I hope Patrick Stewart still reads this, I hope he’s still on the planet to read this, its been a few years Patrick, send me an email because I don’t know what your address is, what with you changing it so often to keep the rozzers on their toes.
Patrick Stewart was a friend of mine Leeds Modern Grammar School, blazers and ties, masters not teachers, silence and stand to attention when they walk in the room – all that sort of good stuff, just like Tom Browns Schooldays – in fact we went to the same school as Alan Bennett although alas not at the same time and we can’t even claim to have had the same English masters as they were all replaced en bloc the year before we started – I often wonder what had happened to the old set of English masters, a scandal or a tragic accident involving a tall bookcase top heavily over-stacked with old encyclopedias ?
So we are all sat in class one day waiting for the Maths master to turn up and after ten minutes its obvious that he’s not coming when suddenly a woman master, complete with masters gown wafts into the room and places her briefcase gently on the masters desk.
We stood in silence and stared for we had not seen a woman master before, we didn’t have woman masters at Leeds Modern, not a single one, this was a first.
Within 30 seconds she had been sussed out by the class, she was weak, with a weak voice, she was completely unable to control the class and had as much chance of teaching us maths as I had at ever passing my maths O level, in short she was way, way out of her depth.
Because the noise level in the class was rising to a crescendo, a crime punishable by a period of detention not longer than the rest of your school career, she asked nicely if someone could close the high level windows that lined the corridor side of the classroom, and Patrick Stewart volunteered.
Standing on a desk to achieve this brought a protest from the weak woman to desist but he didn’t hear her, or rather ignored her, and set about banging one of the window frames with his fist as it had stuck – he missed with one thump and cracked his elbow off the open frame causing a funny bone injury, that well known “it hurts like hell but I’m laughing” injury.
For anyone else it would have been a quick swear, a rub and then sit down, but for Patrick this was an opportunity to seize upon.
He sat down clutching his elbow, groaning in pain, groaning for five minutes until the weak woman came across to look, she tried to look but he wouldn’t let her, insisting that he’d broken his elbow.
She didn’t believe him, she grabbed his arm and he screamed out in agony, he was good, he was very good, I’d have believed him if he hadn’t accidentally let out a laugh at the end of the scream but the weak woman missed that bit.
Fearing that news of her complete lack of control would reach the head anytime soon she agreed to let him go and see “Nurse”, an old biddy who sat in a cupboard all day long dispensing tampons and long homely talks to the girls from the girls side of the school (we were never to mix), Patrick insisted that he felt faint and asked if someone could go with him, me for instance, he actually pointed at me with his broken elbow arm and then remembered and quickly grabbed at it again, screaming a bit more.
She let us both go, as soon as we were out in the corridor he shook his broken elbow and told me that it had “hurt like buggery” for a bit but was alright now
“So what are we going to do now then” I asked.
“I’m off home” he replied
“She’ll check with Nurse” I reminded him
Patrick thought for a bit, “We’ll go see Nurse then” was his answer.
So we did, and he put on such a good display in Nurses cupboard that she panicked after offering us both a tampon each and told him to get himself down to the General Infirmary for an x-ray, she even gave us some petty cash to pay for the bus fare.
When we were safely outside of school Patrick repeated the fact that he was off home now.
“She’ll check with the Infirmary” I warned him
“Bugger, she will as well” he agreed, so we went into Leeds and found our way to the A&E department at the Leeds General Infirmary.
The doctors there were also taken in by his acting ability as was everyone else sat out in the waiting area with me as we listened to his screams of fake agony.
He exited the examination room with the wrong arm clad in a sling, he explained that he’d switched arms because he was getting tired of holding his right arm and if they were going to put it in plaster then he’d rather they do his left arm, its very useful when you can pick and chose which arm you’ve broken.
X-rays were next and as we sat outside the x-ray room I whispered to him that this was the end of the road, there was no way that he could blag the x-ray to show a broken elbow, he was confident that he could though.
He didn’t of course, the x-ray showed no damage whatsoever so we didn’t bother going back to the examination room as instructed, we just ran out of the hospital with their sling and spent the rest of Nurse’s petty cash on a couple of under-age pints of lager at the Tam’o Shanter.
He wore the sling for three weeks and the weak maths master was most apologetic every time she saw him, even though he often swapped arms in the sling while talking to her.
Now thats what I call a master blagger.