Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Episode 4: Bloatmingle and the Sturdy Leather Apron when preparing Trifles

Previously on Bloatmingle of the Yard...

Bloatmingle and Spiggot were pondering two major unsolved mysterious mysteries - The Chisel Murders and the Poisoned Corset Murders. Bloatmingle has reflected on the known facts, regurgitated the evidence and realised that witnesses to both crimes had revealed that the suspect was... A MAN!

"Brilliant, sir!" exclaimed Spiggot, hugely impressed with the inspector's deductive abilities, "The net closes in, eh sir!"

Just as Bloatmingle's hand clasped the telephone receiver it rang. It was evidently a telephone call. He snatched it up with professional urgency. "Bloatmingle here", he announced in his usual clipped old Etonian accent. It was bad news. He raised his eyebrows and lowered his moustache. "I see." he added by way of summary and hung up. "No time to lose, Spiggot! Fetch the car at once... " he blurted through a very serious frown, "There's been another murder!"

Spiggot hurriedly abandoned his half eaten sausage roll, donned his helmet and hurried from the room.

Having paused only for a quick baked potato at Greasy Ken's Tasty Spud Emporium, Bloatmingle and Spiggot' in their gleaming black Wolseley turned into the rainsoaked High Street and pulled up outside Dorothy Knickerthwaite's Corsetry shop. Scene of crime officers had already sealed the area off with impenetrable bits of yellow string and were standing guard in their rain capes. "Well done, constable." said Bloatmingle. "Very few injuries sustained by the general public. You're improving."

"Thank you sir....sir" said the two sodden sentinels, almost in unison, pleased to have been complimented by Bloatmingle of the Yard.

"So," said Bloatmingle to the nearest policeman. "What have we got here? Fittock isn't it?" The young PC positively glowed with pride. "Yes, sir, PC 214 Fittock, sir. I believe you knew my father sir, PC 675 Fittock, sir" How could Bloatmingle forget? Tubby Fittock! A local legend. Passed out with Bloatmingle from Knobbler's Grange Police College in the summer of '35. His knowledge of local villains, gathered over years of beat-pounding had been instrumental in the arrest and conviction of many until his untimely death two years previously. Bloatmingle shuddered inwardly as he recalled that nasty business at the Custard Factory. Even to this day, as Mrs Bloatmingle whipped up one of her special trifles, Bloatmingle always insisted she wore a sturdy leather apron - knowing as he did how unpredictable that damn stuff could be.

Fittock cleared his throat. "I attended the scene at 9.31am, sir,with PC 149 Croucher sir, after a call from a lady what had called to pick up a item of a personal underwearish nature from the premises, sir. Upon entering, she seen another female person now identified as Dorothy Aileen Knickerthwaite apparently deceased behind the counter, sir. We found this clutched in the dead party's hand, sir"
Bloatmingle took the crumpled paper. He went cold. On it were written the words, "TOMMY NO-NOSE DONE IT".

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Second Thought from Justin...

At the time of going to press – as I’m told its called – with my last Thought for the Day, our dear own, our very dear own Duchess of Cambridge lay in that painful vale of tears that is childbirth whilst the country prayed as one body for her and her unborn child. So I thought best not to comment. But now ! Ah, but now, how the bells of our heart peal. How they peal – ringing out the carillons  of celebration in a country where the Common Folk are delirious with unbounded joy that so fair a maiden has become the saintly mother we had all prayed for. Hallelujah!

Pip! Pip!

Yours affectionately,

Justin Webly
More or Less Arch. of Cant.

Monday, 22 July 2013

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

As I type, splendid news of our cricketers’ wonderful performance against the Australians pours forth from my radio – except when the young man with the wire in his ear walks past when everything goes a bit whistly.
But fear not. I am not about to bore all you non-cricketers out there with an in-depth analysis of this monumental Test match, despite its great similarity to many of Jesus’s challenges as he moulded and taught his team of apostles to keep a straight bat and not be tempted by the googly.
Indeed not. Instead, I would draw your attention to another sporting wonder – the Tour de France – and its unique parallels with Our Lord’s time on earth.
As far as we know, Jesus did not ride a bike. But he did have a dedicated team behind him, just as Wiggly (now Sir Wiggly) Braggins had when he was victorious, and as Chris Fume depends upon as I type. Teams, like God, work in mysterious ways, and few are more mysterious than cycling teams. What appears to happen is as follows; one rider in each team is The Chosen One and the rest of the team help *him or her as best they can by protecting him or her from other teams which might seek to push The Chosen One over, or by shouting encouragement, e.g. “Come on Wiggly, old chum!” Eventually, The Chosen One gets more points than other teams’ Chosen Ones and is declared the winner. Complicated stuff, what? Not unlike the arcane goings-on in sailing wherein a gun or hooter goes off and everybody sails in circles until the race ends.
As in cycling and sailing, so it is in Life. Lots of argy-bargy and indecipherable rules until the finishing line is crossed. You may not be first over that line, but if whilst sailing round in circles or avoiding being pushed over by foreign types, you will have amassed enough points for someone who knows what’s going on to declare you the winner.

And, as we all know, God knows what’s going on.

*easy to tell the difference. Ladies’ bicycles don’t have cross bars.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

View from Civic Hall

In more upbeat news, I’m glad to report that the fire at the Springland Toddlers Playschool has finally been put out. It is thought the fire started in the toy cupboard when battery acid leaked from a faulty Harvey the Rapping Caterpillar. Despite the best efforts of our fire service, the fire burned turquoise for seventeen days and the toxic cloud drifted as far as twenty miles. Residents who still claim to be seeing hallucinations are advised to ignore their dead uncle crawling across the ceiling. He cannot hurt you with his bullwhip.

As your council leader, I was disturbed to learn that America’s National Security Agency has been collecting the phone records of foreign nationals including those of local residents. Mrs Skeetch from the Crystal Therapy Club contacted me to say that a rotating piece of quartz on a string had confirmed the bad news. Her phone had been tapped! I have therefore taken it upon myself to direct a stern letter of rebuke to the head of the NSA, the US Congress and Senate, and a copy was also CC’d to the President, expressing the disapproval of the country council that the American government are spying on practitioners of alternative medicine in the borough. For good measure, Mrs Skeetch has waved a lump of feldspar over a copy of the American constitution. Meanwhile, I have asked Mr Frobisher, the town clerk, to have user passwords changed on all council computers using a cunning code based on initials, star signs and my own Top Secret inside leg measurement.

Finally some good news. I’m delighted to say that I have declared next Tuesday to be ‘County Grid Day’. Civic engineers will go out to local schools and show pupils what lies beneath our local grids. These activities are not just limited to schoolchildren. Perhaps you have a grid outside your home or place of worship and have always thought ‘I wonder what’s under that grid?’ Well, now is your chance. Just grab yourself a crowbar and take a look. You might be surprised at what you find and we’ll be paying fifty pence for every dead rat you retrieve from under a grid. An additional £100 reward will also go to the first person to find a keyring marked ‘BP’ attached to what might look like a bank storage locker but, I can assure you, is nothing of the kind.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

On This Day...

Five Years Ago

Cackpot, lambass and codwhistle were among the unusual ancient instruments featured by members of Ye Swains' Consortte in a charity performance of Earlie Musicke at St Frideswide's that, all present agreed, sounded frankly awful. A small sum was raised towards the funding of an auditory loop system for the hard of hearing. Several members of the audience left in the course of the concert and two were taken out for medical attention.

Fifty Years Ago

Government instructions on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack came in handy for 30 members of an East Anglian Women's Institute gathered in the crouch position beneath a makeshift array of village-hall tables and chairs at Tick Fen. Events took an unexpected turn at the monthly meeting of the WI, as Doreen Glazey, features editor of Better Housewife, was delivering a talk and demonstration on '101 Ways with Your New Pressure-Cooker'. A faulty cooker-valve was later identified as cause of the incident. In her closing thanks, Acting Chair Glad Whaplode paid special tribute to members of the Bomb Disposal Squad based in Colchester for their words of reassurance and assistance over the phone in the 25 minutes it took for emergency services to arrive.

One Hundred Years Ago

A new kind of magical slate drew considerable interest at a specially convened session of IF, the Inventors' Forum, in Birmingham. Boasting auto-delete and a self-writing function, the device would, in the words of its inventor, Horace Thrumb, soon be standard issue in all schools throughout Britain and the Empire. 

Seeking to replace current systems (the universally adopted practice of spit-and-wipe-with-sleeve) with new technology, the Thrumbpad combined use of a foot-operated stirrup pump with a small well of water concealed in the base of the desk to produce a spray of fine droplets aimed over the used surface. An ingenious arrangement of cogs and pulleys then enabled the user to manoeuvre a small sponge over the pad by turning a brass handle at the side of the desk. By removing the sponge from its holder, replacing with a pocket pencil and switching two small levers on the gearing, the user could then be guided by science to draw simple shapes, such as circles and squares. In years to come, this would be developed into a full handwriting facility.

In further questioning, Thrumb conceded that there was still work to be done on the tooth-jangling squeak produced by the pencil in drawing mode, but reacted angrily to the suggestion made by a representative of the Cuffmakers' Guild that his desk sprinkler system would simply lead to mass water-pistol fights in every classroom in the land.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Dear Lady Violet,

I've been seeing this guy for several months now, and although he's always very well dressed, nicely turned out and drives a swanky car with chrome fluffy dice, he says he's homeless and insists we have sex in a cardboard box underneath Waterloo Bridge. (On the pavement, that is).

He's recently had a tattoo of a woman's name done, on his chest. It says 'Carlotta', but my name's Euphemia. Do you think he's hiding something from me?


Euphemia Bentwood-Trippy


Lady V:

My Dear Miss Bentwood-Trippy,
The old sex-in-a-cardboard-box thing, eh? Chrome fluffy dice, too? The Waterloo Bridge pavement bonk's not new either, I'm afraid. There were many, many successful comings-together in that vicinity during the last Wartime blackouts. But this fellow sounds like a winner!
Might I suggest that you go along with this mysterious chap? As for the Carlotta dilemma - change your name. "Euphemia" sounds like putting sick animals to sleep anyway.
And you can quite easily overcome any misgivings about the cardboard box humpety-hump thing by keeping a small but powerfully amplified cd player about your person. Play rousing military melodies - The Band of the Coldstream Guards with "On the Quarterdeck", or Souza's grand "Shagger's Farewell" while you're at it and it  will help divert nosey passers-by from your squeals of al fresco delight.

Yours etc.

Lady Violet

Dear Lady Violet,

I'm writing to let you know about my recent successes!  As you know, I live in Birmingham, and have had terrible problems locating a reliable local witchdoctor. Well - I've now found one! He has cleansed me thoroughly, given me a spell in a bag which I can put under the clock on the mantelpiece and told me that my difficulty with finding work is that I'm a complete twat and anyone will realise that within the first ten seconds of meeting me. It was a relief to hear that it was something that simple, I can tell you!

He is now solving all my employment problems by letting me buy into a new company - which will mean that I can now use my City & Guilds qualification in stunt riding - I will be self-employed, and he'll get my startup costs and 100% of my first year's profits.  It's win-win!

My only problem is the attitude of my family. They don't believe in it, and are telling me it's a scam. My Dad's even stopped my pocket money. What should I do?


Georgie Crudd

Lady V:

Mr Crudd,
Your pathetic letter hardly deserves an answer. In my long and varied experience of twats, they invariably knew they were twats. Not to beggars belief.
Your family and your father are quite right. This is undoubtedly a confidence trick. Witchdoctors all live in Manchester. So rid yourself of the stupid spell - it may well work - and purchase a day return to Manchester where any number of exotic necromancers will be only too pleased to relieve you of any assets you may have, you stupid, stupid boy.

Yours in exasperation,

Lady Violet

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Episode 3: Bloatmingle and the tea stained walnut-whip reproduction desk

Previously on Bloatmingle of the Yard...

A loud scream has awoken Bloatmingle from his reverie about romantic moments on board the Gubbins family barge. His preliminary investigation revealed that it was caused by misaligned grommet sponges allied to the brakes aboard a hansom cab being dropped into hot water.  Or something technical like that. However, he was awake by now... and about to enter... SCOTLAND YARD!!! The Poisoned Corset Murders beckon...

Barely had he entered his office and taken off his police-issue gaberdine mac when there was a knock at the open door. "S'cuse me, sir" said an unfashionably overweight constable with the countenance and complexion of a baked potato, "Chief Super says I'm to report to you, sir. Sumfink abaht h'assisting you with the Poised Corset Merger, or sumfink, sir."

Bloatmingle eyed the man with barely disguised contempt and a sudden pang of hunger. He liked baked potatoes.
He gripped his unlit pipe between his unlit teeth and frowned, "And you are ... ?" he asked.
"Constable Spiggot, sir." said Constable Spiggot, with unerring accuracy, displaying his excellent memory for names.
Bloatmingle sighed, strode to his filing cabinet and withdrew a bulging manilla flavoured folder. "Very well, Spiggot," he said, "Take a seat and I shall fill you in on the details."
"Right you are, Detective h'Inspector Bloatmingle, sir."
Bloatmingle winced, "Do you have to talk in that silly accent? It's rather annoying."
"My h'apologies, sir." said a chastened Spiggot, "It's something of an h'affectation, but it helps to h'establish me as a character. I shall try keeping it to a minimum, sir."

The two men sat at a tea stained walnut-whip reproduction desk where Bloatmingle opened the folder and spread out a huge dossier on the Poisoned Corset Murders. A weak watery light from the street illuminated his chiselled features. "H'incidentally, sir," said Spiggot, "Did they ever catch the chisel murderer?"

Bloatmingle looked up at his erstwhile subordinate and thought, "Erstwhile subordinate". It had a nice courtroom ring to it. He made a mental note and remembered also that the Chisel Murder investigation had taken place whilst PC Spiggot had been on the Police Driving Course. Bloatmingle shuddered as he recalled the report, involving as it did details of pedestrian casualties, two wrecked Humbers and a bent Belisha Beacon.

"No" said Bloatmingle, "He's still out there. Gave us the slip round the back of Henstooth's Wardrobe Works."
The Inspector rubbed his chin, reached for his pipe and with his free hand, pointed to the dossier in front of him. "What does that say, Spiggot?"
"It's a comma, sir."
Bloatmingle sighed. "The whole sentence Spiggot, the whole sentence."
Spiggot cleared his throat and traced the letters with a fat finger. "Officers pursued the intruder who made off with a large box known to contain ladies foundation garments. The intruder, believed to be a man..."
"HA!" exclaimed Inspector Bloatmingle. "Don't you see, Spiggot?"
"Erm, no sir" said Spiggot.
"Oh come on Spiggot. What did our only witness in the Chisel Murders case say she saw silhouetted against the curtains of number 27 Cramp St?"
"Well sir, as I remember, she said she saw a man with..."
"HA!" shouted Bloatmingle. Spiggot jumped. "A MAN! In both cases, its a MAN, Spiggot!" cried Bloatmingle and reached for the telephone.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

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

I may be one of the last to offer my congratulations to Andy Murray in print, but they are no less well meant. I had the privilege to be at Wimbledon on that momentous day and witnessed the tremendous struggle between Andy and a very game foreign gentleman. I had been asked to bless their balls before the match but felt that on this occasion at least, the coming together of the secular and the divine would not be appropriate.
But what a match it was – swinging this way and that until both players were visibly perspiring! I was seated quite close to our youthful Prime Minister and was heartened at the way he was able to set aside solemn matters of state and cheer and clap, and at one stage when things had become very tense and the foreign chappie had the upper hand, loosen his tie. By far the noisiest occupant of our box was a Scots politician by the name of Salmond who invoked the noble war cries of William Wallace with his, “Oh ye want some, do ye Jimmie?”  In his excitement he seemed to have quite forgotten that the foreign gentleman’s name was in fact Novak.
As representative top class tennis is of The Game of Life, to my mind at least, it is only a runner-up to that most noble of human activities – cricket, and as I type our brave eleven are preparing to face the old enemy, Australia.

Quite why there is so much enmity between the nations is beyond me. Perhaps it is because Australians do not like being ruled over by a woman. After all, their record in terms of sexual equality, as witnessed by the treatment of their only female Prime Minister, is less than exemplary. Or it might be because, as the Aussies maintain, we are a bunch of elitist toffee-nosed pooftahs. Whatever that might mean.
Mention of the ladies does however remind me of how far we have come in terms of sporting equality – and how heartening it was to see the young no-frills French girl triumph over what would appear today to be the archetypal blonde, would-be model professional female tennis player. A blow for the ordinary. And Jesus was ordinary, you know. No panoply, no robes of silk and definitely no screaming when he served.

It certainly makes you think, doesn’t it ?

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Pangolin Travel Holiday Snaps (1)

Baseball Caps Shrivel Brains Shock Findings!

Dr P J Whimbrel – no stranger to Pangolin regulars – and a team of researchers from Glossop University yesterday submitted his eagerly anticipated report on the effects of wearing a baseball cap to the General Medical Council.

Dr Whimbrel takes up the story…
Some seven years ago, encouraged by my friend and colleague Professor Anna Prongg, I assembled a team of neutral, non-judgemental scientists whose task it was to establish once and for all why in God’s name some people (mainly men) think that wearing a baseball cap makes them look cool. Are they stupid, or what? The carefully collated and checked results are staggering. These deluded losers wear baseball caps because they ARE stupid. And through the continued wearing of these items are becoming gradually more stupid. In only one instance in the 2 billion people studied was the wearing of a baseball cap deemed justified. The subject in question was a baseball player.” (Cont. p.127)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Pangolin Society Pages: press night for Dada, Dada, Dada, Dada, Dada, Dada, Diddly-dum at Glossop Museum of Pictures an' That.

Amélie Jus d'Orange and some random bloke reminisce about the evening's entertainment
Everyone loves a good preview, with a proper punchup, and Glossop Museum of Pictures an' That never fails to delight on that front. The exhibition featured the work of Denzil Drinkingstraws - well known local plumber and psychopath - Simian Sibthorpe - and his amazing gyrating tapeworm - and Amélie Jus d'Orange, chiefly renowned for her rare collection of exotic headlice. The evening kicked off when Denzil lobbed a large plate of raspberry pavlova at one of the Lord Mayor's bully boys, an effete but totally deadly individual by the name of Zero, who responded by launching a land-to-air missile at the Museum's only remaining chandelier. Then it all started to get lively. 

The St John's Ambulance crew nailed several planks of wood over the entrance so that nobody could escape. Their spokesman, Genevieve Turdlangton (64) explained: "We prefers just to let 'em get on with it. We'll sort out any survivors tomorrow afternoon, you know, give 'em a cup of tea an' that."

All in all, another spectacular victory for Glossop!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Episode 2: Bloatmingle and the flanged grommet spines.

As the cab, probably a pre-war Austin featuring the less than efficient downdraught SE/90 carburettor which in Bloatmingle's expert opinion should never have been mated to the obsolete four cylinder side valve engine which presently propelled the lurching vehicle through the potholed streets of the waking city, the Inspector gathered his thoughts.

The Commissioner's early morning call had come as no surprise.

Bloatmingle had lain awake for some time listening to the gentle rumbles of Mrs Bloatmingle's breathing, watching fondly as her muscular shoulders rose and fell under the stout canvas nightdress. Emily Bloatmingle! Where would he be without her, thought the veteran policeman, remembering the day he'd first seen her expertly guiding her barge through the locks at Camden when he, as a young bobby, had first stumbled across the evil Dr Peasemold and his criminal empire. 

Not only had the strapping lass claimed Bloatmingle's heart, but had also valiantly averted disaster by felling several of Peasemold's thugs with her bargepole as they cornered an outnumbered Bloatmingle. The pair had married in the autumn of '39, spending an idyllic honeymoon in Bletchley after a simple ceremony on board the Gubbins family's barge. Old Man Gubbins had put on a hearty meal of dripping butties and stewed tea before bringing the house down with his "S'truth an stone the crows, I never thought I'd get rid of 'er!"

But tides of war had pulled the young lovers asunder, he to sterling service in the Army Pay Corps, and Emily to the Commandos.

Bloatmingle's feet had slapped on to the cold lino before the telephone's second urgent ring. He'd dressed quickly and... his reverie was broken by the squealing of cab's brakes - an early rod operated system which had never coped well in the wet, thought Bloatmingle, due to the chronic misalignment of the flanged grommett splines. "'Ere we are guvnor!" called the cabbie. "I s'pose you're 'ere about the Poisoned Corset Murders." Bloatmingle nodded grimly, paid the fare and strode across to the main entrance of the finest Police Headquarters in the Empire - Scotland Yard!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Pangolin Motoring News by Jemery Klaxon

Well summer’s here and all the automotive mass-producers are at it again, foisting their tarted–up pipsqueak cars on to a stupid public. I saw a truly dreadful pink, convertible Nissan Micra the other day, driven by a young lady with sunglasses nailed to the top of her head. PINK! I ask you! The rag-top was down, the breeze rippling her shiny hair and jostling the 23 soft toys dangling from the mirror. I say “rag-top” which makes it sound like the swashbuckling, erm, well, rag-tops of days of yore – you know, Morgans and MGs and Astons – but in fact its not. It’s a state of the art piece of folding roof kit every bit as efficient as anything you’ll find on top of a five litre Merc or equally grunty Jaguar. What a bloody waste, putting it anywhere near anything as utterly boring as a Micra.

Mind you, the past masters of le tarting-up are those cunning French chappies at Citroen. All their engines are the same old weak-kneed clattery things which have been around since Gottlieb was a lad, but now you’re offered the exciting option of interchangeable, differently coloured inside fittings! All in one car! Now let’s see. How do I feel today? I feel green-ish. Click, click, green interior. And Citroen, along with Renault and most other big makers of ordinary motors have adopted twinkly fairy lights around the headlights. Very pretty.

Well that’s it until next time when I was going to shred electric cars, but that’s been done (mostly by me), so I’ll probably have a go at those infuriating fellow-motorists who, when asked, “What sort of a car was it?” reply, “Ooh, I don’t know. They all look the same these days, don’t they? Hang on, wait a minute – yes, yes, it was blue. It was definitely blue. Or possibly red.”



Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Pangolin Awards

We are pleased to announce the winners of the latest Pangolin Awards; they will all receive a year's supply of termites and a set of dentures.

First off, we have Pumfrey Birtwhistle of Peckham Rye, who has clocked up a whopping 134 loonies sitting next to him on the No. 37 bus - all in the last six months, but not all at once.  Well done, that man!

Secondly, Marjorine Spreadbury of Bude has had altercations with no fewer than 48 traffic wardens in the last fortnight. Her achievement is all the more remarkable because she doesn't drive, and has no car. Pip, pip!

Thirdly, young Cedric Spottiswode of Corfe Castle holds the Dorset County Record for person who has managed to tie together the shoelaces of the largest number of people in the Odeon without someone catching him and managing to kick his head in (that's 68 in all). When asked about his achievement, he shrugged modestly and said "You know what's twelve inches long and slippery? A slipper! Arf arf!"

Congratulations to them all, and we're looking forward excitedly to the next round of prizes for more amazing feats, including the saddest ways of trying to disguise a bald pate and for finding the greatest number of uses for pork pies.

Monday, 1 July 2013

On This Day

Ten Years Ago

At the monthly meeting of Bycherley Parish Council a point was raised from the floor, asking why nothing ever got decided at such meetings but was always put off till the next. In reply, Acting Deputy Chair Mollie Weezil read out several paragraphs of constitutional procedure that explained the reasoning why the point was out of order and would first have to be sent in writing to the Clerk a month ahead of the next meeting before its content could be properly addressed.

Fifteen Years Ago

Warm sunshine drew large crowds to the village fete at Blothorpe Fitzparton, where the attractions included a demonstration of falconry skills, face-painting and an hour-long display put on by veterans of the Black Death Re-Enactment Society. Members of the St John Ambulance Brigade stood by in attendance.

Seventy-Five Years Ago

Retired elbow-flange thrappler Norton Pillick of Wolverhampton unveiled to the Press his plan to build an actual-size replica of the Titanic entirely from used matchsticks. He appealed to all smokers in the area to up their consumption in order to help him achieve his ambitious goal.