A Letter From Aunt Bench About…Well…Folly’s Mood.

I received another letter from Bench this morning, dated two days (!) after Folly’s departure. The cheek of the woman exasperates me so I apologise for the clipped tone of this post but I really am as dreadfully mad as a cut snake.

Why she comes to me I know not, perhaps I am a soft touch? Are the luxuries of my draughty hedge-home too inviting? My hessian crackers and gin breakfasts too tempting? Whatever it is, I shall stop at once. My mother once said – Family are the most precious things, Bern, but remember they won’t ALL fit under your patio. Dear woman, rest her soul.

This is the letter…..

Kindest Dearest Bestest B,

I need to ask a favour, dear. Folly is really trying my patience – I’ve had to call in some lumberjacks to tie her to a dining chair as she’s had one of her heads on. To cut a long story short, she’s poured custard into all my shoes and hidden small incendiary devices all over the house. Aunt Weevil and Doctor Prong have suggested I get away, so I will come to stay if the idea does not rankle with you?

Notwithstanding, it is quite doing my nut in, dear. I can’t go to Aunt Vom as she’s still in the nick, and Mary-Jaffa is still. So I’m coming for a few ——– (typically, this part was illegible). As the carriage journey is so long, I’ve written this six days before I leave so I should be with you in ten minutes.

Folly is being observed by our neighbour, Mrs Coddy, a dear soul. She can see our house from hers, since Folly stole the 7ft hedge last month. Well, see you shortly, pop a gin in a glass for me and I’ll bring the hemlock shortbread.
Pip pip, and tatty bye

The woman is absolutely the limit. Folly should have been encouraged to move out now that she’s finished playgroup. For a girl of thirty-two, she should be doing normal things – vandalism, fighting and shrieking. I will write to Aunt Vom in Worthing nick – she is the fiesty one and will know how to advise. She sorts out a lot of her problems with something called Chinese throwing stars and Colt.45’s, and swears by them. Perhaps she can put one in the post.

It’s a pity about the mix-up with the cozzers, she’s so unlucky – it’s the eighth time now. Well, no doubt it well get sorted out, they’ll find she was pushed to her actions, and the MP’s flat bugle will….puff out and…possibly resemble a nose once more. He shouldn’t have put in that £3,487 claim for a platypus sanctuary that doesn’t exist, anyway. Bleeder.

Aunt Vom’s Poem From Worthing Nick

This is Aunt Vomica. She’s the next sister below me. I am posting on behalf of her as she has been writing poetry to pass the time in Worthing nick after an altercation with an MP. We’ve always been close, but her behaviour is volatile and trying at times. Vom doesn’t like our youngest sibling, Aunt Mary-Jaffa. Her distaste is due to Mary-Jaffa being weak-willed and delicate – and she has a huge satsuma fear. So Vom pelts her with them at Christmas and loves hiding them in her stocking. Mary-Jaffa faints, and the only thing that can bring her round is the smell of satsumas. Well, on waking, and being faced with a satsuma, she faints again. This goes on for months sometimes. It’s a pain in the arse quite frankly but we love her dearly, you see. However, I digress, the altercation came about as a local MP asked her for a certain kind of ‘favour’ in relation to a grand townhouse in Flange Street with lots of ‘benefits’. Vom kicked off, and left him with a flat bugle.
Anyway – this was the poem she sent me, apparently it’s called ‘MP Scum and Violence Pays’.

I’m stuck in Worthing nick,
After lamping an MP.
His manner evoked sharp anger
So his knackers got my knee.
He wanted special favours,
He got a Glasgow Kiss,
He also got a shooing,
And a crossbow bolt that missed.
Notwithstanding I was cross,
As he called in the Fuzz.
They dived and pulled us both apart,
I had an amazing buzz.
‘Shut yer mouth , yer poncy twat’
‘Who checks your expenses’, When the Rozzers are on your tail, however,
You run and jump some fences.
I pulled forth a chinese throwing star,
From underneath my skirt.
The constable didn’t clock it,
And fell and hit the dirt.
But here I am in Worthing Nick,
Paying dearly for my crimes,
But I’m breaking out at midnight,
As soon as the town clock chimes.
I’ve got some rope and semtex,
I have a blade or two,
I’ll be on my way to Bumstead,
And in Thrupp by half past two.

Lazy Witches

My tiny hedge is now quiet after being invaded by these four. They are witches from Gloucestershire, the noisest witches in the land. They arrived from their home on the Gloucester/Sharpness Canal, and unannounced, walked right in with a blunder of suitcases and bats and clompy heels and battered books. I know Gloucestershire witches, my cheese, wine and freshly baked bread had to be safely locked away, along with the rest of the neighbourhoods’. A witch from these parts will sell anyone’s soul to the devil for a glass of Chilean Merlot and some port salut on a poppy seed cracker. Well, it’s been a traumatic week, apparently my hedge-home has a ley line running through it, so they’d come armed with dowsing rods, pendulums, charts, maps, 5 bottles of gin, 12 bottles of Cotes Du Rhone, twiglets and some wine. I’ve been moved to vent my spleen in this poem, as a move toward positivity. Axe throwing is always a good back up option.

Stop watching Netflix at once!
And get those toads off your lap!
At least chip in with the cleaning –
And stop dropping off for a nap.
Tidy up your cloaks from the floor,
And wash up the cauldron I say,
There are runes all over the garden,
And you’ve barely stopped drinking all day.
That broom can be used for sweeping,
It’s not that you’re able to fly.
I’m sitting here thinking of weeping,
You’ve polished of a home made pork pie.
Bloody witches! All the same,
Whether student or ancient crone.
You habits continue to vex me,
While you noisily take over my home.
Old and young, you are so alike,
You both have the telly too loud.
Your hearing is very selective,
And you bang on for hours about ‘Stroud’.
The elders think I’m too modern,
The young think I’m too square,
I can’t do write for wrong at the mo,
And a moment of silence is rare.
The chanting goes on at all hours,
The discussion of magic is deep.
But I listen and pick up some things,
So I do them while you are asleep.
Banish visitors spell, here I come,
So take down your bats, and away.
I’ve brought in ingredients aplenty,
And your books have led me astray.
So take yourselves back to Gloucester,
Where noisy witches are allowed.
Leave my hedge silent, my cheese unattacked,
And get Shshshh’d all around Stroud.

Toad Rubbing And Other Delights

Well! What a week of glee…it was my birthday on Saturday, and dear Aunt Weevil paid for us to go to the Toad Fondling Festival in Maiden-Up-The-Duff, in Fife. She’s so thoughtful, and knows exactly what sort of birthday treat I like. The weather was perfect, we took a picnic and sang songs of plague and pestilence on the way!

The festival was marvellous, so many exhibitors. The West Wankel Wood Turners were there and there was quite a tense atmosphere before we knew what they were going to turn the wood into. It was wine! That set the day off with a bang! I was three sheets to the wind before 10.00AM and had received my first police warning by half past. Weevil was bladdered before I picked her up that morning.

We started the day with a visit to the Trebollocks Toad Rubbing Association and said hello to a few acquaintances (after a short trip to the Gin Tent). It’s become quite the new sport, with specialist glove stands everywhere that have caught onto the craze and charge the earth.
Safety levels were at a maximum, with a small St Vitus Ambulance stall next door. They had a special poison unit attached which has been a godsend at past festivals when I’ve taken Folly with me. She will not learn to hold toads without licking them. Bloody tongue the size of an avocado, but never mind – that’s forgotten.
I did learn from Professor Rimsky-Spatula that a highly rubbed toad can be jettisoned from the hands at speeds of up to 150km/hr. The spectacle in the rubbing arena was phenomenal. Only two fainted, and only one black eye from a flying toad.

The Quedgeley Toad Balancers were there, too. A mainly male organisation that specialised in spoon balancing on noses and other body parts – they

 have just branched out into toads to jump on the band wagon.
I do think they are rather arrogant with their ‘UK Champion’ banner as they’ve not won anything yet. Such arseholes plague these events.

However, one young lad from our neck of the woods balanced this toad for 52 hours which was most impressive. He only put him down by mistake when someone handed him a Guinness. I took a photo.

There weren’t many tortoise flingers this year, I was so terribly disappointed and so was Weevil. She really kicked of big style. The organisers told her that she should calm her temper and stop spitting, and then a policeman appeared so we wandered off hastily for another gin. Good job Aunt Vom wasn’t there, really.
The only one flinging our shelled-reptile friends was an elderly lady of 84, who didn’t seem very focused on where she was flinging the tortoises. They seemed to just whizz off into the woods, the next field, and the boot of someone’s motor car. Weev said it was pointless but I think the local children enjoyed it.

And this photo (left) is Derek. He is the champion toad, trained by Mrs Nora Chunderly of the Gloucestershire Toad & Frog Rubbers. It’s a very shiny toad, as she has rubbed him every day since he grew legs. I was fascinated by the range of noises he makes when he takes off. It was like a bullet from a gun.
On propulsion, he will go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds which is a British world record.
She gave a talk in the afternoon, not really sure what it was about though. I was pretty bollocksed by then and Weev was asleep under the table.

But all in all, a wonderful day. I am going home with my new toad-rubbing manual to try some new techniques. All I need is some almond oil apparently…… and some elastic.

Aunt Turgid’s Grand Day

It was while she was in Turkey in 1902,
That Aunt Turgid found her gift, her calling. To dispel boredom during a thunderstorm and a verucca outburst, she began reading the favoured and celebrated child’s book (Rare Infectious and Tropical Diseases). In fact, she read it backwards, as it sounded better, and you could still look at the pictures. Well, amidst the flashes of lightning, men selling carpets, smoking bubbly things,and verucca socks, a massive audience of lizards assembled before her.

They sat on warm rocks, tails up and wagging, eagerly awaiting the next sentence. After a back to front chapter on Laughing Death and complications with rigor mortis, the lizards grew in number to 650. The more she read, the more lizards arrived. The lizards carried away the little man with his overpriced rug (if you bought one, you were robbed!), discarded chairs, tables and tipped over a swimming pool. By tea time, there were 3000 lizards, paying close attention to the procedure for “Restraining Rabid Husbands With Dog Bites” (in reverse, you understand – so the more she read, the healthier people seemed to be).

When it was time for her to return to England, the lizards followed. And overran West Sussex. The council was pretty crabby about it for sometime, until Aunt Weevil built a secure pen in the garden. I don’t know where she got all the bloody wood from, but there you go.

Buggered Bicycle – An Account Of A Cycle Dive By My Dear Friend, Prof Reddish

Mother is dreadfully cross with me,
I broke my new bicycle.
We went to Worthing Pier –
such a marvellous day.
I came out of my bathing shelter in my new combination costume, and ego-ed shamelessly at lesser people.
I was a hit with the ladies, I can tell you. They cooed at my calves and marvelled at my clavicles. At least, I think that’s what they said.
Well, naturally, I rode off the pier. In daredevil Victorian style. With a moustache with which you could say ’embrocation’ and look really impressive.
Like you do.
Now the bicycle is broken, because
I landed on the largest recorded Turbot in history.
He is now dreadfully cross with me also.

(You wouldn’t believe the bloody cheek of the photographer – I had to hold still in mid-air while he took the blasted photo. Well, that’s what you get for having a sub-standard camera on stilts that comes with it’s own cloak.)

Met Aunt Bench In Town – This Was The Conversation

Ah, can you stop for a minute?
Well, I don’t want to hold you up, but –
I’ve been talking to a man – you know the one,
called Bert
his wife,
Eileen – VERRRY ugly,
is eighty seven and has a wooden buttock. You’ve seen it.
Marvellous for her age.
Oldest woman in Trebollocks with a Glider’s License.
And her son has a glass eye.
Well you know I told you about their eldest son, Bunstable –
well his new French wife, Sardine –
She’s French.
And she knows an incredible amount of things about Trout.
She did a day course at Bibury Fish Farm,
where she got an honours in Fish Fondling. She’s sought after, by the police.
But unemployed cos it’s not the sort of thing you admit to, you know?
Well, I’ve got a leaftlet on it, if you want.
Anyway, I’ll push off, got some pickled onions on the go and the cat needs a replacement head flange.

Tortoises And Their Place In Woodwind Section

In the 1950’s, before electronic guitars really took off, children were encouraged by music teachers to take up the tortoise. It takes two people to play a tortoise, as demonstrated in the picture.One holds the body of the tortoise, the other manipulates the legs and taps the outer shell slightly and the fabulous effect is a deep sustained booming noise much like the bassoon. Tortoises in the orchestra have never really received the credit they deserve, and they are very small so you cannot see them being played from an auditorium. They also do not appear in many orchestral performances as their fees are bloody exorbitant. However, if you are at a Wagner performance, look the the bassoon player very carefully. There is very often a hidden tortoise in his lap.

Sir Simon Rattle has reportedly brought up to eleven tortoises to a symphony performance – one for each of the bassoonists and the rest are shared between people who play the triangle and write musical reviews. Let’s face it, they’re often as silly as one another.

Aunt Claymore’s Visit

Oh rapturous Joy! A family visit! This is Aunt Claymore. Yes, she is as vibrant and jolly as she appears. I have to keep my face a picture of elation on the yoghurt-pot telephone when she tells me she’s coming or she knows I’m secretly thinking ‘bugger’ and kicks off.
Clay is a quandary, she’s the only woman in Thrupp with a Queen Victoria obsession that, frankly, has got out of hand. The woman is never amused. She’s evaded arrest twice for knighting people in a public place and almost decapitated a third. It cost me two and six to get her out, which I never got back.

The cause of her visit was to inform me that the wider family are concerned about Aunt Mary Jaffa (you’ll meet her later). They have petitioned her to see a hypnotist as her fear of satsumas is about to ruin her career as a taxidermist. Apparently there is an expert ‘squirrel stuffer’ who eats satsumas regularly which results in Aunt Mary Jaffa hurling salt lamps at him. After two verbal warnings, she faces the sack. Uncle Colobus feels she should be given a stern talking to, while Aunt Bench reckons it’s a phase brought on by man’s oppression and emotional labour. Folly doesn’t give a rat’s arse, apparently, and Aunt Vom fears a swift punch may do the trick. My presence at a family meeting has been requested, so naturally I wish the power of sudden invisibility.

My own thoughts are perhaps the seeking of some satsumic Shamanic journey may be in order. She could connect with it’s essence and adopt it as a Spirit Fruit. The woman is very segmented and makes your eyes sting when she sings, so they should get on. I found the address of Clementomancy Del Monte, who runs courses on such things for 15 guineas a day in Clacton-on-Sea. This man is legendary, he can read future events by gazing at a dog’s bottom by candlelight.

Anyway, I digress, I’ll keep you posted on the satsuma situation, until next time, toodle pip!