[dropcap]J[/dropcap]ock, as you may gather by his name, was from Scotland.I first came across him at Wimbledon dog track in 1958.He was around 40, I was just 18.He came into the tea room and walked to the corner, carrying a large suitcase.No sooner had he sat down, 3 or 4 people walked over to the corner where he was.Not wanting to be left out, I wandered over, just before I got there he opened the suitcase and started putting its contents on the table.I just stood there, he produced from the suitcase, more items than I could count.There were enough razors and blades to keep an army going for a year.Two men’s suits, 10 men’s shirts, 20 or more men’s ties, ladies stockings , ladies scarves, ladies perfumes, men’s and ladies shoes and so many other things it would take a long time to write them all down. These amounts are approximate.Jock started to sell the items to whoever wanted them, nearly all the items had price tags hanging from them. The selling price was 1/3rd the marked price so if it was marked £9, you paid £3 for it, if it was marked £20 you paid £6 or £7 for it.You could ask Jock to get items specially for you, these items, he would do at half price, you could order anything he could get in a suitcase.By the time the first race started he had sold out.What did he do with money?He gambled on every race and 9 times out of 10 he finished up broke.Most evenings he would ask my father if he could borrow a fiver until the next meeting.My father would lend him the money, but not till after the last race.He always paid it back.The best story about jock is one he tells himself.It was 1954 in Glasgow, his father gave him £400, with that money he was to go to London and become a shopkeeper. In 1954 you could buy a house in London for £400, now the same house would cost you a £1/4m.Well off he goes, journey time to London by train was I think anything between 8 and 16 hours, boring to say the least.Jock became restless at the first stop, he can’t remember if it was Newcastle or Leeds, he decides to get off.He walks around the town and after 10 minutes he comes across a snooker/billiards hall, not that he was a good snooker player but normally you could get a good cup of tea and a ham roll and hopefully there would be a card game going on.Sure enough at the back there was a card game taking place, he joins in.Two hours later and £200 less, he leaves the snooker hall and catches the next train to London, after another 3 or 4 hours, the train arrives in Birmingham, yep you’re right he gets off.As before, he finds his way to a snooker hall, yep, you’re right, they are playing cards at the back, yep you’re right again, 2 hours later he walks out after losing the other £200.He gets back on the train to London, with 16 shillings (80p) in his pocket, luckily he had paid for the ticket to London.He arrives in London without getting off anywhere else.He stops and thinks of the words his father had said to him.He couldn’t recall whether he said shopkeeper or shoplifter.You know which one he went for.
Its Not What You Know… Jock The Thief
Last Updated on: July 29th, 2019 at 5:33 am, by