Friday, October 31, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Hallowe'en

Mirth and Woe: Hallowe'en

All Hallows Eve. Where evil stalks the Earth, casting its spell and dragging God-fearing folk down to Hell where they are sick inna dark satanic hedge, or something.

Or, a bunch of local scrotes pulling their trackies over their heads in a last-minute, cider-driven attempt at dressing up, before knocking at your door demanding money with menaces.

All much the same thing, to be honest.

Back in MY day, of course, it was a true innocent pleasure.

This was the time I was living in Canada, my evil five-year-old brain already working out how to kidnap yummy mummies for whatever nefarious purposes five-year-olds have for kidnapping yummy mummies.

Yes, I was the true Spawn of Satan, and it was to be my first ever proper Hallowe'en.

Back in the old country, they didn't do Hallowe'en the same way they did over the Atlantic – it being seen as an American festival, so it was all new to our family. We got dressed up in all sorts of costumes. My brother was a Charlie Brown-like ghost. My sister a witch - no change there, then (oh ho!) – and I, for some reason, a cat.

The reason being that my mother had spent several days making a cat mask out of papier mache. It stunk of damp newspaper, and had dried spaghetti for whiskers, which were tasty. And like any kind of mask, it was impossible to see out of the eye holes, and found myself on collision course with just about the entire neighbourhood.

"Trick or... ooyagh!"

Of course, scared witless by tales of ghosts, vampires, skellingtons and the undead walking the Earth is no way to send a five-year-old kid out onto the mean streets of Vancouver after dark. Cat mask or no cat mask, I was petrified.

Luckily, every door we went to opened to reveal not brain-eating zombies, but kindly local folk who showered us with sweets of all descriptions.

Lots and lots of sweets.

Luckily, I was well prepared for this, and lugged around my booty in a pillow case.

As the evening went on – and we visited rather a lot of houses – sweets began to completely bypass the pillow case and went directly to mouth.

Om nom nom nom.

Om nom nom nom nom burp nom nom nom nom, if we're going to be pedantic about it.

At last, we reached the block of flats at the far end of the estate. Our little gaggle of witches, ghosts, ghouls and single papier mache cat, trudged up to the top floor in order to work back down to street level. It was, for a pair of small legs, a long way to the top, and huge handfuls of sweety goodness on top of the day's ration of Canadian Maple Syrup was beginning to take its toll.

Knock knock de knock went a hand on front door.

"Trick or treat!" we shouted for the hundredth time that evening as a silver-haired old lady appeared.

Except, from me, it came out as "Blep."

You DO NOT want to know what it's like to vomit inside a full-face papier mache mask in the shape of a cat. It fills up pretty quickly, I can tell you for nothing.

The silver-haired old dear could see my distress, and leaned over to help me with my mask.

"What's that sonny? Did ya say 'Trick or Treat'?"

No, I didn't. And finally wrestling the puked-filled thing from my face, revealing what appeared to be horrific, hideously melted features, I told her exactly what I had just said:


And that was the end of Hallowe'en.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On not getting your dream job

On not getting your dream job

"Come in, come in – take a seat."

I hated visiting the college careers advisor, and I could see through this one's beard that she would be a tough woman to crack.

"It's Duck, isn't it? Scary Duck."

I nodded.

"I see you're doing Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A-Level. Have you thought about your future career path?"

"Not really. Thought about the army."

"The Army? The ARMY? No-one in their right mind should be in the armed forces."

CND badge. Whoops.

"Now," she said, with the air of a woman who already had my future mapped out, Making Plans For Nigel-style, "I've run your details through the CASCAID computer and it's come up with a fair number of wholesome suggestions. Have you ever thought of a career in fashion?"


"Fa... fa... fa... fa... Fashion?"

"It's what CASCAID says and it's never been wrong yet."

And I should know. I'd been sitting outside that office for half an hour, watching a stream of broken individuals emerging, doomed to a career as a social worker, despite three years on an engineering course. My army hopes fading, I steeled myself for conflict.

"There's no way I'm going into fa… no wait… I'll do it."

"You will? Really?"

"Does this computer thing of your have 'bra fitter'?"

"Errr… it might."

"Then it's agreed. I'll travel the globe, feeling up women's bosoms. That's my career."


"I would refuse all payment, and I would research all the latest methods of brassiere fitment."


"'If you don't mind, madam', I'd say, 'but this part of the fitting requires the motorboat test. Blbbbl blbbbl blbbbl'"


"And, if you don't mind, madam, I'll now use this special hand-held apparatus to weigh your breasts. WEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYY!"


"And if madam would just rub this ice cube over your nipples. No reason. It just gives me the horn."


I never got a job in fashion that the CASCAID woman promised me. However, I do get to sit on the man-bench in New Look every now and then whilst Mrs Duck and Scaryduckling prove Coleman's Shopping Paradox. Stick that in your beardy pipe and smoke it, CASCAID.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On not doing me-mes

On not doing me-mes

I don't do me-mes.

Really, I don't.

So, that's why I am not doing the "Six Random Facts About Me" one which my learned colleague Gyppo Byard has thrown at me. Unfortunately, I've revealed so much of my private life on these pages over the last six years, I'm hard-pushed to find any original material. These are, however, 100 per cent of TRUTH:

1. TV viewers on the day of my birth had the choice between 'Points of View', 'Crossroads' and 'The Julie Andrews Show'. No wonder my parents decided to go out and have a baby.

2. I invited all twelve surviving members of the Duck family to my wedding, of which eleven attended. My charming wife-to-be had to stop sending out invites to immediate family members once she reached three figures.

3. Despite numerous brushes with greatness, my number one claim to fame is standing at the urinal next to EastEnders' Ian Beale. As they say on Popbitch: IDNSHC.

4. Arsenal Football Club contrived to lose on both of the days that my children were born. Still, it gave me the excuse to get out of the ground and beat the traffic when they made the tannoy announcement.

5. Despite being a complete swot and regularly top of my class in secondary school, I discovered both beer and slacking at an entirely inappropriate time and left college with grades D, E & E in my A-Levels. It took me twenty years to finally get a university degree.

6. I am still mildly disturbed by the fact that at the age of five I was meticulously planning a caper where I was to kidnap a blonde yummy-mummy in a bikini and hold her hostage behind the bins on my housing estate. Five years old. Five.

I'm supposed to tag other people at this point. Bleh. Just do it if you feel like it. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

Five years old. Good grief.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Condensed Movies: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Condensed Movies: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

So now we turn our attention to that children's classic, Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, condensed down into the language of today's easily-bored youth. Of course, Dahl never actually meant it as a kids' book and was told to drop the chainsaw scene by nervous publishers.

I've made it my duty, then, to return the Gene Wilder original and its Johnny Depp remake to the edgy, shocking film noir it was meant to be, with director Guy Ritchie basing the cutesome Charlie Bucket on Nick Cotton out of EastEnders and the plot on the 'Final Destination' movies, which was - strike me down TO DETH if I am telling a word of a lie - Dahl's final wish. Enjoy.

Charlie and TEH CHOCKLIT Factory

C. Bucket: Hello. I am C. Bucket and I am excellent. Today, I am hoping to win one of W. Wonka's golden tickets, but I haz no moneys because my father is an unemployable fktard. FFS.

Mr Bucket: Duh. I gave all my money to a Nigerian prince I met on the internet. I really am the most spectacular arse. LOLOL

Mrs. Bucket: Happy Birthday Charlie. I bet this chocklit bar has a golden ticket

C. Bucket: No. No, it hasn't, you useless old harpie because it is Tesco Value brand and made out of cardboard. Why don't you go out on the game and earn some proper cash before your looks really turn to shite?

Grandpa Joe: Too bastard right - Grandma Josephine's still working the docks, an' she made fifty quid last night. Niche market. Blew it all on crack, the silly cow, FFS

Mrs Bucket: ONOZ! Four of teh golden tickets are gone, and the people who have found them are all terrible shits

C. Bucket: Don't worry, ma. I'm gonnur rob the corner shop LOLOLOLOL

Ten minutes later

C. Bucket: Bugger me shitty – five thousand smokes, all the porn in the world and – w00t – TEH GOLDEN TICKET! I am teh l337! Which one of you LUSERS wants to come on the factory tour?

Grandpa Joe: You try to stop me. I'm going to punch that W. Wonka right up the chuff for losing me my job and descending this family into poverty, crime and niche four-in-a-bed pornography

Next day

W. Wonka: Hello. I am W. Wonka and I am excellent. Please try not to get killed TO DETH in my factory

Grandpa Joe: Wanker, LOL

W. Wonka: I could kill you with a thought, old timer

A.Gloop: Guten tag. Ich heisse Augustus Gloop and ich bin ausgezeichnet. Heute, Ich werde moisten sagen 'Om nom nom nom'

W. Wonka: Plz to not fall in teh chocklit river

A.Gloop: Ach du liebe Gott! I hav fallen in teh chocklit river and been sucked up a large tube towards a set of rotating blades

Mrs Gloop: Plz to save my poor A. Gloop

W. Wonka: Sorry, lady. He is already TEH DED. Drowned and sliced up like so much German bratwurst. FFS, this is going to be murder on the paperwork

O. Loompahs: Oompah Loompah de do / That's not chocklit / It's actually poo

V. Beauregarde: Hello, I am V. Beauregarde and I am excellent. Today, I shall be mostly – and unadvisedly – be stealing W. Wonka's top secret chewing gum. Om nom nom nom LOL

W. Wonka: Plz to not eat teh top secret chewing gum

V. Beauregarde: HALP! I am expanding like a freakishly large beachball!

FX: "Pop" - pause - "Spatter"

W. Wonka: Oooh, the Health and Safety people are going to have a field day on this one

O. Loompahs: Oompah Loompah de been / This factory also / makes Soylent Green

V. Salt: Hello, I am V. Salt and I am excellent. Today, I shall be demanding that I get EVERYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD. Like, for example, one of those cute little squirrels

Mr Salt: Plz, Mr Wonka – how much?

W. Wonka: Soz – the man-eating zombie squirrels are not for sale.

V. Salt: In which case, I shall just get my own, FFS

W. Wonka: Plz to not disturb teh man-eating zombie squirrels

Cute, man-eating zombie squirrels: Fresh meat! MEAT! BRAINS! BRAAAAAAINSSSSSS! Om nom nom nom

V. Salt: Garble garbleglaaaark. Oh, I am DED, with my entrails spilling down the front of my exclusive Stella McCartney dress. That's never going to wash out

Mr Salt: Cheers fella, saved me a job, LOL

W. Wonka: No worries, pal. ROFFLE

O. Loompahs: Ooompah Loompah de bol / They've left some brains / To put in every ten thousandth bar of Wonka's Chocklit Whippy Delight LOL

W. Wonka: And tighten up on the lyrics, or you're next

O. Loompahs: Sorry boss. You going to pay us any time soon? FFS

M. TV: Hello. I am M. TV and I am excellent. Today I shall be mostly – and not learning from the misadventures of my recent peers – trying out W. Wonka's dangerous and untested teleportation device, FTW!

W. Wonka: Plz to not try out my dangerous and untested teleportation device

M. TV: Hey! Who let this fly in the module? GNARGHHBBZZZZZTTTTTT Kill me... plz to kill me...

W. Wonka: *boilk* Don't you think people look wrong when they're inside out?

O. Loompahs: Oompah Loompah de quack / Not to worry geezer / We've got a hydraulic press round the back

W. Wonka: In which case, scruffy little criminal type, you has won TEH TOP PRIZE

C. Bucket: Fucken' A! Hand it over, weird bloke

W. Wonka: One day, lad, all this will be yours

C. Bucket: What, the curtains?

W. Wonka: FFS. TEH CHOCKLIT FACTORY. It is yours, FTW. Plz to sign this legally binding contract...

C. Bucket: w00t! You're fired, Wonker

W. Wonka: ...which also leaves you responsible for the Wonka Confectionary Company Pension Fund. Current assets: In debt to the tune of a large South American military dictatorship, LOL

C. Bucket: Pwn3d. Waaaaaait... I'm going to tell TEH COPS that you're a serial killer pedalo who touches illegal immigrant Oompah Loompahs

W. Wonka: Errr... welcome to the millionaire's club, you little shit

C. Bucket: What about Grandpa Joe? He's a witness

Grandpa Joe: Yeah, I've got the goods on you goin' back decades, you terrible bstrd

Cute, man-eating zombie squirrels: Fresh meat! MEAT! BRAINS! BRAAAAAAINSSSSSS! Om nom nom nom

W. Wonka: Sorted



Monday, October 27, 2008

On writer's block

On writer's block

Behold! The Arse of Lopez (slight return)There are days when I sit at my desk, trying to think of TEH FUNNAY to write for these pages. Days where I sit, trying to pour TEH FUNNAY from brain to page, yet nothing happens.

Today, for example. My mind remains empty but for one word.

And that word is "buttocks".

No news. No opinion. No original thought. Just "buttocks".

Now, buttocks on their own are not funny in the slightest, and it takes a supremely talented comic writer to hang 300 words of TEH FUNNAY on the concept of a pair of pert, wobbling peaches. Oh, mama.


Buttocks. Buttocks. Bosoms. Buttocks.

It's disappointing, but there's not point getting hung up on my lack of imagination and my resorting to schoolboy vulgarisms. It's hardly as if I'm going to get any letters of complaint.

Oh. Hang on. What's this?

Dear Sir

I wish to complain about the shameless use of the word "butt*cks" on the once popular, second-rate Scaryduck website.

It's cheap, it's vulgar and it is an affront to God's magnificent creation of those firm, pink bottom cheeks possessed by 18-year-old Swedish au pairs and their magnificently voluptuous bi-sexual girlfriends as they run innocent, virginal hands over those young, pert, trembling bodies, probing, ever probing with tongues that have no use for this foulest of words.

Please: No more butt*cks. It is a SIN and a BLASPHEMY.

Now, I think I may have to go for a lie down and …err.. pray for your salvation.

Yours in GOD,

Rt Rev Dale Winton (No relation)
Good point, well made. Just off to a darkened room for a bit. Be right back.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Wardrobe (quite possibly Of Doom)

Mirth and Woe: Wardrobe (quite possibly Of Doom)

In 2002, we fled the turd-strewn big city and settled down in Weymouth, the jewel of the south coast.

In exchange for a suitcase full of cash, we took possession of a charming semi-detached not five minutes from the raging tumult of Weymouth Bay and set about making the property our own.

Our new bedroom was dominated by a large floor-to-ceiling fitted wardrobe with mirror doors. Yes, it made the room look twice the size, and yes, there was the scope for some doing-it-in-front-of-the-mirrors kinkiness, but the charming Mrs Duck told me it had to go.

And go it did.

I took a week off work in order to get a few jobs done, such as getting the French doors to stay closed, clearing a decade's worth of ivy from the back of the house, and throwing out a shed-load of rotten deep-sea diving equipment the previous owner had left behind.

"Heh," I said, "All this rubber gear… room-sized mirrors… I wouldn't be surprised…"

"You disgust me," she replied, and I conceded that my warped imagination might be running away with me.

So, suitably chastised, and watched by a small audience of coffee morning attendees, I set about the mirror-fronted monstrosity in the bedroom.

After lifting off the huge sliding doors, the rest came apart relatively easily.

"Oooh, isn't he good?" said one of the wife's new friends, as part of the behemoth yielded to a ten-pound lump hammer, "I wish my husband was this handy round our house."

And as the audience looked on, I prized away at a panel with my trusty crowbar, and out it poured from the cavity behind.


Torrents and torrents of porn.

And not just any old top shelf smut.

This was highest quality Dutch and German filth that covered virtually every kink known to man and goat.

Most of it, tellingly, was of the rubberised variety. And, if I were in the business of exaggerating these tales for comic effect, one of these gentlemen's leisure pamphlets was entitled "Diving Belles".

The wife and her friends were – quite rightly – disgusted with the entire discovery. As was I, telling them I would dispose of it into the skip on our drive FORTHWITH, after I had vetted its suitability for landfill.

After several month's exhaustive research, I concluded that it was not suitable for landfill.

And now – this very weekend in fact – my charming wife has me assembling a monstrous floor-to-ceiling mirrored wardrobe in exactly the same position the scud mine occupied not six years previously.

Which is lucky. I'm running out of space in the shed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On sorting out the Royal Mail

On sorting out the Royal Mail

I see the Royal Mail has got a new corporate slogan: "Delivering value"

What – and I believe I speak for a great much of the Daily Mail reading public - a load of old bollocks.

"Delivering some of your letters, if we can be arsed", more like.


"Delivering some of your letters, if we can be arsed, all with a suspicious-looking rip in the corner where some thieving scrote in the sorting office has had a sneaky peak to see if there's anything worth lifting."

Sadly, that doesn't fit on the back of a van, so "Delivering value" it is, being only slightly better than "Royal Mail: Shite"

The rot set in when they stopped executing postmen who stole from Her Majesty's Postal Service. Who can forget those rose-tinted days where the bodies of transgressors were hung outside your local sub-post office, eyes pecked out by crows, a sign hanging round their neck saying "I stole Little Sophie's birthday money" as an example to others? Golden days, indeed.

Of course, the whole employing the criminal classes thing isn't good for the image of the Mail as a business, and tars the many honest, hard-working, never-stole-a-pair-of-panties-from-a-Figleaves-parcel postman with the same brush. My excellent postman, for example, is as honest as the day is long, despite being the living spit of Josef Stalin, right down to the KGB-issue suspenders.

But it's a problem they can confront head-on, improving the Royal Mail's image AND profitability into the bargain. So, if they are going to employ crooks, thieves and swindlers, they might as well try out my natty little business plan I've got lined up for them.

It's come to my attention that just about every large town in the country has a Sorting Office AND a Prison. At some stage or other, most of their workforce will find themselves in either of these two establishments, so why not just merge the two?

After all, the PO and Her Majesty's Nicks have a long tradition of cooperation, viz: sewing mailbags, so why not just move in the rest of the operation?

There's a large, captive workforce, employed at somewhat less than the minimum wage who'd carry out the same sorting functions as the many, now unemployed posties. Mail can be moved around the country in the same vans they use for prisoner transfers, and frankly, the security's tip-top.

Lags on day release can do the rounds, giving them plenty of opportunity to indulge in a bit of housebreaking that will only increase their prison terms and increase the Post Office workforce.

It's not as if it's anything new. The inmates of all of Her Majesty's Prisons manually route through every call and text message to all of the major mobile phone networks. Hence the name 'Cell Phones'.

And I know what you're thinking: We won't let the paedos near the birthday cards, infecting your sweet, innocent kiddiewinks with their nonce germs. They'll be put in charge of the new Send Your Starving, Rabid Leopard By Post service.

It's a win-win. Unless, of course, you're sending large quantities of diamonds through the post, then I suggest you employ Fat Luigi's Sicilian Courier Service and Legs Broken.

I am not mad.

(Note to large numbers of visiting posties: This is a humour blog, written entirely for shits and giggles. I'm not really ripping the piss out of you. I love you all. Honest).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On hiding stuff

On hiding stuff

Circumstance took me to the Japanese island of Okinawa, where I spent a week holding the rank of Captain in the United States Air Force.

The awful thing about living out of a suitcase in some dreadful cheap foreign motel (Five quid a night – in Japan!) is that you're going to get bored very, very quickly.

My Stephen King door-stop despatched within two days – it wasn't even one of his decent novels – and English-language literature as rare as hen's teeth, I did what any normal USAF Captain would do.

I went out and bought a load of Japanese MILF porn with my stash of cold, hard yen. It was called – according to the shonky Engrish translation – "Kimono Dragons".

And no, we're not talking Moro Islamic Liberation Front here.

Well, it passed the time.

And when my time came to depart for the bright lights of Tokyo, and then the blessed, green fields of Blighty, I must admit I panicked. I had, in my possession, a quantity of Japanese MILF porn, which would be flying with me on All Nippon Airways later that day.

No way.

So, if any of you lot are planning to stay that the Shogun Inn on Okinawa, go into the bathroom, lift the ceiling tile above the bath, and you will find your very own stash of Japanese MILF porn. FREE of charge.

There's an internet start-up in this. Take the idea of Bookcrossing and/or Geocaching and apply it to your secret stash of hidden MILF porn.

Categorised by location, quantity and genre, it would take sweaty old perverts away from the computer screen and into the countryside on the hunt for free fat bird jazz.

I'll call it, and this time next year Rodders, we'll be millionaires.

I've made a start already. Look.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On eating out at a fancy French restaurant

On eating out at a fancy French restaurant

Your humble narrator returns from a long weekend in Torquay, where - with hardly a Spanish waiter gag to be had - he witnessed the following exchange in a classy eaterie...

"Waiter! Garçon!"

"Good moaning M'sieur," said the snivelling crapaud, every sinew of his body aching for revenge over the humiliation of Agincourt, "I trust everyzing is fine with your desserts?"

"No. No, everyzing ...err... everything is not fine..."

"Oh M'sieur! I am so sorry to 'ear that."

"...In fact, I've got a good mind to ask for a refund."

"A refund? What seems to be ze problem? Chef will be very upset. 'E is a very sensitive man, y'know. 'E aims for ...'ow you say... perfection."

"It's the Death by Chocolate the wife's mother ordered."

"Ah! Ze Death by Chocolate! We don't just defrost it out of ze packet for you steak-an'-chips Rosbifs, don't you know. What, sir, is ze problem?"

The irate customer pulled himself up to his full five feet and six inches, the light reflecting off his balding pate, before declaring in his bravest voice: "It is, my good man, false advertising."

"False advertising?!" he exclaims as a brutal-looking matelot in a chef's hat appears by his side, brandishing a cleaver. "False advertising? 'Ow so?"

"It said Death By Chocolate on your frighteningly expensive menu, and as you can see, the old dragon's still alive."

He relaxes, and Bluto retires to the kitchen with the faintest trace of a smile across his scarred Gallic face.

"Patience, M'sieur, patience. Zese things take time."

Monday, October 20, 2008

On making a good first impression

On making a good first impression

What's it to be? The back stairs down from our first floor office to the kitchen, or a big entrance down the newly installed spiral staircase?

The spiral staircase that takes you down to the newsroom and past all the managers, backlit by the floor-to-ceiling windows with views over open countryside down to the Thames.

I've made an effort. Pressed trousers, clean shirt and tasteful tie. No more the slob in jeans, T-shirt and trainers. It's high time I made an impression on the people that matter in this organisation. Even the shoes have been polished.

So: Down the spiral staircase, looking stately and business-like holding a clipboard with the day's meeting agenda.

A nod to the editor-du-jour and a smile in return.

And then, my newsroom colleague deflates me with two simple words:

"You're flying."

Arse. Arse. ARSE. ARSE.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Ground bait

Mirth and Woe: Ground bait

"Can we," one of my loyal band of readers asks, "have a tale of mirth and woe about squatting on a dingy riverbank with a ten pound crap plz?"

The answer to this, sadly, is a big, round "No", mainly because this would be a complete work of fiction, or, as they call it in certain political and legal circles, a "lie". And we're not at home to Mr Porky Pie, m'kay?

I admit we might be taking the odd visit from Colonel Exaggeration and Mrs Crank It Up For Comic Effect, but I have never – as far as I can remember – laid faecal ground bait.

However, there was this time...

…And it's struck me that there are a number of things I did in my childhood that my children never have, and quite possibly never will. A short list from the top of my head:

1. Swum in a river

2. Vomit in a river whilst other people are swimming

Having given the end away already, I might as well make the best of it:

The river in question is the River Loddon, which flows through Berkshire before joining the Thames at Wargrave. By the time it has reached my home village of Twyford, it is already a little bit scary and almost certainly fatal.

But if you know the right places, and given the kind of summer we don't have any more, there are a number of places you can bomb along for a swim. The ford at Land's End in Charvil being one – and many a reckless teenager's bike has been swept away after under-estimating currents – and the mill pond at Twyford being the second.

The great thing about the mill pond was that you could jump off the weir (such that it was) into the pond itself, which was easily deep enough to swim.

On a particularly good day, the weir – which only had a drop of about two feet on a gradual slope - would be opened right up giving the more adventurous or foolhardy a five-second white water ride down into the safety of the pond.

Anyone who went to the millpond for a quiet bit of fishing – the sport of twats – when we were there would be mightily pissed off.


As you can see, they've put railings up now. Which, of course, means you can now jump from higher up. Great work, The Man!

Any given summer day would see a small crowd of any number from myself, my brother, Matty, John, Squaggy and a few other hangers-on as we cycled down to the mill and diving straight into the waters. Then we'd climb to the top of the weir, jump off, rinse, repeat. For several hours.

Some sad old bloke trying to catch minnows at the low end of the pond would shake his head and move over to the main lake.

Of course, all this jumping in and out of rivers takes its toll on young bodies.

I myself had only eaten a bowl of rice krispies for breaksfast, two cups of tea, a bowl of tomato soup (Heinz, naturally) with half a loaf of bread and butter for lunch, before snacking up on a Marathon bar, a packet of crisps, a large bar of cooking chocolate and a bottle of supermarket own-brand red coloured fizzy stuff. Hardly anything, to be honest. I'm big boned, it's genetic, and it's me glands. I need a lot of fuel for this sort of thing.

"Grelp," I said, standing at the top of the weir as Squagg lined up his rubber dinghy for a bit of white water rafting.

"Lads... I don't feel too..." I continued, aiming at my pals as they bobbed around in the mill pond below, before the inevitable happened.

It wasn't exactly "Yaaaaaaaaaaaaarch!"

It was more of a "Fssssssssssssht!"

Two litres of 39p red-flavoured own-brand pop do that when it comes out the wrong way. Especially when propelled by half of the contents of Darth Vader's sweet shop on London Road.

Poor Squagg.


The pink and brown shower caught him full in the face as he shot open-mouthed with excitement – down the race of the weir.

The effect was immediate. I've never seen a boy puke in a rubber dinghy before. Nor have I seen a boy desperately trying to bail it out, before realising what, exactly, he was bailing out.

Nor have I seen such a mass evacuation from the water as the floating menace approached my luckless friends. Not since I'd seen Jaws, anyway, where Chief Brody runs down the beach, firing his pistol into the air.

But they were too slow and the current too fast, and soon my now former friends were covered in floating fssssssssssssht, scrambling up the muddy banks to safety.

I'd like to say they showed my all due sympathy for my illness.

They did not.

"One... Two... THREE!" – lengthy pause – SPLASH!


And, there, at the bottom of the lake, the minnows and the roach fed on the floating ground bait. And further down the stream, the pike ate the minnows. And Dippy Peter caught the pike, which bit him on the groin.

The circle of life. Bless you, Elton.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Samuel Pepys versus ye creditte crunche

Samuel Pepys versus ye creditte crunche

The wretched financial situation in which we find ourselves is hitting each and every one of us hard. Of course, we are all doomed to repeat the failures of the past, and as these recently discovered diary exerpts prove, we've been around the block a few times already:

October 1st 1668: Up betimes, pay'ng very little attention to myne affaires, spent ye afternoone hav'ng a new wigge fitt'd (£0 8s 3d) before meet'ng myne gd friend Newton in Stepney. I gave him dinner of ham, braines and turnip (£0 2s 5d) before carous'ng around ye taverns and bawdy-houses of ye East Ende of Our Fair City (£3 11s 2d and a fath'ng).
Spent myne final groat pleasuring Scabby Sally of Shoreditch afore realis'ng that much of our carous'ng had been on ye tab, and neither Newton nor myselfe have a penny to our names. Several large fellows from ye tavern gave me such gd advice to whit: Paye up by Friday or my manhoode will be cutte off and thrust where ye sun doth not shine.
Woe! I am greatly attach'd to my pecker and it wld affect me greatly if it were sent to Manchester.

October 2nd 1668: To myne offices to finde funds to pay my debt to the several taverns and bawdy-houses. Alas! Mr Cuthbertson, who keepes my bookes informes me that myne total assets equal approximately thus: £0 0s 0d and a fath'ng, which he stole from a blind supplicant this morrow. Mr Cuthbertson also informes me that I have not paid him since April, and will happily wield the knife which will remove my append'ges.
Pleasur'd Scabby Sally again, she being ye only slattern in all London who is will'ng to do the job on tick. Alas, she also gave me a dose of ye crabbes which itch like ye devil's worke.

October 3rd 1668: Up betimes and to a local apocathary to obtain ye Blue Unction for my ravag'd parts, ye only relief I cld get com'ng from the constant applicationne of a sprig of hawthornes. Alas, ye Apocathary tells me I owe him £3 16s 2d for other treatments to my trouser parts, and thynges being as they are, wld like his pounde of flesh, viz: my trouser partes on a plate.

October 4th 1668: To the chambers of My Lord Downing to ask an advance for services render'd, sooth'ng my manhoode in a bottle of his fin'st French Brandy whilst his back was turn'd. For woe, he has uncover'd ye truth, viz: I have not done a stroke of work these last seven yrs, my bookes being fulle of sketches of nak'd wenches I'd like to bone, and he show'd me ye door. Then he show'd me ye street, face first.
On arriv'ng home, found several large gentlemen from ye taverns com'ng to request their monies, several carry'ng large torture implements borrow'd from ye Tower. They shall return on ye morrow, where I fear I shalle be undone.

October 5th 1668: Myne final hope has receed'd, Mr Howard Brown inform'ng me that his bank'ng establishm'nt being unable to advance me fundes as I am, in his wordes "sub prime and yr bollockes smell of brandy". Thought of flee'ng to ye Americas, but accost'd by Scabby Sally's brother and frogmarch'd home where a large crowd of creditors await'd, along with a man sell'ng sausages onna stick.
As the burliest of these brutes approach'd my saviour arrives in the shape of my lovely Mrs Pepys, who has promis'd that each and every man shall be fully paid, in the alley beh'nd Threadneedle Street, with "a goodly portion of ye family jewels", allow'ng them a "goode poke around my purse" for gd measure.
I knowe noth'ng gives her more pleasure than to settle my debts, as her squeals of delight cld be heard across much of ye City, and a gd number of men did pat me on my back and tell me I had chos'n "a right one for my old lady". I know not what a "spit roaste" is in financial parlance, but by all accounts Mrs Pepys is particularly adept.
And so to bedde.

October 7th 1668: Up betimes, and to Church to give thanksgiv'ng for my deliverance. Find'ng myself to be ye poor of ye parishtook £3 18s 9d from ye poor box, and will make use of it this even'ng. Mrs Pepys stay'd at home, my treasure tell'ng me that she had unfinish'd business with several large gentlemen from Spitalfields market, so I pray'd that Scabby Sally's various ailments wld clear up. Later carous'd with Scabby Sally. Alas, my prayers were not heard.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On being left-handed

On being left-handed

All the best people, I have decided, are left handed.

This has everything to do with the fact that your humble author does everything left-handed, except:

a) play golf, which is clearly a sport that's been built the wrong way round, and
b) wipe my bottom

The only problem with this observation is that when shaking hands with a righty, I am using my good hand to shake with somebody else's bottom mitt.

No wonder I'm a freak in polite company if "Left or right? LEFT OR RIGHT?" is screaming through my head every time I meet somebody new.

To illustrate my point on how EXCELLENT left-handers are, you will note the following people are or were all left-handed. EXCELLENT people, doing EXCELLENT things for the continued EXCELLENCE of our civilisation.

* The Boston Strangler
* Bill Gates
* Jack the Ripper

* Uri Geller
* Billy the Kid
* Paul Daniels

* The Emperor Tiberius
* Diego Maradona
* Ronald Reagan

* Robbie out of EastEnders
* Phil Collins
* General Zod

Kneel! You will kneel before Zod, all-knowing master of the left-handed empire that will last 10,000 years. Mwa ha ha haaaaaaaargh!



Albert Einstein was one of us as well, as is all pornography produced since 1968.

What are you? Left or right? Sinister or Dexter?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On gullibility

On gullibility

100% genuine and 100% tasteful Tit And Nick party slideA junior school lesson, in which we were taught about the tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

Later that morning, my rather-sharper-than-I pal Graham caught up with me in the playground and said: "Of course, Mrs Poulter's wrong. It's pronounced Tit-An-Nick."


"Absolutely. Tit And Nick."

Graham knew EVERYTHING, and had no reason to lie. He went to Sunday School an' everything, and telling an untruth would make Baby Jesus cry.

"So," says my mum at tea-time that evening, "What did you do at school today?"

"We had history"

"Oh yes."

"Mrs Poulter taught us about the Tit And Nick"

"The what?"

"Tit And Nick. The ship that hit an iceberg and sunk."


She told my dad.


Sometimes, I could really hate Graham.

Plz: Your tales of gullibility.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On long lunch breaks

On long lunch breaks

Friday lunchtime, and my esteemed colleague approaches me with a question:

"I'm popping across to the Post Office. Do you want me to get you anything?"

After a moment's thought, I thank him for his kind offer and say:

"Yes. Yes I do. Could you hand this piece of paper to the cashier?"

Give me all the money, and no funny businessIt is now Monday, and he has not returned. That's what I call a long lunch break.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Treehouse of Horror

Mirth and Woe: Treehouse of Horror

The kid who lived next door to my grandad had a treehouse.

An only child, he got the thick end of his father's generous nature, and one summer the old fella knocked up a platform a good fifteen feet up the stout tree in their garden.

Over the years that we knew Steve, this platform grew and grew, and every time we visited something new had been added. Trap door, rope ladder, windows, carpet. Before long it was a regular mansion. Up a tree.

He could actually hold summer sleepovers in it, and it was the prime base for many a game.

The lucky, lucky git. He also had the best board games and electronic toys of any kid I knew, but he was never spoiled. Generous, like his dad, he was always willing to share.

Alas, this attitude did not spread to the horrible little scrotes that lived in the pre-fab estate round the back.

Laindon – where this story takes place - was once a tiny village in the Essex countryside. Sadly, in the 1960s, somebody decided to merge it with Basildon as part of a concrete New Town, made from the cheapest building materials known to man. These being slabs of pebble-dashed concrete held together with spit.

Into these dreadful flat-roofed boxes they poured much of the East End of London, who had to go somewhere after Adolf Hitler had turned much of their old stamping ground into rubble two decades previously.

The new kids from the concrete new town didn't, on the whole, get on with the existing residents with the big gardens and cars on the drives.

We never found grandad's turtle. We can only assume he ended up in some former cockney's oven, living up to his name: Mr Crusty.

If there was one thing that raised the ire of the scrotes, it was Steve's treehouse.

In particular, they didn't like the well-spoken lad who owned it, the equally posh kids visiting from the *cough* West of London, and – what must have struck them as the worst kind of class traitors – my excellent cousins, both natives of Basildon, but granted honorary posh kid status.

Every now and then, while playing up in the treehouse, or racing down the newly-constructed slide, There would be a cry of "You're a bunch of fuggin' wankers" and a missile would come lurching over the fence and rattle down the tiled roof.

"I say – that's a bit off, what?"

"More tea?"

"Don't mind if I do."

"I say Steven, some of those oiks are climbing over the fence."

"Good Lord! Some of them appear to be armed with any number of hammers and sticks. That's a bit of a cheek."

"There's a chap, Nigel, pull up the rope ladder."

We pulled up the rope ladder, and watched the Artful Dodger's less artful and dodgier offspring attempt to climb the tree, and presumably do us a little bit of damage.

We surmised this from their cries of "You're going to get yours, you posh bastards" and "Gor blimey Mary Poppins, step in time."

Not a moment to lose. An urgent rattling on the trapdoor betrayed our predicament – the enemy was at our very threshold, with nothing but malice in their hearts.

But, sadly, they had not thought through their plan of attack. Coming up through a trapdoor, rather than charging helter-skelter up the slide, left them at a disadvantage. They had to get at least halfway through the small hole in the floor before they could even wield a blow, and as the door swung open to reveal a face twisted in righteous anger thos flaw became only to apparent.

With a quick couple of stamps, Steve planted his boot squarely on the fingers that had appeared through the trap door.

"Agh! You fucker!" came the response, but naked determination saw our grizzled foe clinging on to dear life.

Fair play to him, he hung on until Andy lamped him one on the face with a pair of size eight boots.

"Ooyagh!" he said, in surprise and alarm.

"Ooyagh!" he said again, this time as he fell from the tree, falling only a few feet, but landing with a leg either side of a stout branch.

". . . . . . .!" he said, before rotating cartoonishly from the branch, and collapsing on top of his brothers in arms.

Eventually he managed to squeak "Me plums! They killed me plums!" before being dragged through the hedge, from where the sound of copious vomiting soon emerged.

Later, a knock on Steve's front door. It was some toothless old crone, the twisted face of her offspring hidden in her skirts, doing a surprisingly bad Eliza Doolittle impression.

"Wha'choo done to my Danny? He ain't done nuffin'."

"Go away mad woman," said Steve's dad in his best Professor Higgins, "before I call the police."

Posh Kids 1, Filthy Oiks 0. The natural order restored.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

On the office suggestions box, again

On the office suggestions box, again

Time to open up the office suggestions box once more at The S. Duck Killbot and Ninja Equipment Co. Ltd and see what it is the proles are after to make their selfish, short little lives slightly less distasteful.

* "We can ride out the credit crisis by sacrificing a virgin to mighty Cthulhu. I nominate any staff member from the IT Department".
APPROVED for immediate action

* "If you can't find any virgins, Jacqui in sales is a frigid bitch with vinegar tits, and she'll do. All hail Cthulhu!"
DECLINED until after the Christmas party. As is the custom, we shall be slaughtering one of the cleaning staff as an interim measure

* "Moon onna stick plz"
DECLINED - Dictionary, plz

* "We can improve productivity by setting the intranet homepage to"
DECLINED – Give me a couple of weeks to research this. Did I say weeks? Best make that months, but I dare say it's staying at

* "The company should invest in making multiple clones of all of last year's employees-of-the-month and sack everybody else. Also, clone Dawn from accounts, only with bigger norks.
APPROVED – although the board prefers the term 'dry hump' to 'clone'

* "How about paying us, you tight bastards?"
APPROVED, after mandatory handwriting tests

* The office cleaners appear to be shirking in their duties, and my bin hasn't been emptied for two days. Please have one killed, and their head impaled on a spike as an example to them all
DECLINED – Sadly, the constant termination of house staff has led to recruitment problems. We can't even get Lithuanians these days

* Cash and meat prizes for the best suggestions of the month. Now, THAT'S a good idea. Yrs, S Duck, Managing Director
APPROVED – Give this man a pay rise and a ham. Mmm... Ham...

* I propose that we suspend the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Human Rights Act 1998 as a Darwinian means to correct over-staffing. Or, perhaps, a repeat of Bring Your Leopard To Work Day.
DECLINED – Our staffing levels can easily be corrected by reassigning individuals to potentially fatal cleaning duties

* See this suggestions slip? It's been up my arse.
ACTION: Promote this man. Head of office cleaning

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

On Haunted Room Two, again

On Haunted Room Two, again

"'Ello, Mr Duck," says our cheerful security guard, "What can I do you for?"

"Key to Haunted Room Two, please," I reply.

"Yeah, right, like it really is haunted," he replies, and in truth, we have had this conversation before, with the realisation that the person who told me about Haunted Room Two being haunted might have been, as they say, in his cups at the time.

"I've seen a ghost round here, though," I tell him, informing him of the looming presence in the executive washroom on the first-and-a-half floor.

"What? Stephen Fry?"

Yes. Poor, dead Stephen Fry.

"Tell you something, this place is crawling with spooks" he says, "I saw something the other night. Right weird it was – a mist, with a dim light in the middle. Floating about with the wind, then against the wind, just like it was walking up an' down."

"No, that wasn't a ghost," I argue, just for argument's sake, "that was probably some purely innocent natural phenomenon."

"Yes it was, an' I can prove it."

"What you saw," I explain, shining a red light into his face, "was a bank of fog reflecting the light from the planet Venus."


"The Planet Venus. Where did you say you saw this so-called ghost?"

"Down by the graveyard."

"You could have a point, then. Just be careful with the Ghostbusters Proton Pack."

"I've been on the training course. Don't cross the streams."

This is also good urinal etiquette, so let it not be said that we never teach you anything on these pages.

Of course, we all know that crossing the streams is A Bad Thing, though not in an end-of-civilisation-as-we-know-it sense if you do it in a public toilet. You will merely have your faced kicked off.

So, back to the chase.

Ten minutes later...

> RING! <

"'Ello, security!"

"Clean up squad to Haunted Room Two, please. Ectoplasm EVERYWHERE."


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

On robots turning on their fleshy masters and killing them TO DEATH

On robots turning on their fleshy masters and killing them TO DEATH

You won't believe how long it took me to photoshop this picture. Go on - tell me you're impressedThe trouble with attending countless workplace meetings is that you never quite know when you're going to wake up.

Invariably, it's at some important part of the discussion, where a gentle nudge in the ribs betrays the fact that you have phased out into another dimension just your input is required.

This was – it grieves me to say – exactly how I was dragged from my post-lunch reverie just as the brains from our technology department dropped a bombshell of epic proportions:

"Yes," he said in reply to a question, lost in the pan-dimensional flux, "We'll be installing a Robot Jukebox to solve this problem. Scary? Mr Duck? Do you approve?"

"Mwargh!" I replied in surprise and alarm as the full, terrifying meaning of this announcement struck home, right between the eyes: "Mwargh!"

All eyes turned toward me, and somehow, my voice is taken over by Mr T.

"You crazy fools!"

A room full of blank faces, so I press on:

"A Robot Jukebox? Don't you see the danger?

"Oh yes, it'll be all fun and games for the first couple of weeks. The 'droids'll have a disco - a bit of a party - then, sure as eggs they'll neck all the vodka, turn on their Fleshy Masters, and before you know it, the office will be heaped high with colleagues decapitated by Peter Andre CDs."

"Err..." said the Head of Technology, but I was on a roll. A roll FOR THE WIN, in BLOCK CAPITALS, with BOLD.

"It's true, damn you all to HELL! I read about it in JUDGE DREDD. Don't come running to me when Call Me Kenneth rips both off your legs for shits and giggles."

"A Robot Jukebox," the chief finally explains as I run out of steam, "is merely a device that allows us to produce large numbers of CDs and DVDs quickly. Also, it has a built-in coffee maker. Hardly anyone will be killed TO DEATH."

"Oh. Right. Yes," I manage, before finally managing to engage brain: "And who, pray, will collect and despatch these discs?"

"Monkey Butlers," said the chief, "Monkey Butlers with Jetpacks."

The future is here, people. The future is here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

On lazy blogging, again

On lazy blogging, again

Every once in a while I open a word file with the filename "aaaaaaargh.doc" and share with my lucky, lucky readers the contents therein.

It is – for those of you of a nervous disposition – the best (or worse, depending on your point of view) of my referrer logs, the search terms bewildered web users have entered into Google to reach these pages.

As you'd expect, it is an awful peek into the mind of the kind of person they let onto the internet these days (current company notwithstanding). You know: twisted, foul, perverted and ever so slightly retarded.

The most terrifying part of the cavalcade of filth that follows is that somebody obviously started looking for certain *cough* niche interest scud, continually refined their search terms when confronted by unsuitable results, yet the link to my site is often several pages in. Having not found 'Cliff Richard scat' play on the first 147 results, they thought it might be on this blog. Were they ever in for a disappointment.

I haven't bothered with links this time, and I've starred out some of the swears. I must be getting old.

* porn star girls being fucked an having there tits sucked by young boy and 60 year old men pictures
I really, really love ultra-specific niche pron requests. There's GOT to be age-gap tit-sucking jazz out there. Somewhere

* vanessa feltz topless pictures
You sick, sick bastard. Wasn't the sight of The Orange One in a skin-tight jumpsuit on Hole In The Wall enough for you?

* old grannys having sex with horses
You've got to take it where it's offered at that age, I suppose

* mild cerebal palsy and rape
Words cannot do justice as to how wrong this one is. In fact I give this one 11 out of wrong. He could at least learn to spell, mind.

When you find it mate, send me the link

* i felt grandads cock slide into my c**t
*boilk* The missing word, for those of you who are easily offended is 'coot', and this refers to an old chap teaching a blind relative how to stuff poultry

* personal stories of unwanted frottage on trains
Sorry, bloke. I've only got personal stories of unwanted frottage on buses and nuclear submarines

* russian ladies making the gents slaves to eat their shit
That Vladimir Putin's got a lot to answer for


* Keith Chegwin anal sex
Cheggers Plays Plop, anyone?

What has been seen cannot be unseen. I do not apologise in the slightest.

Edit: And another one, arrived this very morning...

* women putting a tin of kidney beans up her c**t
I do hope she remembered to soak them overnight

Saturday, October 04, 2008

On phishing

On phishing

Worst. Phishing. Email.Ever.

You'll note - sadly - the UK-based phone number. We've got SO much to learn from Nigeria.

Having said that, I bet they STILL rake the punters in, because Barclays really do use Yahoo mail.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Mirth and Woe: The Curse of the Otherwise Law-Abiding Travelling Community Member

Mirth and Woe: The Curse of the Otherwise Law-Abiding Travelling Community

Ah, those long, blessed summer holidays at my Grandfather's house.

Two weeks of running around the concrete maze of Basildon New Town, trips to the seaside and generally having the time of my young life with my cousins.

Little did we know that the real reason for this break was to get us out of our parents' hair for a fortnight so they might restore some sanity into their lives without things blowing up, or my sister trying to claw my face off or drown me in the school swimming pool.

So, carted off to Laindon we went, for all the tomfoolery we could handle.

Over the road from Grandfather's house – on just about the only road in the area not to have been hastily thrown up in concrete at the arse-end of the 1960s – was an old bungalow housing an even older lady.

And as old ladies are wont to do, one day she turned up her toes and carked it TO DEATH. They carted her away in a hearse, and for some reason or another, the unattended house fell into disrepair.

Before long, the local Basildon scrotes were using it as an unofficial gang den, and they inevitably razed it to the ground in the finest house fire seen round the area for some years.

For a year or so, the land laid empty with nothing but the house's foundations and an increasingly overgrown garden of trees and plants, before permission was granted to build a kids' adventure playground. We thought it was excellent, heaven knows what the olds thought.

Inevitably, the Basildon scrotes set fire to the playground as well, and that was the end of that. For another year or so, the curs-ed land lay derelict, growing more and more overgrown.

When we visited the following summer, all the Basildon scrotes were gone, and we could cross the busy road (by a thoughtfully-provided footbridge, for we were sensibly brought-up children) to a paradise garden of trees and bushes, where we built a camp and had rollicking Famous Five adventures.

We climbed trees.

We fell out of trees.

We laughed like stupids when Andy fell out of a tree, leaving his trousers on a branch with a huge comedy R-i-i-i-p.

We had rollicking Famous Five adventures.

For one afternoon, as we were planning the downfall of the socialist Wilson government, we heard voices.

Dreadful, common voices.

"This'un'll do."

"Chop it down, Bart. That'll make great firewood."

It was two scruffy looking types, almost certainly the kind that gives the otherwise law-abiding travelling community a bad name. You know: pikeys.

"Good Lord! Pikeys!" somebody said.

And it was true. A couple of blokes with large axes were setting about one of our trees with a view to snaffling it away to burn. They may or may not have been wearing unbuttoned waistcoats and neckerchiefs, depending on your view of stereotyping.

Well, we weren't going to stand for that.

"I say! You! Yes – you scruffy types! Stop chopping down that tree, or we'll report you."

"Oh yeah?"

"Absolutely. We'll tell on you, and you'll go to prison FOREVER."

"You an' whose army?"

And they were right. We were but five, aged between seven and eleven years old. They were two swarthy, unshaven types armed with large axes. I had in my possession a small, blunt penknife - ASBO-fodder these days, but too weedy to cut anything, let alone save us all from frenzied members of the traveller community who give their otherwise law-abiding brethren a bad name.

What could they do? Kill us TO DEATH? Give us a good talking to? We'd read enough Blyton to know that something worse awaited us: A life in the circus, minding the elephants.

"Leg it!"

We legged it.

In this sort of circumstance, we should have diced with death and run across the road, directly into Grandfather's house and safety. But we were not brought up that way. There was only one way to cross the road – by the footbridge. So we did.

Unfortunately, the callous tree thieves, of the type who give the otherwise law-abiding travelling community a bad name – and clearly not students of the Green Cross Code - waited for us at either end of the footbridge.


At this point in a Famous Five tale, there'd be a bit of a cliffhanger, before an essay on the dangers of socialism, gippos and darkies to law-abiding, middle-class white children, but I'll cut straight to the chase: we jumped.

Jumped. From the top of a footbridge, onto the grass below. There's a knack, you know. We'd been practicing, just in case we were cornered by a pair of frenzied members of the traveller community who give their otherwise law-abiding brethren a bad name.

We legged it into Grandfather's garden and hid amongst his prize-winning borders, and from the front of the house came the sound of the old man giving two unwanted visitors short shrift.

Alas, in all the excitement, my stomach had given short shrift to my lunch of jam sandwiches and lashings of ginger beer, and I honked into his rhubarb, which subsequently won a gold medal in that year's Laindon and District Horticultural Show.

And, in an outstanding piece of narrative continuity, I honked into the actual trophy on a subsequent Christmas visit. The Otherwise Law-Abiding Travelling Community Curse strikes again.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

On Bring Your Leopard to Work Day

On Bring Your Leopard to Work Day

From: Stacey Chipperfield, Human Resources
To: All Staff
Subj: Bring your Leopard to Work Day

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow is Bring Your Leopard to Work Day, and we look forward to seeing as many people as possible bringing in their big cats and collecting loads and loads of money for CHARITY!!

However, to avoid a repeat of last year's unpleasantness, we are laying out a few ground rules to keep casualties to a minimum.

* Leopards only, please. Last year Aussie Bruce brought in his dingo and there was hell to pay. Leave your lions, performing bears and jaguars at home – Bring Your Tiger to Work Day is NEXT Tuesday

* We regret that we cannot allow fancy dress this year. Family, friends and colleagues are still mourning the death of Frieda from Accounts, whose 'Gazelle' costume was far too realistic for our feline friends!!

* All Leopards must stay within the confines of your office space, or be placed in the 'Leopard Creche' in the Conference Room. This shouldn't clash with the Board of Directors' Annual All-Meat Buffet And Offal Fight to be held over lunch -they'll let us know if there's any inconvenience.

* The Afternoon Leopard Race, an important part of the day's fun, will now be held in the shopping precinct. St Joseph's Primary School were unable to lend us their field as this will interfere with the Puppy Juggling Act they have lined up for the kiddywinks!! 'Meat' outside Dewhurst the Butchers at 3pm!! It's pension day –so we're guaranteed a large, appreciative crowd of elderly and infirm onlookers, quite unable to flee if a large carnivorous beast should hunt them down like a crippled wildebeest!!

We're pleased to announce that TV's Martin Clunes has agreed to judge the Best Dressed Leopard contest. Let's hope that he has more success than poor, dead TV's Ross Kemp. I'm sure you'll agree – EastEnders just hasn't been the same without him :(

Remember: The idea behind Bring Your Leopard To Work Day is to have FUN FUN FUN for KIDDIES CHARITIES!! Don't spoil it for other people by feeding your leopard the night before.

Have a fun day - hope to 'spot' you there!!!

Stacey xx

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

On things to do in meetings

On things to do in meetings

As a result of accidentally phasing out at a crucial moment in a predictably dull meeting, I have found myself accidentally volunteered for all the meetings in the world, leaving me with precious little time in the coming weeks to arse around on the internet.

My diary is full to the brim with meetings, pre-meeting meetings, post-meeting meetings and further meetings to discuss these meetings and whether we should hold further meetings to discuss the format of these meetings. And we don't even get a tea trolley.

Death, whilst preferable, is not currently an option due to recent arrangements I have made with the Tax Office.

This sorry state of affairs is a salutary lesson in learning to pay attention in meetings, staying wide awake and not falling victim to accidental volunteering.

We suggest, then, a number of tactics which the unwary meeting-goer should employ lest they find themselves in the same predicament as myself.

- Buzzword bingo, obviously

- Earwax removal and sculpture as an attempt to win this year's Turner Prize

- Consider the participants of a set of Office Totty Top Trumps cards

- Win at Office Totty Top Trumps

- Make and use a voodoo doll of the most annoying meeting attendee

- Agree with absolutely every point in a voice not considerably unlike former prime minister John Major.

- Write this, and at least three other, blog items

- Update your ongoing list of orange celebrities to include several members of the cast of Coronation Street

- Write down, in enormous and meticulous detail, the contents of your internal jukebox playlist:
* OMD – Apollo (from the 1984 album 'Junk Culture')
* Blancmange – All Things Are Nice (from the recently reissued 1984 album 'Mange Tout')
* Rush – Time Stand Still ('Hold Your Fire', 1987)
* Kraftwerk – Tour de France ('Tour de France Soundtracks', 2003)
* New Order – Hurt (B-side of Temptation single, 1982)
* Gina G – Ooh Aah Just a Little Bit (1996)
- Count down the number of seconds until the end of the meeting, and sigh loudly when this passes

- Leave, with Gina G earworm. Sorry