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When I arrived at a village function in 1978 I was quite proud of my weight loss of three stone, I'd gone down to less than seventeen stone. I had looked forward to the positive praise I would receive from my friends and family but the first person I met was an old family friend called Pip Hill. Pip warmly shook my hand and said, "Bloody hell Ken, you've piled on the pounds!" The trouble was I hadn't seen much of Pip since we'd played table tennis together in 1964, and back then I'd probably weighed in the region of eleven stone. So he was quite right with his assessment of my weight for in his eyes I had become truly huge. So much for the admiring praise my ego had been expecting, but that's life, instead of praise for my weight loss I'd been told I looked enormous. I certainly didn't expect that!
One morning, my friend, Andy Gordon's sister, Margaret, found to her surprise her newly acquired motor scooter wouldn't start, she hadn't expected that. She certainly didn't expect her Dad, Jock Gordon, to say with confidence, that while she was at work he'd fix it, and without doubt she didn't expect what she found when she got home that evening. She'd forgotten how her Dads temper could erupt, for when he had failed to fix the scooter he'd smashed it to bits with his sledge hammer. For certain, she didn't expect that!
Jock Gordon wasn't a bad man, I always liked him, and I am quite certain in time he replaced his daughters scooter. What I didn't know until recently was that shortly after his sledgehammer rage and late at night, Jock took the parts of the smashed scooter and dumped them half a mile from his home. What he didn't know was he had been seen. I heard this story just a few months ago when my old friend Colin Bowbrick was visiting. When I'd mentioned the infamous scooter smashing episode that had so amazed our village, Colin recalled his part in the until then, unknown sequel. Purely by chance he, and another friend, Chris Previtt, had seen Jock furtively dump the scooter parts in a place they wouldn't be seen for a long while. My two old friends decided it would be amusing to take them all back to Jocks home, which is what they did. In the early hours of that dark dismal morning they quietly left them at the back entrance of his garden. I can only imagine Jocks reaction when he discovered that the cursed smashed up scooter was back. Without doubt, he hadn't expected that!
Another story that circulated about Jock, was one that involved the upper class owner of a large house who was born with a superiority complex. Jock was walking along a public footpath that ran alongside the property, admiring the orchard of various fruit trees that were just a fence away. Noticing some windfall apples rotting on the ground and being a hot day, Jock decided there would be no harm in quenching his thirst with one of the windfalls. Having done this he continued on his walk munching happily on an apple. It was at this point that the upper class owner, complete with his shotgun and 'Lord of the Manor' attitude appeared. He made the mistake of arrogantly calling Jock a thief. I only know what Jock told me of the argument that followed but I can picture the scene as the short fused Scotsman erupted at the orchard owner, "I don't like being called a thief over a bloody apple," he roared. Jock wasn't the type to be cowed by an upper class voice with a shotgun. I doubt the upper class voice had expected such a reaction, nor what happened later!
Mr. Upper Class-Twitt must have had quite a shock when he took his morning walk through his land a few weeks later. When he reached his orchard he found not an apple tree was left standing for every single one had been cut down with a chainsaw. The culprit was never found and if Jock was questioned by the police I never heard mention of it. I did on one occasion find him in the 'The Bricklayers Arms' and, taking advantage of his somewhat inebriated state, I asked him about the incident. He just gave me a strange grin and a wink but would say no more. The landowner must have pondered over the mystery of his apple tree destruction for years and would surely have thought Jock was the culprit. However, I feel he may have concluded it would be wise, considering the way his orchard was destroyed, to let the matter rest. Whatever he had expected to achieve when he called Jock a thief for picking up a single windfall apple, I'm absolutely certain he didn't expect the outcome that followed!
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