Mr Bonito is a lovely chap and we really enjoy him coming with his groups. Mr Bonito is from Corsica and is in the habit of wearing gaucho boots over his trousers. Once I asked him why he wore them and he said ” comfortable” and gazed into the distance. He also keeps a knife in them. I know this because I have seen it. Although by definition it is more a large pen knife than a dagger. Mr Bonito is, though, a hugely likeable fella but prone to acts of Latin temperament when upset or emotional. As always he tends to show them when he visits us.
Mr Bonito is here for the last time. We are all, actually, rather sad. He is retiring after too many years in education and wants to go out with a bang! Usually he bring 50 kids but this time he brought 150. Or thereabouts. Three coach loads anyway.
On the first day of their trip they went off to Harry Potter Studio. Firstly whilst I know many people love it, it annoys me the price they charge. It also annoys me that they have timed entrance and if you have 49 kids for 12 noon and another one wants to come – its moved on to a later date. No flexibility. And if you really want to get me started I think they have an over inflated idea of their own importance! Apart from that, its pretty good.
Anyway Mr Bonito was very excited to visit HP World as were his charges and off they went in their three coaches up the M23 at some ungodly hour soas not to be late and miss that window that cant be changed. We waved them off and didn’t expect to hear from them until about 7pm that night. Oh how wrong we were……
So sitting down to a late breakfast( but early enough to miss Irma arriving and save myself indigestion) we get a phone call from Mr Wu. We sent Mr Wu with the group to supervise. Yes, I know, a bad idea. A Chinaman supervising an excitable Corsican. But there you go, stranger things have occurred in the world of EFL ( and worked!). After the first usual exchanges ..” we got to the crux of the matter.” So it went like this.
(Mr Wu) “ I have to report a situation!”
My heart stops. If Mr Wu has a situation it is almost like someone is about to press the red button.
“ Really Mr Wu. What is it?”
“ Err.. Mr Bonito. He has been arrested!” It would appear that not long after arriving, Mr Bonito had had one of his
” emotional outbursts” and had been arrested at Harry Potter Studio in front of all of his kids. As Mr Wu was speaking to me I could hear him wailing in the background and the more the policeman told him to calm down, the more he ignored him and the louder he wailed. Mr Bonito of course, not Mr Wu who would never be prone to public emotional outbursts.
Apparently it was all a storm in a teacup, initially, but Mr Bonito being a fiery and very emotional ( but not unkind, remember!) Corsican refused to bend and so the Police were called. It all started when they passed through security and bags were searched. Then one of the Security Guards, who obviously was doing his job very thoroughly, noticed the pen knife in Mr B’s boots and asked him to remove it. Mr B of course thought he was a fellow admirer of such a ” weapon” and pulled it from his boots and handed it over. The Security Guard told him that he could not have it back and that it was a dangerous weapon. That was when, I would imagine, the balloon went up!
So Mr Bonito told him that he had no right to confiscate such an item ; that it had been in his family for generations; ( it probably had) ; that the sentimental value was beyond price and anyway, he said with a shrug; he only used it to cut his fruit with. Now that bit I do believe but the Security Guard wasn’t having any of it. Mr Bonito of course exploded into both fits of rage and tears in equal parts and wasn’t going to budge. And just to make matters even worse for the security guard and possibly Mr Wu, he sat down on the floor, crossed legged and would not stand up for love nor money. Meanwhile, so I understand, the 150 kids around him were having a wonderful time just watching the exchange and seeing that this would become rather exciting joined in the fun and sat down with him.
.The protest had caused congestion at the Gates and as everything is timed to within an inch of its life at Harry Potter. You can imagine the mounting stress levels as people were missing their ” timed slots” and Mr Wu, being Chinese, was not one to flout authority or timed slots. I knew that if the situation didn’t solve itself fairly soon, the next one to be on the floor would be Mr Wu but he would be just a wrung out wreck.
He pleaded to the Policeman to allow him to keep his pen knife as it had huge sentimental value and he could not bear to loose it. I daresay at this point there was much angst and wailing for effect.
He also argued, probably quite successfully, that it was not likely he was a terrorist with 150 children around him and so he wasn’t going to cause a rumpus or stab anyone. ( Interestingly, he was already causing a rumpus but he seemed oblivious to this fact) The Policeman who had appeared asked me over the telephone if I could vouch for him and I said I could. Interestingly, but not without some merit, he didn’t ask the question of Mr Wu. Well, come on….. would you?
( Sorry H for the ellipses ) However, I also added the disclaimer that any reference given was without liability to the “writer”. The joke went over the policeman’s head. ” I really don’t want to arrest this man but he wont let us dispose of the penknife” I could already hear the tiredness in his voice ” but if he continues to hold onto it, I shall have to evict him or arrest him. That would mean the children could not attend the Tour as there would be one less adult to supervise them”
I asked to speak to Mr B but wasn’t hopeful. Once he goes off into his ” woe is me” mood, there isn’t any shifting it for days. ” Mr B, think of the children. You are ruining their day” But judging from the noise in the background this new turn of events was far more exciting to the kids than seeing Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley…
“But I use it to eat my fruit.” he whined down the phone at me and at that moment I could have willingly knocked his block off. ” Suggest that maybe they keep your penknife somewhere safe and you collect it when you leave. Ask on this one occasion if they will do this as its a family heirloom” The phone went quiet and then more sniffing and snuffling. I heard some mutterings in the background and then Policeman Plod was back on the phone
“It would appear, Madam, that we have solved the problem. Mr Beneton ( Beneton, where did that name come from, its bloody Bonito, I wanted to shout) has agreed to allow the Studio to look after his knife whilst they tour and then it will be available for collection ONCE ( and he said this most sternly) he is ready to leave”
Pause for effect .
He sucked his lips, or he was eating, I couldn’t determine which. ” Its the best I can do Madam, in all of the circumstances”
” Well that sounds like a fine solution. Thank you very much Officer”
“Its Sergeant, Madam. I am a Sergeant” ( and I could sense a puffing out of the chest)
“Well, Sergeant, a wonderful solution. Well done and saves all that paperwork arresting someone you will have to release by the end of the day”
I am sure the irony was wasted on him, even if he was a sergeant. The phone went dead and I assumed that Mr Bonito disbanded his European Sit In and enjoyed the Tour.
The rest of his stay here was fairly uneventful. Thankfully. On the last day we all arrived at the departure point to wave him Goodbye. Three coach loads of Corsicans and Mr Bonito, complete with pen knife proudly showing from the top of his boots. Everyone running up and down shouting; waving; cheering. ” I wont see you ever again” he said and a tear formed in the corner ( okay, I made that bit up, but his lip did quiver )
“well you never know”.. I ventured
“Oh never again will I come with my children. What will I do? But my knife… I still have my knife” and with that he burst into tears and took his knife out and stroked it ..( that bit IS true )
” Oh Mr Bonito, don’t take on so. You may be back. Come and see us anytime. Now come on, get on the coach or you will miss the ferry. And we cant have that, can we?”
But he sobbed again and wiped his nose with his hankie. We bundled him into the coach and off they went. Mr Wu chased the coaches up the road waving…” come back next year. See you soon!” shouting at the top of his voice.
Mr Wu, what part of ” he is retiring” don’t you understand?”
As they turned the corner, we looked at each other and said… Yes, it really is “All Finito Bonito!” and maybe, just maybe, we also had a tear in our eye too.
PS For those who like to form an image in their mind when they are reading this tripe, I attach a picture of Mr Wu when he met the Chinese Delegation in Brighton. Mr Wu is on the right in traditional Chinese robes.
Very proud. And rightly so! We all love Mr Wu and this enthusiasm