With all the excitement of joining the police protection programme, one thing we haven’t had time to do is decorate the flat to make it feel more like Christmas, so we decided to risk being spotted by murderous Yorkists with a trip into town to see what we could find.
Pc Derek insisted that I should wear a disguise for my own safety, one that would help me blend in with the crowd and wouldn’t draw attention. That’s it on the left. A sort of Yo-ho-ho Z Z Top look.
Suitably attired (Mrs P wore a Mother Christmas outfit) we set off down the steep cobbled hill that is the main road leading into Cleckhuddersfax. It was quite a pleasant day too. The wind had changed direction, blowing the pall from the tripe works away from the town.
It was all very festive, especially around the ancient market hall of Lidl. It was there that we came across plain clothes Pc Barraclough, in uniform for once, although not the one you might expect.
I was interested to know how he reconciled this with his professed paganism, so I had a quiet word with him while he was on his smoke break.
He winked and tapped his nose with his finger. ‘Because we’re undercover cops,’ he said as if that explained everything. ‘Plus the blue stockings show off me legs to best advantage.’
We were able to get most of what we came for from the Christmas Shop that has temporarily opened in one of the boarded up shops in the precinct.
As there were only two ‘going broke’ days left until Christmas, it was a case of EVERYTHING MUST GO!!! There were bargain buckets of tinsel, fairy lights at 10p a yard, 60% off novelty illuminated tableaux and a buy-one-get-two-free offer on cans of spray-on snow.
Our best bargain though was a six-foot self-assembly ‘Norwegian Pine’ artificial tree that is so realistic that it’s guaranteed to drop all its needles by Boxing day.
It was heavy going walking back up the hill, laden as we were with parcels and bags, so we decided to stop off for a breather in the Albert Pierrepoint Memorial Park.
We were sitting on a bench, enjoying our Greggs offal pasties, when I spotted a face peering at us from the undergrowth. At first I assumed it must be one of Inspector Snow’s minders keeping an eye on us, but whoever it was looked far too inconspicuous to be one of his crew.
Curiosity got the better of me and I went over to say hello which was when I realised that the face belonged to a statue. It was heavily overgrown and had moss clinging to its crevices, but I could make out that it was a likeness of a man in a leather flying helmet and goggles.
I began pulling away the leaves and Japanese knotweed to reveal that it was indeed an aviator who was wearing a Biggles jacket and, incongruously, a pair of ladies bloomers, tied below the knee with ribbon.
On the granite base was a bronze plaque, green with verdigris, that read:
“A Yorkshire Hero”
This statue of Maurice Wilson was raised by public subscription and
unveiled by Archdruid Percy Barraclough,
The Ancient Order of Druids and Seers (Cleckhuddersfax Branch)
23rd December 1936
So exactly 75 years ago, Maurice was a hero to his fellow Yorkshiremen and not the pariah of today. I’m wondering whether I should start a campaign to restore the statue to its original condition.
But I’m afraid that idea will have to wait until the New Year. I have fairy lights to put up.