Thursday, 29 May 2014

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


Justin here. My lady wife and myself have been discussing our annual holiday – a joyful anticipation for everyone, I’m sure, whether it be a traditional sojourn in a seaside boarding house – I believe they’re called “guest houses” these days – or an altogether more exotic trip to foreign climes with sun-drenched beaches, dusky locals, and hammocks.
I must confess that my personal preference would be for a more humble but possibly more uplifting tramp through the hills and valleys Elgar trod whilst composing his quintessentially English variations and staying at coaching inns along the way. My lady wife stayed silent at this. I whistled “Nimrod” for a while, then the young man with the wire in his ear, sensing a certain atmosphere, vetoed the notion because of security considerations. “Can’t have you bumbling about off the beaten, Archie. There’d only be me to watch your back, and God knows what inbred loonies there are out there in the sticks. And a Glock 17’s only good for 50 yards at best" were his exact words. Such is the price of high office.
In the end, my lady wife produced an impressive pile of brochures (which she appeared to have been sitting on) all to do with European River Cruises. One she was especially keen on. It involved embarking at Cologne, sailing almost to the Russian border and back and featured no less than six wine-tastings per day. The young man with the wire in his ear approved, saying that it would be much easier to keep an eye on us in a closed environment and besides, one of us wouldn’t be moving about much anyway. He did say that he might be able to sequester a couple of Marines as this would be a waterborne journey, but I thought that a little excessive. So there we are. I will have to go and unearth my old college yachting blazer! Bodies between our knees, eh?!
But far more important than our little holiday aspirations are the political developments in this country and in Europe. The ebullient, ever-cheerful Mr Farage seems to have done awfully well, doesn’t he? I’m told by Mrs Ditchworth, our recently acquired replacement conference facility cleaner (Ms Heaver is on maternity leave) that Mr Farage is popular because he likes a drink, smokes, and swears occasionally. These do seem to me to be rather scant qualifications for one who seeks power. But perhaps Mrs Ditchworth painted only a partial picture. I admit to a certain unease when I read about UKIP. The young man with the wire in his ear’s assessment, i.e., “They’re a bunch of nutters” lacks specifics, and I read that the more Mr Farage is accused of racism, the more people vote for him. Which is worrying. There will come a point, I’m sure, that in the course of my official duties, I shall have to meet him. What would Jesus do? Well, I rather imagine he would admit Mr Farage into the Temple, keep a beady eye on him and the minute he started being beastly to travelling folk, pitch him out on his ear.

Pip, pip,


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

In Your Garden

Our gardening expert writes:

Nobody likes to find a weed in their garden. As ever, prevention works better than cure. Regular drenchings of weedkiller (backed up by dabbing with Miracle Plantnuke) do help, but the wiser course lies in strategies designed to prevent the little blighters ever getting a foothold in the first place.

Mineral aggregates are the answer and there is a marvellous range of new products to be found on the market. Gravel mix, slate chippings and coloured shingles are all easy enough to lay, but they may not defeat the cunning wiles of your typical little weed. Go instead for deep trenching and a thick layer of ready-mix or concrete derivative. This can be painted or stained as wished, or neatly topped with bespoke paving. Recent years have seen greater moves towards Green thinking in the garden and anyone so minded could well be tempted to explore the interesting new possibilities to be had with synthetic lawn, geotextiles and artificial border shrubs. 

Fruit bushes 2: last month I was taken to task by one reader for not flonking in April. It's not the first time the Early Flonking Brigade have had me in their sights. Some people just can't help themselves. They have to be out their at it all months of the year, even before the grass has dried or ground warmed up. They seem blind to the dangers of excessive or premature flonking: Scab Rot, Blossom End Wilt, thrips, to name but a few. Desist, you flonkers.

Next month: what to do when you order a Hot Tub, none arrives, you complain and re-order through Customer Services, then three arrive, all with billing.

Bon jardinage.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Pangolin Election Special!

Pangolin News Editor, Steve Wuss, has noticed that there have been Council Elections during the week. Admittedly, like 66% of the population of Glossop, he was asleep at the time, but better late than never eh, Steve?

"What I don't understand is why the BBC and ITV and ABC and JKL and whatever all those other news channels are called, spent so much time discussing smoked herrings", he intoned. "In fact, here's a picture of a u-kipper to show you all what they look like:
I mean, the mejia COULD have talked about important issues like 'What are we going to do about the kiosk planned for the sea front opposite No.89', 'Why are we letting Monsanto control the food supply for the whole world by killing off our bees?' and 'After those excitingly huge holes in the ground appeared during the storms, let's add to them by fracking. It was all so AMAZING!'

Instead, we've had to endure minute scrutiny of a bunch of oily, wrinkled old codgers with two faces - who smell rather. On their own admission, they don't do very well in parts of the country where the local populace have two brain cells to rub together. Ironic in that oily fish is supposed to improve your brain power.

So, Ukip are now a major political force... given that they are now in control of precisely zero councils throughout the UK, have no seats in Parliament... but will doubtless do well in the European Elections. And won't bother to turn up to any sessions of the European Parliament anyway.

Well, I'm going to jolly well get on to that Hugh Fearnley-Whillowstalk and see if he can't supply us with some more effective fish - whitebait or something!"

Friday, 23 May 2014

Cassius Pugnatius Seagull

Well - due to storms (and a really cool roller-coaster ride for me and my mates as the winds took us up an down and up an down. Wheeeeee!) a few months ago, the coastline has changed somewhat along our beloved StLeonardsanHastings corner.

Yes, just below Azur there are now funny little rocky bits exposed at low tide. This is a Good Thing as it's a permanent supply of tasty snacks, whilst hitherto I've contented myself with dive-bombing people sipping cocktails on the verandah.

However, some of those humanoids seemed to have got married, and horrid little girls in fairy dresses and horrid little boys in velvet overcoats were posing in amongst the rocks whilst another one was photographing them. Hahahhahahahahha... did I give "Watch the Birdie!" a new dimension. Plop! Strafe! Squeeeeze!

It cannot be said that I didn't contribute to the whiteness of their white wedding. Fnaar!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Dear Lady Vi,
I am a 49 year-old unmarried woman presently caring for my 88 year-old father in the family home. My father is an argumentative, foul-mouthed, manipulative, sly, insulting, selfish and ungrateful man who smells a bit, too. He, in his opinion, relies on a wheelchair, which I push, to get around. Whenever we pass a group of young men, my father calls out to them in a loud voice, things like, “Oi! Lads! Have a look at our Betty! Anybody want to take her on?”, or, “Who’s up for a genuine virgin then? 49 but looks 10 years younger. Decent arse, too!”, and worst of all, “Get a load of my daughter, boys! OK , face like smacked tripe, but I’m loaded and it’ll all go to her!”
I have spoken to Social Services about the situation, but they didn’t have a category which covers this sort of thing. Unofficially, the lady I spoke to suggested that I should murder my father in such a way that would look like an accident. I am not very worldly, and wonder if you know any ways of doing people in (without getting caught, of course) which I might try.

Many thanks,

Betty Fothergill (Miss, 49)

Lady V:

Dear Miss Fothergill,

I am pleased to report that there are many options open to you which will not lead to your permanent incarceration for patricide. I appreciate that the prospect of shoving his own used, foetid socks down his ungrateful throat until he asphyxiates is a enticing one, but you must resist.

In scenarios like these, allow natural forces such as gravity to come to your assistance. I note that he insists he is reliant on his wheelchair rather than your good self; this gives you a perfect opportunity to let go that ambulatory aid in situations where simple physics will do the rest. I am sure he would be amenable to your suggestion of a holiday near Beachy Head, for example. 

It is important that your emotional expression implies sorrow rather than elation once the police arrive, however. To this end, half a cut onion retained in your lace handkerchief will enable you to produce some convincing tears when the situation demands.

Incidentally, my great-uncle Horatio is reputed to have met his end in a similar fashion during a vacation in Santorini. His widow, Lady Felicia Spume, has been a keen allium producer ever since.


Lady V

Dear Lady Vi,
I am extremely good-looking, very rich, and splendidly talented in many, if not all human activities. I row, ride, play rugby, pilot my own jet, am an accomplished cellist, sing in a well known boy-band and have written ten best- selling novels. Despite all these wonderful achievements which make me, in my considerable opinion, a very nice guy, when I tell girls about them, whilst laughing and smiling and ordering waiters about, they go very quiet, say they have a headache, and go home. Am I using the *wrong after-shave?


Crispin Shyte Llb, Oxon., PhD., M.D.,M.A. OBE., (more if you need them)

*Svengali by Phwoarr

Lady V:

My dear Crispin,

It is indeed inconceivable that a prodigy such as yourself, displaying such disarming modesty, should have such appalling luck with the fair sex. You are clearly entertaining the wrong gels; you need to seek out one who has had her brain removed, and you will find this problem ceases overnight.  Possible dating prospects could include any member of the former Spice Girls, or Miley Cyrus, for example.

I do need to ask, however, why you found it necessary to douse your letter to me in a substance with an aroma of putrid grass clippings and camel dung?


Lady V.

Monday, 19 May 2014

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

Said it before, but I’ll say it again – how on earth those hardy souls who write a blog EVERY day do it, I just don’t know. And those phoneaholics who wander about the place with the instrument superglued to an ear or grasped between flickering, texting, tweeting fingers. How come they have SO much to say? I’m not sure they do. Not unlike radio phone-ins. People do it because they can. “OK – over now to Roy in Castle Bromwich. Roy, what’s YOUR take on hedge funds?
Long pause. “Hello? Hello?”
“Yes – go on Roy – your feelings about hedge funds…”
“Oh yes, well – can you hear me?”
“Loud and clear Roy”
“Oh, well, yes, erm, it all began in 1978 when my sister tripped over a rhinoceros…”

But I’m not a total communications luddite. I can see that in terms of intercontinental goings-on, instant contact is a Good Thing. Far better than lighting bonfires of different colours or having riders thrash horses across country to rendezvous with a Royal Navy frigate which, given fair winds, will arrive in Blighty with the months-old news that the Australians have still got the Ashes.

And here I must admit that I DO tweet. Well its not actually me. It’s the young man with the wire in his ear. But its sort of got my name stuck on it. I DID try to do it myself under his instruction but after speaking to a nervous lady in Rickmansworth twice and inadvertently buying a Swingers’ Holiday in Amsterdam, I thought it wise to let him be my amanuensis.

There was a distressing news item today, concerning a livestock lorry crashed on the M6. Its contents - 4000 chickens - escaped. Surprisingly, most were rounded up. They were probably on their way to a disgusting battery farm. By far the best outcome of that incident would have been for ALL the chickens to escape into the countryside and establish a whole new era of British Wild Chickens. They are, after all, very resourceful birds. They’d find food. Most would find safe roosts. Some would be taken by foxes. Idiot humans with guns (like the sad fool who shot the rhea recently) would account for more, but most would manage very well. Of course, the other ideal outcome would be for the battery farm owner to go bankrupt and have to take a job cleaning up chicken pooh on a humane, free range chicken farm. 

You might, dear reader think that I, as Head of the Anglican Church ought not to have these vengeful thoughts. And you would be quite right. But we all have our Dark Side. So I pray for guidance. What would Jesus have done?

Indeed, what would Jesus do about the utterly dreadful man in charge of Boko Haram? Would he forgive this monster? Or would he arrange a visit from some very persuasive WOMEN with big guns who would take Boko Boss to a cosy corner and have an intimate chat with him? Oh, save me from my Dark Side!

Yours, in anguish,


PS Have I spelt Boko Haram correctly? Don’t care. It doesn’t deserve grammatical niceties.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Pangolin News Flash: HS2 Shock U-Turn

Today, Pangolin can reveal the outcome of secret meetings between the government and MSP (Most Sensible People). Our Transport Correspondent, Angela Sleeper reports from the Houses of Parliament:

“Today, chubby Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin made an announcement which rocked this place. According to his short statement, the Government’s much-vaunted HST (High Speed Train) scheme is to be cancelled in favour of a secretly developed new initiative known as the QQDT (Quite Quick Downhill Train). The QQDT will make use of existing technology, current rolling stock and signalling, and, as Mr McLoughlin put it, “some older stuff which still has a bit of life in it.”

Mr McLoughlin confirmed that government experts had been in talks with retired accountant, Mr Lionel Euripides lately of Myth, Myth and Euripides, Accountants, Royal Leamington Spa. Reliable sources suggest that Mr Euripides told the government reps that their HST scheme was "vainglorious pie-in-the-sky which would bankrupt the nation and leave Mr Cameron with egg on his face and a long pointy train nobody wanted".

Below are pictures of the QQDT.
Mr Euripides is a member of MSP and, we understand, will soon receive a knighthood. His reaction to that news was typically down-to-earth when he said that the Transport Ministry personnel were, “A bunch of know-nothing wankers.”

Meanwhile, in other news, the search for a new manager at Manchester United is over. Sports correspondent Barry Fannie tells Pangolin that Bryan Giggles, MUFC’s stand-in boss let slip that: “It's gonna be some foreign bloke.”

Sunday, 4 May 2014

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

Justin here, and I must admit to certain feelings of disquiet; those little lumps of discord which so often disturb the serenity of our day to day dealings with our fellow men. And women. Actually though, thinking about the female part of the eternal equation, I am in fact pleased to help celebrate twenty years of female clergy in the Church of England. Of course, there are those within our communion who do not share my happiness and imagine that the Almighty intended that only men might carry the word. Why they should think so is quite beyond me, apart perhaps, as the young man with the wire in his ear puts it, that they are a bunch of nutters. Who knows?
But I am exercised by recent remarks made by our Prime Minister about the religious leanings of our country, namely that this sceptred isle should regard itself as a Christian nation, when it so patently is not. One of the central planks of Christianity – certainly of the Anglican faith – is that of toleration. Catholics are rather more hard-nosed of course and like things such as self-flagellation, which can cause blindness, apparently. Ours is a multi-faith society. We tolerate beliefs other than our own. We stoically put up with the slaughtering of goats and – from some seriously weird types, the non-celebration of Christmas or that life on earth began only 6000 years ago. It is the job of the Anglican faith to put up with these lunatics, and when preaching to them fails, to accept them. As the Rev. Goodchild B Leverett of Memphis Tennessee stated so succinctly, “We’s all God’s chillun.”
Meanwhile, on a far, far more earthly level, and at the risk of repetition, I am becoming increasingly anxious about the looming cloud of HS2. Just as I believe that Our Lord was indeed crucified and came back from the dead, I am utterly convinced that this ridiculous railway scheme will rob the poor to make the rich richer and visit all manner of sorrows upon those whose humble homes lie in the path of this inhuman juggernaut. At this juncture I should point out that the young man with the wire in his ear has been reading over my shoulder as I type, and his, “That’s bollocks that, Archie,” has not helped my concentration.

But then he is young. Just as our Prime Minister is young. They do not remember the heroic days of 1966 when this great nation carried all before it on the ribbons of the Jules Rimet trophy; when She Loved You, Yeah, yeah, yeah (slightly earlier) trilled from our wirelesses, and great belching, snorting steam locomotives served commerce and coalmines alike, and railway lines went clackety-clack, clackety-clack instead of the bland silence of modern welded track.
So, what would Jesus have done? Well, in terms of HS2 I’d like to think He’d been like a latter-day Jesse James, and confound that accursed railway at every turn by causing the wrong type of snow to fall, whilst I feel sure that the Son of God would be more than able to co-exist with other religions, no matter how nutty. Just so long as He didn’t make too much of a fuss and got done in all over again.

Pip, pip,