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I Was an RSM in the Scottish Blagoons

May 22, 2007

On a train from Liverpool to London and a short while after leaving Lime Street we pull into a suburban station. Into the carriage climbed a wild eyed man in his late forties, mop of hair coiffed back onto his collar, rings in his ears, spare tire around his waist and shirt hanging out. Stumbling as if the train was in motion. With his missus. Looking for a seat. Which he never took but on which he propped his case. She took a seat and roused at the lively “Billy” who proceed to swear his way up and down the carriage as he made conversation. Nothing violent at all – more in the vein o f another Scottish comedian called Billy. They fuelled themselves up with more vodka and proceeded to keep us entertained for a large portion of the trip. When they discovered they had missed their stop they simply laughed.

In fact the couple were a perpetual laugh machine. He had the dry wit of a Glaswegian and the swearing to match. Not in an offensive way (most of the time) but she was alternating between scolding him for swearing and bursting into giggles. Which only encouraged him some more. He refused to sit down and paraded up and down the aisle provoking and prodding with his wit to get responses from us. Her giggles only fuelled him on. Both of these folk were in their late forties but were giving the inner child free rein. Despite this she was concerned at one point that they might get kicked off ‘again”. It tempered his madness very little. Turns out he was a truck driver who drove all over Europe but had lost his license due to drink driving. Was a little over three weeks from having it reinstated. He was going to have to work very hard to be sober in time to pick it up.

There are numerous highlights from that trip which are almost impossible to translate onto the page. One gem went thus: in a moment of complete seriousness he informed us he was a former Regimental Sergeant Major of the Scottish Blagoons. Hissed out three or four times as he very earnestly strained to get his drunken tongue around the words. But the “you had to be there moment” was the moment Billy’s heart stopped when one of the women sitting opposite us informed him she was a vicar. The tone of the trip changed, the swearing vanished (though it was still noisy) and Billy set about convincing her he was not a bad person. Somehow atoning for all the madness that had gone on before – especially given he had just been telling her he could bring any woman to the best orgasm she ever had (in the background his missus was decrying his claims, amidst much giggling). Later, as we disembarked we complimented the vicar on how well she handled Billy. She fessed up to being a prison chaplain, so Billy was no challenge at all.

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