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If you leave your choppers in the sink, chances are someone will take the piss

By KEITH GRAVES

Reading tales in Lord Drone’s excellent organ of the great days of yore in Fleet Street, where I was privileged to spend four years on the Express, I recalled a tale related by Walter Partington upon his return from Plymouth covering the return of Francis Chichester from his solo sail around the world. 


Accompanying Walter was Frank Goldsworthy. They were an odd pairing. Walter was renowned for his exploits in darkest Africa and was acknowledged as an expert on some of the seedier establishments across the continent. 


Frank, on the other hand, was a quiet, staid and stolid elder statesman of the Law Courts and the Bailey, more at home taking a glass of sherry with senior lawyers and judges than propping up the bar in Poppins.


But together they headed for Plymouth where, due to the influx of sightseers, they found themselves sharing a room in what was known in those days as a boarding house.


No  en suite facilities. The loos were, as Walter told it, a floor above their humble lodgings. Awaiting the yachtsman’s arrival Walter hit the town whilst Frank had an early night. Returning somewhat the worse for wear Walter groped around in the darkness, not wanting to awaken his colleague. 


Taking the easy option he relieved himself in the sink. Awakened by Frank preparing for the busy day ahead he was appalled to see Frank retrieving his false teeth from the sink and popping them into his mouth. 


Walter told the tale to a crowded bar of guffawing Express hacks, including this one, in Poppins, urging us not to repeat the story to Frank. I like to think we hacks, not noted for sitting on a good, if unprintable  tale for once kept mum … until now!


10 December 2023