Bradley had been raised to respect his elders and in a way, he thought he probably did. More commonly, they inspired cold sweats, fear and nausea. The two uncles who hadn't be slaughtered in Great War came home home badly damaged: one given to drooling and nightmares; the other to longer and longer silences that put everyone on edge.
His father was in the City most of the time, which everyone preferred and that left his mother's father. Sixty-three years
and 7 months after his investiture, "Sir" was still Lord of Santorum, it's lands and licences, some of which predated the Magna Carta.
His youthful travels in the tropics caught up with him a little more every year, though and the former poster boy of a great empire was now a pale, frail skin bag of bones dripping and oozing from septum to rectum. He took his mush and his grog through a glass tube in his neck and smelt like a lard ranch most of the time.
But before his decline, Sir had told Bradley some of the things a Lord of an ancient Manor needs to know, and Bradley was reminded of one of them now.
Sir had leaned over and whispered "If life fills your hat with soup...". When Bradley leaned closer to hear the rest Sir had shouted, "eat the soup" and given him a noogie.
At the time, Bradley felt like he hadn't really understood Sir's meaning but here he was - eating the soup and it was delicious.
Lifting another spoonful to his lips, he tried to remember what else the old man had said...