It was a busy day today. After trying for the umpteenth time to unlock a phone from O2, who have been as helpful as a boil on the posterior, I decided to clear out the shed, which hadn't been done for months (after what seems like an eternity of work leading up to Christmas left me feeling like a piece of Alex Ferguson's match-time chewing gum). So with cardboard boxes flying hither and thither (and back to hither) pots of paint, bikes, scooters and all manner of chattels being cast to the Easterly biting wind, I didn't hear the dingaling as a text message was received deep in the deepest pocket (and I have deep pockets as my children will attest).
So when I read that my uncle Rob had got an oboe, I thought that was 'nice' but, with all due respect, it's a late(ish) age to be doing such things. After all, we're waiting for the results of our littlest one's level two violin exam. But you do hear of these "silver surfers" who start a new venture, such as learning Russian, taking up the drums, or bungee jumping.*
So it came as something of a relief (no offence to oboists one and all) to find out that uncle Rob hadn't taken up the oboe but had rather been given the O.B.E. in the Queen's New Years Honours List, for his services to charity.
So with one gong safely in the bag for the family, it's high time we started lobbying SA Brains Ltd for some worthy reward for Old Pa Hurley, after all over all the many years "Hollow Legs Hurley" has been quaffing ales at the Park Cons, he must have kept many hundreds of SA Brains employees in, erm, employ; not to mention keeping their extended families in the opulence they are accustomed to.
As one of the four 'sins that cry to heaven for vengeance' is to defraud a working man of a just wage, by handing over a bright shiny penny for every quart of ale and thus ensuring, indirectly, that the workers of SA Brains are given their full wage due, might we not suggest to the powers that be that Old Pa Hurley has carried out great works of charity, on an ongoing basis, for the material benefit of a good number of workingmen? Not to mention the many and great developments in the brewing process that must have occurred during his ever-so lengthy life, which I would humbly suggest have been spurred on in the full knowledge that their fruits would be tasted by the old venerable man of Roath.
So three cheers for 'Uncle Rob' Parsons** for his OBE (and a polite applause if he has taken up the oboe too) but let us begin campaigning here and now for the due recognition of Old Pa Hurley.
Arise Sir Old Pa Hurley! Knighted for his services to employment, research and development, charity and dog-walking.
*Old Ma Hurley may be taking notes...
**Robert Parsons was also the name of one of the first Jesuits to return to Elizabethan England on a Papal mission to bring the Sacraments to a suffering people, accompanying St Edmund Campion in 1580 who would be captured and horrifically martyred. Parsons went on to found seminaries across Spain and the first post-Reformation English Boys' Catholic School (in France). For a great book, which reads like a boys' own adventure, on the Jesuit missions read God's Secret Agents by Alice Hogge (I bought it cheaper on Amazon - Old Pa "10p doughnuts" Hurley would approve).