Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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

Justin here. Well, I’m relieved to report that the Palace Summer Fete as been and gone. You will note that I use the term “fete” rather than the more popular “fayre” favoured by my lady wife. Whilst the latter term did feature on all the publicity, I remain unconvinced about the adoption of quasi-Old English when describing such events. 

But I digress. The event was reasonably trouble-free, spoilt only slightly by 47 cases of sunstroke, dealt with admirably by Captain Ralph Pincer and his Salvation Army volunteers. Captain Pincer is definitely of the old school and his dealings with red-faced, tottering, sweaty visitors at the First Aid post included bracing advice like, “Sunstroke? SUNSTROKE? Rubbish. More like too much Stella. Clear off!” I am still at a loss as to who Stella might be.
Nevertheless, Captain Pincer cleared the decks swiftly despite protests from Mr and Mrs Fernyhough of the St Johns Ambulance volunteers, whose tent Captain Pincer had commandeered. As he himself said, “Needs must when you’re dealing with mouth breathers.“
Another slight hiccup occurred when the Gant’s Hill Ladies Marching Band suffered a loss. Their mace-bearing leader Miss River Conklin was kicked painfully by “Twinkle”, a visiting Shetland pony giving rides to little children. In fact, the heat of the day had unsettled the poor animal and by lunchtime it had eaten 32 passing ice creams and four hats. Whilst Captain Pincer graciously volunteered to apply ice packs to Miss Conklin’s left buttock, the brave girl waved her band on with a plucky, “Keep going girls! I’ll catch you up later!” Unfortunately, Captain Pincer determined that Miss Conklin’s injury required lengthy massage and the leaderless marching band disappeared. They were found safe and well near Heathrow by Police later in the day.
The young man with the wire in his ear was very concerned with various security issues thrown up during the fete. “I mean,“ he said, “You let any old punters in. That’s asking for it, Archie.“
 As a consequence, my lady wife and  I have been attending Unarmed Combat (spelt over the door as “Kombat”) lessons in a nearby gymnasium, managed by the intriguingly named Mr Thomas No-nose, an ex-colleague of the young man with the wire in his ear. Now, my calling rejects violence, aggressively or defensively, as Jesus taught, so I have been disturbingly surprised at the way my lady wife has embraced the teachings of Mr No-nose. 

She now can quite effortlessly dive and roll to left and right, evading Mr No-nose’s paintball volleys, emerging with not a mark on her. I, on the other hand, rapidly resembled an American action painting. After only a few minutes of tuition, this hitherto gentle soul and light of my life reduced an old piano to matchwood using only her shapely knees. “She’s a natural” said Mr No-nose. “As good as your lad there”. He indicated the young man with the wire in his ear. Mr No-nose speaks in a rasping whisper. 

When he came close and said, “You, on the other hand Archie, are a bleedin’ dead loss”, I felt really quite threatened. Mr No-nose is tall, very thin  and stooping, dressed all in black. His face and hands are strangely pale and his head bears an oddly misaligned ginger toupee. The reason for his name is obvious. He has no nose. Instead, he sports what appears to be an aluminium plate apparently screwed to his face. Jesus teaches us compassion and empathy, so during a break in proceeding whilst I was hosed down and my lady wife set about a nearby punchbag, I nervously asked Mr No-nose about the prosthesis. “Occupational hazard,“ he whispered. “Big Andy McDeath shot the bugger off, during the Brinks Matt business” Emboldened, I pressed on. “So now you help the young man with the wire in his ear with his duties?” Tommy No-nose uttered a dry wheezing laugh, then fixed me with a cold stare, tapped the aluminium plate screwed to his face and whispered, “’Nuff said.”
I don’t mind telling you that I was glad to return to hearth and home. I’m sure the young man with the wire in his ear has every good intention, but acquiring the ability to fatally injure another human using only your earlobes simply does not appeal. As I type, my lady wife is down by the old stables, breaking house bricks with her forehead. 



Sunday, 27 July 2014

Pangolin Lifestyle Survey Results!

Well, after months of careful preparation, it's finally ready! 

Yes, The Pangolin Lifestyle Survey is ready to hit the streets. At this, the Survey’s launch, we’ve kept things fairly simple, but should you feel the need to comment on any of our findings – and we feel you probably will – especially the one about the rubber duck and rice pudding, you can simply email Prof Whimbrel at the usual address.

So here’s an easy to understand selection of results to mull over. (Our Survey showed that 76% of you are thick). 
  1. A distressed 15% of respondents didn’t know the difference between Senekot tablets and breath fresheners.
  2. 43% of those questioned fell into the *CGS category with regard to Europe.
  3. 73% of women who had ever appeared on Youtube worried that their bums looked big. 21% of that 73% had massive rear ends.
  4. 89% of men under 40 who favoured little tufts of hair and pointy shoes thought they looked attractive.
  5. Of that 89%, 12% did.
  6. 77% of over-60s women confessed to going “Aaah” at Royal babies on television.
  7. An amazing 91% of men and women under 30 favoured button flies on jeans to zips because, “They’re like, cool, y’know.” 67% of the 91% said “innit” instead of “y’know”.
  8. An entirely expected 100% of teenagers thought they might die if they didn’t constantly fiddle with their phones.
  9. 54% thought that Nick Clegg was a computer graphic image and not a real person. 46% had never heard of him.
  10. Asked if they thought apostrophes were important, 21% said that all wildlife should be protected, 65% felt they were alright in their place, but that apostrophe pooh was becoming a problem in urban areas. 16% were in favour of a cull.

There! Just a taster really, but we feel quite proud of the Survey and will be sending copies to all leading UK politicians in the near future – that Cameron bloke, Nigel Farridge, Wallace Miliband and that really scary one, Vince Grable.

* Couldn’t Give a Shit

Friday, 25 July 2014

Behind the scenes at Glossop Initiative for Trade meeting

We know that the Glossop Initiative for Trade (GIT) has been getting a bit of a bad press recently. We know that we've been accused of being of being a bunch who Piss On Other People (POOP). Nothing could be further from the truth, and we're now banding together to show we've got the best interests of the community at heart. Our community, that is.

Derek Wancre-Stayner, of Wancre Egg Estates (WEE) perceptively identified local social problems:

  • Rents in the area are too low. This means that the area attracts poor people, people who aren't prepared to pay £50.00 for a scented candle or a hand-crafted egg cosy. If this continues, the people who sell them will simply go elsewhere and be lost to the community forever.
  • A lot of these poor people work in the care sector, which in turn attracts elderly people who aren't that good to look at, sleep a lot and give a bad impression of the town. Besides, those old folks' homes would be much better turned into executive housing.
  • Planning Permission rules need to be reviewed. At the moment, you need Planning Permission if you want to put a tiny illuminated sign outside your shop, but Reg Bastard from the betting shop is still allowed to walk around wearing a shirt like that - in a residential area.
  • When Wancre Egg Estates put a tiny illuminated sign outside their offices, local poor people thought that WEE was an instruction and complied with it.
  • The quality of stalls at the local market is very disappointing. Some of them sell goods which are within the price range of riff raff - and this will only attract more poor people to the area.
  • There are people wandering round the area who aren't very good-looking. Some of them even drink and do drugs. They should be rounded up and put elsewhere. Now, that German bloke - Der Furrier or something - he dealt with this sort of thing properly. We need to look for successful urban regeneration models elsewhere.
Of course this isn't an exhaustive list; the subject of dog excrement wasn't raised once during the last meeting - though it was mooted as a subject for the next. This may be up for debate since Daisy Hovercraft pointed out that it was not dog excrement on the kerbs, but human. People who'd been caught short since public conveniences were all locked shut to stop poor people going in there.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Pangolin Villas following a major refurb! Book your holiday-of-a-lifetime now!

Pangolin Villas, with state-of-the-art chalets in the beautifully landscaped gardens. Pangolin Villas, with what would be panoramic views over Glossop Brook if it weren't for a row of leylandii trees. Pangolin Villas, with what would be panoramic views over Glossop Brook if it weren't for a row of leylandii trees and several dark satanic mills...
(Photo courtesy of Christopher Hoggins)

Here are some testimonials from our delighted customers:

  • "It was all soooooo romantic - why, I could quite see the stars through the chalet roof" (Suzi Nutcrusher, Bude)
  • "Forget sandcastles on the beach! I've not had such a jolly-mud-pie activity holiday since Pontins in 1963!" (Nikolai Peng, Barton-under-Needwood)
  • "I had a transcendental time sitting in a broken-down chair whilst contemplating a full binliner in a carefully and finely crafted transcendental rubbish receptacle. It was dead transcendental." (Benzo Spacecadet, Chase Farm Hospital)
  • "I was sooo fascinated by the two-legged chairs! Such poise! Such equilibrium! And when I wanted to sit down, extra-comfy buckets were provided! Laeticia and I could hold hands while we performed our ablutions in public!" (Vermin Hardacre, Winson Green!)
  • "Who are all these other people in my bedroom? What spiffing fun!" (Marquis de Sade, Belgium)
  • P.S. You can see my spot at the top left hand side of the Brochure Photo. Transcendental, man. Amazeballs. (Benzo Spacecadet, Chase Farm Hospital)

Friday, 18 July 2014

Well hello, I’m Simon Mince and welcome to Stage Left, your weekly look at what’s the new rock ‘n ‘ roll in British theatre and I have with me tonight two of the biggest, most fantastic wonderful names in terms of board treading in the world. 

First, the only, the one and only Sir Michael Rhubarb, 103 years young and still packing ‘em in as King Lear’s granddad in Toby Smartarse’s production of Neville Greville’s King Lear’s Granddad at the Very Old Vic….
Sir M: Mmmph.
And for the very first time on Stage Left, the exceptionally beautiful and captivating Miranda Fule, straight from her press – stopping performance as Madge Bunn in Barbara Cartland’s Its All Shite at the Goole Playhouse. Welcome Miranda!!
M: Wha’evva….
Let me start with you, Sir Michael. When you were a brilliant young actor, all those years ago, did you ever dream you’d one day play King Lear’s Grandad in such a fantastic and wonderful play?
Sir M: Mmmph. Well of course I didn’t, you little berk. By rights I should be brown bread by now or peacefully slavering in a home somewhere.
So what drives you still ?
Sir M: Mmmph. I’ll tell you what bloody well drives me sonny – a big bloke in a Merc, seven grasping ex-wives and a runaway cocaine habit. That’s what drives me!
Well there’s a brilliantly straight- talking Sir Michael for you! Miranda – I suppose even such a towering dramatic presence as your lovely self must be pretty excited about the reviews of your powerful performance in Its All Shite?
M: It’s a job, innit?
But weren’t you surprised at the grittiness of the piece, coming as it does from someone more associated with hearts and flowers?
M: Yeah, well, she’s dead now innit so we altered it a bit, right?
Really? How exciting! For those who haven’t seen it yet – in what way?
M: Well, me getting’ me kit off for a start.
Yes indeed. That must have been a first for Goole.
M: Not really, I’ve ‘ad me kit off all over the place and Goole more than once.
And the farting. Tell me about the farting.
M: Yeah well, that was Jaz’s idea. He’s a real old perv.
By Jaz, of course you mean Charles Tightfit the director and one-time collaborator of Matthew Bourne’s?
M: That’s ‘im.
Tell me, didn’t Charles, er Jaz once suggest having live turkeys dance Swan Lake?
M: Yeah, but they crapped everywhere and couldn’t do high kicks.
Which is a neat link back to Its All Shite, right? Oh my goodness, I’m breaking into rhyme, ha ha ha….
M: You’re a bit of a wanker really,  innit?
Sir M: Mmmnph. Too bloody right he is. Tell you what Belinda, or whatever your name is, get some clothes on and let’s nip across the road for a quick snifter then maybe a line or two back at my hotel… no need to zip anything up….

Stage Left was a Precious Head up Bum Production for BBC Radio 4 and Simon Mince will be back again at the same time next week unless we can find somebody a bit less fawning.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Holiday Reading

Pangolin literary editor, Kevin Scragg, has asked some of the country's top writers what they will be taking this year to read on the beach:

Hermione Flargue:

Experience has taught me never to go anywhere without packing a paperback edition of my prize-winning trilogy, set in North London. In it the writer chronicles a journey of self-discovery, beginning with Muswell Ill and the harrowing choices faced by a fledgling writer trapped in the body of a chubby adolescent. Its sequel, Muswell Pill, weaves an extraordinary narrative from the temptations and tribulations of life as lived in Swinging London. Muswell Still is the wistful, bitter-sweet memoir of a youthful spirit held against its will in the body of an ageing but loveable step-grandmother.

Anthony Quirke-Burke:

I shall be taking Thrice Neigh, Antonia Pluke-Anstruther's monumental and definitive study of 18th century horse wormer syringes.

Desmond Fickett:

Poolside in Tuscany, I will have beside me as ever the 3-volume compact edition (1987) of the Oxford English Dictionary plus magnifying glass, along with Wisden, of course, and a book of log tables.

Antonia Pluke-Anstruther:

I shan't be without a copy of Thrust, Anthony Quirke-Burke's latest bonkbuster, set in Magaluf.

Dymphna Pludd:

I can't wait to get my hands on Naomi Piddock's Nemesis. This year I have set myself the challenge of reading a Naomi Piddock right to the end. As most readers will be aware, this small volume picks a short route over familiar territory, covering ground tackled more sensitively and more extensively in my own writing over recent years. Fans of my work will enjoy spotting common links, shared thinking and maybe the odd plagiarism. It's a book I look forward to reviewing for the autumn.

Monday, 14 July 2014

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


Justin here. I have been asked by the Editor to pen a few thoughts on the Synod’s decision to create female Bishops in the Church of England. Whilst I’m sure, dear reader that for you, my thoughts once every few days is quite enough, my esteemed Editor insisted.

Well naturally I am delighted that we have been able to overcome the divisive disagreements of yesteryear and that the injustice of male supremacy has at last been successfully challenged and I leave the wise and learned gathering with the words of “If You Were the Only Girl in the World” ringing in my ears.

But I would counsel caution. As (as the young man with the wire in his ear puts it) head of this operation, I do know of female clergy out there whose personal doctrines and beliefs might place them beyond the pale in terms of a Bishopric. (The young man with the wire in his ear feels a change in terminology is needed there). I feel I must name names – as Jesus would have done – even though this might cause further upset.

The Rev Edith Bagnall of All Saints Glossop, whilst still receiving a stipend, has not been seen since 2009 except for an inconclusive video stemming, it would seem, from Magaluf.

The Rev. Briony Lampeter-Wuff, lately of St Mona’s Bletchley, a qualified archaeologist and Wall  of Death rider, who when not writing papers on what type of vinegar was offered to Our Lord, follows Ramsbottom’s Flying Circus around the country so, like the Rev Bagnall, is permanently in absentia.

Finally, the Rev Muriel McGimp who, on the one hand looks remarkably like ex-Archbishop Carey, but on the other is presently on remand in a prison somewhere in England, accused of organising Scots pro-independence terrorist cells and of manufacturing exploding haggis.

I offer these words in all good faith and pray for the wise counsel of the selection panel to prevail.

Pip pip


Saturday, 12 July 2014

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

Justin here. You might imagine, dear reader, my confusion and surprise at the statement by one of my predecessors that he now approves of the idea of assisted dying. The young man with the wire in his ear was alerted by my anguished cries of “Oh golly-gosh!” and when I briefly explained the reason for my concern, he immediately set about making a list of suitable candidates which included the Prime Minister, a Mr Roy Hodgson, the entire cast of The Archers and Peppa Pig. Of course, I quickly told him that those offered assisted dying had to be terminally ill in the first place. The young man with the wire in his ear said that he or any one of his colleagues could arrange that.
I felt that I would rather mull the issue privately; to find out what Jesus would have done – I mean, after all, Our Lord didn’t go about the place knocking off the sickly, did he? Quite the contrary, he miraculously re-arranged the alive/dead/alive situation for Lazarus, did he not? So I deftly changed the subject and asked him what he thought of England’s record-breaking last wicket stand at Trent Bridge. He merely grunted (he hates cricket) and strode away down the garden to assist my lady wife who had got herself entangled in the hosepipe during a bit of early watering.
This left me free to pray and ponder. I call it prayondering. I confess that I remain confused and unsure about Lord Carey’s statement, although I have made decisions about certain imminent events. Next month sees our annual Palace Flower Show. This year I am determined to avoid the debacle of 2013 when the winner, Delroy “Blades” McGuffie was shown to have purchased his winning bouquet from the nearby Esso filling station. The young man with the wire in his ear has access to some sort of technical device which can detect artificial dye, so he will be on this year’s judging panel as will my lady wife who has promised to stay awake.
And I look forward very much to the annual inter-parish co-denominational cricket match. Like last year’s flower show, the 2013 match was marred, it has to be said, by some idiosyncratic umpiring decisions by our Papist brothers. Normally, a good length ball, delivered within the crease, which avoids the batsman and removes all three stumps would be given OUT. Under the eagle eye of Father Desmond d’Eath -18 stones and six foot seven - this situation when applied to his own batsmen was decreed NOT OUT. They went on to win . Five hundred runs for one wicket (Father deEath) in 20 overs. This year I am keen to avoid this sort of thing, though I know not how. The young man with the wire in his ear suggested that as quite a few of the players are not in the spring of their lives, a little long-distance assisted dying might be advisable. I really must grasp the nettle in his regard. I believe he means well. But certainly not to everybody.

So, on with the spiritual struggle...

Pip pip

Thursday, 10 July 2014

In Your Garden

Our gardening expert writes:

Gone are the days of fork and spade, not that we ever had sight or sound of such luxuries when I started out in gardening. In those days apprentices were expected to spend their first 18 months clawing at the soil with their bare hands. Or teeth.

These days all has changed. There's a fine range of tools to be had in the shops and garden centres for those keen to get going outside. Here's my basic starter kit for anyone new to jobs in the garden:

- all-purpose shoulder-pack petrol-driven power blower with shredding capability. The one I use is adapted from an old BOAC engine and can be relied on to shift most things, but beginners to gardening may prefer something with a lighter touch.

- telescopic cordless trimmer with chainsaw attachment (visor, ear-plugs and body armour essential).

- commercial-standard pressure washer, with motorised deep-thrust crevice brush (steel and nylon options) capable of removing potentially damaging plant-forms, along with unsightly stains, from patio surfaces and difficult joints.

- JCB trench digger with pile-driver, rock-drill and stump-crush facilities - useful also to have the crane-lift and extender functions.

- vibrating wacker-plate surface compacter with gravel-ram option is something I've found to be essential in the garden.

- compact ride-on Harley-Davidson mower with sidecar attachment. (Lawn scarifier a useful add-on - and should do the same for the neighbours.)

Summer is always such a good time to enjoy the peace of a garden.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

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

Justin here. I write this in a Vale of Tears – not my own, I must confess, for my interest in tennis is but slight and made even more slight by the modern practice, mainly from the female competitors it must be said, of screaming when they strike the ball.
But the sadness presently gripping the young man with the wire in his ear and my lady wife stems from the defeat of one Andrew Murray by a similarly athletic chap the other day at Wimbledon. My lady wife and most of the female staff are inconsolable, but have so far refrained from calling Mr Murray’s conqueror a “foreign git”, as has the young man with the wire in his ear. Several times.
Personally, I view tennis as it should be seen; a gentle after-lunch activity to aid the digestion, undertaken in flannels held up by one’s old school tie, whilst the ladies float serenely about the court in freshly pressed pleated skirts and gleamingly white pumps, whilst cries of, “Oh, I say, jolly good shot Blanche!” drift across the summer lawns. And absolutely no overarm serving to the ladies. Not so now when this hitherto quite civilised pastime has morphed into a really quite savage, grunting, squealing gladiatorial confrontation.
And quite frankly, my lady wife’s obsession with the Scot, Mr Murray, puzzles me. As the date of the Scottish Independence vote draws ever closer, the light of my life grows even more angry at what she calls their “nerve”, referring to the independence supremo as “Toad of Toad Hall”.
She is of the opinion that regiments of our admittedly dwindling army be sent north to show the Scots their place, to clear the Highlands once again and corral the Scots workforce in and around nuclear submarine factories, or on floating towns near oil rigs. “Mc Titicaca”, she joked.

I have to admit that she does exhibit a certain paranoia when it comes to anything remotely un-English. So my heart lightened somewhat when I  heard her cheering our Prime Minister for his stand against the election of one M. Junkers as head of the European Union. She pointed out that in all probability, M Junker’s grandfather manufactured many of the aeroplanes which bombed this sceptred isle during WW2. Sometimes, her general knowledge astounds me. When I pointed out that plucky Mr Cameron lost the vote comprehensively, she said that when the United Kingdom (she stressed that bit) stood alone in 1940, the Germans had three thousand five hundred aeroplanes whilst we only had one and a half.
So there. My Thoughts for the Day. And where in all that, you may ask, is Jesus? Well, I suppose he would counsel forgiveness for the young foreign fellow who beat Mr Murray, and might well pray for a renewed understanding of the Scots’ psyche. At least they don’t have road signs in two languages like some I could mention.

Pip, pip


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Pangolin Obituary

Hermione Thrumm 
8th September 1971 - 1st July 2014

A prodigiously inventive childhood ballet dancer, Hermione nevertheless abandoned her life on the stage in order to pursue a career as a fashion designer. It was found that her real forte lay in underwear, and she became famous for underpants which could also be used as parachutes, trawler nets etc.

Apart from a very small pair which was nicked by the family gerbil.

She met a sudden and unlawful demise having put an ad on the well-known dating website, Find-a-Fatgit, which stated simply "I wanna meet a bloke who isn't an arse!"

Sadly, the iniquitous Josiah Gobshite didn't read the request properly, and done her in most brutally after their first sexual encounter where she reputedly sat there laughing, pointing, and screeching at the top of her voice: "Not very big, is it? Or is that you carrying your last remaining bit of fishing bait around in yer kecks?"

She will be sadly missed by Bryony, Dione and Irony Thrumm. And not at all by the gerbil.