You can’t beat a good story. It’s what going to the pub is all about, in my opinion. I’ve heard a few amusing ones over the past week or so, and thought I would share them with you. Entirely up to you whether you think they’re entertaining, and if so which one you like best.
The first concerns a lorry driver named D____ and a trip to Ramsgate to pick up a load off a container ship. After almost two weeks’ wait for the load to clear customs, D____, who had been living the Ramsgate high life with his night-out money, was finally told that the load was cleared and ready to go. It turned out to be an enormous lathe, much bigger and heavier than he or his boss back at the depot had been expecting, meaning that it would skew the trailer and render it impossible to transport, so action had to be taken.
This was clearly an important load (it turned out that a major construction project was on hold until the thing could be installed) and so the boss frantically told D____ to get himself down to Jewson’s and pick up a few bags of gravel to even the thing out. But D____ was thinking on his feet, and – seeing a PYO sign at a local farm, pulled in and arranged with the farmer to pick up 5 ton of spuds.
“Ooh,” said Giles, naturally, “That’ll cost ya...” But the deal was done, needless to say, even though the farmer refused to allow the pallets to be taken away because he needed them, so D____ had to hump individual 56lb bags on to his trailer to balance out the load. This proved sufficient to get the load to where it was going, but I couldn’t help wondering what became of the potatoes afterwards.
“Well,” said D____, “We sold a couple of bags to the local chippy, and left a sign outside the yard, offering a bag for a quid. I had a couple of bags for myself, but you can’t eat 112lb of spud, and they were going rotten in the bag before I had eaten even half of them! I had spuds every night for about a month, mashed, boiled, baked, chips – I was sick to death of bloody potatoes.”
Then there was M______, walks with a stick due to spinal arthritis and various other conditions. He told me that his house door is at the bottom of a very steep flight of stairs, the gradient of which often causes problems even for the able-bodied. One day, coming home (“I wasn’t even pissed – probably would have been all right if I was!”) the arm hole of M_____’s NHS issue metal crutch became snagged in the scaffold pole which had been fixed to his wall to act as a makeshift banister. He slipped down and the crutch slid up, breaking his elbow and then sending him tumbling down the stone steps, where he also cut open his head.
“There was claret all down my shirt,” he said, “and it was pissing down with rain. I was lying on the floor, couldn’t bloody well get up, and I thought ‘well this is no bloody good, is it?’ until my neighbour P___, who’s built like a brick shithouse, found me lying there, and – well – rescued me, I suppose. He carried me up the stairs.”
M______ was taken to the hospital and admitted, the doctors telling him he had better be prepared for a long stay.
“I always like to look reasonably smart if I can,” he went on, “and of course you know how it is when you end up in hospital, with only the clothes you arrived in. And there was all this dried claret down my shirt. So when B____, an Irish mate of mine, came to visit, I said: ‘Do us a favour, B____. If I give you a few bob, can you pop to Marksy Sparksy and pick me up some underpants and socks?’ You do need to keep clean, don’t you? So off he went, but as he was coming back with the stuff, he tripped on the escalator at the entrance to the hospital and broke his fucking ankle! He ended up in the same ward as me, and in the end they moved him to the bed next to mine. The whole time he was there, he was calling me every kind of English bastard you can think of!” Their friendship was in no way harmed, and M_____ was of course invited to share in the huge meals his Irish friend’s family brought in whilst he was in hospital.
Finally, there was P___, who had been asked to take some money to pay the gardener whilst his friend (ooh, la-di-da, how’s the gardener?) was away travelling. Armed with the cash in an envelope, he arrived at the house and rang the bell.
“I’ve seen Bernard Bresslaw before,” he said, “but never wrapped in only a small towel." (Come to think of it, isn't there a Carry On where he DOES appear in a towel? Carry On Camping?) "‘Yeah?’ he said. Anyway, he stood there, and I was thinking ‘Fucking hell, what a hairy chest! He’s going to fucking kill me!’ So I kind of lifted up the envelope, and started to say something, but he just turned around and legged it back inside. Maybe he thought I was going to serve a writ on him or something. The next thing, this big black woman arrives at the door, but dressed in a robe. She had MASSIVE knockers.” P___ was making the necessary gestures to accompany his story. He went on: “‘Yes?’ she said, and I lifted up the envelope again. ‘I’ve got the money for, er, Peter...’” She said ‘Peter Jenkins? For the house in Southgate? Oh yes, thank you.’ As I was handing the envelope over, I noticed that her hands were all covered in oil...”
“And you didn’t think Bernard Bresslaw was Peter Jenkins?” I said.