That pure Cane Spirit since 1848.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

“For the love of Christ! Are you still playing with that thing?”
I hate blasphemy, and it a Sunday too.
“What the f**k are you doing anyway?”
Sorry for the language Pat, I’m quoting you know who.
“I am sending out my e-greetings” I replied.
“For f**ks sake! There’s tons to be done. Wrap it up. Jesus!”
She’s got a mouth on her you wouldn’t believe.

Therefore, may I wish you all a wonderful New Year?


Friday, December 29, 2006

Is it an addiction? Or a failing? A want? A personality disorder? What?
I’ve been back in since Half three, I’ve completed all my allotted tasks, Christmas has gone really well, everything’s arranged for New Year, and here I am, online, checking everyone’s blogs. I’ve got a ‘free’ night and instead of writing that opera or repointing the brickwork round that dodgy chimney, I’m drinking and pen-pal-ing to everyone out there.
What’s more, I’m a bit sentimental about it.
Now that IS odd.
Perhaps we can say anything here, that’s what we crave, there’s no judgement.
It is addictive.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A merry Christmas to all our readers.

Cinderella and the Beanstalk will resume on Wednesday or summat. If there are good films on, it might be later. Morecambe and Wise were on the other night in That Riviera Feeling or touch or something. Brilliant.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

“About those mice Pat, do you have to keep them in the kitchen?”
“They like the warmth.”
“One of them looked at me funny…”

But Pat was on her fairy cell phone and held up a hand.

“Gotta go.” she said, and in a trice had made the secret sign with her wand.


She was gone, leaving a sensation of glittering motes in the air.

“I hate it when she’s on call.” he muttered, and went to feed the mice some weetabix.
While he was fishing in the cupboard for the packet, Pat was arcing through the firmament to a thin girl called Mandy in Nuneaton.
“Here we are lads, make you strong,” he said, as he dropped the cereal into their box. They really were the strangest little creatures. He could swear they were listening to him, especially that one with the ear. He examined the box. There was something stencilled on the side.

H Hutton Life Sciences S.A.


She was back in the room.

“Young gels today, such a poverty of ambition.” Pat declared, slumping into an armchair, “Do they want the gilded coach drawn by six white chargers? Do they heck as like! They want a stretch limo like Puff Daddy. They want bling and belly rings and butterfly tattoos on their bare backsides, well not on my shift Dearie! I told her! Here, be a darling and pep this up, will you?” she paused, handing her kir to Her True Love.
“ ‘I wants, don’t get.’ I said,” she continued, warming up, “ I said, ‘it’s the tiara, the glass slippers and the coach or you stay in and do your A level revision.’ That sorted her out! ”
“So she’s doing her algebra tonight then?” he asked, handing back the kir, now fully pepped up.
“Oh no. She turned on the waterworks didn‘t she? Niagara. So of course I relented. Gave her the full Monty.”
“Butterfly tattoo?” he asked.
“Even that. I warned her, mind. ‘Be home by 4 am’ I said, ‘or that butterfly will fly off and your clothes will transform.’ ”
“Back to rags?”
“No, into a sensible tweed skirt and twin set. She looked terrified.”

* * *

Maroon, painfully aware that the day is no longer his, sighs himself, and putting his paper down, rises to answer the door.
It is his neighbour’s manservant, ‘Buttons’.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Deep and crisp and eeeeeven…

It’s Sunday morning and we find Maroon in his favourite seat beside the stove in the kitchen. Still dressed in his childish tartan pyjamas, he’s on his second kir and has decided to ‘slob out’ this fine Perthshire day. In his little number-crammed brain, he has mapped out a day of wasteful pleasures for himself. The very thought gives him anticipatory butterflies of self-gratification. In celebration, he takes another sip.

Out on the periphery of his senses, way out on the lower boundary, past his self absorption, by the broken fence, where the ground never drains properly, there is a sigh and a metallic ‘clank’.

He continues reading his Sunday paper all about a couple who sold their modest home in Holland Park and bought the Romanian State Railways with the proceeds.
Sigh, CLANK.
There it is again. A fingernail being dragged across the blackboard of his dreams.
He puts down his Observer to focus on the source of this outrageous disturbance.

Not three feet away, his daughter Sarah is polishing the stove with much sighing and clanking. She is wearing an old apron and her arms are streaked with soot to the elbows. With care, she has applied some to her nose and cheeks as well. The effect is pleasing to the eye.
Maroon wonders where she got the soot.

“I thought you were going into town with your mother…” he begins.
Stepmother..” she interrupts.
“Stepmother and sisters…” he continues.
Stepsisters…” she corrects.
“Stepsisters then, to get something nice-to-wear-for-the-Christmas-do-up-at-the-big-house.” he finishes in a rush.
Sarah sighs.
“Oh I’d love to, but there is so much cleaning and mending and drudging and scrimping to be done…”
“Scrimping? Are we still on that? I thought scrimping was last month.”
“You don’t understand,” sighs Sarah and with another sigh continues, “nobody does.”

Before Maroon can answer, the kitchen door is flung wide to admit his two beautiful stepdaughters Footsie and Kimski. I say beautiful, for their beauty is there for all to see. An inner beauty. An unkind misanthrope may remark on the robust strength of their wrists, or their breadth of shoulder but clean country air and lots of hockey will do that to two hearty girls.

* * *

Far, far away, in the cold land of the English, a semi retired fairy godmother is dusting her welsh dresser with her magic wand with the star on the end in preparation to putting her feet up. She too is having a kir.

“Alakazoo and fizzy fizzou and hippity hoppity bop…” she sings as she works.

Her True Love stomps into the room

“You’ll never believe it!” says he in consternation.
“Whatever is the matter?” asks Pat (for it is she).
“My prize pumpkins!” he exclaims, “Three of them. Stolen out the greenhouse right under our noses while we slept abed.”
“Oh my. Oh dear.” says Pat, her singing now on hold.

Pat’s True Love eyes her with dawning suspicion.

“Pat you didn’t! You promised! Anyway, I thought you‘d retired.” He says.
“I’m locum this year,” says Pat, deciding to come clean, “and nobody has pumpkins these days. I had to raid an animal testing lab for the white mice, goodness knows, I hope they’re not infectious…”

Friday, December 08, 2006

My natural joi de vivre is alive and kicking.
I’ve just the tiniest, hardly worth mentioning, head cold.
It’s definitely NOT flu.
I’ll just tell you.
Because cabin air is totally crap, that‘s how, no matter what the brochures tell you.
Cabin air’s been through seven people and four compressor stages by the time YOU breath it in.

“Oh but our air-con systems are second to none. The filters are small enough to catch microbes and radio isotopes and everything…”

When were they last changed?
That’s all I’m asking.
These marvels of air purity, who looked at them last?
Yeah, I thought so.

There’s a picture of Pat on a boat that will bring cheer to anyone who dosen't have flu, like what I haven't got.

It's over at her bit,( ). Very reviving. It‘s so rare to see such quality.

The workmanship on that mahogany taffrail, sublime! And the deck planking, Magnifique!

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Apparently she can cook as well.


Mr Gorilla Bananas put his unopposable thumb right on it.
Do you remember Mark Thatcher and his chums were going to invade some country, set themselves up as rulers, then sell the oil - only they were caught on the plane and lucky not to be shot? Exact same with Bonny Prince Charlie, although there were no planes, obviously. The notion of stable flight through an invisible fluid would have been witchcraft to the Jacobites.
Imagine: highlanders strafing Cumberland’s ranks from tartan spitfires, why, the very idea is criminally insane!
Did you know that the British Aeronautical Society say we better get an Englishman on Mars quick, because they believe we will all be wiped out by a gigantic meteor?
They don’t tell you that over the loudspeakers in Wickes.
Don’t buy that kitchen unit, for you will all be as dust before the warranty’s up.

Might have a kir.
Or two.

Separatin’ the albumen.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hoots Mon !

They’ll be celebratin’ in the streets of Raith tonight.

Och Aye the Noo!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Slavery & Famine & Elizabeth I & James I & Cromwell and 1746 and all that (but no Vikings) and apologies thereof.

Descendants of slaves from British Caribbean plantations often have Scottish names like McDonald, Fraser, Stewart and so on. They were owned by someone of that name. It was the same in 18th century Scotland. Feudal serfdom existed in the highlands until 1746. Your chief owned you in a system that hadn’t changed since the 11th century. Even the hero of ‘Kidnapped’ set in the aftermath of 1746, is sold into slavery.

Half my lot came to Scotland in 1840 something to escape starvation in Ireland and the other lot were forfeit a hundred years earlier in 1746.
It’s all true. I’ve seen the mass grave and everything.
It was the way of the world in 1746. If you were on the winning side you got land. If you were on the losing side it was taken off you.

150-200 years earlier, to pick up Conan’s point, Elizabeth then James had distributed land especially in Ireland to their cronies as a reward and to stop further rebellion from Irish lords. The land grab was on in Scotland at the same time. Mary, her followers and opponents alike, carved up the place to suit themselves. We the serfs, were just the chattel that went with the fixtures.

The Indian economist Amartya Sen* showed that famine has an economic cause not related to a physical shortage of food.

In Ireland, the population was halved by famine. The cause is still given as a crop disease, which is convenient as it brings Fate and God into it but the cause of the starvation was deliberate economics. The people were left to starve while food exports from Ireland were encouraged by a government hostile to the people who were starving. A government that had abolished slavery 40 years before.

There is some debate as to whether Blair should apologise for this, and Elizabethan Planters, and pitchcapping, and the Black and Tans and so on.
I’m unsure.
Would he be apologising on MY behalf? I hope not. I’m a product of that famine and a decendant of serfs.

BUT, the likes of the Dukes of Hamilton, Buccleuch, Argyll, etc., they should get down on their hands and knees.

*Amartya Sen won the Nobel prize and ended up Master at my old college. Small world eh?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Deep sorrow

Tony Blair has expressed his ‘deep sorrow’ at Britain’s slave trade.
What an arse.
Everyone knows that Tony feels no deep sorrow whatsoever on the matter.
It’s a mockery of the whole thing.
Po-faced Tony apologising for a criminal activity which was banned 200 years ago.
What an insult.

Here are some comments that I didn’t reply to and was feeling guilty about.

Someone was telling me the other day that you can get a degree in call centre communications or some shit. I thank my lucky stars that I have neither an education, nor do I have to work in a call centre.
Jagd Kunst Homepage 11.19.06 - 9:35 pm #

they keep telling us here in the states that we're transitioning to a service economy.
If we all serve eachother, who'll be able to afford it?
Its the snake eating its own tail, and no one sees that we're fast running out of snake.

Whatever. We once built our way through a world war we weren't strategically qualified to win, and now our American car companies TOGETHER can't even capture a majority of our own car market. Blech, depressing.
SafeTinspector Homepage 11.20.06 - 12:51 am #

Doc it looks to me like your boat is flying a Danish flag.
Also, Kissinger says we can't win Iraq.
Justin 11.20.06 - 8:17 am #

I heard someone say that a jet is just a propeller with an afterburner and I thought: "How Dr Maroon would pooh pooh that, Sir". Personally, I'd love to hear you discuss the contribution of Sir Frank Whipple. Didn't he invent an ice cream as well?
Gorilla Bananas Homepage 11.20.06 - 6:19 pm #

Not cocoa, as far as I know, but apparently they do a good cup of tea.
Foot Eater Homepage 11.20.06 - 8:09 pm #

Suck,Squeeze,Bang and Blow.All you need to know about jet engines.

oh...and they stop whining at shut down.Unlike most pilots.
Hanger Queen Homepage 11.20.06 - 9:12 pm #

Edinburgh people don't really have a Scottish accent, do they? It's more of an English accent with a bit of a twang on it. Twangers.
kav Homepage 11.21.06 - 9:45 am #

What is a Morningside accent?
Pat Homepage 11.23.06 - 7:29 pm #

Pat , In Morningside, sex is what they take the garbage out in. I hope that helps.
Kav, I feel terribly guilty that no one’s enlightened you yet. There are a half dozen counties in Scotland that must be avoided at all costs. They are, in order of hellishness, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Stirlingshire, The Borders, West Lothian, Dunbartonshire, Dumfriesshire and Fife maybe. Fife’s borderline. All the others are tolerable, with Perthshire the best. Obviously.
Get your family and stuff together and shift without delay. It’s a very small country so it won’t be too much of an upheaval.
Hangar Queen, you’re almost right but quite fundamentally mistaken. You are describing an Otto cycle. If you sign up for my home study course, I shall explain.
Foot Eater, I like the one the monkeys drink.
Mr Gorilla Bananas, Frank was in the great tradition of English inventors. A pioneer of remarkable talent. His engines were thermodynamically similar but mechanically different from the Metro Vickers design which is the type in universal use today.
Justin your eyesight is astounding. Kissinger’s a nasty piece of work. Very nasty.
SafeTinspector, your page has a myriad of popups and stuff which does not go down well with steam driven computers like this one. Sort it out boy.
Jagd don’t be so hard on yourself. You’d be great in a call centre. For a while anyway. I think you’d be sacked eventually. There’d be complaints.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

But the wolves came,
and they ate him,
and they drank his beer.

This week, I have been experimenting with the effects of alpha, beta and gamma sources on the physiology of our Finance Director.
I have put the salts of various emitting metals into his lunchtime soup.

All together now,

There’s (deep breath) thallium and thorium, polonium and radium,
And strontium, uranium, plutonium and barium,
These are the only ones of which Maroon has give to Dick yet,
And there may be many others - but they haven't made him sick yet.

(to the tune of “the modern major general” with apologies to Tom Lehrer.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Glasgow is the call centre capital of Britain.

That’s right! Those annoying people who phone you up at half eight at night when you’ve just started your second kir and are hoping for light relief on the TV, to ask you about your financial affairs, or your guttering or if you’ve got a conservatory.

Thoughtless weasels.

Reading Pat's Blog , I am reminded how high a fall that is.

Her husband, ( not HTL, the other one ) worked for Metropolitan Vickers.
Now it may interest you to know that among many other things, Metro Vickers in Manchester developed the first axial flow jet engine way back in 1938. It was a Metro Vickers jet engine that powered Campbell’s Bluebird speedboat, or one of them, anyway, 4000 h.p. in 1955.

Before ISO, when British Standards ruled the roost, it was companies like Vickers who wrote the book. They developed the test methods and so on that we still use today.

Manufacturing output in Britain has now fallen to it’s 1840 level. Our Christmas arrived last week on a super jumbo ship from China. Yeah, well, they can make you a microwave oven for £20 but can they make beer? Can they cocoa.!

Monday, November 13, 2006

My first meeting with Mr Gorilla Bananas in Central Park New York. Note the traditional clubs of welcome. It's like morris dancing.
Click on the picture to see us in our glory.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In England, land of Magna Carta, trial by jury, presumption of innocence - they’ve just sentenced a man to 40 years imprisonment in a way that would be difficult in Scotland. The man claimed to be “the top Al Qaeda operative in Britain.”
Yeah right, of course you are son.
The spooks say they have thwarted some wild terrorist attacks against us in our beds.
The terrifying plans were fantastic, literally.
The man had dreamt up all sorts of nonsensical rubbish. He had worked it all out in school jotters and the security services jumped at the chance to use him to frighten us into giving them more leeway than any government agency has a legal right to expect.

The law in Scotland is quite different. A conviction cannot be secured on an uncorroborated confession; in fact there can’t even be a prosecution. This saves the court’s time when fantasists crawl out the woodwork with schoolboy ideas about putting piranha fish in the Clyde in the hope that Jack McConnell will fall in and be eaten.
Even when these trainee sociopaths work it all out on paper and have diagrams of tankers with ‘nitro-glycerine’ written on them, or ‘poison cyanide gas cylinder here‘, the police, that is, the normal, world weary Glasgow polis, will ask the budding terrorist to prove it;

“ OK son, this bit here, where it says Strontium 90, have you actually got any? ”
“ Yes. ”
“ Where is it then, in your uncle’s lockup? Next to the strimmer? ”
“ It‘s on order, it‘ll come, you‘ll see, then you‘ll be sorry. ”
“ Alright son, alright, what about the explosives? Your ‘plans’, [winks at two way mirror] call for about 10 tonnes of the stuff. ”
“ I’m going to mix it myself. ” says the mass murderer to be.
“ That’s a lot of sugar and weed killer. What about setting it off? ”
“ I kept back some bangers from bonfire night…”
“ You seem to be taking your time about blowing anything up.”
“ What do you mean? ”
“ Well, some of these plans go back to the late nineties…”
“ I’m a meticulous planner.”
“…in fact, to around the time your girlfriend chucked you.”
“ It was amicable, we remained friends, a mutual decision, I chucked her actually…”

I don’t know, maybe he is an Al Qaeda terrorist, he certainly wants us to think he’s important, but there’s something fishy about it all, and the spooks have their excuse now to kneed the country into the shape they or their paymasters want and there ain’t eye-diddly-do you can do about it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

We were just talking there at dinnertime hahaha, you’ll love this, about foreign travel and how funny foreigners are, and I remembered my visit to Rome, waitaminute, sorry, but it is funny, I can hardly typre, anyway I was following these signs for the gents that seemed to lead nowhere and I ended up on a dual carriageway in the middle of town with a policeman on points duty har har glugg, so I asked him where the lavatory was and he “pointed” at a small bit of bent tin in the central reserve which covered you from chest to knee on three sides but it was totally open at the back and you peed against this tin thing in broad daylight and there was a rusty gutter affair that collected it and poured it out onto the road so I made a funny face when I was using it so that the photo would look interesting and zany when it came out so that’s what we were talking about at lunchtime here the strange toilet habits of our continental “cousins” that and the fact that interest rates are up to 5% I suppose once I decide on an actual method of killing myself I‘ll feel better more relaxed I hope so.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The most wonderful lesson I ever learned from the Jesuits, perhaps the only lesson, was in Calcutta in 1984. I quote.

Don’t for one minute think, that your presence here will be of any help whatsoever to the people you’re about to live with. You’ve been brought here for your benefit, not theirs.

I’m not 100% sure why I’m bringing it up now.

It was a kind of a gap year* thing and the school tradition was that you got your hands dirty in a semi-sanitised but also thrown into the deep end sort of way.

He said it conversationally, not to fire me up to better things but as a bald statement of fact. In an instant, a fool could see the honesty of it. The most wonderful lesson alluded to, was the accidental nature of our position. If it held for me, then it must hold for all.

* five months only in India then six in Australia.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

T here’s no two ways about it, this blog is in a right guddle.

Strange people are wandering the Devon moors with mad monkeys on chains, fresh faces popping up like mushrooms everywhere and we haven’t had a gas flow lecture in ages, there’s a frigate somewhere out there on the foaming billow, Sarah and El Beardy have eloped to the anvil at Gretna without a spare set of handcuffs, there’s a cream Maserati (now a rich gold in the early sun) hammering down the Via Aurelia…the shortbread’s running low…duty free spirits of summer greatly depleted…nights are getting dark…black…bible black…must keep going…

Someone better get their act together and be damn smart about it.
Blogging’s not for the amateur.
You’re either in or out.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ruth Archer is a two-timing Slag!

I’m sorry Pat, but I shall not be silenced!

Ruth Archer!
Rev up your tractor and **** off out of it!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Kim Ayres.

Tradecraft it’s called. An ability much prized by western security agencies.

Scotland was pouring forth it’s bounty upon the land, upon the motorways and upon our undeserving heads in long vertical streams of soaking wet goodness.
So as I parked, there was not a soul to be seen. Noone, no dog, no birds no tumbleweed, no nothin‘.
I hopped out and bent back into the car for my jacket. I put it on and turned round.
Holy Mary Mother of Christ!
“Hi Ack.”
“Hi Kim.”
As we walked to the entrance of the licensed premise, I took note of the fact that there were no cars, side streets, doorways, lanes, shops, vennels, alleyways, from which he might have sprung.

Some hours later, as we parted, our plan of action agreed,
I deliberately kept an eye on him as he stood there, inscrutable in the rain, watching me, even as I slung my jacket in the back.
I had to turn to get into the car, a matter of seconds only…and he was gone!

I stopped for petrol three times on the road, changing my route, doubling back, you know the drill. I had to be sure.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

That Old Boolean Chestnut

The gates to Heaven and Hell are guarded by identical looking angels.
One always tells the truth, the heaven one, and one always lies, the beastly Hell one.
You must decide which portal to pass through.
You are allowed only one question, which you may ask of either of the guardian angels.

How can you be sure of passing through the portal of your choice?

Update: Old Knudsen has cleverly reminded me. The angels sometimes swop doors when they get a bit bored.

You know the kind of thing. All doormen do it. This often weeds out the fly men who turn up still wearing their bunnets! Put that in yer ectoplasm and smoke it Knudsen.

Late Update: We have a WINNER!

Tattieheid! Well done that man! First rate!

And my goodness Kav was touching the prize too. What clever people there are round here.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Peace In Our Time.

There is a common confusion between the terms democracy and majority rule.

Once in power, a government that panders only to those who voted for it quickly becomes divisive. Modern European governments fearful of this, and in realisation that they represent all their population, make sure that they keep their actual dogma quiet.

Margaret Thatcher was wonderful at posturing her right wing views to Tory voters but in cold economic analysis her years saw a massive expansion of public services and spending*. The similarity with the current Labour government is striking.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, we use the term “defending democratically elected governments” to explain our continuing occupation. No mention is made of any sizable minorities who may have a totally different outlook. THEY are insurgents.
650 000 killed and counting.

And so, on to that windswept but uninteresting town in Fife. Home of Scotland’s patron saint, inventor of golf and universities, that’s right! St Andrews, and that

historic peace agreement in full.

“If you, can forget the disenfranchisement, the army, the B Specials, the RUC, the Paras, any other instrument of state subjugation and
killing of working class people for going to the wrong pub,

we, will forget the bombs and shootings and the intimidation and killing of working class people for going to the wrong pub.

From whence we may all proceed like modern nations the world over and worry about our mortgages and jobs and washing machines and Tuscan holidays…

Deal or No Deal?
Whatcha say? "


Bertie Ahern, leader of a government that has taken Ireland to the highest per capita income in the E.U. (purchasing power parity) must have been quaking in his boots.

“Please God, don’t give us the Ulstermen. You keep em Tony.”

And Tony would be thinking;

“Come on Bertie, take them, please, they’ll be no bother now, I promise. Look, I’ll give you my phone number and you can call me any time. We’re all in Europe now, the old borders are coming down, we’re homogenising. Christ man, you all LOOK the same! Perleease Bertie, don’t be sticking. Whatdya say?”


* The Thatcher government was at it’s most divisive when it allowed Conservative dogma to privatise public utilities and its criminal monetarist policies to mismanage the national economy. John Major’s government repaired some of that damage, was less divisive, and was re-elected on the strength of it.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


House values collapsed last night as the warlords and traffickers of third world Balkan republic Zenda, taught England a lesson in football ineptitude.
In the most humiliating display of amateur ineptitude for a generation, the English national side slumped to its most inept defeat for a generation.

“We were rubbish. Totally hopeless.” was what England manager whasisname (53) might have said.
“We were utterly bereft of any cogent idea of how the modern game is played.”
Was another.

When told of the result, the latest in a string of inept defeats for the millionaire superstars, ashen faced prime minister Blair declared:

“If Zenda had any hope of joining the European Union, they can **** right off!
At least until they learn how to lose like honest Englishmen.”

In other news, a corrupt referee helped slimy cheats Ukraine, defeat plucky Scotland by the slenderest of 2 : 0 margins.

The Mail says: NO to Europe and that Irishman ‘Dr.’ Paisley.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Part 18?

Bananas, will our torment ever be at an end?” Asked Ayres piteously, while stretching out for the marmalade pot, from which he took a generous spoonful to spread on the remaining piece of toast.

We had returned to Baker Street by night sleeper, and were now restored by the ministrations of Mrs Hudson.

“Mrs Hudson,” I said, “once again we are replete. Now if Ayres would only give me a fill of shake for my pipe, I would deem the favour paid twice over and be forever in his grateful debt.”

She had done us proud. She had served the last of the summer cantaloupes as a refreshing fruit cocktail to clear our palate for the devilled kidneys.

"Why, thank you Doctor,” she smiled, “Dr Watson always says that my melons are the best he ever…”

The last words were lost as the kindly Scotch housekeeper shut the door.

That great detective had remained silent, but turned to us now, deep lines of concern on his noble brow.

“We must return to Alucard forthwith, before our absence is discovered.” he said.

At these alarming words, a vile hissing raspberry broke from Ayres end, of the table.
We both turned to him. He seemed to have shrunk an inch or two in his craven funk.

“Take heart Ayres,” I encouraged, “we shall face the dangers with you.”

Ayres slumped further and another loud, shameful emission met my stout words. It was most disconcerting watching the man shrink before us, losing control. I was on the point of opening a window when

“Your pneumatic peace-ring Ayres!” exclaimed Bananas. “It seems you have a puncture.”

Sure enough, the inflatable seat given him by Dr Evil, now lay flat and joyless beneath him.

Further conversation was interrupted however by Ayres’ apparatus in the corner, as the brass bell rang, the lights flashed and the paper tape issued from the slot designed solely for that purpose. With a sigh, Ayres went to investigate.

“Read it out, Ayres!” shouted The Finest Intellect in the Empire.

“It’s only the association football results, G.B.” muttered Ayres over his shoulder.
“Humour us Ayres, I’m expecting something over the wire this day.”

“…….Wales 1, Bohemia 5, ……Denmark nil, Ulster nil,…...Cyprus 5, Ireland 2,….England nil, Macedonia nil...... Scotland 1, France nil, ………..Have run off to Gretna with Miss Sarah Evil. Getting hitched….El. B.……”
“Say that again!” Exclaimed Bananas in great agitation.
“England nil Macedonia nil.”
“Not that bit you fool! The other bit!”
“Sorry G.B., em, where was I?...Scotland 1, France nil!”
“Give me that tape Ayres!” demanded the marvellous ape.

“I think this calls for a celebration.” I suggested.

It would seem that the doubters are correct. The cluster map people have a jiggered counter on their hands and are blaming me.

But man, I can’t explain it. For a minute there, I walked with the Huttons and all that lot. For the briefest fleeting seconds I was, I can’t explain, it was like….
Ah it’s all just vanity.
I should have known better.

Pat. I would advise that you get one. They’re great fun.

And Sarah, I’d forgotten about the monkey!

Friday, October 06, 2006

That really WAS some party!

I got this email!!!

SUMMARY: Your ClustrMaps daily visit limit has been exceeded multiple times, but here is an idea to help avoid repeated occurrences, since such occurrences may result in removal of your counter from our database.


Dear ClustrMaps user,

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OR is some computer literate person like Kim Ayres (just for arguments sake) pulling my chain with some sort of comment robot bomb internet thing?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Have any of you watched “Lost” on the telly?

I walked away from the very first, much hyped episode, to avoid domestic strife.
You see, the plane had just crashed big time onto a beach, yet there was one of the turbines still going strong, throttle stuck open at cruising rpm by the look of it.
Not only that, but some poor fellow then got sucked up the intake, whereupon the thing went off like an atom bomb.
Now, before I could offer my technical objections, Mrs Maroon had her hand up to cut me off:

“Don’t you say a word, not one fucking word, Maroon.”

She takes her willing suspension of disbelief too seriously that one. Anyway, I’ve seen bits in passing since. That wee hobbit’s in it. Not that one, the other one, and I saw a man get a portcullis thing come down on his leg.
The TV is rubbish since they stopped Stingray. That Mitchell and Webb look is good. (Thursdays 9:30 BBC2)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

OK, more party games!

This time it’s quotes from films (sorta) We will just have to do our best and that’s that.

Ok, you start……………………………….......................................

I’ll do it!

1] “ We’re gonna need a bigger boat…”
Jaws! Andraste and monstee

You get the idea?
Meet me halfway here.

2] “ it again Sham…”
Casablanket! Andraste Pat Kim Monstee

3] “...the namesh Bond, Jamesh Bond…”
Big Sean as Bond! Pat Monstee

4] “…Yeah Baby, yeah!…”
Austin Allegro! Sam Monstee

5] “…as God is my witness, I will never be hungry again…”
Gone with the wind! Andraste Pat Monstee

6] “Well, hey Boo,…Don’t call him that, Scout…”
To Kill a Mockingbird Andraste Monstee

7] “you ever been in a Turkish prison?”
Airplane! Kim Monstee

8] “…it’s like Mom’s apple pie!…”
American Pie! Monstee

9] “ Saigon. Shit! I’m still only in Saigon…”
Apocalypse Now! Kav and Monstee

10] “…Why am I Mr Brown? It sounds like shit or something…”
Resevoir Dawgs Kim and Monstee

11] “Did you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie? Did you?…”
F C U K! Monstee

12] “…Swim? Swim? Why the fall’ll probably kill you!…”

Butch Cassiday and the Sundown Kid Andraste Pat Sam & Monstee.

Good News Everyone!

They’re going to stay. Well hoooray!
When I think about it, that's all that matters.
I was surprised at Mrs director. “don’t you want to get back to your responsibilities?” I asked in all innocence.
“I’m sure everythings fine” she answered over the top of her kir, which we are all agreed is the best drink for ages.
There you have it, my experiment in fusion celebrations is working out fine.

Come on, try the lyrics quiz!!!!

Party games!

Binty’s come up with a good one; a POPTASTIC sing-along-a lyrics quiz.
and you’ve to guess the tune and or singer. There will be prizes.

Right. You go first. Oh all right then, I’ll start.

1] “…I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window…”
won by PAT. Tom Jones Delilah

2] “…have you heard, it’s in the stars, next July we collide with Mars…”
Won by PAT. Frank and Bing from Philadelphia Story

3] “R: I like the city of San Juan…A: I know a boat you can get on…”
America! From West side story!

4] “…and I ride and I ride, I ride through the city tonight…”
won by Andraste, Iggy Pop, the Passenger

5] “…I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch them gallop by..”
What a waste, Ian Drury and the Blockheads

6] “…yellow tigers crouch in jungles in her dark eyes..”
White Room by Cream

7] “…down in the valley she was saving the best for last…”
Dani California by Red hot Chilli Peppers!

8] “…cold as ice cream but still as sweet…”
won by Sam. Blodie, Sunday Girl

9] “…when your head stops, and your body is still, there ain’t no crying at [song title]” Top of the Hill, Family.

10] “…let me put my hands on you, let me put my…hands…on…you…”
Faithhealer! Alex Harvey Band

11] “…I forget myself, I want you to remind me…”
Won by andraste i touch myself by Divinyls

12] “…no more teachers, no more boooks,…”
Won by Pat. Alice Cooper School's Out.

13] “…you feel it, running through your bones…”
Jerk it out! by what they called, Caesars!

14] “…Well I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don’t need him around anyhow…”
Won by sam, Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Let’s have an Internet Party!

Cape to Rio is one year old today!

It’s a new concept, one of my own I think, and one which has caused much excitement round here I can tell you.

Scattered across all points of the compass and 24 time zones as we obviously are, the party will have to last the whole weekend or until somebody, probably the police, spoils it for everyone.

So, come in, come in. This is the place. Throw your coat over the teenagers in the spare room and get yourself a drink from the kitchen.

Drinks: Now obviously we must supply our own wherever we are. I FINALLY found a supplier (Morrisons) of Crème de Cassis de Dijon so I’m on KIRS.

Guests: to make the party go a bit, I’ve invited all the 6.2 billion people who live on the planet. If it gets too crowded, we can bail out to Barney’s. Also, Richard and his wife are coming up tonight, so he will definitely make a comment or two, I’m sure of it. But, because he is gauche and utterly socially inept, he will probably say things like;

“get stuffed!”
“Dr Maroon works for…”

You know the kind of childish thing. We must ignore him, he doesn’t get out.

Now it’s a bit early here, even for me, it’s only 07:05 BST and I have an errand to run, but if it suits you wherever you are, just get wired in. I’ll soon catch up.

Wait, I’ll stick a record on, James Last or Dave Brubeck or something. Just as muzak while we loosen up a bit.

Bottoms Up! Nostrovia! Down Der Hatchen!

Sainte! καλή υγεία! Mud in Yer Eye! 환호!

Buona salute! богатырскя здоровье! 身體好!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Thursday Rant.

SUVs. Dontcha hate them?

There is something despicable about SUVs. It’s the mentality. It’s a symptom of defence, protection, withdrawal. There is an inherent simplistic immaturity about those who drive them. A dullness, a predictability, a poverty of ambition, a lack of imagination, a sheepish willingness to believe the marketers that a jeep will solve their deep rooted psychological problems of inadequacy, that’s what it is.

It’s not only that; they are a hopelessly over engineered solution to the problem of personal transport.

It used to be Mercs didn‘t it?
Although to be fair, there was always something a little disreputable about a Merc. It was an English class thing. Mercs were new money.
They still really annoyed me.
They were so heavy, they needed a lorry engine to haul their Germanic carcasses round the streets, just so their dullard drivers could look out on the non Merc world.
Not now. The Mercedes is a tinny piece of chav junk now.
Common as muck.
The three pointed star is like Burberry. Naff.

All my friends (four) drive totally nondescript old hatchbacks and saloons. The fact we choose to spend all our money on drink is neither here nor there.

My other friend Richard, the finance director, has a Mercedes SUV.
You couldn’t make it up.
His wife, an utter gem, hates it, because it’s agricultural and too high up and awkward to park in the crappy spaces you get in carparks these days. She really did take a wrong turn when she married that oaf.

Post script.

Here is a quote from the page that I got that picture from:

“The only drawback I found to the interior is the presence of a confusing new shift lever on the steering column, which places the gear stops at points that most drivers will find unfamiliar. I found myself engaged in Reverse when I really thought I was in Park. Park is engaged by pressing in a button on the lever.”

God bless us and save us all.

Post, postscript.

I wonder how many of you read the postscript above in that nasal "white man" voice so beloved of Eddie Murphy.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The strangest thing happened this morning.

There I was in the sitooterie, having a java, singing to myself…

“oh roamin’ in the gloamin’, by the bonny banks o’ Clyde,
roamin’ in the gloamin’ wi a lassie --- what the bloomin’ heck is that?..”

A tiny humming bird had arrived and was flitting around the trailing fuchsia (wonderful display this year).

A tiny hummingbird? In Perthshire? In September? Are you quite insane?

‘My God! The lobsters will be back soon. Damn you absinthe! Damn you straight to hell!’ I thought.

But no! It was a hummingbird moth. The first I’ve seen in Britain.

That was not the remarkable thing however. The remarkable thing was that to confirm my identification, I googled it, only to find that there is a huge underground hummingbird moth movement with dedicated websites and forums.

Imagine, while honest folk like us, go about our bona fide business in the blog world, under the surface, a shadowy organisation of hummingbird moth lovers use these same pages for their filthy purposes. I might have to join.

I will return after a proper breakfast and tons more coffee.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cue music, the Grieg, you know the one, the peaceful, dawn-breaking one……

Come gentles, for morning sunlight is streaming through the shutters, sending stripy shadows over the superb feline curves of our heroine still abed.
We may look and wonder. Indeed, if there be men with blood in their veins among us, then wonder we must, but sshh, all should be quiet as a mouse.
Look, she sleeps on yet…

…Captain Barney, most dashing in sea boots, britches and baggy white blouson, stood one foot upon the scuppers and turned his piercing blue-grey, hazel eyes towards the eastern horizon.
At that moment, a wind, soft as a zephyr from Araby, swept across the bay with the tide. The captain filled his chest, hungrily gulping down the air as a fallen Rechabite might an honest ale.

Still in her shift, Fatmammycat emerged on deck beside him, and as she did, the gentle breeze took her glorious mane of hair and sent it billowing out over the rail as fine as any admiral’s pennant, while its warm insistence pressed the thin fabric of her nightshirt against the contours of her delicious body. The captain turned and took her in his manly arms.

“Oh Barney.” she breathed.
“Oh Cat.” he sighed, “where do you keep your black pudding?

Sound of needle skating across vinyl.

“And I can’t find any HP, don’t tell me you’re out of it.”
“Hennessy! I was having a lovely dream there.” She yawned.
“Oh? Was I in it?” shouted Hennessy, pulling pans from a cupboard with much clattering.


Cardinal McShae pushed back his seat and stubbed out his cigarette. He immediately took another from the packet, lighting it in one fluid movement born of long habit.
He tapped the packet with impatience. From his office high in the basilica, he looked down on the tourists, (they hadn’t had a bona fide pilgrim for ages), as they swarmed over the square waiting for the Angelus.

‘If they knew what I knew…” he thought and shuddered.

He absentmindedly took another cigarette from the packet, Navy Cut Capstan Full Strength, lit it, then realising his mistake, stubbed it out with an oath.

“God forgive me.” he muttered.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I wish I had one of those weather-maps so I could superimpose lots of zigzag lines showing where I’ve been hiding this last sevendays. I truly do. But since other people’s tribulations are as interesting as their dreams or their children’s O Level results, I shan’t.

Hotel corridors smell. Their dining areas smell the whole thing merges into a great big fat hairy Trust House Forte hellhole with full English at the buffet breakfast bar upgraded school dinner in the Windsor function suite washed down with some filthy wine served by smiling courteous hatefilled Poles.

Young Polish are moderately goodlooking and yet somehow not. Have you noticed that? They are and they aren’t good looking. A puzzle to be solved. There’s no pretty ones. Striking ones. None that you would think “Hey, it would be nice to run off somewhere with that big thing.” They are Godamned averaged-out clones with moderately attractive physiognomies.

We let them down badly in the war.

Face fixed into rictus grins for my drinking fellows in the hotel bars oh all directors of this or that good suits good shoes no rubbish good smalltalk good talkers yet everyone of them living the life of a sad commercial traveller.

Yes BAe Systems (Bradley Fighting Vehicle among others) has decided to sell its share in Airbus, Rolls cancels opening of new Scottish repair facility, A380 delivery slips back again because airlines can’t make up their minds on options OR AI gave them too much choice in the first place and then the general turmoil of air travel but only FROM Britain.

Rightso, who’s for a snifter? Come on, don’t be shy.

Sing out there! What’ll it be?
I’m having one.

Too right I am.

Friday, September 08, 2006


I’m only looking after him
He followed me home.
It’s only temporary
He needs the company
Don’t pet him
Don’t make any sudden movements
It’s just for the hols
His coat was a disgrace actually.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hennessy found her sprawled on the strip maple floor of the penthouse. With great tenderness, he carried her lifeless form to the Louis Vuitton couch where she now relined in his strong arms. The lines of concern etched on his face melted as her eyes opened.

“What were they?“ She murmured, “they were so thin, -they seemed without fleshy substance, -skeletons almost.”

His reply, chilled her to the marrow:

“From what you said in your delirium. You have been most fortunate. There are many, great in renown, who have fallen to The Six. They are the Narmani-gul!
Once, they walked the earth as women, as real as you, but they were swayed by the hollow gifts of The Necromancer. Style, panache, grace, a local branch of Harvey Nicks: all these things he promised them. But ever in his malice, there was a cost. The price they paid was terrible.
They are condemned now to wander the land, surviving on rocket salad and weak spritzers. The Dark Lord himself controls them through the pages of aspirational magazines. From now on, you must not show your Versace accessories or Tifanny jewellery. It draws them. They can smell it.”
“Bling wraiths!” wailed Fatmammycat.
“Aye.” nodded Hennessy sadly, “and now you are known to them.”
“What am I to do? They want my summer collection! Will you keep it safe for me?” she asked.

Hennessy shrank back from her as if scalded.

“No Cat!” He exclaimed, ”in my hands it could end up in Asda or K-Mart!”

At these words, a window blew open putting some of the scented candles out.

“Ronnie Hennessy! Said Fatmammycat in alarm, “never have those words been spoken in this fair place. Speak not that tongue here in the hours of darkness.”

“Yet I make no apology Cat.” he replied, “if we are to win through, we shall hear worse than that before our trial is over.
This much is clear. You must come with me to Rome: Cardinal McShae will know what to do.”

And with that, he stood and took a bottle of Jägermeister from the freezer. He poured two measures of the smoking liquid, handing one to Fatmammycat.

They drank in candlelit silence.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fatmammycat gunned the Maserati round the cobbles in a skitter of squeals.
The private show had gone well. Very well indeed. She patted the sharkskin portfolio on the passenger seat beside her. They had lapped it all up. This time next year, fashion week would be toasting FMC Internationale as the new black. In five years, street markets across the continent would be awash with Chinese counterfeits of her new label. She had arrived.

In the basement carpark, Fatmammycat pressed for the penthouse elevator.
As she did, some of the lights flickered and went out. She instinctively moved away from the wall, into some space on the floor.

In a rush of black silken taffeta they were upon her. Six of them. Fashion Ninjas, and by their scent and Paris manicures they were D & G. Obviously.

“No matter what,” she thought, taking up her defensive stance, “they must not get those designs.”

At Milan airport, Ronnie Hennessy relaxed into the backseat of a taxi.
“Piazza Del Santa Maria” he ordered.

They circled her, feigning attacks, trying to draw her out. She stood her ground, waiting her chance.
The elevator pinged.
“Now or never” she thought.
Before the weighted handbags started to rain down, she pushed through to the lift which now stood with its doors open, then turned to face them. None of them dared approach the cornered feline in such an enclosed space, but instead gathered just out of claw reach, mewling and posing and striking the right attitude with what light was available, cursing her most foully.

“Marks and Spencer,” said one, her faultless teeth framed in beautiful full lips now twisted into an erotic pout.

“Come on come on!” thought Fatmammycat as she stabbed in the code that would take her home to safety.

“Top Shop.” said another, running her hand down her waist to rest on her hip, accentuating the superb cut and workmanship of her outfit.

“Jesus,” Thought Fatmammycat as the doors started to close with treacle slowness.

When the gap was less than a foot, the tallest of them, their leader presumably, leaned her impeccable upturned nose in to deliver her venomous barb.

“T K Maxx!” she hissed.

“Oh Christ nooo” Fatmammycat heard herself say as her world spun and the merciful embrace of unconsciousness took her in its yummy arms.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

In a white room,
with black curtains,
at the station,

Was going to talk about Scottish Meat and how it’s The Best in The World, but I’ve just come from The Japing Ape and it all seems nonsensical.

We live in interesting times my friends. The nights are drawing in after one of the best summers ever and our minds will inevitably turn back to our black art of BLOGGING.

Vaporise Barney has decamped and good luck to him.
He still made me laugh the loudest. He had something to say and the bastard gave himself the best lines. Of all the blogs, I identified with him the most.
It’s a drinking, seen a bit, had the corners knocked off, kinda thing.
One day, when you’re like me, you’ll understand.
Christ he was good. Hey! Get over it.

Hutton and his acolyte Noreen have hit an unfortunate purple patch. I say unfortunate because this is The Republic. I shall have no truck with them.

Brewski’s back, which is excellent. It’s like the swallows or house martins, except it’s out of sinc. But fairplay to him. He is a pinnacle. We can see him from afar. There isn’t many you can say that for, now is there?

I won’t mention FMC. I can’t sleep while there is an ague in her bones.

But throughout, and without the slightest slip, Gorilla Bananas has continued like some immutable standard.
e.g. ‘Diana’.
I am at a total loss as to how this is possible but there it is.
Not quite a year ago, I handed out the first ever Maroons. Awards for what I thought were the best blogs and commenters.
Bananas won Best Blog.

I’m having an INTERNET PARTY on the first anniversary of Cape To Rio. What I thought we’d all do is sit at our machines wherever in the wide world we are, with a bottle, and just get pie eyed drunk making all sorts of rash comments along the lines of:

“Leave him FMC/Sheba/Sarah/Lindy/Andraste/Sam and come and live with me in poverty in Scotland” sort of thing

I’ll send out the invites don’t worry.

Oh. And all the rest that haven’t been mentioned, come on, we all know who we are and that there isn’t a bunch comes anywhere close.

See! This is the worst of it. I assume we are so vain and up our own arses when it might just be me.

Anyhoo, HERE is the list of the best blogs on the web. NOT IN ORDER. Just the arbitrary way I put them in the stencil. (template) If I missed you out it aint personal.

The Japing Ape(BEST Blog)

The Anti-Barney
Just ask Anti! (AGONY)
Foot Eater !
Kim Ayres
Sir Kim
Justin Barker
The Lord Goldenshowers
Manuel Stimulation
The Safety Inspector
Dr McCrumble's bookcase
Ms Redhead

Daphne Wayne-Bough
PI Pat's Past Imperfect

Binty McShae
Doctor EVIL
Fatmammycat (15)
Twenty Major


List update.

The list of the best blogs should be THE SAME as the links list opposite. By definition. Somehow (by my own hamfistedness) I’ve contrived to miss out LEILOUTA, Kellius, Mr McGuinness, and by a quirk of fate, my own fab tribute site. Cape Trio.

If your site is not on the LINKS LIST it just means I haven’t got there yet. So long as you bring records or cider or mild recreational stimulants or better yet some girls, you will be welcome at the soiree. (Details to follow)

I shall now try and type out some snappy replies to your comments in the comments section.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Beggars' Banquet

Commissioner Conroy strode across the room to welcome his visitor. Handshakes over, both men sat, taking their ease in familiar silence at the window overlooking Phoenix Park.
The commissioner waited for his political master.

“O.K. Noel, where are we up to?”

Conroy counted off the points on the fingers of his hand:

“We have total deniability. Miller’s in Spain with the dossier, he’s due back tonight. The decoys left yesterday, they should be in Italy tomorrow…”
“Where are they now?” asked the politician.
“God knows. They flew Ryanair.”

The politician allowed himself a sudden bark of a laugh before seeking his clarification:

“And you’re confident they will sow confusion in the manner that we want?”

“Trust me, that pair could fuck up a game of ludo without trying but we’ll keep kicking their arses in the right direction.” Conroy replied.

There was no laugh this time.

“And the other feller, what’s his name, Hennessy? Does he need anything ? Is there anything I can provide?” asked the politician, now very much, the only Prime Minister in the room.

Conroy, realising too late his earlier freedom, paused to consider his answer:

“He will suffice.”

Hennessy put down the folder, careful not to betray his excitement at the revelations he had just read. He unfolded the black return envelope from the inside cover and following the instructions, put the folder in, then closed and signed the security strip, before pushing it back across the table.
‘So,’ he thought, ‘even Max is out the loop on this one.’
He couldn’t decide if that pleased or disturbed him.
Max stowed the packet away, and as if reading Hennessy’s mind, said:

“I do know this much. Your first stop is The Vatican. You have an appointment tomorrow with Cardinal McShae of their secret service. Be careful of him.”

“What is he? Swiss Guard? Jesuit?” asked Hennessy.

Max shook his head, “K. O. M.”

“Here, take this,” he said, sliding Hennessy a clear plastic wallet of banknotes.
“It’s to be cash all the way from now on. Don’t use a card. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must see a man about a dog.”

Hennessy watched as Max, satchel slung like a bandolier, made his way through the tables to the washroom in the gloomy interior of the bar.
He didn’t come back.

A peal of laughter from the tour group in the corner prompted Hennessy to take a quick professional scan of his fellow patrons. The place was filling up. Mass must be over. The Feast of the Assumption would be in full swing soon.
The tour leader was gathering his group about him. Advising them their bus had arrived to take them back to their ship.

“Dinner dance tonight everyone, and this time tomorrow we’ll be in Italy!“

They all cheered. They had an infectious end of term jollity which only threw into relief what lay before Hennessy.
But that path led nowhere so he checked his Bulgari. Still plenty of time. He would catch this evening’s plane to Milan, take the Maserati if Cat hadn’t wrapped it round a tree by now, and he could be in Rome by 2am. On second thoughts, the road to Rome was good, he could catch up with Cat tonight and still be in Rome with time to spare…if he left early enough.
With that thought, he smiled as if for the first time.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Beggars' Banquet

At one of the more regional airports of our fine European Union, a plane has landed. On board, are two important people. From the thousands of hard working professional men and women who make up that august organisation, An Garda Siochana, they have been most carefully selected for this mission.
I’m calling it an airport, but it’s really a four kilometre strip with a white box at the side of it. The white box has something international airport written on it, but they’re not kidding anyone.
Their mission, which they have chosen to accept, is not unadjacent to the one that is being explained to our hero some 600 miles to the south west.
As the more astute of you will have realised, our hero is indeed Ronnie Hennessy, the Free State’s danger man.
Every country has them, of course they do: their man for a tight spot.
Equally at home in a white dinner jacket on the Cote d'Azur or a black donkey jacket in the Russian oilfields, when the going gets tough, you send in Hennessy.


Out on the Spanish terrace, the two men sat sipping their drinks in the sunshine. Just two family men off the hook for an hour, chewing the fat, smiling at waiter and passer-by alike.

“No way Max. I’m retired. You said so yourself.” started Hennessy.
“It doesn’t work that way and you know it.” replied Max.
“Why me anyway?” Hennessy asked, waving over more drinks. A cognac for him and a kir for Max.
“You were requested by name. Noel and Bertie were specific.”

said Max,
all the while avoiding eye contact by rummaging in his satchel. From it, he took a folder and placed it tantalisingly on the table next to his kir. Hennessy noted it was government green with the embossed golden harp on the cover. He saw too the unbroken security tabs.
You should have been an angler, Max. he thought.

Out loud, he said,

“Oh, Noel and Bertie is it now? My, haven’t we come up in the world? It wasn’t that long ago you needed my help with…”
“Look Ronnie,” said Max, interrupting, “we both know you’re going to do it, so why don’t we skip to the end?”
Hennessy smiled his best disarming smile and reached out for the proffered folder.
“Show.” he said.


As the plane ground to a halt at its stand far from the terminal, the older of the two defenders of the peace woke up and stared out the window at the shimmering heat.

“Where, in the name of Christ, is this?” he asked.

The younger of the two looked at his inflight map for a second before answering his superior.

“Mally you are one fucking eedjit and that’s a fact!”

Thursday, August 24, 2006

For Andraste:

For Twenty Major:

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Beggars' Banquet

Now the dust has settled and our thirst is slaked for the time being, we can turn our attention back on our hero. He has taken himself here in search of quiet and inspiration. He has a tale, and for now, his tale is ours. We shall walk the path with him, for a little way at least. Until we see some promising attraction, up a side street maybe. Does everyone have a drink? Because I think happy hour may be drawing to a close.

How often have we mislaid a loved one in the confusion of the city? We try and think. Concentrate. What was she wearing? Oh yes, that old red anorak and blue jeans, well that shouldn’t be too hard to spot…and immediately we see them, miles away through the crowd, and the funny thing is, they’re not wearing red at all, or jeans for that matter.

No, we recognise them by their totality. Their height, the way they move on the street, their habit of weaving, or whatever it might be.

So it is that our man recognises a figure from his past moving in the crowd. Moving up the hill towards this very inn. A figure it has to be said, that he’d hoped never to see again.


It is undoubtedly Max, for no matter what disguise he employs and today it appears to be ‘tee shirted holidaymaker’, to our hero’s eyes, he always has the look of a lost man in a suit. Our hero’s eyes, as we shall see, have been well sharpened.
He watches as the tourist wanders up the road, taking his time, looking in the windows, smiling, ever the sightseer. This display he knows, is not for his benefit. This performance is for others who may be watching. To our hero, that thought alone is enough to chill him, even in this heat.

With his heart beating now, he watches as the tourist wanders past the entrance, strolls up the street and suddenly stops. He watches as the tourist apparently decides that he will have that drink after all, and meanders all the way back to the tavern. His eyes never leave the tourist as he walks straight up to his table and drops with a sigh into the seat opposite.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Part 18

No sooner had Ayres hit the grass in an ungainly jumble of limbs, than the grimy tramp pulled a glass vial from his filthy rags, and, smashing it on the ground in front of us, disappeared in a cloud of green smoke.
When the smoke had cleared, he was in the firm clutch of our leader and coughing most wretchedly.

“Haven’t quite…got that formula right…too much sulphur.” he spluttered.
“With what foul bane have you assailed our confederate?” demanded Bananas.
“What? Oh, just vitamin B12 complex.” coughed the grubby vagrant.
“Not Amazonian poison dart venom then?” I asked, only slightly disappointed.
“Sorry, ‘fraid not. Can’t get the frogs you see.” wheezed the heaving hobo.
“I feel magnificent.” said Ayres from the ground, where he had stretched out with his hands behind his head.

The greatest of detectives released the disgraceful bundle of filth, whereupon the dapper little monkey scampered up his arm to sit on his shoulder scowling at us.

“Clever little chap” I said in admiration.
“Capuchin.” Said our supreme sleuth.
“I didn’t think to bring coffee G.B. but there’s some Darjeeling in a flask.” I offered.
“A White-headed Capuchin to be more precise.” continued Bananas, pointing at the monkey, “the preferred companion of organ grinders, mendicants and burglars.”
“Whatever else I’ve been, I was never a mendicant, and that’s a fact!” said the tramp hotly.
“Let’s eat.” said Ayres.

In Castle Alucard, the spiky haired comedian was coaching Mr McShae the Scotsman on the finer points of the English double entendre. (He was to provide the comic relief during the intermission.)

“So you see McShea, all baked goods are a safe bet. For example, dumplings, baps, éclair…
“Éclair?” Asked McShae
“It’s to do with the shape. Look don’t worry about it McShea.”
“It’s McShae actually.” said McShae
“That’s what I said” replied the comedian.
“No, you said McShea,” said McShae “but never mind. So, I’d rather have a French stick than an éclair?”
“You’re almost there McShea.” clapped Jokey.
“It’s McShae!”

Monday, August 21, 2006

Part 17

A s we stood and stared in the direction of our leader’s outstretched finger, sure enough I fancied I could make out a dark shape and a curious flash of red trailing it, moving among the stand of elms and poplar.

“What is it?” asked Ayres, “is it the Beast of Bodmin?”
“Barbudo?” I asked, “I thought he was getting treatment.”
“Quick men, the game’s afoot! We must be swift. The tors are riddled with caves and our quarry must not slip our grasp!” Shouted that most magnificent of detectives and with purposeful strides he was off up the slope.

We followed in his wake, in no small measure hampered by our provisions. As Ayres’ sturdy young legs pumped up the hill like pistons, they struck the hamper at every step.

“Mind the crockery Ayres,” I admonished, “and we should try not to shake the Burgundy if we can help it.”


Back at Castle Alucard, Dr Evil’s daughter Sarah had decided to liven proceedings by ‘putting on a show’.
Guest and servant alike had been dragooned into rehearsing a unique amateur production cobbled together from Lady Windermere’s Fan with bits of Charlie’s Aunt. The released safety inspector had just loped in through the French windows with a cricket bat exclaiming “Anyone for tennis?”

“No No NO!” shouted Sarah.

Of course the fabulously wealthy Dr Evil could have hired the English National Opera to stage Aida on the lawn, but Sarah who was up on these things had stamped her dainty foot saying that was the point. The old money made their own entertainment with nothing more than the dressing up box from the attic.
Evil had agreed, although it went against all his aesthetic sensibilities.
Sarah on the other hand had no such doubts and had appointed herself director of the piece.

Look at the rubbish I have to work with, she thought, and noticing an unnatural bulge in the Inspector’s flannels asked,
“are you wearing a box by the way?”
“A what?”
“A protector. A cricketer’s box?”
“No. Where do you wear them?” asked the inspector.
“On the pitch, look never mind. You’re quite sure are you?”
“Yes quite sure thank you.”
“See me after rehearsals then,” she said, her voice suddenly hoarse.

As the run-through continued, Sarah mouthed the lines in time with the actors‘ delivery.
“…is this an oriental dagger I see before me, it’s squiggly blade pointed toward my breast?…”


Back out on the moor, we had gained the summit in time to see an old dirty vagabond disappearing into a thicket dragging an evil looking monkey after him on a chain. The monkey, dressed in a miniature bandsman’s uniform was screaming in bare-fanged terror at our approach. The vile chattering little beast adjusted his little pillbox hat and suddenly lifted a blowpipe to his lips, sending a feathered dart towards Ayres.
I tried to warn him.

“Ayres! Watch out!” I shouted, “You’ll upset the trifle!”

But Ayres now quite deaf to my entreaties, stood silent for a second then fell smiling onto the grass.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Part 16

We had been some days at Castle Alucard and I had not finished my morning routine on the trapeze when Mr Gorilla Bananas, friend and foremost of detectives, bustled into my room.
In my green drawers and stripy Henley vest, I fancy I cut a virile figure as I hung there by my toes.

“Are you mocking me Maroon?” he asked.
“Whatever do you mean Bananas?” I replied, not for the first time lost by the superior workings of his fascinating intellect.
“Never mind.” he continued in some excitement, “We must get out on the moor forthwith and investigate those strange lights we saw last night. I’ve looked at the map and I calculate they emanated not a mile distant, from a place called Gibbet Wood on Gallows Hill.”

With our friend and associate Ayres, we made our hurried plans and by half past three that afternoon, Gorilla Bananas drew us up in the castle courtyard to inspect our equipment. In order to travel light, we had foregone our alpenstocks, climbing gear and the religious accoutrements in favour of a generous hamper of provisions, lest we should get caught on the moor and miss supper.

Ayres and I were to carry the hamper between us while Bananas would orienteer with map and compass.

The weather had dramatically lifted and was now at its Devon best: damp sunshine with the promise of early evening drizzle.
Satisfied with our preparations, the remarkable ape declared we were ready for departure and our trio set off across the moor, bickering, as is the English tradition, about who should have brought the mustard spoon and who the first aid kit.

We had not gone three furlongs from the castle gate when we encountered our first disquieting experience.

There in a delightful hollow was the reprobate butler, Eater, picnicking with the young American Miss Lindy. He the servant, was busily buttering her buns and spreading honey on her muffin with the back of a spoon.
Together, they had researched the meaning of the Japanese ideogram found in the American bibliophile’s book.
“quality inspected. # 23” was the puzzling translation.

Eater was far from pleased at our sudden arrival, and started back from his labours. Although his black eye had now subsided, he regarded Ayres with particular suspicion and pointedly remained out of the latter’s reach. I am afraid to confess that his familiar manner with Miss Lindy and his insolent attitude to us, his betters, infuriated me.

He addressed us with a mouth full of jam and crumpet.

“Forgive me Sir Kim, I hardly recognised you with your trousers on.”

His remark brought forth the most delightful chuckle from Miss Lindy-K. This was too much. I had to score a point back for Ayres’ honour.

“Yes, well, you were privileged, Mr Eater,” I returned in hot indignation, “his legs although short, were often remarked as the finest at college! Especially his thighs. Weren’t they Ayres?”

I was immediately rewarded by another chuckle from Miss Lindy, this time obviously at the butler’s expense, who now seemed to be choking on his teabread. I turned in humble triumph to my companions but Ayres and Bananas merely looked at me in silence, too gallant to press home our advantage.

“If you would point us to our path” said Bananas smiling, “we’ll trouble you no longer.”

We had not gone a further furlong and I was engaging Ayres in conversation to lighten the burden that hung between us, perhaps two hampers would have been better;

“Taught that fellow a lesson in life I fancy,” I said brightly.
“Why on earth did you mention my legs Maroon?” he asked.
“Don’t be so modest Ayres,” I replied.
“Yes but now he thinks…”
“Stop!” said Bananas lifting his leathery palm, “Look. Up at that copse. Do you see it?”
He was pointing to a coppice on the skyline, his nostrils flaring in that way of his.
“There. Moving through the trees!” he exclaimed

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Beggars' Banquet

How fortunate we are in our position. Today being the 15th Day of August, it is the Feast of the Assumption, as I’m sure we all knew. Today we celebrate the passing of the Blessed Mother from this earth and her assumption into the Kingdom of Heaven. Now here, in this sun-bleached town, there will be a procession.
You’ve surely seen the films on Holiday ‘87 and so on. Frank Bough and Nestor watching in suburban bemusement as the firecrackers and the statue of Mary, carried shoulder high by handsome young men in white shirts, passes by, and all the while unknown to us, Frank was thinking of cocaine and getting tied up by nubile girls! Beastly Frank and his tank tops.
Anyway I digress. A procession will wind past this most agreeable of oases on its way to the tiny church up the road. It’s one of the biggest days in the year for this little town and like all the best religious feasts, we, along with the population, will feel an honest purity for the couple of hours that the procession and quick Mass will take. But even in our state of grace, we will know in the dark kernel of our mortal hearts, just like Frank, that the feasting will begin soon after, and then all bets are off.
Can you hear the drumbeats? Look there! They are coming round the corner and making their way up the hill towards us.

All eyes have turned in the direction of the saintly clamour. All eyes that is, except for two.
Out on the white desolation of the flagged patio, under a huge golden parasol advertising the holy brew of St Miguel, sits an exiled Irishman reading last night’s results from Limerick.

At specific points on the journey, the statue stops, takes a bow, turns around amid the firecrackers and rockets, and starts up again. It seems to be floating in the crowd on its own. It’s drawing near now, the rhythmic singing and the incence and the foreign faces and the rockets. Native and visitor alike are swaying, being drawn into the ceremonial, on some innate level it’s all making sense.
The moment is only a little spoiled by the bustling arrival of a Scotsman (judging by the tartan scarf and the heather sellotaped to his rucksack.) His feast started at 10:30 this morning.
He is tearfully reading a text message on his infernal cellphone. He is singing: “If you hate the Glasgow Polis, clap your hands…”.