William George "George" Rebbeck 1901 - 1994
Eldest son of Sydney Francis Rebbeck and Emily Coombes Rebbeck
Recollections of Bygone Days part 5
He said "she's been asking for trouble for ages. When she's on that bike she thinks she's Boadicea".
The young copper didn't seem to know what he was to do, so as it was beginning to rain unpleasantly I suggested that we get into the shelter of the ambulance and I as chief witness would give him an eyewitness account, which I did and signed. I don't think he'd ever had a case on his own before. I suggested that he got a statement from the driver of the Rover and at least ascertained the details of the victim. In my own statement I quoted several vital distances, by my estimation. There was a sequel. Some months later I received a letter from some solicitors who were acting on behalf of the woman. Would I be so kind as to fill in the details on the enclosed form? I sent the form back unanswered and enclosed a note to say the information they required I had already given to the local police who would no doubt supply a copy for the usual fee. After the lapse of time I had no Intention of supplying information that might conflict with that previously given. That was what they were after, I don't doubt.
"Never on your life" I cried as I sprang to my feet. "That's a job for a married woman. There are four on the staff who have raised or are raising families. Surely one of them would undertake the task."
Miss 'D' sprang to her feet crying "I'll resign, I'll resign"
Rudely I replied, "I don't give a tuppenny dam' what you do. All I know is that if I wanted to know about Australia I'd ask somebody who'd been there. These girls, many of them real country gal's will say 'what does she know about it ? And if she does she shouldn't.'."
Whereupon the meeting broke up and to this day I don't know who undertook the task of enlightening a number of already well informed young country lasses.
There was a sequel or tailpiece for as we were preparing to go to bed that night, about 11.0 p.m. there was a knock on the window. It was Casie our PT man. He had been at evening classes and talking to Peter Arnold and they said that they felt that they'd both let me down at the staff meeting, they should have backed me up. I didn't feel let down at all. We didn't like the lady at all - she carried tales to the headmaster and she was unprofessionally rude to somebody who came to help out when we were short staffed. Not knowing what to expect in the morning, I compiled a list of misdemeanours, fourteen in all, ready to do battle. It was not required. All I had to do was assure him that the action was spontaneous and not prearranged and for a long time, from all quarters, Sheringham, North Walsham and Aylesham, I used to find anything synonymous with "sexy" was "going to Australia". The lady did resign, from that moment.
At once a voice said "I second that any other proposals?"
None. And of the assembled 17 headmasters or PT blokes I didn't know more than half a dozen, but I'd let myself in for something as the chairman was in everything and rarely attended away matches. As a result I had the job, the onerous one of making speeches after the matches - if our side won, as they sometimes did, it was necessary to be sympathetic and if we lost we explained that we didn't really come for the football, the tea was the thing. It was a splendid meal they had just given us and put them right at the top of the tea league, greatly appreciated by young men, whose usual fare was turnips or mangel wurzels with an occasional poached pheasant.
One outing was a noteworthy one, I don't remember who we were going to play but I believe it was Newham (East and West Ham) Whilst still In Norfolk on a modernised road with small concrete edges a small trades van was guilty of some very bad driving. He cut across in front of us overtaking an oldish Ford Prefect which swerved, hit the edging, turned over on to it's door handles and skidded to a halt. Our coach stopped at once and everybody piled out. The driver wound his windows down in the Ford and began passing out his passengers. The first one was a little boy about four years old, very near to tears. George Howard, our secretary looked round and passed him over to me saying, "here you are, Grandpa, look after this one."
I did. I don't think it took me more than two minutes to have him laughing at the silly old car that got tired and lay down to have a rest. In the meantime the driver and his wife and little girl had been helped out, leaving Gran'ma, a somewhat portly problem. Several people tried to hoist her out and then an old headmaster, whose surname I forget but whose name was "Redvers"(no doubt after Sir Redvers Butler, a well known I8th century general),said he'd try. He advanced to the car, bent over the front door and hey-presto, the lady shot out like a champagne cork. Afterwards when we asked him how he'd done it he grinned and said "a little psychology, some physiology and a wide knowledge of human nature."
She was stuck in the window of the back door so I slid my arm In the front window and nipped her bottom. It certainly worked.
A chorus of laughter but one dissident, our prim Methodist, Mrs H. she pretended to be shocked but when she claimed to be surprised at me there was a chorus of 'we're not.' She lost her husband several years ago - he ran a pork butcher's shop next to Woolworth's In Cromer and from his counter you could always get the latest risqué story. When they widened the street by Woolworth's Herbert (Mr H) moved to a side street. Lena took the bus into Cromer one day and did a bit of shopping and I picked her up after school. She went into Herbert's shop for a piece of pork and Charlie the assistant served her. As she paid for it she asked if they would keep it for her to pick up later. They asked her name and when she said "Rebbeck" Herbert said was that her husband up at the school? She said it was so he told Charlie to put the meat back, he'd find her a better pieces Mrs H was a good sort, she'd do anything for you. One day I did her a good turn or maybe Herbert. She used to put his dinner on the stove automatically set to switch an at a certain time. She was sure that she hadn't switched it on. I told her that if she'd get the head's permission I'd run her home to Overstrand. We dashed off but it was a false alarm. Everything was O.K. One day Mrs H must have felt argumentative. From out of the blue she suddenly bawled that I was a hypocrite, wasn't I?
"Quite probably" I said, "I think that there is some hypocrisy In all of us but In what way am I outstanding?"
"Well," she said, "you're an atheist yet you hold a religious service at the weekly house meeting."
In the first place I am not an atheist I told her, I am
what the pollsters call a 'don't know' There must be something but my
brain cannot fathom it. I am content to base my life and behaviour on
the "do as you would be done by" maxim.
"Of course not," she said.
"And I suppose you don't really believe in Father Christmas now you're grown up," I said. I think she saw it coming. "To think you've been mis-guiding that poor little granddaughter of yours all these years about things you yourself don't believe in. Shame. As I said, isn't there some hypocrisy In all of us? Just a little, even in a devout Primitive Methodist?"
End of argument.
He said "do you know you showed me something yesterday that I never could have expected ?"
"Did I? I asked "what was that ? "
"Rollie Bacon crying."
"Good" I said, "Apparently It went home"
I wish I'd made a copy of it. It was good - It must have been to make the school bully blub.
That wasn't the only time when I had bother with Master Bacon. On another occasion we were watching the final of the school cricket cup on the sports field. I was with Bill Askew and Allan Clowes and a few yards from us Rollie Bacon and several of his cronies. He was holding forth in an overloud voice, artificially pitched so that It could be heard and he was using bad language.
I said to Bill, the senior man present 'did you hear ? "
"What are you going to do?"
"And what are you doing, Alan?"
"Right, then I will."
I walked across to Master Bacon and told him that If he was trying to give the impression that he'd been brought up in a pig sty he was going the right way about it. Anyhow, he could cut such language in my hearing. So he goes home and tells his mother that I'd said his home was a pigsty and next morning I get a summons to the headmasters office where Mrs Bacon was alleging that I'd said her home was a pig sty. I asked her what her son had alleged. She said that I had said that his home was a pigsty.
I said "your son is a nasty little mischief-making liar. What I said was if he was trying to create the impression that he'd been raised in a pigsty he was going the right way about it. I've known Jimmy and Allan, Mary and Maureen and they've been a credit to us and a credit to you. I'm afraid your youngest son is not at all a credit to you. Good afternoon." and I left.
I've often wondered what she said to Rollie when she got home.
Page last amended January 2004