This letter is from Kevin Borgers to those lovely people at Calor Gas. Like his hero Ronnie Corbett,1 Kevin does ‘go round the houses’ a bit… which is exactly what Calor were doing very early one bank holiday morning.
The problem was that they were the houses right next to Kevin’s. And Kevin hadn’t had a lot of sleep:
Mr. Stephen Rennie
Calor Gas Ltd
28 March 2016
Dear Mr Rennie,
Ahhh, I can see how perceptive and switched on you are already.
You noticed the date of this letter and unusually… a time.
You also noted in a flash, that the 28th March was a Bank Holiday Monday. Yes, that’s right, Easter Monday, the end of an extended, glorious weekend of BBQ’s, weather permitting; partying, if you’ve a mind and most of all spending fun days with the family. All in all, a weekend crammed full with fun and frivolity that most certainly requires said Bank Holiday Monday for a lie-in to recuperate, completely unwind and charge up the batteries for work next day.
However, your Astuteness, I have little doubt that you’ve also remembered that the night of 27th March, right through to the early part of the 28th was a storm (Storm Katie, bless her) in many parts of this wonderful Isle of ours and in particular, this part of the Isle. So very little sleep had here until around 5:00/6:00am when exhaustion overtook all other senses.
Having finally collapsed into a stupor and then entered into a glorious slumber, the likes of which Sleeping Beauty couldn’t hold a candle to (too windy anyway), I suddenly found myself in the midst of a ravaging war. Seriously. There I was, tucked away in bed, looking forward (albeit well and truly subconsciously) to my well-deserved lie-in after driving back from Germany on Thursday, then driving again (208 miles) on Friday to attend a family BBQ, trudging around the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (they have a special Egyptian exhibition on at the moment – thoroughly recommended) with wife and problematic teenager in tow, another drive (86 miles) to spend the day at my daughter and son-in-law’s with a rather demanding, but never-the-less gorgeous granddaughter with ‘terrible two’s’ syndrome and then the air raid siren went off, followed after an eternity by heavy artillery and Tiger tanks speeding in my direction.
Then I partly awoke, donned my WWII British Army issue helmet (it was actually a chamber pot, but in my defence I was in almost complete animated suspension due to circumstance), then peeked out of the window to make sure that the might of the Wehrmacht was not trying to pound the door down, to see one of your delivery trucks, having backed down the cul-de-sac2 (which explained the air raid sirens) and unleashed his hose into a Calor gas tank next door but one, he was merrily filling away.
He then returned to his cab, drove forward a few metres and repeated the exercise next door, naturally with engine running throughout, then drove off a few minutes later. This was at 07:32, a full three minutes before I started to write this letter.
I apologise for my tardiness, but I thought to myself, ‘Hey! Make yourself a cuppa Kev, you might as well, ‘cause you’ve absolutely no sodding chance of getting back to sleep after that bloody racket’3 . And so I did, after drying myself off from the content of aforementioned chamber pot.
Anyway, to the crux of my letter as I’m aware that I digressed a little. Just a question; how would you feel to be woken in such forced circumstances at seven something on a Bank Holiday Monday?
Kevin (not a happy Easter bunny) Borgers.
Calor did reply to Kevin, albeit with very little imagination or humour. I think his letter deserved a little more effort:
For American readers: Ronnie Corbett was a diminutive British comedian who liked to tell very long stories. Put it this way, if Ronnie was going from Harlem to Brooklyn, he’d go via Los Angeles ↩
For American readers: A ‘Cul de sac‘ is a road with only one entry which you would probably refer to as a dead-end or court. Its etymology is interesting. It comes from the French of course, meaning ‘bottom of the sack’ – but in this case, not bottom as in base, but bottom as in ass (or bum for English readers). No-one knows why. ↩
Whilst on the subject of etymology, the linguistic origin of ‘Racket‘ is also interesting! We all know that a racket in this context means ‘a lot of noise’ but it also means ‘dishonest activity’ or ‘swindle’ and this is thought to be the true source. In times of old, pickpockets and their accomplices would use firecrackers or other means of making a loud noise to distract their victim from the theft. Causing a racket eventually came to be associated with the noise as much as the pickpocketing itself. So now you know. ↩