In the late 1970s, my mother in law watched the wresting every Saturday afternoon. She loved every shout, every grunt, every grimace of pain from the screen. Yes, I would watch as well, fascinated at the ability of the wrestlers to inflict so much apparent pain without requiring medical attention. She would sit in her armchair, cup of tea (no sugar), two cream cakes, right hand slowly taking the crumbs to her mouth as her attention was riveted on the tv screen.

mick-mcmanusThen one day the travelling wrestling circus came our way in South London, and a ticket was purchased for me so I could accompany my wife, her aunt, and her blood-thirsty mother. The only reason I was invited was so I could be their chauffeur, and we were seated at least half an hour before it was due to start, in prominent seats in the second row. The support bouts were okay, but somewhat dull, and then the main act appeared – Mick McManus and Les Kellett, who were both particular favourites of mother in law. She sat there with a ferocious look of anticipation on her face, arms crossed over her generous chest, handbag on her lap, right hand through the strap so it couldn’t fall off and be lost under her copious skirts.

After a while I was stupid enough to allow my boredom to show, and started making loud comments to my wife, who was sitting next to me.

‘This is a fix’.

‘They know what’s coming next’.

‘Whose turn is it to win’.

‘They never hurt each other’.

The two wrestlers looked at each other, stopped the bout, and leaned over the top rope, staring at me.

‘If it’s a fix, why don’t you come in the ring, then you’ll see’ said Mick McManus.

‘If we never hurt each other, then come up here and see how much it hurts’ said Les Kellett.

They were both looking at me.

‘No, no, that’s all right, carry on lads, sorry, didn’t mean anything, just saying something to the wife. Promise I won’t say anything else again’.

Mother in law by this stage was crying with laughter uncontrollably, as her son in law collapsed ignominiously.

The two men looked at each other, turned their backs with contempt, and continued with their bout. I said nothing further.

About Harry Pope

Very few writers earn more than £10,000 annually. Harry is one of the poorer ones. He is no longer middle-aged, as he knows no-one who is getting on for 140. Literary success has come with an attempt at maturity – failed both – but marital stability with Pam has more than compensated. He is an accomplished speaker, talking on a variety of topics, including how not to run a hotel, buried secrets, and what’s it worth. See Harry The Talker. He has five published books, see Harry The Writer. He is Eastbourne’s only licensed sight-seeing guide see Harry The Walker. He has a daily blog see Harry The Blogger. The only site not purchased is but that might come, who knows. He was a London funeral director for many years, then started Cheam Limousines in 1990, selling some thirteen years later. Arriving in Eastbourne in the Summer of 2003, Harry and Pam first bought a small guest house, then a large hotel, which proved to be disastrous because of their business partnership with a moron from California. He now walks, and talks, sometimes both at the same time.