Tommy was sitting on the ground, his iron-sheathed legs stretched out in front of him. Roy was supporting his back and
Dismal was bending over his feet.
‘It's no good,’ complained Dismal. ‘The leather's too stiff, I can't shift the buckle.’
‘Oh Dennis— you're not pulling hard enough,’ said Tommy. ‘The straps are new, that's all. Pull
harder. It doesn't hurt. Roy's holding my shoulders.’
Dismal pulled harder, lost his grip, and fell backwards into the grass.
‘Your leg irons are a perishing nuisance,’ he complained.
‘Shut up Dismal,’ said Roy. ‘It's not you who has to wear them. If you did, you'd sing a different
‘Yeah— he'd be more dismal than ever,’ said Tommy. ‘At least then he'd really have something to
be dismal about.’
Roy saw me coming. ‘Hey Peter, you've come just at the right moment. See if you can't fix the
straps on Tommy's new irons. They're not tight enough and that makes him a bit wobbly. No good
for playing cricket.’
I bent over Tommy's feet. ‘Here Dismal— take hold of his leg and hold it firm while I pull the
Between us we fixed first one leg and then the other.
‘Good show,’ said Roy. ‘Stand up Tommy and see if you're fit for take-off.’
How do you feel now— er— Dismal isn't it? Poor boy— what an unfortunate name.’
‘I'll be okay,’ said Dismal. ‘It's nothing serious. Just let me sit down a moment.’
‘His name is Dennis,’ said Brian, ‘but we call him Dismal because it's being so cheerful as keeps
‘I see,’ said Bish looking puzzled. Then his face cleared. ‘Like that doleful Mona Lott in Tommy
Handley's show on the wireless?’
‘That's it,’ said Roy. ‘Except Dismal does it on purpose— we think.