As I sat reclining in the solid oak and beaver fur lined study chair so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, I found my mind wandering restlessly toward the subject of the church’s view of Halloween which Biffordshirians of all ages had been enthusiastically preparing for.
It is, of course, when all the souls of the dead are supposed to rise again to walk the earth and, demonic overtones aside, I must admit it is a season I rather enjoy.
I got very much into, and I am certain dear readers will excuse the pun, the spirit of the season by settling down the evening before to watch one of the latest horror releases on Nutflex, which Gumpert kindly installed onto my iPad for me.
Nutflex, my lithe South American home help reliably informed me, was free to view although I noticed from the account settings that he had only quite recently paid a fee for several Greco Roman wrestling films; a genre I know he has a great passion for.
However, before I could even choose a Nutflex film to settle down in front of, my evening was disturbed by my home help, who, in a state of clear agitation, had grabbed my iPad, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, and had shoved it to one side to gesticulate down towards the front door.
Already that day I had had to suspend my enjoyment of the Times crossword, four down had me in knots from before breakfast time – the clue was ‘Upstairs Lubricant’, KY something, e, l, l, something, and I was determined to crack it before supper.
The chance, however, of the crossword coming to a successful conclusion had been wrestled from my control by Gumpert who, as he was to do later that evening, had interrupted my musings to indicate that something was afoot in the household.
He grumpily mumbled to me that a parishioner had knocked at the door and that he had let them into the hall, a rare example of him dispensing one of his supposed duties as my home help.
There, looking rather forlorn on the hall Persian rug, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, was Mrs Crudité and her young son Arthur. Poor Arthur was hiding beneath his mother’s skirts and was trembling and crying in clear distress.
I ushered the pair through to the drawing room, where Mrs Crudité managed to bring the fruit of her rather overactive loins, Arthur, I should explain, was the 11th child she had borne in just over 13 years, to the front of her pleated skirt.
Mrs Crudité was not a regular churchgoer you understand but poor Arthur’s reputation did rather precede him. I believe the moniker ‘pumpkin boy’ had been rather unimaginatively given to the trembling youth by his peers and his condition, it would appear, had worsened.
Quite why Mrs Crudité had decided to dye the unfortunate youngsters’ hair green and tie it up in a tight knot was lost on me. Although I am certainly no expert in gourds and squashes it did appear to my untrained eye that her actions, if anything, had made poor Arthur with his bright orange and puffy leathery face even more pumpkin like than it perhaps could have been.
I had to explain to Mrs Crudité that the Lord had not blessed me with healing hands and suggested she tried Dr Woo the Chinese acupuncturist who had recently moved to the village from the foothills of Szechuan province.
I could recommend Dr Woo’s services with some gusto as over the past few weeks he had been a regular visitor to the parochial house.
Gumpert, I should explain, suffers terribly with his lower back and inner thighs and it appeared Dr Woo’s healing hands had worked wonders on my sinewy South American aide.
It had taken many sessions to cure the ailing Gumpert and his healing hadn’t been without its sacrifices and exertions given the slow moans and banging emanating from Gumpert’s room, often well into the small hours.
I would often bump into Dr Woo on the way to breakfast and the poor man had rather developed a limp of his own, due in part I was certain of the enthusiastic effort and interest he was taking in Gumpert’s thighs and lower back.
With Mrs Crudité dealt with my mind turned back to that four down problem, but as mentioned my evening was to be disturbed once more.
As I settled down to enjoy my Nutflex film Gumpert had burst angrily into my study to indicate that some small children were at the door of the parochial house. Peering down at them from the top of the stairs, I could see three children from the newly constructed Danny Dyer estate on the edge of the village.
One I could see had been wrapped in toilet paper, another had scrawled red lipstick all over his face, while a third appeared to be dressed as the Conservative MP for North East Somerset Jacob Rees-Mogg.
My heart suddenly lurched forward as I realised the trio were trick or treaters and knowing the Danny Dyer estate as I did I realised that without a treat the trick would likely to be pernicious on the household. Not having any confectionary to hand the threat of some beastly act being employed on us by the trio was becoming ever increasingly likely.
Suddenly from behind a cloud a solid beam of lunar light burst through the front door and iridised a pack of Gumpert’s rolling tobacco which he had left on the hall table after a particularly heavy acupuncture session with Dr Woo.
My path became clear. Catching Gumpert’s gaze I indicated that he should perhaps roll one of his foul-smelling cigarillos for each our seasonally attired guests who by now were menacingly eyeing up the hall of the parochial house, packed as it is with precious ornaments many of which were a gift from my parishioners, with larcenous intent.
My concerns that the hand rolled cigarillos would not slake their thirst for confectionary fell on stony ground as the trio happily accepted a light from Gumpert before trudging around to Mr and Mrs Knightly-Stain across the way, joyously puffing away on the Columbian tobacco.
Verily, the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!
Each week we drop into Biffordshire general to get the inside view of their Digestive Department. This week, TV star and top 200 hit singer Shane Richie hopped up to Dr Vern’s table.
“An absolute joy, nice smooth oesophagus all the way down and a wonderfully tight sphincter preventing any acid reflux issues,” Dr Vern said.
Dr Vern’s rating: A very solid 9/10 for Shane
Next week: Paul Weller
Here at Monkeybroth Towers, Christmas has come early, much like Mike from accounts if the graffiti in the ladies toilet is to be believed. That aside, our festive feelings have been in full overdrive this week with a cornucopia of messages offering items for sale. It would appear Biffordshirians from across the county are clearing out their garages, lofts and, in the case of a Mr G Whippet from Saggy Hole, his underground concrete-clad nuclear bunker.
Mr Whippet wrote to us personally to say his collection of Margaret Thatcher merchandise was up for grabs as part of his massive yuletide clear out so we despatched Rodney to Mr Whippet’s house for a look-see. Rodney tweeted to say he liked the look of the Margaret Thatcher toaster and the coasters, but drew the line at the Margaret Thatcher coal fire. Rodney is the office budgie we should point out, so it was probably out of respect for his got-shoved-down-a-mine-to-see-if-there-is-gas ancestors that he turned his little beak up at the fossil fuel guzzling heat-providing centrepiece.
To his credit Rodney did try and bring back the Margaret Thatcher toaster back from Mr Whippet’s bunker but he got eaten by a cat on Marshmallow Road, just a few metres from the office. The toaster doesn’t work either.
BORDER COLLIES – are your existing collies bored enough? We’ve got border collies. They are so bored they can’t even be bothered to watch the television and instead will spend hours in your bedroom looking out of the window. Our top of the range Border Collies will also roll their eyes at you while picking at their nails on command. Don’t just have bored collies, get border collies. Call Spitonme 334422 and ask for Gavin Hastings.
CHEGGERS PLAYS PLOP – I once saw Keith Chegwin at Whoft’s Otter and Marmalade Summer Roadshow. It was back in that hot summer of 1976. Anyway, I followed Keith into the portaloos and when the park ranger’s back was turned collected some of his faecal matter. No, I would have waited until I got home too. Anyway, as Christmas is approaching I thought I would…wait, how much are these per word? Oh blimey. Keith Chegwin’s 40 year old plop for sale. Call Bangles-on-the-wrist 45333322 and ask for Maggie Philbin
JESUS JONES – Remember them? Well I’ve got 43 Raleigh Mudflaps for sale. Ideal for the cycling mudlap enthusiast and with Christmas around the corner what better time to say that you want your loved one to be mud free in 2016 and beyond. Due to acute angina I am unable to split this collection, so it’s 43 mudflaps or nothing. Call Rashybuttocks on 5444553.
BAND MERCHANDISE – If you are a fan of local rock music then you ought probably to readdress what you are doing with your life. That notwithstanding and havingsaidthat I’ve got loads of merchandise from Biffordshire’s top band ‘Missing Cat’ for sale. You’ve probably seen their posters up and around Rashybuttocks, Climp, Flange and Tittyhole. They won’t play Spitonme or Wheft since the great Salvation Army riots of 1989. Anyway I have five ‘Missing Cat’ posters up for sale, including tabby, ginger, black and white and the rare tortoiseshell. Call Barry Sheen on Fingle 544545 and ask for extension 78. If it rings out, redial and ask to be put through to Charlton, off of Charlton and the Wheelies.
THESARUS FOR SALE – What do you give the man in your life who may also be lost for words as well as being in your life? A thesaurus, that is what is what. It’s awful unfortunately. Really awful and furthermore it’s awful. I had a look through it for inspiration but it is awful, just awful. Call Ed the Duck on Fortiscue 546363633
COCONUT SHAMPOO – Thanks to a recent fire at Austin’s Fish and Sock Bar in Wheft (Mr Clang left the fryer on again!) I have 78 bottles of luxurious coconut shampoo for sale. It brings up the little straggly hairs on a coconut a real treat and will help you get your coconut ready for a night on the town. There’s nothing worse than getting to your works Christmas do with a coconut with its hair looking all unmanageable, so cure your coconut hair concerns by calling Arthur Northern-Ireland on Flimp 78787878855
WHELP LIBRARY – Don’t forget to pop into Whelp Library over the festive season. We’ve got books on kittens, books on turtles and even books on salamanders. Since all our shelves were stolen during the great Salvation Army riots we are having to use animals instead, so catch them while they are not looking in your direction! Be quick though because some of the kittens are looking decidedly weary having to balance all those books. Ooo, talking of which my husband runs an accountancy firm from the cupboard under our stairs. So if you need any accounts done in a very small cupboard under some stairs give me a call. We’re based on Calculator-on-the-rim so we are bound to be local to you.
CALL ME – Please call me, call me, baby, baby call me now. Call me , call on me (baby, baby) Do, do , do it Baby please. Having trouble naming your baby? Don’t know what to call it or him? Call Spagna on Rome 78789090 for all your baby naming needs.
Your weekly horoscope with our resident stargazer Moonman the Apocalyptic….
Oh there you are my little cosmic angels; look at you, looking at this page just like I predicted you would last week. Well, you would, wouldn’t you because I predicted it last week and I shall predict again for next week too. I would wish you a lovely week ahead my little star benders but I am afraid that’s not looking likely for all of you. Especially you, Sagittarius. You know what I am talking about; it’s dirty and prehistoric so stop it before it falls off. But now, let us join hands and begin our mystical cosmic journey together into the week ahead…
Nope, don’t even think about it. The bank will say no and what do you need a conservatory for anyway? Yes, I know Marjorie thought it might spice up your love life but the moon is rising over cancer on Thursday and the hoover still remains broken. Priorities Aquarius, priorities. Shush now, shush, sleep little Aquarius, sleep.
Lucky horse: The one off of the Lloyds Bank adverts
On Tuesday, you’ll fancy crumpets for your tea but don’t go to the store in your slippers, as trouble awaits. Instead fetch your Crocs from the shed and shuffle down there in your dressing gown. You’ve given up anyway haven’t you, Pisces. And no, don’t bother with your hair. Mr Right won’t be in the Budgens crumpet aisle on a Tuesday evening
Lucky rain: Light drizzle
With the moon high over Taurus you’ll be eating a lot of cheese this week Aries. Still you like cheese don’t you so that’s going to be okay then isn’t it?
Lucky ball: Tennis
With the moon high over Aries, you’ll be eating a lot of ham this week, Taurus. Still you like ham don’t you so that’s going to be okay then isn’t it?
Lucky meat: Mole
I had a twin once, Gemini and this week I predict that you will too. On Thursday afternoon I see you standing in front of a silver board, its surface will be as that of mercury. It shall be then when you see your identical twin, sweet Gemini
Lucky cat: Turkish Van
These are desperate times aren’t they dear Cancer? Your amazon prime order went over the road to 57 by mistake on Thursday and this week your Sunday newspaper will go to number 43. Mr Spume lives at number 43 doesn’t he and you won’t want to retrieve it. I shouldn’t worry dear Cancer, I predict that absolutely nothing will happen on Sunday and that all the pages of the newspapers will be blank. Hah! Take that Mr Spume! Cancerians ONE Mr Spume ZERO!
Lucky yeast based spread: Marmite
Don’t spend all week lion around Leo, get up and be the mane man. Take your hands out of your pants while you are at it and go and wash up. It will fall off if you are not careful. Things pick up on Friday when a naked cheerleader will ignore you in the park.
Lucky invertebrate: grasshopper
Ah Virgo there you are, the sweetest of all the signs. Be a lamb, and make us a cup of tea would you Virgo? Of course you will, you are lovely. It’s a day for staying under the covers on Tuesday though my stellar superstar – eek! there are bears about in the High Street and they love a juicy Virgo!
Lucky Chegwin: Keith
Feel me for I am there, see me for I am here, touch me, touch me, I want to feel your body
Lucky page three model: Fox, Samantha
Your new harmonica stroke toilet roll holder will arrive on Wednesday, Scorpio, so just chill in your crib. Well, you should have gone for next day delivery shouldn’t you?
Lucky leg: right
Don’t bother putting on a long playing vinyl album on Wednesday Sagittarius. It’s not looking good. Oh and that tricky thing at work you have on Thursday morning? I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Lucky cereal: All bran
The mystical runes are singing your name dear Capricorn this week and an unexpected voucher to redeem against Mr Kipling products before the closing date of 31/8/15 will keep you in with the sisters at the Abbey that’s for sure! Don’t be late for evensong on Sunday and it will be iced fingers all round!
Lucky nun: The one off of Sound of Music
As I sit reclining in my solid, oak backed chair in my conservatory-cum-nook I can’t help but think of the impact our Lord Jesus Christ has had on the humble Brussels sprout. The poor, rather rotunded vegetable, is conspicuous only by its absence from our dinner tables for 364 days a year. And yet, on the day of the birth of our Lord and Saviour, the humble brassica is presented to kith and kin all smothered in butter, often arm in arm with some nutty chestnuts in a veritable vegetable feast for the eyes. I often wonder the damnation we would all be suffering if Herod and his evil flying bats had managed to extinguish the life of our Lord and Saviour before he had even managed to get into a pair of short trousers. Perhaps the diminutive sprout would never have been invented, perish the thought. Our festivities would be ruined although, as my friend and colleague the Very Reverend Malcolm Powder pointed out, there would be no festivities to be ruined had Herod’s hordes managed to snuff out the infant Lord Jesus before he had even done his first standing up wee.
As I began to prepare my evensong lecture on that very same subject my vegetable musings were rudely interrupted by what can only be described as a high pitch shriek emanating from the garden outside. Gumpert, my lithe South American live-in help had rather uncharacteristically offered to tidy up the garden log pile that morning which had rested lazily against Mrs Arbuthnot’s side of the fence for many years. So long had the logs lied undisturbed I would often joke with my guinea-pig eating live-in help that perhaps it had become some sort of portal to a lost miniature world inhabited by tiny dinosaurs. I was, of course, trying to interest the tanned domestic in garden invertebrates and hoped that my Jurassic jokings would encourage him to investigate further and become amazed by the woodlice and molluscs that he would surely find within.
My ploy was to divert his interest away from his late night carpentry hobby about which I was starting to receive complaints from my normally insouciant neighbours, dear Mrs Arbuthnot and the rather wild Comely-Smythes. I say late night carpentry hobby as I must confess I have yet to see the results of Gumpert’s nocturnal banging and scrapings which are beginning to irk my dear neighbourly friends. He certainly spends many a sweaty night in his room with a couple of builders from the village, so one can only assume that getting wood to join is the object of their perspiratory endeavours.
That notwithstanding, Gumpert’s clear shriek had jolted me from my thoughts and, deciding that my giraffe fur lined slippers were not the best mode of propulsion across the muddied garden, I reached for my pair of Indonesian rubber gumboots which I keep by my conservatory-cum-nook door in case of emergency. The boots, I should explain, where a gift from one of my parishioners, Huxley Stout, who had fetched the rubber for the boots himself during a guided BMX tour of the Indonesian uplands. Huxley was delighted to be able to present the boots to me after worship one Sunday and had even tied a purple ribbon around each one. To match, he gleefully informed me, my ecclesiastical gown. Huxley was quite the adventurer and as he handed me over the ribbon entwined footwear he enthusiastically explained that there would be a gap on my pews next Sunday as he was off to Lima that next weekend. All he asked in return for the thoughtful gift was the chance to pump Gumpert for information about the sprawling dense continent Gumpert called home. My taut domestic was only too pleased to help and judging by the banging and thumping coming from his quarters the pair had a lively debate about how best to explore dark jungle recesses.
Reaching the garden I saw that Gumpert had now decided to slump against Mrs Arbuthnot’s fence and was squeezing and pawing at his right index finger. His pain had not prevented him from lighting one of his foul smelling cigarillos, which, I noticed, was smouldering dangerously close to his right flip flop. With a face as red as beetroot, Gumpert motioned to his swollen digit and I could clearly see a large splinter from the casually slumped log pile had clearly embedded itself deep into his flesh. With the blood draining from my face I immediately began to prepare my journey to hospital which, given recent NHS cuts, was now located in a shed off the A458 near Whump. Suddenly a strange beam of ethereal light bathed a slightly opened drawer in the kitchenette. There, glinting in the glorious divine light was a pair of tweezers. My path became clear. Why, just utilising the small cosmetic device to pluck the splinter from Gumpert’s dainty finger would save me from hours of highly stressed shed-based medicinal care. Verily the Lord doth move in Mysterious Ways!
The Very Reverend Dr Robert Carolgees will be officiating at the Cum-on-Wye Women’s Institute Otter Hunt next Thursday. Please bring 50p for the Hawiian Luau and a bag of mints for the fish. Asthmatics are asked to book in advance.
By Jordan Drysponge-Wetsponge
A decent buffet is really all a chap wants,
Wotsits, sausage rolls and mushroom vol-au-vents
Add in pints of strong continental lager,
And your average Joe will be in a heavenly lather
But for the love of arse don’t just lazily tip out a bag of twiglets,
And expect THAT to constitute a buffet, I’d rather nosh on piglets’
Buttocks or electrocute myself in the bath with a hairdryer,
Or immerse my whole body in a turned on chip fryer,
Or throw myself in front of the 8.46 from Waterloo,
Or stick a fork in my eyes and give myself a Chinese burn. Oooo
It makes me mad these twiglet loving idiots whose brains are clearly dead,
Just going around pouring them out and calling that a buffet instead
of taking some time and care about their savoury presentations
Running around all evil and weird with their nasty twiglet machinations,
I’d rather shove a piglet, yes another one, in my ear than gracefully concede to friggin twiglets PLEASE!
Hello? People? What’s so wrong with a decent bit of pineapple and cheese?
You bunch of howling apes with your stupid savoury trees,
Except they’re not trees are they, Mmmm? They are made of erm, actually…
I’m not sure what they are or what they could be
Marmite? Oh marmite did you say?
I quite like marmite, but I’m still going to stick forks in my eyes anyway
Hah! That will teach you, Mum, for
Not serving me a buffet for my 43rd birthday
As I sit reclining in my solid oak-backed chair so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, my thoughts whirl around me like a big earthworm might coil and buckle in pain after it has been sliced in two by the sharp metallic blade of a heavy spade. Coming somewhere from next door’s garden, the sharp barking cough of Arbuthnot rudely jolted me from my creative daydreaming. Arbuthnot I should explain had been hired not two weeks hence by our good neighbours, Hector and Agnetha Flump, to tend their garden and carry out general household chores while they were away visiting their son Grifter in Southern Florida.
I have to confess I was full of admiration for the Flumps when they decided to press Arbuthnot close to their bosom and entrust him with looking after their 18th century sprawling manor. Arbuthnot hadn’t been shy in regaling me with tales of his rather murky past as way of introducing himself to our little community when I bumped into him outside the newly opened Budgens in Moistbury. A former merchant seaman, Arbuthnot had spent many a day and night cramped in a tiny cabin pressed up against his fellow rugged shipmates. I recall Gumpert, my lithe live-in help, had been particularly interested in the on-board conditions Arbuthnot had so vividly described on that blowy autumnal day. So enthralled was Gumpert with Arbuthnot’s tales of tossing on the high seas that he immediately invited the salty former sea dog up to his room to help him fill in his oft thumbed maritime scrapbook which I had acquired for him as a treat from a local bric-a-brac store.
Arbuthnot’s life experiences were certainly rich and varied and I thought poor Gumpert’s eyes would fair pop out of his head when the burly handy man had shared stories of his time spent at her majesty’s pleasure. Apparently, Arbuthnot had been wrongly accused of stealing a kestrel from the local manor house and had had to endure nearly five years of imprisonment among all manner of ne’er do wells. Bunk sharing in order to keep warm at the height of the winter’s frost was not uncommon by all accounts, and poor Arbuthnot told us he often had to spend long evenings in the embrace of his sweaty cell mate just to keep the nip at bay. I could see Gumpert’s eyes widen at the horror of it all.
While I was naturally delighted that Gumpert had a new playmate and, I hoped, someone who could perhaps offer some much needed paternal guidance – my ecclesiastical affairs unfortunately precluded me from playing such a role – Arbuthnot’s rather gruff past life did fill me with trepidation. However, buoyed by the Flumps’ Christian confidence and trust in the man, I decided to let sleeping dogs lie and allowed Gumpert to spend as much time with the muscled gardener-cum-help as he liked. They would often chat for hours up in Gumpert’s room, and I was particularly pleased when Arbuthnot helped my South American assistant recreate the Saucy Calculator, Arbuthnot’s last vessel, up in his room using his bed as the poop deck and pillows for sails. At least, given the banging and moaning emanating from Gumpert’s quarters, that is what I presumed they were doing.
Arbuthnot’s coughing from next door’s garden reminded me that I had some errands to run, including, rather pertinently, the purchasing of some cough drops for Mrs Dropkick’s spaniel, Tony. At Sunday’s Evensong, Mrs Dropkick, who is not as mobile as once she was, came to me in the vestry in tears, claiming poor Tony’s hacking cough and heavy throat was keeping her up at night. As part of my pastoral duties I felt it only right that I should offer to pick up Tony’s drops from the veterinarians in Cleft High Street. It was a fine sunny day so a trip on the bicycle seemed a splendid way to reconcile Mrs Dropkick’s teary request.
Gumpert had moodily taken himself off to his bedroom that morning complaining of a pain in his thighs so I felt it best not to enquire if he wished to join me in my trip. I picked up my helmet from the rather splendid mahogany table in the back passage, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, and stepped out into the bright sunshine to retrieve my trusty two- wheeled steed. Unfortunately I immediately noticed that the tyres were both flat and sagging heavily. Instinctively I went to call out to Gumpert to assist me, but remembering the great delight he had taken in showing me his purple and blackened inner thighs earlier that morning, I imagined that my beckoning of him would be met with even more of a duller mood than he was in currently.
Suddenly a beam of ethereal light bathed the table on the open shed door. I could just see that this divine light was glinting off a dusty tool resting against some old copies of Hymn and Hers magazine. Squinting against the light I could see that the object was indeed a bicycle pump. Suddenly my path became clear. Why, by just simply pumping the tyres I could resurrect the pneumatics from their slumped torpor and fetch Tony the spaniel’s cough drops as planned. What would have taken hours of panicked bicycle repair man searching had been cured with a few sharp pumps. Verily the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!
The Very Reverend Dr Robert Carolgees will be hosting ‘An evening with Gary Glitter’ at Cleft Village Hall next Thursday. Please bring a change of shoes and a bag of toffees for the llamas. Asthmatics are asked to book in advance.