"Obituary"

No one informed the Yorkshire Post

of the death of

a certain bourgeois gentilhomme

Major Neville Peterson

 

The name never caught on

He was Major when he married Mrs Peterson,

Agnes to her friend

Neville called her ‘Mother'

and Mother called him, "Major".

 

Mother waltzed off with the Major's brother, Arden,

Who called her Chucklebottom

and squeezed her bum

raising more than a dirty giggle,

"Ooh, Arden. You are a caution!"

Bum squeezing?

Dirty laughing? In company?

Antics the Major could never condone,

 

He knew more Bradshaw by heart than any reasonable man should.

An O-O gauge lay out of the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith

Covered attic floors via a tunnel the Major dug through the wall.

Until at Uncle's behest Arden jr trashed it

Calling it "a pile of crap”.

 

Fastidious to excess perhaps

the Major ground fresh mustard daily

from seed in a pestle and mortar.

 

Each morning before nine

he read his fresh pressed breakfast “Telegraph”

and into his second lapsang suchong

indulged himself dunking a madelaine.

 

Slender, the Major, with a hint of a limp

From shrapnel taken at Onjŏng-Unsan,

(he had a 'good Korea')

and a discreet cough from a terminal lung

he bore with dignity and fortitude.

 

In his deerstalker,

White rose buttonholed Donegal Tweeds.

From Austin Reed's catalogue

Brown brogues, Argyle socks,

lambskin gloves and bog oak stick

he cut a fine dash, rambling bridleways,

daily constitutionals,

to spite declining health

 

Wednesday afternoon, in Leeds

pressing against the commuter crush,

the flood of those whom death had undone

his button hole rose dead headed.

An elephant weariness settled on him

like snowfall blizzarding farmhouse slates.

He craved the solace of wilderness

the release of sleep.

 

His vintage Boy Scout knapsack

held a flask of gunpowder green tea

cheese and cress sandwiches,

(grease proof paper wrapped)

and a slab of Kendal Mint cake

in a secret pocket with

a sixty sixer pickled conker

Swiss Army knife

a quarter pound of barley sugars

an emergency length of string

and half a crown.

 

At 19:25 p.m. on the dot

The Carlisle train got to Ribblehead.

At 19:37 p.m. precisely

Major Neville Peterson

late of Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshires,

the Green Howards

laid his knapsack on the viaduct rail

and his head upon the canvas bag

past comrades smiled from overhead clouds

as he noted with quiet satisfaction,

“Dead on time,”

the rattling rail announcing

the Fellsman heading to Leeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

◄ "Apitate Ring"

"Mally" ►

Comments

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raypool

Wed 7th Sep 2016 20:29

I enjoyed this so much Rick as with all your stuff. It epitomises the north perfectly and the wryness and dryness. So many great lines and some details recall Alan Bennett. Such a good character study and almost Ripping Yarns material.

Could go on and on.....

Ray

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