JD’s Comedy ‘Call Outs’!

JD Morgan’s Comedy ‘Call Outs’! – A ‘Shout’ is an Emergency ‘Call Out’ in the UK.

CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR!

For most of us, the Festive Season is a time when we are able to kick back a little, rest, rejuvenate and relax into enjoying some highly-deserved time off from the rigours of long and arduous hours spent in gainful employment and, of course, then relish the company of close family members, relatives and old friends. 

Although not busy every year, there have been many occasions when we’ve been called out on ‘shouts’ during the ‘holiday season’ and, as such, the one incident that still sticks in my mind is the time we were sent to an alarm sounding in a large, regal looking Edwardian façade that, in its day, would have been highly sought after. At the time we were called, however, it had been converted into a number of flats and rented out by landlords who, quite frankly, did not appear to have the best interests of their tenants at heart. As a result, we’d been there a few times in recent years and, because of this, on that particular Boxing Day, we were expecting to turn up to something like a faulty alarm system, rather than anything more sinister.

So, when I jumped off the ‘pump’ with the Officer In Charge (OIC), we had a good idea where we were going as we opened the communal front door and started climbing the stairs towards the top floor. I remember it being quite a steep climb, and, as such, I began looking down at each stair as I climbed it because my boots felt as though they were getting heavier. And, in doing so, I noticed some vegetables on the stair carpet – first, a few peas, then some carrots, then a browned parsnip or two and then, incredibly, at least half a dozen roast potatoes!

At first, I stopped to take a closer look, but, as the OIC hadn’t even broken his stride, I continued to carry on behind him, muttering to myself that this was ‘really odd!’, as I did so.

Then, even the OIC stopped when we turned the corner to the next set of stairs and found an uneaten Turkey leg covered in thick gravy nestled neatly between a couple of Brussel sprouts on the next stair up from the bottom!

The OIC looked at me with an air of puzzlement on his face which probably matched the one that was on mine! ‘What the hell is going on?’, he asked, as we then found some more Turkey breast and a couple of unpulled crackers on the floor, alongside a red table napkin, a knife, a fork and a large dessert spoon – and all this still on the staircase and along the hallway!

Finally, we reached the top floor and came across an open front door with a trail of gravy leading into its kitchen. I followed it to find the heat source which, it appeared, had set off the smoke detector on that level. In fact, it turned out to be an over-heated oven, with its door wide open and a Pyrex dish inside it, still sizzling away with the remnants of what-was-once a roast turkey, by-now dry gravy and a hard lump of stuffing – all well-and-truly stuck to its base.

The OIC hadn’t followed me into the kitchen, however, as he’d heard a lady weeping in another room and had followed that sound until he found her crumpled up on the sofa, sobbing uncontrollably, with an empty bottle of red wine by her side and another from which she was drinking straight from the bottle!

By this time, I had entered her lounge as well, to find her still in tears, as she blurted out between whimpers, ‘The bastard! I came all the way from fucking Australia to see him and he fucks off out with his mates on Christmas Eve and then turns up drunk two days’ later!’ When the OIC asked her where he was now, she replied, “Fuck knows! He came in and I started chucking his Christmas Dinner at him, so he’s fucking-well gone off out again and I’m going back with Qantas on the first fucking flight I can book!”

At that, we asked if she had been harmed and, when she said she hadn’t but just wanted to be left alone, there was very little left for us to do, except wish her a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and, of course, a safe journey back to ‘Oz’!

I never did find out if that lady carried out her threat to jump back on the next plane to ‘Down Under’, but I do know that, when I returned home that evening, my sad-and-lonely-bastard-meal-for-one tasted so much nicer than usual (!) and was eaten in the peace and tranquillity of a silent evening as I thanked my lucky stars that it wasn’t me beating a hasty retreat as I was being bombarded with peas, carrots, Brussel sprouts, parsnips, roast potatoes and large chunks of gravy-stained Turkey!

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For similar accounts from JD Morgan’s true-life experiences as a community firefighter, please go to Firefighting Stories or return to JD’s Home Page. Left-click on any title for a free introduction – many more stories about a whole range of topics are available in ‘SHOP’

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THE BEST ‘SHOUT’ EVER!

I have never been any type of connoisseur when it comes to haut cuisine as, built as I am like a stocky, Welsh miner ‘back in the day’ or, indeed, a Roman foot soldier guarding Hadrian’s Wall, I have always had to monitor my food intake and keep it under close wraps in order to prevent ‘ballooning up’, if-and-when being overly indulgent. In contradiction to this. However, it is fair to say I have spent many an unproductive hour or two, standing outside of The Savoy or Simpson’s on The Strand, musing tantalisingly over their tempting menus!

So, when a ‘shout’ came across stating, ‘Small fire spreading in restaurant!’, needless to say, we feared the worse!

On the way there, one of the lads recognised its whereabouts as being a famous eatery, just outside our ‘patch’, and directly opposite a world famous five-star hotel. Given the information coming across on the radio, we were all fairly sure that it would be a kitchen fire and, possibly, one that, if not tackled, could spread quickly.

The roads were quiet on that summer’s evening and we arrived in no time, with blue lights flashing and sirens blaring. Upon arrival, we found the staff standing outside the premises, as the manager proceeded to direct us inside and towards the seat of the fire. In truth, there wasn’t a great deal of smoke issuing and it was clear to us that it was only a small electrical fire and far less dangerous than initially imagined. Therefore, it was simply a matter of making use of our powder extinguisher, albeit liberally, which we duly did and, predictably, the Officer In Charge (OIC) had everything under control in a matter of minutes.

What was clear though – as pointed out by our resident ‘DIY-by-day-job’ firefighter on the ‘pump’ – was a fault in the cable wiring and, therefore, a ‘sparky’ would be required before any electricity could be turned back on again. There was, however, one slight problem: it was a Bank Holiday in England and getting any tradesperson to respond with immediate effect was going to be incredibly difficult for the restaurant’s manager!

So, when we informed him of his predicament – no electricity until a qualified electrician had checked all circuits – there followed a long pause, as he mulled over his dilemma: he’d had every table booked and forty plus customers arriving that evening whom, of course, he now had to contact to cancel.

Around thirty seconds later, I heard him instructing his good lady wife to begin phoning round, as he mused over what on earth he was going to do with all the meals that his chef had prepared for that evening’s ‘soiree’.

Instantly, our OIC piped up with a ready-made solution: his two ‘pump’ crew of beefy, butch, burly firemen, whom he said were, in fact, obliged to remain at the restaurant until the electrician arrived – in the interests of Health & Safety – would all be happy to chip in and enjoy an early supper!  

Of course, the manager listened sympathetically and, after a very brief silence, agreed and – to our delight – invited us all to sit down on makeshift tables, under swiftly raised parasols, so that we could all ‘relax dress’, devour a meal and indulge ourselves in what was left of the late Bank Holiday sunshine!

As a result, we were waited on hand and foot by his obliging staff and I can openly testify to enjoying a truly delicious meal, overlooking one of the most idyllic vistas in Great Britain!

In fact, I sat with an ‘old hand’, who, coincidentally, was on the verge of retiring and we were both treated to a tender lamb dish in a red wine sauce, alongside a selection of seasonal vegetables and a huge portion of mustard mash! It had all been cooked and prepared by the cordon bleu chef who informed us he was, in fact, ‘simply delighted’ that his ‘fine dining’ hadn’t gone to waste!

Looking back, we relished the stunning vista, great company, double-time, the sun beating down on our faces and the general public being complimentary and extremely grateful for our efforts to keep their community safe. Of course, there was also some thoroughly decent ‘tucker’ to get stuck into, to boot, and, therefore, that particular ‘call out’ definitely goes down in my book as the “Best ‘Shout’ Ever”!

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For similar accounts from JD Morgan’s true-life experiences as a community firefighter, please go to Firefighting Stories or return to JD’s Home Page. Left-click on any title for a free introduction – many more stories about a whole range of topics are available in ‘SHOP’

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