Rossendale Free Press
A man on a mission to answer the call of nature
FOR many years, regular readers have always enjoyed the many Oaf stories, or ‘Oafisms’, that I have recounted in this column.
However, for the start of a hopefully new year, here’s a few tales aired for the first time.
You see, Oaf was always the main man for a good toilet and wherever in Europe we travelled, rather like a badger, he had a nose for the best latrines.
On some occasions his search for the Holy Grail of bogs cost us dear, like the time in Monte Catini Therme, Tuscany, when Oaf had taken the keys for our people carrier to spend a Euro, but as we rushed from the Trattoria to catch the sunset across the Florentine Hills from Monte Catini Alto - up the hill - Oaf was nowhere to be seen and the vehicle was locked.
‘Where’s Oaf?’ came the cry.
Ten minutes later, with not a care in the world and a beaming grin on his face, the man appeared from the marble entrance of the poshest hotel in the Spa town.
‘Wow’, he enthused, ‘They were the smartest toilets I’ve ever been in and there were two attendants who followed you everywhere!’
‘Hopefully not quite everywhere?’ I ventured.
Of course by now the sunset was long gone.
You will be pleased to know, we managed to catch the sunset the next day.
On this same trip, Oaf struck again when I had stopped the vehicle to photograph hoopoes and woodpeckers by the side of the road as they scuttered to and fro in a mini forest of cork trees.
The rest of the crew, the other seven, were happy to wait as I eulogised over these avian delights.
Peter ‘Oaf’ Bromhall had other ideas and, unknown to me, had made off to the cover of trees to relieve himself.
Seconds later as I panned around attempting to catch a gorgeous pink and black hoopoe in flight, I was stopped, mid-pan, at the sight of Oaf from behind as his kaki shorts slowly fell to the ground and him mid-flow.
The lad had made the mistake of undoing his belt.
There is at least one photograph of this incident and probably film as several cars drove past the apparition with cameras trained on Oaf.
I will preserve his modesty and instead share the picture of Oaf heading for a restroom in the stunning walled City of Lucca.
Moz, Oaf’s partner called this photograph, ‘man on a mission’.
One time in the beautiful Polish town of Poznan, Oaf was almost arrested while on one such a mission.
We had dined like kings on caviar, pike and perch, with a main course of wild boar and a different home-made vodka with each item, however I fear it was the duck blood soup which had upset Oaf’s tummy.
After we had paid and walked out into the Square things became a little more urgent for my pal as we searched for a public amenity.
After five minutes and no luck.
Oaf spotted an alleyway and an ancient door.
As he tried the door, a back entrance to the remarkable Catholic Church which had been spared the Nazi bombs, two Policemen intervened and once again the church was spared the unwanted attentions of another tourist.
Fortunately I was able to deescalate the situation and Oaf avoided both handcuffs and a night in the cells.
An hour later and back in the serenity of our forest hotel I googled the church ... The Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Mary Magdalene and St Stanislaus, to be precise.
Next morning we set off on the trial of wild boar and happened upon a thirty foot blackthorn tree in full bloom with the attendant swarm of thousands of bees.
I saw and heard the beauty of nature, Oaf saw, well, a handy outside loo for a call of nature.
As he emerged from behind the tree, he asked in his immortal
tone, ‘Hey Woody, what’s all that humming?’
‘Really?’ I asked.
As Frank Carson said, and there’s more, but I’ll save the others for the bar!