Late 1960s ! The Beatles, Carnaby Street and Ralph about to destroy London ! It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
Thanks Debby for reminding me. Hah !
I joined the Royal Corps of Signals when I was 17 1/2.
A few weeks of basic training where I learned to polish boots …..
……… blanco and polish brass on belts ……
….. march with pride …..
…… get muddy and polish boots again and again and again.
I passed out. Marching with dignity !
I immediately entered my Trade Training Course in electronics where I learned to polish my boots ….
….. and how to hold a soldering iron by the handle and not the hot end.
A year later some bright spark thought I was good enough to repair specialist radios……
….. and posted me to Aden. Active service ! Guns ! Fighting ! Thanks ! Not !
I was allowed out on my own ! I was leaving this …….
Ooops ! It’s the 1960s. I mean for this ……
…….as I had 2 weeks leave before departing for Aden.
A train to London. Cross London by the Underground…….
…… then a train to Portsmouth Harbour…….
….. followed by a ferry to the Isle of Wight.
No problem ! Hah ! I got more goosebumps thinking about it !
And so my story begins !
Late at night ! My train to London and crossing London from Kings Cross to Waterloo by the Underground was a piece of cake.
Weighed down by my Army suitcase ……
…… and kitbag …..
…….I was the last passenger from my tube train…….
…… to ascend the escalator up to the mainline station of Waterloo.
This is where I met my Waterloo !
Thankfully I placed the heavy suitcase to the side of me with the heavy kitbag on top. Up the escalator I went looking at the wall posters of scantily dressed women (Well I was 19 years old. No difference then !).
Nearing the top I picked up the kitbag, reached for the suitcase handle and the suitcase had
Play this Dam Buster theme so as to enhance your reading experience
My suitcase had gone ! I swung round to look down the escalator and almost fell …..
…… as I saw my suitcase tumbling over and over ……..
…. down the escalator !
Time stood still as I watched in horror, my suitcase becoming a Suitcase of Mass Destruction. A bouncing bomb !
Thank God nobody was on the escalator !!
My suitcase tumbled faster, higher and higher !
It could wipe out the whole of London’s Father Christmas-es !
I was dreading the repercussions
I could end up picking up raven’s poo with a teaspoon in the Tower of London for the rest of my Army career if it hit someone !
What can I do ?
Jump over on to the down escalator ……
….. or maybe slide down between escalators ……
….. Nope !
With a massive THUD my suitcase hit the far wall at the bottom.
Any harder the wall would have split open pouring water from the River Thames into London’s Underground system.
I managed to retrieve my suitcase without falling over in my haste to get to it …..
…… and reascended the Escalator Of Doom ! Half way up, the escalator stopped and I heard metal gates at the top being pulled closed. I shouted
Struggling up the last 50 steps, suitcase (looking good) and kitbag in hand, a face peered over the top looking down at me.
Hurry up son. I’m closing up ! Where are you going ?
I told him.
Waterloo was closing down for the night, but Blakey, a kind soul, looked at my military ID and ticket, opened the gate to Platform 9 3/4 where my train stood and let me board 6 hours before it left for the South Coast of England.
I lay out on a long empty seat and slept.
A sudden JOLT woke me up 6 hours later. The train was moving and I couldn’t see !
4 commuting passengers were sitting on the edge of my seat with me jammed longways behind them.
Eventually I arrived home on the Isle of Wight. There were no girls on the beach …..
…… just snow ! The same as the place I left.
I did manage to get to Aden for a year and I didn’t get killed.
Ralph xox ❤
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