No. 36621 - Published 19 Nov 2003
A hectic week had been in order, and the previous night I had been to a secret meeting in a pub in Ramsbottom, General Pilgrim C. Fogg put forward a proposal that Lancashire should form a private army with its own band, and invade Whitehall during the last week of November. Miss Edna Mogg agreed with the old General and they sang a sea shanty to an accordion. The Very Reverend Eric Blutte, recently cleared on a charge of gross indecency with a masked cadet in a boathouse, said that there was evidence to suggest that Christ himself had once sold deckchairs in Southport.
Speaker after speaker testified that Lancashire was a self-sufficient county and could do well without the rest of the country. The admirable Member of Parliament, Sir Henry Wabblethwaite, received a rapturous ovation when he spoke at length about the idea that Oldham town hall should become a permissive launderette and bridge club. He also spoke in detail about the Oldham factory that was set up in the late 60?s with the intention of manufacturing self-destruct paper socks. In principle the idea was a good one; when a man had worn the socks for more than 2 days, they would blow up and the wearer would have to buy a new pair. Alas the built in charge was often too intense, and several men had toenails that exploded and caused panic at the tea dances?..I digress a little from the FR there.
Xenia arrived on time and as stunning as ever we went out for something to eat and ended up in an old haunt. It had been a few years ago since I last visited the place and I warmed myself in front of the log fire in The Explorers Club in Coventry, it was in here that the name of Groppe entered the conversation. I remember the night well: I had just asked the waiter for a large port, and he had given me a photograph of Liverpool.
?Fine man Groppe.? Thus spake a voice from a late arrival, one Herbert Fish, who you may recall once lifted a lorry load of tripe out of a bog and, in so doing, broke his pelvis. The story now recounted by Fish filled me with pride for my fellow Lancastrian, Mortimer Groppe.
In the June of 78 Mortimer Groppe discovered the tomb of the Pharaoh Ram in the Valley of the Ox near a culvert in Suez. Above the slab of stone that concealed the entrance to the tomb were these words: ?For it is written in the lost book of The Old Ones that he who defiles the sacred chamber of the Mighty Ram will be cursed with dismemberment.? Groppe ignored the warning and he entered the tomb whistling the hit song ?Boiled Beef and Carrots.? Mortimer?s find made him famous and he had crumpets with Lady Astor. Three months later, at a dinner thrown in his honour, his leg fell off, and from that day every member of his family lost a leg at the age of forty-three. His daughter Ada found that her leg was coming loose at a scrabble party, and sure enough on her way home??It fell off and went down a grid. She was a brave lass and got a job making hops for the brewery, but sadness clouded her grit as she confided to her father: ?Oh daddy, I?ll never get married, no one will take me on now that I have only one leg.? Mortimer Groppe jumped across to his offspring, put his arm around her shoulder and said with a deep love in his tone: ?Fear not, owd lass, one day you will be hopping down the main road and you will meet your Prince Charming ? and he?ll sweep you off your foot.? ?..I digress a little from the FR there.
After the meal of Octopus squid and elastic bands we headed off back to the hotel. Xenia is a stunning and very funny babe, great fun was had by myself.. I can say that! Until the morning when she left, and I was left smelling my farts all by myself.
Just imagine my surprise when I left the hotel and ventured out to the car and coming across The Coventry literacy group reciting poems in the phone box in the car park. I listened for all of 2 minutes about toil and death, until one Catchpole Worsley was spoken about amongst the 3 of us and the Labrador that was licking its nuts. So it is perhaps fitting that this final salute should belong to Catchpole Worsley, the noted Lancashire poet and historian, who enriched the literary world with his observations of Northern life. Some of his sayings have been immortalized:
?A stitch in time will never make you trump?
?When one door shuts, another bugger shuts?
? If at first you do not succeed, cheat.?
He was a man for all seasons, and to me epitomizes Lancashire. His parents were poor but poverty-stricken people and he was brought up in a house that was so small, when he turned the light off he was in bed before it got dark. He only had one change of nappy and, after six months, horses used to follow him with a bucket. His father loved him so much that when gypsies kidnapped him, his father drove the caravan for them.
At school he was the teachers pet; she kept him in a cage. He fell in love with a woman who had been married so many times; she had notches in her knickers. They were wed and there was trouble right from the start; in fact they had separate wedding cakes. They had three children, one of each, and when a chap came round to the house saying that he was collecting for the orphanage, Catchpole immediately gave the fellow the kids.
His poetry was simple and direct, but tinged with sadness and bad spelling. He?s dead now, of course, he went quite mad and began to think he was a Cornish pasty ? then he flaked to death. Worsley was Lancashire, and I feel privileged to have been born in the same county. I will leave you with this most pungent of Worley?s sayings:
?If all around you lose their heads. Then you will be taller.??. It says it all. ?..I digress a little from the FR there.
Xenia is a babe, and great fun and a very sexy. I am sure Herbert, Catchpole and the Old General would approve??...I do!