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The Bandsman, salmon and the bogus bobby

The Bandsman, salmon and the bogus bobby

Big John who was clearly a bit of a character, looms large in these stories. Like many of his generation of potters, he was also a keen bandsman.

One Christmas he was returning home - complete with tuba - from a concert at Ridley Hall. As he crossed the bridge over the local burn his attention was drawn to a commotion in the water. Looking closer he discovered the salmon spawning.

Never one to pass up an opportunity for the one for the pot, Big John reached out and pulled out the larger fish by the tail. Being a practical man he quickly realised that the easiest way to carry his trophy was to carry it in the bell of his tuba.

That done, he set off in good spirits to join his fellow bandsmen in the Fox and Hound Inn. There he met an elderly relative, Frederick Saint, coincidentally also a tuba player. For Big John the temptation was to great. He sneakily swapped his tuba - with its hidden salmon for Frederick's.

He then hurried down to the railway station and persuaded the station master to join the caper by pretending to be a policeman. A willing accomplice in Big Johns fun and games, the Station Master concealed himself by the roadside waiting for the bandsmen to pass on their way to the station.

As Frederick and his colleagues drew level, the Station Master leapt from cover, confronted Frederick and challenged him to reveal the contents of his tuba.It was as black as a lurn hat and in the dark the Station Master's cap and uniform looked exactly like a bobby's.

Frederick, more surprised than anyone to find the fish, became confused and flustered. It all ended happily of course, with Frederick much relieved. We can only assume that it was Big John's very bulk that saved him from retribution for his practical jokes on friends and family.