Hope this is not too long, thought I'd try a Auld_Sapper on duty last night. In the early part of the last centaury black gold was being mined North of Newcastle. Dozens of little pit villages had their own pithead and work was plentiful. You could get a two up two down terraced house with an outside toilet for 2 bob a week or 8 bob a month. To get it though you had to get up at 3oclock, stumble to work in the dark, only to put on your blue coveralls and head deeper into the darkness, underground, to the Face. For the next 10 hours, on you hands and knees you dug out coal with pick and shovel. For every tonne you got ½ a penny. To get your coal up to the surface, pit ponies were used. They belonged to the mine, so you had to pay ¼ of a penny for the privilege. After a months toil you came home with 10 bob. Each of these little pit villages had their own bastardised version of the Geordie language and people were born, got married and died in the same village. So if you were lucky after a lifes work you retired with a paltry pension and Pneumoconiosis or Emphysema but the good days didnt last long. In 1979 there was no work, the pits had all closed so the hero of this story decided to take the Queens shilling. DK as he was to be known was a sight to see. All 5 foot 1 1/2 inches of Geordie fighting fury. He had the body of a wizened old man even at the age of 17 and a butchers pencil had more fat on it then he, but the most shocking thing was his hair. It was not ginger, it was not orange; imagine if you can a red topped Swan Vesta match-head, projected onto a 50 foot high cinema screen and the match head has just been struck, the incandescent glow of the barely consumed compound glowing red hot. Now imagine that colour but 1000 times redder. Well that was the colour of his hair but it was not just that; each hair seemed to have a mind of its own, each individual hair hating its brother hairs, trying their damdest to escape the close proximity to the scarlet daemons growing beside it. His whole body was covered with the stuff, we adolescents had to pretend to shave our bald chins every day, the troop Cpls made us. DK however had to shave his face, the whole thing and down the front of his neck and throat, even then his 5 Oclock shadow was back by 11.30.By then he had a furry mat of wiry hair creeping over his collar and sprouting from his cheek bones. You could see the red fuzz grow by the second. Later on I figured out why he was like this. I believe a cany Geordie pit boss; back in the early part of the last century was trying to cut down on his cash flow. He wanted to pay his workers less. He thought long and hard and being well travelled, recalled many years ago; in the Far East, seeing just the thing he needed. He secretly smuggled 20 Orang-utans into Geordieland to work in his pit. The short stumpy apes were ideal miners, small enough to go down the tiniest of coal seams and with hands as big as theirs didnt need shovels, tough enough to put in 12 hours day for; well peanuts. Only thing was after the second shift a head count was taken and there were only 19. One had escaped and was never seen again in the area. The years passed and as the other great apes died so did all memory of the missing mining ape. Forgotten but not gone for a bonny Geordie lassie going home that night had met a coal-blackened miner. He could not speak in her villages dialect but in comparison to the other miners of her village he seemed like a nice gadgie, He seemed lost and taking pity on him took him into her home and in the fullness of time . The S.S.M knew he had to do something after the first pay parade. After ambling up to the O.C and throwing up his ginger forearm in nothing resembling a decent salute, DK checked his pay and gave the response aye it is aal there mate this was not as we had been briefed to say or what the S.S.M or O.C had expected. It took a long time, weeks and weeks for the Troop Sergeants and Corporals to beat the Geordie out of him and a few English words into him but they did it, finally we could understand some of the words and phrases he came out with. During this time basic training flew past and after we had all completed our passing out parade we had our first chance to go downtown, our first chance in 6 weeks. I decided to go out with DK and saw for the fist time his truly unique chat up strategy. First of all DK was not to fussy when it came to women, if they had a pulse, well that was good enough for him but he did prefer a certain type, those with, how can you say A great personality and if he could also get one with A glandular problem he was in heaven. This was due I think, in no small part to the fact he was on a scale of say; handsome is ten and ugly say zero, well DK came in at around minus 13. Saying that I truly believe he liked his lasses big and ugly and I would bet that given the chance of going out with Bo Derrick, Sam Fox or a Walrus in a skirt, DK would have ordered a fish menu to go. We made our way to town in a taxi, asking to gan te a boozah tha sells Newky broon. We arrived at a pub outside the station, and walking in his eyes lit up; there she was, all 18 stone of quivering woman flesh and in a pub with Newkey broon too. He ordered his pint, sparked up a tab and he was next to her in a nano second. The silver-tongued lothario approached his prey with the elegant opening courtship introduction of Alreet Pet, div ah knaa ya? Followed by the sweet offer of a free drink after telling her that her preferred drink was not dainty enough for a lady such as she. Divnt drink that cack ye daft bint hev a broon ale man in so doing taking away Belindas rum and black for that was the name of his target for tonight. From there his master plan to woo this fair lady took off. At first, I naively though it was the normal, pour as many drinks down her neck as it took to get her interested and than, after a chip butty get into her knickers but no, Oh no; I was with, as what he thought he was a master, DK was a strategist. He waited until after we had all had a few drinks but during the time had formulated his plan for the night. He had been observing the crowds and found exactly what he wanted. I found out later this was his normal modus operandi but that first time I had no idea what was to unfold that night. He had seen a table at which three young men had taken seats and were each drinking a pint. Three respectable looking, young men, in suits with shirts and ties on. Possibly trainee bank managers or perhaps workers in a mens department store quietly relaxing over stressful days folding jumpers. They never knew what was about to hit them. DK, by now three pints braver started eyeballing one of the men, eventually the young man, quite naturally looked back, that was what DK was waiting for. How, Ye! The first man who had looked back looked away but unfortunately a different one looked up, He had a rather prominent nose. Ay ye, ya heuk-nebbed gob, ya fancy wor lass? Give ower Aall cloot yor jawkin The man just looked away more for the fact he had no idea what the hell had been said. Too late the dice had been cast. DK was at the table like a racing whippet. His back was up and let out a stream of Geordie abuse on the group. Yous fooking southern poofs The three men as one looked at him then at each other; Who the hell was this tiny little monkey faced man shouting at them?, Why was he shouting at them ? What was going on? Aa divint scunner me, I seeen ys all hawking wor hinny Looks of puzzlement crossed their faces, as they did mine, Belindas and the rest of the pub, what the hell is going on? One of the men tried to answer back, the start of a question forming.. What do? Was all he got out before? Haad yor gobs, dee it agyen an Aall yark the lot a ya mesel DK turned around and walked back towards us, a broad smile across his hairy maw. Ahm ganna stot the fookers, hawking at Belinda After drinking up their pints the young men got up and before leaving went to relive themselves in the toilets. This as it turns out was what DK wanted. They all walked in as he ran in behind them and out of wonder I suppose I followed too. What was he planning to do? This was, as it turned out part of the master plan and his strange mentality. It turns out he always tried to start fights with two or more opponents. Why? Well as he explained after Lasses ill do owt for a bloke weescan fight loadsa blokes, an ifin I get beat weel, sheel feel sorry like, Ahs a winner ifna lose or win man Ah his master plan was - fight lots of blokes and if you win youre a hero and you lass get her knickers off. If you lose she feels sorry for you and gets her knickers off. The were however two small but very important errors in this conceptionally stunning plan. One, DKs ability to actually fight was limited to windmilling as fast as he could, his arms counter rotating as such velocity that a small vacuum was forming in the toilet and two, he was born with a glass jaw. He was jumping about, shouting at the top of his voice, lashing out in all directions but not actually hitting anybody when one of the blokes simply hit him in the face and it was all over, if you dont count the others giving him a few kicks to the ribs. He was down on the floor. I turned away and walked back out, the whole pub was silent looking at the toilet door, the three men walked out looking like stunned carp still not quite knowing what the hell had just happened, one of them rubbing his knuckles. They simply walked past Belinda and out the door, disappearing into the night. 30 seconds later DK stumbled out the toilet, blood trickling down from one side of his mouth and a tab defiantly stuck in the other. He had fallen into the pish drain while rolling on the floor and one arm of his jacket was covered in pish and bit of tobacco from the tab ends floating in the drain. Fookin poofs three onta wun, Aa had nee fookin chance And that was that, this was DKs plan and in this case it actually worked. He went back to Belindas I went back to camp. Over the next two years we went out most weekends all over Yorkshire. DK had many many fights, lost the majority of them but in so doing got his end away with a lots of very big and for some bizarre reason very happy lasses. They had met, even for one night someone they thought was their hero.