The other day I was recalling the time when I worked as an advocate for parents with learning disabilities. I often accompanied families to court as almost all of them were heavily embroiled in child protection proceedings. Over time I got to know many of the judges and some of them had a fearsome and quite deserved reputation. Some of them were lovely characters and warm, one in particular liked the barristers and me to bring in home made cup cakes and sausage rolls to court and she would enjoy them in her private rooms.
One day I turned up and all the courts were full, they were spilling over actually so this particular hearing was held in some rooms at the back of the building. As is my habit, I was chewing on some Wrigleys that morning, you can sometimes sit about for hours waiting to be heard and my mouth gets so dry. I don`t know what made me think it was ok to keep my Wrigleys in my mouth when we were called in but that is what I did. I took a seat at the back of the court and looked at the judge. I had not met her before. To put it politely, she was a very large lady and she had the most enormous bosom I have ever seen in my life. Her breasts were at least twice the size of her head and were swathed in her very capacious black silks. As she moved about shuffling papers around, her enormous boobs hung and swung like big, soft pendulums, over the polished wood of her desk. So mesmerised was I by this fascinating site, when she asked me for my name I quite forgot where I was and answered her quite naturally with a smile.
It all happened so quickly, for a moment I was confused as to exactly what was unfolding. Raising her billowy arm and pointing at me with a great, long finger nail, her deep voice boomed out over the court room, “ARE YOU CHEWING GUM?”
I immediately turned into a quivering five year old and meekly replied in a tiny voice which is most unlike me, “Yes m`am.”
“WELL GET OUT OF MY COURT AND DON`T COME BACK UNTIL YOU HAVE DISPOSED OF IT!” She yelled at me.
Red faced I got up to make my way to the door when suddenly, all hell was let loose. The court alarm started to ring out in an even more deafening fashion than the judge`s voice. It all became a bit shambolic, barristers ran hither and thither, security people with worried expressions appeared as if from nowhere and other people in the room did not know what to do. When it had quietened down and everyone was settled again and I had disposed of the offending gum, I was told that in raising her arm to oust me, one of the judge`s enormous mammaries had hit the court alarm button, situated on the top of her desk.
I don`t think I have laughed so much in ages. Discreetly. With no chewing gum!