Celtic Illumination, part 78 a white, two litre, Ford Capri, with a black vinyl roof

Some new Corporals were arriving and they were neither ancient nor arrogant.  I think it would be fair to say that they were mid-twenties.  Des Dobbin was a Belfast man with two loves in his life, one was his bright yellow Ford Escort, which he was always polishing, and the other was Abba.  Don’t ask.  Rod Shackleton, another Corporal, used to try to be everybody’s friend, which I think was related to the heavy Valium intake.

Rod came over to me one evening at the electric piss up in the NAAFI.  Boys and girls were shuffling about the dance floor, not one of them jiving I might add.  It was all pop music not one country tune in sight, what was a good ol boy going to do?  Rod approached me and pointed out two females on the dance floor.  He stated that he wished to dance with a certain one of the females and requested that I engage the other in a shuffle or two across the dance floor.

With legs like mine, and the looks, don’t forget the looks, I was in.  The young lady was dazzled with my dancing ability; either that or she had far too much Vodka.   As happens, she escorted me onto the veranda, where I could show her just how expert a snogger I was, after all, I did have the President of Ireland as an instructor.  We enjoyed the moonlight and the idle chit chat.  She was most certainly interested in coming up to my room and seeing my etchings, so we went back inside to gather our coats, to find Rod completely legless on the dance floor.

Rule one; never leave a man behind, but rule two, section B, two birds one stone.  I encouraged the young lady to help me pick Rod up and we brought him back to his room.  Some of you may say that this was a most un-gentlemanly move on my part, as I had used an underhand situation of a man down to get the young lady into the accommodation block.  How wrong you would be, you don’t think the air traffickers would want me living in their block?  I was still in temporary accommodation, and very happy to be there, if I may say so.

We laid Rod out on his bed and, as it was quiet and comfortable, resumed the snogging.  Rod unfortunately regained consciousness and leapt off the bed screaming that I had danced with the wrong fecking women.  The woman in my arms was the one he intended to romance.  Well; words to that effect.  As you know, one of the reasons behind the receptiveness in military training is that you don’t think, you act.  So as you may guess when faced with a fully grown, angry and inebriated man, charging at me across his bedroom, I had no choice but to encourage him to get back on his bed, in an unconscious state, and remain there till the morning.

The next morning Rod was asking everyone, he could remember who was at the dance, how he had got his black eye, no one seemed to know, not even me.

There was another youngish Corporal there, John Brock.  John was a Scot.  He drove a Simca motorcar; I believe they make very good sewing machines.  John often stated that his greatest desire in life was to own and drive a white, two litre, Ford Capri, with a black vinyl roof.  I’m going to have to make a literary side step here, because if I am to continue the story about John Brock, then I must include John Wilkenson.

John Wilkenson was the same as myself, expect he wasn’t as good looking, wasn’t Irish and wasn’t getting into trouble every five minutes.  John was a lovely fellow from Warrington.  We were on a shift with Paddy O Reardon and as you can imagine suffered quite a large amount of stress.  John, on our couple of days off, decided to go home to his parents in Warrington and very kindly invited me to accompany him.

John drove the most wonderful, white, soft top, Morris 1000.  As with most young males with motor cars, the radio was top of the range, and I have the most fabulous memories of driving along the North Wales coast with The Small Faces performing their album, Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, with the wonderfully surreal narrative of Stanley Unwin,  blaring out of the stereo.  I promise you we knew that album off by heart.  Warrington was fantastic fun, John’s brother was a civilian police officer in Warrington but we didn’t hold that against him.  We fell in with the, local crowd and after a month, or two, there was quite a contingent of air traffickers coming over for the weekend to Warrington.


Some of us formed relationships with the local young ladies and going to Warrington for the weekend became something more of a ‘must do’ rather than a one off.  John’s mother was a lovely welcoming woman and if it wasn’t for the yappy little King Charles spaniel that nipped my ankles to ribbons, I would have enjoyed eating the pig’s trotters and boiled onions she cooked for me, and I’m not being funny about her cooking, it was the first time I had ever eaten them and they were particularly nice.

As for the girlfriend, the first time I went to her house I walked in through the front door and she and her mother stripped the clothes off me.  Those among you who have prevert tendencies can stop right there for there was no hankie pankie intended.  My girlfriends mother realised that washing clothes in a hand wash basin would not produce the required freshness for said garments, so everything in my kit bag, and off my back, went into the washing machine.

One weekend we had a party to attend in Warrington, but John’s car was off the road for some reason.  I hadn’t acquired my custom modified Vauxhall Victor from Paddy yet, so as Winston Churchill once said, ‘we were snookered’.  However a guardian angel appeared and offered us transport to Warrington in the form of John Brock.

John had come up with a cunning plan that we could use his car to get to Warrington, but we were not to bring it back.  We were to set fire to it and he would declare it stolen, collect the inflated insurance claim, and buy his coveted white, two litre, Ford Capri, with the black vinyl roof.

Wizard idea, for John and myself were two young men who were not exactly being led by our brains, if you get my drift.  As we traversed the North Welsh coast of North Wales, we began smashing the car up.  It was ridiculous and we were screaming with laughter, for it would be the last thing a normal, sensible; person would do in a moving motor car.  We were stabbing the speedometer with a screwdriver, unscrewing bits and bobs and generally behaving like horrible little vandals.  In my defence I have to say that this was not mindless violence, we were supposed to destroy the car.

We came across a lorry that had skidded on a corner and was now on its side.  We of course were fine upstanding young fellows from the Royal Air Force who would help any person in trouble, but especially a lorry driver who had shed his load of cigarettes all over a field.  I attended to the lorry driver keeping him warm and resting, in case he had injured his spine, even though he didn’t want to, as John secured some of the load in our car in case highway robbers or thieves turned up.

When the ambulance arrived John and I made our excuses and left, as we were just doing our duty and didn’t require any thanks or rewards for what any decent Christian would be expected to do.

Well; what a weekend we had.  I promise you, there was a fancy dress party, and I remember that I had slept on a floor, which was nothing new for me, but sleeping on a recently varnished floor, did introduce some new questions and difficulties in the morning when looking for the gorilla.

That’s when we realised two things, the first was that the car would be reported stolen from RAF Valley and found in Warrington.  It wouldn’t take the police long to find out who, if anybody, had travelled from Valley to Warrington that weekend, even the military police could have worked that one out pretty sharpish.  So seeing that we would be placing ourselves very much in the frame, a criminal term I hope you don’t mind me using it, John  and I discovered the second point not in our favour.  We had spent all of our money and had no way of getting back to Valley, unless we used the petrol meant to burn the car, to transport us back.  We weren’t daft, well, not that bad, so we drove back to Valley in a car that we hoped would make it, for we didn’t know what speed we were travelling at, we didn’t know how much fuel was in the tank, but at least we had enough cigarettes to keep us going if we broke down.

John Brock was not impressed as he walked to the mess for his breakfast on the Monday morning for sitting there in tatters was his poor little car. I would say still in one piece but that wouldn’t be correct.  He wasn’t a happy man, but couldn’t really accuse us of not stealing and burning his car.  I do wonder if he ever did get his white, two litre, Ford Capri, with the black vinyl roof?



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About celticillumination

Celtic Illumination produces unique Celtic themed candles/craic pots and Tartan Candles. It is (as far as we can tell) the only company in the world to produce 'real' Tartan candles. Most tartan candles are plain candles with a tartan sticker applied. These Tartan Candles have a Tartan pattern run all the way through the candle. Rather than the old adage of "pile it high and sell it cheap" Celtic Illumination does not import in bulk from Asia, or anywhere else for that matter. instead of filling a whiskey glass or tea cup, with wax and adding a wick, we have created something Celtic. Hand made, hand finished, from scratch in our workshop. Even the Celtic Knot range of candles are made from scratch in our workshop, Each candle has a 10mm deep Celtic knot that runs all the way around the candle, other companies stick their Celtic knots on with glue or something similar. Celtic Illumination claim to be the best candle company in the world and they probably are.

6 responses to “Celtic Illumination, part 78 a white, two litre, Ford Capri, with a black vinyl roof”

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