An excerpt from my book, Love, Lies and Laughter
From the story, Leonard (Lenny) Baxley Haskell and his time at the Crickleburn School
Mondays and Fridays, those were the usual days for morning talks, particularly for those kids in year five and six. I suppose it was a sort of a carry over from when they were in the Infant class. In their morning talk they could speak about anything they liked, and as Crickleburn was in the midst of a farming community, and most kids were off farms, it was normally about things to do with Mum or Dad, or perhaps the animals on the farm.
The older kids could join in, if the teacher was good-natured. In this particular case, it was Miss Winter, and she had a real sense of humour, although a bit squeamish, at the same time.
Well now, little Nicola Wentworth, in year five, she’d just moved with the family into a place on Baxter Road, she had only started at Crickleburn a few weeks before, and this was her first morning talk. She told the class that one of her father’s sheep dogs had worms, and her father took it to the vet, and the vet gave it some medicine. Then she went on with great excitement, to tell the class that the dog passed a worm so big. Indicating the size of the worm, by holding her thumb and forefinger, about and inch apart. Miss Winter, she screwed up her face in horror.
“Thank you Nicola,” she said, holding her hand over her mouth, and sort of gulping, as if she was going to throw up.
“That was very interesting. You may sit down now, Nicola. Anyone else?”
Tony Farthing, in year six shoved his hand up.
“Please Miss, my father took old Jess, she’s a bitch, to the vet, and the vet he gave her some medicine, and she passed a worm this long.” Holding his hands about six inches apart, indicating the size of the worm. Miss Winter, a girl from the big city, was still coming to grips with these farming terms. We could see she wasn’t very sure about Jess, or why she was called a bitch. She was also seemed a bit suspicious about the size of the worm. However, she just smiled, like she’d bitten into a sour lemon.
Just as she was about to tell Tony not to use that sort of language in class, Lenny Haskell stuck his hand up?
Lenny, in year nine, was a real hard case, always in trouble; even if it wasn’t his fault, the teacher seemed to pick on him for no reason. Of course there were some things that Lenny did that were a bit dubious from time to time. Like the time he had an argument with one of the other kids, so he plastered a bit of clear glue on the kids seat. Ripped the arse clean out of the kid’s trousers it did. Yeah, we all thought that was fun, until old mother Breen came to the school and gave the teacher a right old bollocking, because of the incident. Teacher never did get to the bottom of that. (No pun intended)
Anyway, from the back of the classroom, Lenny was waving his arm around, like a flag in the Easter Parade.
“Yes Lenny,” Miss Winter sighed. “What have you got?”
“Oh Miss, my uncle’s old dog had worms, but he didn’t take it to the vet.”
He paused, with just the hint of a smile on his face. Miss Winter fell for it; hook line and sinker. She let the silence linger on for a bit, till she couldn’t stand the suspense any longer.
“Well Lenny, get on with it. What did your uncle do for the dog?”
“Aw, Miss, he just wiped some turps on the old dogs bottom, Miss, and the dog passed a Ford Ceria, two BMW’s and a joker on a racehorse.”
Us older fella’s in the room, we hid our faces behind our hands and had a bit of a giggle.
“Oh, Lenny,” said Miss Winter. “How could you? That’s not true; you just made that up, didn’t you?”
“True dinkum, Miss,” he said, with a face as straight as a four by two.
Flustered, Miss Winter turned away, putting her hands to her face, us older fella’s could see she was smiling at Lenny’s story. “Please sit down Lenny, thank you.”
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