Written by Erskin Quint
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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

image for Thought For The Day With Larry Grayson 'I often think about Nelson's navy when I'm lying in my hammock'

Hello everybody. D'you know, I was lying in my hammock this morning. (I sleep in a hammock you know. I always wanted to be a sailor. The closest I got to being at sea was when I was in a revue called "Jolly Jack Tars Ahoy!" at Weston-Super-Mare. It was mostly a male cast. There was only one woman, playing Betty, the Stoker, and I had my doubts about her. Yes, the cast was mostly male. We did have one totally male member, but he didn't last long, poor thing.)

Anyway, there I was, in my hammock, and I thought to myself 'Larry, you'd better bestir yourself. Lying here won't make Dolly her ninepence.' But it took me quite a while to summon up the courage to get up, you know. They're the devil to get out of, hammocks. The other day I tried to get up too quickly and executed an involuntary paratrooper's roll. I finished up all askew on the bedroom floor. Askance I was. I was as limp as a rag. I was glad there was nobody there to witness my predicament. So this morning, I thought, 'I wonder how they managed in Nelson's navy?' I mean, they'd have to be able to jump in and out of their hammocks at a moment's notice, for emergencies, if they were having an impromptu hand of pontoon or something. There'd be lots of hours to while away at sea. Longeurs. They would get weary.

I often think about Nelson's navy when I'm lying in my hammock. This morning was no exception. I didn't fancy getting up after that. And so I reached for my fiddle. I've taken it up, you know. It's a jolly thing. Well, there I was, playing my fiddle. 'You can't beat a good fiddle with yourself in your hammock of a morning', I thought. It's so true. I often play with myself in the hammock. I swear by it. And then I got up, and slipped into the new kimono Everard brought me back from his trip abroad. Oh yes, he's quite the globe-trotter. He says it's an authentic kimono, all the way from the Isle of Man. He always goes to the Isle of Man. Personally, I prefer the Calf of Man, but we're all of us different. I certainly am.

Anyway, then I was on my feet. Fully erect. I went downstairs, and I had a glass of Wincarnis and a Bath Oliver. I was so refreshed after that. I was cock-a-hoop. Full of the joys of Spring I was. 'What a gay day!' I said to myself. Well, I was so bouncy I put on my mauve cravat and tortoiseshell pince-nez. I felt quite the man about town. 'If only I had a malacca cane', I thought. 'I'd cut such a dash. I'd be like a Parisian dandy.' But I had to make do with the shepherd's crook my friend Jestyn gave me for my birthday. I stayed with him on his farm in Wales. Jestyn showed me his new stallion. He's quite a stud. The horse is a good breeder as well.

I met Jestyn at a rather exclusive auction. I was thinking of bidding for a rather delicate mahogany what-not, when I spotted him. I was really looking for a tallboy, or something with Queen Anne legs and claw feet. Jestyn was the answer to all my prayers. I thought all my birthdays had come at once. I thought my Fairy Godmother had waved her wand and sprinkled me with fairy dust.

Slack Alice is suspicious of him, because he's got a pronounced widow's peak. She also says he rolls his Rs. Rolls his what? I said. You heard, she said. She doesn't like antique dealers, since that man from Oswaldtwistle turned up his nose at her Victorian Muff. She's been quite caustic. 'If you're going to be untoward, you can kiss my astrakhan coat', I said to her, running my fingers over her wainscot, 'and just look at the muck in here. Haven't you got a feather duster?' I couldn't help noticing that her balustrades were no better than they ought to be, either.

Where was I? Ah yes, I took up my shepherd's crook, and went out for a saunter. It was lovely and sunny, but what a wind! It was bitter out, I can tell you. There was that nice young policeman. I admired his helmet, and I thought 'I wonder how they managed in Nelson's navy? It must have been dangerous, trying to get in and out of a hammock in the dark.' And then I thought of Everard. He told me he was off on a seafaring voyage with his new friend, Gilbert. Turns out they're doing the Norfolk Broads. Hah! If I know Everard and Gilbert, they'll be holed up at the Mariner's Rest, playing shove ha'penny and drinking egg-flip. I doubt if they'll be anywhere near any Broads, those two!

Anyway, I strolled down the High Street, and had a prowl round the market. I managed to get my hands on a lovely cucumber, and a slightly damaged straw boater. I popped into the Blue Nun for a port and lemon and a savoury snack. There was a new young barman. He was covered from head to foot in tattoos. 'I wonder how they managed in Nelson's navy?' I thought, nibbling my chipolata.

On the way home I felt inspired. I stopped off and bought some chocolate soldiers. Heigh Ho!

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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