And thinking about it, the last one wasn't hugely cheery was it? Popular, helpful to some, but not cheery by any means.
But these are better, these two are funnier - Well, I think they are anyway, but you might want to keep in mind that the people involved were 'of a different time' where political correctness was just a glimmer in some well-meaning politician's eye - They're not meant to offend, and if they do, I'm sorry. He wouldn't be sorry, he'd tell you to 'Stop being so bloody sensitive!' and look at you funny - But like I said, different time.
They happened a number of years ago in Germany, where my Dad did his National Service, as described in more detail HERE (Warning, contains mild bloodshed, bodily injury and shenanigens)
He travelled to Germany at least once a year, with a bunch of reprobates who had served with the RAF both during and after WWII in the same area for both RAF Transport and Bomber Commands - Actually, that's a lie, most of them were ex-RAF, but at least one was ex-Luftwaffe - It's a long story. But in general, if you imagine the patrons of the Cantina at Mos Eisley from Star Wars, but give them all whispy grey hair, you won't go far wrong.
The first, and possibly most offensive story concerns an outing, either on a cable car, or a funicular railway (The exact details of his stories often wavered with each telling).
There were thirteen people on this particular excusion, and they were busily queueing for their turn on the conveyance in question, when one of my Dad's colleagues turned to him and asked,
'Freddo, how long before our go, do you think?'
'No idea,' Dad looked at the length of the queue and saw that it wasn't moving very fast, 'fifteen or twenty minutes at least.'
'My feet hurt.'
'We've only just got here!'
'I know, but even so.' There was a silence that lasted as long as it took for the queue to shuffle forward a few feet. 'Do you know how much it is?'
'No, not exactly, I think it's five euros.'
'That seems expensive, Can you remember when it was marks, before the euro? I preferred that. At least we still use pounds.'
'Yeah, pounds, lovely.' He tried to sound just disinterested enough to stop the old fellah talking, it didn't work.
'Is this five euros?' He shoved out a wrinkled hand that was full of change, 'It's all I've got.'
My Dad counted it and confirmed that there was more than enough, but said, 'Look, why don't you just go to the front and check the prices?'
Which is exactly what the old chap did. He wandered with his walking stick to the front of the queue, making it plain that he wasn't intending to push in, studied the board and can back with a grin on his face.
'It's six euros.'
'Oh, right, you've still got enough though.'
'That's seventy-eight euros for all of us.'
'But there's an offer on that will only cost us thirty-six euros!'
'Really?' (Now my Dad liked a bargain, so this interested him greatly)
'Yes, it says twelve plus one. thirty-six euros. You can speak German, what does "behinderte" mean?'
His heart sank, 'It means disabled. That's the price for disabled people.'
'Well, can't we pretend?'
'To be disabled? Don't you think that's a bit dishonest?'
'But we're in Germany.' when my Dad looked at him blankly, he carried on, 'They're the bad guys.'
'Were! They were the bad guys, a long time ago. They've been nothing but kind to us since we've been here.'
'But, it saves us forty-two euros?'
Which in fairness was all the convincing that was required, and why five minutes later my Dad was posing as the carer (Because he could speak German) of a group of people who displayed the entire panoply of disabilities that they could muster. There were at least three completely fictional false legs, a couple of blind chaps who were suspiciously looking at people when they talked, and one chap who took his performance so seriously that he wet himself. Although that might have been purely co-incidental.
There was a bit of too-ing and fro-ing with the girl in the booth who didn't speak any English, but finally they were let through at the reduced price - And almost all of them made it into the carriage before they started whooping and waving their walking sticks in the air shouting 'In your face Fritz!' and suchlike.
The second and last story (for today) will have more of an impact if you're a trekker. It involves some knowledge of the episode 'The Trouble with Tribbles.' You should go and watch it now and see which bit you think I'm going to reference. It also goes to show that old people can also be complete arses, just like everybody else.
This bit is set in Cologne, a German city that suffered heavy bombing by the RAF in 1942-1943, to the point where it's still a sore subject/item of embarrasment with combatants and their descendents from both sides.
It was during another visit (or possibly the same visit, I'm not hugely sure) that the group were sat in a small bar after an excursion. the ladies had retired for the evening and the chaps were enjoying multiple steins of German beer (or foreign muck, as most of them termed it, not that this effected the amount they were drinking.) They were in what you might politely call 'High Spirits', when a middle-aged local man left his group of friends, wandered over and started a conversation.
(I won't do the comedy German Allo-Allo type accent - I'm walking a fine enogh line as it is)
'Hallo! I couldn't help overhear that you're English!'
There was a generally positive murmur.
'I hope you are all enjoying yourselves?' (Now I figure that this guy knew exactly what was coming, so I have no sympathy for him)
'It's very nice, the people have been very friendly.' replied one of the group, my Dad was busily trying to fit his entire face into his beer, as he also knew what was coming.
'Nice? Yes, what do you think about our beautiful architecture?'
(Here it comes, be ready)
One of the assembled group was from No. 5 Bomber Group, who had taken part in the '1,000-bomber attack' on Cologne itself. He replied, 'Well, it looks a damn sight better from 20,000 feet through a bombsite.'
As I understand it, this was when the first table got flipped over. and the 'ruckus' ensued. So if you can recall the bar-fight scene from 'The Trouble with Tribbles', you should replace the Klingons with Octogenarian combat-trained, but very rusty, ex-RAF bruisers and the crew of the Enterprise with Middle-aged German types whose parents had probably lived through the bombing. (I was going to compare the Germans to the Klingons, but... When you think about it, they were really the injured party)
If you've not seen it, it's here:
The fight didn't last very long, but it did involve a number of cuts and bruises on both sides. In fact, the only reason I found out about it at all was because my dear old Dad, who was still just about in his 70's at the time, had a huge black-eye when he came back to the UK.
I listened to his story and asked 'Well, who won?'
He looked at me as if to say 'I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer.' and then smiled one of the biggest smiles that I'd ever seen and said 'Fancy a pint?'