Monday, 30 September 2013

On This Day ...

Five Years Ago

A one-day symposium in Oxford for leading philosophers from around the country was cancelled when the three keynote speakers for the conference found themselves unable to agree what exactly was meant by 'October 5th'. Or 'Oxford'.

Twenty Years Ago

A production of 'Romeo & Juliet' performed by Scrope Valley Strolling Players ended prematurely when the two actors in the lead roles eloped at the close of Act III Scene IV and were then seen hopping on to a bus into Droitwich. Maintaining theatrical tradition that the show must go on, producer Neville Pooke leapt into the breach, along with props manager Trevor Groyne, two torches and a pair of scripts, for the continuation of Scene V, in Juliet's Chamber. The decision was then taken to abandon the play on grounds of Health & Safety, given the number and nature of the missiles being thrown by the audience.

Fifty Years Ago

In line with local custom, the bells of a Dorset church rang out 508 times, once for each resident, to summon all villagers on to the green for the annual Distribution of Crusts. The ceremony was attended by Lady ffoulke-Mee and the traditional thimble of milk from the Home Farm Dairy was awarded to Maisie Porgle, 94, of Home Farm Lane. Winner of the straightest carrot was Ernest Eazwold, who received his certificate from the Hon Lavinia ffoulke-Mee.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

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


Justin here. What a week it has been! And ‘tis only Wednesday, as my dear mother was wont to say, sometimes when it was in fact, Monday.

There were high jinks and excitement on Tuesday when the final of Jesus’s Bake Off was held on the Palace lawn - an event close to my heart and part of my ongoing attempt to popularize the Anglican Church.

We had the Berkhamstead Brownies Kazoo Marching Band, the Reverend “Crazy” Chris Catchpole juggling lit altar candles, and of course, the two finalists, our own dear Mrs Violet Swarm, vestment keeper here at the Palace and Gavin Haythornethwaite, a surprise young finalist from Pigger’s End Young Christians.

The weather was kind to us and our two brave bakers toiled away, making do with tiny paraffin stoves, closely supervised by the Westminster Fire Brigade.

A group of young nuns from nearby the St Gladys and All Miseries Convent provided a very welcome cross-denominational feel. They made the Bouncy Castle their own, amazing the crowd with hitherto unimagined religious athleticism.

There were tense moments at the judging of the Bake Off rock buns when The Right Honourable Mrs Gwendoline Perte-Buttock broke a tooth on what turned out to be a partial denture oddly concealed in one of Gavin Haythornethwaite’s buns. Happily, Mrs Swarm conceded that the denture was in fact hers and that it must have flown from her mouth and into Gavin’s bun mixture whilst she was whistling, “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate” – a habit developed during long years in the kitchen. 

Admittedly, there was a short fist-fight, but that was expertly broken up by Sister Pauline McCrash of St Gladys and All Miseries on her way back from the Real Ale tent and answering the question, “What would Jesus have done?” rather well, I thought. So a tired, bruised but happy Gavin Haythornethwaite collected his prize (two week’s exemption from Church collection) to loud applause and a triumphant fanfare from the kazoos of the Berkhamsted Brownies. All’s well that ends well!

I had intended to speak about young Edward Miliband’s leader’s speech at the recent Labour Party Conference. Didn’t he do well? But time has beaten me and I must soon hey-ho to a meeting with some representatives of the Anglican Church in Wales who will soon usher in the first Welsh Anglican women bishops. Sioe dda hwyliog!

Which, as everybody knows, is Welsh for Jolly Well Done!

As for Mr Miliband, I really have quite warmed to him. There seems an honesty there which, no matter how he tries, Mr Osborne, the keeper of all our destinies, cannot match. Because he is an independently wealthy, smarmy rat-bag. Can I say that? I just have, so there!

Pip, pip


Monday, 23 September 2013

Pangolin Poetry and Archaeology. And Anthropology.

Eons ago, on the walls of Altamira,
Worked cave painters Ted, and his squeeze, lovely Vera,
All jokes were visual, as they toiled day and night,
These graphic pioneers hadn’t a clue how to write.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Episode 7: Bloatmingle finally comes face to face with... Doctor Hercules Peasemold!!

Previously on Bloatmingle of the Yard...

Bloatmingle and Spiggot have braved a hair-raising car journey in a Police Humber with a small end knock. The knocking theme continues as they trick a henchman by means of an ultra-secret one, and gain entry to No.37 Dead Man's Wharf - the even-more secret hideout of... Dr Hercules Peasemold!

Doctor Hercules Peasemold had changed since the last time they’d met. Long gone was the once proud stance of the ex-Royal Navy frogman with a passion for wearing lady’s stockings over his webbed toes. Now bent double with aggressive piles and a syphilitic hump, Peasemold looked every one of his twenty seven years. His hair had thinned but only over his ears, leaving an island of landlocked sand upon the tanned globe of his head. Yet it was Peasemold’s ears that held Bloatmingle’s eyes the longest. He still remembered the time when he’d almost captured the absconding Peasemold by grabbing his ears as the Doctor leapt for the last carriage of the departing Flying Scotsman. In their place he now wore wooden replicas fashioned from walnut which he obviously had French polished by an expert, thereby making them particularly alert to the tread of Detective Inspector leather.

Bloatmingle!’ he gasped before the Inspector had barely stepped a foot into the room.
Doctor Peasemold!’ said Bloatmingle, his Webley already raised. ‘Or should I say Baron Happy Von Trott or Count Burt Finchhandles or even Bretta Parsnips, the Uxbridge clairvoyant and baby snatcher! I’ve been looking for you for a very long time.’ There was a sudden noise from the corner of the room and Bloatmingle fired a single shot into the priceless Egyptian sarcophagus recently missing from the British Museum. The bullet ricocheted once and took out the Pharaoh’s beard. ‘And you can come out too, Tommy No-Nose. Your game is also up!’
The thin man stood, his arms raised and his nose glistened with sweat.
It was most cunning of you to pretend that you had no nose,’ said Bloatmingle. ‘But you made a telling mistake when the station master at Tenbury Wells recalled you ordering a ticket to Nuneaton. No man truly lacking nostrils would dare pronounce Nuneaton, let alone travel there!’
Damn your passion for the George Eliot Heritage Museum!’ cried Peasemold, pointing a goat chewed finger at his accomplice. ‘I knew it would be our ruin!’
Bloatmingle waved his gun, never having read Middlemarch nor, for that matter, having visited Nuneaton. In fact, he now believed he had even less reason to visit Nuneaton than he’d previously suspected. It sounded a terribly dull place.
No-Nose sobbed loudly. ‘You never did understand Dorothea Brooke!’ he accused. ‘You were too busy allowing those disgusting goats to chew your fingers!’
There was a sudden shot and the end of Peasemold’s cane smoked black as No-Nose grabbed the place where, despite his name, he once had a nose and where, apposite to his name, he now had none.
Okay, lower the cane,’ said Bloatmingle. ‘You can add shooting off a man’s nose to your list of heinous and occasionally hilarious crimes.’
How on earth did you find me?’ asked Peasemold.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Pangolin News Flash: Maggots found in McDonalds Burger

A Cridling Stubbs woman who found numerous maggots and a herring gull in her Big Mac has been incensed by the response from the company.

Mrs Emmeline Vibes (17), of Dogflees Lane, noticed the additional wildlife and notified McDonalds at once. "They asked what on earth I expected if I was going to leave my burger outdoors on a dustbin lid for three days in a heat wave. I mean, like, wtf?"

"I'd only left it outside while I checked the spare room for gherkins, and then I just forgot about it. How was I to know?"

Mrs Vibes, a hamster-sexer with Pets at Home on the Bagshot Road, says she will not be going to McDonalds again. "The manager down there's got such bad acne he makes grandma's spotted dick look like a billiard ball", she explained.

For Sale: Items suitable for Car Boot

Bargain! This entire collection can be yours for only £45.00ono, and is just right for a car boot. At least, if you want a car boot like mine. Pictured here on my lawn.

Please contact: P J Vimm, Glossop.

Monday, 16 September 2013

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


Justin here. Well, not exactly “here” in the sense that I’m writing this in my study, behind the chapel organ or whilst concealed in the gardener’s wheelie bin. I’m sad to say that I’ve had to move again to a really secret location after a disturbing visit from two gentlemen who appeared to know my very own young man with the wire in his ear. All three appeared unannounced in my study as I was busy with newspapers, scissors and Pritt, preparing anonymous letters to Wonga.

Neither gent offered his name. Both wore sunglasses. When I asked whence they came, both tapped the sides of their noses and winked. In unison.Then one said, “Boots”. Both chuckled ominously. Then I was told in no uncertain terms that I should “back off” and stop making pronouncements about issues of public interest such as the ridiculous high speed train, pay-day loans, that nit-wit Michael Gove, badger killers, bombing Syria, and obscenely over-paid footballers.

I was aghast. So much so that my digestive biscuit broke and fell into my tea. Both gentlemen had been offered refreshments by the ever-present Mrs Crabtree who, incidentally, has served tea and biscuits to three Archbishops.

Naturally, I protested, rising to my feet and striking my desk top with enough force to make my bronze figurine of St Francis of Assisi wobble dangerously.

I then suggested that these two mysterious strangers should leave. This they did but not before one turned and said, “We have ways of making your life very unpleasant." Then, as I moved to usher them to the door, my trousers fell down.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Seagull

Female human thoughtfully throwing bits of fish for gulls. I catch one, but get distracted by sight of Carlotta-with-a-lot-to-offer sitting on harbour wall. Drop fish on bald head of male human. It bounces off and lands in his lager. He glares daggers at thoughtful female human and looks as though he's about to get up and be aggressive. I 'squeeze one out' on his newspaper and that distracts him for now.

It was only the Daily Mail anyway.

Had shouting match with Biffo and Ged at about 4.30am (I won). Boot flies out of window of No.48 (first floor flat) and joins pile already there. Mostly non-matching.

What a gas!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Pangolin Guide to Coping with the Aged

By Prof P J Whimbrel

At a time when people are living longer – the average lifespan of, for example, a 14th century thripp crimper was about six minutes – great efforts are being made by various non-governmental agencies to develop devices and strategies which might help we young-ish non-loopy types cope with the average Wandering Wrinkly.

The first age related solution we tested is the Nonothisway exo-skeletal programmed direction suit, the Boomerang. Dr. Erica Phont, development Director at Nonothisway told me, “Basically the Boomerang is basically a remote controlled exoskeleton which basically can be programmed to only allow the wearer to follow basically pre-programmed domestic routes, which can be basically timed to coincide with observed personal needs. The Boomerang will always return to its point of departure, basically. “ 

We found the Boomerang worked well within the range of its electric flex, but fitting it to the wearer was very fiddly. See illus. from Boomerang users’ guide below.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Dear Lady Vi,
I am a spook at GCHQ, and much of my work is really, really secret, such as - I have recently found out that the people who are running the country are little more than *independently wealthy rich types who haven’t got a clue about ordinary peoples’ lives. I am seriously thinking of going public with this information, like that American fellow did, but I am a bit worried that GCHQ’s Black Operations department [ which doesn’t officially exist, but does really, and goes about the place killing people who spill the beans about what really goes on in the government, and about which I can say nothing] might be ordered to assassinate me.
I realise that your column usually deals with bonking and unrequited love and such, but I would really appreciate any advice you might be able to give me.

Yours sincerely,

Barnaby Krill (not my real name, which is Donald Mc Pippie)

* P.S. I have photographs of  D*v*d C*m*r*n and  Ni*k  Cl*gg being independently wealthy.

Dear Barnaby,

You must, MUST, keep this information to yourself.

If it gets out that your real name is Donald McPippie, people will laugh at you nearly as much as they'll laugh at you for keeping photos of the people who run this country. (Unless, that is, you keep them on a dart board).

Discretion is the better part of valour. You need to get yourself a suit with proper matching tie and handkerchief so as to blend in with everyone else at the Job Centre.

And you really do need to practise your bonking. It will take your mind off those terrible photos.

- Lady V

Dear Lady Vilet,

I of ritten a book an I sent it to a self publising companny an thay sed it was great adn printied it just as id sent it and sed it was wonerful but now pipple tell me its crap an full of speling misakes.

Dosent thes compenys care aboutt ther books? What shuld I do with all those boks in the spere bedroom?


Hermione Blenkinsopp (at lest I think that's how you spel it)
Tur Langton

My dear Miss Blenkinsopp,
I am assuming your unmarried status because no gentleman of worth would ever seek your hand in marriage given your truly atrocious grasp on the English language. I would also guess that the self-publishing company you refer to charged you the earth to bring your pathetic spelling to the page.
My dear girl, forget writing, get a job, probably in service and preferably in a position where you would not have to speak much as I suspect your grammar is as bad as your spelling. As for the books in the spare bedroom - winter will soon be upon us. Burn them. Burn them all!

Yours in kindly sisterhood,

- Lady Vi

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Even more crime...

Episode 6: Bloatmingle and the Secret Knock (apart from the small end one).

Previously on Bloatmingle of the Yard...

The dreadful Hercules Peasemold seems to be behind an inexplicable but deadly dance which has led to the apparent demise of Dorothy Aileen Knickerthwaite. 

Bloatmingle and Spiggot have leapt into a Police Humber (which incidentally has some tappet chatter and something of a small end knock) and hastened to the alluringly-named Dead Man's Wharf...

During the hair-raising journey, Bloatmingle urgently apprised his bobbies of the facts as he saw them. “Mrs Knickerthwaite isn’t dead. The poison in the corsets immobilizes but isn’t fatal. Whilst his victims are virtually paralyzed, Peasemold…” Bloatmingle paused, wondering if these two relatively young policemen could take this. “Steals their ration books!” The two bobbies swallowed audibly. Fittock blanched. Even the driver swerved the speeding Humber slightly. 

Bloatmingle continued. “It's true lads. The man’s a fiend. And I think we’ll find that the crimes labelled by an hysterical press as 'The Chisel Murders' are down to him as well. After all, what did we find? No bodies, just cruelly abused chisels. And I happen to know that whilst Peasemold was a pupil at Abattoir Road Boys’ Elementary school before the war, he was rubbish at woodwork and constantly caned for dreadful dovetails. Hence his war on chisels!”

The Humber slowed as it entered a grimy side street close to the river.

“Just down here on the left, sir,” called the driver. “Splendid!” replied Bloatmingle. “Here’s what we’ll do. I will knock on the front door whilst you and Whatsisname sneak round the back. “ Oh, Inspector,” said Fittock, “That’s brilliant. Sneak round the back. Brilliant!”

Bloatmingle blushed slightly but he was used to compliments from less able people. “Yes. Sneak round the back. Take your pistols. And remember, if Peasemold is not alone but with Tommy No-nose, this won’t be easy!”

Bloatmingle’s hard knuckles hammered on the door of No 37 Dead Man’s Wharf before a small window slid open in the door. The window had more life in it than the pair of dull eyes that peered out.
"That’s not the secret knock," said the flat voice attached to the emotionless eyes.
"Yes it was," said Bloatmingle, not sure what to say but certain that there were speech marks there waiting for him to say something.
"No it ain’t!" protested the voice. ‘It was nothing like the secret knock.’
"My dear man," laughed Bloatmingle, "the very fact that you don’t recognise the knock surely proves that mine was a very secret knock! Why, isn’t 'not knowing' the very definition of 'secret'? Whether it’s the secret knock you were expecting is an entirely different matter and, frankly, none of my concern... Now, tell me, were you told to only open the door to a secret knock?"
"Yes," said the voice, confused.
"And would you allow that by not recognising my knock, you are clearly not in on that secret?"
"Urm… I suppose so…"
"Therefore my knock was a secret knock, you were told to open the door to a secret knock, therefore QED, ipso facto, and how’s your father: open this ruddy door!"
There was a long moment as distant gears slowly turned but eventually the door did open.
"You better explain that to the boss," said the small man appearing in the dim light.
"I’ll do just that," said Bloatmingle, using the end of his Webley to produce another secret knock but this time across the man’s temple.
"Urgh!" said the man as he fell into a heap.
"Ah, so you knew the password as well!" gloated Bloatmingle as he stepped across the body. "Excellent work that man!"

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

More Pangolin Poetry

Pablo could draw when he was a lad,
Then joined Cubism, a bit of a fad.
'Yes, it's all gone wonky', said winsome Paloma,
'I suspect a touch of early onset glaucoma.'

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

On This Day...

Two Years Ago

'A Life's Work' was the title of the illustrated talk given by founder member Raymond Snuddy to a gathering of the British Car Numbers Collectors' Club meeting in Daventry. Wide-ranging and exhaustive, the talk was interrupted at two points when calls went out for fresh supplies of drinking water and for a simple-to-use resuscitation kit.

Twelve Years Ago

At Salisbury Magistrates' Court a Wiltshire man was found guilty and fined £200 for entering his neighbour's garden and causing actual damage by the imposition of crop circles on separate patches of potentially prize-winning carrots, spinach and chard. Darren Pibble, aged 28,002 in Xoron years, refused to recognise the jurisdiction of the court, stating he was from the Planet Zlorg.

Twenty Years Ago

The long-awaited clash of the titans between Codford St Mary and Hanging Langford brought a thrilling finale to the West of England Half-Rings Series held in Wimborne. Having won the opening turnover, Codford led off with a bold challenge to the Langford half-brace which was ruled admissible only after lengthy discussions between umpires and verderer. Two substitutions and a moment of folly left Langford on rummy with one hold as decider. Then at fourth spin-off, with back-advantage and one turnover in hand, Codford bagged final victory with a brilliant ball-grab snatched from thin air. For Codford the open-top bus, for Langford painful defeat and time for a re-think.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

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

Justin here. Where does one start?  Sometimes it helps to see one’s own life responsibilities set against those of others, doesn’t it? I mean, occasionally  find myself burdened down by the calls of office. My humble attempts to curb the viral spread of legal moneylending by outing those twats at Wonga and suggesting that a wealthy Church ought, according to the teachings of the scriptures, step in and massively undercut the pay-day loans ratbags (could be a nice little earner). Or calling out to the government to halt the HS2 super train business – an intensely selfish, mind-numbingly expensive scheme which benefits very few at the expense of the many.

But these things pale into insignificance against the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t decisions which our leaders must take every day. I refer of course to the dreadful situation in Syria, a country steeped in Christian as well as Islamic history. Why, was it not in Syria that Simon of P’rune smote the Stone Gates of Thythycuth and The Word of God appeared on the wall of a betting shop in Damascus saying even unto Paul "Forget ye the pale camel for it has been nobbled"? Yet now that country is caught in the very same rock and hard place quandary facing world leaders. 

What should your average Syrian do? 

Support President Assad who, as we all know, can be a total bastard and jolly strict, or call for western countries to bomb the shite out of Syrian defences? And those very western leaders, our own blessed David Cameron and now America’s Barak Obama have stepped back from the brink of war, having half an eye on upcoming elections. I really felt for Mr Cameron making all those threats to President Assad. We cannot send an aircraft carrier to Syrian shores because we haven’t got one and even if we did, we have no aeroplanes to put on it – and won’t have if we spend all our loans on that silly train idea. 

But its the opposite problem which faces Mr Obama. He DOES have aircraft carriers and aeroplanes by the swarm, huge guns, and lots and lots of bombs too. As Mr Obama’s military chief of staff, General Zeke “Incoming” Krumpe said the other day when he thought the microphones were turned off, “Why in tarnation have we got all this ordnance if we can’t blow some place to Kingdom come every now and then?” Why indeed? I will tell you. It's because in God’s eyes, it is wrong. Another way must be found which will not threaten the lives of ordinary Syrians. Personally I favour a quiet visit from the SAS, in company with American Black Ops types. In – do for Assad – out.

I am writing this in full view of the young man with the wire in his ear. I’m pleased to say that when he peeped over my shoulder and read that last bit, he said, “Too right, Archie, too right!”

Pangolin's answer to The Seagull

Saturday 30th

Went down to harbour wall. Did a bit of shouting. Poohed on a toddler. Spotted fat young human with ice-cream. Swooped in from the northeast. Nicked the lot. Cornet, ice cream AND flake. Got ambushed by Barry and Glenda. Lost ice cream (it fell off and landed on an old human in a wheelchair) but got away with most of the flake and the bottom of the cornet. Swallowed the lot. Did more shouting after eyes stopped watering. 

After breakfast, did a bit of soaring, slipping the bonds of dull earth, rising, rising with the elemental force beneath my wings and soaring, soaring, gazing down like a feathered god onto the place beneath and then slipping, sliding and swooping down again to be once more mortal. All done sideways as the wind coming in off the Channel was a mother******.

A higher purpose in life than poohing was called for. Vomited on bathers in Bulverhythe instead.