Mr. Martindale says no

Date: 23rd December 2022

(Photo: HomesofFootball)

Mr. Martindale says no

“I said naw and ah mean naw.”

It is Christmas time and people are aw full of Christmas cheer…

Apart from Mr. Martindale, erstwhile manager of the Livingston branch of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

He is sitting in his office filled with gloom and nursing doom…

Picture the scene…

Having had the latest round of suggested staff transfers confirmed by head office one of his best employees, a Mr. Nouble, has been quite simply nobbled. It looks like there are quite a few other branches who have determined that Mr. Nouble is the perfect fit for their “over the counter personal customer interface” and, quite simply, want him!

Mr. Martindale is for none of it.

And that now includes Christmas.

Staff have tried their best.

“Shall we put the tree up in…”


“What about some tinsel round the…”


“Mr. Martindale, would you like a mince…”

“Naw, now shut the door ahint ye!”

And this morning, as the snow is starting to fall and the staff are feeling furtively festive, they wonder what will bring him out of his fugue.

But there is one person, tiny, man Mr. Nouble, feeling for all the world like his Christmases could come quick enough but the discord in the office which he feels is all his fault makes him feel like a marly, sorry gnarly, old ghost.

Meanwhile in his office, Mr. Martindale, is staring at his computer like there is no hope for man nor beast. It is 1pm before he realises it, and the second last day before the holiday is building up and into a grim one.

Mr. Martindale has been watching old playbacks of the way things were a year and more ago…the figures of people being helped, the way that this happy, go lucky place was filled with joy and laugher and this had all been down to the influence of Belle.

Belle was the best woman he had ever met, who kept the place alive with the sound of music and gaiety. The number of people not only helped but appreciative of all that had been done for them soared and Mr. Martindale became the belle of the Citizen’s Advice Ball on the back of her influence.

But Mr. Martindale became obsessed with that success, put the happiness of everyone at the bottom end of the rung and wanted more from people until Belle left. A few months later, so did Mr. Martindale who went off to join a Holiday Park because he believed that his sunny disposition needed a sunnier clime to recover…

It didn’t…

Then he was soon back behind the Livingston branch of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s manager’s desk and wanting to make his new season, THE season to be merry and bright. It was a good move and reviewing times long past, he realised he could do something about the transfer of Mr. Nouble if he acted quickly: he decided to call Head Office and speak to someone there.

It was a short call…

They listened to his pleading but still said naw! Mr. Nouble would be shifting early in the New Year…

Then something strange happens.

Mr. Martindale looks again at his computer, and it still says 1pm…

Then an email pings onto his desktop. It is the latest figures from Head Office, showing that they are once again punching above their weight. The Livingston branch of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau under Mr. Martindale are outperforming the rest of the country.

Surely a plea using these figures would work…  surely?

He lifts the phone again and asks to speak to the West Lothian Regional Manager. In his best voice he starts his pitch. He feels that it is impressive, that somehow, he makes a stand and makes his point. The silence between him finishing and the NAW! that comes across the phone is emphatic and feels final, but Mr. Martindale is not going to be denied.

The next thing he realises is that he has woken up after a short sleep. Why did he sleep? He is still at his desk; the place is in darkness and the only light is coming from his computer screen. Flickering images of figures start to dance in front of him. Every trajectory appears in the future to be downward, like a spiral he will be unable to stop. He then sees people, in his future, celebrating his imminent removal from the Livingston branch of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and wonders if they will have danced on his grave so quick. The urgency of what he will need to do has never been so immediate, he knows the change he must make to his pitch but now it is the middle of the night, and nobody will be awake to hear his call… he needs to be patient and he needs to prepare properly for what he is about to say.

It’s then he hears a noise. He looks at the clock. It’s now 6am…

Deciding to investigate he opens the door to his office and flicks on the lights of the Livingston branch of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Mary, the cleaner, who has a dodgy heart valve, was not expecting anyone to be there. An early morning assignation with supervisor Jose was not what the doctor ordered. When the paramedics arrive, they said how lucky she is. When Jose’s wife arrives as she is the boss of the cleaning company, the ambulance makes space for him too.

By 9am and opening time on the last day of 2022 for the Livingston branch of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Mr. Martindale is done in.

When Mr. Nouble approaches him, he is not in any mood for anything but what Mr. Nouble says, feels like his own Christmas Miracle…

“Boss, I’ve decided to stay here till the summer, at least.”

And so, on 34th Street, Livingston, the tree, the tinsel and the mince pies are cracked open, and the festivities begin as Mr. Martindale announces, “ya dancer!”


Whilst the author, asserts his right to this as an original piece of work there is no evidence that there is a 34th Street in Livingston, unless you know differently, so this is clearly a piece of fiction. Apologies to Mr. Dickens, however…

The fact is that during the month, Livingston manager, David Martindale was quizzed about the future of striker, Joel Nouble. He said, “I spoke to the big man yesterday. Joel’s not going anywhere in January. If somebody wants to bid for him, it’ll need to be outrageous. He’s been fantastic for us. I see Joel’s future being elsewhere in the summer. I’d be surprised if I don’t get some interest in the summer.”

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