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Pear Tree Escapade

Boys will be boys.


In the garden of a house in Rotten Row just a few yards from the house where Jimmy Wilson our Bobby lived grew a pear tree.  Jems my partner in crime and I had marked it for a raid when the pears ripened and our moment of opportunity presented itself. This tree was a late ripening variety so the hours of daylight were short and it got dark about five o'clock when the day of our moment arrived.


Our plan was that my brother Noel, being three years younger than me, would be our lookout.  We would station him at the corner of the bend in Rotten Row so he could see and warn us if anyone approached our clandestine operation.  The garden of our target had a wall all around it with a garden gate that was always kept locked.  Alongside of the tree was a heavy cast iron clothes pole that Jems would climb up on and stand on and I would climb to the top of the tree where the ripest pears would be and hand them down to Jems. Finally our moment arrived. At about seven o'clock in the evening Jems, Noel and I were a mile away at the Elie end of the village.  There was Wilson patrolling his beat.  Right . . . let's go.  The three of us high-tailed it to the Ferry and put our plan into action.  Noel in position, Jems and I climbed over the wall and up the tree I went. With Wilson safely a mile away there was no need to rush. For a few minutes all went well. I handed the biggest pears to Jems who loaded up his pockets. Suddenly from right below us a blinding flashlight shone right up in our faces.  "All right you pair, you just get the hell down out of this tree." Holy smoke and jumpin Jehosephat!  Wilson was right below us.  Caught in the act. Red handed.  How in no time and without him making the slightest sound was Wilson right below us?


With a great flair Wilson got out his notebook and proceeded in a very official manner to "write us up."  How could this have happened?  Wilson was safely a mile away and our lookout was in place. "You pair are in for it this time."  Wilson was a lot more observant than we gave him credit for.  Looking back now, I'm sure he knew the every movement of his charges. To this day Noel claims that he shouted a warning to us when Wilson appeared.  Anyway, he fled the scene.  In these days it was the custom of  Ferry men to stand at the Ferry Corner (called the Gyle which was in sight of the Rotten Row) in the evenings and to smoke their pipes as they walked a few steps backwards and forwards conversing as they went.


My father called to Noel as homeward Noel flashed past him. On getting no response from Noel he walked to the Rotten Row where Wilson was in the last stages of frisking us to see what other contraband he might find.  Wilson released us to the custody of my father and admonished us that our summons before the magistrates of the village would be soon.


I can just imagine Wilson's laughter as, on taking off his uniform, hanging up his helmet, tearing the page out of his notebook and throwing it in his fireplace, he related the events of the evening to his wife.  " Ha ha, ha ha, ha ha. I just scared the hell out of young Reekie and young Linton to night, ha, ha, ha."