A Bowler Hat and a Cabbage. Pt.2: Geoff

Cecil Flatt's only son, Geoff, lived in the house next to Brockdish Primary School all his life. We often met when he or I were out dog walking. He regularly took his old labrador out trotting alongside his bike and despaired when his new young dog was slow to learn the technique.

He confessed to me one evening that a friend had once told him, "You'll never marry boy - you're too in love with the bat and gun". And indeed Geoff never married (though he had lady friends) and he was captain of the village cricket team for a good many years. The cricket team's score book has lately been donated to the Waveney Heritage archive and he certainly had some impressive innings.

He enjoyed scoring conversation points sometimes, too. When I told him one evening I had to go home to cook supper for the family he looked at me sidelong under the peak of his ever-present cap and asked "What do you keep a dog for?" I professed shock and replied "Geoff you're not supposed to say things like that!" he just grinned slyly and said "I know..."

On some occasions he would 'talk local' to enjoy confusing me, an incomer. One night in conclusion to a late conversation over his gate he said, "Right Tim. I'm gonna perk" And when I mumbled some reply he said "You don't know what I mean do you? Perk... Like a bird... Go to bed"

For all his teasing he was the kindest of men, who dearly loved to talk and I suspect one of the reasons he kept his front hedge so well-trimmed was that it gave him a chance to chat with passers by.

After my failure to make a recording of his Dad, Cecil, I suggested to Geoff on several occasions that I'd like to record him but he changed the subject often enough for me to get the message. The nearest I ever got to recording was to lend him one I'd made of a nightingale singing in the blackthorn thickets further up the road. In return he lent me an autobiography of Geoff Boycott.

His other great love, shooting, was with him to the end . In 2007 Geoff had the stroke that ended his life during the Needham shoot he had helped to organise for many years.

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