Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just the Job Lad

It's amazing who lives on your doorstep isn't it? This guy, Mike Pannett, lives in the next village along from me and is a former wildlife police officer turned author. He's written several best selling books all about his policing adventures and those he's met on his way. He's giving a talk in the gallery on Saturday 29th at 7pm. The books are hilarious and just sum up the lovely characters around here. I thought you might like to read a snippet.

"Walter, on the other hand, was one of those people you still meet from time to time who has never, in his entire life, been outside of Yorkshire. Never has, and doubtless never will. In fact, he claims to only to have left North Yorkshire on one occasion and that was many many years ago, as a youngster, when he had to undergo surgery at Leeds General Hospital. And, as he always says, it was against his better judgement and it caused him a lot of pain in a tender spot - so he made up his mind there and then that he wouldn’t be going back. What this meant was that in order to see the finest cricket team on the planet he always had to make a note of the Scarborough dates as soon as the fixtures were announced, and keep them clear of social engagements. “Course,” he said, as he sat there on my log, tea in one hand, flat cap in the other, his nose twitching as the smell of smoked bacon wafted through the back door, “if you go back a few years we used to play at Middlesbrough.” He thought for a moment, then sighed. “Aye, I went there a time or two.”

“But that’s in blinking Cleveland,” I said.

Walt shook his head. “Didn’t used to be. Used to be part of us, till them blooming politicians decided to change t’map thirty forty years ago.”

“Oh, right. Like they got rid of Hull and so on.”

Walt sniffed. “I dare say we can manage without Hull,” he said. “And to tell you the truth I’m not sorry we parted with Middlesbrough. I’ve some bad memories of that place. Shocking.” Walt’s face took on a mournful look, as if he were about to relate the sad death of an old friend. “It were early season,” he said. “May time, 1965. I took a day off work and went up on the bus with me Dad. We was playing Hampshire - and they were quite a force in them days. Len Shackleton. Now he was a bowler. Fast and accurate. Too fast, too accurate. Skittled us out for 120-odd. Then when it were their turn to bat we turned t’tables on `em. Got `em out for” - he scratched his head, trying to remember - “any way, let’s say it were close. I think they led us by a handful. T’point is I thought we were topside of `em by now. When our lot come out to bat again we settled back to watch the slaughter. I mean, we were a team chock-full of England players back then, y’know.”

Walt looked suddenly older, as if the gravity of his memory was weighing him down. “D’you know,” he said, “I was at Muriel’s house the other night and we were watching that there History Channel. They were on about Pearl Harbour, and there was President Roosevelt saying, ‘This day will live in infamy’.” Walt snorted, and seemed to snap back to the present. “Why, he should’ve been at Acklam Park that day. Then he’d know what infamy was. One of their bowlers - probably that lad Shackleton - he took six wickets for ten runs. Six for ten. Against t’finest team in t’land.” Walt clutched his brow and closed his eyes. The memory - and the pain - was still very much alive. “Twenty-three all out. The lowest score in the history of our county. They went on to win by ten wickets.”

If you fancy coming and listening to Mike's talk, click here to book he's going to be personally signing books on the night! Should be a great laugh.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to meet you Robert - we are not far away at all - must visit the gallery soon, before the bad weather sets in and we all become cabin bound!