When Glad Tidings Were Brung

If you find my stories of my new life in a strange land confusing, you might want to read the tale of Maurice Wilson from the beginning.

Christmas ArmisticeDetective Snow called this morning like the Archangel Gabriel bringing tidings of great joy. The Yorkists had declared a Christmas truce in the War of Maurice Wilson’s Underwear.

In the spirit of the season, they invited me to play in an armistice football match in the no man’s land that is the mud and cinder pitch at the end of Bethesda Street, but it turned out to be a Yorkist ruse to kick seven bells out of me.

I knew I was up against it when I saw that I was a team of one against eleven of them. And that’s not counting the referee who showed me a yellow card before I’d hung up my duffel bag in the changing room.

The game was a bit of a bloodbath, if I’m honest, with the opposition more interested in kicking me than they were the ball. And every time I went down, they would mutter things like: ‘That’s for the Battle of Wakefield’ and ‘Henry V was a woofta’.

The partisan crowd only inflamed the situation with their chanting:

He swings to the left,
He swings to the ri-iii-ight,
That Maurice Wi-ilson,
He wear ladies tights

That Maurice Wilson

I was able to hold out for a creditable 0-0 draw and I might even have won the game if I hadn’t been sent off with ten minutes to go for a wild tackle on their centre-half’s fist with my nose.

At least it meant I could get away before the other team could give me any more history lessons.

I have to say there was quite a collection of frilly underwear hanging on the pegs in the home team changing room. I managed to take the photo on the right before police driver Clarkson hinted that it was time to leave before things turned any uglier.

I got back to the safe house in time to catch the end of the Queen’s Christmas Broadcast to the Commonwealth. I think it was the one from 1958 which is about as contemporary as the tv programming get around here.

The gist of her message was: ‘Peace on earth and goodwill towards all men, except Lancastrians.’ The last bit was in sub-titles, so I think it may have been doctored to suit the local audience.

Pc Barraclough was snoring loudly in my favourite armchair, his blonde wig slipped forward over his eyes. He was happily sleeping off the ten pints of John Smith’s he’d quaffed in the Old Queen’s Arms at lunchtime.

Pc Derek might also join us later, assuming he is discharged from the Royal Hallamshire where he’s had his baubles reattached following the booking mix-up with Hermione the erotic dancer from Grimesthorpe at the retired teacher’s Christmas party in Sheffield.

After tending my various cuts and bruises, I was greeted in the kitchen by the smell of boiling sprouts and cabbage. They’ve been on the hob since Wednesday — Mrs P is determined to cook us a traditional Yorkshire Christmas dinner this year.

The centre piece is a local delicacy, a three bird roast which consists of a budgerigar inside a pigeon, inside a duck ‘liberated’ from the Albert Pierrepoint Memorial Park boating lake.

We hope to have the plates washed and put away by 8pm so Mrs P can watch the Strictly Come Dancing Special.

I haven’t had the heart to tell her that, this being Yorkshire, it will be the 1962 edition hosted by Peter West. In a sequined frock.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

6 comments… Add yours
  • rhymeswithplague 25th December 2011

    That picture almost looks more like Princess Margaret than Her Majesty.

    By the by, we’re wondering here in the colonies just what a Pc is. The best I can come up with from the context is Police Constable.

  • Shooting Parrots 25th December 2011

    Welcome Mr Plague and merry Christmas. The queen and princess Margaret were very similar in looks when they were younger.

    You are absolutely correct that a Pc is a police constable, one of the rank and file below officer level.

  • rog 25th December 2011

    oh, expect your query to be answered on Thursday. Tomorrow is the daughter, Tuesday is ABCW, and Wednesday is the prior query.

  • Shooting Parrots 26th December 2011

    It’s a date Roger.

  • Mr Pudding 26th December 2011

    Twas ever thus. Great empires on their lofty parapets must endure the envious mockery of less glorious neighbours. This was seen in Ancient Greece, Rome and during the time of the great Ming dynasty. Even in the twentieth century, the economic and military superpower that was America endured the slings and arrows of less advanced nations even as they were sustained by the very monster they castigated. We Yorkshire folk are also used to such mocking tomfoolery from jealous minor counties as propagated by the author of “Shooting Parrots” but in the end we’d rather be from Yorkshire than anywhere else in the world. You can keep your Malibus and Cape Towns, your San Remos and Acapulcos because underneath everything we know that Yorkshire is the epicentre of civilisation.

  • Trevor Rowley 26th December 2011

    Never fear, Mr P. We can have you out of that Yorkshire purgatory once Chalky White’s volunteers have completed their training. They are looking more robust and confident at every stage of the Mossad Instruction Manual (1963). He’s assembled a formidable group –

    1. Big Tony, with his 2 Para background. Claims to have been one of the first to enter Goose Green (although this could well be the Goose Green near Pemberton, Wigan).
    2. Barry Chirk (you’ll remember him, shift foreman at Kwik-Fit in Reddish). Fancies himself as the “wheels” man – after all, he’s looking at them all day.
    3. Maurice Farnworth (usually stands at the end of the bar – handy for the fruit machine). Saw active service in Korea – reckons he can still “do a bit”.
    4. Jean Tenterden (runs the ladies darts) – after midwifery training she went on the tills at Morrisons . Will definitely bring a cool head and the “woman’s touch”.

    Chalky says we’ll let you know when we’re ready (they’re like coiled springs at present). In the meantime, keep in touch through the overhead trolley bus wires from Keighley Bus Station.

    Keep The Faith.


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