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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part 52

It was the first day of rehearsals for the Hallifield Light Opera Company under the direction of The Reverend Timothy Leech, Vicar of St. Cuthbert’s. This year’s production was to be The Mikado by Messrs’ Gilbert and Sullivan. As usual, the auditions had been a farce with the same leading players taking the lead roles to the detriment of some of the patently more talented chorus members. It was a game well played, and the idea was to get yourself elected on to the committee in order to have a say as to who would be cast in the various roles. The leading character of Yum Yum, of course would be played by Leticia Hopwood-Smythe, daughter of local worthies, Sir Barnabas, and Lady Rosemary Hopwood-Smythe. Sir Barnabas had made his fortune in tea and spices, had twice been Mayor of Hallifield, and was now the member of Parliament for the Greater Hallifield Area.  The role of Nanki Poo, the would-be lover of Yum Yum, was to be played by Cedric Pratt, the lisping and effete son of the Secretary of the society, Philomena Pratt. Philomena’s husband had recently died under strange circumstances. As manager of a local quarry, he had been overseeing the removal and shipment of several tons of stone for use on the extension of the Leeds to Hallifield railway branch line. One of the workmen was seen to have heaved a large piece of stone from the edge of the quarry, onto the manager’s head. Under caution at the local police station, he claimed to have found a large ruby ring and that whilst wearing it, he had heard strange music with voices telling him to throw the stone onto the men below. The fellow was now languishing in Leeds Jail awaiting psychiatric evaluation and a possible trial. The ring, however, was now in the possession of Constable Henry Blott, baritone, playing the role of Koko, the Lord High Executioner.

During the morning’s science lesson, Thompson had taken the opportunity to acquire a number of different powders. He would have to wait until lights out before he could put his plan into action as there was little or no chance of getting anywhere near the kitchen and food storage cupboard during the day.

With very little else to do, Dopey David would prowl the school corridors looking out for small boys foolish enough to cross his path. Any boy out of his classroom or dorm without written permission from his house master, was fair game to David. It has to be stated that most of the boys were well acquainted with the odours that emanated from this hideous man-child. If the wind was in the right direction, then you could smell him approaching, and if not, then at least where he had been. David and soap, it transpired, were not the best of friends. Chronic halitosis and the acrid stench of underarm odour had left many a young boy traumatised after finding himself in an unwanted headlock whilst being dragged to the Headmaster’s office.

If nothing else, Mrs Wormwood was a creature of habit. She had now made it her duty to lock the kitchen doors and those of the food storage areas, fifteen minutes after lights out, but not before providing herself with a pre-bedtime snack. This would mainly consist of a large portion of pork pie with pickles, a selection of cold meats, a thick wad of bread spread heavily with jam, always accompanied by at least three slices of cake. With the connivance of Mrs Wilde, the former head cook, Thompson could gain access to the kitchen store via an unlatched window. He would have no more than ten minutes in which to complete his task and return to his room unseen. His room was on the first floor at the rear of the building, but luckily, the wall outside his window was thickly covered in ivy. Thompson had used this route previously on a number of occasions in order to escape from the obligatory morning run. From his window, he could see the other boys as they made their third circuit of the lake and would climb down the ivy, wait for the right moment, and then re-join the runners. Tonight, however, Thompson was on a mission to save the school.


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

9 thoughts on “

  1. Hurrah! Mr Underfelt. You’re back. I can’t imagine where you get your am-dram inspiration from. I fear that PC Blott may have more on his plate – and his finger – than he can possibly anticipate. I’m scrabbling around under the bed and behind the wardrobe, looking for inspiration to fire my own return, but it’s all more than a little laboured currently. Never mind, I have just Googled ‘Mojo’, so at least I know what I am looking for.

    Liked by 2 people

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