Once upon a time, lived a very, very old man called Eric, who had lived a most adventurous lifetime. Indeed, his very birth into the world had been one of extraordinary circumstance and it was very near-miraculous that he existed at all. His father was wounded, in a most horrendous accident, involving a German bayonet, during WW1. Coincidentally, at precisely the same ...[text shortened]... unch money or I'll make you eat this", holding out what looked to Eric like dog poo, in a paper bag.
Once upon a time, lived a very, very old man called Eric, who had lived a most adventurous lifetime. Indeed, his very birth into the world had been one of extraordinary circumstance and it was very near-miraculous that he existed at all. His father was wounded, in a most horrendous accident, involving a German bayonet, during WW1. Coincidentally, at precisely the same time, his mother was also seriously injured in a house fire, barely escaping with her life. They met at a rehabilitation hospital in England where, as luck would have it, their physiotherapist, was a mutual friend of both.
"Fate seems to have wanted you to meet," he had told them, "I wonder to what end?"
In his, now, squeaky voice, Berty said, " Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get".
As it transpired, fate had decided to give them a son, born into the world at a plump 13 pounds and 3 ounces. - Which was a record weight for the hospital and they, Berty and Gert, decided to call him Harold (who would eventually become Prime Minister of Britain). Of course, young Harold had grown up hating his name and had insisted on being referred to by his middle name, Eric.
Eric’s adventures began almost immediately when, at just 18 months of age Gert sat him on the kitchen draining board whilst she did the ironing. His inquisitive nature led to his attempting to climb down the drain, his podgy fingers getting firmly trapped in the process. (It took 3 firemen and a tub of vaseline to free the young chap). This incident was never quite forgotten, simply because it would soon be followed by similar happenings. In fact, only 6 short months passed before our mischievous adventurer was spotted by terrified onlookers, dangling from a 5th-floor balcony. Losing his grip he started plummeting to a certain death when out of panic he started flapping his arms and low and behold he managed to alight softly to the amazement of the heretofore terrified throng. The fortunate tyke having caught the elastic on his underpants on a washing line near the ground floor flats, slow his descent as he gently touched the floor. Fate it seemed had bigger plans for Eric, plans that really showed their hand on his 6th birthday.
It started like any other day - well, not quite as it was his birthday, but it could have been any other birthday, at least that was what his family planned for. Why Berty decided to buy Eric his first pair of roller skates remains a mystery given that their house was situated at the top of “Hill Street” which had a 1:3 incline, or more important from Eric’s point of view a 1:3 decline. He skated in his back yard, along with his birthday guests, but one by one they left, and while his parents tidied up he left through the side gate. Unlike any 6 year old who had ever existed in the annals of history, Eric was absolutely fearless. He eyed up the slope on the road, remembering it was time of very few automobiles, and, setting his sight on the pond at the very bottom of his hill, he pushed off. Too late he remembered Berty telling him to never go swimming in that same pond because it was purported to be the residence of a 14 foot crocodile and as he had little practice stopping he had to think of a way to do so and very quickly as the pond was fast approaching and a set of eyes was protruding at the water's edge. Fortunately for Eric, the crocodile was the product of a fatherly exaggeration, the eyes belonging to a large warty toad visibly discombobulated by his speedy approach. So discombobulated in fact that the toad was almost transfixed, he just had time to turn around before Eric arrived at the waters edge where the toads slimy back acted as a ramp sending him shooting across and over the pond like an Olympic ski jumper.
Young Eric now viewed himself immortal, a self-belief of invincibility that would serve him well, aged nine, when set upon by the school bully. Gordon, the bully, was unaware of Eric's "powers" and said to him, "Gimme your lunch money or I'll make you eat this", holding out what looked to Eric like dog poo, in a paper bag.
"I'll give you one opportunity to walk away," replied Eric, cooler than a cucumber.