Letter to the Times, March 23, 1973:


I would be most grateful if I could pass on the following to you and your readers before the bloom goes from it.

I have just stepped out of a cab in which I travelled through London with a starry-eyed taxi driver. I had hardly got into the cab when he looked at me and said: ‘D’you mind guvnor if I tell you something? I have just been at the airport at Heathrow and there, suddenly, this Frenchman comes up to me carrying a magnificent bunch of flowers in his hand. Gosh, you should have seen it guvnor, and he hands it to me and says, “Taxi, if I pay you double fare, will you take these flowers and give them to your Queen?” And I looks at him as if he was mad and he says to me: “Now look taxi, I am serious; are you on or are you not?” And what do you think I did?’

‘What did you do?’ I asked him.

‘Cor, I couldn’t let ‘im and ‘er down, so I just come from the bleeding Palace.’

Yours truly,

Laurens van der Post