Saturday, November 08, 2003

Eccentrics, leprechauns and saxophone players….

The other day, I was browsing the message boards of our local radio station’s web site and came across someone enquiring about the eccentric ‘no smoking’ cyclist commonly seen all over the North West of England.

For anyone who hasn’t seen him, this man rides an old road racing bike. The bike is adorned entirely in clear plastic and collected litter. Big hand written signs are stuck to the frame on the evils of smoking. On his head is always worn an old skateboarding helmet. And he rides – to virtually every City, Town and Village in the North West. Often seen standing next to his bike, occasionally muttering, frequently shouting, especially to people he’s seen smoking…….. sad cyclist with a message.

When I was a kid, where I lived there was a weird guy who one day suddenly started to build a ship in his back garden. The garden backed onto a field, so us nosy kids had a first hand view of progress.

When I say he built it in the garden, he really did build in the garden – all of it. From one end to the other, a bloody great big ship. And when I say ‘ship’ – I really do mean ‘ship’. It wasn’t a yacht – or a boat …. It was a bloody massive ship! It was entirely built out of wooden planks, clinker fashion. Eventually, after a few years, he got to the top and laid the decking down. It towered above the rest of the gardens. I suppose it was about 20 feet tall. The next time we came to look at it he had added a new feature on the top – it was then that I knew exactly what he had built. On the top of the deck, amidships he had plonked a garden shed. It now looked like everyone’s idea of how a ‘Noah’s Ark’ should look like.

He had built his own Noah’s Ark – in his garden. I don’t know whether he was a religious nut, or just a really pessimistic weather forecaster……. That ship was there for years, nobody seemed to mind – I guess it was before the World was populated to the brim with ‘jobsworth’ planning officers…. ..two by two

Near Cammel Lairds in Birkenhead, There’s a man who, most days stands under an old railway bridge. He faces the wall, playing a saxophone - quietly to himself. He has no cap on the floor to collect cash – and anyway, the place he plays has hardly any passers by………. mellow bluesman with a stoned audience….. nice

A three piece suited, 7 stone OAP threatened to wipe me out once – God knows why. It was the early nineties and Alfie was at his most physically imposing…. Alfie the brick bog, 18 stone of mile high manliness (my vision, obviously) was striding down the street in confident fashion with Alfreda. Out of nowhere, leapt a little old wizened type gent, with slicked down dwindling hair and thin bony knobbly knuckles waving millies from my face.

"Come on then, you don’t frighten me yer terwat. I’ll bloody ‘ave yer. Come on, stick yer dooks up – or are yer a chicken? With that, he starts to do a strutting chicken walk, wafting his arms about and clucking and squawking to himself. Baaquaa baquaa baaabaaaquaaa" …….. mad leprechaun with a death-wish.

A bad tackle down at the newsagents……

Massive controversy and consternation in our locality when a couple of weeks ago the local rag inadvertently published a photo of a footy player with his ‘bobby knoblett’ hanging out – in glorious technicolour!

Needless to say, the publisher was horrified, but the word was out – and the rush was on to buy copies. In hours, they were all sold out – probably for the first time ever.

I eeeed them, under the heading of ‘Competition Winner’ asking if they were starting a ‘spot the bobby knoblett competition’ – and if so, could I have my prize as I had spotted this weeks member……

They declined to comment.

Best thing about it though was the flasher wrote in a week later – to apologise for his bobby ‘just slipping out’ and how he ‘hadn’t noticed’ that it was free and running wild – like it’s got a life of it’s own or something……

I thought it must have had something to do with the way he was pulling his shorts aside to let Tommy Togger get unleashed and the ‘ear to ear’ grin he had on his boat….

I have agonised long and hard about whether I should reproduce the photo for you, but have decided against it - mainly because I can’t get a magnifying tool on the pic’….

No comments: