Monday, 13 June 2016

When Gwen lost her knickers and other silly tales

I was reminded yesterday of the time when my boss, Gwen, lost her knickers.

This would have been in 1965 or 1966 when I worked as a Civil Servant in the U.K Ministry of Defence "Inspectorate of Armaments" in an office on Woodland Rd, Clifton, Bristol.  We were housed in one of those marvelous old Victorian Houses.

I was a "Clerical Assistant", (office dogsbody) - the lowest rung on the Civil Service hierarchy ladder -  a ladder which I did not plan to climb.

My boss Gwen was a cheerful and kind woman who took the country  'bus into Bristol from her home in the country village of Bitton.

I too took a city 'bus.  Gwen and I would then face a short walk up a fairly steep hill (Elton Rd) to get to the office.   As  fitted my station I had to be the first to arrive.

One morning Gwen arrived, already chuckling. She said "Michael, I am an old lady and you are a young man so I shouldn't tell you this.  But I lost my knickers when I was walking on Elton Rd".

She related that the waist band elastic had given way and that she had to muster as much dignity as she could as she stepped out of one knicker leg and then the other.

What amused her greatly is that her noble performance had been watched by a young school boy from the nearby Bristol Grammar School.  She recalled that she saw him "wide eyed with wonder and bemusement".

Old fashioned knickers  (or bloomers).

I vested in a hurry yesterday morning  ( a practice I deplore in others!) just before the 9:30 Eucharist at St. Margaret of Scotland Episcopal Church in SRQ 

I was in a hurry because I had been lolly-gagging in the parking lot - chatting with a charming late 70's/early 80's woman who was "vaping" before the service began.

As she puffed away she could't wait to tell  me that the flavour of the vaping liquid she prefers is called "Sex on the Beach".

She delights in telling young male shop clerks/assistants that she wants sex on the beach.

In my hurry I tied my cincture incorrectly, I knew it, but didn't take the time to adjust it.

Cincture, the rope which lay and ordained ministers use as a belt around their albs

I didn't tie it correctly, so as I ministered Communion it slithered down to the ground, just like Gwen's knickers.  

Laking her aplomb I somehow managed it to get tangled up around both angles.  A lay eucharistic minister came to my aid, and untangled and removed it.

There was no school-boy to witness my indignity,  Instead there were 80+ worshipers who were captivated to the point of laughter at my performance and rescue.

Later I said to the congregation  "now of course you will forget my very fine sermon, but you will always remember the day when the preacher got his knickers (cincture) in a twist".


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