Fish Tales Man: Romance of the Docks Part 2

  • Sunset on the Grimsby Docks

2 May 2017

In 1968, I joined Marine Diesel Services as ‘office manager.’ But I hated being cooped up in my office and would jump at any and every opportunity to flee my ‘cell’.

So, when the collective tummies of the three of us employed there (myself, Margaret Tuplin and Kathy Lees) started to rumble, I would volunteer to make the short walk to the famous Jubilee Café, which thankfully still exists.

But one day, as I passed E. Leggetts, Cupid’s arrow struck me, for there, ascending the steps to the workshop was a divine creature! Such was the impact of that beauty that I almost forgot what I was going to the Jube for! (was it two bacon butties and a cheese toasty or two toasties and a butty?) My mind was a whirl. Rushing back to M.D.S – a rare occurrence – I couldn’t wait to find out about my ‘vision’. “Margaret, Kathy! Who’s that lovely lass down at Leggetts? “You’ve got no chance, Peter. That’s Ernie’s daughter, she’s way out of your league!” My campaign to woo her began. I had to ring Leggetts for some prices.

“Would you like to come to a party with me?”

“Sorry, I’m taken.”

And so it was that I started spending a fortune at the Cromwell Florists, as I wooed her with flowers. If she wasn’t impressed, I certainly became loved by the florists. All those ten bob bouquets were keeping them in business. Then, a breakthrough. Marine Diesel’s annual dinner-dance was arranged at the Winter Gardens. Leggetts always had a table, she would be there. A chance to impress!

So, I donned my best little black number, a long brunette wig, and sheer nylon tights. Oh, did I forgot to mention that I was doing a little cabaret number with two of my colleagues? Two songs – Cinderella, Rockafell, and Something Stupid. I was playing the parts of Cinderella and Nancy Sinatra! How could she not be charmed by this amorous cross-dresser? Well, it seemed to do the trick. She spoke to me. Her boyfriend didn’t seem too impressed by the performance, but then again I didn’t fancy him either.

‘Chance’ meetings at the coffee machine at Grimsby College followed when we found ourselves on the same floor for night classes. Another ‘chance’ meeting on Freeman Street led to a Bacardi and Coke at the White Knight. And then the breakthrough. We bumped into each other as I tottered home from a Sunday session ‘under the clock’.

“Give me a ring” she said.

“What did she say? Give me a ring?”

So I did, we became a couple in early June 1970. Six six weeks later I gave her another ‘ring’ – an engagement ring! And in 1971, a gold band. 45 years on, we’re still here. Just like our good old docks, we’ve seen setbacks, but we carry on with hope for the future. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Yours

Fish Tales Man

  • “If you’re about to embark on a docks romance, or if, like us, you’re still in a happy relationship that started ‘down dock’, why don’t you let us know? After all, we all like to read about a good romance, don’t we?”

    Fish Tales Man