"My younger brother, Peter is currently down South getting a new knee exchange for Christmas. He has had a difficult month as his father-in-law died recently and naturally my thoughts are with him and his wife Linda.
In every family there is always one sibling who takes it upon themselves to be the family fool. They start clowning about in young childhood and remain acting out the role of fool for the rest of their lives. In our family of seven siblings, it is my brother Peter who wears the jester's crown.
As a seven year old child, to get his own back on his older brother, Patrick, Peter caught a moth, killed it and spread it between Patrick's sandwich. He didn't tell him until he'd eaten the last bite. Once when my mother couldn't pay the rent man and muttered, 'I wish he'd go away until next Friday' , Peter kindly granted her wish by taking a long-handled brush, opening the door and after hitting the rent collector hard upon his head, sent him scarpering. When Peter was eleven years old, he was so tall that he was known as 'the gentle giant.' I recall the time when an officious bus conductor, upon finding out that his school bus pass did not take him to the next stop yelled, 'Off the bus instantly, boy. Off the bus now!' Peter was having none of it and instead of getting angry with the small conductor, he smiled broadly. Next, he placed his strong arms around the narrow waist of the mouthy bus conductor and after hoisting him from the platform of the double decker bus and placing him on the road, Peter rang the bell and commandeered the bus to the cheers of all the passengers.
In later life Peter became an educational psychologist and while he was always great at relating to the children whatever their problems were, he was constantly at loggerheads with his bosses. In short, he would never follow the rules of the establishment he worked for, particularly if he perceived those rules to be working against the best interest of the child/children concerned. Often, to make his day pass more pleasurably, if he found himself at loggerheads with his neurotic boss he would hide his cup (knowing that he would die of thirst before putting his lips to another). He might also occasionally borrow his boss's key to the executive toilets, and armed with a pencil and a piece of hard card along with a smile of mischief, make his secret visit to the loo. Once inside the cubicle, Peter would unroll the loo paper and with the aid of the cardboard and pencil he was armed with, he would carefully write the word,'Plonker' on each sheet and return the roll to its normal position knowing that his childish prank would never be discovered. The first time he performed this prank on his boss, Peter was 52 years old!
There was one occasion when my Uncle Willie, who was a heavy drinker of alcohol and whom Peter hadn't seen for six years, turned up late at Peter's house wanting to sleep there after the pubs had closed. Peter opened the door to see Uncle Willie the worse for wear after two or three days on the drink. Uncle Willie said, 'I've come to stay here for the night.' so Peter laughed out loudly and said,'Stay there then!' and shut the door.
Whatever the time of day or whatever the occasion, Peter would fool around. It's as though he was born with an inner desire to see folk laugh and believes that it is his prime role in life to make this happen. I love you brother, but I can simply see no point in you having acquired two degrees if you are left with only half the sense you were born with!
In mannerisms, my brother Peter reminds me of my late old friend, the great Norman Wisdom and especially his most identifiable song." William Forde: December 21st, 2015.