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Three old coots and a big hole

old coots

About three months ago, the old coot on the left, whose family owned Badger House once upon a time, met up with the old coot on the right, who lived in it during the war. You know, The War. They fell to talking, as coots are wont, and Coot #2 asked who was living up at the old Badger place and whether anybody had “found the machine gun.”


Seems Coot the Second, who was a teenager during the war, watched an American Dakota bomber go down in the field behind the house, then crept out and nicked one of its machine guns. He balanced the barrel against our back fence and popped a few rounds across the field, to make sure it was in good working order, then wrapped the whole business in an oilcloth bag and buried it beside the hedge.

I shit you not.

Given the heartbreak of Tulsarama, I wasn’t hopeful there would be anything left, but I’m damned if I’ll wantonly crush the dreams of old coots. So we invited them both ’round for tea and hole digging.

No, we didn’t find it. Not yet, anyway. My nice new metal detector was no use at all; the whole yard lights up like a Christmas tree when I ask it to find iron. That’s what four centuries of tossing stuff out the back will do. An experienced bloke with a bigger metal detector and awesome hole-digging skills is coming out next.

Still, we had merry tales of the old days. At the turn of the (Nineteenth to the Twentieth) Century, Badger House was so derelict the shepherds refused to stay in it. It was nearly knocked down, but somebody driving by spotted it and offered Coot #1’s dad £200 for it. By WWII, the house still had no electricity or indoor plumbing (the tall roof is to maximize collection of rainwater). It sounds as though it has stood empty and overgrown much of the time. We’ll have a lot of tightening up to do.

Coot #3 is, of course, Uncle B…who stands just off camera, shamed by the hole-digging prowess of Coot #2. And you would be, too, if an 81 year old coot KICKED YOUR ASS.

EDIT: Uncle B says the Dakota was a transport plane. The bomber that went down in the lower forty was a Boston. Also, he adds that he is wounded in the arm, so there!

January 2, 2008 — 7:19 pm
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