This post and all others have been moved to this sites new home on www.peterneill.eu
Believe it or not there is one more tale of woe involving my trousers. This is actually my worst yet, and in many ways the most spectacular. No single incident has involved so many people with such catastrophic results. Here begins the lesson.
The Date: Friday 6th of June 1997 Location: My Bedroom, Crossmolina, Mayo, Ireland.
This was my last day of my last year of regular schooling. I was to start my final exams the following Monday. On this last day I decided not to bother going into school and instead was home 'studying'. Not very likely to be honest, but its what I told myself, and my parents.
I filled my morning with watching TV in bed, a truly worthwhile pursuit. However this bliss was not to last much longer, for the upstairs of this large house in Mayo was filled with a roar, and a loud one at that. My mother was calling me to tell me that Sister Mary, the Principle of the convent school to which I went was on the phone for me. I quickly darted out of bed panic-stricken that I was in trouble for dossing off school, for that is really what I was doing. I got the phone and picked up the receiver. What I heard next was this:
"Peter! Thank goodness we found you. You have to get into school right away, its urgent, and you must, you absolutely must wear your full uniform, Oh and by the way, Sister Fionnuala is on her way to collect you!"
To which I responded:
"Hello sister, I'll get dressed immediately, but I'm not sure my trousers are fit to wear"
And she said:
"You have to wear them, Sister Fionnuala will be with you in a minute!! Bye!"
I put down the receiver and started to panic. You see the previous day in school had finished with a "Rugby Match" or really a big fight over a ball. I was probably the strongest in my year and these matches would usually involve me dragging several people up the field with them hanging on to me trying to bring me down. This as you can imagine was not good for my clothing and by the final minutes of the match my trousers had endured the following:
1 X Broken Zip
1 X Completely torn though behind
Many many mud stains
2 X ripped trouser legs
1 X complete rip at the knee of the right leg.
I realised I had to work fast, I yelled downstairs to my mother who came upstairs armed with sellotape and safety pins, for there was no time to sow anything. We managed to tape the rips on my right knee and on the trouser legs when the front door bell rang. SISTER FIONNUALA WAS HERE.
Panic stricken I did a quick safety pin job on the backside of my trousers and jumped into them and the rest of my tattered uniform and legged it downstairs. However at this point my trouser zip was still not fixed and I decided I would have to fix it on the way with the Sister Fionnuala, a nun if you were not sure!
I remember she looked shocked at my appearance when I jumped into the car and even more shocked when I started fiddling with my zip and trying to close it with three safety pins while sitting in the passenger seat of her car!
(She told my mother later that she was afraid I might put it through something I shouldn’t)
The school was about three miles away and as we pulled up I had finally managed to sort of close my fly and hobbled out of the car. The first thing I noticed was that the place was deserted, not a soul to be seen. I went inside the main entrance and looked around. At this point my walk had been reduced to a careful scurry, as I had to take very short strides to avoid stressing the main precarious joins in my trousers. Inside the school there was still not a soul to be seen anywhere.
The next thing I hear is the intercom:
"Would Peter Neill please come to the Gym Hall immediately"
I filled with shock at what I had just heard made my way to the door of the gym and pushed it open and peeked inside. What I saw was horrendous. There before my eyes were all 600 students lined up according to year. My first reaction was to hobble over towards my classmates and join the line. I made it halfway, and then my luck broke. Over the speakers came the following:
"Would Peter Neill please come up onto the stage".
I had no idea what was going on but I knew I had to obey and march forth towards the stage.
At this point everyone was looking at me, my precarious walk and my simply unique leg coverers, as they simply could no longer be referred to as trousers. Giggles started around different parts of the Gym but were swiftly muted by the patrolling teachers. I started what seemed like the longest walk of my life, from the back of the gym to the stage, my own personal Green Mile. After what seemed like forever I made it to the stage and was faced with yet another problem, this 5 foot high stage had no steps, but instead large blocks of wood which you used to get up to the top. I realised that the required separation of my legs in order to overcome this obstacle was not a viable possibility, for my trousers would not survive that.
And like a bold of lightening the idea hit me, the solution. I decided to bunny hop up the steps, keeping my feet together. For no apparent regard for my self-esteem I proceeded to bunny hop up the steps to the sounds of laughter, confusion, and possibly fear, actually, definitely fear.
As I made my final bunny hop up the steps before me I could see ten teachers standing in a line, at the head of which was the principle, Sr. Mary. She summoned me over toward her, with a somewhat confused look on her face.
I awkwardly scurried across the floor toward the teachers and the disaster that was my trousers became apparent to them all, for their eyes were filled with an odd mixture of glee, amusement, horror and fascination.
Finally I arrived beside Sr. Mary, beside the microphone in front of 600 students. And then she uttered perhaps the strangest sentence of all.
"Peter Neill, I here by award you, Student of the Year 1997"
What!!!!!!!" The gym broke into applause and laughter. I did not know what to say, but in my shock I had lurched backwards, breaking a delicate part of the framework that was my trousers. Sorry, Leg coverers. I immediately grabbed by belt for dear life and kept my trousers from falling down around me. Sr. Mary now held out a plaque toward me, one that I could not take from her, as doing so would have released hell unseen since the opening of Pandora’s box upon 600 innocents. Thankfully she immediately understood and held onto it.
I tried at this point to leave the stage but was stopped by 600 people shouting "Speech, Speech!!!” I hobbled my way back to the microphone. My speech consisted of one highly thought through, carefully constructed sentence:
"Thanks, but does anybody have a spare pair of trousers?"