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
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.