Fred

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Taff

‘Hello Boyo!’ Fred T. would say on meeting him.
I always thought Taff, our Fred from Wales was ancient. He looked really, really old, but in reality he was only 46 when I knew him. However, when you’re a young whippersnapper of under 20, everyone seems old.
Fred lived in Gillingham with his German wife and couple of poodles (which he would occasionally smuggle through British customs from visiting his in-laws) in an elegant town house with nice antique furniture.
Fred, we always thought of as a stingy-old-fart, but that is probably more of an observation of our carefree youth and lack of financial responsibility than anything more critical.

Coasting

Fred drove a horrible little old green Fiat 126, which I remember him coasting down the long hill into Maidstone with us all bundled into the back of when going to play with the local operatic society for The Merry Widow.
Fred came across as a bit of an old duffer; he played the cornet and viola. On the cornet, he was one of those players you never heard, but in the ‘Mess Orchestras’ he was always present on his viola; probably for the extra pay, and a few free drinks and a free meal; and perhaps a chance to get away from the missus!

Nice player

However, on our operatic outings Fred on occasions (particularly after a couple of drinks) would sometimes let his hair down (hypothetical hair that is) and show us that he was, or at least could be on occasion, a really nice player!

As for work, he had a cushy number working in the band library, and so for most of the time Fred was hidden away out back. Although I never saw it myself, he also had a perhaps protective streak; he had befriended a boy who was, I don’t know what, shall we just say victimised (justly or unjustly is a matter of interpretation). But Fred looked out for him, and was supportive, where few others were.

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