I do grieve the passing of the working men’s clubs. They were a very integral part of our society, bringing people together, places for picking up gossip and where important information was shared, they were also the kindergartens for new bands and artists. The banter was very special too. Stories were told that may have been events of the day or a special memory of an absent friend, When the clubs went so did the heart of the community.
One lad, I remember well from those days was an ex-soldier called Dave, he had a heart with a dagger driven thought it tattooed on his upper arm. Dave, you see, had been a member of an elite commando forces during the war, and the teller of the tallest tales you ever did hear.
“Well, you all know I do a bit of fishing”, he began.
“I was fishing this day in a favourite spot of mine, I shan’t tell you where that was, a good fisherman never does, when I heard this voice behind me so I turned around. There was this gentleman half running towards me. He was dressed in plus fours, tweed jacket and had a fore and aft cap on his head. He was in a right old state waving his crummockck in the air and shouting”.
“Hey, you there, I say you there” he was calling from the distance, “you can’t fish here” he told me.
“Well I put my rod down and came over to meet with him, and I told him. Me, fought in two world wars, up to my eyes in muck and bullets and you tell me, I can’t fish here?”
It was then I took out my packet of cigarettes, and as I would for anyone, I shook one from the packet and offered it up to him.
He had stopped his carry on by now and happily took the cigarette from the packet, then he asked,
“Have you always smoked Woodbine cigarettes?”
“Oh yes, a great little cigarette” I told him.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked
“No,” said I, “I don’t believe we have ever met before”
“Well let me introduce myself” and he stuck out his hand for me to take, “I’m W.D. and H.O. Wills” he said.
“And you know what he told me? I can come and fish there anytime I like”.