(Walmington-on-sea High Street. Capt. Mainwaring is walking to work, and Jones is putting up the awning on his shop)
Cpl. Jones: “Morning Captain Mainwaring, lovely day again”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Good morning Jones, it is indeed a beautiful day! (looks up at sky) Bit noisy up there last night, I suppose The Hun has retreated with his tail between his legs as usual”!
Cpl. Jones: “Yes Sir, there’s also a couple of official looking lorries out in the forest. They seem to be searching for something”.
Capt. Mainwaring: “Well as long as they don’t interfere with our training, they can stay there as far as I’m concerned. Good to see the ordnance around though, it gives everyone comfort to see their island being defended”!
(Capt. Mainwaring walks on and disappears into the bank. Walker is approaching)
Pte. Walker: “Here, Jonesy, did you see that lorry parked up by the crossroads? I heard it was on the lookout for stolen army kit! Watch out for your van, they’ll take it if they see it”!
Cpl. Jones: (blowing his cheeks out)“They’ll not take my van, it’s a reserved vehicle that is”! (goes back into shop muttering to himself).
(Walker continues on down the street, and sees Sgt. Wilson approaching)
Sgt. Wilson: “Morning Joe, lovely day”!
Pte. Walker: “Morning – hey, (takes Wilson’s arm) if you’re in a spot of bother, I can get you a new motorbike, but it won’t be the same as your old one”!
Sgt. Wilson: “Well that’s very kind of you Joe; it really is a bit of a bind, having to walk everywhere”.
Pte. Walker: “Just leave it to me; I’ve got a few feelers out for you”!
(Walker and Wilson go their separate ways)
(An office in the Home Guard Command building in Eastbourne. The senior officers are all assembled)
Colonel Peat: “Now Chaps, we need to get to business! Any news from last night”?
Major Elbers: “Well, they certainly made a racket overhead, but as far as we can see, there was no real damage – apart from a couple of greenhouses on the estate being shattered”.
Colonel Peat: “Oh well, that’s what we have to expect, but at least we have a few tricks up our sleeve, eh Major”!
Major Elbers: (warily) “Ooooh – er - yes, definitely...”.
Colonel Peat: “Any news on the requisitioning programme, have we found any unattended vehicles”?
Major Elbers: “We’ve ended up with three Austin cars, a Riley bread van, several bicycles and a GPO motorbike”.
Colonel Peat: “A GPO motorbike! Damn Post Office loses everything these days”!
Major Elbers:”Well, they’re all impounded now, and going to Brighton tomorrow”!
Colonel Peat: “Good, well done Chaps, now, what’s next...”?
(Private Walker is passing a shop at the bottom of the High Street. He does a double-take on realising that it has only just opened for business)
Pte. Walker: (enters shop with door bell clanking) “Morning! Anybody home”?
Shopkeeper (Mr. O’Blene): “Good morning Sir, and how can I help you”?
Pte. Walker: “This is all new isn’t it? Funny time to start a new business these days, there’s a war on y’ know”!
Mr. O’Blene: “Oh yes, and that’s why I’m opening here! I’ve got a shop in Eastbourne, and a workshop in Pevensey. I repair and sell bicycles”!
Pte. Walker: (holds out his hand to shake and introduces himself) “Joe Walker; I can get you most things you need round here, cycle lamp wicks, real leather saddles; got a nice line in rubber inner tubes; cost you a tanner each...”!
Mr. O’Blene: “ Always looking out for a bargain Joe, (shakes Joe’s hand) Friends call me Stan, I get most of my stuff from a bloke in Eastgate, but he’s finished up in Lewes Prison recently”!
Pte. Walker: “Pleased to meetcha Stan. Blimey, what did he do”?
Mr. O’Blene: “Oh, he came round the corner from the High Street too fast, and buried his car in the gates on the crossroads! He’s still sorting that one out I can tell you”!
Pte. Walker: “Ha ha! Do you – er - sell motorbikes as well”?
Stan O’Blene: “Oh yes, any make you like; Matchless, James, Velocette, you name it, I can get one”!
Pte. Walker: “Can you do a deal on a GPO BSA? I may need one”!
Stan O’Blene: “Ooooh, I’m afraid you’ve got me there Joe, they’re protected vehicles you know, most of them were snapped up by the requisition boys recently! The GPO’s going back to pedal cycles again! (rubs hands) I can do you a Brough Superior, got one out the back, but it’ll cost you”!
Pte. Walker: “Blimey, I’m not made of money, haven’t you got anything smaller for about five quid”?
Stan O’Blene: (sharp intake of breath) “Not a lot, but I’ll keep my eye out for you. Call by tomorrow and I may be able to help”!
Pte. Walker: “Certainly will! Can I interest you in some copies of ‘Tit Bits’? Unused”?
Stan O’Blene: (quickly) “I’ll take a dozen; leave them round the back...”! (looks out of window with glazed expression on face)
(The Drill Hall. The Platoon is standing at attention).
Sgt Wilson: “Platoon! Er, At – er - ease don’t you know, just relax a bit”!
Capt. Mainwaring: (fuming aside to Wilson)“Wilson, you’re giving orders, not just lining up a ‘rugger team’ before ‘prep’! (to platoon) Now listen men, I have to report to Area Command about Sergeant Wilson’s missing motorbike. Has anyone got any news"?
Cpl. Jones: “Permission to speak Sir”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Yes Jones, what is it”?
Cpl. Jones: “I’d like to be the first to report Sir”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Right Corporal, what have you got”?
Cpl. Jones: “I’ve heard absolutely no news at all Sir”!
Capt. Mainwaring: (exasperated) “Well why are you making a report then”?
Cpl. Jones: (smugly) “Walls have ears Sir! Careless talk costs lives”!
Capt. Mainwaring: (even more exasperated) “Yes I know all that Jones, but I’m asking you in confidence man! We’re a fighting force; welded to duty; united in defence! What can you report”!
Cpl. Jones: “Well Sir, nobody’s seen hide nor hair of Sergeant Wilson’s motorbike”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Is that it”! (turns to Wilson with despair written all over his face)
Cpl. Jones: “I have to report the truth Sir, if I said anything else, I’d be in trouble”!
Pte. Pike: “Mum says you’ve caused her an awful lot of bother, Uncle Arthur! She said you’re having your tea in the kitchen tomorrow”!
Pte Frazer: “Aye, that’s punishment enough these days”!
Pte Godfrey: “My sister Dolly likes to take tea in the summer house, it reminds her of her childhood! She met many a suitor there, and so did our ‘uncles’; most of them in fact”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Oh, this isn’t getting us anywhere! Wilson, have you heard anything at all”?
Sgt Wilson: “Not a dicky bird Sir, I really don’t know what to do next”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Not a ‘dicky bird’ Not a ‘dicky bird’! This is a serious matter of national importance Sergeant! We may all be arrested if we’re not careful”!
Pte. Walker: “I think I can help Captain Mainwaring”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “You Walker? What have you found out”?
Pte. Walker: “Well you know that new bicycle shop which has opened at the other end of the High Street; well, I met the new owner, Stan O’Blene, and he’s got something which may well suit Sergeant Wilson”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Oh, I’ve seen him; bit of a shady character that one; seems to be coughing all the time. Elizabeth went there to purchase a small nut and bolt for something, and he ended up selling her a new handlebar basket, three gallons of oil for a front lamp, and a footpump”!
Pte. Walker: “Sounds reasonable to me Sir”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Nooo, not really, she hasn’t got a bicycle”!
Pte Frazer: “Well I think I know what’s happened to the wretched thing”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “You Frazer! Well what have you heard”?
Pte Frazer: “Well..., the requisitioning brigade has been lurking around this week! The hearse had to be hidden round the back away from prying eyes! There was a casket on the rollers”!
Cpl. Jones: “You’re right Frazer! They eyed up my van on Tuesday, and it still had a load of sausages in the back"!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Well, what did you do Corporal”?
Cpl. Jones: “I sold them a pound each sir, and also got rid of a lot of chit’lings which don’t sell well Sir”!
Pte Godfrey: “My sister Dolly cooks chitterlings on a slow stove; they’re delicious with a little French mustard and some of her home-baked bread”!
Capt. Mainwaring: (exasperated) “Godfrey; Jones, that’s enough! Now Wilson, it seems to me that your motorbike has been requisitioned, and you’ll probably not see it again! I can’t say I blame them, you should have kept it out of sight..."!
Pte Pike: (interrupts)“...like Mum said you should Uncle Arthur...”
Capt. Mainwaring: “...Quiet Pike! So, that’s probably the end of all this”!
Pte. Walker: (returning to his earlier statement) “I think I can get you another one though Sergeant. Stan O’Blene is making ordinary bikes work with alternative engines”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “What on earth are you talking about Walker! How does he do it”?
Pte. Walker: “Oh it’s quite simple Sir, he takes an ordinary bicycle, and fits a motor to the wheels”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “That’s a French idea isn’t it? Not sure I like the idea of their designs being used in England. They use them in places like Paris! Ooooh no, that sounds shady to me”!
Pte. Walker: “Well apparently, he’s invented a rechargeable motor which fits over the wheel, and drives the bike along”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Oh, this is preposterous! What do you mean by ‘rechargeable’ ? It’s a banking term! This man O’Blene isn’t the sort of person we want in Walmington, making – er - French things”!
Pte Pike: (giggling) “heugh heugh...”!
Capt. Mainwaring: (hopelessly) “Stupid boy”!
Pte. Walker: (continuing his piece) “Well anyway, you plug the connecting wire into the 15amp socket, and it makes the battery last for longer. You can then use it for a while, ride home, connect it to the mains and after a few hours, it’ll go for another few miles”!
Sgt Wilson: “Oh, you mean an electric device like the cars we used to have in Belgravia”!
Capt. Mainwaring: (mimicking Wilson) “’Belgravia’ – that snooty place! All money and no work! Doh, this is ridiculous! It sounds like something out of Jules Verne! I can’t see something like that ever working”!
Pte. Walker: “Well, he’s made several, and there’s an even bigger one with two motors! I can get it for you for five quid! No petrol coupons, dead easy to drive”!
Capt. Mainwaring: “Look Wilson, you’ll have to find out more about this in your own time, speak to Walker afterwards, we’ve got a war to run”!
Sgt Wilson: “Yes of course Sir, we’ll chat later Joe”.
(In the High Street, outside Stan O’Blene’s shop. Walker and Wilson arrive at the same time)
Sgt Wilson: “So what is all this Joe? I’ve never met the man before”!
Pte. Walker: “Well he may look a bit funny, and have some mad ideas, but he’s only doing the best he can under the circumstances! I’m selling him some talc for punctures – pongs a bit, but it was old stock from Timothy Whites before the war”!
Sgt Wilson: “Well, we’d better see what he’s got then”!
(they enter shop and a bell clanks)
Stan O’Blene: “Morning Joe! Morning Sir, how can I help”?
Pte. Walker: “Morning Stan; I want you to meet the gentleman who wants a motorbike”! (aside and behind his hand – usual commission – 10%! Stan nods)
Sgt Wilson: “Good Lord, you’ve got some of the Sturmey-Archer gears from before the war! We all had bikes with those on the estate”!
Stan O’Blene: “The very items Sir! Brand new and wanting a good home”!
Pte. Walker: “Well, Sergeant Wilson wants something with an engine actually Stan, one of your electric bicycles should do the trick”!
Stan O’Blene: “Oh, you mean the O’Blene Flyer! Well I definitely can help you there! Come out the back”! (shuffles off wearing carpet slippers, coughing all the time, towards the back of the shop)
(the yard at the back of Stan O’Blene’s shop)
Pte. Walker: “Blimey, you’ve got enough stuff here Stan”!
Stan O’Blene: “Oh, this is only some of it, the main shop is in Eastbourne”! (pokes around in a box of bicycle pieces, finds an electric cable, coughs, peers at it closely and wanders across to an odd looking bicycle, leaning up against a wheelbarrow)
Sgt Wilson: “Good Lord! What on earth’s that”!
Stan O’Blene: (proudly, and puffing up his chest) “That Sir, is the prototype ‘O’Blene Flyer – Mark 1’! It has two engines, one for each wheel”!
Pte. Walker: “Blimey, it is something from outer space”!
Stan O’Blene: (slightly hurt) “Well I wouldn’t put it like that Joe, (hastily) it really does go well, and costs nothing to run”!
Sgt Wilson: “Well I think it’s a splendid machine Stan! Er, how much do you want for it”?
Pte. Walker: (hastily) “Stan said you could have it for five quid Sergeant”! (winks at Stan)
Stan O’Blene: “That’s about it Sir! And I’ll throw in a spare wire for the electricity charger”!
Sgt Wilson: “Can I have a go first”?
Stan O’Blene: “Well of course! Just pedal as normal, then pull that switch there, (points) and you’ll start the engine! Goes like a dream! Not up to your Vincent speeds, but at least it costs nothing to run”!
(Wilson pedals off, flicks the switch, and the bicycle starts up. He vanishes into the High Street in a cloud of dust)
Pte. Walker: “Another satisfied customer Stan! We could sell a lot of these, you and me! Now, what about an engine on a bath chair for Dolly Godfrey”?