Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 9 October 2014
The pub landlady from Leighton Buzzard must have got a bit more trade by putting up this helpful sign.
People are generally split down the middle when it comes to children in pubs - some watch their antics with smiles on their faces, and others whisper threats of murder between gritted teeth.
The age of choice that we all now live in means that pubs have to formulate a policy when it comes to children and dogs, and aside from a rule which states that children under 16 are not allowed to sit at the bar, the days of them being barred completely from the premises are gone along with the other rule which disallowed black leather jackets on men.
I regularly broke the latest rule up until quite recently, when my little 5 year-old friend would sit with me at the bar, keeping me entertained wonderfully, when I was supposed to be doing that for her whilst her father was outside entertaining himself.
I would go out the front for a cigarette and she would accompany me, and it was then that she came up with the question, "Why is that man running in the middle of the fucking road?" I was wondering exactly the same thing, but she actually said it.
If children run riot in pubs, it is always the parent's fault, but it is always the children who are on the receiving-end of hostility like the above. I have saved quite a few 5 year-olds from running straight out of the door and under a bus at our pub, and the first thing I do - or the second thing - is give the parents a good bollocking.
Bollockings like this are never well-recieved by parents, because it makes them feel useless and irresponsible. If they get angry with me about it, then I say that they ARE useless and irresponsible, and that makes them feel even better.
Of course, any interaction between strangers and children is socially unacceptable these days, but I still don't think I could stop myself from grabbing a child if it looked as though it was going to run under a lorry. I once grabbed a full-grown man when he was about to step out behind a car which was towing a trailer that he hadn't spotted, and he gave me such a look of hatred that it was hard to believe I had saved him from spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
I was setting off a giant mortar firework in the dark at Kiel, Germany, once as part of a theatre show.
I had buried the huge tube in the grass during daylight, and cordoned-off the area for about 100 yards all around it. On the night, a half dozen local (and elderly) police were stationed all around it to stop anyone from wandering in the danger-zone.
I had lit the slow-match on the fuse, and it was only a matter of about three or four seconds before the fast-match ignited, and a six-inch ball of high explosive launched itself from the end of the it. The fall-out from these mortars is quite wide, so I ran for cover as soon as I lit it.
As I ran in one direction, I noticed someone walking in the other in the dark, and by the time I had run back to him, he was peering down the end of the tube to see what was inside it.
There was no time for an explanation in bad German, so I simply grabbed him, flung him to the ground and pinned him down. He thought he was being mugged - until the firework went off.
He peered up at me from the grass and said, "Ach so! Danke!"