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Bradford Lad: Schnapps

Mike Coatesworth recalls the day when he was unable to snap to it after drinking schnapps.

It was a warm day when I stepped out onto the streets of Minden, Germany, heading for the military base to which I had been posted. My family and I had been asigned married quarters which were to be our home for the next three years.

When me and my mate reported for duty we were given a couple of days off, so that we could settle in our families and discover where the local shops were.

Being typical squaddies we decided to explore the town. Inevitably we called in at a local bar. We soons became friendly with some of the locals who offered us schnapps. I had never dunk schanpps before but decided to try it. I was not used to strong drink. Soon we were all singing merrily.

We were invited to join a family for Sunday dinner. Not being the types to snub local hospitality, we agreed. The dining room in their home was huge, as was the table in the centre of it. There was enough food laid out to feed a small platoon. We didn’t know what some of the dishes were. My mate took a large helping of what he was informed were vegetables. Much to the surprise of our German hosts, after just one mouthful he began to splutter and cough, then to gulp down glass after glass of water poured from a pitcher. He had swallowed a large mouthful of chillis.

After the meal, and a few more schnapps, we waddled our way back home. We arrived at married quarters more by instinct than good navigation. I last saw my mate walking, falling, and crawling down the street to his house.

I took a deep breath before enterting my house. My missus said she had a Sunday dinner ready. I groaned inwardly as hot food was placed in front of me. I tried to eat, then said I was not feeling well. A glass of organge juice slipped through my fingers and smashed on the floor.

I lay down on the sofa.

It was explained later that while I was out cold, my missus had been called round to my mate’s house. His head had landed in his dinner, and he had passed out. His wife could not wake him up. Evenentually he was just able to muble enough for both wives to get the gist of what had happened.

Next thing, I was crashing against the wall. My missu had tipped the sofa over, causing me to fall of it.

‘You drunken pig!’ she shouted, ‘I genuinely thought you weren’t well!’

After telling me off she forgave me.

A few hours later, my missus and I were in stitches as we watched my mate trying to ride a bike up the street. Apparently he still hadn’t recovered from the schnapps. The bike went all over the road, and he fell of it three times.

I went out to help, asking if he was okay. He said that he could manage.

"Wouldn't it be better to ride an adult bike rather than that child's bije?'' I asked.

‘I wondered why I was so close to the ground,’ was his reply, ‘I thought I’d shrunk with all the water my wife threw over me in the garden.’

*****

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