I first met Maurice when I was a motorcycle despatch rider. Riding slowly down Southampton Street, Covent Garden, I noticed an old BSA motorcycle, coated in oil and sprouting clumps of wires. The owner of the bike was standing, eating from a tin. I stopped, made eye contact and there began a liaison which continued for over thirty years. Over black leathers, he wore a tabard with silver lettering on an orange background, advertising “Heated Gloves and Clothing, 07535 42242”. He noticed my interest and handed me a badly photocopied leaflet, headed: “Captain Maurice Seddon (Royal Signals, retired), Audiorama Limited, wireless repairs undertaken (valve only), heated clothing supplied”, followed by a biographical sketch. He spoke cordially, in mellifluous tones, and demonstrated how wires protruding from his sleeves and ankles could be plugged in to the motorbike, keeping him warm whilst simultaneously heating up a tin of food.
Later, Maurice became a frequent visitor to the Dining Room, a vegetarian restaurant near to London Bridge which I ran with Sandra Cross from 1980 to 1990. He would enter theatrically, carrying an immense, oil-smeared, yellow plastic sack on his back. For ten years he would eat and drink for free, talk to customers about heated clothing and take away surplus food which would be deposited in one of the numerous deep freezes in his garden in Datchet, to be consumed by him and his pack of dogs at some later date.