Friday, June 07, 2013


So there we were: silver jubilee year and all stood standing in the pissing rain. One or other dignitary — we never found out which — was going to Pigham town hall and we were being lined up against the railings on the other side of the cricket pitch to provide an audience backdrop. The school had special procedures in the event of a royal visit. Not that we ever had a royal visit. Not so much as a diadem since the place was opened 56 years previously, so they reckoned it must be their turn soon. So we were all stood there in the pissing rain staring at the traffic on Talbot Road. 

The instructions were that we were to shout gladly and wave our flags when the cavalcade rode by. None of us had flags so they gave us each a tin of corned beef. Eventually we caught sight of a big black Daimler. We started waving our tins of corned beef and shouting: "God save the Queen!" The Deputy Headmaster ran over. "Pack it in!" he shouted, "It's a bloody funeral!"

So we waited a bit more then the word came: "Here they come!" We waved our tins and gave patriotic cry. "You wouldn't have thought the Queen would have a white Ford Cortina estate would you?" asked wee Paulie Camcraft. Kenny Fletcher wasn't impressed: "If she's going to have a nodding dog on the back shelf you'd have thought she'd have got a corgi, special like," he said. One of the teachers noticed that Michael Donelly wasn't waving his tin of corned beef. "Have you lobbed it at a passing car?" he asked him. "No sir, I've put it down the front of my trousers to keep warm." "You pillock. What do you want to do that for?" "If the Queen turns shirty and starts kicking everyone in the nuts I'll be safe and laughing, sir," he replied.

The teachers kept an eye on Michael Donelly's trousers because they were objects of subversive rebellion. There was a strict uniform code: we were to wear black flannel trousers and flares were absolutely forbidden. Michael Donelly didn't wear flares. Michael Donelly was a mad fan of Northern Soul. Michael Donelly had a pair of black flannel trousers with seventy-two inch bottoms. The teachers regarded them with impotent fury. They had seventy-two inch bottoms *but they weren't flares*. The legs were dead straight; erupting in their full glory straight from the hip. We discovered that he could hide a full set of the text books off the geography teacher's desk balanced on his foot and completely hidden from view for, oooh, hours. Much to the geography teacher's irritation. A tin of corned beef was child's play in comparison.  


dinahmow said...

"...they gave us each a tin of corned beef..."
Probably from Argetina,past expiry date.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Did you ever ascertain the identity of the royal in the white Ford Cortina? We never had any royals visit our school, but we did have some Americans once and they really did throw dimes and packets of chewing gum at us.

Pat said...

I wonder what he's doing now?

Kevin Musgrove said...

dinahmow: You were there!

Gadjo: No. We had some French people visit us and they threw pieces of Brie at us.

Pat: He's an accountant. It chills the blood...