Only Fools And Horses

A Touch Of Glass

A RURAL COMMUNITY CENTRE OR CHURCH HALL. The three-wheeled van is parked between Bedfords, Transits, Volvo Estates, etc. Various signs indicate an auction. A few people are leaving the auction, among them the Trotters carrying a large cardboard box. They approach the van. Del opens the back door. Del Can you manage Grandad? Grandad Yeah. Del Good. Mind your hernia. Yeah, that's not bad you know - not bad. I reckon we done well there. Grandad Yeah, it's alright for you. Waste of money if you ask me! Come all this way an' all! Del What do you mean a waste of money? I mean, look at 'em, they're beautiful ain't they! Not only are they an exquisite ornament guaranteed to brighten and adorn any side- board, but they are also revolving musical boxes! Del reveals a cat. Rodney They are china cats that play How Much is that Doggy in the Window! Del Well, what d'you want for one pound and twenty-five pence - 'okla-bleedin'-homa'? Rodney Well don't you think it's a bit sick you know - a cat playing a song about a dog? Del No. It means they're unique! Grandad It means there was a balls-up at the factory and they put the wrong chimes in! Rodney Yeah. Del Yeah, I'll put the wrong chimes in you in a minute. Come on. Get this stuff loaded into the van, right. Get this gear in 'ere. Rodney No, actually, you know he's got a point there. I bet there is some trader somewhere who's got lumbered with a gross of revolving dogs playing The Siamese Cat Song! Del Very funny. Come on Grandad, we want you in here an' all. Rodney Right, go on. Del In you go. Grandad Alright, alright. Del Jam him in - go on. The door will hold him in. Don't worry - we're going to earn out of this. No listen. This is not rubbish you know. This is North Korea's finest porcelain. But our two great cultures have a different attitude towards animals. We are both a nation of dog lovers - the only difference is they love to eat 'em! Come on Rodders, get your finger out, we've got a long drive home. As the van drives along the country roads, we hear their voices over. Rodney Do they really eat 'em? Del Yeah, would I lie to you? If a North Korean came to live in London he'd think that Battersea Dog's Home was a take-away! No, there's nothing they like more than a nice plate of poodle kebabs. Rodney Oh leave it out will yer! Del Or a bull terrier pie. Grandad Alright Del Boy, that's enough! Del Or sweet 'an sour greyhound. Rodney Oi! - one more word out of you and I'm gonna be sick on your sheepskin, and I mean it! DAY. A COUNTRY LANE. A car has broken down on the grass verge. The bonnet is up and smoke is belching from the engine. Staring hopelessly in to the car is Lady Ridgemere, wife of Lord Ridgemere who owns the local estate. She surveys the lane in hope of another car coming along. She sees the three-wheeled van approach from the distance. INTERIOR OF VAN. Del Go on, put yer foot down Rodney. I'm starving! I could just go a nice Jack Russell and chips. Rodney For the last time shut up! Oi, look, shall we pull over and give her an 'and? Del Do me a favour, I wanna get home for the pubs! Rodney We just can't leave her stuck out here in the middle of nowhere, can we! Del You're a right little angel you are aren't you, eh? Go on then, pull over! The van pulls up and the Trotters alight. Del Good afternoon madam, can I be of any assistance? Lady R Oh that's awfully nice of you. Do you know anything about cars? Del Do I know anything about cars? I used to drive for the John Player Special team! Lady R Oh, the Grand Prix circuit? Grandad No, delivering fags round Lewisham. Del He's a card ain't he? Lady R I'm trying to get to Ridgemere Hall, it's that large estate about five miles back up the road. Grandad Ridgemere Hall. That's that big mansion what we passed Del! (To Lady R) You in service there? Lady R Certainly not! I live there - I'm Lady Ridgemere! Del Lady Ridgemere! Rodney, get the tow rope. Would you come with me m'lady, I'll get you home in no time at all. Here we are. Did you go to the wedding? Lady R The wedding? Oh the wedding? Yes, we did. Del Yeah, it was a lovely do weren't it? Yeah. We watched it on our TV - in colour. It's a pity we didn't know you then 'cos we were doing a lovely line in toasters. That would have made a blinding present! May I? Mind the hole. RIDGEMERE HALL. A magnificent 17th-century mansion set in its own grounds with well maintained gardens. The van, containing Del and Lady R, and the car, containing Rodney and Grandad, come up the long drive and pull up. They all alight. Del Right Rodney, undo the tow rope and give Grandad his scarf back will you. Wallace, the Ridgemere's ageing and very snobbish butler, appears and rushes down the main steps. Wallace Is everything alright m'lady? Lady R No Wallace - everything is not alright! The car broke down and I was stranded in the middle of nowhere! Wallace Oh, dear - how dreadful for you! He looks the Trotters up and down with a contemptuous sneer. Wallace And who are these - 'people'? Lady R Oh they towed me home that's all. Now be a good chap Wallace and do push the car round to the garage. (Climbs into the car) Wallace Oh very well m'lady! He attempts to push the car. Del Oi - you shouldn't be pushing a car like that at your age! Keep your knees bent, and your back straight. Rodney Did you hear that? (Mimics Wallace) And who are these 'people'? Ponce! Come Del let's go! Here you are Grandad. He gives Grandad the scarf. Del Go? What do you mean 'go'? You don't think I'm leaving here without so much as a cucumber sandwich and a cup of Earl Grey do yer? This is fate, Rodney, Unison Oppotunaire. There's gotta be an earner in it. Rodney Oh no, come on Del, most nobility are brassic nowadays aren't they? Del points to a Rolls Royce and Range Rover. Del Oh yeah, and where do you think they get them from then, eh? Out of a Christmas cracker? Rodney Yeah, alright, so they've got the money. But they don't wanna know the likes of us do they? Grandad No, they think we're peasants! Del Peasants? What do you mean 'peasants'? They may think that you two are peasants! Well come to think that I think you two are peasants! But me, I'm one of them that's accepted anywhere - whether it's drinking lager with the market boys down at Nine Elms, or sipping Pimm's fruit cup at Hendon regatta! Lord R appears at a window. Del (cont'd) Oi up, eyes down for a full house, it's his lordship! Del gives him a smile and the Royal wave. Lord R (Calls) I say. I'm sorry, I'm afraid we're not open to the public for another three weeks! Del No, no, your grace, you're under a misapprehension. We're not members of the general public! We're friends of your wife - she's just popped the car round to the garages. Lord R Oh, I see! Well, er, in that case I suppose you'd better come in. Del Oh right. Thanks very much your grace! (To Rodney) And, oi, these are very refined people and they do not wish to hear your joke about the queer magician. Got it? (To Grandad) And don't you go dropping none in there! They enter. THE RIDGEMERES' DRAWING ROOM. In one corner stands a cabinet filled with Lady R's collection of fine china and porcelain. Among the paintings on the wall hangs a photograph of some kind of passing out ceremony at Cambridge University. Lord R, becoming increasingly irritated by these intruders, is seated on the sofa with his drink in hand. Rodney, feeling uneasy and wishing he wasn't there, and Grandad, who seems quite at home, are seated on another sofa. They have drinks. Wallace is pouring another drink for Del who is admiring the artwork while making the appreciative noises of a connoisseur. Del Very nice, very nice! They don't make pictures like that any more do they, eh? No. 'Cos I'm a great fan of the Byzantine period myself. I don't think you can whack 'em you know... (Indicating painting) Now it's a funny thing you know, your Lordship, but Van Gough happens to be my favourite artist an' all. Rodney It's a Canaletto! Del I beg your pardon Rodney? Rodney It's a Canaletto!! Del I know - I know it's a Canaletto. I was just saying that Van Gough happens to be one of my favourite artist that's all! (To Lord R) Here, why do you reckon he chopped his ear off, eh? Lord R Doctor's orders possibly! Del Do you think so! Wallace Your brandy sir. Del Oh thank you very much. Wallace I'm afraid we have run out of cream soda! Del Oh well, don't worry about it Wallace. Wallace I shan't sir! The telephone rings. Wallace (cont'd) Excuse me sir. Del Certainly. Gives good measures here don't he. You ought to watch him. Very nice, very nice. (Indicating photo) There he is - look at that, lovely. I didn't know you went to Cambridge though m'lord! 'Cos I'm an Oxford man meself. Lord R You were up at Oxford? Grandad No, but he always supports them in the boat race! Del Yeah, thank you Grandad! Thank you. Lady R You must be in a hurry to get home Mr Trotter? Del Oh no, no, no m', no, no. No, we've got all the time in the world. All the time in the world. Yeah, I love this place, beautiful ain't it. Beautiful house. I think I saw a photograph of it once in the, er, Horse and Hound. Lady R The Horse and Hound! You hunt Mr Trotter? Del Oh yes, I hunt, punt and ski when the snow's firm enough. Grandad How old is it? Lord R Er, is what - how old is what? Grandad The house - is it old? Lady R Yes, the original structure was built in 1642. Grandad Oh! Still you've done it out nice! Lady R Thank you. Grandad Is it haunted? Rodney Oi, what you after a part-time job or something? Wallace enters. Lady R No, I'm afraid the one thing we lack is a resident ghost. Del Oh, never mind you've still got Wallace ain't you. Lord R Yes Wallace, what is it? Wallace Begging your pardon m'lord. There's a telephone call for you. The chandelier people. Lord R Ah, and about time too. You will excuse me, won't you? Del Yes, go on. You take yer time m'lord (Lord R exits) Oh this is nice. I see that you like a bit of china and porcelain m'lady. Yeah, this is very nice - this. I like this. Now don't tell me - don't tell me Capo Del Monte? Lady R It's mostly Dresden. And that particular piece is worth several hundred pounds. Del Is it really? Gawd, get away, feel the weight of that then Rodney. Yeah, it is ain't it, eh? Yeah, of course that's where the money is ain't it - in the weight. Oh mon dieu, mon dieu, if you like a nice piece of fine porcelain I've got the very thing for you in the back of the van. Lady R Don't inconvenience yourself Mr Trotter. Del No, no, it's no trouble m'lady. No trouble. I picked it up in this little, er, antique shop in Yeovil. Well it's, um, it's well circa something or another! I'll pop out and fetch one for you shall I? (To Rodney) Right keep sprawnsing alright? Excuse me m'lady. Del exits. Lady R Where do you live? That is assuming you're not squatting here! Rodney No, er, we live in London. One of - one of the better parts of London! Grandad Yeah Peckham. Rodney It's, um, Peckham Village actually! It's, er, well like a little St John's Wood you know, just south of the water. Grandad It's very nice! We've got a flat in a tower block. Rodney Well it's an apartment! In a - in a complex. A tall complex. Very sophisticated actually. It's got lifts - everything! Lady R Yes. Must be quite valuable with the price of property these days? Grandad Oh no, we rent it. Rodney No, we - we lease it! He for- gets bless him. He's got a bit of shrapnel! It's a lease Grandad - do you remember, a long-term lease! Grandad Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We lease it! The council said we could buy it for eight thousand pounds though! Rodney God help us! RIDGEMERE'S HALL. DAY. Lord Ridgemere is on the telephone. Lord R Yes, yes, but it must be in your office somewhere! All I know is that your people came down here, examined the chandeliers. That was three weeks ago and I am still waiting for your estimate! Yes. Well, I suggest you have another good look...Yes I'll hold on. Del enters the hall carrying a china cat. Del (Showing the cat to Lord R) Bisque porcelain! Lord R What? Del Demi-glazed! It revolves and plays How Much is that Doggy in the Window! You can't go wrong for a fiver can yer, eh? Lord R No, I suppose not. Del No. Don't be long, I'll pour you a drink, alright? Del moves towards the drawing room. Lord R Just a minute Potter, er, er, Trotter How Much is that Doggy in the Window? Del Don't know, depends on how much you want to spend. Little joke, no, no, no, it's the tune ain't it. (Sings) How much is that doggy in the window. The one with the waggly tail. Lord R Yes, yes, yes, yes, I know. I know. The thing is a cat! Del (Examines the cat) Oh well, you're right an' all, it's times like this that I wish I went to Cambridge! Tell you what, look, I'll pour you a drink. Don't be long. Lord R Hello? You found it! Good. Twelve hundred pounds? Del is just about to enter the drawing room when he hesitates at the mention of money. He listens in to the conversation. Lord R Are you sure you're looking at the right paperwork? Yes, two Louis 14th chandeliers - that's right! But how do you arrive at a figure of twelve hundred pounds? All you've got to do is take the things down, clean them, do a few minor repairs! Yes I am aware that it is 17th-century French crystal, I own the damned things! Yes, I know it's a job for an expert that's why I got in touch with you! But I'm sure if I shopped around I - I could find a lower estimate than that. Yes I know that it is a dying trade but there must be someone, somewhere! Del nods in agreement, then slips quietly into the drawing room. MAIN HALL.RIDGEMERE. NIGHT. It is a massive dazzling hall with a long sweeping flight of stairs. The sort of place that would have American coach parties 'Gee Whizzing' all over the place. The main eye-catchers are two large crystal chandeliers - straight out of Cinderella. There are the sounds of footsteps and voices approaching. Del Oh, sorry we couldn't stay longer yer lordship. Lord R That's perfectly alright Trotter, please don't apologize. Lord and Lady R enter the hall followed by the Trotters. Del surveys the hall. Del Oh toujours la politesse, toujours. I mean this is beautiful innit, eh? Bet you've held a few balls in here m'lady? Lady R What? Oh yes, yes we have! Del We like a nice social gathering ourselves. Perhaps you'd like to come to the next one, eh Rodney? Rodney Yeah, yeah, I mean, you know, just bring a bottle and an LP or something. Lady R Thank you for the 'cat' Mr Trotter. It blends so well with the rest of my collection. Del Specially with the Dresden I thought! Lady R Yes! I'm sorry we weren't able to pay you for it. But neither my husband nor I carry cash. Del Oh don't worry, pay me next time I'm down. Lady R Yes of course. What do you mean 'next time'? Lord R D'you mean to say you're coming here again? Whatever for? Grandad To pick up that fiver she owes him! Del A la mode, a la mode! Please accept it as a token of my esteem. Lady R Thank you! Lord R Yes, well, it's getting rather late! I think we - we better say goodbye, er, Trotter. Del Trotter, yeah. Well thank you very much for your hospital- ity, it's been very nice of you. Del notices the chandeliers. Del (cont'd) Now look at that - that's beautiful innit, eh? Lady R Yes. Goodbye. Del French crystal? Lord R Yes, it is actually! Del Yeah, thought it was. You can always tell by the old, er, cut of the er...droplets! 17th century that, ain't it Grandad? Grandad Yeah, if you like Del! Del Yeah, I'd say it was one of the Louis's! If it ain't one of the Louis's, it's very similar, ain't it Rodney? Rodney Oh it's a dead ringer Del, yeah, dead ringer! Del Yeah, yeah, but is it Louis the 13th or Louis the 14th? No don't tell me, your Lordship I can get this. That is Louis the 14th. Am I right yer lordship? Lord R Spot on Trotter! How do you come to know so much about chandeliers? Del laughs, as do Rodney and Grandad but their exchanges soon fade to bemusement. Del How come we know so much about chandeliers! Oh sorry. Sorry about our amusement there your lordship! But see asking a Trotter if he knows anything about chandeliers is like asking Mr Kipling if he knows about cakes! This is our business! Lord R Really? Del Oh yeah. Chandelier, candelabra, quality crystal and what 'ave yer. It's been the family trade for generations. Knowledge has been passed down from father to son. Our name goes right back in history don't it Rodney? Rodney Yeah, yeah, right the way back to the plague! Del Our forefathers used to make them - did you know there are still four Trotters hanging in Buckingham Palace? Lady R Amazing! Del No, straight up - 'cos what, with the advent of solar energy and fluorescent lighting, there's not much call for it nowadays. In recent years we've tended to specialize in the old, er, renovation work. Lord R Do you mean to say that you could - you could take that thing down and - and clean and repair it? Del Oh yeah, do that blindfold. (Checks watch) Anyway we mustn't keep you any later, so I'm gonna say bonne bouche to you both! (is about to exit) Lord R No hurry Trotter, no hurry! I've just remembered I've got a bottle of rather special port through there in the study. What say we open it and - and have a bit of a chat, eh? Del Oh well that's very civil of you my lordship. THE TROTTERS' LOUNGE. NIGHT. Del is pacing the room. Grandad is slumped in an armchair. Rodney is sitting on a dining table chair. There has been a row. Del Don't be a plonker all your life Rodney! I've done the deal now. It's 350 quid just to take down and clean a couple of chandeliers. Rodney And do you honestly think he's gonna pay us? Grandad Of course he's gonna pay us! He ain't one of your fly-by- night merchants. I mean he's a lord of the realm, he's got blue blood and - and mottos! Rodney He didn't even pay us for that cat! Del Oh shut up about that rotten cat! Rodney Del, you need specialized equipment for a job like this - refined glass brushes, advanced soldering gear. What we gonna use, eh? Superglue and a bottle of Windolene knowing you! Del Look I'll get the right equipment Rodney, I know this panel beater and he owes me a favour. Look once we've done this job our name will spread. All those dukes an' earls they'll be crying out for us. Just imagine it, eh? We'll be the toast of the county set, eh? Just think of it, all the hounds, you know, baying with excitement, as our steeds bite on the rein eager for the chase. Hello Tally ho Sir Herbert. Did you ken John Peel? Come on boy... Rodney Take a look at him will yer! He's spent three hours in a stately home and he thinks he's the Earl of Sandwich! He can't wait to get a shotgun and a retriever and go marching across the grouse moors all done up like a ploughman's lunch can he? Del No, that's right Rodney. I deserve a bit of the good life, worked hard enough for it, I mean I've always been a trier. Where's it got me? Nowhere that's where it's got me! We live 'alf a mile up in the sky in this lego set built by the council. Run a three-wheel van with a bald tyre. We drink in wine bars where the only thing's got a vintage is the guvnor's wife! That's why I want to grab this opportunity with both hands Rodney. You know, he who dares wins. This time next year we'll be millionaires. Rodney Do you honestly believe that Del? I mean, do you really think we can make a success of this? Del Of course we can Rodney. The door will be opened to a new world. It'll be Alex Through the Looking Glass. You will dine at the finest restaurants on - on steak chasseur and sutee potatoes. Your shoes will be by Gucci, your jewellery will come from Aspreys, your clothes will be made by Man at C & A! What d'you reckon Rodders, eh? What d'you reckon? Rodney Man at C & A. Yeah, alright. I'll give it a whirl. Del Good boy. You know it makes sense donít you? Rodney Oi, but we do a proper job, right. No bodging! Del Of course not, what do you take me for, eh? Rodney Oi! Del I'll save the best bit for you. Rodney I'll see you in the morning then. Del Yeah see you in the morning. Night. Grandad 'No bodging.' I think he lacks faith in you Del Boy! Del Always been his trouble innit, eh? Oi, 'ere, do me a favour will you Grandad. Pop out in the kitchen see if we've got any Windolene and superglue left, will you? THE MAIN HALL. RIDGEMERE HALL. Rodney carries an high set of aluminium ladders into the hall and lays them against a wall. He then exits to collect the second set. Grandad enters carrying a tool bag and a large canvas bag. Del is supervising. Wallace watches from a distance with a growing sense of doom. Del Righto Grandad, you pop upstairs and get the floor- boards up! Now you know what you're doing don't you? Grandad removes a hammer, a large screwdriver and a spanner from the tool bag. Grandad Don't you worry Del, leave it to me. Del (To Wallace) Oh he's a craftsman! (Calls) Oi, Grandad, d'you want a jemmy! Grandad No I had one before we left. Wallace Why does he have to remove the floorboards? Del What is this, the International Year of the Wally-Brain or something? Listen, my good man, how do you think that great big heavy chandelier stays up there on that ceiling, eh? It is not by the power of prayer or double-sided sticky tape! There is a long threaded bolt through that chandelier, it goes through a wooden joist and is held in position by a locking nut. Now in order to undo the locking nut you must first lift up the floorboards! Ordre du jour! Wallace We learn something new every day! If you need me I shall be round at the garages. Del Right. Here, while yer there give the van a wash, will you. Wallace exits as Rodney enters with the ladders. Del (cont'd) Ah, talking of wally-brains. Come on. Here - watch it! Rodney I mean this is terrific innit. His lordship's nowhere to be seen and now even the butler's having a moody! D'you reckon we're gonna get paid? They begin to place the ladders beneath one of the chandeliers. Del Look, his lordship is away on holiday, he'll pay us when he gets back! Now come on, get these ladders up. Yeah, you never know might be in for a bonus. Rodney Oh yeah, perhaps he might bring us back a nice stick of rock each, eh? Del Well just shut up moaning will yer! Oi, Grandad how you doing? UPSTAIRS ROOM. DAY. Grandad has the carpet rolled back and has one floorboard removed. He is levering another one free. Grandad (Calls) Alright Del Boy. I've found it Del! THE MAIN HALL. DAY. Del and Rodney are a few feet from the two ladders and are un-rolling the canvas bag. Del Here you are. See, he's found the nut. I told you we could trust him. Right come on get this out. Grandad (Out of view) I've started to undo it. Del and Rodney No! Del (Calls) Gordon Bennett, we ain't even up the ladders yet! Rodney Grandad - don't you touch nuffink till we tell you. Del Come on, we'd better get up there. Holding the canvas bag between them, Del and Rodney climb the ladders carefully enveloping the first chandelier with the canvas bag. Del Alright Rodders? Is there any- thing you want? Rodney Yeah, I wanna go home! This ladder's none too safe. Del The ladder's alright. Look this is the chance I've been waiting for. Now, don't let me down Rodders - now don't let me down! (Calls) Alright Grandad, we're ready! You can start undoing it now! UPSTAIRS ROOM. DAY. Grandad places the spanner on the nut and begins easing it round. Grandad It's coming Del Boy! One more turn Del! THE MAIN HALL. Del Right. Now brace yourself Rodney, brace yourself! Grandad gives one last bang with the hammer and the nut comes free. In the hall the second chandelier crashes to the floor with an almighty 17th-century crystal type crunch. Del and Rodney stare at each other for a few seconds before turning to survey the damage. Del (In shock) Grandad was undoing the other chandelier! Rodney How can you tell? They descend the ladders slowly, lowering the canvas bag gently to the floor. They walk slowly towards the remains of the chandelier, broken French crystal crunching beneath their feet. Grandad descends the stairs blissfully unaware. Grandad Alright Del Boy? Del Alright? What do you mean 'alright'? Look at it! Grandad Did you drop it Del? Rodney Drop it? How could we drop it? We wasn't even holding it! We were working on that one! Grandad Well I wish you'd said something. I was working on this one! Is it very valuable Del? Del No, not really! It was bleedin' priceless when it was hanging up there though! Rodney What's his lordship gonna say when he finds out? Del Well, I think I can safely say that my invitation to the hunt ball has gone for a Burton! Wallace It's broken! Del Look, what the hell do you know about chandeliers anyway? Rodney I think he's tumbled Del! Wallace I shall telephone his lordship at his cottage immediately! Del Yeah, well, tell him to phone us at home. Oh. by the way, has his lordship got our home address and telephone number? Wallace No! Del Good! Right, out of it. Go on. The Trotters run for the door.

                                'Ere, these pages are for lack of education purposes 
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                                                                   Bonjour. Derek Trotter 
                                                                       President (T.I.T.)


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