WEEKEND WEB: When things just aren’t as they seem

John Ward with his Game For A Laugh award.

Inventor JOHN WARD gives us a sideways look at the world...

Things sometimes don’t always appear to be what they seem at first sight.

Somebody I know – I don’t really know much about him or have known him all that long, although size is not an element in such matters so I can’t really include him in the friend section if you get my meaning – was telling me about his assorted talents (I use the word ‘talent’ in its loosest sense) in one particular area.

To be honest, did I really want to know that due to his, er, dedicated training, he could break a house-type brick in half with his martial arts skills he has ‘mastered’ called Acky-Ky-Dhoo or whatever it’s called but to be honest, I still prefer the old recognised method of clouting said brick with a hammer and bolster (a bolster is like a flat ended chisel but is spelt different).

However, it killed a few minutes having to hear about it and in that time possibly saved a few bricks from being turned into rubble, but after all this, one thing that did strike me – apart from any possible input from this Master of Acky-Ky-Dhoo – was just how did I know him or from where?

For those who may have thought said Acky-Ky-Dhoo was a tropical disease or similar, its not as its all about clouting bricks in half or so I am now led to believe, plus is cheaper than buying said hammer and bolster ‘nee flat chisel.

Best answer is I don’t really know him, but once again perhaps he thinks I am somebody else (I think I have mentioned the Tina Turner resemblance before, but I am shorter then her, in a previous time killer).

Had I have had more time to spare I would have bored him about my skill as a Bent Arrow Straightener and not only that the only one still practising this ancient art by the old traditional method as well – I use the left knee – but I don’t touch bows as they are supposed to be a curved shape anyway, otherwise the string won’t fit.

Now say what you will, name another newspaper where this information is given freely without having to cut out and save coupons or vouchers to get it otherwise?

One instance of similar educational value (debatable) was yonks ago when minding my own business but attempting to drown a teabag in a cup in my mum’s kitchen, she of the people for the people, as her friend Doreen had popped in to say ‘hello’ and then sat down for the now-expected cup of tea, devour half a packet of ginger nut biscuits, then a teacake, but she had only popped in for ‘five minutes’ that lasted just under two hours allowing for the half-time whistle, I was told afterwards, as I had left before supplies ran out.

I was there for the first part as you can’t just leave a decent cup of tea, but it was quite educational in that I learnt that her son Keith (not to be confused with anybody else called Keith of a similar name) with update on his (then) current employment status.

Doreen said that I, as in me, had a sort of affinity with ‘her Keith’ which I will say struck me as odd, as I was not aware of any supposed ‘affinity’ as I just had the one pet rabbit when I was at school, although at best we both went to different schools at the same time, usually for the nine o’clock start as I recall.

When we left our respective schools, he wanted to be a Lancaster bomber pilot based on seeing the ‘Dam Busters’ film a few times as he ‘liked the bit at the end’ and it came as bit of let-down to find out that there was a shortage of wars, not to mention Lancaster bombers requiring his possible skills and so the fact that he ‘liked the bit at the end’ where the German dam is breached and water floods everywhere, he turned his mind to the only alternative and that’s how he became a plumber.

Straight away, you can see the obvious connection.

Keith served his plumbing apprenticeship and to be fair to him he was not a half-bad plumber as far I was aware or from information gleaned from those who ventured to speak of his skills I should say, hence I am in a reasonable position to say he was okayish.

Meanwhile, Doreen was still munching her way through the ginger nuts showing them no mercy.

She was telling mum that after working – read as in surviving – at the firm where he served his apprenticeship, Keith had decided after 20-odd years he would set up on his own and work for himself.

So he had brought a small van that he had sign written with his name and trade on plus – surprise, surprise! – the sign writer knew somebody who specialised in printed T-shirts and other publicity- type items.

So this is how he had five dozen, minimum order, printed T-shirts with his name on, despite the minor point he was a one-man band, but sadly they were all small size – he had a 42-inch chest – but at least he was able to tell his customers he had ‘ample stock’ of them and ended up giving them away to any customers they fitted.

We won’t mention the 993 printed ballpoint pens, minimum order of a 1,000, as we all had one each to split them up in case it was unlucky to have a square 1,000.

Say what you like about that ‘British Bulldog’ spirit, it does not deter folk at worse.

The next exclusive bit of news was that ‘our Keith’ was also Kennel Club registered and mum looked slightly agog on hearing that, plus she was not alone as I nearly dropped me tea at hearing that cracker.

Mum was intrigued and asked if he worked with dogs or on their kennels a lot based on that revelation and Doreen pulled out one of Keith’s business cards from her handbag (minimum order 1,000, now down to 973) and said it was there in black and white as she handed it to mum, who studied it with a very sharp eye and then looked at Doreen, pointed out that he was not Kennel Club registered but CORGI registered, as in a legal requirement with regard to tradesmen who worked in gas fitting, etc, and nothing to do with cocker spaniels or anything else on four legs with a cold shiny nose with more than a passing interest in lampposts and trees.

It was at times like that you kind of wished there might be a war or two going on that required the likes of a trained plumber with possible potential for driving a Lancaster bomber and if trade was slack, could fit a new ball valve in your cistern or a new tap washer with no minimum order.

When the late Richard Todd starred in the famous Dam Busters film, did he consider the other side of the coin and how things have turned out?

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