CRINGLE: Roll of honour

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I WILL never make it on to the Honours List, as so many people in the Isle of Man do, for a long and honourable record of devoted voluntary public service to others.

It’s even less likely now that I’ve retired as a volunteer driver for Hospice.

It was my own idea. There was no management pressure on the grounds I was now too old to be taking out-patients to and from Hospice and my driving wasn’t getting any better.

I thought it was time for me to go and, as people say shiftily in these circumstances, pass the baton on to others younger than me.

In spite of this, Hospice has chosen to honour my service by giving me a silver lapel badge for my modest six years in the job. It will go nicely with the others . . .

There are others, you see. There’s the badge the Blood Transfusion Service gave me for 50 donations. Unfortunately they laid me off shortly afterwards. I suppose they just didn’t fancy any more of my stuff.

There is also the Snowflake badge awarded in the 1980s for reaching my target weight at Weight Watchers. In those days the weekly weigh-in sessions were held in a bunker under the old Loch Parade Methodist Church in Douglas and I was the only man in my class. The rest were women.

You weighed in first thing in the morning and you stepped on the scales in front of everybody else to have your week’s dietary success, or otherwise, proclaimed publicly.

I was always invited to go first. I think the ladies were happy to see me leave. I used to speculate that after I had gone they took all their clothes off before being weighed.

I couldn’t do that. I went in my lightest shirt and trousers, no underpants, and with empty pockets and my wrist watch removed.

Everybody could take their shoes off and I wanted to take my socks off as well, but this was not allowed on health grounds.

I went and bought some lightweight socks.

I also have a lapel badge to mark my National Service at RAF station Changi in Singapore as a member of a long-forgotten fighting force known as the Far East Air Force, and this was followed a few years ago with an offer from the British Government of a badge declaring me to be an ‘HM Armed Forces Veteran.’

I assumed this would be presented with full military pomp by the Lieutenant Governor on the parade ground.

Instead, I had to fill in an application form and then collect the badge from a lady at a counter in the offices of the DHSS.

She didn’t even salute, just told me to sign for it.

Finally, I have a Cathay Pacific Airlines lapel badge. This was pinned to me when I went to Hong Kong a short time ago. It was to identify me to the airline staff as an old gent who shouldn’t be allowed out on his own and could only be conducted through the complexities of long haul air travel by a succession of pretty ground stewardesses.

It’s not a bad collection, I suppose. There is only one missing: I have never been given a badge for being a good boy.

I’VE had a letter in, anonymously, addressed to ‘Mr. T.Cringle (Raconteur)’ and it draws attention to the Isle of Man College 2011/2012 syllabus which offers a swimming course for adult intermediates saying:

‘Swimmers should be able to swim at least 25 metres in 1 or 2 strokes.’

Now that would make something of a splash.

THERE are no Songs for Swinging Manxmen. Instead it has been pointed out that they are nearly always based on old musical works. There seem to be few sourced from modern popular music, an indication that only people of a certain age are up for it.

I would like to be proved wrong.

Some of the old stuff will be back next week.

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