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Thompson’s Lost plimsole

Part the second

The Board of Governors had been quickly convened by the school secretary, Miss Changelane, who had manage in a very short space of time, to gather together these gentlemen from the four corners of our fair isles, and also from the Four Corners, a local hostelry frequented by past and present Head Boys, several ancient retired Masters clinging on to their Highland malt and pink gins and Sir Gerald Whatwhat OBE (retired) a former Brigadier with the Household Cavalry and Chair of the Board of Governors.

The Four Corners was more akin to a London private gentleman’s club. Casual customers were never given a warm welcome, and several of the older regulars would form a sort of cordon around them, coughing heavily and breaking wind, which was guaranteed to move them on and out as quickly as possible, especially if they were eating.  The landlady, rarely, if ever, ventured into the bar or snug areas, confining herself to the kitchen in order to deal with a bar menu the equal of anything served at the Ritz Hotel. This was another reason for not wanting the Four Corners to become over popular with the local hoi polloi. The only other female presence in the pub was 19 year old Lorraine, a pert, short haired brunette, with fulsome lips and a ready wit. Much loved by the older brethren for her no-nonsense manner, and lusted after by the younger chaps, Lorraine had heard every cheesy chat up line ever uttered by the drunk or the desperate and had a ready store of replies and put downs for any occasion. The unearthing of Thompson’s lost plimsole was the main topic of conversation at the Four Corners and was possibly the most exciting thing that had happened in this school or town for the past 30 years, apart from the business to do with the former art teacher, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Suffice it to say that with the assistance of a number of prominent old boys who at that time had secured influential positions in Parliament, the whole sorry affair of the new science department and drug testing facility being paid for with counterfeit currency, had been successfully swept under the proverbial carpet. It has to be admitted however, that the £20 pound notes, three million of which are still in circulation, were barely indistinguishable from genuine Bank of England notes. It is hoped that when Mr Jenkins, former head of art, is released back into society, that he will put his artistic skills to a less nefarious purpose.

Sir Gerald addressed the gentlemen before him, calling for ideas on how best to celebrate the resurrection of this sacred icon. A concert was suggested, a parade through town, headed by the school’s Combined Cadet Force, an invite for the Mayoral party to attend and a fly past from nearby RAF Hallifield.  The various heads of departments had also been invited to this meeting and Mr Thrashbutt was eager to throw in his two pennies’ worth.  “I could organise a wrestling display” he said excitedly.  Mr Thrashbutt liked nothing more than stripping down to his wrestling trunks and grappling with an opponent. The older boys were usually game for a fight, but the younger boys had a tendency to burst into tears when being held tight in a Half Nelson and forced to submit by a full-grown red faced Glaswegian.    

“I could probably arrange for a small Police escort through town”. This was retired, former Chief Constable, George Bogram Brush speaking. Brush was known nationally as Brush of the Yard and locally as yard brush. To those closest to him he was simply known as Bog. If there was any s*** that needed clearing up, the call would go out for Brush.

In his autobiography entitled A Brush with the Law, the infamous case of the Fulham Flasher was touched upon, but not in any great length as it had been revealed to be one of the school’s old alumni, Jenkins Jnr, son of the former head of art.

Jenkins Jnr had been known to expose himself on numerous occasions, but it was the onstage incident during a third year choral concert at the Maybridge Women’s Institute that compelled the headmaster to expel him. Jenkins Jnr had last been heard of performing in a nude male revue in London’s Soho. This sighting had been reported by Mr Thrashbutt, who spoke convincingly when he stated that it had all been a terrible mistake, and that he had simply been taken short, had seen the sign for the gents toilets and was in the process of washing his hands, when the building was raided by the vice squad.

School Matron, Ms Zasha Lubyanka, who was also a former Soviet National Women’s Heavyweight Boxing Champion, and Dennis Thrashbutt’s nemesis, spoke next. However, as she spoke very little English, and as no one in the school spoke any Russian, her comments went unrecorded.

Ms Lubyanka was a tall, muscular, square jawed behemoth of a woman who, on any, and at every given opportunity, would grab Mr Thrashbutt in a head lock and give his head a hefty knuckle rub. Whether this was a sign of affection has still to be verified, although the thing that he found most disconcerting, was that the head rubs were always followed by raucous laughter and the words “How you like zat Mister YMCA fellow?”

Mr Thrashbutt had pleaded with the Headmaster to allow him to sit with the non-heads of departments on the opposite side of the stage during morning assembly, due to the fact that Ms Lubyanka would squeeze his leg just above the knee so hard, that it would regularly stop the blood flowing, and he had been known to collapse on several occasions upon standing for the school song, which had first been sung on 4th May 1799 to celebrate the great victory at the Battle of Seringapatam. Over thirty former pupils of this school had fought in that battle with distinction, although, a further seventeen had not!  

School Song

Thank the Lord our fathers beat us

That’s the way our school should treat us

Bamboo cane for oafs and cheaters

Makes us what we are

Cold baths, showers, but not a prison

We should never cause a schism

We say no to onanism

Makes us what we are

To strive to keep our school traditions

Should be everybody’s mission

Treat outsiders with derision

It makes us who we are

                                                  Crispin Underfelt 1799

This meeting of the Governors and heads of departments had actually gone quite well compared to the previous two meetings which had ended in a sword fight and a duel.  

It was thought best to leave old Mr Gladstone where he was for the moment, or at least until the ambulance arrived. Normally a highly agitated and confrontational old curmudgeon, he had been surprisingly quiet since the start of the meeting, although the frantic wafting of his arms at the beginning had simply been taken as an indication that he wanted to stick his oar in as usual.

Sticking his oar in meant half an hour of inane rambling, racist observations and why can’t we have a return of the stocks and hanging. He had, however, that afternoon at the Four Corners, imbibed at least six double gins and a whisky chaser, topped off with a pickled egg. By all accounts, it was the second pickled egg carried to the meeting in his pocket that had seen him off to the private school above. It seems that he had popped the egg in whole and coughed as the vinegar hit the back of his throat… As did the egg!

To be continued:


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

7 thoughts on “Thompson’s Lost plimsole

  1. It certainly is amazing how ideas seem to flood into your brain when faced with a blank page. Until I start writing, I have no idea what I’m going to say and it is also amazing how the characters start to take on a personality of their own. Thanks for the encouragement, Herb……


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