Tales of Witches and Other Curiosities

Good evening, my little chinstrap penguins. This weekend has posed most interesting, with the arrival of a distant relative from Scotland. This is Aunt Agnes of Ecclefechan. She is Grand Witch of the Trossachs, and is well trumpeted within the pagan community of Gloucestershire. She is a fearful woman, and, in all honesty, one does not want to be caught by the Trossachs.

On Friday morn, by the hour of seven, I was carefully stirring my pot of cajun adders, and checking that my hemp stockings were dry when I heard a whooshing sound. As I opened the hedge door, this impressively smart woman landed her broomstick and announced she would be staying. We made small talk awhile, over a cup of pig stubble tea, and chatted amiably about the weather and death. It transpires that she is to perform an exorcism at a local house, where dark things be gathering. (If you know the house, you would be not surprised by this, the family have more ghostly figures floating about than the Tower of London. In addition, the maid doesn’t dust, and I swear on St. Swivel that half these sightings are large cobwebs. They do like to dramatise).

So, on Saturday, we visited the cobweb menagerie in search of ghosts, ghouls and other ghastly apparitions. The first sighting of a ghastly apparition was in the doorway, when Mrs Studley-Constable opened the door. Never have I witnessed a more worthy label of the informal noun ‘munter’ before. Secondly, her husband appeared – Mr Studley-Constable is one that I find unsavoury. He was imprisoned for five years for poking flageolet beans into a hole. The newspapers never stipulated the whereabouts of the hole. We all shuddered. Now he stood halfway up the stairs in his longjohns. I felt my eyes were being murdered when he turned away to reveal the trapdoor still open. I was beginning to regret tagging along, and wished myself home with the toads on my lap, and Strictly via the twigless router. Alas, no quiet night for me, no plantain crackers, and no Bruno Tonioli.

We sat and discussed using a Ouija Board to contact the restless spirit and isolate the issues within the house. There were a couple of locals present, the Reverend from the Church of Holy Frowning sat beside Mrs Studley-Constable. Mrs Prestley-Bismuth was there also, just for the sake of collecting gossip. A vapid woman, with an annoying twitch, brought on by woodworm. Having waited for five minutes, the only thing that happened was a small fart from the Reverend which he failed to cover with a feeble cough. The mood blackened, and Mrs Studley-Constable fell into deep melancholy. When her husband, Wayne, finally entered the room, the table tilted violently, and the spirit spelled out ‘For the love of Mary cover your arse, boy!’. It went downhill from there.

It seems two Aunts from Mrs Studley-Constable’s family, had been wandering the rooms of their home in a state of desperate frustration. Both women in their lifetime were puritans, and became enraged at the sights they never saw when visiting. It seems Wayne would ‘dress up’ for company. Yet, since the Aunts’ death, his arse being bared to them on a daily basis was too much to bear. They’d smashed mirrors, windows, crockery, and glassware. They’d pelted him with trousers during the night. They’d placed sheets over his naked area, resulting in him wandering blindly down hallways and hitting his head on protruding lamps. They’d even managed to mix a Plaster of Paris and poured it into his crevice, to be finally rid of the offending sight. This resulted in him fearing he’d endured the most dangerous wedgie, and we all recalled the night he’d jumped into the canal, blaming his doctor again. (None of us have booked an appointment with the Dr Jenkins since).

Aunt Agnes called to the spirits in a most dramatic manner. She asked of them to be free of the bonds of human existence and free themselves from the shackles of this world. The answer came back ‘Not ’til the house be free of this vision of horror’ After pleading with them further, the reply came back ‘Jog the feck on’. The curtains blew, the house rattled and shook. Mrs Prestley-Bismuth had an attack of the vapours, and the good Reverend cacked himself. Aunt Agnes summoned Wayne and made him put trousers on (with the zip at the front). The house settled.

Just at that moment, three pointy women strode in. Locally known as the Ecclefechers, these three are capable of coping with the most fiesty and dangerous of spirits. From left, Priestess Annunciata of Fort William, High Priestess Tracey of Bristol, and Priestess Morag of Hamilton Academicals. They advanced with wands, pointed towards a gathering mist above the dinner table. I wasn’t entirely sure this was wise, as the spirits were gathering above us, but the good Reverend had broken wind in quite an epic fashion. It is unwise to banish a fart with a wand, there is a spirit in methane than becomes most angry.

Amazingly, they banished the unsettled spirits. Unfortunately, they blew the windows out completely. However, all is well again – Mrs Prestley-Bismuth has plenty of gossip and enough remaining eyebrows to pencil in. The Studley-Constables are happy with their new ‘trousers always’ rule, and something new-fangled called double-glazing. The Reverend is banging on about Ouija boards and how marvellous they are, which has sent his flock flinging themselves at Baptists in hope of salvation. Aunt Agnes and her ladies left after a slap-up tea of toadflax crumpets and henbane scones. I, happily, have found strictly on catch up telly, and recline cheerfully in my elm bark nightdress. Thankyou for reading, dearest followers, may your weekend be blessed with green beans without stringy bits, and may you always have enough cheese. x

Clopton Mandrill Inventor’s Extravaganza

My dear coal scuttles, I do hope you faithful readers are hale and hearty (both of you). It’s been a while since I posted, but a great deal has happened. I have had the plague, but recovered with the assistance of some new fangled inoculation and the sweat of a black toad in my morning tea. Folly is safely contained in, well, a container (Aunt Bench has restricted her movements to an underground bunker for the good of the community). Aunt Vom is in the nick again, the dear woman decided to pick a fight with her local MP. We’re unsure why, but apparently it kicked off after the rugby.

Well, exciting news! Clopton Mandrill is a hub of boffins. There are many bearded clever folk here, not including the women in may family. We are hosting our annual inventors extravaganza, and people from as far as Murmansk and Dursley are coming. It really is the most thrilling thing, as you will see from the photographs, we are at the forefront of technology in Gloucestershire.

On the shortlist for a prize is Professor Gaston Seagull-Trumpet. He has invented the ‘Rocking Bath’. It’s the most marvellous idea, though he is unable to deliver his pitch to the crowd as he’s repeatedly having his sinuses drained from the backwash. When he sneezes, a cacophony of scents from the Body Shop fly from his ample nostrils at a speed previously unrecorded.

Our next idea (one that I’m quite fractious about), is the Square Tandem, invented by Wayne Trismegistus and his pious assistant Annunciata Copulata. This, in my humble opinion, is not an invention. Firstly, it offers nothing to improve the bicycle. The unique selling point is that it may be parked on Coopers Hill and not roll away. The pair are dreadfully thick and deserve no platform for their nonsense. I’ve pleaded for their disqualification, but my shouts are unheard, in favour of ‘reality novelty’. Odd really, neither has had a relationship with reality for years. Not after a talking cowpat apparently related secret information from the Chinese Government regarding the strict law on sock pairings and the use of egg whisks resulting in immediate death.

Mr Todd Bunce from Shurdington (I still think that sounds like a dog dragging it’s arse across a carpet), has invented a quaint little quadracycle with a mounted gun. He claims this is for the good of mankind, when faced with aimless wanderers on something called ‘cellphones’. This is a man of the future. He has visited the cathedral, and been observed shopping in West Gate Street. Mr Bunce says that people have these communication devices in their hand, and dare to wander without looking where they venture, bumping into all and sundry. These folk are often too dazed by technology to apologise. The shocking gall of this astounds me. Well, his invention is able to mount a small missile which he can launch into oncoming bellends. There is room on the apparatus to store five of these missiles – this is ample within Gloucestershire county boundaries. I worry, however, that if he ventures into Bristol, that he may need many, many more.

Next we have Culloden St.Michaelmas Trout Farm. This bugger has ideas above his station. His proud invention is locally known as the ‘Roundy Thing’. It’s a unicycle of sorts, but the bounder is too lazy to pedal it sitting up. If it wasn’t for the starch in his shirt, he’d be horizontal. The son of a wealthy landowner, his principal duties have included the receivership of a manicure, and picking out his own outfits, with Mummy’s help. However, he dresses down for these occasions, and pretends to be a self-made man. That is, until Dowager Countess St. Michaelmas Trout Farm arrives and brings his sandwiches and favourite clothie. Note the rugged angle of his nose – Aunt Vom’s handiwork.

Last, but by no means least, is the invention of Aunt Mary Jaffa. The Methane Mask. So offended by the stench of others breaking wind in the workplace, she came up with this clever idea of a full head mask and breathing tank. The darling girl wants to campaign on parliament to have these installed in every work environment containing a woman. This has been booed dreadfully in our village, since most of the female workers belong to the Flagrant Buttock Society and are immensely proud of their heritage. I do not wish to damage her dreams, but I do wish she’d stick to worrying about satsumas.

So, there is the line up. I will report the winner when it is announced. Frankly, the festival poses a marvellous excuse to don my best woad, put on my twig couture and hobnob with the elite. Since I am feeling better, I may try my new hair preparation, made from seagull guam and the phlegm of an old boater. It holds in the highest wind, I tell you.

Good night for now, sleep tight and wishing you dreams of the best cheeses and really soft socks. And above all, avoid the traffic cones, in this county, you really never know where they have been.