One Man's Madness / Part 08
The official launch took place a week or so later that summer, during our annual mini-fest. The ship was poised on the slope by the hawthorn so it could “glide down the slipway” on to the meadow proper.
I asked my neighbour Gwen if she would do the honours with a bottle of cider bubbly, which, complete with handbag, she did to perfection.
At the end of the event, the ship was tucked under the makeshift, still to this day unfinished, arts workshop roof.
One of the "side show" events that I can remember was a "wrestling match" spontaneously organised by a guy whose name I can't remember. He was a big lad and had got all dressed up like Gorgeous George, complete with flowery ill-fitting leggings. He said he was there to take on all comers, meaning, of course, the kids. However, a couple of alcohol fuelled hombres thought they'd have a go too. One of these, after being thrown on the floor a couple of times, got angry and started using his fists. It turned out this drunk was an East End pal of Big Al's. Fortunately he was mobbed by a bunch of East End women and calmed down.
Big Al later confided to me that, if a proper fight had broken out, he would have had to take the drunk guy's side. "But Al, he was completely in the wrong ," I said. "Yeah," said Al, "I know, but he's from the East End. I would have had to honour the code." I looked up at him. He just shrugged and nodded ruefully. "That's just the way it is," he said. Thank christ, I thought to myself, nothing further had kicked off.
- One Man's Madness / Part 09
The story of one man’s 60 year love affair with 2.5 acres of Essex countryside.
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