MonkeyBroth visits….

Disclaimer – Here at MonkeyBroth towers, we take our editorial responsibility very seriously and would never stoop towards product placement. The following content is purely a happening that happened; a thing that went on, a shiny sixpence of experience in the chimney-sweep’s ear of life. So with that out of the way….

Bag neon

Upper Crunge Zip Bags. For all of your plastic seal-able bagging needs.

The other day, while perambulating the High Street of Upper Crunge I started feeling rather peckish, as one does after a heady morning buying reasonably priced, unusual family gifts and gilt cards at Rosemary and Frank’s Unusual Family Gifts and Gilt Card shop, just off of the Glambie Parade next to Next.

I high-tailed it to Mufkins Bakery – I think you’ll agree, the only place for lunchtime comestibles with options for wheat and gluten-free rolls and a variety of delicious fillings made fresh to order. If memory serves, it’s situated at 23 High Street, Upper Crunge, BF74 6NG – Tel 09875 4554 45631. But I digress. I quickly received my order of a Buffalo Mozzarella with Spanish Chorizo from the friendly, efficient staff and tucked into my tasty sandwich.

Alas, after I had devoured half of my enormous but surprisingly reasonably priced treat, I remembered that I had to make an important phone call to Simon Thrombosis; MonkeyBroth’s own resident lifestyle guru, agony uncle and part-time conceptual artist. Not wanting my moreish morsels to go stale during what would be a long conversation on my iRola GTZ-58000 smart phone, (kindly loaned to me by Upper Crunge Carmobiles4you on a very competitive tariff), I decided to pay a visit to one of my very favourite people – Graham Shinysides of Upper Crunge Zip Bags – your only choice for re-sealable food storage.

Located at 42 Drank Lane, just off the High Street, Graham has made the storage of foodstuffs and other spoilable material his life’s work for just over 13 months. Graham prides himself in his ability to find the right plastic sealable bag for you, big or small, no matter the weather.

While chatting amiably to him, he reminded me that he also does emergency call-outs – perfect for that Summer fete cake stall that is suddenly infested by a swarm of wasps. He also pointed out his new Suck-U-Matic vacuum packing machine that is a new service for this year and is aimed at the budget-minded storage shopper. I also recall that he will be introducing a special discount for all MonkeyBroth readers who state the code ADVERTBROTH at point of sale, which is nice.

After but a few short minutes, my sandwich was safely nestled in a beautiful clear zip bag that really could have passed as made-to-measure. “What great service from Upper Crunge Zip Bags of 42 Drank Lane! I quipped as I bade Graham a reluctant farewell.

I called Simon on time (thanks to such swift service) and, with the excellent call quality of my iRola, had soon bashed out the finer points of his next article.

Afterwards, while I finished my succulent lunch on the banks of the river Crunge, I reflected on the quality of the tradesmen that service the people of this fine market town. Surely, they are a jewel in the crown of Biffordshire commerce, that, because of the diligence and finely-honed prices that they provide, will remain an asset to the local populous of our Shire.

MonkeyBroth would like to thank ‘A-to-B-iffordshire Taxis’ for transport to and from Crunge.

Next Week – MonkeyBroth visits Crunge Retail Village – opening soon on the outskirts of Crunge!

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A Christmas message from the Very Reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the-Wold, Dr Robert Carolgees

OMG…it’s nearly Christmas! How excited are we here at Monkeybroth Towers? Very, that’s how much. Which is a lot.

We’ve had a brilliant time decorating the office – in fact we’ve never laughed so much especially when Barry from Accounts fell off the stepladder through a suspiciously-left-open window. He plunged three floors down to his death, but it’s what he would have wanted. They’ll be picking bits of his Reindeer-themed Christmas sweater out of the cracks in the pavement for months to come. Fantastic stuff. It all happened this morning, but we can’t grieve Barry’s sad demise for ever. Onwards and upwards eh? although in Barry’s case it was more outwards and downwards.

Anyway, in the spirit of the festive season here’s a special Christmas message from the Very Right Reverend Dr Robert Carolgees.

A special Christmas message from the Very Right Reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the-Wold, Dr Robert Carolgees

Mmmm… you catch me enjoying a rare break from my ecclesiastical duties, sipping on what my live-in help Gumpert rather optimistically billed as a café latte. All froth and not much substance, a description I could happily divert to the lithe South American who shares my home. Christmas is, of course, a special moment for Christians around the globe but I wonder how many realise that it’s a time of great significance for badgers too? I like to think of myself as being progressive; I embrace new church theories and investigations into the finer point of scripture with an open mind and open legs.

The Catholic Church has led many such investigations which, as many readers will know, led to many aubergines being beautified and declared as saints as late as 1978. The church has also sought to martyrize a single colony of Leatherback Turtles who were found adrift and quite dead off the coast of Bora Bora in 1992. History fans will recall that the quite dead mammals were floating in the shape of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. As hungry seagulls swooped to peck out the eyes of the deceased flotilla of amphibious marine mammals, many observers likened them to small white flying Roman soldiers, honking and barracking the whole scene.

Regular readers of this column will know that my thoughts are likely to be interrupted any minute now by Gumpert and they won’t be disappointed to hear that at that very minute my sinewy live-in help burst into my conservatory-cum-nook brandishing what appeared to be a bespangled star with a limp bit of thread hanging rather droopily from a hook at the top. On closer inspection it transpired that the object was actually in fact a bespangled star with a limp bit of thread hanging rather droopily from a hook at the top.

Gumpert’s face was positively beetroot in colour and  in taste as I was to later discover, as he stomped towards my high back leather chair, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners. His flimsy cotton t-shirt was also ripped just above his left breast I noticed, before my gaze was interrupted by the sight of the star flying through the air towards my torso. Thankfully Gumpert’s normally trusty aim was askew on this occasion and the star landed gently onto the soft Persian carpet, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, beneath my slippered feet.

Gumpert had moodily grunted his plans to me that morning and these were confirmed by his earlier thrashings and tossings in the small cupboard under the stairs where the Christmas decorations are stored.

He had a fine film of perspiration on his head and shoulders and I noticed a few drips were now starting to weave their way down the curve of his neck into the nook nestling above his by now exposed collar bone. Given Gumpert’s gruntings that morning I had an idea that he was now engaged in erecting our newly bought Norway Spruce Christmas tree and had spent much of the previous two hours rummaging around for the festive baubles and nick-knacks.

As Gumpert stomped moodily towards the drawing room I resigned myself to the task of curing whatever was clearly ailing him. As regular readers will know I am normally confronted by utter chaos of some kind – flapping underpants on the clothes line or angry wasps greedily slurping up the mess left behind by Gumpert’s efforts to make jam and toast. However, on this occasion the scene in the drawing room was one of festive serenity. Gumpert’s sweaty efforts had, for once, managed to produce a great erection. The tree stood tall and tumescent in the winter half-light and I could see that Gumpert had managed to get his baubles out and was clearly proud of them as they rested gently atop the tree’s lower boughs.

Irked though I was by having to place on hold the particular knotty seven across in that morning’s Guardian, I was intrigued to understand the underlying cause of Gumpert’s clear disgruntlement. As he rolled one of his foul-smelling Moroccan cigarillos, Gumpert nodded grumpily towards the aforementioned star which was now resting on the solid oak coffee table, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners. I understood the root cause of his ire, but how was I, at just 5ft 6ins in my stockinginged feet, going to be able to place the star in its rightful place at the top of the festive horticultural item?

At that very moment the kitchen behind me was bathed in a strange, ethereal light. I do believe the Lord spoke to me at that very moment. As I turned to drink in the glorious illumination I noticed that the light was concentrating on a pair of stepladders left behind by one of the tradesmen who had been employed by Gumpert to clear out some outbuilding guttering. The afternoon, if I recall, had turned into a quite a late night for the pair as I believe Gumpert had asked his new found friend to help clear out his back cupboard. There was certainly much grunting and groaning emanating from Gumpert’s room as the two men went hard at the task in hand throughout most of that evening.

As the light glinted off the stepladder my path suddenly became clear. Why, by just mounting the stepladder near to the tree I could climb up and place the star atop the festive tree. What could have taken many days of mental problem solving had been resolved in a matter of moments! Verily the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!

The Very Right Reverend Dr Robert Carolgees will be leading a special Christmas Eve service from 4pm until 6pm at the St David of Essex Church, Oddstain, Biffordshire. The service is not suitable for those with light-sensitive epilepsy or a fear of ungulates.


More, yes more musings from the terribly reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the- Wold…

Thought of the week

 With the extremely and hugely reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the-Wold, Dr Robert Carolgees…

 As I recline in my antique calf-leather backed oak chair drinking in the view afforded me from the open rolling fields and open rolling cattle of the Toad-in-the-Wold countryside, I am minded of the church’s stance on Formula One racing.

There is many a passage in scripture which depicts the art of racing around a bit of tarmac at high speed while women, many of them scarlet and wanton, parade around in the ‘pits’ in skimpy outfits gleefully applying motor oil to rubbing mechanical parts.

Perhaps the most famous of these comes from Psalm 1:1  Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Not one other piece of scripture nor, I feel suitably emboldened to state, any other piece of classical literature quite sums up Jensen Button’s first place podium finish at the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix so succinctly.

As I mused, I was rudely interrupted by the soft drips of hot sweat from my live-in helper Gumpert’s brow who had stolen up to my desk in my conservatory-cum-nook. It had been the hottest day of a rather disappointingly moist summer and Gumpert was taking full advantage. I had heard him muttering and espousing all number of Spanish oaths just moments before as he rummaged through his antique teak wardrobe, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners, from his adjacent bedroom and living quarters.

His aim, as I was later to discover, had been to retrieve his pair of cut off denim shorts which had lain dormant, muddled in a heap of other assorted clothing, since he had donned them to bask in that unseasonal burst of sunshine which Biffordshire had so enjoyed towards the end the April just passed.

The soft drips emanating from my South American domestic’s brow now increased in their frequency as he stood there in his retrieved denim shorts and tight-fitting vest singlet. Knowing Gumpert intimately I realised at once that something had irked his ire, and resigned myself to putting on hold that morning’s Guardian crossword, as I sought to discover the source of his disgruntlement.

So enraged was he that he could barely talk and instead turned away from my desk and stomped childishly towards the landing. I noticed as he began to descend the stairs a pair of woolly leg warmers had been left casually draped over the bannisters. I could only surmise that the leg warmers had been left by one of Gumpert’s late night guests from the village, and I reminded myself to take issue with my lithe domestic about their presence. While my approach to scripture and biblical studies is renowned for its leniency, some might suggest I even go as far as being lassiez-fare about preaching the word of God during daylight hours; I cannot and will not tolerate leg warmers, woolly or otherwise in the Lord’s house.

Determined to be able to enjoy the afternoon, I followed Gumpert downstairs in a bid to offer him some much needed relief. He was, by now, slumped on the leather sofa, so generously provided to me by my parishioners, and was rolling one of his foul smelling cigarillos as his legs, draped over the arm of the sofa, bobbed up and down in clear and unbridled agitation.

Rather than lowering himself to talk to me, the willowy South American firebrand pursed his lips together to emit a rather soft raspberry at me before gesticulating with his elbow towards the downstairs lavatory.

It is, I confess, not a room I am overly familiar with, as I prefer the more luxuriant comforts of the bathroom on the third floor of my parochial house. It’s where the ordered-in toilet roll is kept and its skylight provides some breathtaking views of the crests of the renowned Biffordshire Downs. It’s a view best enjoyed while standing on tip toes with your feet firmly pressed against the foot of the bidet.

As I approached the downstairs lavatory, the source of Gumpert’s fury became quickly apparent to me. The cold water tap to the sinkette was clearly positioned to the fully on setting as streams of water were gushing all around the basin’s bowl, gurgling and spluttering up the sides and splashing over onto the carpet as it did so. It was a torrential rush of white water terribleness and I knew that dawdling would only moisten the deep shag pile carpet still further.

As I stepped back to draw up some plans to tackle the clearly stuck fast tap my eye was drawn through the patio doors by a glint emanating through the garden shed’s open door.

I do believe the Lord spoke to me at that very moment. For just at that moment, a strange and ethereal light had struck the metal shaft of a monkey wrench whose handle was poking, strong and with great tumescence from the rather tatty wooden tool box resting near the door of the shed. My path became clear.

I moved briskly and with renewed vigour towards the shed where I firmly grasped the shaft of the tool. It was most impressive and was heavier than I imagined. So impressive was it in girth and in length that I knew it would be the perfect instrument for me to tackle the onerous task ahead.

I moved back into the downstairs lavatory and with Gumpert’s loud tuts almost drowning out the sound of the raging torrent in front of me, I manoeuvred the tool around the stuck tap and simply, and without fuss, managed to turn the tap securely to the off position.

What surely would have taken many hours and the necessary but endless vetting of any number of tradesmen had been resolved in a matter of moments!

Verily the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!

Barry, can you write something up as a sign off line for that new Archbishop post? Nah it’s for Monkeybroth…What? No Monkeybroth. Cheers. You going out Saturday? Yeah thought I’d try that new Indian on the High Street….


Yet more musings from the very reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the Wold…

Thought of the week

With the extremely and hugely reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the-Wold, Dr Robert Carolgees…

“As I sit here reclining on my solid oak desk in my conservatory-cum-nook on the top floor of my parochial house, so kindly provided for me by my parishioners, I cannot help but think of the church’s stance on civil marriage ceremonies.

Are we really to believe that venues such as Alton Towers, Legoland and even, dare I say it, Wembley Stadium, are fit and proper arenas for the sacred bonding of two people to take place? Why just the other day I read that Toad-in-the-Wold’s leading tourism attractions, Frank’s Wasp Museum and the Cum-Wisely Biscuit Discount Store, had applied for a licence to hold civil marriages. While I appreciate that the church must move forward or face a nasty withering on the vine of popular culture, I still choke on my crumpets every time some fly-by-night operation decides that it has the necessary gravitas and solemnness to hold what is essentially a declaration of love between two people of different sex. The different sex passage of this last piece of rather nicely constructed prose is key of course.

Frank’s Wasp Museum is a case in point – one can only think that beekeepers who have met and fallen in love, perhaps while bottling a jar of their gloopy, sinewy honey, could even possibly contemplate engaging in wedlock at a building which so glorifies the doubtful virtues of wasps and other flying and stinging invertebrates.

My live-in help Gumpert is a fine example of this, of course. He himself married in haste to a young girl from his village many moons ago now. Just a few short months after their civil ceremony marriage at the San Atorium Moped Factory, Conchita broke his heart and after one row about donkeys too many, Gumpert packed up his meagre belongings and headed off for new adventures. He washed up in Biffordshire and eventually found his way to Toad-in-the-Wold, where he originally earned his keep by polishing the pigs on Mr Crumble’s 70-hectare spread.

As I mused, my thoughts were rudely interrupted by the sound of Gumpert stomping about on the Persian rug outside my conservatory-cum-nook. The rug, a gift from my most generous parishioners, has become worn and tattered by the sheer number of pedestrians which traverse it, often late at night, as they pop downstairs from Gumpert’s room to the kitchen in order to fetch obviously much needed refreshments of diet cola and thick white toast.

Gumpert’s stompings were so heavy and laden with melancholy that I feared he may trip on the rug and perhaps fall down the stairs, breaking the bannisters as he went. My blood froze as I imagined his youthful and slender neck snapped into a 90 degree angle by the portmanteau we keep at the foot of the stairs.

By now Gumpert was sulkily rolling one of his foul smelling Moroccan cigarillos in the drawing room, his low moans and tutting the only clue to his agitated state of mind. So befuddled was he by whatever it was that ailed him, he stoutly refused to enlighten me as to the cause of his clear distress. It was clear that I was not to get an answer from the lithe South American and decided instead to let him stew in his disgruntlement while I went to catch up with the particularly tricky seven across in that morning’s Guardian.

As I moved through the drawing room my eyes were drawn to the small patioed area the other side of the kitchen. Gumpert’s increasingly  restless noises were at once drowned out by a great billowing and flapping about as I opened the kitchen door to investigate further.

Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing on the scene of utter chaos which confronted me. Sheets, pillow cases, socks, my ecclesiastical gowns and any number of Gumpert’s Y-Fronts were blowing to and fro across the garden, while my favourite vest, I noticed, had become snagged on the hedge bordering the patioed area. I feared if Gumpert’s Y-Fronts were to make good their wind-assisted escape, Mrs Algebra and her severe angina next door would simply pass away at the very site of them.

But what was to be done about the scene of mass clothing rebellion being played out in front of me on what was a particularly unseasonal windy afternoon?

As I walked back through the kitchen to rouse Gumpert from his internal ramblings, a sudden beam of ethereal light bathed one of the solid oak unit drawers.

I do believe the Lord spoke to me at that very moment. I moved with haste towards the drawer and tugged hard at the handle. Inside was a veritable cornucopia of various clothes pegs, some wooden, some plastic. I also noticed a long forgotten, and by the look of it well-thumbed copy of Hymn and Hers magazine from several years ago.

My path became clear. Why, surely through the use of said clothes pegs I could simply, and without fuss, gather the errant bed linen and under garments and aid their drying by cleverly securing them to the washing line.

What would have taken me many hours, and no doubt many apologies to Mrs Algebra and her immediate family, was achieved in a matter of moments. Gumpert’s Y-Fronts were secure!”

 Verily, the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!

 More utter ecclesiastical nonsense from everyone’s favourite rural archbishop next time folks!


Yet another thought of the week with the very Rev Archbishop of Toad-in-the-Wold, Dr Robert Carolgees

Thought of the week

With the extremely and hugely reverend Archbishop of Toad-in-the-Wold, Dr Robert Carolgees…

“As I sit here in my pressed leather high-backed chair looking over the beautiful valley of Toad-in-the-Wold, my thoughts turn to condoms and the church’s stance on the use of these and other prophylactics and birth control measures.  It is, perhaps, to non-ecclesiastical eyes, a strange take on an item that has for many hundreds of years been used to prevent ladies, many of them scarlet and wanton, from falling with child. While the church decrees that the proper use of condoms is both unclean and ungodly, there is little in scripture prescribing their use as a humorous head adornment, to be blown to a larger proportion through the nostrils of the wearer. My last parish, which covered the small Gloucestershire town of Hickey-on-the-Neck, relied heavily on the tourism trade brought to it by its annual condom-on-head-blowing up festival, which ran for many years in the early 1980S.

As I mused, my train of thought was rudely interrupted by a loud shriek emanating from the kitchen of my sprawling diocesan house, so kindly and thoughtfully provided to me by my parishioners. I could only think the shriek was produced by my live-in help Gumpert, who, only minutes before, had been preparing a high tea of crumpets with thick homemade raspberry jam. His anguished cries led me to believe that perhaps a hot crumpet had slipped from his sausage-fingered grasp and had landed jam side down on the parquet flooring, so kindly provided to me by my parishioners.

Rising wearily I strode purposefully into the kitchenette to be met by a site of unadulterated panic and hullabaloo. I noticed immediately that there was sticky raspberry jam all over the granite work surfaces, but even more pressing was the sight of Gumpert, angrily waving his hands in the air, crumpet still in his ever so firm grasp, as he mounted a doomed bid to knock a large and rather disgruntled wasp from its flight path.  Gumpert continued to moan and flail until his discretion overcame his valour and he retreated with a whimper into the drawing room.

The wasp’s intent towards Gumpert was clearly larcenous but for now it appeared content to gorge itself on the sticky mess, my athletic live-in help had, with some effort, produced all over the kitchen work surfaces. Its little antennae bobbed back and forth as it savoured Gumpert’s sticky mess. Faced with such an impressive adversary, I too retreated to the drawing room to discuss tactics with Gumpert, who by now was sulkily rolling one of his foul-smelling Moroccan cigarillos, his tea-time treat long since discarded on a bone china plate, one of a large set kindly provided to me by my parishioners. I looked around the drawing room and decided a rolled up copy of yesterday’s Guardian would provide me with a distinct advantage in my impending battle with the jam intoxicated invertebrate, which had done so much to ruin my afternoon.

Just as I was reaching for the newspaper, however, a sudden ray of ethereal light bathed the small kitchen window which I could just see from my position behind the drawing room chaise longue. I do believe the Lord spoke to me at that very moment.

My path became clear. I rose with renewed vigour and entered the fray with the small kitchenette window my goal. Not wishing to alert the jam slurping wasp to my intentions, I stole across the parquet flooring before cranking open the small window. It only took a few seconds for the wasp to finish his feast and fly harmlessly out into the bright spring sunshine through the half opened window. My newspaper armed battle with the wasp would have taken me many minutes but the issue had, quickly and without fuss, been resolved in a matter of moments.

Verily the Lord doth move in mysterious ways!

Dr Robert Carolgees will be signing copies of his autobiography For Christ’s Sake at Smeggs the Stationers, Blow-in-the-Hole, this Thursday. He looks forward to meeting you there.