Reflections on recent events, plus the occasional fact
free rant unfiltered by rational argument.
I'm pleased to report the English eccentric is alive and well. Duck lady, a conspiracy-ladened street-poet and a polite motor-cycle pseudo-nazi affirm this. Just three of the characters I met during a sojourn in East Yorkshire. You couldn’t make this up.
My cycling took me across the width and length of God’s County as I sought to put miles on the clock. I’m beginning to suspect that I attract nutters or is it my gregarious nature that causes folks to sit and chat.
Although, the duck lady didn’t sit. Instead, she had me chasing a battered bird around Nafferton Village. The Drakes, rampant and aggressive, had cornered the unfortunate creature under a car. Her neck was bleeding from their attacks. In distress, she called out.
I’m enjoying my lunch when the duck lady arrives to demand I join in herding the poor thing into a walled corner for capture. (Can you herd ducks?) Meanwhile, the drakes are ignoring our presence. Relentless pursuit is underway, the oddest procession you’ve ever seen. A distressed duck, a host of unrestrained drakes, a hyper-ventilating middle-aged hippy and a rotund cyclist.
The captured duck is then spirited away.
“It’s only natural, leave them be you nutter” the local postman offers his unsolicited advice. I depart as the duck lady is yelling and making threatening suggestions.
Newland Avenue amounts to Hull’s only bohemian area. Running from the University through to Spring Bank, a cafe-scene and outdoor dining all lend an un-Hull feel. It's the sort of place where folks get out of the bath to take a pee.
The well-heeled of the adjacent ‘posh’ Avenues mingle with students and arty farty types. Stopping for a coffee, the resident street-poet, a dead-ringer for John Cooper-Clarke offers his take on the world. Turned out in a waist-coat, jacket and polished brogues, he’s a tatty left-over from an Edwardian play.
It seems a child sex conspiracy is underway. This involves elements of the local BBC channel, the Labour Party and the long-dead Liberal politician Cyril Smith. For his troubles in bringing this to public attention, street-poet is facing eviction. Relentless harassment by elements of the local Freemasons is making his life hell. You can’t have a decent conspiracy without citing the Freemasons.
This discourse then segues into a lecture on a Mick Ronson tribute concert. Street poet chartered several 747s to bring Japanese fans to Hull. He then decries his exclusion from the “City of Culture” as dark forces conspired. All this downloaded without a break, as he rolls a “herbal” cigarette. By now my head is spinning. Spotting my Hong Kong cycling shirt, we flip into the possibility of performing there. I’ve had enough. But I can’t leave. I must now listen to three poems. These decry the Freemasons, the police and some bloke called Peter Levy off the telly. I then make my escape.
Motor-cycle nazi man would scare the pants off you. Decked in all-black leathers, he roared up on a clunking Harley-Davison. Unshaven with plenty of Nazi badges, you’d not want your daughter bringing him home.
“May I join you?” his polite request disarms me, as he sits down on my bench over-looking the Humber Bridge “Lovely Spot. What a brilliant day”.
It’s amazing what folks will tell you if you listen. On occasions, they'll let you know what’s wrong with them and how they are seeking to address their demons.
Denis is the head of the local Harley club. That’s written on his leather jacket. He’s also concerned that the government is using plane contrails to control and poison us. He offers that up for starters. He’s done time for drug trafficking and reckons a race war is coming. He clarifies it's only the Muslims that are a problem. He’s okay with the Chinese and hard-working types.
He asserts that whole wings of the jails are under Muslim control, with staff having to negotiate access. Muslim godfathers are using rape to control their gangs, while drugs are freely available. It’s sad to say this has a ring of truth about it.
Hearing that I’m retired law enforcement he has a host of questions. “Did you need to join the Freemasons, have you encountered the Bilderberg Group, is it true there is a secret bunker system under Warwickshire?” So it unfolds. I feel like an extra in "Men in Black."
Denis is eloquent, although making links and connections that don’t hold up. Finally, he moves into self-reflection. It appears that the Muslims aren’t the problem per se. He’s read the Koran in jail. Some of it makes sense as good life-advice. What he wants is peace of mind.
“But why the Nazi badges?”
“It rattles people. I’m a big softy. It’s all image mate. In another place and time, I’d be a shaman.”
After 20 minutes, I’m on my way. His final remark cuts me. “If you’re cycling to lose weight its not working”. Setting aside his world-view, I’d quite liked him up to that point.
Walter De Havilland is one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Hong Kong Police.