A ridiculous dispute over Alex Riley not sweeping up some flame tree leaves off the pavement outside the Old Government Printing Office in King William Road some 54 years ago has been finally settled.
On the one hand we had a snotty nosed apprentice Alex (the Toff) claiming that Brian (Grubby) Hartshorne (Senior Apprentice) had set him up by scattering flame tree leaves on the pavement after Alex had supposedly cleaned them up.
Alex got into trouble with the Government Printer, Les (The Bull) Hawes who had screamed at Alex and accused him of being an incompetent lazy idiot and what’s more a Liar.
All which was true, of course
Grubby Hartshorne denied any involvement in the flame tree incident and continued to do so for the next 54 years.
This incident has given Alex thousands of sleepless nights whilst Grubby has gone on blissfully unaware of the pain he may or may not have inflicted on the now 70+ year old Toff.
And then after over 54 years of cowardly silence and inaction Alex finally fronted Brian at an Old Guv Legends Luncheon.
Brian being the happy go lucky bloke that he is finally owned up about his guilt, by saying. YES, I DID IT!
So the two aging men finally shook hands.
Oh, What a Lovely Little Boring Story about a bruised Toff’s Ego.
When I first spotted this guy strutting through the Comp room my immediate impression was that this guy must be high up alongside the Government Printer. On asking the senior apprentice Brian Hartshorne I was told that he was the Government Storekeeper in charge of all stores.
Wow, I thought, he must be one of the top men here. What a job – in charge of all government stores. Little did I know that he was just a stores clerk.
Years later, I purchased a block of land at Highbury and thought about placing a printed sign on the block. I needed a sheet of about 4-ply board. So off I go to the store and stupid me approached Peter Shepherd and asked for one sheet. He replied “Sure where’s your ‘chit’?”
Sadly, I did not have a chit and with that he gave me a dressing down and told me to never ever again ask him for anything without a chit.
I left devastated and bewildered and thought what an arsehole that man is. Later that day I sneaked back to the store and took what I required.
Around five years later Fred Hardwicke approached me and asked if I would typeset Peter Shepherd’s daughter’s wedding invitation, it had Nobby’s approval. I replied ‘Where’s his chit, Fred’? I then said to Fred that I wouldn’t set the invitation and told him of my episode with Peter Shepherd regarding one sheet of board.
Fred went red and said ‘I’ve always hated that man. He took off his apron, grabbed the copy and stormed off to shirt front Peter Shepherd.
On his return he was more red faced and said ‘I fixed up that bastard’ and went straight to Nobby and said ‘No one on my staff will set anything for that man’.
Later that day Ray Stagg, the disshand came up to me and said, ‘Thanks Riley. Now I have been told to set this up, Thanks a lot you Cruel Bastard’!