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Thompson’s lost plimsole

Part three: The life and death of Marmaduke Gladstone

The Headmaster gave the eulogy for Mr Gladstone to a packed congregation of past and present Masters, Head Boys, Prefects, the staff of the Four Corners, a very small contingent of relatives and Mr Gladstone’s dog, Crusher.  Mr Gladstone had wanted a Pitbull, but his wife had drawn the line at having two vicious animals in the house. Therefore, he’d had to be content with a small Pekinese (his wife’s choice) which was probably slightly more vicious than the Pitbull might have been.  This minuscule bag of flatulence (the dog, not Mr Gladstone), had hospitalised two electricity meter readers, three paperboys, several postmen, a Jehovah’s Witness, a man from the Council, a woman from the Council, two young Mormon missionaries and a whole family who were visiting relatives next door but had inadvertently stepped 18 inches over the dividing line of the shared driveway. Once again, the school had been lucky to have, as two of its old boys, Nigel Screw and Anthony Hemm, Attorneys at Law. In each case, negligence on the part of the injured party was proven and damages awarded. In truth, this tiny hell-hound had, over the years, provided the Gladstones with a nice steady income.  

The reception after the internment was held in the school assembly hall where photographs celebrating the life of Mr Gladstone were on display. From these snapshots it could be deduced that old Gladders had at one time been somewhat of an athlete and big game hunter. There were numerous photos of him holding awards for swimming, cricket, tennis, pole vaulting, rowing, running, football and skiing. One might also be led to surmise as to how on earth he found any time at all to study, which, of course, is another story. If rumours of his employment as a Master are to be believed, then the stories, as related over several generations, must have had a modicum of truth to them. It would appear that he simply turned up one school sports day to hand out prizes and never left.  

There were also a number of photos of him scaling the sides of mountains wearing plus fours, long socks, a tweed jacket and a deer stalker hat. He married not long after his arrival at the school, a local girl, quite heavily built,  who shared his spirit of adventure, This was the first Mrs Gladstone, climbing accident, South face of the Eiger. Second Mrs Gladstone, climbing accident, The Matterhorn, North East ridge. Third Mrs Gladstone, climbing accident, extended ladders, exterior guttering.  The forth and present Mrs Gladstone had refused to holiday anywhere that might elicit her removing herself from terra firma.  The bulk of the remaining pictures were of him on numerous jungle treks and safaris, either holding up, standing behind or sitting on the carcasses of  recently deceased creatures. The viewer might have come to the conclusion that the sole aim of Mr Gladstone was to, single handedly, try to bring as many birds, fish, mammals and insects to the verge of extinction as was possible for one human being armed with a gun, rod, net or artfully concealed pit.    

Mrs Gladstone stood at the end of the buffet table ready to greet everyone, and to thank them for their support as they collected their plates. She also clung tightly to Crusher in order to stop him running amok. It did, however, make it virtually impossible to have any sort of meaningful conversation with her unless one was prepared to constantly dodge Crusher’s bared, needle-pointed incisors.  Ms Lubyanka put paid to the dog’s incessant yapping and snapping by leaning into Crusher’s face with her teeth bared and bellowing something in Russian whilst simultaneously soaking its face with chewing tobacco spittle.  This had the desired effect of silencing the dog, but of also causing the animal to completely evacuate its bladder and bowels down the side of Mrs Gladstone’s new coat, and onto the plates on the end of the buffet table.

To be continued:


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

5 thoughts on “Thompson’s lost plimsole

    1. Ha ha… Herb, my dear new friend. I am supposing that you are of an age where you can remember the TV series Kung Fu? So I shall therefore try to answer your question in the style of Master Po as he sent Caine out into the World… (Oriental accent) Herb, there are many roads that a man can take through life, with many twists and turns. He may take the wrong fork in the road, but each road will bring him to new adventures, good or bad. However, strength and fortitude combined with patience will ultimately lead him to the object of his quest, whether that be inner peace, forgiveness or the regaining of a treasured relic… You may hold what you desire in your hands, but with patience, the prize may be even greater…. Be patient Kwai Chang Herb, be patient…… (Mystical music over end credits).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, yes. I can remember Kung Fu and the Saturday cartoon called Hong Kong Fooey. I remember my friend, a big fan of the show, seeing the 7Up commercial with a guy that looks like Caine, saying, “There are two paths to choose in life. There is the cola and the Uncola.” He laughed so hard he almost wet himself. Many apologies, Master. I feel like Ed Gruberman. You probably are familiar with this bit by The Frantics:

        Liked by 1 person

  1. After being number four and surviving I think being crapped on from sideways on is preferable to plummeting from a great height. As you said in the above comments, plimsoll wise, one step at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

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