Happy Christmas

May I take this opportunity to wish my happy band of weary travellers, and Mrs Doris Inglethorpe, a very Merry Christmas.

I also hope that you and your families have a wonderful 2019, and that it brings you everything you ever wished for… Especially you, Jane from Manchester.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Memories, part 2.

More from the school nurse…

Everything stopped immediately; pens in mid-sentence; chalk held in mid-equation against cluttered blackboards.
“No!” hundreds of voices exclaimed with a simultaneous gasp. Not now. Not now.
Klaxons sounded their panicked shrill. Red lights flashed and rotated. Shutters yanked down and bolted into position, covering all ground floor windows and every exit.
Pupils screamed, rushed through corridors, bashed into one another, pushed one another out of the way, scrambled up and over bodies of the fallen.
Now battering at doors, throwing chairs at windows in desperation, crying helplessly as the reinforced glass held firm: not so much as a chip. It was hopeless.
Breathing heavily through protective masks and steamed visors, the highly trained team of Hazmat experts arrived through the cloud of spray and white smoke, quickly taking control of the dire situation, the decontamination process in full swing, children pulled from hiding places and hosed down, held down as they were scrubbed, heads tugged from side to side, hair pulled, ears twisted, combs closely examined.
“Resistance is futile,” I was warned by Darth Vader.
“It was him! It was him!” Fingers pointing.
The guilty shamed, betrayed easily through ignorance and fear, dragged away yelling loudly of injustice, forced to stand naked beneath a cold shower, prodded into differing positions by stiff bristled yard-brooms, their skin now red raw. They whimpered. They cried. Oh the shame.
“Not again,” the school nurse vowed. “Not on my watch!”’


Howls of protest. Looks of anxiety. Lining up nervously in the corridor, sleeves rolled up expectantly, escape routes blocked. Quickly separated into two, neat, straight lines; Mr Green pacing back and forth, hands behind back, gratefully clasping those beautiful permission slips. Obedient nursing staff resplendent in their new, black uniforms and shining jackboots, snapping their whips.
“Back you dogs! Back!”
Our medical examination.
Lined up, trembling, quickly branded with a five digit number, shuffling forward for various inoculations and illegal experiments. Moved on again, into the next room, faster and faster, no time to lose. Led towards hidden shower blocks, under the premise that we would be “cleansed” after the long journey.
“What long journey? I only come from Easterton?” A line of puzzled faces shuffling forwards, herded into the makeshift shed at the very bottom of our uneven football pitch.
The school nurse, such a muscular creature, hobbling in size thirteen boots and proudly showing off her brand new armband, red and black, shouting through the foyer, clear liquid squirting into the air from a huge syringe, burning holes where it splashed the tiled floor.
The doctor with a noticeable hump, offered his first patient a drop of rum, and then tested the sharpness of his rusting saw. “This will hurt me far more than it hurts you.” His lie muffled. He then pinned his victim to the desk with knobbly knees and began to saw rhythmically, wiping away the spurts of blood that inconveniently sprayed up the walls, soon dripping in large dollops from the ceiling.
“Stop wriggling about… Just lie back and take it like a man… I think I’ll be the one to judge if it’s just a touch of the flu, you ungrateful young pup… Next!”
How I screamed and pleaded pathetically for my life, the door slamming shut behind me, my fingernails scraping paint from the walls of that room smelling of disinfectant. They could hear the screams on the third floor.
Standing in the corner, eyes staring at me from above a white mask. I gulped. Maybe I’d come back later? I could see that she had her hands full. My injection could wait. Six or seven years perhaps?
Positioned quickly, with just an official grunt. My eyes tightly shut, my breath held, the nurse carefully extracting a huge needle from lukewarm water. A last gulp. She slapped my arm, twisted it into position, forcing it down, a vain search for a vein brave enough to offer itself. But finally she had given up, mumbling the Lord’s Prayer and hoping for the best, what’s the worst that could happen? Ignoring my screams as she impaled me by the larger of my testicles to a blue couch.
“Damn,” she hissed. “A bit more to the left, I think.” She laughed, embarrassed for the both of us. “If at first you don’t succeed…” I didn’t even get a bloody sugar lump.
“I’m hard,” Dan Kerr had said with his typical snarl, elbowing his way to the front of the queue, rolling up his sleeve as he strutted into the medical room, top lip curled, stomach pushed out, a sneer in the face of danger.
I heard the dull thud as he passed out, somewhere between the blue door and the stained couch, hitting the floor hard.
“Next!” the muscular nurse shouted out, quickly administering the inoculation to the large hulk now spread-eagled across her floor.

Taken from: Reluctant Country Boy

Oh my God…

..I’ve lost my 2 followers from India, and I really loved my 2 followers from India. Both of them, equally – although, I must admit, between you and me, I loved the one from Delhi more.

I have to think of something though, and quick…

Think brain, dammit! What do I pay you for? Why can’t I just go to the bottom of the garden and pluck something from the tree, from next to the apples and from between the abandoned Wood Pigeon nests?

Bear with me though, please, because I promise faithfully that something new, original and really, really hilarious will be along very shortly. Okay, so maybe not really, really hilarious, but you get the gist.

In the meantime, love and all that.

Getting lost in a book

Or, as in this particular case, a map.
And it’s not as hard as you may think… Especially if you’re holding the bloody thing up the wrong way, all the while trying to look unfazed by this fast unravelling catastrophe, and totally in control in front of a brand new girlfriend, who insists in pointlessly trying to tell you that the map book is upside down.
“Yes, dear,” you say with all the patience you can muster, whilst trying to battle the cruel, cruel wind as the unruly and “still upside down”, map’s pages flap and then collapse.
“Bloody thing!” you mumble under your breath.
“Yes, dear,” you say again, with something that you hope at least resembles a smile, however strained and no matter how bitter, but leaving unsaid the nagging feeling you now have that she’s more of a bloody know-it-all than the last one, if that’s even possible, and that this relationship is probably doomed from the start anyway; if she didn’t have big boobs and lovely eyes, what would be the bloody point? you can’t help but ask yourself. Well, your mates did warn you.
And just what is it with these bloody Welsh names, apparently all consonants with no pronounceable vowels? “Jesus bloody Christ!”
“No dear. And I did tell you that I did not require a bloody map anyway.” Especially not one this bloody size, the “stupid bloody things!” For I am a bloke, and so, quite naturally, know the way. And the bloody thing’s wrong anyway, you quickly point out with the tone of the righteous. “As that tree is quite clearly supposed to be over there for a start. Whatever idiot drew this has quite obviously never been here!” And what does she mean, that it’s all my fault? Is it bollocks! And no, dear. “We are not lost, in any meaning of the word… We are merely delayed.” Lost, you scoff.
Bloody maps!

Horace Wimp’s school days…

Back, by popular demand – well, after a few threatening phone calls from Horace’s dear old, slightly bewildered mother – yet more reminiscences from Horace Wimp:

‘In those early weeks, 1S was beginning, slowly, to divide into natural groups: like with like. At the very front of the class, eagerly attaching themselves to every word the Devil Woman dared chant, sat the always perfect swats. Every pencil meticulously sharpened to a lethal point and perfectly parallel to the newest fountain pens, as yet untouched by human hand. Helen Hadley and Jane Pierce, braces visible when they smiled sycophantically, long mousy blond or dullish black hair pulled tight in ponytails, their acne on the verge of bursting. Helen, her ears sticking out to the sides and swivelling like satellite dishes, and poor Jane, puppy plump to be kind, staggering with a bowlegged gait, such a sight to behold in a white P.E. top and tight blue skirt. Both now vying for their favoured position in front of the blackboard, scrambling over the latest autographed picture of Stephen Hawking sitting astride his wheelchair. Both constantly batting away the soggy bits of paper spat at them from stripped down biros, while the evil one’s spiny back was turned.
“Miss! They’re spitting at us again, Miss. Miss!”
At the back, amongst the shadows, out of sight and out of mind, sat the class jokers, sharing that week’s edition of Shoot!. Well, we were only young and the pleasures of a glossy Playboy or Mayfair, had yet to be brought to our still innocent attention.
Matthew Crane hurriedly scrawled his undying love for Katherine Newman and The Specials across a desk lid with a chisel, while the rest of us read from Trevor Brooking’s personal file, all the while defacing school diaries with tiny Mod stickers and photos depicting the latest in-crowd. Frankie Crisp tired easily of football and amused himself by throwing Pierce’s bag out of the window, ignoring her pleas and watching its numerous contents bounce across the farm track. Jane screamed, and screamed, and we giggled as a box of something called Tampax lay crushed beneath the wheels of the school’s tractor, which promptly exploded again, the driver jumping clear and rolling in the grass to extinguish the flames licking his back. We looked at the scattered debris. What looked like white mice squashed under a large rear wheel. Very moving.
Joe Adams stopped copying my French homework for a brief moment and Frankie was sent to the Headmaster for the second time that day, protesting his innocence loudly and demanding instant justice for, “The Bradington One”. The dye was cast, and I was in the midst of it all, praying that nobody would notice.
Joe thankfully owned up to “cheating”, a bit too obvious really, considering he was caught red-handed copying my work of pure genius word for every wrongly translated word, including my full name. Somehow though, the teacher’s little pet, he still managed to obtain an impressive “B+” and a nice comment of “good work”, while I, the child protégé from that intellectual backwater called Tilshead, only managed a somewhat paltry “C”, and a detention for “not trying”. Oh the injustice.
“Cheats do not prosper,” I was reminded, one hundred times across one side of an A4 sheet of paper.
“But it was supposed to be our little secret,” I reminded Joe. An arrangement written in blood behind the bus shelter earlier that week. He was to do all the mathematical stuff, adding and subtracting et cetera, with a little multiplication thrown in if he could manage it, while I would do anything involving the written word and in any need of imagination or creativity. “It was working as well.” Until he had been caught.
We tried the sheepish look, like butter wouldn’t melt… Sturridge towering above us, a cheap child-sacrificing kit to hand, the razor sharp knives poised at our gulping jugulars, the dull corkscrews poking into the tops of our heads. Obviously the sheepish look had failed!
We tried throwing ourselves upon her tender mercy – a childish mistake – pleading on bended knee and begging not to be crucified to the doorframe, again. Surely the local education authorities now frowned upon that sort of behaviour? But that was not to work either. And there we were, thinking that she was a Christian.
“It may well have been good enough for poor Jesus, Miss, but it bloody hurts,” we pointed out. So much for setting an example… For turning the other cheek. What was I going to tell Mum?
This wasn’t the way of child protégés.
I started to hyperventilate. “I will never cheat again. Cross my heart and hope to die… I will never cheat again. Cross my heart and hope to die,” one hundred times, until my hand really hurt.
Quietly, as Mr Carmichael read his left-wing newspaper and watched the clock slowly tick away another hour that had seemingly dragged by mercilessly, I prayed that my face wouldn’t appear on the latest edition of Police 5, with the god-like Sean Taylor. Or was it Shaw Taylor? Bloody stupid name either way.
“And lastly tonight. Have you seen this young delinquent?”
Mum dropping the serving tray, crying out as my face flashed across the screen, my school photo coming back to haunt me. How I hated that bloody photo! Such a funny looking kid with those large rimmed glasses.
“He was last seen on the school bus home. If you have seen him, please get in touch, as the police would like to speak to him about a severe case of homework fraud, not to mention a little sideline in weekend scrumping. Remember, he is a funny looking kid so should not be approached under any circumstances. He is likely to whinge a great deal, before breaking down in tears and begging for mercy.” After delivering this damning piece to camera, Sean, or Shaw, would then tap his nose, smile and wink, reminding us all to, “keep ‘em peeled”. Smug git!
So that was it. The next step was Wormwood Scrubs, handcuffed to a “Screw”. Mum tearfully waving me farewell as the large gates slammed shut behind me.
The journey home was one full of dread. Of course I had swaggered down the school drive like any hardened rebel, but purely for appearances. For deep down, despite all the attention and the endless questions about “life on the inside”, I was bloody terrified. No matter how I looked at it, I was now a delinquent, a tearaway. I was, in the language of classic literature, a scoundrel and a bounder, “a cad” on the first slippery slope to the great abyss of hopelessness. And I was only twelve.
“You’re late tonight,” Mum said casually over her shoulder as I crept in from the cold, sending my briefcase sliding across the floor with a frustrated kick of angst. Bloody briefcase.
I had football practice. I had football practice.
The alibi, worked out carefully in advance, now racing through my head with little real conviction.
I had football practice. I had football practice. Certain that she’d see through it.
I had football practice. I had football practice.
“I’m so sorry Mum,” I screamed, falling at her feet. “I got a detention for cheating and I’ll understand if you can’t bring yourself to love me anymore because I have brought eternal shame on this family but it wasn’t me it was Joe honest.” It was always Joe. This sordid confession, falling out in one rambling sentence, with no punctuation marks. Had I learnt nothing? High-pitched words, merged through the sobs of hysteria.
Mum tutted and shook her head as she dished up the sausage, chips, eggs and beans, four times, shouting through the hatch that dinner was finally served.
“Oh, by the way, our son and heir is now a heinous criminal.” Did anybody want ketchup?’