Due to the Coronavirus (covid 19) pandemic, we are ceasing publication of Champion Newspaper titles for the time being. We shall continue to have an important presence online both on our website at champnews.com and on the Champion Newspapers Facebook page, where you can find all your local news and more. Stay Safe!
Talking about anything to do with 'The Virus' is a rather dangerous thing to do, according to One Man and His Dog's Jim Sharpe!

Talking about anything to do with 'The Virus' is a rather dangerous thing to do, according to One Man and His Dog's Jim Sharpe!

by Danielle Thompson (April 2020)

SITUATIONS change so quickly at the moment that talking about anything to do with 'The Virus' is a rather dangerous thing to do.

And obviously I do not know how the Prime Minister will be by the time you get to read this. All I can say is that I wish Boris well. As well, of course, the Leaders of the Labour party, the Lib Dems, the Welsh and Northern Irish parties.

Just one question. What is the First Minister of Scotland up to? I never liked this bombastic woman - and I'm pretty certain now that I never will.

So, I reckon for the rest of this column I'll revert to my more normal nonsense - though oddly the first stems from my self-imposed isolation (and by the way if Radio 5 Live come up with yet another batch of weedy folk who appear quite incapable of spending a week or two strictly on their own, I could well leave my set strictly on Classic FM despite their infuriating adverts).

Anyway, during my isolation I have got through several books - two of them are what I classify as ‘large tomes.’

So I have read The Lord of the Rings, all three parts in one go, and a history of the relationship between Churchill and De Gaulle, which proved not only informative but perhaps surprisingly readable as well, along with several novels. I have also dug out my fairly large collection of books about ships, trains - and yes, of course, buses too. And in one of those about the late, mighty Ribble Motor Services.

In one of those I came across a story which made me laugh - and I hope may make you laugh too, even in these dark days.

In the 1920s to mid-1940s, Ribble's chief engineer was one Captain Betteridge - brilliant at his job bur something of a martinet so far as the workforce was concerned!

One morning, while he was walking through the main repair shop at Frenchwood Avenue in Preston, a mechanic said: “Good morning, Mr Betteridge.”

The great man told him that in the future he would want to to addressed by his 'proper' title of 'Captain'.

To which the mechanic replied: “Yes, Captain, and perhaps you would call me by my 'proper' title of 'Major.'”

I'd love to have seen the look on Captain Betteridge's face!

Another book which gave me great pleasure to re-read is entitled 'The Boy John Letters' - a collection of letters written to the Eastern Daily Press newspaper in Norfolk mainly during the 1950s by a fascinating fellow named Sidney Grapes who was always known, I know not why, as the Boy John.

He lived all his life in the village of Potter Heigham, coincidentally where my wooden cruiser 'Manxman' was built. His letters are all written in the Norfolk dialect (before it was corrupted).

Each a short story in itself, and virtually all ended with a PS from Aunt Agatha which had relevance to the main letter itself.

Converted into standard English, I'll reproduce a couple of them to show Aunt Agatha's perspicacity.

PS Aunt Agatha she say: "It isn't what you look at, it's what you see when you do look."

Or, PS Aunt Agatha she say: "You don't help people if you do for them what they should be doing for themselves."

Or finally, for now at least. PS Aunt Agatha she say: "Pay as you go is a good motto, and if you can't pay, don't go."

I hope you enjoyed Aunt Agatha's homespun wisdom - if this 'lockdown' lasts as long as I fear it will, I could well return to her in future editions.

Search for news

Latest News