Thursday, 28 October 2010

My Grandfather - A Tale of Bravery and Valour

A long, long time ago, my grandfather was in university, taking a history degree.

Now, universities in those days weren't like they are now. For one thing, you could go to one without selling someone elses' organs on the black market (and welcome to my first topical political humour since the election!). Also, they seemed to conform much more the stereotype of hallowed halls of academia, where only the brightest and best went, and the lecturers could be... somewhat eccentric.

One of my Grandfather's history lecturers was the very epitome of a mad academic. It was the early fifties, and so although this man has not been described to me, I am perfectly justified in imagining he wore a tweed suit, bad glasses, and probably an eccentric haircut. The man in question was a particular expert in Tudor history, especially regarding Queen Elizabeth the First. He was also, or so my grandfather informs me, a bastard. Possibly this perception is skewed, as the enduring memory of him my grandfather has is of humiliation at his hands when late for a lecture. (Because of the slightly rambling old person style of story telling that was employed, I lose track of what exactly happened. It definitely involved a chair, and possibly a bucket full of eels, although the last part may have been a fabrication.)

So to my Grandfather there was only one possible course of action.

A prank. It would be done well, and it would be done soon...

Well, fairly soon. Once he'd finished his degree, and so couldn't get in trouble for it.

Now, when I said earlier that this lecturer was fond of Elizabeth the First, I wasn't kidding. In fact, it would probably be fair to say he had a tiiiiny bit of a historical crush on The Virgin Queen, from her royal toes to her flame-coloured hair, from her queenly liver to her heart and stomach of a king. So much so, in fact, that in lectures he had picked up the habit of referring to her as "my dear queen" or "my elizabeth" in lectures.

I've got no evidence that he had a suit made out of her skin, but it's kind of tempting to think so.

So, having assessed the man's weakspots like the ninja I suspect my grandfather of being, my grandfather waited for the best of times.

Which is Valentines day, obviously. He then got his sister, a truly magnificent artist, to draw a huge picture of The Good Queen Bess, and signed it in immaculate writing as being from "Your Elizabeth". Now, his brother in law, the husband of the artist, then went to this university, even though my grandfather had graduated. So, this man, my Great Uncle Stan, made arrangements for the picture to be delivered to the lecture theatre mid lecture.

I don't know how he did it. I think he had some contacts, from his street days.

Or he just, you know, walked into the lecture room, but I prefer the former.

The reaction my grandfather expected was one of truly epic proportions. He expected a reaction to rival Vesuvius, with screaming, anger, explosions, and possibly rivers of blood. In actuality, the lecturer was amused and quite thankful for the present, although my grandfather never saw him again and thus never owned up to it.

And the moral of the story? Well, firstly that no matter how much of an inhuman monster you've painted your fellow man to be, at the end of the day, they're a human just like you, who enjoys a joke as much as anyone else.

And secondly?

My Grandfather is awesome.

No comments:

Post a Comment