Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

The Friday Rant - 17.02.2012

"Manners maketh man" my Dad used to say to me and my two brothers when we were growing up. My folks were not overly strict or anything like that, but they were insistent on us having good manners. Even when we behaved like tits we could still say please and thank you !! "Please can I come round to your house (and break something of real importance). Thank you very much for having me." There is so little in life that truly is free, but good manners cost nothing. I simply cannot stand bad manners. How hard is it to say or indeed write a simple please and a thank you ? How hard is it to be polite to people and be appreciative ? I spent many years being a waiter at my parents' restaurants and it always meant a lot when customers would start their order with a simple "please" and then leave with a simple "thank you". Just as I would say a simple "thank you" to them for having come along. It's amazing how a potential situation can be resolved with the use of good manners.

If I was really successful then I would probably have a secretary to answer my emails and take my really important calls, but the simple fact is that I work on my own. It's always been that way and I don't see it changing. I do get a certain number of emails and Facebook messages from various people asking where to go fishing, what gear to use etc., and as much as I would like to I simply can not answer them all. I'm not getting swamped or anything like that, but I have my work to do and I also have to work at keeping the work coming in if that makes sense. So try and guess which email/message I would try and reply to from this selection. They are works of fiction by the way, but you'll get my drift :

"I want to go fishing in the Bristol Channel. Tell me where to go and when to fish." (Most likely written in text speak which I don't understand).


"Dear Henry - Please could you help me out with some information on where I could try and catch a cod in the Bristol Channel. Thanks for your help."

Get my drift ? If people want my help but can't be bothered to include a simple please or thank you then I am hardly going to try and find the extra time to reply. Perhaps it's the modern way to forget about please and thank you, but then if it is my wife and I are very old fashioned. Our two girls are going to be who they want to be with no pressure from me, but there is one thing that we are absolutely unwavering on - good manners. Sure, it would be easier not to drill it into them about how important it is to say please and thank you, but I firmly believe in good manners being of the utmost importance. They are free yet they mean the world.

If I am simply being a miserable old git in banging on about good manners then please excuse me, but surely it gets your goat as well when somebody can't even look you in the eye and say a please or a thank you ? Is it a modern thing that good manners seem to be on the wane, or do the older generations believe that everything was that bit better X number of years ago ? (English rugby was. So were Metallica). I am the way I am, but one thing I can do is to say a please and a thank you. I don't care how rich or poor or famous or unknown anybody is - a please and a thank you go a long, long way if you ask me. I can remember taking somebody aside many years ago at university and explaining that if I did not get a thank you sometime pretty soon for always driving them around when we went fishing together then it was going to end. Sure, I was lucky enough to have a van to go fishing in at the time, but what price a simple thank you Henry when we get back at 6am in the morning with me nearly asleep at the wheel ? It costs nothing but it means so much. "Manners maketh man" has stuck with me forever. Oh, and thank you for reading this !!

Henry Gilbey16 Comments