On hideous gas emanations
But soft, dear reader, what news is this? A gas leak from behind Mr S Duck's shed and not a bottom – or even a Tesco carrier bag straining under the weight of turds – in sight? Has the world gone stark-raving bonkers?
Yes. Yes it has.
For yesterday was the day that we employed a couple of strapping young chaps from a local company to built a new fence and front gate for our luxuriously-appointed beachfront property in not-razed-to-the-ground-at-all Weymouth. A job, with the correct tools, that should have only taken a couple of hours.
Instead, the only tools that this company (who shall remain nameless on account of them being much, much bigger than me) sent were the pair doing the actual work.
The first thing this pair of hairy ne'er-do-wells – who would, quite frankly, rather be tombstoning off Durdle Door - do in their task is to hammer a fence post right through the gas main that runs along the front of my shed. This, as you'd imagine, caused a small amount of blind panic, and no little lighting up of cigarettes to steady the nerves in what could only be described as an explosive situation.
My shed! My castle! In mortal danger! Is nothing sacred?
Maintaining a Zen-like calm, I did what any grown man would do in the circumstances – I fled to my office, secured the adult literature, and ensured that my charming wife's life insurance was up-to-scratch, before sending her outside, clutching a lighted candle, to investigate.
Within minutes, the blue flashing lights of a crack British Gas rapid response suicide squad are on the scene, stuffing the rear end of a small Dutch boy into the breach and saving us all from being KILLED TO DEATH.
Cigars and flame-throwers all round.
"So", said the steely-eyed British Gas boss-man, as he strutted up and down in front of our hairy buffoons like a school master scolding a pair of wayward pupils, "May I inspect your underground gas main detection wossname?*"
There was an uncomfortable silence, as the duo shuffled around for a while, finding the floor of the headmaster's study infinitely more interesting.
"No. No, you may not."
"You do have an underground gas main detection wossname, don't you?"
"You UTTER spackers."
Also: "Please sign here."
"Woss that then?"
"It's to tell both our bosses that you are a pair of complete retards."
"Oh. Right. Fair enough."
My house, my family, my priceless collection of Grattan lingerie catalogues, and most importantly of all, my shed all intact, I repaired to work.
Next week: We employ three Vietnam veterans to root out the rat at the end of the garden - WITH HILARIOUS RESULTS!
* The actual name of the device – 100% of FACT