Friday, January 19, 2018



   I can't remember how long it was until Xmas but I stuck to my word. On and on and on I went,
"I want a trumpet mum!"
     As it got closer to Xmas, mi mum said,
"What do you want for Xmas, Richard?"
     She  must be dafter than me, I thought.
"I want a trumpet!"
"You're not getting a bloody trumpet! Why can't you get that through your thick head?", she sez.
"Then I don't want nowt!"
     On and on the battle went. Every time she asked me what I wanted for Xmas, the answer was the same. It was now getting dangerously close to Xmas. Sheila and Sandra had put their orders in to Father Xmas and they had been accepted.
     Mi mum even tried to palm mi off with a plastic one. We saw it in a toy shop window in Rochdale. it was hanging by a piece of string.
"Let's go and look at it.", she sez.
     It had 4 valves and was made of plastic, covered in horrible gold paint and made in Hong Kong!
"No way!", I sez. "I want a real one!"
     Outside the shop, mi mum gives me the usual facial expression and sez,
"You'll get nowt for Xmas now lad!"
     Now, at long last, I could see I was gaining ground, in the long and bloodless war. The week before Xmas, mi dad came home, a bit drunk, from his local pub. He was in a right merry mood. Pre Xmas spirit, he'd been drinking. It comes in a large pint tankard with a whitish froth on top!

"Let's go to Halifax next Saturday and get him that bleedin' trumpet wench, before he drives me bloody mad!"
     Hurray! I run round the house like a mad man. Then I did a couple of laps around our field and then back inside.
"Mi dad says I can have a trumpet mum!"
    She just stood there looking at me.
"You can have a trumpet, but the first time you get sick of it, I'll wrap it around ya bloody head! Furthermore, you'll have to practice it every day and go for lessons once a week!"
     How could I refuse!
     The following Saturday we go to Halifax. All day we walked around looking for a music shop that sold trumpets. Eventually, we come across one called Flinder and Sons Music store. 'Ding-a-ling', the bell went as we walked in, mi mum, dad and me.
"I want a trumpet for this lad of mine."
"Yes Sir!", the man sez.
     He opened the glass case on the wall and proceeded to put all the trumpets on the counter top.
"Are these trumpets any good?" mi dad sez.
"They're mostly second-hand ones but they're all in good working order. We'll guarantee them against defects for 12 months. We have our own repair shop in the back."
     I picked up a couple and tried to blow them. I got a sound out of them the first go. The man behind the counter sez,
"That's very unusual. Most people take ages just to be able to get a sound out of one and not as good a sound as that!"
     By this time, I was much higher than that old kite of mine ever flew. Just then, the shopkeeper said,
"Oh, I almost forgot, I have a very good second-hand one here."
      He reached up, back into a cabinet and pulled out a gold-lacquered trumpet. It had a beautiful green star set in the gold lacquer, right on top of the bell. The shop-keeper said,
"It's called the Green Star Model, made by Rudell Carte and sons, made in America. A professional trumpeter traded it in on a new one."
     It was love at first sight. The shop-keeper handed it to me and said,
"Try this one."
     I blew the same obnoxious sound, but I could hear it was a quality, obnoxious sound. The valves sprang up and down with ease. The valve caps were fitted with mother-of-pearl tops. It had a beautiful yellowish gold finish and not one ding in it.
"Can I have this one?", I sez to mi mum.
"Don't ask me. It's your dad who's buying it for ya."
"Can I have this one dad?"
"How much is this one?", mi dad sez to the shop-keeper.
"23.19/6d! That's almost five bloody weeks wages man! Who do you think I am? Bloody Rothschild? Do you think I'm made a' money or just bloody mad?"
     The shop-keeper looked quite shocked now as mi dad was a big man and he had a very powerful voice. He'd worked with tough Irish Navies on dams most of his life. Mi dad pulls his Trilby down over his right eye a bit and sez,
"I'll give thee 20 quid for it and not a penny more!"
     The shop-keeper looked at mi dad and decided not to argue. Mi dad sez,
"Here's 5 quid and I'll pay rest off on hire-purchase at 15/- bob a week."
     Mi dad gave him his name, George Richard Henry Walter Swindells. He signed his name on a form and gave the shop-keeper a crackly blue five pound note. The shop-keeper gave mi dad a folded payment card with 5 pounds written under the paid column. He then said to the shop-keeper,
"Don't worry about ya money. I'll see tha' gets every penny of it!"

     I wasn't allowed to have the trumpet till the following morning. Xmas morning!
     I woke up about 4:30 and there it was, sitting in its case at the bottom of my bed. There were lots of other bits and pieces in mi Xmas stocking. Chocolates, sweets,  plastic toys from Hong Kong, some pens and pencils for school, water color paints and coloring books.
    I only had eyes for my trumpet. Little did I know then that the love affair with the trumpet would be one of the longest and most intense affairs of my life!
     Click, click. I popped the locks on the brown case and they sprung open. Slowly, I opened the lid and looked inside. It was still there, lying on its side on the bed of green velvet. The gold lacquer was still shining as it had been in the shop. The mother-of-pearl valve caps were facing me, just waitin g to be pushed up and down.

     My eyes went from there to the green star sitting right in the middle, on the top of the bell. I pushed the lid completely open and sat there in bed just looking at it.

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