Yes, a healthy 2015 to all my loyal readers!
Candia Down Under xx
Yes, a healthy 2015 to all my loyal readers!
Candia Down Under xx
Alan Bennet, Barramundi, Barry Manilow, Billy Connolly, Blairgowrie, Blue-Eye, Brave, Carsten Holler, Castilian Spanish, Chai Latte, cone bra, Creole, David Shrigley, Eleftherios, Federation Square, Flinders lane, Frozen, Great Ocean Road, gum tree, heist, Ice, John Paul Gaultier, kanga bangas, koala, kookaburra, lingusitic convergence, McClelland Sculpture Park, Melbourne, Melchisedek, Mornington Peninsula, Mountain Goat Steam Ale, NGV International, no worries!, Panagia Kamariani, Pele Tower, Philip Larkin, Pidgin, possums, Poundland, Rab C Nesbitt, Red Claw, Red Hill Greek Orthodox monastery, rhinopithecus strykerl, sans soucis, shotgun wedding, snub nosed monkey, Sorrento, Talking Heads, The Island Bird by Neto, www.chrispattas.com, Yabby Lake, You'll Never Walk Alone
Dear Posse, or should that be ‘possums’?
You have probably all wondered why Candia has gone off radar,
but I haven’t got time to correspond with you individually. So,
maybe you can make do with reading the communal postcard I
sent to my dear girlfriends in Suttonford, who are probably even
now sharing its contents in Costamuchamoulah‘s must-seen
cafe, as they sip their Chai Lattes– an inferior blend to the original
which I have just imbibed in Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
You see, the price of an air mail stamp to Pomland- not to be
confused with Poundland- is almost as much as an additional glass
of Yabby Lake fizz for moi and, on this once- in-a-lifetime walkabout,
I am not about to downgrade to the Red Claw ‘drinkable’ variety.
So, G’day, mates! I’ve already been down The Great Ocean Road;
seen my first koala in the wild- thankfully unaccompanied by Putin,
One Direction, or Obama- gawped at a joey peeping out of a row of
vines and consumed my first Blue-Eye and Barramundi. The latter
sounds like Barry Manilow, but is infinitely more subtle. As far as I
know, it doesn’t attempt to sing. I do seem to remember Big
Mouth Billy, the singing sea bass, so maybe one could form a
It’s so good to relax and the upgrade to Business Class from
Singapore was a down-payment of future bliss. It took a few
moments before I realised that I was watching ‘Brave‘ in Castilian
Spanish on the back of the seat in front, but my personally
appointed steward soon tuned me in to the appropriate lingo.
Better than a remote in the control of The Husband and a tad
more obliging. It’s good to be treated better than Dame Edna
I see Billy Connolly is coming to Melbourne shortly. The Scots’
community should comprehend his repartee, but no doubt his
Antipodean spouse has taught him a little linguistic convergence,
so the audience should probably work out that he is not speaking
some kind of Pidgin, or Creole. Anyway, hybridisation and cross-
fertilisation seem to be the name of the game over here. One minute
you are in Sorrento and the next you are driving through Blairgowrie.
Talk about fusion!
The Husband grew some roots in Federation Square as he
downed a Mountain Goat Steam Ale, while riveting his gaze
on the big screen’s events at the MCG and demolishing some
While Gus, Virginia, Diana, Murgatroyd, Dru and Nigel are
snowed in at the pele tower in The Borders, The Husband
and I are experiencing four seasons in one day down in The
Mornington Peninsula. The chattering classes of Suttonford
have been silenced by the maniacal laughter of a kookaburra,
who stereotypically does sit in an old gum tree, as well as
crapping all over the garden fence every morning. But, sans
soucis! Even the mynahs’ cackles are shriller than some South
of England socialites.
I know I said that I only sent one postcard, but that isn’t
I did send Juniper a card of Jean Paul Gaultier’s teddy bear,
which he has cherished since the age of three and which sports
his prototype cone bra.
She would have loved the holographic talking heads on his models
in The NGV. So would Alan Bennet! Maybe I should have sent him a
postcard too, but he’s probably a friend of the designer and gets a
Even church-going is a lot more exciting here. I don’t think Philip
Larkin would have been as lugubrious if he had removed his cycle
clips and gone into the Red Hill Greek Orthodox Monastery of Panagia
The priest told me that his Christian name- ‘Eleftherios‘ means ‘Liberty’
and he certainly takes a few. I mean, back in Suttonford, the staid
congregation are startled out of their professed sobriety by the
ringing of a ship’s bell; the crashing of the organ and a cacophany of
bells in the Easter Saturday service in Wintoncester Cathedral. But
Father Tatsis is much more melodramatic. Look up http://www.chrispattas.
com and you can see a Youtube clip of the sacerdotal gesture of
celebration to the pronouncement: He is Risen! Brings a whole new
angle to the phrase ‘shotgun wedding‘!It is a pity that the latter day
Melchisedek didn’t wield his weapon at the teenage thugs who raided
the icon’s golden votive jewellery collection and who made off with a
heist worth $100,000. Failing that, he could have maybe stowed the
stuff in a safe. Unfortunately there is Ice in Paradise and I don’t mean
anything as innocent as the latest Frozen movie.
The liberating thing about Oz seems to be that you can act like a big
kid and you are actually encouraged to do so. Case in point: The
Husband climbing into the art installation The Island Bird by Ernesto
Neto at The NGV International.
He got tangled up in what appeared to be an unravelled string shopping
bag, or a coloured version of Rab C Nesbitt’s vest. I was more attracted
by Carsten Holler’s golden, mirrored carousel and managed to restrain myself
from breaking into You’ll Never Walk Alone, though, if I had, it would have been
regarded as a valid interactional response. Like Oz itself, even the artwork
invites us to stand on our heads and re-imagine the world, reconsidering our
place within it.
So, whether it is wallpapering a gallery with anarchic David Shrigley
observations, or sculpting a Sneezing Snub Nosed Monkey -Rhinopithecus
strykerl (McClelland Sculpture Park), the infectious Aussie irreverent take
on life affects even its Un-Orthodox priests and makes one feel that,
indeed, there are No Worries!
It’s dark now that the clocks have been changed and in the evening all one
can think about is activating the wood burner and settling in with the hope
that something interesting will be on the television. I go out scavenging
for wood- from skips, with permission, or just appropriating blown down
twigs and slender branches. After a walk I look like a babuschka trundling
home in a Chekhov landscape, or Babuschka Baba Yaga, to be more precise.
When I was little I was unfamiliar with the concept of a wood burner, but
very au fait with the actuality of a coal fire. Here is a poem that I wrote
The Coal Man
Once a week the coal man called with his sack
of bulging hessian, a shouldered sheep
wrapped round his sooty neck, his black back
bent double. He left a glistening heap
in bunkers, bawled on like a hoarse banshee.
Peeping from behind the curtain, my eye
would meet his own and in childish fancy,
its balefulness predestined that I’d die,
cursed by the red-lipped golliwog’s fixed stare.
His load was the object of poker, tongs,
its coke-corrupted, crackling dross the flare
of a chimney fire; feeling which belongs
with hearth mythology, childhood’s subtle
fears of elemental forces. The guard
was prohibition’s symbol; the scuttle
source of adult power to ignite flames barred
to the uninitiated. Daybreak
began with vestal rituals, the sweeping
of ash, its careful wrapping. I would wake
to a smoky haze, the first blue leaping
through yesterday’s newspapers. A stray spark
had to be stamped before it took its hold:
individuality’s searing mark,
product of the dark trolls, Vulcanesque gold.
God took His own delivery; the sky
rumbled as His cellar filled with tinder
and this child, captivated by a lie,
trembled. The Coal Man might note smut, cinder
in grimy heart of smallest sinner-a
companion set no talisman or charm
against His briquettes’ out-poured brouhaha,
or sudden brilliancy which caused alarm.
The Grimy Giant’s voice was the thunderclap
which sent one to the haven of a lap.
An old one for Andy, the Border Terrier fans. Incidentally, named
after Andy Murray.
REWARD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO RETURN OF:
Much beloved and sorely missed pet of the Willoughby family,
1 North Street,
Tel: Suttonford 753799
A male, castrated Border Terrier, micro-chipped. Friendly, slight
bladder problem, requires expensive medication.
Last seen Sunday, 16th January, 2013 in walled rear garden of above
Brassie was just about to jump into her 4×4 to race down to St
Birinus Middle with her son’s flugelhorn, which he’d forgotten to
take with him that morning, when she noticed a puddle in the drive
and a rolled up piece of paper which was sticking out of her
She unrolled the scroll and read the following:
Hey, missus, have your dog back. He just peed all over the van and
barked non-stop. He’s a ***liability.
Look round the back garden. He’s tied up to that funny metal thing
in the middle of the lawn.
Don’t try to fingerprint this as we always wear gloves.
Brassie was annoyed before the relief kicked in. That metal thing
was a genuine Philippe Johnson sculpture that they had sourced from
his studio in Sussex!
But, Andy, darling!
There he was, looking none the worse for wear and licking her hands
continually while she struggled to unknot the hairy string which
bound him to the artwork.
She ran to the get the dog bowl at the back door which sported the
slogan: Chien en Psychanalyse. Clearly he was very thirsty.
Oh the relief! She picked him up and placed him in the back of the
4×4 and put the dog guard in place. She wasn’t about to let him out
of her sight. The fatted calf would be slain this evening. This dog of
theirs that was lost had now been found!
She would ask the school receptionist to put a note in Mr Milford-
Haven’s pigeon-hole, so that he could tell the boys the good news.
Then she would text Cosmo at work and would call in at the police
station on the way back home to report Andy’s return to the nice
constable. She had better remove all those notices on High Street
and environs. Thankfully they had saved on a reward.
Half way down to school, she remembered that she had left the
overdue Latin prep on the hall table. Drat! It had taken her an hour
Leaving the flugelhorn in Reception, where it took up an inordinate
amount of room and caused Mr Snodbury to trip over it when he
came in to snaffle a few too many red pens and a Pritt-stick for his
personal use- (to secure an unfranked Xmas card stamp that he
had carefully steamed off, I believe, but no matter..)- Brassie left a
note for the twins’ form master which concluded with the following:
Sorry about the prep, sed Mihi ignosce, cum homine de cane debeo
congredi , which, I believe, could be translated thus:
Excuse me, but I’ve got to see a man about a dog.
Andy, the Willoughby family’s Border Terrier, was in
disgrace. That was a pity as he had been the star of their
video card which had scored thousands of hits on Youtube.
But Brassica had caught him in the act of cocking his hind leg
against her Noble Fir, non-shedding Christmas tree and he had
already stolen their Stollen before the shopping had been put
Brassie wished that she could put him in the garden for a while, but
after his recent expensive ingestion of discarded elastic bands,
probably dumped on their drive by a litter lout of a postman, she
decided that the ensuing vet bill would not be worth the moments of
relative peace. How she wished that there could be a kind of canine
creche, so that he could be a dog in the manger, in keeping with the
spirit of the season. Failing that, there was always the twins’ old
playpen, but Andy could leap over its sides.
Oh no! He had spotted the postman coming through the gate and he
immediately leapt onto the forbidden sofa with its new festive throw,
pulling threads with his claws. He put his front paws on the back and
tangled his rear legs in the flex of a string of fairy lights. He barked furiously
and then Brassie heard the crash of breaking glass and she rushed into the
sitting room, only to discover a Border-shaped hole in the bay window.
The postman had fled down the path and the twins were ordering their
pesky pet to come to heel, a request which he was ignoring as usual.
Brassie, against all her principles, threw the menace a festive chew and
he instantaneously diverted his focus to the treat.
Mum! Did you see that massive leap? It was a-ma-zing? Castor enthused.
Pollux added: He didn’t cut himself; he was so fast that he went clean
Andy looked as if he expected to be congratulated. He rolled over for
his tummy to be tickled. The bulbs attached to his back legs were
Don’t touch him! she ordered. You’ll probably be electrocuted or ripped
to shreds by slivers of glass. Oh, where am I going to get a glazier just
before Christmas? she despaired.
In the local magazine, Castor suggested.
But the local magazine’s latest issue was lying in the mud along with
a batch of Christmas c
Barrowland market, Celtic F C, City of Culture, Clydeside, Cumbernauld, Drumchapel, Frankincense, George Square, Giffnock, gold, Herod, Jack Glass, Mariolatry, Mungo, myrrh, QC sherry, Rangers F C, Tiny Tears
Another seasonal re-blog from a couple of years ago.
This poem in Glaswegian dialect was inspired by the blasphemous theft
of the baby Jesus out of the crib in George Square in 1995. I mean,
how low can you get?
(Wonder if this one is for Scots’ eyes only?)
Fell aff the back ae a camel ye say?
It’s no’ exactly Tiny Tears, is it?
Ideal stocking filler fur Christmas Day?
But it disnae wet its nappy, does it?
Ra polis’ll be roon at the Barras*
tae see who it was that oot-Heroded
Herod, and made a’ the fowk as faur as
Drumchapel fair scunnered by whit some scum did.
No’ a town greatly given tae mangers,
nostalgia, pathos, Christianity;
more interested in Celtic, Rangers….
(their religion); used tae profanity.
But takin’ Christ fae innocent weans!
Whit-in-the-name kinda humanity
wi’d take away oor right tae be merry;
skedaddle wi’ it up their jooks, calmly?
Probably scruffs on the QC Sherry;
sacrilege done tae the Holy Family!
Nae crib furra bed; nae Jesus either!
Glesca’s coat o’ arms wi’ Mungo’s motto
isnae respected nooadays neither.
They took the babe fur lead….oot the grotto;
wurnae bringin’ Gold, Myrhh, Frankincense.
Mind you, it could hae been Pastor Jack Glass-
he didnae like Catholic idolatry.
But naebdy’d spray-painted ‘The Pope Ya Bass’
on George Square’s shrine tae Mariolatary.
So jist suppose they didnae know where He’s laid-
mebbe the Almighty, wi’ indignation,
emptied the crib ‘cos they didnae deserve
epiphanies on Clydeside. A nation
apostate? Mayhap He’s no goin’ tae serve
ony mair, but is coming back tae judge
The City of Culture….once so-called,
because they widnae gi’ up their ways, budge
an inch…frae posh Giffnock, tae Cumbernauld.
* Barrowland market
I like to think ahead to the New Year, so here’s a series of haiku
for you in the manner of a Medieval Book of Labours:
The Perpetual Calendar
he drinks by the fire,
mulling things over.
An icy landscape:
he raises his sharp axe blade,
then floats logs downstream.
March is for digging
and setting seeds in the fields;
sowing what they’ll reap.
A flowering branch
is borne in April:
Hawking is fine sport,
though not as lively as love-
but the bird is faithful.
Hats keep off the sun.
It is the month of mowing.
All flesh is as grass.
Sickles cutting corn…
thick- fleeced sheep need to be shorn.
It’s hot wearing boots.
Threshing with a flail,
his mouth set in a grim line
Now vintage is here.
Grape clusters are as large
as those in Canaan.
Birds snatch winter seed
as fast as he can sow it.
Is there no respite?
Knocking down acorns
provides some variety
and will plump his pigs.
Pig – sticking’s grim work:
a December catharsis-
feasting, then fasting.
Antiques Roadshow, Basic/ Better/ Best, Blackberry, Border Terrier, breach of promise, Easter Island, Fiona Bruce, Flog-It!, flugelhorn, marimba, Miller Guides, Moai, Moorcroft, Polynesian figure, Quorn, Radio 4, Rocky Road, Sotheby's, Tesco, The Moral Maze
Some archival material which, I think, deserves a second airing!
There was an amateur Antiques Roadshow in Suttonford’s Community Centre on Saturday afternoon, on behalf of the charity, Curs in Crisis. The organisers had asked local auctioneer, Hubert Wormhole, to give of his expertise and they charged £5 per valuation. The queues snaked out into North Street, but thankfully it wasn’t raining.
Ginevra Brewer-Mead had donated a quirky, mystery object as a prize. It was to raise fifty pence a guess as to its identity and use. The winner would be allowed to keep it. It was all good fun.
Ginevra had bought the ugly thing many years before, at a jumble sale. It usually resided on her mantelpiece and her carer, Magda, had encouraged her to get rid of it, as it freaked her out. (Magda was becoming more and more proficient in her utilisation of Slanglish.)
People were laughing as they wondered aloud which of their friends and neighbours most resembled the figure with the over-sized head. Pollux nudged his twin and whispered: Caligula! They both sniggered, but their mother, Brassica, reproved them and said that it was rude to make comments about their teacher.
Hubert had set up a table with Basic / Better/ Best cardboard signs, which was an idea that he had stolen from the real BBC show. Three examples of Moorcroft pottery stood behind the labels.
Again, people were invited to pay fifty pence to guess the relative worthiness of the three items and, if they were correct, they were given a delicious cluster of Rocky Road from a Tesco bucket.
Brassica’s twins had been issued with their pocket money that morning, and, miraculously, still had some left.
Castor walked over to the table with the hideous figure and realised that he had seen it before, at Ginevra’s house, when he had been visiting with his mother. He had been fascinated by it and had looked up similar objects online. He knew that such figures dated from the Pre-Moai period, when Easter Island had been afforested. A similar object had sold at Sotheby’s in the eighties for £100,000.
He was hopping up and down with suppressed excitement when he asked the woman on the stall, who happened to be Sonia, if he could borrow a pen.
Then he concealed his writing with his arm crooked, as he was wont to do in school tests, so that John, his partner on the double desk, would not copy his answers. He wrote very carefully:
Rair deety Ester Iland
He appended his father’s mobile number. Thankfully he was more numerate than literate, so there was a chance of the adjudicator being able to contact him.
He posted his entry in the cardboard box. Sonia said, I think you might be a lucky boy.
Pollux usually did the Arts subject preps and he did the Maths and Science ones. Between themselves, they did quite well. However, on this occasion, he did not collaborate with his twin, nor did he inform him of his entry.
Some people were becoming annoyed as they had guessed the Moorcroft conundrum correctly, owing to an over-exposure of such ceramic art on Flog-It! They thought that they should have won the best object of the three, but even the Rocky Road was unavailable, as it had been consumed by little boys with light fingers and sweet tooths, no, teeth. And, in particular, by twins who had been feeding their Border Terrier who lay under the table, with the chocolate and marshmallow moreish morsels.
These small-minded adults had paid and guessed in vain and they were very disgruntled and said that charities should put humans before canines. They expressed other sentiments in terms which little boys should not have overheard.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Brassie was in her kitchen/diner, cooking supper and the twins had been finishing their flugelhorn and marimba practice next door. She called them to the table.
But, mum, we’re not hungry, they complained.
That’s because you stuffed yourselves with Rocky Road, she lectured. You know I don’t allow sugar treats and now you can see why. All this lovely wholesome Quorn is going to go to waste.
The twins simultaneously eyed their Border. They felt sure that he would oblige in any hoovering up operation to do with leftovers, even though he had consumed a fair amount of the sweet clusters himself.
Darling! She shouted up the garden in the direction of the observatory. Supper’s ready.
Cosmo was already coming down the path, fiddling with his Blackberry.
Castor, he said, it’s Mr Wormhole from the roadshow this afternoon. He says there has been a terrible mistake.
I know, dad. They didn’t pick up on the Polynesian figure.
What? said Brassie. (The phone always rang at mealtimes). I’ll take it. She held the mobile up to her ear with one hand while she stirred the unappetising looking Quorn mish-mash. Easter Island? Rare? Pre-Moy, what?
A similar figure went for an absolute fortune at a London sale of Tribal Art in the Seventies, said Hubert, suddenly very authoritative. Naturally, Mrs Brewer-Mead had no idea what she had donated. Even I wasn’t certain until I went home and referred to my Miller Guides.
But Castor guessed correctly, she insisted, amazed at her son’s vast store of knowledge filched from http://www.geekologie.com etc.
What’s all this about? asked Cosmo, confused as ever.
He says that Castor can’t have his prize as he spelled the answer incorrectly. He’s offering him the best piece of Moorcroft instead, Brassie stage-whispered, holding her hand over the Blackberry.
We’ll see about that, said Cosmo masterfully. He won it fairly and squarely, as far as I can make out.
No, they’ve had a lawyer on to it already and Ginevra seems to be within her rights to withdraw the prize and to offer a substitute. Brassie was frantically trying to remember where she had seen the advertisement for No Win/ No Fee legal services. Mr Wormhole thinks that Mrs Brewer-Mead, I mean Ginevra, has already appropriated it, as it was not on the table at the end of the afternoon.
Mr Wormhole rang off, saying that they could discuss things further on Monday.
Now do you see the importance of spelling, you careless boy? snapped Brassie.
Castor’s lip trembled, but he rallied: My teacher says that you can still get an A* so long as she and the examiner people can make out what it is you are trying to say.
Well, now you know that that is a load of rubbish in the real world, stressed Brassie. I’ll have to have a word with Ginevra on Monday about the EU and Children’s Rights and breach of promise.
Pollux tried to draw the blame onto himself-and succeeded; his father had more experience and kept a low profile.
I’d have known how to spell the answer, he piped up.
Oh, shut up, Smart-Alec, they all said.
Pollux crept over to the Border’s basket to stroke his little, furry friend and as a tear plopped onto the dog’s wiry head, it looked up quizzically, and, as it did so, it gagged.
Give! ordered Pollux.
After a tussle, he forced open its jaws and a carved splinter of something very Moai-like shot out across the kitchen flagstones.
Mum! he screamed.
Andy, the Border, had evidently carried the figure home in his mouth and had been worrying at it throughout their music practice and Brassie’s meal preparation.
They all agreed to say nothing and to accept the Moorcroft gracefully. However, Brassie could feel the discomfort on the back burners of her conscience. She felt that it was the kind of dilemma that The Moral Maze would like to have grappled with on Radio 4 and she felt that they would not emerge smelling of roses. She wished that Castor had never seen the wretched thing. It must have emitted some evil power, as she could see how destructive its forces would have been in her family and community.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Think of all the Dewlap Gins I could have bought, said Ginevra, wistfully.
It freaked me out, replied Magda, her carer. You only lost 20 pence effectively. But you still have your friends.
Let’s drink to that, agreed Ginevra. Bottoms up!
And Magda understood the expression, as her English and Slanglish was coming on.
It’s that time of year again, when anxious Suttonford parents await brown
envelopes with the Xmas Letter from the Head, next year’s Calendar of School
Events AND the booklet of reports which, they hope, will validate the great
expense that they have poured into their children’s education and which will
somehow prove that a silk purse can be made out of a sow’s ear, if sufficient
funds have been cast in the right direction. Bread has been cast on waters
which MIGHT return after many days.
It all depends, of course, on whether the precocious pupil remembers to
deliver the parentally-addressed missive from their backpack, so that an
inspection can be made regarding progress, or the lack thereof.
St Birinus Middle School December 2012
William Brewer-Mead (Bill)
Another hyperactive, but productive term for Bill. His Attention Deficit
Disorder could be seen to influence his pick n’ mix engagement with
the broader curriculum.
His Geography project on sustainability lacked focus, but evidenced
the predilections of a polymath. (Renaissance man was ever thus!)
If he could persuade himself of the value of physical stillness, he would
perform more consistently and with less impact on his peers.
Nevertheless, what was I saying? Oh dear, I seem to forget. Forgive
me. It’s been a lengthy term.
Ferdinand Brewer-Mead (Ferdy)
Ferdy’s PHSE essay: Ginger and Proud of It! gave the class much to consider
regarding the school yard persecution of minorities. His linguistic points on
gender difference: foxy lady (positive); ginger minger (pejorative) were
insightful and far-reaching. Cross-cultural relevance, an important assessment
objective, was achieved in the apposite integration of the Welsh proverb: os
bydd goch, fe fydd gythreulig. (We will take his word on the translation.)
Political comment was pertinent regarding Harriet Harman’s cruel comments
regarding rodents. Are rats our brothers? Orwell would have been proud of
1st for Science-well done! A*
N. M-H (PHSE Dept.)
John’s George Formby impersonation at the House Evening in November
was an example of ukulele playing at its finest. Some of the lyrics were
somewhat infused with innuendo which may have been considered
unsuitable for some of the Juniors in the audience, as one or two irate,
though perhaps narrow-minded, parents were prompt to point out.
John shines in solo work, as his 25% extra time allowance can detract
from the musical experience of other members of the school orchestra.
Science: 3rd. An admirable effort and a foundation which he can build
on as he contemplates future public examinations.
N. M-H (Form teacher)
Castor and Pollux Willoughby- Dual report Dec. 2012
Always adept at blowing his own trumpet, Castor’s flugelhorn fluctuations
added a triumphalist tone to the descant of Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
at the Carols n’ Collection for this term’s chosen charity: Curs In Crisis, outside
B&Q. He coped remarkably well when an inebriated member of the public
inconsiderately rammed a 2x roll packet of Andrex into his instrument.
Twin, Pollux, practised assiduously his marimba accompaniment to The Calypso
Carol for the Junior School Nativity play and showed that his sense of syncopation
and rhytm- (sic) is increasing.
His sporting of a Hawaiian shirt was interpreted as an attempt at ethnic
authenticity, but we beg to remind you that such garments do not conform
to our policies and regulations regarding school uniform.
PS- May I ask where one could buy one? I am such a fan of The Beach Boys.
Nigel Milford-Haven B.A. Hons., B.Ed.
Anton du Beke, bangles.., Barrowland, Baubles, Bermuda beads, Border Terrier, Bruce Forsyth, Brucie, bugle beads, Christmas tree Trafalgar Square, Craig Revel Horwood, Denise van Outen, Dennistoun Palais, eminenece grise, Frank Sinatra, Fred and Ginger, Fred Astaire, Kismet, Laocoon, Latin moves, Louis Smith, Mayans, Mother Shipton, Rita Hayworth, soothsayer, Strictly Finals, Tess Daly, Vincent Simone
As the Finals approach again this year, here’s what happened in a certain
household two years ago. Is it really so long since all these characters
operated in combination? Sir Bruce and Artem have gone. Oh well, the
glitz goes on…
Brassie and Cosmo’s Strictly Finals party was in full swing. Brassie
had found a Frank Sinatra CD in Help the Ancient and was playing
Baubles, bangles, hear how they jing, jinga-linga to encourage
everyone to get into a sparkly mood. Certainly, tonight was
Most of the guests were downing bubbly and becoming increasingly
effervescent and aerated. Ginevra was ensconced in the prime
viewing position in front of the large plasma screen. She was
cheerful and enjoying her favourite Dewlap gin, with very little tonic.
Everyone was wearing enough ruffles, fringing, Bermuda and bugle
beads to keep Julien Macdonald in ecstasies till actual Doomsday.
Their scintillation would have been sufficient to have illuminated the
Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.
Sonia arranged a sweepstake for the guests to wager on the winner
of the coveted glitter ball. Of course, she was not permitted to enter
since she would have had an unfair advantage as a professional
medium. When the twins tried to elicit a clue from her, she merely
raised her eyebrow, in a Vincent Simone enigmatic expression.
Maybe she did know something and might have been more astrologically
in touch than the Mayans, but she had a greater affinity with Mother
Shipton than any South American soothsayer. That could have been
applicable to her Latin moves too. The twins turned away in
embarrassment when she tried to shimmy and they consequently
tripped over Andy, the annoyingly ubiquitous Border Terrier, so he
was banished and gated in the kitchen.
Tiger-Lily and Scheherezade supported Louis Smith and defended
their choice hotly when teased that they were merely responding to
his lack of a costume.
Ginevra, the eminence grise, favoured Anton and had to be told that
he was not a contender. But he dances like Fred Astaire, she
retorted. When the girls explained which dancers were finalists, she
decided to bet on Kimberley, as she thought she looked a little like
Once she had her glass re-filled, she didn’t care which programme
she was about to watch.
Carrie supported Dani; this was more to do with the dark pony’s
Italian partner, however.
I decided to opt for Denise, as I felt sorry for her lack of support.
She had been subject to some bad luck owing to costume
malfunctions and had covered her professional partner’s mental
Da-da-da-da-da-da-da: everyone was riveted and crowded round the
screen. Bruce grinned: Nice to see you; to see you…
Just as everyone shouted Nice in return, there was a fragmentation
of the picture. Two words appeared: No Signal. Tess’ lovely face,
usually a mask of tolerance while Brucie lifted her leg (though he was
more like the dog round a lamp-post) disappeared.
Oh no! everyone exclaimed. What’s wrong?
Cosmo was dispatched to the fuse box in the kitchen. Carrying a
bowl of floating tea-lights, he nearly tripped on the threshold as he
tried to negotiate the child gate that had been attached to the door,
to deter the excitable Andy. A veritable Laocoon of tangled and
chewed cables was all that remained of the Christmas tree lights,
once they had been dragged from the hall.
Brassie! he shouted.
She managed to feel her way out of the sitting room and stumbled
into the scene of canine chaos. So much for thoroughbreds and
There was no fuse wire in the electrical box, so Cosmo was also in
the doghouse- a destination with which he was only too familiar.
Everyone decided to hot-foot it to Sonia’s place, which was the
nearest viewing possibility. Difficult in crystal-encrusted stilettos.
It was only when the glitter ball had been awarded that someone
realised that Ginevra was missing. There had been nothing
problematic with her electric wheelchair, but everyone had forgotten
her in their eagerness to hiss Craig Revel Horwood’s initial
When Cosmo rushed into the sitting room with a borrowed torch, he
found her fast asleep and perfectly warm under her tartan blanket.
She had consumed the rest of the bottle of Dewlap– neat, by all
accounts. She was alert instantly and wanted to know if she had
won the sweepstake. Cosmo lied and presented her with an
uncorked bottle as a prize and she went back to sleep, happily
dreaming of Fred and Ginger and the days when she used to dance
at the Dennistoun Palais and Barrowland in Glasgow, with her first
love, Gianbattista Pomodoro, Carrie’s grandfather, before he
married Jean Waddell in 1946.
But who had really won?