Musings From The Padded Cell

When I Was In The Fire Brigade…

I normally start with a hopefully thought-provoking quote so here’s one written before today’s rant on Facebook.

A few mates and I coach junior cricket at our club and clearly don’t do it for the silverware; wins are scarce but we believe in a more rounded approach although we are far from “happy-clappy”. We do our very best for all the kids in this sedentary age.

So, whilst not a fan of Jose Mourinho, I stumbled across this the other day and could not agree more; hope you do too.

There is a world of difference.

Treegate

Spot the missing tree?

Almost four months after our hopeless Council – better known in these parts as the Clowncil – chopped down a perfectly good tree on my street it has finally been replaced.

This after numerous visits by all manner of Clowncil employees at what cost I cannot even begin to estimate.

Remember too that the original reason they slaughtered the tree was the threat it posed to human life, namely two old drunks who occasionally walk past it to get home, namely my neighbour Chris and me.

Our new tree.

Now they have offered us an anorexic version of our old tree which I fear represents far more danger as it is too thin to see with our fading eyes. A little bit like the talent pool on our Clowncil?

More Tales From The Scruffy

Having managed to drag Tuna Man off the sofa – a noteworthy event – and out of his misery having watched his native South Africa spanked again by England’s young guns, we arrived at Sunday Prayers.

Young Bet Lynch behind the bar was sporting a t-shirt with the slogan “No Thrills” emblazoned across her sagging middle-aged bosom. If ever a slogan epitomised the place this was it.

I caught Tuna Man having a sly glance – along with Seedy Sid, Pervy Phil and a few other regulars – and nudged him as an alert to the presence of her man, Giant Geordie, sat menacingly at the bar.

No sense in missing the rest of the cricket season in intensive care drinking through a straw.

It was nice to get out of the house and relinquish my servant duties for a while. Having filled the sink the other day with hot soapy water, I still seemed unable to prompt him to locate it with his dirty dishes. He told me his dad does the dishes at home and wandered off back to Sky Sports.

The Dyson had also been outside his room for several days; I honestly think he thought it was some form of Roman Guard.

One day I came home to find him gone but his bedroom window open. I entered my own spare room as if on alien territory, the curtains having not been opened since April, fearful of what I might find, hoping the Aussie really had gone home last autumn and taken the waitress with him.

On his return I pointed out that the pile of sheets on the floor would not be able to walk downstairs to the washing machine and that Dracula would enjoy the darkness.

“Oh! Yah but that’s allright they’re the clean ones!” he said and wandered off again to the lure of Kirsty Gallacher.

Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher.

Conversation is utterly futile whilst Kirsty is reading the autocue and my investment in a throw to cover my new sofa appears wise as he sits there dribbling open-mouthed.

The rest of the Gang of Four arrived to offer their varied takes on life from our respective stages of delusion, drink and oncoming dementia.

Andy, a retired fireman, has started to sound like Uncle Albert from Only Fools And Horses.

Uncle Andy – “When I was in the fire brigade…”

Even Tuna Man can sense a sentence beginning with “When I was in the fire brigade…” from Uncle Andy.

Patch, a retired cricketer, was discussing batting techniques having managed to get to the halfway point of the season avoiding having to demonstrate his unique take on the Cow Corner hoik yet again.

A generous sponsor of the club the money comes with one condition – “Don’t even think about picking me!”

Big Al, retired from almost any activity bar drinking and Luckless Linda, was struggling with a bad leg along with a bad everything else as he cooed into the phone. Luckless was waiting back home with a soothing poultice; a cold six-pack for a quick nightcap.

“I don’t think I’ll be getting this leg up and over tonight” he confessed. “Best have another…might just help with the pain!”

Once again we were trying to explain to Tuna Man our devotion to weekly prayers at The Scruffy. Obviously the pumped-up t-shirt behind the bar and the new cheese toastie crisps help but we urged him to believe matters were far more spiritual.

“It’s the law!” insisted Big Al doing a very passable impression of Deputy Dawg although I’m not sure if Deputy Dawg could neck a pint in five seconds.

Deputy Dawg after a few too many at The Scruffy.

“Hear, hear!” we chanted, waking a few locals in the corner and enticing a threatening look from No Thrills. The talk turned away from cricket to tennis as we awaited a pint over our cowered heads and Giant giggled silently to himself.

Tuna Man looked on open mouthed as we told him of a vision from our shared pasts called Chris Evert who we had all obsessed over at some point in our misty adolescences. Wimbledon was approaching; had there ever been a finer looking tennis player?

The Ice Queen of Wimbledon 1976

The night was now hotting up as The Fishermen came in dragging along their usual cloud of gloom and insisting on sitting next to us in order to shamelessly extract quiz answers later. Big Al’s general response of “**** off over there” suggests he won’t be leading the Brexit negotiations.

The jackpot was £255 sufficient to keep the average punter in Tena pants for a year and causing a ripple of excitement enough for a few to wish they had not forgotten theirs.

The winning ticket was drawn out to groans from the crowd as a stale stench overcame the room. Our Geoffrey skipped up to No Thrills with anticipation; perhaps finally he could buy a new sweater and have his hair coloured.

The crowd was getting ugly as the question was read out to Our Geoffrey alone, the hairs on his neck erect as the bulging t-shirt leaned into him. A few armed themselves with sausage rolls ready to hurl at the prospective winner.

And then he turned disconsolate having failed to name Prince’s only number one hit. In true British sporting traditions the crowd erupted in cheers with consoling shouts of “sit down you old fart!” as 85 year-old Enid clung to the bar top, eight pints of Carling to the good.

Next week we could top £300, which is approx 5,000 Rand and enough to buy a dishwasher; there could be a riot.

One Hundred Years Ago

In another age thoughts turned to the first anniversary of The Somme commemorating those who fell and those who continued to fall – read on.

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