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★ Great Bores of Today ★ No.42
‘…so that’s two Lottos and a Lucky 5 for Sunday please squire ok? and I’ll have a Euro Millions while I’m at it make that two ’cause it’s a quadruple rollover this week £130 million or something mental oh and ten powerballs you won’t believe this but I missed winning Saturday by only three numbers I had 12 23 and 5 and the numbers that came up were 2 27 and 8 ok and I’ve got some old ones that need checking don’t expect I’ve won anything but you never know it could be my lucky day couldn’t it I’ve got just as much chance as the next man…’
© Fant and Al
Still at it... Norman Thomas was HM Chief Inspector of Primary Schools for eight years until 1981 working with, among others, Mrs Thatcher. Now ninety, he is a part-time teaching assistant at a primary school near his home in St Albans: ‘Yes, I go in every Tuesday morning and do as the teacher tells me, working with nine-year-olds, sometimes helping the troublesome ones along a bit.’ He has inspected schools in every county in England, except Cornwall, ‘and for the life of me I can’t think why I left them out.’ He has also inspected schools in the Soviet Union, Turkey, Malta and Tanzania – but hasn’t taken an examination himself since he left school at 16.
e has seen changes since his day but is dismayed ‘by the weight of bureaucracy and record-keeping burdening today’s teachers’. He plans to go on being a teaching assistant for as long as he can (‘it’s so rewarding’), though he doesn’t think it would be right for everyone of a similar age. He is still a visiting Professor at the University of Hertfordshire and reckons he must be the oldest active professor in the country. If you know someone who is Still At It, please write to The Old Un’s Diary.
Tips for Meanies Boxed tissues are scarcely a crippling item in the Meanie household budget, yet there is a saving which can provide a regular thrill of thrift. Fit a loo roll into a cylindrical steel utensils holder and remove the cardboard core. Pull up the roll from the middle like a tissue, and tear off when required. It’s cheap, chic and may prove convenient if this season’s cheerfullynamed ‘killer flu’ actually arrives.
8 THE OLDIE – March 2012
J B Priestley, Eleanor Farjeon, Evelyn Waugh, Trevor Howard, L S Lowry, Roald Dahl, C S Forester, Graham Greene, Philip Larkin, Arthur Wheen – who could resist joining their club rather than the ghastly galère of bureaucrats, fat-cats and celebs lately honoured by Her Majesty?
The most surprising name on the Cabinet Office list, declining an OBE in 1958, is C O Jones. This was the pseudonym used in the 1970s by our late friend Richard Boston for a whimsical column in the Vole magazine and for C O Jones’s Compendium of Practical Jokes (still available at £2.50 from Amazon), adopted after he happened upon it in the London phone-book and roared with laughter at the thought of an Englishman going to Spain and recording his name as C O JONES – ‘the equivalent of bollocks’ – in a hotel register.
Now it seems that the real Jones did the state some service and modestly declined its reward. Can anyone tell us who he was? D I A R Y
Not many dead
Important stories you may have missed
Voice from the Grave ‘Our ephemeral journalists themselves, notwithstanding their misrepresentations of truth, and promulgation of error, cannot deny that profligacy of manners domineers over public decency… But what must be the remorse of that disseminator of vice, who for gain prostitutes his column to foment the pride and cherish the effeminacy of a luxurious people.
TheNewLondonGleaner;Or GeneralRepositoryofElegant, UsefulandAmusingLiterature
Sent in by Janice Carleton £25 for published contributions
Gong ping-pong If you must accept an honour, however, please don’t send it back later in a huff when the British government annoys you. This is the silliest of all options. One thinks of the dozens of gents who disowned their gongs when
‘I’m hoping to raise 2,000 turbines this year’
the Beatles were given MBEs in 1965, complaining that Britain had been dragged ‘deeper into international ridicule and contempt’. None of them had thought to make a similar protest after the Suez disgrace in 1956, which brought Britain far lower in the world’s opinion than official recognition of the Fab Four.
As if to prove the point and compound the silliness, John Lennon returned his own MBE four years later. ‘Your Majesty,’ he wrote in a note accompanying the medal, ‘I am returning this in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against “Cold Turkey” slip-
ping down the charts. With love, John Lennon of Bag.’ Her Majesty, as ever, lost no sleep over the eccentricities of her subjects.
Portion control With the economy in freefall, we are keeping an even sharper eye than usual on the cost of groceries. Now, thanks to the British Weights and Measures Association, we have been alerted to one pocket-fleecing scam that relates to the wily manipulation of product weights from imperial to metric.
First the product is downsized. Take Pringles crisps which went from 2 ounces (56 grams) to 50 grams. Or Cadbury’s Roses which shrank
J U N E A N D G E R A L D b y N A F
The head teacher of Amherst Primary School was not selected to be a torch bearer during the Olympic torch relay.
Sevenoaks Chronicle A man stole a poker from The Angel pub last Wednesday at 4.50 pm. The man left in the direction of The Bear, but was not found by police. Gazette &Herald (Marlborough and Pewsey edition)
Boy George has laughed off reports that he will take part in the new series ofCelebrityBigBrother. AberdeenPress&Journal St Ives Coastguard Rescue Team was called out to assist the ambulance service on Christmas Eve to find a fully clothed man seen walking into the sea at Porthminster beach. He was later located and confirmed he had gone for a paddle. TheCornishman
Firefighters from Appledore were called to a particularly ‘potty’ incident on Saturday morning when a toilet training seat became stuck on a little boy’s head.
North Devon Gazette £25 for published contributions from 1lb (454 grams) to 400 grams and have since been downsized again to 350 grams.
Then, in a further twist to what the BWMA describes as the Great Gram Scam, Roses
March 2012 – THE OLDIE 9