Justin here. Well, I’m relieved to report that the Palace Summer Fete as been and gone. You will note that I use the term “fete” rather than the more popular “fayre” favoured by my lady wife. Whilst the latter term did feature on all the publicity, I remain unconvinced about the adoption of quasi-Old English when describing such events.
But I digress. The event was reasonably trouble-free, spoilt only slightly by 47 cases of sunstroke, dealt with admirably by Captain Ralph Pincer and his Salvation Army volunteers. Captain Pincer is definitely of the old school and his dealings with red-faced, tottering, sweaty visitors at the First Aid post included bracing advice like, “Sunstroke? SUNSTROKE? Rubbish. More like too much Stella. Clear off!” I am still at a loss as to who Stella might be.
Nevertheless, Captain Pincer cleared the decks swiftly despite protests from Mr and Mrs Fernyhough of the St Johns Ambulance volunteers, whose tent Captain Pincer had commandeered. As he himself said, “Needs must when you’re dealing with mouth breathers.“
Another slight hiccup occurred when the Gant’s Hill Ladies Marching Band suffered a loss. Their mace-bearing leader Miss River Conklin was kicked painfully by “Twinkle”, a visiting Shetland pony giving rides to little children. In fact, the heat of the day had unsettled the poor animal and by lunchtime it had eaten 32 passing ice creams and four hats. Whilst Captain Pincer graciously volunteered to apply ice packs to Miss Conklin’s left buttock, the brave girl waved her band on with a plucky, “Keep going girls! I’ll catch you up later!” Unfortunately, Captain Pincer determined that Miss Conklin’s injury required lengthy massage and the leaderless marching band disappeared. They were found safe and well near Heathrow by Police later in the day.
The young man with the wire in his ear was very concerned with various security issues thrown up during the fete. “I mean,“ he said, “You let any old punters in. That’s asking for it, Archie.“
As a consequence, my lady wife and I have been attending Unarmed Combat (spelt over the door as “Kombat”) lessons in a nearby gymnasium, managed by the intriguingly named Mr Thomas No-nose, an ex-colleague of the young man with the wire in his ear. Now, my calling rejects violence, aggressively or defensively, as Jesus taught, so I have been disturbingly surprised at the way my lady wife has embraced the teachings of Mr No-nose.
She now can quite effortlessly dive and roll to left and right, evading Mr No-nose’s paintball volleys, emerging with not a mark on her. I, on the other hand, rapidly resembled an American action painting. After only a few minutes of tuition, this hitherto gentle soul and light of my life reduced an old piano to matchwood using only her shapely knees. “She’s a natural” said Mr No-nose. “As good as your lad there”. He indicated the young man with the wire in his ear. Mr No-nose speaks in a rasping whisper.
When he came close and said, “You, on the other hand Archie, are a bleedin’ dead loss”, I felt really quite threatened. Mr No-nose is tall, very thin and stooping, dressed all in black. His face and hands are strangely pale and his head bears an oddly misaligned ginger toupee. The reason for his name is obvious. He has no nose. Instead, he sports what appears to be an aluminium plate apparently screwed to his face. Jesus teaches us compassion and empathy, so during a break in proceeding whilst I was hosed down and my lady wife set about a nearby punchbag, I nervously asked Mr No-nose about the prosthesis. “Occupational hazard,“ he whispered. “Big Andy McDeath shot the bugger off, during the Brinks Matt business” Emboldened, I pressed on. “So now you help the young man with the wire in his ear with his duties?” Tommy No-nose uttered a dry wheezing laugh, then fixed me with a cold stare, tapped the aluminium plate screwed to his face and whispered, “’Nuff said.”
I don’t mind telling you that I was glad to return to hearth and home. I’m sure the young man with the wire in his ear has every good intention, but acquiring the ability to fatally injure another human using only your earlobes simply does not appeal. As I type, my lady wife is down by the old stables, breaking house bricks with her forehead.