“What the Brazillians…?”
Ok, quick apology in first, this isn’t completely an RAF story, but it is one of my favourite stories, and it’s my blog so I decide what goes in it anyway…
I was once seeing a girl who lived just outside London, and indeed, some of her family still lived in the city – proper Eastenders – Bow to be exact.
It was good, because she was nice (but not nice enough to be a permanent “thing”), and had helped me out of the pit that was the divorce I was going through – mostly by making sure I got to go out in London a lot.
And she put up with my “history-geekness” as I called it – she coped with me dragging her around the Imperial War Museum and St Clement Danes and so forth. She was into art and so in return she dragged me around the galleries. Pretty fair to be honest.
But back to her East End family. Her gran was celebrating her 90th Birthday. She’d lived in Bow all her life, and was a regular at a particular pub (The Lord Morpeth for those who may know – or care), indeed we often found out on a Saturday or Sunday morning, that she got home much later than WE did after a night out in the City.
So we get invited along to “The Morpeth” for her 90th Party, and I get the full hit of a proper East End pub party, with dancing and singing; they even brought out the local delicacies – Jellied Eels. (By the way – these are NASTY!)
I got talking to an old fella in the pub that night, he was in his 70’s and could remember being evacuated out of the East End at the start of the war – only to return in the summer of 1940 just before the Blitz of the Battle of Britain. His conversation was fantastic and his stories of watching London burn in the fire-storms of the Blitz was amazing. He did tell me that the time he was evacuated was the only time he’d spent more than 2 weeks outside of the East End and that he’d hated living in the country, gad to return when his mother asked for him back.
Anyway – and here’s the point of my post today…It got late and the doors were locked and we were stuck inside – as it was now a “private party” – cough, cough. I needed a wee, so I walked around to the Gents and stood – as men do. The door to the toilet wash suddenly flung aside as, what can only be described as a “geezer” walked into the toilet, rolling his shoulders as he walked. He had a phone to his ear and was snapping a conversation into it. “Yep,” he’d say or add an “uh-huh”, with a fantastic cockney accent – the sort us “northerners” only ever really think exists on films like “Snatch” or “Lock, Stock”. I though it was fantastic local “colour” and giggled inside to myself.
“Yeah,” he said “I’m daaanrn in ver Morperth.”
He was obviously a bit dodgy, and was arranging something – goodness knows and I know I didn’t and still don’t want to know what!
I was now washing my hands…and in the mirror I could see a look of confusion on his face as on the other end of the phone the other person gave him some news.
“Vhere are you den? Who’s der? I can be dher in ‘arf ‘n ‘our.”
More inaudible conversation and then the confusion turned to anger.
“Wot? Who’s dher? Wot de Brazillians? I’ll be dher in 10.”
And with that he was out of there…leaving me to stare blankly at the space where he’d been, slowly drying my hands.