Seligor's Castle, fun for all the children of the world.
Mon, 15 Feb 2010
A Curious Incident involving a paddle steamer, a policeman, and Aliens. xxx|
|SELIGOR SAYS THIS ONE HAS
A paddle steamer drifted down from the sky, full of
revellers and merry-makers dressed in the bright
costumes of days gone by: gentlemen in
stove-pipe hats and ladies in bright crinolines,
twirling parasols in the early afternoon sunlight:
yellow, lavender, pink and jade green.
the unlikely vessel came to a gentle rest beside
the abandoned and desolate factories along the old
canal tow-path, bemused children and office workers
on the way back to work after late dinner breaks
flocked to gawp at the strange sight, calling
down in wonder from the City's old stone bridge and
even traffic came to a standstill as trucks, buses
and taxis stopped, passengers and drivers
disembarking to view this unparalleled thing.
"Are they filming a new series of Dr Who?"
asked an old lady peering this way and that but
there wasn't a TARDIS in sight. But soon a
police-man did arrive, a puzzled frown upon his
told nothing about this," he muttered underneath
his breath as he radioed back to HQ for backup.
"They must be breaking any number of city
by-laws and regulations. And ere, I'm blowed if it
ain't a gambling ship
license too, most likely!"
Making his way down the refuse choked old steps
towards the filthy canal, kicking with disgust at
old cans and junkie's discarded needles, the police
constable was more than astonished to find the
paddle-steamer's broad gangway lowered to receive
him, a couple of strong-armed sailors in striped
pullovers and blue-peaked caps grinning at him
broadly and inviting him on board.
smartly dressed toffs smiled pleasantly, bending to
whisper quietly into the ears of beautiful women in
low-cut dresses, their faces half-hidden
behind fluttering fans.
aboard, PC Cooper-Smith!" A neatly uniformed and
bearded man came forward to greet him. From the
elegent beading on his cap and jacket and the
piping down his trousers, PC Cooper-Smith
imagined he must be the Captain of this
said the Captain again and taking the Police
Constable's hand in his he pumped it warmly.
"Welcome aboard and Happy Birthday!"
The paddle-steamers great round wheels
began to start turning again, a whistle blew
sharply three times and amidst shouts of
what-ho! from the distinguished gentlemen and
shouts of hurrah! from their lovely companions, the
paddle-steamer lifted into the sky again, drifting
lazily and leisurely over the grimey streets of
London and the bemused crowds beneath it, never to
be seen again.
* * *
The papers refused to print the story, not wishing
to look foolish and the Home Office insisted that
no such incident ever took place.
But I was one of the children that witnessed that
strange event thirty-five years ago and I still
recall it clearly and vividly. Ten years ago I even
tried to conduct my own private investigation into
the affair, going as far as locating, after an
extensive search, the then young police constable's
"Yer what?" she belched through
heavily painted and drink-loosened lips, her breath
reeking of gin. "I ain't seen'im now for twenty
bleedin' years. What do you want comin' round
here dredging up old stories? Pox off!"
police were equally unforthcoming.
sorry Sir," the stony-faced Desk-Sergeant
explained, "but we have no record of any such
incident. And even if we did I'm not sure
we'd want to discuss it with the public. You
haven't been drinking have you, Sir?"
But I had
now upon the parapet of the old stone bridge in one
of the less salubrious parts of Hackney I can't
imagine how a full-sized Yankee
paddle-steamer could have possibly fitted in the
narrow waters of the sad and neglected canal
But it did!
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