Wednesday, 25 June 2008

After Dinner Speaking

Settle down please everyone, settle down. Now we are all gathered here, or here gathered I suppose, being the occasion that it is, to celebrate our dear friend and may I just begin by congratulating the chef's on there marvellous food. The pork was…well…pig…like, and the pheasant…should have been grouse by all accounts but that's neither here nor there now. Now we are all gathered neither here nor there this afternoon, oop well, I suppose evening now, all gathered here this evening to celebrate our good mate who was always there for us when we…wait can you hear me? I say, can you hear me at the back there? Eh?...speak up lad speak up. I said speak up! CAN-YOU-HEAR-ME? O-K G-O-OD. Right where was I? oh yes right here nor there to celebrate our chum. [aside] pour us a drink love that's right, no right to the top don't be scared it won't bite [to all] though I might later eh lads? Alright settle down settle down.
Now we are all gathered here tonight to celebrate our mate…oh hang on a moment I had all this written down [pats pockets followed by rustle of paper] yes here we go. [reading] we are all gathered here oh I've done that [murmuring] gathered here tonight to celebrate our dear friend Alf. [normal volume] he was always there for us when we needed him, I remember that night well when my herd got out and Alf was there in the driving rain helping me fetch them back. Yes, I remember that night well, it was only a week ago, it was the pneumonia he got then that finished him off but that's neither here nor there now, what matters now is that if he hadn't of been there he would be here now, so I guess it is here and now now. Lets not get caught up in the why's and how's and lets just get down to the business of raising our glasses to Alf. To Alf!... no Nora, your glass of wine not your specs, I said YOUR GLASS OF WINE DEAR, NOT YOUR SPE…oh forget it, marge love tell her its…YES THAT'S RIGHT DEAR, YEAH CHEERS LOVE…marge take that glass off her that's the third she's had and you know what it does to her…STICK TO THE BITTER LEMON LOVE, THE BITTER LEMON!...Mark get her a bitter lemon lad quick sharpish. Right, where were we…?
Alf was a fine man, I remember growing up on the farm, waking up those summer mornings and rushing out into the yard to find him sitting on that old stump and filling his pipe. I'd run up and leap on his shoulders and jump around like a young fool. If I'd known then about his crippling sciatica I probably would've reconsidered my actions but when your young you don't know the meaning of sciatica, fact is I don't know it now but that's the man I am. If doctor hadn't told me what pneumonia was I wouldn't know that either, would of done a bloody sight bit of good if he'd told me what it meant before I sent out Alf on that stormy night but least said soonest mended as my ma was wont of saying. Course she and Alf were an item back in the day [murmurings] now, now, I know what you all know and I may know a might bit more than you I know. I heard those rumours back when I was a lad as you all did and I know many say that perhaps they were a bit closer than sharing a tea cake over a hot Bovril of an evening but I can say categorically that it was absolute lies. Alf told me himself as he lay on his deathbed, well I say deathbed I mean death-turf but that's neither here nor there.
Alf lasted a good long time, he outlived my old dad. They were always together those two, I remember the time my dad told me about the time him and Alf went up town to meet up with these two birds and these two were real stunners. Anyway, me dad and Alf went to the King's Head and met up with old Jim Rogers and he said that this bird Alf was with did something special if you pinched her bum. So they go on to the Hammer and there's Albert Fenning and he says the same thing, pinch her bum for a treat. Goes without saying, old Alf's getting pretty hot by this point, probably not for young un's marge cover his ears. Right, so he's getting pretty hot and he takes her out into the alley behind and grabs her with both hands. Course I never believed the rumours about my Mum but I know there are those that do and I say shame on them. Anyway, bygones and all that, so lets just raise our glasses to Alf. To Alf! Now then, lets see about refilling this drink…

No comments: