeat bookings and everyone had visited this man in a doorway before.
My turn and I told the guy what I needed.
Me: I just need four 3V Batteries for my bike lights
Man: Ooooooh do you now, Lets see if we can sort you out then
He popped my battery on the reader
Man: Dead, you see? Right how many do you need?
Me: Four Please
Man: Four? bladdy 'ell you might aswell buy the shop! Right 26... 26...
Me: Thats £26 pound?
Man: 'ang on 'ang on, right just call it £10
Me: Ah, I only have £8 do you take card?
Man: Of course I dont fecking take card!! Take them (batteries) and pay next time yer passin
Me: Well I have the £8
Man: Take 'em and pay next time you pay buy
Me: Are you sure?
Man: I don't want your fecking money, take them away.
I laughed and couldn't quite believe that in London especially someone could be so trusting. Naturally I went to the first cashpoint withdrew ten and ran back down to the kiosk.
Man: I told you to pay next time you passed
Me: Well I'm passing now, thanks very much!!
We both laughed and then I left.
Seriously, people like that make this world so much better, and I can guarantee now that my lights will always be powered by the man at Piccadilly.
What is even more amazing, if you type in "watch man at Piccadilly" there are many more accounts of this type by many other bloggers!