You know when you board an aircraft, a big commercial jet liner, one that belongs to a national branded airline, one that you’d recognise in an instant, The Worlds Favourite Airline, that sort of thing.
And when you’re sat, or wedged, into your seat and there’s hustle and bustle all around as people sort their seats out and the flight attendants scurry back and forth trying to get you all to sit down so they can close the doors and do all of the safety stuff thats not worth the laminated card its printed on (really, when was the last time one landed on the sea then, and everyone got off ?), well, the one thing that makes everyone stop what they are doing and sit politely with hands on knees, staring at the speakers in the ceiling, is “Your Captain”.
The baritone voice, the carefully punctuated, ever so calm, educated at Oxford tone that oozes command and control, instantly instills confidence and leaves you with a warm, “everything will be alright” feeling, and when he says “sit back and relax…” then you sink another inch lower into your seat and think that yes, I will have that gin & tonic from the trolley now…
“Well good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Captain Everso Calm and myself and First Officer LaidBack Voice will be flying you to your destination tonight, in a few minutes we’ll be starting the engines…”
…and you don’t hear the rest for already you are assured, you don’t need to hear any more for this sounds like a man who knows what he is doing, he’s been flying since Wilbur Wright wor nobbut a lad, if you need a pilot in a crisis then this is the pilot you’d want, you have now placed your life in his hands and you just know its not going to end in a fiery, screaming death fall, not tonight anyway, not with Captain Everso Calm at the wheel, or stick, or whatever it is they steer with these days (was there ever a wheel, there should be a wheel, a big one like a pirate galleon wheel).
Well, I have some news to impart.
You see in recent weeks we, that is Patrick and Tim, or Neddy and Knobby as they were known, have taken it upon themselves to use various social networking sites to trace the surviving members of Class 1S, Leeds Modern School, autumn of 68 alumni, and with some success I may add.
So far they’ve found several, like about seven, thats several, from the 30 hand picked highly privileged scholars who started their grammar school years on that fateful day in September 68, and so far we think we’ve only pissed off one of them so thats good going, so far.
But through all of the tracing and typing in of names into search engines, trawling of contact databases and trying of Facebook again and again just in case it forgot to mention someone, just in case they’ve just joined last night, there was one person who we all wanted to trace, one of our compatriots who we were all desperate to find, just to see what the hell he had made of his life … Buckley.
Just say the name to yourself, Buckley, say it with a Yorkshire accent, like one of the Tetley Tea Folk, Buckley, Bukk-leh, there, thats Buckley, a boy who came from south of these parts, who’s accent belonged more to Barnsley than Leeds, a lad who’s hands seemed to big, feet were too big, it was like different parts of Buckley had grown at different times, he seemed a bit clumsy, the sort of lad who, if he walked into a china shop you’d get really good odds that he wouldn’t break something before he walked out.
Buckley left us after two years, left for pastures new, his dads work took him away from us and with him went our free screwballs every lunchtime for at a time where my bus fare was threepence each way and I’d often walk home to save at least one of those threepenny bits, Buckley brought a whole pound note to school, every day, in short Buckley was loaded.
And we took advantage, oh lord did we take advantage, for every school lunchtime we’d troop out of the dining hall and down the school field to the ice cream van which parked at a fortuitous hole in the fence, fortuitous enough that we could just reach through the hole to purchase our ice creams, and when Buckley marched down the school field a gaggle of boys followed pied piper-like, teachers followed sometimes too, for when Buckley marched down the school filed clutching his one pound per day pocket money you just knew that free screwballs were the order of the day, no wonder the ice cream men fought with each other to park at the gap in the fence.
No, not a whiskey and orange over ice, a screwball was a plastic cone with a marble sized bubble gum in the bottom and filled with ice cream, “Aye up ice cream man, forty seven screwballs tha knos” Buckley would command and wave his one pound pocket money and the ice cream man would wipe a little spittle of slaver from the corner of his mouth, touch his forelock and bow slightly to Buckley, the boy who always seemed to have too much money and not enough common sense.
No wonder we loved Buckley, big daft lad of 1S.
Well, Patrick thinks he’s found him.
Sit down while I tell you this, for it took me aback when I found out.
It appears to be the one and the same Buckley, the years attending Leeds Modern are correct, the name is correct, but surely not…
… a pilot for British Airways ?
“Nah then Ladies an Gents, mah name is Buckley an ah’m t’pilot the neet tha knows, sit thi’sin darn an let me fly this bugger for a bit an then ah’ll buy thee all a screwball, tha’s a reet good neet…”
Buckley, get in touch lad, there’s a pint at The Junction waiting for you…