Guest Post: Turning the Tables

A while ago, I wrote a post on a man campaigning for animal rights in Portobello Market. He happened upon my blog and offered us a photo of himself for another entry. I asked him then if he would like to write a guest post on some of his interesting experiences while campaigning in London. He wrote the following post for today’s entry.


Many of Stephanie’s blogs are about tourists finding interesting things in London. How about “the other way round”?  

Turning the tables: A London resident meets an interesting tourist.             
By: The Portobello Road Man.
One day in the Summer of 2008, I was cycling along the road which runs along the border between Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. I turned the corner onto the Serpentine bridge and there, in front of me but stationary on the pavement was a man on a bike and he had a young lad (about 10 or 11 years old) next to him on another bike.

Just as I got nearer, the man on the bike came off the pavement without looking back. I had to swerve to miss him, but fortunately there is quite a wide cycle lane at the side of the road there, so there was little danger of collision with any oncoming vehicles.

At first,I just carried on cycling, but after about 10 or 20 yards, I thought That fella looks like Bill Gates, so I stopped at the side of the road and thought I would have a talk to him as he passed. As he overtook me, I commenced cycling next to him and said;
“Have you ever considered working for a lookalike agency?”
“Oh no, I dont think I’ll give up my day job,” he replied.
“Do other people say you look like someone famous?” I asked.
“Yes” he replied.

“Funny I shound meet you,” I continued. “My tutor for computer programming in second year was David Potter.”
“Oh yes” he said (he recognised the name).
“He is founder and head of PSION,” I contined further.
“Yes,” he said (he clearly knew that already; by this time I was starting to suspect that is was not just someone who looked like BG, but it actually was BG).
“Have you ever heard of Vegfam? ‘Feeds the hungry without expoliting animals’,” I then asked.
“No.” He said, but he seemed pleased by the phrase.
“It’s a registered charity; founded in 1963,” I continued. “Have you heard of Oxfam?”
“Yes,” he said.
“Vegfam takes its name from Oxfam, a vegatable version of Oxfam; although they do work with Oxfam on some projects, where none of the project’s activities conflict with Vegfams ethics. Apart from the cruelty to animals, using animals is counterproductive; you have to feed far more protein, energy and other nutrients to them than what you get back off them.”
He indicated that he was already familiar with this fact.
“Some people say; Well,people don’t need meat or milk for health or for nutrition, BUT,they say, you still need animals.  You need animals for FERTILISER. It isn’t correct. Suitably-treated plant compost is just as effective as animal manures for fertiliser, and whether keeping animals for meat, milk or fertiliser or some combination of the three, you still have the drawback of needing to feed far more to them than what you get back off them.”
He had been listerning attentively and thoughtfully so I said, “You can find Vegfam by putting Vegfam through Google search engine.”
At this point we were approaching a junction and it was clear that he was going a different way to me, so before we parted I repeated, “Put Vegfam through Google search engine” before we went our separate ways. He seemed irritated at being told the same thing a second time, but being told something more than once makes it more likely to be remembered accurately.

Afterwards, I thought, well, he looked like BG and from the way he replied to the things I said, you would think he probably was BG.  BUT, the REAL BG was rounder in the face than this man from what I could remember. The next day I looked at some recent photos of BG on the internet; he looked more like this man than I thought. Considering the age difference between him and the young lad he was with, the lad was probably his nephew or even grandson, I thought. However,a few weeks later I looked at a BG biography on the internet. BG has two daughters and one son. His son was born in 1999, so would have been nine at the time of our conversation…
Footnote; many years previously, I had heard it said that BG had once described PSION as Microsoft’s biggest competitor. Coming off the pavement without looking may not be as careless as it first sounds; many people make an impulsive mistake about which direction traffic may come from when they are in a country which drives on the opposite side of the road to what they are used to as this American was; Winstion Churchill was once nearly killed in New York by looking the wrong way when he came out of a taxi in the 1930s; it is probably lucky for us that he lived as who knows how WW2 would have progressed without him.   

For more information about Bill Gates see;

…..And David Potter;

2 comments on “Guest Post: Turning the Tables

  1. It later occurred to me-it just shows you never know who you may bump into in London,or who you may run into, in London! Although I did not exactly run into, or bump into, this man,I nearly did!

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