A time for celebration

TownCrier
I glanced at the letters lying on my doormat. I hadn’t had so many in quite a while. Picking them up I put them on the table to read whilst drinking my morning tea. Just looking at the envelopes told me they were not from friends or relations.

The only way to find out, naturally, was to open them, which I did. All without exception were bills that were overdue – gas, electric, water, phone, council tax, rent – and would you believe, one from the Burial Society asking for my monthly payment, ensuring a decent burial when I die.

I looked into my tea, which by now was stone cold. What a start to the day. There was no way I could meet all these demands. I stared at the kitchen wall (which reminded me of a silly joke – “why do you keep staring at the kitchen wall? are you in love with it?” “Of course not, I just admire and respect it”). Well I did tell you it was silly.

They do say when one thinks of suicide the mind does go haywire, with reason flying out the window. I walked across the room, opened the window and gazed down to the street five floors below. It looked so easy, it would all be over in seconds. I put one foot on the ledge; suddenly I was distracted by someone dressed in the attire of a Town Crier (see photo) ringing a bell and shouting something I couldn’t quite catch. As he got nearer, it became loud and clear “Oyez, oyez, oyez, it is time for celebration. Let it be known on this day a future King of England has been born. God bless the Royal Family”.

Well, well, I said to myself, there’s me being negative about life and this wonderful event happens. It’ll certainly cheer up those facing cuts in housing benefits, people standing in line at food banks, and the thousands losing their jobs as a result of the recession.

Then it hit me…..the last time a Town Crier wandered the streets he was shouting “Oyez, oyez, oyez, Sweeney Todd the barber has been knicked for selling human meat pies”.

The grey sausage roll

GreyCapsIts obviously a joke, advertising a film, probably. And yet I was intrigued. I turned the radio on and tuned into Radio 4; but no, it wasn’t a joke. A future king had been born. The announcer was saying “people of England, go out into the streets, link hands with strangers, swear your allegiance to this seat of majesty, this sceptered isle. Home owners, say good morning to your next door neighbour, for the first time since living there for the past 30 years. Dancing round maypoles (see picture) should add to the general frivolity”.

Despite being a dyed-in-the-wool Republican I got caught up in the excitement and decided to join the crowds in the Mall, waiting to catch a glimpse of the Royal Family on the balcony of the Palace.

Before going I rummaged through a bottom drawer for an old flat cap, the ideal headwear to doff in the presence of Royalty (see photo).

I had read that the Queen was holding a banquet that very evening for the great and the good. My socialist instincts told me the list would not include nurses, firemen, grave diggers, care-workers, dustmen, midwives et al.

Mingling with the crowds outside the Palace gates, I observed a young woman eating a grey looking sausage roll, bought from an unshaven trolley vendor with black fingernails, and two-inch ash on a cigarette hanging from his lips. “Excuse me”, I said to her, “are you not concerned you may get food poisoning from what you’re eating?”. She replied “if I get it after seeing the Royal family on the balcony, then I don’t mind too much”. I said to myself how admirable the stoical outlook of the English; it’s people like this that should be around that banqueting table tonight. My thoughts were interrupted by a blast of music from an assembled brass band behind the Palace gates, the doors of the balcony swung open, and out stepped the Royal family.

The baby is on the table

MaypoleThe roar of the crowd ensured it would be a long time before this sceptered isle becoming a Republic. I was about to scoff my cap when I noticed many other flat caps being thrown in the air. I followed suit, but it fell and landed I know not where. Someone nearby started to sing “for he’s a jolly good fellow” with more voices joining in, followed by “roll out the barrel” and “There’ll always be an England”. A voice called out “where’s the future king?” another replied “he’s probably crawling along the banquet table tasting a prawn cocktail”. Laughter all round. After another blast of music, the Royals disappeared behind the balcony doors, no doubt to enter the banqueting hall to find prawn cocktails scattered all over a Louis XIV embroidered carpet. What a naughty baby the future king is, already behaving like his uncle, Prince Harry.

The show being over, people began drifting away down the Mall. I picked up some of the flat caps strewn around, tried them on, till one fitted me. Entering Buckingham Palace Road, I spotted the unshaven, black fingernails, cigarette ash spotted apron of the grey sausage vendor. Feeling a bit peckish, and throwing caution to the wind, I bought two. One to munch there and then, the other to put in my oven for a late night snack.

Arriving home the first thing I noticed were the unpaid bills, which I promptly tore into tiny pieces, I knew what I had to do the following morning, only a miracle will stop me. Dismissing it from my mind, I reheated the sausage roll, settled in my easy chair and promptly fell asleep, leaving an uneaten grey sausage languishing on a plate

In the money

Awaking the following morning, I decided not to waste any more time; went to the window, opened it, put one foot on the ledge, gazed around the room, to say goodbye, when unbelievingly I heard the voice of the Town Crier again. I looked down, and sure enough there he was, ringing his bell and bellowing something I couldn’t catch. For a moment I thought he mentioned my name. It can’t be, but yes it was, LOUD and clear ““Oyez, oyez, oyez, this is a message for Mike Myers. You have won the Euro Millions lottery. The jackpot is 500 Million Euros”. I shut my eyes tight, then opened them, looking down, the Town Crier had gone.

I decided now was not a good time for jumping out of windows, it was also a good time for believing in miracles. So there is a god, after all. How can I repay him for this luck bestowed upon me? I got down on my knees, clasped my hands together, looked up, and said “dear God, wherever you are, I now see the error of my Republican beliefs, which I hereby renounce as of this moment. To show my sincerity, I’m prepared to go into seclusion atop a mountain in the Himalayas, with just a bible for company, but if I did that, lots of greedy people will steal all the lovely lolly I’ve won and live the life of Riley. I’m sure you agree with me that we can’t allow this to happen, so maybe my trip to the Himalayas be postponed till such time when the money runs out”.

Well that’s all I have to say at present, but I’ll get back to you quite soon, if not from my miserable flat, then probably from a chateau in Switzerland or a castle in sunny Spain. I shall go out shortly to visiting a few places of worship, to put a few coins in their collection boxes, just to show my heart’s in the right place. I rose from the floor to go out and do my good deed, when it hit me – HOW DID THE TOWN CRIER KNOW I HAD THE WINNING TICKET? I never buy tickets for that lottery. On that puzzling question, I woke up in bed in a cold sweat. IT WAS ALL A DREAM. I know that for a fact as there was no trace of an uneaten grey sausage anywhere in sight.

Long live the Republic.

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