London was seething with excitement, crowds filled pavements and open spaces , all determined to enjoy the occasion, laughing and joking with the Policemen as they waited for the big moment, and asking impossible questions in many languages, it was like being on a world tour, with Diplomatic couriers from heads of state, the Foreign Office and Government. All making sure that this great occasion would prove to be the greatest day of Pomp and Pageantry in recent times. The procession seemed to go on for ever, each passing coach greeted with a roar of welcome.
After the ceremony, the crowds started to disperse, but thousands formed a long line of people waiting patiently for hours to enter the Abbey to see this great building dressed in all her finery to suit the occasion. I was one of the hundreds of Policemen drafted in to central London to assist with crowd control. Towards evening a cut off point in the waiting long line was made the lucky ones would be allowed in the remainder please come back tomorrow. This meant that many of us could relax a little, I was posted to duty on a side entrance, just to make sure that no unauthorised person entered. All was quiet and I was enjoying a cigarette, when I noticed a vaguely familiar figure hanging about, I thought I knew him as someone from my youth but was unsure who. He approached and started a conversation, “ You must be tired Officer, been a long day, it must be beautiful inside, they say the flowers are beautiful, pity we can’t all see them, must be worth a fiver of any ones money to see them” What’s this ,is the old blighter trying a bribe? Then the penny dropped this was a local farmer from my youth, the one who had caught me looking through the fence at all the fruit trees in his orchard, wind falls littered the ground, rotting. His deep voice had scared me “ You rascal planning to steal my apples, I’ve a good mind to lay my stick across your backside , turn your pockets out lets see what you have stolen” My pockets revealed a length of string, my old blunt pocket knife, and two copper pennies , ,”Ah you have money so you were going to buy my apples then “ he picked up three apples from the ground, took my two pennies, gave me the apples , and told me to bugger off.Now this old skin flint was trying to bribe his way into the abbey,should I charge him ?,or give him a fright ?, as he had given me all those years ago, “Worth a Fiver eh, better let you in then” His greedy old eyes lit up with anticipation, knocking on the door which was opened by a colleague on the inside, “This Gentleman wishes to place a fiver in the offert0ryy box, so please allow him to do so .The wily old so and so smirked as he entered , then as he passed me I grabbed him by the collar, at the same time in a menacing voice stated, “ Mr W———-, if I ever catch you trying to bribe a Policeman again,I’ll have you locked in the Bl—— Tower for life,” He recoiled in fear “ you know me?” “Mr W—– it is my duty to know every person of doubtful character who crosses the Welsh Border” closing the door behind him, I felt satisfied, I had given him a fright, as he had given me.
Then I remembered how I had revisited the Orchard that night, and sold my ill gotten fruit for the sum of 2 shillings and 6 pence, perhaps I too, should be putting something into the Offertory box.!!!.