Celtic Illumination, part 236, The hippy, hippy, shakes.
I hope you don’t mind me asking but I need a wee bit of help. I need to find the three best stories in all of my blog. That’s not something I can do, only you, the reader, The Illuminati, can decide that. So, if you wouldn’t mind and if you have the time, could you add a comment at the end of this, or contact me in any other form that you want to and let me know which story tickled you the most, if any. There’s no need to go hunting through previous blogs to find the title or part number, although if you want to feel free, it’ll save me doing it. If you just want to say what the story was about, or who it was about, that will suffice. Thanks for your help and support, world domination beckons.
My world had certainly been shaken with the job offer from Tim Hirschman. I wasn’t sure what to do as I wasn’t really aware of civilian life. I suppose I had been very lucky as we had always lived in nice comfortable houses and never really wanted for anything. I had never thought about buying a house or settling down somewhere. This was a time when Margaret Thatcher was coming in to power and the ‘greed is good’ mantra was becoming popular. Tony and myself were becoming good friends and I had never considered him as a wealthy man. We once went to Colchester and visited the Volvo car showroom. Tony bought three brand new Volvos and I didn’t see anything strange with this.
We had a routine for Sundays which for us would begin at ten in the morning. We would meet up and go to Ipswich airport where we would take an aircraft out and bash it about above Felixstowe. Once down we would drive back to Shotley and go to the pub. The pub closed at half past two when we would buy a bottle of whiskey and head to Chelmondiston, where Tony’s boat was moored. It was a six berth, twin diesel, converted trawler, if that means anything to you. We would settle ourselves on the boat, drink the bottle of whisky, and spend the remainder of the evening trying to get off the boat. Now I can look back and see that perhaps Tony did have more money that the average person, but at the time it meant absolutely nothing to me. And anyway, the air force was always there to bring me straight back to earth.
One day on my way home from work, it was around lunchtime, I decided to nip in to The Rose and have a quiet pint. There was only one other fellow there, and he was the local doctor. We got chatting and I discovered that he had been in the navy and stationed at HMS Ganges, down the road, where he had been the surgeon. When he left the navy he elected to stay in the area and become the local doctor. I asked him for his opinion on service life compared against civilian life and he gave me his views, but he did keep looking at me in a rather strange way. Eventually he asked what the lump underneath my ear was and I explained that it was a cyst. He wanted to know why I hadn’t see the doctor on camp to have it removed and I explained that the doctor and I were not the best of friends after some people had intervened on a medical issue on my behalf.
By this time we had finished with the beer and were on the pink gins. It was approaching half past two and the pair of us were entering staggering mode. It was then that he suggested we nip around to his surgery where he would whip out the cyst. Why not, I thought, and so we went back to the local surgery which only had secretarial staff working. We went in to his consulting room and he asked me to lie down on the bed. I did and he then cleaned and prepared the area around my ear. He then turned and I thought he was doing something at the sink when he asked if I was happy to continue. I said yes to see him spin around and swipe at my head with the scalpel. I didn’t feel any pain, just the blood run down my neck.
“Sorry about that,” he said. “I went a bit deep there.” I waved it away and allowed him to finish his job sewing my head back together again. With the job done and the pair of us thinking it was time for a nap he finished up and gave me a shaving chitty. These were regarded as gold dust in the air force. For some strange reason it was something we all looked forward to, getting a shaving chitty. Mine was for two weeks and I was mightily proud of it. As luck would have it I had pulled a twenty four hour stint as guard commander in the guardroom. I arrived bright and early and entered the guardroom. The Station Warrant Officer came in. I was at the reception window issuing keys, so the Station Warrant Officer, the SWO, lined up the guard for inspection.
He bollocked each and every one of them, and because I wasn’t in the line-up I have to admit it was quite funny. One poor chap, who had a small stain on his jacket, was accused of eating his breakfast off his uniform. One by one the SWO bollocked each of the guard and then sent them off to their duties. He then turned on the Orderly officer and gave him what for, which had me start to get worried. He then snapped the head off the orderly Sergeant and told him to take over issuing the keys as he wanted to have a wee word with me. I left the desk and came to the SWO. “We’ve forgotten to do something this morning haven’t we laddie?”
It was pure pantomime but with a serious edge to it, so I played along. “Me sir? Not me sir. I don’t think I forgot to do anything this morning.” “We forgot to shave this morning, laddie,” growled the SWO, to which I reply. “Oh no sir, not me. I have a shaving chitty.” The SWO holding his hand out, meant that he wanted to see the letter, so I gave him my shaving chitty. “Ah!” says the SWO. “This is from a civilian doctor!” “Yes sir,” I answered, wondering if it mattered if a civilian doctor or a military doctor issued a no shaving chitty. “You’re not a civilian laddie,” snarled the SWO, who immediately called me to attention. He began to bark orders at me and had me march out of the guard room while he explained to the orderly Sergeant what he was up to.
Once again I found myself with most people arriving for work, being marched down the centre of the main road on camp with the SWO screaming “Left, right, left, right, swing those arms higher!” He made a right meal of it and marched me all the way to the station medical centre. I could see people disappearing into bushes and behind buildings as we moved along. Even the waiting room in the medical centre began to empty as they heard the shouting coming through the main door. The senior medical officer, my friend, came out to investigate. The three of us went in to a treatment room where once again I was asked to lie down on the bed.
The SWO was loving it as he explained to the doctor that I had gone to see a civilian doctor rather than a military doctor. The SMO was inspecting my ear and missing cyst. “I think the area has gone septic,” said the SMO. “I’ll have to open it up and clean it out.” I said nothing and lay there, at least this time we were all sober, except the SMO declared that if I was brave enough to visit a civilian doctor then I wouldn’t be needing any anaesthetic. I cringed as he cut into the wound. I couldn’t really feel any pain but I could hear him saw through the skin and that made me shudder. He cleaned out the wound and then sewed my head back together, again. He then began to give me advice on how to care for the wound, and as he said that I shouldn’t shave for a fortnight the SWO erupted and stormed out of the medical centre screaming that he wasn’t happy having a fecking hippy running his guard room.