Dog Training Part 1
I am back home now. The four hours a day travel to Newport is wearing me down. I see an advertisement in the local paper. A storeman job at US motors in Belgrave. Only 10 minutes walk from where we live in Belgrave. I applied for the job and got it. I am a store boy and helper around the workshop. Jim Holder is the foreman. He is a lot older that any of the mechanics and has done it all. He is a very good mechanic. He imparts his experience to the apprentices in a very articulate way and they all think Jim is the best. Also, when the mechanics have a bit of trouble, Jim usually sorts it out. He is well liked by everyone. But he has a strange sense of humour. Jim is sneaky and has to be watched at all times. There is a long steel bench in the workshop. Jim has a magneto with a handle attached mounted under one end of this bench. The new apprentice is Len Allen. He is working up one end of the bench adjusting a set of spark plugs. Jim is up the other end. He gives the magneto a twirl and Len leaps into the air.
“You have got to watch those spark plugs Len, some still have spark left in them.”
“Too right.” Says Len.
Len has a habit of standing looking out the gate sort of in a trance with his mouth open. It takes some boys time to get their heads around the idea that they are now a work and not at school. One day Len is standing outside the painting bay, as usual, looking out the gate. Jim has been talking to Joe McAuliffe, the painter, when he spots Len. He has a word to Joe, then moves away. Joe call calls out loudly.
“Hey Jim, have you got a minute?”
“Yes, what’s up Joe?” Says Jim, equally loudly.
This wakes up Len so he starts to take an interest in what is being said.
“It’s this paint job Jim, I really think it is a bit dull. It needs a bit of green tinted maiden water to give it some shine.
“Yes I think you are right Joe.” Says Jim. “Trouble is I am out of green tinted maiden’s water. Do you think Len can go up to Belgrave Motors and get some?”
“Sure, here Len.” Says Joe, picking up an empty four gallon drum. “Slip up to Belgrave Motors and get Joe some green tinted maidens water.”
So off goes Len. When he gets to Belgrave Motors, Jim Winters keeps a straight face. He goes out the back, fills the drum up with water and hands it to Len. Now Len is not a big boy as Belgrave Motors is about 300 yards from US Motors. He struggles back with the heavy drum and gives it to Joe. Joe takes the cap off and tips a little on his hand.
“That’s not the right shade Len, You will have to go back and get the right shade.”
So Joe empties the drum down the drain. Len looks horrified and just about to protest when he looks around and sees everyone laughing. He walks off with a red face.
One of the new apprentice’s jobs is filling the urn before morning tea and lunch. One morning Jeff Martin and I are standing at the store counter looking up part numbers so we can put in an order. Vic Jones, the manager has been walking around the workshop. He stopped on the other side of the counter and said look. He pointed to Len filling the billy with water from the tap. Len had switched off again and was gazing out the gate with his mouth open. The billy was full and the water was cascading over his boots. He was alerted to the full billy when his boots filled up too. He sloshed to the urn and tipped the billy of water in. Jim was standing watching too. He tapped Len on the shoulder.
‘Don’t put the water from your boots in there too Len. It won’t taste too good.” He said dryly.
The tank maker from next door, Arthur Franklin, brings his Ute in one morning for some jobs. As he is getting out of the Ute his is red in the face and is really grumpy. Jim ambles over and asks him what is wrong? Jim and Arthur go back a long way and are good friends. So Arthur starts to tell Jim his troubles. Now, I have to be close because one of my jobs is to write out a job card for every vehicle in for repairs or service, so I have to get the registration number and speedometer reading etc.
“You have seen my new fence Jim.”
“Yeah.” Says Jim.
Now I must say here that couple of weeks ago Arthur had finished a brand spanking new galvanised iron fence along the front of his spare block. The fence cut in to an angle to the front of his workshop. It is probably the best looking fence in the hills.
“I cut it into the front of my workshop so Ken (Arthur’s apprentice) and I can sit outside for morning tea and lunch.”
“Yeah.” Says Jim.
“Well old Mrs Griffiths walks by about every second or third day. I don’t mind Mrs Griffiths but her little dog Bruno stops and cocks his leg about two feet from where Ken and I sit. I try to tell Mrs Griffiths it is not very hygienic but she won’t take any notice of me. She just puts her nose in the air and looks the other way.”
Arthur is getting red in the face again.
“OK, OK, don’t get your knickers in a twist.” Says Jim. “I think I have the solution to your problem.”
So Jim and Arthur walk off into one of the work bays. Next minute Jim and Arthur are heading out the gate. Jim has a box under his arm. Jim comes back about half hour later. He does not say a word, just starts work again.
A couple of weeks go by and one morning about 11 o’clock rolls Arthur again. He has a broad smile on his face. Not at all like the usual gloomy Arthur. So I just have to get close enough to hear. Jim looks up from the workbench and says.
“How did it go?”
“Nearly perfect.” Says Arthur. “Ken and I were sitting outside having our morning tea about 10 days ago when along comes Mrs Griffiths and Bruno. Bruno stopped and cocked his leg. You said to count to three as soon as he cocked his leg. So I did. Then I cranked the magneto as fast as I could. Bruno gave a blood curdling scream and took off like a V2 rocket. Never seen a dog leap so high in my life, straight up. The only thing that stopped him disappearing into the overhanging trees was his lead. He nearly strangled himself on the end of his lead.”
Arthur was wiping his eyes and chucking.
“His legs were already doing about 50 mph when he hit the ground. He was heading for home dragging Mrs Griffiths with him. He had not seen them for quite a while then yesterday they came around the corner heading for my fence, but Bruno had other ideas. He dragged Mrs Griffiths across the road and walked in the gutter on the other side. Mrs Griffiths knows I did something to Bruno and she threw daggers at me as she walked past on the other side of the road.”
Ken and I were killing ourselves laughing.
“Well you have to admire Bruno. Only had one lesson.” Says Jim.
“Mind you Arthur, one lesson should last a lifetime.”
“I’ll say.” Says Arthur with a big smile.