Celtic Illumination, part 117, The Angel Of The Lord
I volunteered to join the entertainment committee, which was responsible for organising various functions, throughout the year, for air traffic control. It was interesting to find that I was the only person on the committee, however, if you remember people like me, people with a heavy regional accent, could not organise things, couldn’t really have any original thought, or ideas, so an officer, a failed fast jet pilot, was detailed to be in charge of the committee. I managed to persuade a couple of the other guys to join the committee and soon we had a quorum.
This wasn’t the only activity I was engaged in to help get me promoted and back to aircrew. I was attending Llangefni College for night classes studying A Level Mathematics, Physics and English. Don’t tell anyone, for I wasn’t exactly known for my study skills. I was known for having a party. Well, I was probably known as being a complete party animal. In fact the six man room that Docker and I shared was party central. We invited Mervyn, Dereck and Willie up from London for an away match. Louis even managed to find a saucepan for us to use, should have asked him for a stomach pump as well.
It was a fantastic party and the three boys loved Valley so much that Dereck went off and joined the RAF. In fact Dereck joined the RAF as sergeant aircrew air electronics. That really got to me and I was tempted to buy myself out and re-apply for aircrew through Biggen Hill, but I was warned that there would be a file. A big collection of reports and statements, mainly from the police, that would follow me around for the remainder of my career. I wasn’t really sure if this was an old wives tale, or fact, so I had to play it safe, however I can confirm that everyone in the air force has a file, some containing more paperwork than others, and these files do follow you around for the remainder of your career.
As for Dereck I was pleased for him unfortunately during his training they found that he had a hole in his heart so he was chucked out. Catherine too was a regular visitor at party central and actually used her close friendship with Louis to get him to provide various bits and bobs like curtains and rugs to make the room more homely. Docker and I would of course go to Rochdale to visit Catherine and those nurses couldn’t half drink.
At one party in Rochdale, in the old people’s home, Docker was so drunk they put him to bed in a spare room in the hospital. The duty nurse called in to check on him, Docker woke, saw this white clad figure and thought The Angel Of The Lord had come to visit him. It was so funny poor old Docker couldn’t remember a thing. I thought it my duty to remind him about it as often as I could.
So it would be fair to say that I had a little bit of experience of parties, whether I could actually organise one was a different matter altogether. I didn’t really consider the fact that I might not be able to do it, that whatever function I organised might flop, and they didn’t just record successes on your record. But I was young and stupid and failure was something that happened to older people, not me.
I did the usual party thing, lots of booze and some finger food but I wanted to do something different, so I came up with the idea of a treasure hunt. This would be in vehicles and would be around Anglesey Island. On their return we would have a barbeque with loads of charred meat products and lunatic soup. I plotted out the course and got some reference material on each point they would have to discover and planned the whole route out. Docker was my guinea pig and we travelled the course on a couple of occasions to calculate timings and distances. Then I wrote a story. It was biblical. I don’t mean it was huge, with hundreds of millions of pages with people begetting each other, I wrote the story like a chapter in the bible. I had the SATCO as Moses leading his people through the Desert of Anglesey Island. So not only did they have to move from point A to point B and so on, answering questions at each point, they had to interpret the story first of all.
They had to work out who al the characters were in the story before they could made head or tail of the whole thing. I believe it was quite an event and I was given my own little certificate as a thank you, which I have attached to this blog. What it actually meant is that my efforts were being recognised and recorded and entered into that file that was following me around, so unlike my other, failed, attempts at getting back to aircrew, this time I was making sure that my six o clock was covered.
There were other parties I remember at Valley one was Norma’s wedding. We thought it strange that she would invite us to her wedding but never the ones to turn down some drink and some finger food Docker, John Boy and myself went off into Holyhead for the reception. We didn’t attend the ceremony as we were afraid that the religious icons in the church might melt in our presence.
I knew some of Norma’s relatives and briefly exchanged pleasantries with them. We three settled ourselves in a corner and began the serious job of drinking. Norma appeared in her bridal gown and we all congratulated her and gave her a hug. Docker even went so far as to buy a gin and tonic then, writing congratulations on one of John Boys cigarette papers, stuck it to the glass before presenting it to Norma, as a wedding gift, from the three of us. I tell you, we certainly were the old romantics at heart.
The evening progressed as evenings do. There was no jiving, so we all maintained a dignified silence and concentrated on the beer. Norma’s new husband had quite a few friends there who eyed us suspiciously from the bar. They might very well have been members of the local Viet Taff, so we kept our distance, as we didn’t want our holiday homes burning down, not that we had any. We kept telling each other that we would leave after the next drink. At a given signal we stood and prepared to leave. Norma saw this and came running across to throw her arms around my neck proclaiming her love for me, which I have to tell you was quite embarrassing not just for me, but for her new husband, who along with his friends, were swinging punches at Docker and John Boy.
Hindsight is a great thing, especially when beer bottles are being lobbed at your car as you are driving away, but to tell you the truth I was more worried for poor old Norma. If I was continually reminding Docker about his visitation from The Angel Of The Lord, I hoped that poor Norma wouldn’t be reminded as often about her slight faux pas at her wedding.