Sunday, 3 April 2011

Journey Through The Netherlands: 9. Mr Tommy Cooper Junior Goes To Zwolle

"Good morning Mr Tommy Cooper Junior," said the policeman. "Yes, yes, you are quite like him actually." I didn't tell him that it was closer to the truth than he realised as I have a fez in a drawer at home and in my childhood I used to be a regular visitor to a joke shop in Slough owned by Tommy Cooper's brother.

Today was the big day. A concert in the Zwolle Basilica, alongside the Police choir. The Zwolle Police were looking after our choir for the day, commencing with a tour of the Police station followed by lunch.

And boy, what an amazing Police station. What an amazing lunch. The building looked more like a city stockbrokers office. There was a large atrium, skywalks disappearing in all directions and plenty of greenery and water features. There is a cafe on the ground floor, open most mornings, where the public are asked to come in, have a cup of coffee, read the newspapers or discuss a problem if necessary. Talk about community policing. Would it work in England? I'm not so sure. Attitudes are so different.

Lunch after the Chief of Police had personally visited the choir and given a speech, was superb. Indonesian meatballs, Dutch erte soup (split pea) and every kind of meat, bread and cheese under the sun. The policemen we met exuded health. If you were a criminal, you maybe would think twice as they were stocky and strong.

"I'm worried there will be a problem with the parking," I said to one officer.

"Problem? What problem?" he replied.

the bus could only drop off the choir at a point nearest the Basilica. I then had to drive round the canal to another parking place. There was a traffic jam making life slow.

"Don't worry," said the officer. "I'll get out and move them." He did.

Walking from the parking place to the basilica, there was an angry looking tatooed man walking two pitbull terriers on leads. Another even more aggressive looking man came round the corner and started shouting, abusive sounding words at him.

"Muffcase. Muffcase. Muffcase," was his parting shot at which the tatood man snarled and his dogs barked.

I turned to the member of the choir I was walking with and asked: "Muffcase? what does this muffcase mean?? At which the lady walking in front snapped her head back to expose her look of utter shock and horror. But it wasn't that bad - we later found out Muffcase or Mafkees just means weirdo or idiot.

The concert was a great success. The best attended. The most cds sold. The longest standing ovation. The Basilica's famous tower is known as the Pepperbus or Pepper pot, due to its shape.

On return to Hardenberg our hosts treated us to one final discussion about the depressed rooster. "We don't want to kill him ourselves, even if he is useless. That would be pointless."

They weren't enamoured with a possible solution of pouring food in a trail onto the road, then someone else would do the deed by running him over. Alternatively the door to the hut could be left open and Mr Fox could have a healthy breakfast.

But no. He could be the first immortal rooster. Disconsolate, but immortal. What an awful thought.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back.
    I've been looking forward to reading of your exploits in the Netherlands.