As I sit here reclining in my solid oak-backed chair, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, I can’t help but recall one of the most memorable nativity plays that I very nearly saw. As you may know my work as an Archbishop has taken me across the globe, indeed many of my travels are documented rather lusciously in my book; Bathtime With the Angels, available now from chains of Glossop’s Books ‘n’ Fags in Fudgebury, Cleft, Moistbury and many other leading Biffordshire settlements. That notwithstanding this particular moist-eyed trip down Alzheimer’s lane finds me ensconced in the front row of the aforementioned nativity play back in the mid-1980s. It had been a bitterly cold morning if my memory serves me well, and my Madonna inspired lacette gloves had done little to wear off the biting December wind. Blessedly, this particular nativity had been arranged for charity and some days before I had managed to cajole the organisers to direct all the proceeds from ticket sales and the rather odd mulled ginger beer to a cause close to my heart – the fallen women sanctuary I had set up a few months before.
Being of limited funds, I had to cram the poor destitute women of Biffordshire who came to me seeking refuge, into the shed at the foot of the garden. They were well appointed, despite the rather horticultural surroundings. I discovered that by moving the lawn mower a few metres towards the back of the shed I could fit in three more wretched souls. Hoisting my tandem so that it was suspended from the beams by some sturdy rope facilitated enough room for my latest arrivals, Honey Potwell from Clunge and Mary Quitecontrary who had fallen out with her husband following a rather nasty incident with a frying pan and some edible glitter. Despite my ergonomic re-arrangings, it was clear that if my women’s sanctuary was to succeed then further fiscal benevolence was required. The girls were getting restless and there was only so many times they could watch Poldark on a rather warped VHS on the portable TV I had secured from my parishioners by way of entertainment.
Therefore I had high hopes that the charity nativity play would provide such funds for me to open a rehoming wing and my plan was to offer these poor fallen souls up for adoption to members of the general public. However, just as the play was about to begin a stage light had crashed from the roof and had landed squarely on both the Krankees, who had driven down from Falkirk the night before to take part. Ever the professional, Fred Dinnage, who was due to play the Archangel Gabriel, was determined that the show should go on, particularly I suspect, as his mum had been up all night making wings out of a pair of her old tights. But my spirit to continue had been crushed along with the poor Krankees and despite Fred’s and Fern Britton’s enthusiasm to put the show on, I took the difficult but necessary decision to call the event off. It was a heart-breaking drive back to my parochial quarters although Jimmy Cricket’s anecdotes certainly made the journey go quicker. I was pleased I offered him a lift home, even though he insisted on wearing his back end of a donkey costume which he had been so looking forward to performing in.
My misty eyed reminiscences were unfortunately then interrupted by Gumpert, my live in help. Regular readers of this column will be only too aware of the lithe South American’s firebrand nature and his irritation this afternoon, the eve before Christmas, was as tumescent as I could remember. He had chosen to wear the new Christmas jumper his mother had sent over from South America for him as a present although the image of a guinea pig being roasted over a spit which adorned the front of it, was, to European eyes at least, not particularly festive. I had thought to myself earlier that morning that he may be a little jaded as I had heard him late into the night playing what I imagined to be Twister with his special friend from the village. I can only surmise the boys had been playing for some high stakes as there was certainly some enthusiastic shouting and grunting coming from Gumpert’s quarters until the small hours. Given that it was Christmas I decided to treat the pair of them to some late evening hot chocolate, but despite knocking on Gumpert’s door for a good five minutes it went answered. Pushing the door ajar I left the steaming mugs of cocoa on the chest of drawers. I could see that it was indeed Twister they were playing as Gumpert had managed to take a dominant position with both his feet straddled behind his kneeling friend. As they had both removed their tops I made a mental note to turn the heating down a notch or two, the poor fellows must have been boiling!
Now stood there in my conservatory cum nook, Gumpert imparted the cause of his ire and beckoned me downstairs. As I followed him into the kitchenette his discomforts soon became plain. There, wedged twixt the oven doors was our Christmas goose, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners. Gumpert explained in between drags of one of his foul smelling cigarillos that despite his best efforts the goose would simply not fit into the oven. He had, he explained, been whacking it with a rolling pin for the past ten minutes in order to reduce its size sufficiently for it to squeeze into the oven, so kindly provided to me by Witches Ovens of Clump. Our Christmas meal, it would appear, was doomed to failure before it had even started.
As I mulled over our Christmas conundrum, a sudden beam of light shone through the window before resting on my neighbour, Mrs Arbuthnot’s back door. I do believe the Lord spoke to me at that very moment. Suddenly my path become clear. Why, Mrs Arbuthnot’s huge AGA would offer plenty of room in which to roast our meagre bird. With a cheery hello Mrs Arbuthnot was only too glad to welcome us both in, particularly as I suggested doing so would merit her a mention in volume two of my upcoming autobiography. Mrs Arbuthnot and I spent a most joyous afternoon preparing the Christmas goose and sipping dry sherry, while Gumpert and Mrs Arbuthnot’s nephew, Clarence, busied themselves playing Twister in the front bedroom. What would have taken many hours of sweaty goose carcass machinations had, in fact, only taken an hour and a half on a high setting. Verily the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!
Volume two of Dr Robert Carolgee’s autobiography The Angels offer me Nutella will be available on pre-order next Wednesday and he will be signing copies at Glossop’s Books ‘n’ Fags from Thursday. Asthmatics are asked to book in advance.
Restaurant où les porcs ne voulait pas manger
Ah bienvenue a la Restaurant où les porcs ne voulait pas manger. Nous sommes delighte to bienvenue de le restaurant, quand le residents d’Biffordshire aime tout suite. Notre menu est superb et il est tout de bon things to mange. Ouevre pour le petit-dejeuner and le grand dejeuner et les repas in between de la Huit heures Am until la evening time. Plus Tard by arrangements. Voici la menu en Anglais pour vous, vous anglais idiots et bastads. Tres bon!
- Pig insecurities pan fried in a special Jonathan Ross sauce. Served with oak smoked bat chips and a sympathy of garden vegetables
- Grandad’s war medals crushed in front of him, drizzled with Maroon 5 jus and spun around the block in Gustav’s Citroen 2CV. Served with a shouting of dead wildebeest horn, shaved and erected to your liking
- Chicken chop sticks straightened with an aubergine ruler and splashed with nocturnal liquids. Hand badgered until medium rare and presented on an anxious nine year-old’s duvet cover.
- HAND reared Les Dennis, matured over balsa wood for extra tenderness. Served with a medley of David Hockney examined vegetables and a view of the Norfolk Broads, binoculars optional
- MUSICAL Youth style jerk off beef. Pan fried until screaming in a David Blunkett flavoured butter sauce. Served with a blanket and a three day old bus ticket stopping at Whump, Feeble and Cock-on-the-Mold
- LAMB shanks, startled to your taste and infused with a suppository puree. Choose from baked potatoes or a three year call of duty service in Northern Belize
- MONKEY Lungs – forced up against a wall against their will. Strenuously denied in front of a live TV audience and drizzled in a Blankety Blank sauce. Served with un peu de stink of creamed back hair and a month long XBOX live pass.
Et pour les desserts
- WRANGLED cream, shot at close range with the chief’s butter gun. Ransomed gently over a low flame and beaten to make it look like an accident. Dripped with fresh fruit puree instilled with disappointment
- PAPAL turnover – traditional Vatican dessert, stripped and oiled to your liking. Cooked aggressively over a high heat before being gently neutered in the larger of our two fridges. Served with a panacotta of goat complaints and a David Dimbelby jus
- LES Chats est non importante – enjoy a taste of Spain with our speciality. Cats are not important pudding is secreted from live ginger toms before being worked into a light and frothy muffin. Delicious served with broken toast and a bag of forgotten aspirations
- ARTHUR C CLARKE – exhumed lovingly by our resident chef de partie and served with warm custard and flavoured oxygen
Rock stars in the morning
Number 78: Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof’s mum: “Come on Robert, get up now, it’s time for school’’
Bob Geldof: “Aww bleedin hell ma, it’s too early.”
Bob Geldof’s mum: “Come on – the Curiously Cinnamon is already in the bowl going soggy”
Bob Geldof: “Aw Jaysus ma. Ma?”
Bob Geldof’s mum: “Yes Robert?”
Bob Geldof: “What day is it today?”
Bob Geldof’s mum: “Oh, well it’s erm… Tuesday Robert, it’s Tuesday.”
Bob Geldof: “It had better not be Monday ma…”
Bob Geldof’s mum: “Of course it’s not, it’s erm definitely Tuesday, yes Tuesday. Now hurry up.”
Bob Geldof: “Okay ma, I’m coming, as it’s Tuesday….”
More rock icon early morning slash breakfast time fun next time folks!
Here, nestled in the sweet bosom of Monkeybroth Towers we like to look after you dear readers. We’d towel you down after a wet walk in the countryside if we could. Caress your forehead to soothe away the aches and stresses that your job as Budgens Regional Manager entails. We’d plump your cushions if only we were able, make you a hot chocolate with squirty cream, give you a rough and tumble style Chinese burn. Watch you while you sleep. Unfortunately, we can’t do any of those things, but consider the following public service announcements cum classifieds as our playful slap on your bottom…. you complete us and we heart you. Both of you.
CELEBRITY FANS! If you are a fan of celebrities, then you’ll love celebrity fans! We are Biffordshire’s foremost celebrity fan stockist, well; we will be after Star Fans burns to the ground in a mysterious blaze next week. Anyway, you need look no further than the end of your nose for all your celebrity fan needs and requirements – birthdays, weddings, unexpected and sudden deaths, we can cater for any joyous occasion. Call Barbara Hugedong on Wibble 456546 or tweet your enquiry to #smellofpetrolonmyhands
STAR BRAS! If you are fan of the stars then show your enjoyment of all things celestial by donning a bra shaped into your favourite constellation. We’ve got every bra shaped in a constellation under the moon – special offer this week on balconette Orions in 34DD only or, due to flood damage, why not take advantage of the amazing discounts in our lace, whale-bone, Cassiopeia range – complete with AAA battery compartment and working mineshaft. Call Fiona Grimtinkle on Slapp 67676767 for more information today!
ANT AND DECKING – Does your garden need a makeover? Why not have a think about a North-Eastern England themed design? Graham’s Gardens, Biffordshire’s foremost landscape gardeners will happily come around to your house and turn your lawn and flower beds into a Tynetastic homage to the North East. You can be Geordie Shore of it! Don’t take our word for it? Read some of our fantastic reviews from our happy customers
“I wasn’t sure what to do with the garden and I still don’t” – Fred Thatchstiff, Glump
“I’m thrilled with the service – I now have empty Newcastle Brown Ale bottles all over my decking and Cheryl Cole themed plant pots. The highlight though has to be my new Jimmy Nail lawnmower. It’s greeet man! Thanks Graham’s Gardens!” Marge On-Abigpole, Stump
“Who? No I haven’t had any gardening work done. Sorry, think you have the wrong number.” ANON, Whump
COCKTAIL SIR? HOW ABOUT YOU MADAM? Due to a YTS apprentice falling asleep on the computer and pressing the wrong button, we’ve got far too much stock than we could ever possibly sell. That won’t stop us from trying though! We wanted to order some cool cocktail glasses to sell, but due to the slumbering student and his idiotic elbows this was entered as mole. Yes, we have 7,898 mole shaped cocktail glasses for sale. Why not have an underground mammal party with your friends and relatives? They’ll be wowed by that and will not stop going on about it. Please give us a ring. Please. Call Owen Foxtrench on Glitter 7777686866
VW FOR SALE – Got my nice VW POLIO for sale. 1.2 litre only 36k on the clock, FSH, VGC and a good sense of humour. Both passenger side tyres are smaller than the driver’s side and won’t inflate for some reason. Anyway VW POLIOs are good little runners. Well, not that good. Call me Amy – Thingulike for a test drive.
CLOWN CLONE – Want a clown cloned? Call Clown Clone today. Don’t be satisfied with owning one clown, own more. Fully secure 24 hour service. Clown Clone won’t appear on your bill, instead it will say ‘Big Jubbers Inc’. Unfortunately due to their genetic make-up clown car horns cannot be cloned, however contact us to discuss your water-squirting flower or door-falling-of- car requirements. Clown Clone – we are not joking around alright? Call Stanislav O’Grundy on Fecklip-on-Flange 45343444
THAT’S SHOE BUSINESS! – Predict the future with a pair of Nostradamus Desert Boots. Fully lace upable and with a sole. To predict the future slip them on in the morning and think about your favourite pony until you are called down for your breakfast. Please be aware the value of your dreams can go up as well as down. Your hopes are at risk if you do not keep up repayments. Call Future Shoes and ask for Derek Smallpipe.
By Whiskas McGhee
There was a young man from Bengal
Who didn’t really get Limericks at all
By Sainsburys O’Keefe
Oh my goodness I don’t half love a buffet
I could stay for hours and just scoff all day
From pickley pork pies to cheese and onion rings
A buffet must be one of my favourite things
I drool as I stare out over the table
Everything’s lovely and very digestible
Cheese and pineapple on sticks are so tasty
But they can be sharp so not good for health and safety
I once consumed a whole red onion
My tummy afterwards was a bit of a funny’un
That’s the only real downside I can make out
It turns my insides over of that there’s no doubt
They are great at Christmas perhaps after tobogganing
But too much of the good stuff and I’m back in the bog-again
Scotch eggs are the worst they go straight through me
Once I ate 47 in under an hour, and wolfed a load of Caerphilly
I swigged down the lager and ate a whole gammon
I downed 18 pies my bot was like a horrid brown cannon
My head was spinning and it was all a bit surreal
But blimey it wasn’t half a cracking funeral
As I sit reclining in my solid oak chair with its upholstery stuffed with the fur of a now deceased troop of lowland Gorillas, I am reminded of the time when the church was regarded by the common sod as the great provider of not only spiritual, but also political guidance. That year was 1981 and I was but a youngish man who spent his time catching butterflies in a shrimping net, drinking cherry pop and bopping along to the latest record from that Sunday night’s hit parade countdown, possibly hosted by Bruno Brookes, although Bruno’s rise to become the go-to DJ at Radio One may have come much later, I don’t really recall.
The haze my father’s bi-annual garden clear-up bonfire created back in those days may also have clouded my current musings on Bruno’s rise to fame. What is certain is that the bonfire used to cause our neighbours at the time, the Fortiscue-Cummers, all manner of issues. Strictly speaking, Mr Fortiscue-Cummers was a Major, a title afforded to him during his time serving as a Chaplain in the Korean War, where he scattered pastoral comfort to the men of the Royal Artillery like a buck-toothed farmer spreads his seed.
Mr Fortiscue-Cummers and his good lady wife, Davina, took every opportunity the daylight hours offered them to praise and worship our Lord. So devout were they that they often eschewed clothing in order to be ‘close to Adam’ and ‘close to Eve’. Mr Fortiscue-Cummers would often lean over the garden fence, dressed only in a Tyrolean felt hat and a swirl of Old Virginia pipe tobacco smoke, to offer my father good-natured instruction as he bent and stooped to gather the garden detritus ready for the autumnal blaze we all so enjoyed. Given I was but a lad, the hole in the fence created when a knot of wood fell from it during a winter storm was at a rather disadvantageous height and, had I dared to peek through, it would have no doubt revealed a lot more than Mr Fortiscue-Cummers’ stance on the teachings to be found in Deuteronomy.
Sometimes on a Saturday afternoon, Mr Fortiscue Cummers would order Davina to prepare hot crumpets and tea and would invite me around next door for a bible reading. In fact my first ever bible still resides with me today in my parochial lodgings so beautifully furnished for me by my parishioners. It rests on the book shelf above the tank holding Moses, my pet Amazonian Catfish which was a gift to me from the diminutive and quite aggressive South American tribes people I spent time with during my years in the missionary position in their village. By the time I left their rare and exotic homeland they had had fibre optic broadband installed so I felt proud that my time there had helped them to progress spiritually. Being there and assisting them on their journey to find the Lord had really been all the thanks I needed, but the gift of Moses was a pleasant if slightly awkward token of their thanks to me. He is looking quite sad these days, and Gumpert, my live-in helper, has clearly decided that caring for Moses is no longer his responsibility judging by the green dankness sliding down the poor part-amphibian’s glass tank walls.
Just as I made a mental note to speak to Gumpert about Moses’ dishevelled quarters, he burst into my conservatory-cum-nook looking beetroot red with agitation. With his hair looking lank and with rather large dark circles under his eyes, Gumpert appeared to be in no better state than poor Moses, who just at that moment had glooped lazily to the surface of his slime tank to grasp what turned out to be an imaginary morsel of food. I could only think my sinewy companion was exhausted from his endeavours the day before. It had been another wet day across Biffordshire and Gumpert had plumped to spend it in his room choosing a new wallpaper and duvet set with the man from the Haberdashers in the village. They certainly had been hard at it given the thumping and banging which emanated from his quarters for the best part of the day.
My lithe South American domestic took no notice of poor Moses’ mucoid mouthings and proceeded with very little ado to explain the cause of his ire. As he did so he gesticulated that I should follow him pass the oak landing tablette, so generously provided to me by my parishioners, over the Persian carpeted stairs, past the mahogany style portmanteau at the foot of the stairs and into the living room, which was now bathed in the most glorious mid-afternoon light. Gumpert, who had managed to multi-task by walking down the stairs while rolling one of his foul smelling Moroccan cigarillos, had slumped into an arm chair and simply nodded towards the cause of his irritation. Following his gaze I could see that a small bird, a tit, if my ornithological senses were correct, had managed to somehow secure access to the house and was now sitting atop the oak Grandfather clock so kindly provided to me by my parishioners. Wisely Gumpert had already opened the large bay window, through which such excellent views of the Biffordshire Downs are afforded. Despite Gumpert’s best efforts to coax the flighty creature from its perch using a towel and an overripe avocado, a gift to the bird he later explained, it had refused to budge.
Suddenly a beam of ethereal light shone in through the open bay window and struck the face of the Grandfather clock, before it slowly moved down to reflect gloriously from the clock’s chiming mechanism. My path suddenly became clear. Why, just waiting for the venerable and well varnished time piece to strike would surely be enough to encourage the tit to accept the chance of freedom so graciously provided to it by Gumpert. As I looked at Gumpert, my heart fair burst with pride at his empathetic stance towards our unheralded visitor, particularly as small, feathery birds are quite the delicacy in his home village. Within moments, the clanging chime of the clock struck and the tit raced through the open window and into the bright afternoon sky. Verily, the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!
- The Very Reverend Archbishop Dr Robert Carolgees will be signing copies of his new book Bath time with the Angels at the Clump Cineplex, Bowling and Tiddlywink Alley next Friday. Asthmatics are asked to book in advance.
By Arbuthnot Turbo
Bees, Bees, Bees
Are quite blind did you know?
I do experiments on them see, put them all in a row
I’ve made a little sign out of wood and chalk, didn’t cost much money
In tiny writing I’ve scrawled ‘Over here if you want free honey’
I then asked them to move that way if they were able
But not one bee, not one! responded
In hindsight, perhaps I shouldn’t have nailed them all to the table
My life is a rollercoaster
By Sue Pernoodle
Foxes, Foxes, Foxes
Foxes, Foxes, Foxes, Foxes, Foxes, Foxes
My life is a rollercoaster,
Foxes, Foxes, Foxes