Bench Of The Week

Today is Friday, and time to celebrate ‘Bench Of The Week’, so for those among you who may have missed earlier posts – here is Aunt Bench.

Aunt Bench is one of my elder sisters, and lives in East Bung, with her only daughter, Folly. Bench has never quite recovered from a difficult birth experience, as Folly was delivered by tractor pulling. Even now, the trauma has left Bench with a terrible addiction to licking fly papers, and we frequently find her slumped by the pantry cupboards, stuck to several sheets of it, in a state of delirium.

Folly is now 30, but I fear Bench will always feel the need to leave her under the beady eye of Mrs Coddy, who in my opinion is like the SS branch of neighbourhood watch. Bench enjoys several hobbies, including staring at people in public, beard shows, barking classes, quilling and looking at the letter ‘o’ (some folk really are odd, you know).

As a young child, she was a skilled competitor in our local dance competitions, and would frequently wow judges with her own slant on the St Vitus Dance, a regional favourite. Her fears and phobias include brown windsor soup, question marks, woad, and Folly, her daughter. She has favoured the more delicate beard, in contrast to Vom and Turgid, who do not like using the thinning scissors. Bench likes the feminine look, which also causes her to wear sleeves as she does not care to display her Navy tattoos in public.

As a member of the RSPB, she fosters abandoned wrens, which she allows to nest in her hair. The bun allows them warmth, shelter, and security. When on a bus into town, or in the vets to get her jabs, you could be forgiven for thinking she’s innocently adjusting a hairpin, when actually she is often posting in a mealworm that she’s stealthily taken from her handbag to feed her adopted brood. Also a member of Crow Lovers United, she has made an effort to learn their language. She is often observed on other people’s television aerials ‘kaaarking’ her head off, stealing chip papers from bins and rampaging across car parks to rip off windscreen seals with her ‘pretend’ beak.

A fascinating, odd, troubled soul. Many a time I could cheerfully take a plank of wood to her, but that’s family. Well, it’s mine, at any rate. But although, like Bagpuss, she is a baggy, and bit loose at the seams, Emily loved him. And we love Bench.

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.