Peter’s Patter - Uncle Buck

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I was watching the Breakfast News recently and there was an item on the dangers of cyclists being injured as people open their car doors without checking first.

It was very informative and they were promoting the new, why didn’t we think of this before, advice from Holland which was to use your arm furthest from the door to open it. Makes sense as that way you turn your body round and force yourself to look onto the road. Clever people these Dutch!

If only this advice had been around when I was growing up then my cousin Mark would not have been knocked off his bike so often. He probably spent more time on the tarmac than on that bike of his as apart from hitting open doors he had a tendency to hit just about everything else. For a period of two years Mark was a well-known face in the local hospital.

He was so unlucky that we called him cousin Luck which was very appropriate as we called his dad Uncle Buck. His name was actually Gill but we had to re-name him as he did this thing where he refused to swear in front of family so when we were all at my granny’s house he would say “buck” instead of you know what. I had no idea why he did it, maybe he thought we had never heard anyone swear before but it soon became his trademark and ‘Uncle Buck’ was born.

If anyone earned the right to swear though it was Mark yet he never uttered a word whilst flying off his bike again and again.

We were cycling in a field down from my granny’s and you had to cross a wee bridge at the bottom. Everyone cycled through but somehow Mark missed the bridge and went flying down into the burn below and broke his arm.

It is hilarious looking back but at the time we just couldn’t work out why Lady Luck deserted him.

One time he had fallen but could still cycle home with the rest of us but as we all cycled down the road only Mark was hit by an old lady opening her car door. He needed 18 stitches that time.

He even involved his family. One evening I was with my dad heading back from the football match and we took a short-cut through the street were Mark lived. We were having a laugh wondering where cousin Luck was hiding, then suddenly whooshing round the corner came Mark on his bike and we watched in amazement as he flew over the car bonnet.

Can you guess what Uncle Buck said when he came running out the house?