OK, I now have all the information more or less at my finger-tips. Whatever isn’t at my finger-tips is somewhere on my laptop where it should be easily retrievable, provided I can remember where I saved it. Hmmm...
The first thing I need to tell you all is that the Class Cup isn’t. Isn’t a cup that is. Indeed, it isn’t a trophy at all, as I understand the word. In
my (admittedly vivid) imagination, I was picturing a large, silver, cup-shaped bowl with elaborate handles to be grasped at the exact moment when the assembled phalanx of photographers encourage the winner to lift the cup above his or her head. I’m
thinking Wimbledon, of course, which is almost upon us. Or it could even be a smaller, gold-coloured cup like the one Our Boys in Brazil are running themselves ragged to get their hot little hands on.
But no, the Class Cup, as won by Young James, the Middle of the Little Welsh Boys, is, in fact, a toy dog. Called Floppy.
lips are sealed on the choice of name – because I am given to understand that it was James himself who came up with it. This seems perfectly possible, given the names he and his brothers have christened other much-loved toys. If challenged, James
would doubtless explain that to name the Class Cup after, say, a story-book hero or a historical character would be missing the indisputable point that Floppy is, well, floppy. If the name fits, as they say.
I have not seen Floppy for myself but My Boy, father of the Little Welsh Boys, has now sent me a photograph of him (her? it?) perched in a tree with his proud owner and brothers. My Boy seems to take a lot of photos
of his boys perched in this particular tree. I am assuming that this is because, once thus perched, the Duracell Bunny has no option but to stay put for the duration of the photo shoot. He can be quite cunning, My Boy, but then he has to be if he is occasionally
to outsmart the Duracell Bunny. He also says, in passing, that he has told me all about Floppy being the Class Cup before but, due to my Great Age, I seem to have forgotten it.
So excited am I by the photographs that today I booked my rail tickets for my next Nanna Visit to Wales at the end of July. It’s a long way ahead but by booking well in advance I gain the advantage of cheaper fares. I do, however, have to run
the gauntlet of First Great Western’s indescribably unhelpful on-line booking system. Except now - step forward and take a bow Alain and Mohammed who each, in his own way, saved the day for me.
Alain was on the other end of a helpline which I accessed in desperation when First Great Western refused to allow me to book on the train which National Rail Enquiries had already told me was going my way. I never actually
spoke to Alain in person, we just had a very pleasant on-line “chat” which was only a little disconcerting in that he kept addressing me as Mr Ball. I would have corrected him but I didn’t realise we were going to have quite such a
long chat and once several messages had passed to and fro it seemed a bit rude to tell him I was somebody else. Bless him, he couldn’t solve my problem (it seems I am not the only one who has complained) but he did suggest, as a final solution,
that I ring tele-sales.
Which is how I came to speak to the Ever Helpful Mohammed who swiftly booked my ticket at the very same price I would have paid online,
made sure I had a seat reservation on the train from Southampton to Cardiff, carefully went through all the details and generally restored some of my faith in First Great Western. Next time I need to book rail tickets, I shall forsake the on-line system altogether
and ring Mohammed. I'm sure he will be ever so pleased to hear from me again. As would Alain be, if he knew I was me, not Mr B.
So relieved am I with the
eventual conclusion of my Ticket Booking Business that I am tempted to reward both Alain and Mohammed with a Class Cup of some description or other. Possibly not a floppy dog, in their case, as it hardly seems appropriate. But, on the basis that it seems toys
are the new trophies, there is an obvious choice.
Maybe Thomas the Tank Engine?