Saturday, 29 June 2013

Service with a Scream

As ever, Wimbledon rolls round and summer clears off. A coincidence or something to do with the earth’s natural rhythm? Its odd though, isn’t it – Wimbledon = Rain = Glastonbury. Rain’s traditional at Glastonbury. Trenchfoot and mild typhus too. Mind you, if you want a dry, warm four person tent, they are available. At £900 a throw. ‘Struth! 

But Wimbledon’s the place for tradition and I notice that in relatively recent years, a new one has been added. Screaming women. I think it was Monica Seles who started it. Where there once was an audible exhalation of held breath on serving, Monica ratcheted that up to a full blown yell. Sadly (or not) her screaming career was brought to a halt by a deranged person who stabbed her. For screaming? We’ll never know. In screaming’s early days, half-hearted attempts were made to stop it – obviously (audibly) unsuccessfully. One of the loudest screamers, a tall lass by the name of Sharapova was knocked out the other day. Good. BUT BY ANOTHER SCREAMER? The match was ridiculous. Whack, “EEEOOOUU”, whack, “AIEEEUH” for game after game, serve upon serve. OK some of the blokes do it too, but their deeper voices don’t shatter spectacle lenses at twelve feet, being more on a wavelength that starts off earthquakes in Dudley. 

Personally, I’d ban it. You don’t pay silly money to be screamed at for three sets, do you? Doubtless, trainers, coaches and the circus of attendant experts who globetrot with screamers will tell you that the scream is an essential part of the screamer’s game. Well I’m sorry, that just doesn’t wash with me. Its quite simply deeply irritating and spoils tennis matches. Imagine what might happen if a star coach announced that wearing a marigold rubber glove on your head improved your serve. Would a doubles match look like a yard full of swift chickens? What if they screamed as well? Yep, I’d dock ‘em a point for every scream. It’d go quiet pdq, I’ll bet you. And repeat offenders would be made to wear marigolds ON THEIR FEET!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Bloatmingle! Starts today! When I say today, I mean tomorrow because this is being written yesterday.

The summer of 1951 was one of the hottest and balmiest Rome had ever known, which was of little consolation to Bloatmingle who was in Crouch End at the time.  Days of depressing drizzle, interrupted only by the odd day of depressing torrential rain filled the atmosphere with misery and the streets with puddles.  Dawn was breaking over the wet, grey city as Bloatmingle lit his pipe with a casual flourish.  He had to, matches were still rationed. With his lungs full of Beryl's Old Shag, he turned up the collar of his police issue raincoat, walked out into the rainsoaked street and hailed a cab.

"Another rotten day, an' no mistake, eh, Guvnor?" said the dentally challenged cabbie as they sped toward Scotland Yard.  "Worst summer fer fifty years, so some bloke on the wireless was sayin'. Gor blimey. Reckon that Noah had the right idea, buildin' that ark, eh, sir? Strike a bleedin' light, pard'n me French an all that, sir. Lummee!"

Bloatmingle nodded politely at the cabbie's jolly cockney badinage but his mind was elsewhere. There were more terrible things afoot than the weather.

Starts here tomorrow, exclusive to Pangolin... "Bloatmingle of the Yard"!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Exclusive to Pangolin!!! Coming soon - the stirring adventures of Bloatmingle of the Yard!

Thought for the Day, by Justin Webly, more or less Arch. of Cant.

Justin here – on a lovely June morning with my hollyhocks fairly bursting with vibrant summer colour.
But all is not well. I am most dreadfully concerned about the plight of that young Snowden fellow – you know, the one who blew the gaff on our American cousins being so sneaky by using their electronic surveillance capabilities to spy on us all. Apparently, the forces of law and order in the United States would like to apprehend Mr Snowden and ask him some jolly direct questions about what he has done. Consequently, Mr Snowden is flitting from country to country, seeking sanctuary. Why I myself penned a letter to him offering my own cathedral as a place of safety with a constant supply of my dear wife’s delicious pilchard sandwiches and buttered scones for sustenance. I’m sorry to have to report that as I was writing, I was aware of someone standing behind me. It was the young man with a wire in his ear. Taciturn at the best of times, on this occasion he said nothing at all, but merely reached down, grabbing my unfinished letter. 

Believe it or not, he then ate it, along with my pen and  departed as quietly as he had arrived, wagging an admonishing finger as he went. I have lots of pens and some lovely headed notepaper. I am writing this under the stairs and will try to get this missive to those nice people at Pangolin as soon as I can.

Earlier today I rang the Prime Minister to register my unease with our transatlantic friend’s actions with regard to Mr Snowden. After all, whilst he might have broken their laws, he did so to reveal much greater transgressions on their behalf. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get through. After some odd clicking noises, an unfamiliar and rather coarse voice said that the P.M. was not available and that I should sod off and stop bloody well interfering. I found this very puzzling, but nowhere near as strange as the young man with the wire in his ear appearing as I replaced the telephone. He appeared to be tapping the side of his nose with his index finger. I think he was smiling slightly. Undeterred, I went to my study to retrieve my mobile phone and do you know – I could not find it anywhere!

So now my problem is to discover a way of delivering this Thought for the Day. Methinks I shall conceal this piece about my person and stroll down to the village, there to avail myself of the services of Miss Partridge at the Post Office. Hmm. Perhaps I should re-word that. But time presses, and as Saint Botolph so succinctly put it, “Needs must when the devil’s been sick in your kettle”. Or was that the dreadful Blackadder?

Or Lady Barnet?

Pip pip


Sunday, 23 June 2013

On This Day

Two Years Ago

At Grimgussie in Scotland a Pipe Band playing a traditional lament led out a small party of volunteers headed by the Official Enumerator at the start of the Annual Midge Count.

Five Years Ago

After a heated exchange of words, two visitors were turned away from entering Best Kept Village Tartley cum Bickersteth on grounds of appearance. Midlanders Kyle and Kayleigh Ploag accepted they were in contravention of the Welcome notice requesting no shellsuits, shorts or baseball caps, but were keen to point out that they had no intention anyway of visiting the poxy village, had only stopped for the car-park toilets and were on their way to friends in Lower Tartley, which was a tidy sight nicer place any day.

Eight Years Ago

East Anglian family conciliation solicitors Dymcock, Faddle & Werp gave formal notice of the dissolution of their professional partnership, citing difficulties at work over many years as the cause of their break-up. As doors closed for the last time, the two senior partners were seen to be engaged in a lively discussion and exchange of writs, while junior partner Timothy Werp was taken into police custody for his own protection.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Pangolin Obituary

Wurzel Squint
14th January 1990 - 19th June 2013

With his philanderings, petty theft and tendency to fart broccoli on public transport, Squint managed to piss off more people in his short life than most people five times his age.

He had been a fugitive for a number of years, dodging the attentions of three jealous husbands, four jilted fiancées (you may wonder how he'd managed to acquire them in the first place. He lied about his inheritance) and someone seeking recompense for a wrecked car aerial, but an ill-advised appearance on a dating website may have led to his demise. Certainly the cause of death remains a mystery.

Detective Inspector Lymeswold of West Mercia Police observed: "It could have been the decapitation, it could have been the defenestration, it could have been the deliberate infection with something embarrassing and nasty.  Frankly, whoever dun it - I don't blame 'em!"

Squint's chief claim to fame was as the subject matter  of a new handbook for psychiatrists, detailing a newly-discovered personality disorder. He has asked for 412 other offences to be taken into consideration.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Pangolin Obituary

Dr Hugh Bigthing 
April 28th 1934 - 4th June 2012

The death has been announced of controversial sex therapist and penis enlarger, Dr Hugh Bigthing.  Dr Bigthing came to prominence in the early 1980's when his DIY penis-enlarger kit, comprising baking soda, small fireworks and a stirrup pump took the medical market by storm.  The kit was eventually withdrawn after several unfortunate accidents, but not before Dr Bigthing had become very wealthy.  Dr Bigthing sought thereafter to distribute his kit gratis in underdeveloped countries, but was sued by Hollywood Film Studios because of the name of his campaign -  Free Willy.

In a tribute to Dr Bigthing from veteran porn film producer Randy Andy Shuttleworth (81), Mr Shuttleworth said: 'Bigthing was a complete and utter nutter.'

Monday, 17 June 2013

New! Pangolin Dating (not just for pangolins; people might want to get involved, too).

Shy guy, poetic, swashbuckling and looking for female 18 - 76.

Prickwillow, Cambs.

Hi!  I'm a shy, bi-guy. I'm really looking for a long-lasting relationship, preferably with someone with enough money to pay off my parking tickets. My interests include collecting vintage toothbrushes and nicking hubcaps off small hatchbacks.

Once I've met the right person, I'm NOT afraid to commit; why, I've been engaged thirteen times in the last two years.

I'm sorry if it's a bit difficult to tell what I look like in the photo; I'm trying not to draw attention to myself since one of the people I was engaged to now wants her jewellery back.

Also, even though I'm wearing shades indoors, this doesn't mean I'm a total douchebag.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

NEW TO PANGOLIN!!!! Glossop County Council Update!

There has been some talk in council chambers about my recent election by landslide. Of course, it’s only natural that tongues will wag and people will ask difficult questions about council offices built on a notoriously unstable slope prone to landslides. But as council leader, I have to look beyond petty party politics. We need to come together at this difficult time and just be thankful that the ballot was deemed lawful and that my opponents are slowly recovering in hospital. I have also made it my first act as new Council Leader to order the immediate rebuilding of the council chambers with marble reclaimed from the recently demolished Jimmy Savile memorial fountain and bathhouse. I can promise you now that our new town hall will be better than the last and with 80% more jingle jangle jewellery!

After so much recent bad press, I was particularly delighted when the editors of The Pangolin asked me to write something for their excellent publication. Though local politics are my usual concern, I welcome this opportunity to address world affairs, something I regretfully couldn’t do at the recent meeting of the Bilderberg Group.

And I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that we are living in difficult times. China continues to muscle the world economy, America is barely out of recession, and our move to twice monthly refuse collections has been put on hold due to a shortage of green wheelie bins. But let us not suppose that these matters are unrelated! Do you think it right that your local council should be at the whim of Chinese wheelie bin distributors? I think not!

It’s for that reason I formed a steering committee to investigate the possibility of our sourcing wheelie bins from elsewhere. Mr Lowrey, our borough acquisitions officer, has worked tirelessly, often late into the night but the news is good. As he told me recently: ‘We noticed that a neighbouring local authority had a surplus of brown wheelie bins, many of which were being left on the pavement on weekday nights. We arranged for our council wagons to collect those wheelie bins under the cover of darkness.’

You should be receiving your new spray-painted green wheelie bin in the next few days and we ask that all residents treat them carefully and keep them locked to drainpipes at all times. If officials from any other local authority ask your permission to look at your wheelie bin, refuse (pun intended) and contact council offices immediately. Ask for ‘Big Brian and the lads’, give your name and address, and immediately lock your doors and windows. For legal reasons we ask that, no matter what you hear, don’t look outside…

This is for everyone, everywhere, who indulges in life drawing.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Thought for the Day, from Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant

I do hope your summer is being as blessed as mine. I’m still not used to all the dressing up, having to sit in the back of cars and not get to drive, and being followed by the young man with a wire in his ear and a bulge in his jacket, but I’m relishing the new challenges being placed before me.
The other day I met one Patrick McLoughlin, the chap responsible for the ongoing development of the High Speed Train system. I had asked for this meeting to highlight the many concerns of homeowners whose property is now blighted by the HST building corridor. Mr McLoughlin said that whilst he understood their worries, they counted for very little in the face of such a shiny, sexy, government-saving project. When I further pressed him about the plight of those whose homes would be compulsorily purchased, he appeared not to hear me and kept muttering, “Whoosh! 225mph! Whoosh! Whoa! Sexy!” I was not impressed by the HST. Utterly bereft of any real character, it cannot hold a candle to the steam locos of yesteryear, or the wonderful atmosphere they engendered. Rachmaninov, Brief Encounter! The dear dead steamy days beyond recall.

I am soon to serve on a Parliamentary Inquiry into Banking Ethics. Now this I am really looking forward to. I have experience in this field. I can name greedy, bent names and warmly anticipate handing out quite a few excommunications. Failing that, a spell in chokey. Ethics need strong backup. So I will not hesitate to, in the words of Dame Edna Everidge, give the little bleeders a good hiding.

Pip pip,


Monday, 10 June 2013

Pangolin Stars


You are conventional and hard-working. If it weren't for your goatee beard (if you're female) and your cloven hooves (if you're male) you'd be a right boring old fart.  Sometimes people look at your head, notice that you're horny and this gives your street cred a monumental boost.

Most illegal immigrants working in McDonalds are Capricorn people.


You have very good upper body strength from carrying a Grecian urn everywhere you go (even W H Smith's).  You are sometimes unpredictable and have been known to climb aboard fire engines shouting 'This is my water!  Come and get it - if you think you're hard enough!'

All Aquarians are addicted to prescription medications, codydramol being the most common one.


You are sensitive and romantic, and school bullies would come along and dump bucketfuls of dirty water on you while you were talking to the daffodils (who were going 'Ping!' at the time). Unfortunately you usually smell of ageing haddock and this hampers your social advancement somewhat.

Pisces people have ingrowing toenails.


You are impulsive and liable to butt into others' conversations. You are also inclined to turn your back on people you've never met before, and widdle, until you've been properly introduced.  On the plus side, you are the proud owner of a particularly authentic sheepskin coat.  Which sometimes smells of old dog.

Aries people are inclined to leave their shoes on the window sill overnight.


You have a predilection for fine china but have never been particularly successful with it, and have sometimes ended up having to pay for the whole shop. You like to eat, and eat, and eat. You go to weightwatchers purely for the purpose of spectating and because it gives you another excuse to think about food.

Most people who ride their bikes on the pavement instead of on the cycle track are Taureans.


You have a vague yet strangely persistent feeling that there are two of you in one body, and you find it confusing when people come up to you and say things like 'Look - we're wearing the same skirt!' Especially if you're a bloke.

Gemini people will sit up talking all night, including when the host has put on their pyjamas and turned off all the lights.


You find it difficult to come out of your shell; this is actually quite sensible as you'd be liable to be eaten by herring gulls if you did. Your best friend is probably a barnacle. Sometimes you find your family is mistaken for an unpleasant parasite which lives in the pubic region.

People who try to re-use others' discarded chewing gum are usually Cancereans.


You are dramatic and dignified, but people have been laughing at you ever since you wore that crown into the Working Men's Club, Worksop, on the night of the darts match. You were a very keen member of the Cubs when you were young.

Most Leo people leave the toilet seat up.


You are neat, precise and suffer from OCD.  Well, more accurately, the people whose bus tickets you try to nick before arranging them in numerical order, attaching them with bulldog clips to the back of the seat in front of you, suffer from your OCD.  Especially when the inspector arrives. You have strangely orderly paper clips.

Virgo people are usually employed making those little plastic things you get on the end of shoe laces.


You are indecisive and fickle, and often have more than one department store loyalty card. You are well balanced in that you have four carrier bags in each hand - and not necessarily full of stuff you've actually paid for. You once sold the Polish War Memorial to an American tourist.

If a Libran gives a festive bouquet, it will comprise flowers nicked from a municipal floral arrangement.


You are completely money and groin orientated, and have been known to charge three pence for a tuppenny upright. If a woman, you will keep your tights on and then claim you were a virgin; if a man you will carry a bunch of fairly large cucumbers with you at all times.

All Scorpios have dandruff.


You are blunt and argumentative. You have been known to hold up supermarket queues for hours while you argue with the person on the checkout about the best way of opening those carrier bags. Sometimes people just give up in despair and put your head down the bog.

Sagittarians do terrible things to other peoples' window boxes.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

On This Day

Nine Years Ago

In London, members of the Worshipful Company of Poulticemakers gathered in Strangefellows Hall for the traditional Pricking of the Flea. Proceedings were presided over by Grand Master Most Worshipful the Revd Dibden Purley, who delivered the Final Grace and Parting Oath.

Fifteen Years Ago

A new exhibition, of interest to food-lovers everywhere, opened in the Leicestershire village of Snarthole, birthplace of the world-famous Snarthole Scone. Spread across three walls of the Reading Room and an overflow annexe, the display told the story of the celebrated delicacy through an unusual collection of wrappers and till receipts, some dating back more than half a century. One thing missing from the exhibition (entitled 'Snarthole - Our Contribution to World Cuisine') was any account of the scone's ingredients, a secret held by one family over many generations. Believed to have been created in a time of need, the scone first gained mention in history around the Siege of Ratby in the Wars of the Roses. Since then the scone's recipe has been protected by local bye-law from adulteration of any kind.

Twenty Years Ago

The local tradition of Sodding Sunday was continued at St Chardonnay in the Quantocks when, in an outdoor service held beneath umbrellas, the Revd Wilmot Proone blessed six new turves laid either side of the church's ancient southern entrance.

Fifty Years Ago

Members of the Surrey Young Communists' League met on Box Hill for a Chablis and Cucumber sandwich picnic. After a short talk on collectivisation in the production of turnips, there was a Primrose Path ramble, ending with the popular Treasure Hunt.

One Hundred Years Ago

Apprentice stringcutter Ernest Boaks, of Stringsnippers' Yard, Walsall, worked a 143-hour week for no wage and a polite refusal of the payment in string sometimes awarded to trainees who show outstanding promise. Praising his young employee, Cllr Meanwood Pinch, proprietor of West Midlands Bindings Ltd, told the press, 'He's a grand lad, young Ernie, and keen as mustard. We could do with more of his sort around.'

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Jobs of Yesteryear: String Fettling

In a time before sticky tape, Velcro or staples, string was the universal fastener.  It quite literally held the Empire together, used as it was to hold up diplomats' trousers in foreign parts where braces were regarded as unclean, or to secure ladies' heavy bustles which, if they became detached, could easily crush a suitor's foot.  During WW1, several of our Dreadnought warships were held together with stout British string during the rivet blight of 1915.

Pictured are orphan boys being trained as string fettlers, a skill whereby lengths of string carelessly discarded by the upper classes and often bearing stubborn knots, were rendered re-usable, saving the economy more than £3/2/9 a year.

Examples of early Christian knotted string still fetch good prices at auction.

*Also pictured in the instructor, a Mr R J Thynnge, holding the Cape of Shame which had to be worn by any boy caught using his teeth.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Many children 'think cheese comes from plants'

 A survey conducted by British Nuclear Fuels (BNF), also known as British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), has been shocked to find that almost a third of UK primary pupils think cheese is made from plants.  The two organisations have long worked together to turn school dinners back into food, and have now concluded that kids need better teaching about cooking and healthy eating.

Some of their findings are highly dubious, however, or else the kids' confusion is totally understandable in the light of mixed messages they're receiving from the mejia.  For example, the implication that cheese ISN'T made from plants requires further scrutiny.  If they really believe that, then what on earth do they think THIS is?
That's right - a SWISS CHEESE PLANT. Other cheeses, such as sage derby, appledore and wild garlic yarg, quickly reveal their vegetal origins too.

Luckily the survey participants weren't asked where they thought that well-known and doughty cheese, 'stinking bishop' actually originated, or what his name was.

The kids ranged in age from five to sixteen, with a definite tapering off of knowledge towards the upper end of the range.  This is probably due to the older ones being in a cheerful state due to ingestion or smoking of vegetal substances, and their only interest in nutrition, therefore, being due to attacks of the munchies.

Some 19% of this age group did not realise that potatoes grew under the ground, thinking that they came from bushes or trees.  A similar number thought that tomatoes had a subterranean gestation, too.  However these scientists have ignored the fact that this is a common misapprehension, celebrated in folklore and song, where the despair concerning these issues is immediately apparent:

"You say tomato, I say tomato
  you eat potato and I eat potato
  tomato, tomato, potato, potato
  let's call the whole thing off"

The survey, produced to coincide with the BNF's healthy-eating week, also revealed that more than three quarters (77%) of primary school children and nearly nine in 10 (88%) secondary pupils knew that people should eat at least five portions of chips each day.

Unfortunately they don't know how to make them.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Thought for the Day, from Justin Webly, more or less Arch. of Cant.


My lady wife and I don’t watch a great deal of television, what with official engagements, dressing up, opening things, blessing things and generally being seen about the place, we simply don’t seem to have the time.

Recently, on one of the rare occasions we were able to spend an evening toasting muffins and watching “the box” (we’re both particularly fond of “Flog It”. My lady wife often remarks on the programme’s enthusiastic presenter’s come to bed eyes, whatever that means. It probably refers to the hard work he puts in valuing peoples’ knick-knacks), we took one of our rare forays into commercial television. We tend only to view the BBC, because those commercial channels are so bound up with Mammon.

That said, you can imagine my shock, nay horror, when, commercial break after commercial break there appeared advertisements for MONEYLENDERS! – companies offering something called “pay-day loans” whereby comparatively small amounts are made immediately available to honest, hardworking folk who have, in the words of the young man with a wire in his ear and a bulge in his jacket who follows us everywhere, come up a bit Royal Mint. Apparently, this means “skint”, which my driver tells me means to have no money. On the surface, this appeared to me to be a worthy, nay philanthropic business until I noticed the interest rates! Thousands of percents! Thousands!

As you might imagine, my first thought was, “What would Jesus have done?” and of course Our Lord did indeed encounter this sort of leechery and he took the moneylenders and physically grasped them, and threw them out of the Temple. He was like that, Jesus. Contrary to the meek and mild image put forward by some religious agencies, there was something of the Jack Reacher about him in certain circumstances.

The following morning I suggested to Jocasta that I might do the same thing; that I and a few burly curates, male and female could turn up at and throw their personnel out into the street. Both Jocasta and the young man with the wire in his ear thought this terribly funny. They explained that most of these sorts companies didn’t have offices as such and that they only existed on line and probably operated out of Liechtenstein or somewhere equally obscure.

So for the moment, I am stumped. But I am determined to do something about this shameful state of affairs wherein rich people exploit poor people. This very afternoon I shall pen a letter to our Prime Minister informing him of my findings. I feel sure that he will be as horrified at this rampant – for want of a better word – Capitalism as I was.