Monday, 31 March 2014

Glossop University Science Department Overrun by Huge Rats!

Professor Rastus Bonkle: "We're hoping to take over Home Economics next!"

Scientists believe rats could eventually grow to the size of sheep or even bigger as they evolve to fill vacant ecological niches - as humans drive just about all other species to extinction. There have been reports of blocked sewers and drainpipes, as rats find that their legendary speeds can no longer be matched in the face of increased girth.

Rats are expected to adapt to whatever situation they find themselves in; already they are sharing the obesity epidemic with humans - as pavement pizzas contain ever-increasing amounts of fat, salt and e-numbers. Animals can easily evolve to be larger; when dinosaurs roamed the High Street, mammals were very small, but extinction of the big chaps paved the way for impressively-sized rats which resembled sabre-toothed tigers and even quite furry mammoths. Why, Moby Dick's great-great-great grandfather was only the size of a walrus.

Rats will have a major influence on the geological future of the Earth and over time were likely to produce "some remarkable descendants". 

Luckily, they're not stupid enough to create things like hedge funds, start nuclear wars or invent chemicals which will kill off all the bees. Or, come to that, build link roads in the middle of flood plains.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

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


Justin here, and I must confess to a certain confusion in my understanding of modern, contemporary terminology. In fact I have delayed the submission of my hugely popular Thought for the Day in this instance precisely because of that confusion.

As head of what I like to call “the peoples’ Church”, I feel that I must try to keep up with modern forms of speech. Things like “square” and “Daddy-oh” etc. But it seems that no sooner have I mastered one and allowed it to seep into my everyday language, along comes another. Many are puzzling. “Ming” – obviously the root of “minging” has, I discovered (thanks to the young man with the wire in his ear) got absolutely nothing to do with Chinese ceramics, just as “wicked” no longer applies to something evil.

You can, therefore, imagine my bafflement when I read that two celebrities, one a certain film star called Gwendolyn Portnoy and the other the musician Martin Christopher (leader of a beat combo called Cold Cream) have, according to the newspapers achieved “conscious uncoupling”. My first reaction was one of delight in the idea of celebrities having any interest at all in railways, although I seem to remember one or two actually own splendid steam locomotives. I was further convinced by the young man with the wire in his ear telling me that one of Cold Cream’s tunes is called “Fix You” – which has obviously mechanical overtones.
You might imagine my embarrassment when my lady wife, roaring with laughter, explained the true meaning of this odd term. I was about to thank her when Thomas Aquinous, our lovely Cairn Terrier leapt on to her lap, spilling copious amounts of Vladivar vodka all over itself and my better half. A chance spark from my lady wife’s cigarillo started a significant conflagration and were it not for the timely intervention of the young man with the wire in his ear, I hate to think of what might have happened. He sprang across the room in an impressively athletic fashion and poured the water from two vases of daffodils over the canine and human casualties. 

Fortunately, no real injuries were sustained. My lady wife’s delightfully patterned flannel pyjamas were ruined of course and poor Thomas is rather charred around his hind quarters, but after a few Goodog treats and a large tumblerful of Jim Beam, both brave parties carried on as if nothing had happened. When the young man with the wire in his ear eventually stopped screaming with laughter, I did point out to him that his timely and effective action with the daffodil water is exactly what Jesus would have done.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Monday, 24 March 2014

In Your Garden...

Our gardening expert writes:

Spring again and so much to do! People often make the mistake of getting out too early after a wet winter and doing permanent damage to the garden by soil compression and root abuse. Those in the know will spend this time more wisely, indoors by a warm fire, planning for the months ahead.

Lawns - always a problem area and the main subject of anxious inquiries that fill my postbag. The simple solution is to be done with it all. Dig out to a depth of 3 feet and replace with a selection of the mineral substrates available from all good garden centres. Ornamental chippings and decorative gravels can be laid in any pattern, from expressionist whorls to the formal elegance of the Tudor knot garden. Reds and blues are very this-year and can be relied upon to provide a blaze of colour throughout the summer.

Paths - to avoid expensive worm-damage, paving slabs (along with tiling and brick laterals) need to be floated on to a solid bed of concrete to a minimum depth of four feet. Highlight dangerous corners with Burglaroff Instablind arc lights.

Hedging - boundary shrubs and border planting are the source of many gardening problems, from afternoon shading to autumn leaf-drop. Now is the time to grub these out and replace with maintenance-free Eezi-care pre-formed foliage in longlife plastic. Such jobs are best done with a mechanical digger (available from Plant Hire outlets) and care should be taken to remove all traces of root.

Birds - are a perennial nuisance, the high ammonia content of their droppings capable of destroying whole sets of garden furniture. In my first job, as apprentice to a municipal authority, I was tasked with patrolling parks at dawn and dusk to pounce on and throttle the blighters with my bare hands. These days there are more humane methods available, including regular blast-spraying with Tweetoff or Burdkil, to mention just two.

Finally, on a caring note, to those who, after a lifetime of digging and hoeing, are now left wheelchair-bound or suffering with chronic back pain, do not despair. The answer lies in raised beds. Get yourself some railway sleepers; key ends together with simple mortise-and-tenon joints for permanent fixture; bottom-load with layers of hardcore and subsoil, top-filling with good quality loam to a minimum surface height of 5 ft (allowing for ground settlement); sit back and enjoy.

This week's jobs: harp-tickle rooting base on tired brassicas, part-layer & splug-shaft cutaneous tubers, light chit only till change of clocks.
Next month: installing that Hot Tub.

Good Gardening!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

"He does this every year, but I can tell you from personal experience - there's not much under that lot!"

Friday, 21 March 2014

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


Justin here. Whilst the young man with the wire in his ear is of the opinion that many of the ordinary people who attend my weekly surgery are, and I quote, workshy layabouts who only come in for a warm and free biscuits, I remain convinced that I can help spread the good news by offering a non-church environment wherein the confused, the worried and occasionally the head-lice ridden amongst us can seek advice and succour. It is sad but true that the interior of the average church puts people off. They feel inhibited by the architectural splendour – especially in churches like mine, which, let’s face it, is a bit of a humdinger. I had intended calling my surgery, the SPIRITUAL surgery, but my lady wife counselled that if I did, I’d be inundated with deluded people wishing to contact dead aunties.
So, this morning’s session was most interesting. The young man with the wire in his ear has the body search down to no more than 20 seconds now and I have persuaded him not to glare at my visitors. Or snigger. Or intone” ****ing hell!”

My first visitor was most trying. A man of middle years and military bearing, he wore a T shirt emblazoned with “SATP”and in brackets underneath (shoot all the poofters). I was quite prepared to enter into a lively philosophical debate with him, but he made that very difficult by accusing all clergy of being shirtlifters (whatever that might be), then darting hither and thither looking for hidden cameras and microphones. I must admit to being relieved and grateful when the young man with the wire in his ear appeared as if by magic, pressed something in the agitated fellow’s neck and rendered him all of a heap. The young man with the wire in his ear then said, “Gimme five” and dragged the gentleman away. True to his word, in five minutes, he returned. When I asked about the fellow’s whereabouts, the young man with the wire in his ear winked and tapped the side of his nose.
My next encounter was a much more domestic one with an older couple (Reg and Pauline) who were very worried by the Chancellor’s announcement in yesterday’s Budget speech that the purchase of an annuity by pensioners is not now necessary and that henceforth you can do what you jolly well like with your pension payout. Pauline was especially emotional, grasping my hands and sobbing piteously. Off the top of my head I was able to suggest things like donating a significant amount to the charity of their choice, establishing a Food Bank to help the needy, or, more selfishly, taking a guided Betjeman tour of the Home Counties’ wonderful Anglican churches. It was only after they had left that I noticed the absence of my wristwatch, wallet, and a chair. Nevertheless, I do feel that the church must reach out to people beyond the Cathedral’s mighty doors.
I will close this Thought for the Day by saying that I am puzzled and not a little concerned by the Holy Father, the Pope stating that he and the Catholic faith are going to challenge the might of the Mafia. Whilst this does put my own stalled campaign against Wonga in the shade somewhat, I do worry about the possibility of shoot-outs in St Mark’s Square. As the young man said, impishly, “What would Jesus have done?”

Yours ever,


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Final episode 14: Bloatmingle - Per Angusta Ad Augusta (during the month of May)

Previously on Bloatmingle of the Yard... all the villains have been neatly happre'ended, and that should be the end of the matter. However...

Well sir, I rather think that’s that,” said Spiggot, retrieving his truncheon from Bloatmingle’s surprisingly limp hand. The young constable looked hard at his boss. There was something different about him. “Cor, lumme!” said Spiggot, “’is mind’s snapped!”

And indeed it had. Chandeliers, bombs, shotguns in the boxers, poisoned corsets, ocularly challenged Scandinavians, Spiggot, rank begonias, dead Egyptians, and dreadful Dorothy Knickerthwaite had all gone. Once like a steel trap, as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel, as brilliant as an exploding nebula, Bloatmingle’s mind had switched off!

He stood, swaying slightly, and fixed Spiggot with a baleful glare. “And who the hell are YOU?” he gritted. Spiggot looked crushed. “I’m your faithful sidekick sir – PC Spiggot wiv two Gs”
Never heard of you!” roared Bloatmingle, “And more to the point, Spittog, if that really is your name, who in blazes am I?” Constable Spiggot flinched as if to ward off a blow then saw a strange faraway look in his superior’s eye. He passed a hand across Bloatmingle’s field of vision. Nothing. No blink. No twitch. Just a blank stare into regions beyond Spiggot’s limited ken. “Huh” thought Spiggot. “Limited Ken. Played a couple of seasons for West Ham. Very left sided. Fell over a lot.”

But loyalty is a tremendous thing, as is an ability to recognize the obvious. Spiggot had these qualities in spades. He gazed again at Bloatmingle’s aimless stare. “Hmmm. Definitely lorst ‘is marbles this time ‘an no mistake”, thought the Constable. Gently, he took Bloatmingle’s arm.

And so it began. The long, slow tortuous journey back to sanity. Constable Spiggot faithfully accompanied the muttering Bloatmingle back to Scotland Yard.

News of Bloatmingle’s condition spread through the crime-fighting nerve centre like wildfire, ably assisted by Spiggot shouting,”Make way! Make way! Inspector Bloatmingle’s gone loony!” as he guided the stricken ‘tec towards the office of the only person in the Yard who could help Bloatmingle regain his senses. “Ere we are Sir. Soon ‘ave you back to normal now”, said Spiggot, knocking on the door, just below the nameplate which read, “Dr. A.W. Pinkthynge. M.D. Psychology, Drugs, and Stuff Like That.” Bloatmingle muttered, “Corsets.”

Enter!” The voice was a deep, commanding baritone, which was strange, emanating as it did from a slight, tweed clad woman in her mid forties.

Ah, so he finally snapped, eh? said Dr Pinkthynge. “OK, Spinach, get him up on the couch and let’s see if we can’t untangle the old brain-box, eh. I’ve been expecting this”.

Spiggot”, said Spiggot.

Pardon?” said Pinkthynge.

My name – it's Spiggot”, said Spiggot.

Well that’s nice for you,” returned Pinkthynge.“Pass me that bottle of Hydro chlorideparametacetadioxide and a syringe, and let’s get this show on the road!” Dr Pinkthynge expertly tore off Bloatmingle’s left sleeve and plunged the loaded needle into his trembling flesh. Spiggot fainted.

Over the next few weeks after innumerable visits from Mrs Bloatmingle complete with home-made spotted dick and soothing words, our hero regained most of his wits. With Spiggot’s help, the Inspector pieced together the recent events. Bloatmingle realized that he owed Spiggot much. Had the young constable not sought Dr Pynkthynge’s expert help, had Bloatmingle not spent weeks in Dunabbin, the Police Rest Home, things might have been very different. Now, here in Dunnabin’s spacious lounge, dotted here and there as it was with elderly, confused ex-coppers shouting, “Take that!”, and “’Ere, where’s me bung?” Bloatmingle felt ready to clear up any loose ends in this, the most complex investigation he had ever led.

Bloatmingle turned to Spiggot, took him by the right hand and shook it. “Thanks for all you’ve done, Spottig. There’ll be sergeant’s wossnames waiting for you back at Scotland Yard.”

Oh, that’s nice,” observed Spiggot. “I ‘adn’t realised they ‘ad different wossnames to ours, Sir.”

Sunday, 16 March 2014


Ex-military long-distance toasters. For toast on the go! (Please note. At least one operator must be wet through).

Limited stocks. Order NOW to avoid disappointment. 

*BDS Supplies, Unit 5, Glossop Retail Park, Glossop, Derbs GI29MP.

*Bloody Dangerous Stuff

Friday, 14 March 2014

You've tried the rest, now try the beast

For Sale:

Prestige 'Armageddon' toaster.

Do you find your bread's too big to fit in your piddly little toaster you got from Argos?

... which takes far too long to singe that elusive corner?

You can't fit muffins in there? Or chair legs, or carpet roll innards?

Let all these worries become a thing of the past, and treat yourself to one of these.

We will pay you £50.00 to take it away.

(You may also find it attracts errant ships)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

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

Hullo, Justin here.
As many of you know, before I heard the still small voice of calm  calling me to this ministry, I was a banker. I also have significant experience of the oil industry, a place awash with money and the sometimes dog-eat-dog machinery of high finance. And so it was with dismay that I heard today that the spectacularly failing Co-operative Bank is to pay its top executives millions, nay billions, in bonuses. Let us remember that very recently, the same bank divested itself of the services of its Chief Executive, a troubled soul who dabbled in drugs hard and soft, was often seen in the company of inappropriate female persons and regularly went on expensive fact finding missions, usually to sunny places noted for drugs, libidinous music and inappropriate female persons.
And so, faced with calls from my flock to react to this news of unearned bonuses, I asked myself, “What would Jesus have done?” The young man with the wire in his ear suggested, “Shoot the bastards” whilst my lady wife shouted “Bring it on!”, spilling quite a lot of last year’s elderberry/vodka brandy on the fireside rug.
But of course, as the leading cleric in this country, I cannot support such extreme views, so I sat with my companions and began thoroughly to analyse the Co-operative story so far. Had the bank overreached itself? Had it been led by greedy financiers who had secured bonus-rich contracts from Chief Executives who dabbled in drugs and sought the company of inappropriate female persons? Have the fortunes of the Bank been turned around after its near-collapse? Has, in fact, the situation become very much worse? The answers were obvious. YES,YES, NO,YES.
These sobering facts stared bleakly back at me. Through the good offices of the young man with the wire in his ear, I obtained the private number of the present CEO of the Co operative Bank and asked him how on earth he could justify bonuses for people who were doing such a bad job. To his credit, he did not trot out the usual excuse that if these incompetents aren’t paid eye-watering bonuses, they would go abroad. Instead, he told me to sod off and go sing a hymn.
Now, I am a mild man. I am slow to anger. I will always seek the way of mediation. It is, after all, that is what Jesus would have done. And so, I prayed. Prayed with all my might. I prayed for over an hour, by which time, the fireside rug was ruined and the young man with the wire in his ear was snoring loudly.
So, after appeal, prayer and soul-searching I must reluctantly agree with the young man with the wire in his ear and indeed my lady wife (who appears now to be drinking our Lidl mouthwash) and recommend that we should indeed shoot the bastards.

Yours in inadequacy,


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Just in case you were still looking for a toaster

Connor! Tyler! Corey! Blake! Shawn! Are YOU a hip'n'happnin' kinda guy? Does your hair pop up in a little tuft at the front? Do YOU call males AND females "Guys"? Have YOU got a name that was popular in 1993?

Wanna to-die-for NEW APP?

If itz YEAH! to all the above, you're just the sort of impressionable dope we're looking for.

Turn your smartfone into a MINI-TOASTER now, and just watch all those babes gettin' naked just for YOU!

Simply send all your personal details, PIN numberz etc to:

For Sale, a highly-prized Heinkel steam-powered outdoor toaster.

Recently refurbished and converted to take British steam, this is a late model “Graf Spee” toaster capable of producing 500 rounds per minute in shades ranging from Very Pale to Charcoal and requiring only a crew of two.

Offers over £10,000. Part-ex considered.

For Sale: 'Trebuchet' deluxe toaster

Low mileage, one careful owner. You'll need to get your own MOT though.
  • Can accommodate several slices if you can work out where to put them.
  • Variable browning, not subject to control by any known being.
  • Extra bits for pinging burnt toast all over the place.
  • Springs for removing small animals  and bits of plaster that may have fallen in.

Settings include, but are not limited to:
- slightly singed in one corner
- slightly singed in two corners
- cremated
- small flames, plus pinging mechanism so it'll start your barbecue outside
- as above, but strong enough pinging to start next door's bonfire. Specially recommended for November 5th

Monday, 10 March 2014

On This Day...

Five Years Ago

Talks continued behind closed doors between Parish Councillors in the search for peace between the neighbouring Suffolk villages of Rickinghall Inferior and Rickinghall Superior.

Fifteen Years Ago

A small band of loyal supporters gave a hearty round of applause as the curtain came down on the final scene in Ham Village Hall of the Ham Players' performance of 'Trossachs', a dramatisation by producer Phyllis Pardew of the Waverley novels (by Sir Walter Scott) in which each member of the cast got to play several roles. Lighting, including the fog sequence, was by Trevor Poggle, while coaching in the Scottish accent was given by Wardrobe Mistress Edna McNab. On the last night a bouquet of flowers (along with a jar of Vick) was presented to lead actress Beryl Streep, who, despite a heavy cold and loss of voice, held front of stage in all 43 scenes of this ambitious production.

Fifty-Five Years Ago

Further shots were fired in the ongoing row between the BBC and Mr G. Willock of Shepton Parva.  The Corporation, as will be remembered, had, in a series of increasingly curt refusals, declined the many offers made by amateur photographer Gordon Willock to make available his extensive archive of holiday slides (plus one 7mm film of Skies Over Shepton) for use in transmission breaks between programmes. The BBC replied that it had ample footage of its own of horses ploughing, windmills turning, pottery making and basket-weaving without needing to add to it pictures of Mrs Willock staring out from Stonehenge, Minehead or with the donkeys at Clovelly, let alone filmed sequences of Doreen Willock (49) mowing the lawn or relaxing in her garden. 

Accusing commissioning editors of arrogance and not knowing what the public really wants to see, the complainant pointed out that all his neighbours (including two members of the Quantocks Camera Club) were heartily sick of all the bad things on the news and in programmes like Dixon of Dock Green and would positively welcome a breakdown in transmission in order to enjoy some pleasant reminders (set to music) of what makes Britain great. The Director-General was not available for further comment. Neither were the Willocks (away in the Lake District, filming daffodils).

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Episode 13: Bloatmingle - the Fugitive has stopped Fugitting.

Previously on Bloatmingle of the Yard...

Bloatmingle and Spiggot have apprehended the evil Doctor Peasmold and the nasally-challenged Tommy. Accidentally, but they got 'em anyway. Unfortunately, the treacherous Fittock - who turned out to be Humplock - has made good his escape. Their ruminations at 37 Dead Man's Wharf have been rudely interrupted, however, by the sudden appearance of not one, but two apparitions. One of them has leapt into Bloatmingle's arms...

Humplock...?” Bloatmingle gawped in disbelief. The man was naked but for a pair of red and white stripy socks, his Metropolitan Police issue clodhoppers and a rather fetching leopardskin pattern posing pouch. He had bite marks on his buttocks.

Just keep her away from me, I tell you, keep her away...”

Bloatmingle and Spiggot stared at the second apparition. The long, matted red hair. The large blue eye. The small blue eye. The bright red lipstick which would have been perfectly applied, had it not missed her mouth by one and a half inches. But, most telling of all, the unlaced corset flapping in the breeze to reveal a hairy chest of an unusual topographical nature.

Dorothy Knickerthwaite...!” breathed Bloatmingle.

Humplock was still weeping and gibbering uncontrollably. “I'm giving myself up, yes, giving myself up. Pleeeease put me in prison. Put me in prison. I'll be safe there...” He glanced over his shoulder at Dorothy Knickerthwaite and screamed again. Mrs Knickerthwaite had stopped in her tracks, however. She just stood still, taking in her surroundings and shaking her head.
Would someone mind tellin' me what the ****'s goin' on?” she demanded loudly in a shrill cockney accent. “And where the ****'s my ration book?”

Please, dear lady,” intoned Bloatmingle, putting himself in mind of the suave and dashing Anton Walbrook in “Dangerous Moonlight”, one of Mrs Bloatmingle’s favourite films. So favourite in fact that more than once when he and the love of his life were being, erm, affectionate in the marital darkness, Bloatmingle had heard her squeal “Anton, Anton!” in her lovely bass profundo.
But here his specialist Police training kicked in and he put all thoughts from his mind save that of calming the rampant lipsticked harpy who even now was eying him in a sultry cross-eyed fashion.
Please dear lady, calm yourself. I am a Police Officer. You are quite safe now”, drawled Bloatmingle, still in Walbrook mode. He cleared his throat and said again, “You’re quite safe now.”
Dorothy Knickerthwaite (for it is she) crouched, gathering the burst corset around her not inconsiderable self.  “But you’re not!” she gritted and began to sidle towards Bloatmingle, slightly dragging one leg. She was a truly magnificent woman, thought Bloatmingle, his lightning-quick, trained Police mind wondering what might next transpire. Dorothy Knickerthwaite advanced and began whistling “You are My Heart’s Delight” through the fingers of her left hand. Her heaving breasts (a Land where Veet had never been) heaved.

The whistling stopped. Bloatmingle was aware of a certain type of trouser activity, but again he focused on the job in hand. Dorothy Knickerthwaite gazed into Bloatmingle’s eyes – a siren’s gaze – the gaze of the Femme Fatale! “You are mine!” shrilled Dorothy and lunged forward. “Quick! Spiggot! Your truncheon!” shouted Bloatmingle as he realised that what he could feel in his pocket was not his truncheon, which must have been misplaced in the melee.

For once in his life, Constable Spiggot did not hesitate. He tossed his rarely used staff across the room and Bloatmingle caught it expertly using the difficult reverse wrist Thrames-McDowell Expert Catch catch. He felt Dorothy Knickerthwaite’s hot breath on his cheek – a seductive waft of Corned Beef and Rennies – and his mind reeled. “God, this woman could be mine!” he thought, but yet again the iron vice which was his Policeman’s mind snapped shut and he laid Mrs Knickerthwaite out with a smart blow to the left temple.

Cor!” said Spiggot. “That was a close shave an’ no mistake!” intoned the young Bobby. “Cor? Close shave an’ no mistake?”

Who writes his stuff?” thought Bloatmingle, gently heaving the helpless Mrs Knickerthwaite onto a mysteriously convenient upright piano transporter.

Friday, 7 March 2014

"I've been watching you - and that's what you get when you go rooting down
the back of other people's sofas."

Thursday, 6 March 2014

30,000 year old virus comes back to life!

An ancient virus has "come back to life" after lying dormant for at least 30,000 years, says Prof Anna Prongg.

It was found frozen in a deep layer of the Siberian permafrost, but after it thawed it became infectious once again. Well, for a little while at least.
It got up, stretched and yawned a bit and then settled down to read the paper. Then it caught sight of a picture of Ian Duncan-Smith, was heard to yell "Bugger that!" and leapt back into the permafrost.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

"Oh yes - tragic of course, but he was never really passionate about bogrolls, was he?"

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Diary etc etc Tuesday (I think) but no wossname today...

Had one of those nights when you’re suddenly wide awake at daft o’clock. Got back to sleep. Woke up late. Hens going "werrp, werrp" waiting to be let out into gale force wind. Make coffee. Lots. Better half off to sort horse out. Horses don’t like wind. But go crazy for sprouts.

And so to Ye Olde Arte Shoppe. Yes, I know you can get stuff on line cheaper, but said emporium is part of the high street which already has way too many empty shops. Aren’t I a goody?

The only problem with my art shop is that you ALWAYS get stuck behind a keen dabbler. They spend loads more than me. Art shop proprietors love them.  Top quality paint and brushes to die for. Sometimes they bring their pics in to be framed. They are invariably dreadful.

Eventually made my purchases – two 3B pencils, a little tube of propelling pencil leads and two bottles of FW black acrylic ink. Got home; pencil leads too little. Fall out of end of pencil (a Rotring Newton. Excellent but obsolete now).


Private commission. Not keen on private commissions. Clients usually v vague about what they really want. They say “cartoon” when they mean “caricature”.

Of a relative. I ask what they’re like (meaning appearance). Client says they have a great sense of humour. Suggest client sends me photos. Wants caricature of Dad on his boat which is a Sprayseeker H23 and please could I draw the boat as well. Oh, and can you just pop in the rest of the family?

Photos arrive. Big family. Dad has a wholly unremarkable face. Suggest to client that scale here might be a problem. A3 might be better (for me) than A4. Client says bigger’s fine and could I just put the dog in too?

Then we talk about cost. I tell her. She asks whether I charge per figure and if so, I could leave out the couple at the back in matching sweaters. Aaaargh!
Eventually agree a price. Begin. Phone rings. Client. Does the price include a frame?
Go away. Bang head for a while.


Wind still giving it what for and chickens finding walking about tricky. Going “werrp” a lot. Dog gets walked – in the rain. She hates rain, so it’s a quick walk, then back for another niche interest mag. This one’s called “Stationary Engine”. Honest. Deals with skilled amateur engineers who rebuild engines to drive machinery with. Then they go to Steam Fairs and sit on camping chairs watching each other’s engines chug away. Old engines are being found all the time. Magazine has headlines like, “Fittock Cogswell 4 hp rotary flange engine found in outside loo. Says owner Ralph Punt, “I’ve thought for a long time that seat was lumpy.”

These are dedicated people and cartoons must be accurate, or readers write in; “ Your cartoonist needs to get a grip on the difference between the flared exhaust on the Thrimmington Cadet and the straight-through version on the altogether larger Thrimmington Major.” Same with car magazines I work for.

Experts look at the drawing first and the joke second.

Then its back to the private commission. Dad’s face is SO featureless. Might make his ears stick out a bit.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Pangolin News Flash!

Pangolin Political Correspondent Beryl Tussock reports...

“Party watchers were today puzzled by three major players all finishing speeches in different parts of the country by making strange little tiny squeaking noises. All three were not available for comment but a local UKIP spokeswoman, Marjorie Bland (Mrs) (47) said, “Mr Farage is a man of the people and like everybody else, he makes odd noises from time to time.”  

A Psychiatrist writes; p.96