The Spy, The Crumpet, a Bedpan and My Triffid

Good day, my little sackbuts, I trust you’re all well and behaving yourselves. I received the most intriguing set of instructions through the hedge mail this morning. It’s left me completely flabbered. It’s come from a relative of mine, pictured below. This is Cecile Stealth Bum-Trinket, a member of the more intellectual side of the family.

Cecile is the most glamorous of the Bum-Trinket clan, favouring nights at the symphony, flying planes (despite it being illegal for women), and international travel. She’s had many an interesting tryst with mysterious, cultured gentleman and constantly receives flowers, wine and gifts from Kings and the wealthy elite. She never has a hair out of place, her ensemble is immaculate (even when skydiving), and was the first woman in the family to shock by adopting the goatee over the full beard. Very modern and very, very chic.

Well, as I said, I received instructions. The note was delivered this morning by a crow, which waited in the tree while I read. The note was written in her beautiful copperplate script, and said ‘Meet by the canal bridge at 9pm, wear dark clothing, and bring the triffid. Now eat this note’. I did, and belched as elegantly as I could manage. I’d always suspected her a spy, her glamorous lifestyle and they way certain news would follow her visits. One family holiday to London resulted in a death by poison in Claridges. She used mascara laden with strychnine, and lent the brush to a foreign dignitary in the ladies. Occurrences like these make you wonder….

I fetched out my sack dress from the back of the hedge, I was the filthiest one that wouldn’t stand out. In fact, the aroma was so bad I could even convince a badger that I was a relative. But then, a dilemma. Where the buggery bollocks would I find the triffid? I had one somewhere, but it kept wandering off down the towpath. I set off with a length of rope (the bloody thing is 5′ 9” now, and built like a fell runner). After twenty minutes, I heard a scream and saw it boarding a dutch barge moored up on my side. Thankfully, it hadn’t started spitting, so I lassoed it and dragged it away from a lady threatening it with a teatowel and some tongs, and retreated with apologies saying ‘Oh he’s friendly, just a bit exciteable’.

At nine o’clock, I was by the bridge, hiding and telling the triffid to be quiet. He makes these clicking noises when people approach and nearly blinded two cyclists. Cecile whistled from the shrubbery, and we found each other. She looked so elegant in the moonlight, all in black, carrying a machine gun and a grappling hook. I passed her the triffid, who started pining for me but she tempted it away with the promise of the cyclists so he trundled off with her quite happily. That was that, or so I thought.

The next morning, I switched on my wooden laptop, and there, on a news headline was a picture of the woman below with this information: WOMAN FOUND DEAD FROM VIOLENT TRIFFID ATTACK NEAR YURGA! BRITISH ESPIONAGE SUSPECTED! Apparently her name was Uvula Bumova.

I clutched my wattling chins in horror. Was I now to face years of guilt as an accessory? To claim ignorance would not alter the fact. The shock was so much I let the toads stay home from school and we watched Netflix all day. Then just as I was about to clamber into my hessian pyjamas for bed, there was a knock at the hedge door. Another note. It read ‘Do not leave the hedge, you will be contacted – listen for the phrase ‘The moorhen has not returned his library books’. At first this made no sense – we’re in lockdown, the library isn’t open. Then I realised it was some sort of code.

The next morning, there was a dark figure lurking by the towpath and I heard ‘pssst!’. I ventured over and heard the magic phrase. It was Cecile, disguised as a cheese rolling competitor. After a long conversation, I had the full picture. Uvula Bumova was one Cecile’s counterpart spies, and had upset a wealthy businessman in Vilnius. While amid the throes of pleasure in a hotel room, she’d nicked his 100 year old family recipe for crumpets. These were easily more light and fluffy than British crumpets, and a well known British firm, and the government were appalled by this.

Then, while Uvula pretended to be visiting an elderly but dreadful folk trumpeter in a home, the secret recipe had been placed in a bedpan, for collection by a trapeze artist masquerading as a bread seller. The bread seller then hid it in a walnut and sesame loaf, who sold the loaf to Cecile, who’d flown it back to the UK to present to the well known distributor of crumpets. Uvula had become unstable and had to be ‘taken out’, hence the triffid, on the orders of the British Secret Service. I was at least, exhonorated for my part in keeping crumpetry alive and wonderful. I was given 6 packets, but told ‘jog on, love’ when I asked for a medal. However, Terry (the triffid) was returned to me alive and well. And spitting.

Cecile had had her light aircraft impounded after it was discovered on an abandoned airfield. She never used the same one for security reasons, so she’d cleverly managed to make herself another plane on the kitchen table out of a Boeing 747, components of a Dyson and two penny farthings. I was quite impressed.

After clearing the mess off the table and putting the larger components in a skip, we had a lovely afternoon of tea and crumpets. She fled at dusk into another mysterious foreign adventure.

I wish to extend my thanks to my readers (both of you), and wish you well. Enjoy the glorious weather, and please be careful of triffids on the towpath. Pip pip!

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.

Folly – And The Druidic Order…

Well, it’s been an eventful few days, I’m posting this from my temporary hedge accommodation provided by insurance, as we’ve had a little disaster. The company have been very nice, keeping me wrapped up with lovely itchy blankets, and provided a special box for the toads. I get fed three times a day (no hessian crackers here, though, and no Lungwort soup) but it’s better than an iron boot up the arse.

It all started two days ago…..

Aunt Bench, in a desperate plea, left a note, pinned to her daughter, on the doorstep of Mrs Coddy, who lives in the village. Bench is suffering episodes of ‘funny ideas’ and ‘wistful notions of sailors’ again. Apparently she needs a break. So at 6am yesterday, she put Folly on Mrs Coddy’s doorstep and with the note saying ‘Wait here until she opens the door, darling, and don’t be impatient and ring the bell’. Mrs Coddy finally surfaced and opened the door at 1pm, and found Folly eating the cow parsley. Of course, she was reluctant to take in a renowned disaster magnet, so she tactfully came to my hedge on the grounds that ‘family is better’. I could quite cheerfully kick Mrs Coddy up the arse…but she’ll keep for now. No-one will look for her under her own patio.

I managed to keep Folly entertained and out of trouble for the first night. While she was distracted in destroying a perfectly good piano with grandfathers’ mace, I had time to hide the matches, flammable liquids, and anything that could be set fire to or detonated. Once my task was completed and I’d taken the bolt cutters off her for the third time, I tried to teach her counting, which failed after she ate the flageolet beans I was using for demonstration purposes. Then I decided a game of Ludo would be nice, but she’s eaten four green counters and two yellows, and Lord knows where the red one went. So I switched tack and we watched ‘Snatch’ on my new wooden DVD player that Aunt Weevil made for me. It’s marvellous, a little grainy in the picture, but great for what I need. And Brad Pitt was in his most handsome, hunky role….I digress.

The following day, Folly became bored and wandered. It transpires that she stumbled upon a ceremony in a field, and became engrossed in the proceedings. The group she found was none other than the Order of the Golden Woodlice, a local Druid grove, whom I’m cursing with the Square of Mars as they’ve bloody taken her to their bosom. Pictured below, is Grand Priestess Uvula and her two sprogs, Tristan and Crispin. There are many others, including local Simeon St. Gribble, a wealthy financier and general shit.

Folly came back after dark, covered in twigs and stinking of Prinknash Abbey incense, claiming to have ‘found her path’ and ‘realised life’s true meaning’. Part of me was encouraged, if this meant she’d stop blowing her feet off while playing with semtex, maybe there was a glimmer of hope? She did appear to be speaking sense for once, harping on about the death of the Oak King and making way for the darkness once more. She even spoke about the value of hemlock in tea for unwanted visitors. Had we finally turned a corner?

It seems I am rather naive. We hadn’t. I went to bed happy……

I slept fantastically, putting Folly’s new found spiritual path out of my mind, and only vaguely remember noises in the kitchen first thing. As soon as my subconscious shouted to me to get up and check on Folly, there was the most almighty ‘BOOM!’, followed by a cold wind and a rushing sensation.
The rushing sensation turned out to be my bed-bound airborne journey from my hedge, across the fields and byways of Clopton Mandrill, and onto the roof of St Crapulent the Martyr’s church in St. Grundy, seven miles away. If I hadn’t looked down on Aunt Vom fighting a bloke outside the Nun’s Chuff in Stroud, I would have thought I was dreaming.

According to the police, the fire department, and the bomb squad, a unique chain of events happened that defies human comprehension. But they gave it a title, and my heart sank when I read the heading of the report. It just said….’Folly Made Breakfast – NATO Class III Alert’.

Forensics said the damage was caused by three things:

1. Trying to cook a gas bottle in a pan on a gas cooker (she’d even seasoned it with Jamie Oliver’s Lemon & Thyme salt mill)

2. Poking dynamite into the toaster.

3. Baking some petrol soaked halibut in the oven at gas mark 8 for 30 minutes. (The fish had a chilli and flat leaf parsley rub, and was garnished with roasted shallots and peppers – all of which she claims were the real culprits).

Apparently, her Druidic experience had an elemental side to it, they said Folly is too ‘Water’, and needs to balance herself with ‘Fire’. I’m mildly curious as to their vetting process. Apparently she’d set fire to two of them with a flaming torch before they’d opened the Quarters, and they still let her in. It just goes to show some groups will take anybody. As for the fire balancing, my neighbour, Mrs Coddy, is still wailing about her eyebrows.

I now have to find Aunt Bench and tell her that Folly is being ‘counselled’ by a nice lady with a big cardie, chunky beads and a tasselled skirt. She’s informed Folly that ‘there are no real Druids’, at which point Folly had to be restrained as she became dreadfully fractious and totally kicked off.

The police have also told me that Folly is a death trap and must not be let out into the community again, at which point I was hopeful, until the social worker whined on about her rights. I was gutted. She’s been released into my custody, even after licking the face of two policemen. This is why I never spawned my own kind. The dear bats are so easy to care for.

Aunt Vom turned up and took her way, thankfully. When Vom got her home, she hung Folly up on a coat peg by the loop in her school blazer, and is leaving her there until the morning. I like to picture her like this, with her little feet dangling below. I’m so grateful to Vom, but furious with Bench. My hedge is ruined, Mrs Coddy is livid as the blast flattened six of her geese. They’re unharmed, but you can only see them when they turn side-on.
Clopton Mandrill has issued a state of emergency, and tens of people are homeless or living in dangerous conditions. The Royal Marines are being called in to clear up the mess. The mess was so scary, the Coldstream Guards ran away and told their Mums.

The Home Secretary and the Ministry of Defense are monitoring Folly, and instructing Aunt Vom on her care. the Russians have already been on the blower to Number 10 and said whatever the bribe is for Folly, they don’t want her. Even Donald Trump, who labelled her misunderstood in his Tweets, now claims ‘America is Full’, and won’t take her. The social worker popped in with advice on sharing and issues. Vom showed her her knife collection, gave her a Glasgow kiss, and the woman retreated with apologies.

So, no Fawlty Towers omnibus for me, no quiet teas by the canal, no crackly leaf carpet, no more hedge until it’s been checked and sealed by men in plastic suits with ‘creaky things’ that read radiation. I’m only able to write this thanks to the emergency dongle, kindly provided by Major Ponsonby-Goppin, of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. They play nice music as well. As I was being airlifted off the church, they did a drum display to keep us entertained. We all clapped, except the Vicar, who’d lost a hand in the blast.

Sadly, most of my spiders didn’t survive, but the Marines rescued Peadar, my best spider, and have housed him in a little box of his own. They also rescued Leopold and Erica, the tortoises, although, in their escape they’d only moved two feet in six hours.

I will report more when Clopton Mandrill is a little better restored, and I’m safe in the knowledge that Aunt Vom has nutted Aunt Bench for her stupidity. Meanwhile, any ideas on how to re-decorate my hedge? Do I go rustic again, or street chic? Hedge chic is very fashionable, but I do like to buck the trend. Maybe I’ll go post-modernistic punk/flapper. With cushions. Peep peep to you all, and sleep well, and may your week be filled with really nice upholstery.

The Great Woolrash Outbreak

Hello, my dear tea cosies. I do hope that you are well. And kind thanks for reading my blog, both of you. Life in my hedge in Gloucestershire is splendid, and I adore the canal activities. I have found a new job at the Alternative Thinking College of Thrupp, where I shall be teaching Shrieking, Advanced Hiding, and Pointing for the Unconfident. I’m overjoyed.

This week has been a trial. There has been a strange occurrence in our community, people began scratching and itching in a random fashion. I feared my hessian sack dress would soon follow this trend, but no, I am all well. It was a mystery. Farm hands and boat people were rendered incapable of moving machinery and craft due to the incessant itch. I asked where has this come from? Some agricultural mite? A spaceship? Swindon (wouldn’t surprise me)?

This is a pictogram, drawn by a local gentleman, Mr Dave Epiglottis. We don’t have cameras in this neck of the woods so he quickly sketched a throng of local boaters clawing at themselves to relieve the dreadful itch. Either that, or it’s an orgy, I’m not quite sure. Most look distraught, but Mrs Vileda Toller at the back, has that “look” of a woman in the throws of, well…..something.

Anyway. I did some research. I googled itchy things, and no information was forthcoming. So I invoked the Sheep God and asked her advice. Baaarbara. An ancient woolly deity, with eyes the wrong way, and a killer kick. Amid a fog of incense smoke, she told me the itchy plague was wool rash. And….dun, dun, derrr, the root of the issue was a man from Worcester. A bloody buggery weidron of a man who decided to plague Gloucester so he could step in, render the inhabitants incapable, and absorb the county in his own in preparation for world domination. Shocking. But world domination, as we know, often starts in the Cotswolds.

This is he. His name is Rabularia Stanton McFrog. He’s a ruthless git. He really does plan to take our lovely county. I trod the worn floor of my hedge wondering what to do and elegantly wringing my hands in a suitable Jane Austin manner. Then I ditched that and began swearing and cursing him for eternity. However, to curse a man fully, you need to sacrifice toads and have enough mugwort to mug a wort. And I didn’t. And I like toads. Satan once again is a seagull shitting on my breakfast flakes.

So, Plan B. I rang Aunt Vom, on the yoghurt pot telephone. She’d heard the news already, the canal bridges were shut as the bridgekeepers couldn’t keep still. Half the boaters were marina locked for the same reason. The other half were in the nick, for getting lairy and kicking off over substandard wool.

Aunt Vom arrived, with her crossbow and took him out. She’s on the run but she’s ok, I had a carrier pigeon saying ‘All good, in a B n B in Temple Cloud. Quite at home, they’re all mad. Love you lots, don’t tell the rozzers. Love Vom x’.

The rozzers are dubious. though thankful. A county domination has been averted, and the Army has air dropped a plethora of calamine lotion for the itch. We have thwarted his plans, and I do love a good thwart. So all is well again, and I will say goodnight. It’s a schoolnight, and the toads are up past their bedtime. Pip pip, my dears, and may you tunics always be starched, and your coddlers ever be warm.

The Grand Gloucestershire Cheese Roll and the Women’s Anti-Picture Protests

Good morning, my little tuning forks! It’s my birthday this week, and I have been truly blessed with an invite to England’s most prestigious and solemn sporting event – The Cheese Rolling.  This splendid tradition dates back to the times of the Venerable Bede, and possibly as far back as a gentleman called Reg, who lived in Morocco, circa 23 AD.  It involves a huge cheese being flung off a grassy precipice, followed by people running after it.  Those short on wits or secure screws, plummet down the hillside like Catherine Wheels in the slim hope of winning the 8lb Double Gloucester.  They also have the opportunity to win a variety of fractures and abrasions, and perhaps death for the unskilled runner.  We had a marvellous time.

Aunt Vom entered, and caused an uproar.   She refused to enter the Ladies’ Race (for blattidly obvious reasons).  On the start line, she heard man call another man a rude name.  So she pushed him.  Another man pushed her, and called her a rude name.  The line up suddenly descended before the signal in a ball of arms and legs, bumping their way to the bottom.  I was impressed that during the descent, Vom managed to lamp the original offender and issue a swift kick to the chibleys.

After some debate by the Cheesemaster, it was a contentious issue that actually, more than one woman (even a bearded one) had entered the man’s race.  It was agreed that she had no right to the 8lb cheese.  While important, waffly men discussed this, Vom nicked the cheese and hid it in her beard.  The second woman, pictured below, was still on her way down, wailing that she’d left the iron on. The police were summoned, and she was accosted in the crowd.  The tussle resulted in the cheese falling out of her beard and breaking a constable’s foot.  No charges were pressed after Vom offered a three-way split with the cheese and a good time in a nearby rhododendron bush.

This altercation distracted me, during which time I lost all sight of Aunt Bench.  She’d entered the Ladies’ Uphill race, and didn’t see the finish line.  She can be blessedly thick at times.  A lone hiker in the Malverns found her babbling about cheese and realised she’d wandered slightly off course.  After wrangling her to the ground and reading her name tag, they made contact and all was well.

On an interesting note, the Women’s Lib Movement is just as active within Gloucestershire as in Trebollocks, and I am thrilled.  There is a tendency to glamorise women at sporting events, and urge them to look pretty for photographers.  In my new county, a group of women have rebelled against this rampant exploitation, by posing for the camera in the style of long dead corpses.  We all clapped at this, as one woman fell to the floor just as an oily representative of local the local Rennet Society sidled up for a photo.  The ‘death shot’ is to commemorate the lost time that men have stolen from women for hundreds of years.  For centuries, women have not achieved their potential in favour of ‘standing and looking pretty’ or fruitless searches in cupboards that men can’t be arsed to look in. I am posting these photos as a testament to their stoic fight against repression and widespread arsery.

After the excitement of the day, I ventured back to my hedge.  It’s a beautiful spot and I am feeling very lucky indeed.  The bats are enjoying school in Clopton Mandrill, and I am giving a talk to the Frampton W.I. (Witches’ Institute) on the healing and culinary uses of the cow pat.  But first, I shall relax at the waterside with a pint of Cuckoo Spit.  May the Gods of Unneutered Cats shine upon you all.