Airline up the derriere
Working in mill buildings in Yorkshire was always daunting, the staff, mostly women, were fearful, they thought nothing of behaving in ways that would simply not be tolerated now.
It was fairly common practice for a group of these women to capture a young lad, pull off his clothing and hold a milk bottle over his privates, then expose themselves to him until he became erect, finally abandoning him naked and with a milk bottle stuck to him.
If you think builders wolf whistling after women on the street was offensive, you cannot start to imagine what it was like for men under 30 walking through or working in the mills, the cat calling was both embarrassing and intimidating, it was nothing for them to expose themselves to make the point and no part of their bodies were off limits to such exposure.
It was always very hot working in these mills however the last thing you would do would be to remove your shirt as this provoked the sort of interest normally witnessed at a football match when a goal is scored.
On one occasion, Clancy, James and Martin were working in the offices of one such mill and I was on site to assist, the parts for the installation had been delivered to a locked room at one end of the mill, and the work was taking place in the offices at the other end.
As the apprentice it was my job to ferry all the parts needed back and forth, I was asked for two rolls of cable and set off to walk around the outside of the building to get them and it was raining.
On my return to avoid the rain, I naively took a shortcut through the mill, with much whistling, cat calling and to resounding singing “get em off, get em off” etc. I ignored the mill women and arrived at the offices.
Two hours later, the mill management had called Chubb management team, who had then driven to site to tell me that I was not under any circumstances to walk through the mill. I resigned to the long walk back and forth outside in the rain.
The next day, I was in college for my day release course and was oblivious to what had happened, arriving the following day having travelled to the mill on my motorbike, I was immediately sent back to the Chubb office.
I thought I must be in trouble for my shortcut and resigned myself to a meeting with my favourite supervisor Gordon, (see more on Gordon elsewhere in my book). Upon arriving cold and wet at HQ I was told to help in the stores and no explanation was given.
Later, I was working with Clancy again and he told me that on the day I was at college, several plumbers had arrived to work in the mill, they also had an apprentice with them, and he too had walked through the mill, this time bare chested.
This had been a red rag to a herd of bulls and the mill women grabbed him, stripped him naked and during the half hour of having their idea of fun with him, they stuck an airline up his bum. This assault resulted in the apprentice dying and being taken off site by private ambulance, and of course a police enquiry.
This was quite something to take in, it could have so easily been myself in that situation. In future when you complain about elf n safety and the modern PC working environment, just take heed how far things have come in so short a time.
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