The 'Panto Isolating Cock' is a control to enable the train's guard to disconnect the power-collecting pantograph from the overhead power lines in the event of an emergency. The pantograph (the coat-hanger thingy on top of the train carriage) is held against the power lines by air pressure. In the event of an emergency, the air supply would be cut off and the pantograch would descend, disabling the train. In the event of this not happening, the train's Guard can cut off the air supply by shutting the 'Panto Isolating Cock' in his van, thus causing the pantograph to descend and removing (or at least reducing) the danger of electrocution.
So, if you want to know about Pantos and Cocks - just ask a trainspotter..."
And now a fabulous story which I cut out of the Sunday Express this week. The tale concerns George Brown, Labour Foreigh Secretary under the Wilson government during a diplomatic visit to Peru in 1966.
George was attending a banquet in Peru where he was expected to dance with the president's wife. After drinking heavily, he tapped a lady wearing a red dress, on the shoulder. She declined his invitation to take the floor with this response:
" First, you are drunk. Second, this is not a waltz, it is the Peruvian national anthem. And third, I am not a woman, I am the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima."
Foreign Secretary George Brown.
(Cardinal Archbishop of Lima not depicted)