Saturday, 7 June 2014

Another Day, Another Thought - From Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant

Hullo, Justin here…

Well, what a week it has been! As you may have heard in the news, I (and the young man with the wire in his ear) have spent time over in la Belle France, taking part in some of the many and varied ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the D Day landings. 

In the interests of authenticity, I chose to sail across the Channel in the company of some of the Old Soldiers returning to the scenes of their own personal triumphs and tragedies. I was surprised at how very sprightly these old gentlemen were and rather taken aback at their colourful language and attitudes to things European. I confess to availing myself of the earplugs provided on HMS Bloater after an hour or more of “Bleedin’ Jerry” and the Germanic skill at penalty shoot-outs. 
Sadly, I was robbed of the admittedly limited social skills of the young man with the wire in his ear due to his being laid low by spectacular sea-sickness. The poor boy spent the short voyage hiding in a lifeboat going, “Wuuuurp. Jesus! Wuuuuurp. Jesus!” At least, some of my protestations of faith seem to have rubbed off.

After disembarking and having the young man with the wire in his ear hosed down I was privileged to have been able to mingle with many of the international politicians present. The American President was charming, and struck exactly the right note in his various speeches. Sadly, the French head of state had to endure mutterings of “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” from a small, exceptionally ancient and grumpy group of U.S. ex-G.I.s.
But my attention was drawn to Vladimir Putin. I got the impression that other dignitaries were reluctant to seek his company. He is a most peculiar-looking fellow, with a large flat head and really unnerving eyes. The young man with the wire in his ear, by then recovered and very anxious to point out all the other young men with wires in their ears, reminded me that Mr Putin was once the head of the KGB, and no stranger to speaking harshly to people. In a lull in the proceedings whilst a fight between British ex-paratroopers and a group of much younger German diplomats was broken up, the young man with the wire in his ear invited me to look at some pictures of Mr Putin on his snazzy little computer, showing the Russian leader chopping down trees in a state of semi-undress. Or riding a horse in a state of semi-undress. Or gazing into the middle distance in a state of semi-undress. These things are obviously very important to the Russian people, but I found them rather strange.

“Can’t see Nigel Farridge poncin’ about in his undies, eh Archie?” commented the young man with the wire in his ear.

Soon though, we were Blighty bound, me on the good ship HMS Bloater, whilst the young man with the wire in his ear left me in the safe hands of Captain Whilloughby Strains-Upward (RN), leaving French soil himself on the Eurostar train rather than risk any more of the “Wuuuurp! Jesus!” business. I’m sure Our Lord would have understood.

Pip, pip etc,



  1. I read Thought for the Day[above] with great interest. Captain Whilloughby Strains-Upward is my nephew and a finer young sailor I have yet to see. As you probably know, the Whilloughby -Strains are a long established Naval family, and my own father, whilst serving as a Lieutenant on board HMS Thruster, played his part in the search for the Bismark by shouting "Oh God, its there !" whilst they were still in port.A generation earlier, my grandfather accidentally surrendered to the Isle of Man ferry whilst scouring Morcambe Bay for German whelk smugglers.
    Incidentally, my nephew Whilloughby has repeatedly petitioned the Navy Board to change HMS Bloater's unfortunate name. The Board insisted that any name change should employ the same letters, which is rather limiting and the best my nephew has come up with to date are, HMS Rebtalo and HMS Blartoe, neither of which passed Board scrutiny..
    Yours etc.,
    Rear Admiral [retd] Wenceslas Whilloughby Strains-Upward, DSO,MP.

  2. You were with Whilloughby? My darlingest Whilloughby? Please could you ask him why he hasn't phoned in at least three weeks, after that incident with the magpie?

    Please, also Right Rev, could you check that he's washed his hair properly since aforementioned incident?

  3. Firstly, I am taken to task by by my gardener of many years, Mr Wormwood, for my mis-spelling of Morecambe. Mr Wormwood is part whelk.
    Secondly, Right Rev. ? Are you deranged, woman ?


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