The Dandiest of Highwaymen

This should be an absolute doddle.
Face mask?
Check. And the height of fashion, even if he says so himself.
Three pointed hat?
Check… Although it didn’t quite fit.
Horse?
Check! The bloody thing wouldn’t do as it was told mind you. It wouldn’t face the right way, move forward or anything. But still.
Musket?
Check. Plastic, but it still looked realistic from a distance.
Tight leather trousers?
Definitely check! And sexy as hell he looked in them as well, especially after losing those few pounds.
He had seen it on telly. How hard could it be?
And right on cue, surprisingly, here came his target now! Large, white and leaving dark smoky trails.
He took a deep breath and adjusted his mask whilst trotting confidently forward, certain that he would go down in the annals of infamy, just like his heroes of yesteryear.
“Halt!” And he pointed his musket with a certain aplomb. “Your money or your…”
The National Express coach from Plymouth to Bristol didn’t stop in time.

Horace Wimp’s Christmases of Yore… Part 6

I watched the water swirl and splash around and over the white bowl, as I somehow managed to reach up and pull the flush.
I wiped my mouth on my sleeve, leaving a slimy trail that melted the cotton fabric. I held my stinky breath as the room renewed its spin, reinvigorated in its buck… Oh shit. Here we go again.
I promised God faithfully. “If You can hear me. I promise to never, ever, ever drink again.” It was a life of abstinence and purity from now on. Cross my heart and hope to die. I rested my head upon that cold, hard bowl. “And,” while He was about it. “Please make Ellie like me again.” A plea muttered very weakly, but with sincere feeling.
Oh for the Christmases of yesteryear. Those hazardous, ne’er to be forgotten trips to ageing holiday camps in the midst of a windswept, rain-lashed Wales. Where, trapped and helpless, we had to laugh at the compeer’s continuous quips about “Exeter”: everywhere near a strangely pronounced “Exeeter”. Imprisoned nightly in a dining room from where we cheered the introduction of a huge, burning Christmas pud.
“But I don’t like Christmas pud?”
“I don’t care. Eat it,” I was ordered. “Enjoy it!” Everyone eating in time, to a beat.
Where the camp’s guards, in yellow coats, demanded of an evening that we had fun. That we sing, dance and make merry. “Or else!”
Those hair-raising journeys home, where we cheated death over the mountains and through every valley, whole villages washed away by raging currents, terrified goats clinging to flotsam, sheep bleating for help as rivers broke their banks, but where the inhabitants still sang tunefully as they disappeared beneath the rising water level for a third time, or as they disappeared with a cheery “boyo”, swept straight over the nearest cliff.
“We beat the bloodthirsty Zulus singing this shit, you know Boyo. A little water never hurt any…” and away he was swept.
My Grandad opening the struggling car’s back door as we stalled, my father’s shout of warning too late, water now gushing in and through, swamping us, the car sliding sideways, my brother screaming – “Why have Thou forsaken me, oh Lord?” – and grabbing hold of Monkey.
“I’ll push,” Grandad had glugged, before being swept onto the parcel shelf. “On second thoughts.”
Frantically we began to bale out the water, but had to concede against the tide, the car beginning to rock and twist, Dad trying to jump it out of harm’s way on a tiring starter motor, finally diving into the glove compartment as it began to sink.
“Del!” my mother crying out, reaching out, but held back, a water ring thrown forward.
Grandad moaning again, as he finally extracted himself from around an armrest, his only good suit now water-stained beyond repair, and his ashtray completely ruined, a soggy packet of Golden Virginia gently bobbing past his knees. It hadn’t had a chance to give him so much as a cough yet.
Oh for those yesteryears.
I was gently laid on a soft mattress, an old mattress, my young life flashing before my eyes; the retching subsiding and this spinning room gliding to a gentle stop.
With relief, I at last fell into a fitful sleep. Beside me, over me, Arthur closed my eyes and quietly pronounced time of death, placing the old duvet over my head, ignoring my protestations. For he knew best.

Horace Wimp’s Christmases of Yore… Part 5

I was gently carried up the stairs, rather limp. My head banging against the bannister.
I mumbled incoherently. Passed in and out of consciousness.
Was this it? Was this my death now coming to greet me, to comfort me, promising to make it quick and painless?
“He’ll thank me one day,” I heard Arthur whisper. “Admittedly not today, but one day.” If I survived.
It was a ritual, handed down. “His father taught me how to drink by nearly killing me,” he tried to explain. “Gave me my very first lesson in these joys of adulthood. I am merely returning the compliment.” The defence rests, your honour. He sounded concerned though, as my head smacked the wall, Arthur not quite making the turn at the top of the stairs.
I was having an out-of-body experience, watching them carry me, legs “akimbo” from this cradle, arms stiff, head dangling, my tongue rolling out and my eyes spinning.
“What have you done?” There was Ellie, blond and beautiful Ellie: the last vision I would see. My angel. Bloody hell, she was going to kill me, for I was suddenly sure that I’d made something of a mess on her new carpet.
My head, forced down a toilet bowl, kept in place with a strong hand, for they knew what was best for me.
“I’m sorry,” I started to say, about the carpet, about this, about a lot of things really, but I was interrupted by a revitalised urge to throw up. My stomach painfully clenched, rippling now, trying to throw something away, far, far away judging by the force with which I hurled into the ceramic bowl.
God, it hurt!
I sprayed her newly decorated bathroom, totally unable to control myself… and I may have made a bit of a mess in the downstairs one as well, now I come to think of it. I heard her curse. Heard her swear at Uncle Arthur, and threaten certain parts of his anatomy: the vulnerable parts that dangled.
“Oh, I knew that somehow this would be my fault!”
“Sorry,” I mumbled very weakly, hoping that it would make a difference. I wouldn’t be able to show my face around here ever again. I was a disgrace. But head down that bowl again, just in time. And the only way to stop the room from spinning, to lessen that orchestra banging in my head… The strong smell of fresh disinfectant suddenly wafting around me.
I thanked Auntie for her concern, as she hovered over me: a strange voice echoing, assuring her that her care wasn’t necessary. And a weak beg for her forgiveness, all cobbled together with the vow of never again.
“I feel fine.” Such an obvious lie. Hanging to the toilet with all the strength I had left, and smiling up at her, my neck bones cracking, what looked like carrot trapped between teeth and with my breath strongly reeking.
I will never forget the look of disgust breaking through her pity. As she gazed down on me and around at her new bathroom; at the washbasin and the white bath; at the perfect shower unit, finished just yesterday; at the tiled walls. All now dripping.
“I must have eaten something?” The pickled egg the main suspect, not that she believed me for a minute. Another frantic call for yet more strong bleach. Or, failing that, a loaded shotgun, both of which could be found under the sink.
“Don’t worry,” I tried to console her. “I’ll most likely be dead in a minute.”
“You’ve upset her now,” Arthur whispered in my ear. What had I done that for? I had totally ruined their Christmas! He threatened to hold my still spinning head down the toilet bowl now glistening with the lining of my stomach. He threatened to flush it. But I couldn’t understand it. I really thought I had him, the cocky Liam. Especially after the third time. I looked up, apologetic yet confused.
“What did you get him into that state for?” Ellie hissed as I began to hallucinate. “I’ll give you bloody ritual, a bloody rite of passage… Look at the state of my house. I’ll never get that off the wall…” What was it anyway? “And how in hell did the idiot manage to project it all the way up there?”
“I am so sorry…”
“Shut up you.” She hadn’t finished, obviously. And now she’d lost her train of thought.
“Marg and Del will be here any minute,” Auntie suddenly recalled. “And what the hell am I supposed to tell them? Eh?” Asked with a carefully delivered prod. “I’m not going to be the one who tells them he’s dead.” She was adamant.
Death quietly smiled at me while tidying his cloak and then cleaning his scythe. Tutting and constantly checking the watch loosely attached to his bony arm. Despite his pleasant demeanour, I could tell he was growing impatient. He’d appreciate it if we could hurry this along. He was pressed for time. He had another two unfortunates to greet before tea, Christmas being his busiest time of the year. Sad, but what can you do? If your name’s on the list, your name’s on the list.
So this was it. This was to be my squalid death.

Horace Wimp’s Christmases of Yore… Part 4

One of the cats, cuddly little Connie, hiccupped and stumbled through the kitchen, unsteady on little paws and having to rest a while, perched against the fridge, her paper hat weirdly askew. But we set about testing the fermented and hopefully fully settled barrel of “6X”, the name whispered with a revered inflection and a lick of the lips.
“Revered what?” Liam asked, glass held at the ready, taking his place in the little queue beside the cupboard beneath the stairs. This murky brown liquid, full of dead or rapidly dying insects, of fat rats still swimming. Little Connie finally passing out with a screech, a retched meow, once pretty eyes rolling to the back of her head, her tongue flopping on the floor with a last spiteful hiss from behind the now blaring stereo, as the first pint was poured and closely examined against the swinging bare lightbulb.
Dare we? My father’s words of warning echoing.
Gasps of appreciation exchanged, the cough, the shake of the head, the deep gulps… and then lips licked with desire.
We sat, as only those content sit: “half pissed”. With sporadic fits of giggling, about what we neither knew nor cared, but it had started somewhere. Uncle Arthur passing wind, tunefully and on command, as only us men can. It was his house, he had said. Just don’t tell Ellie.
Perched at the edge of new dining room chairs and lounging across the new dining room table that my poor Aunt – as if she didn’t have enough to do already – tried to polish so very proudly, and protect, moving about us, pushing away our feet and tutting in frustration as she flicked out at us, at me, with a duster. The things she had to put up with.
We faced each other with game faces that only the drunk can properly pull off, with stares sometimes intent and not at all properly focussed.
“I love you guys,” someone gushed with genuine meaning, between hiccups.
“Are you sleeping with my wife?” And the conversation turned abruptly again, with unfounded accusations and wildly inaccurate finger pointing, to The The, desperate Ellie hiding the Whisky.
“You’re not married,” it was gently pointed out to me.
“Forty-eight hours,” I again reminded Uncle Arthur. “Dad’s going to be awfully cross.” And with those words, a strong shake of the head, a finger that waggled, I felt my work here was done and I closed my eyes as that warm ale slithered uncomfortably down my throat. I spat out that hint of fur and crunched on what tasted like bones…
“Yum?” How did people drink this?
“Lovely, isn’t it?” Liam licking his lips
Is it? But I nodded weakly, despite the shiver down my spine and with my now rebellious legs stumbling in various directions. Trying to mumble incoherently over the noise of a drowning brain sharply ordering my stomach to “keep it down”, to hold this growing sense of nausea at bay. “What the hell is going on down there?”
“He flinched. I saw him flinch.”
“Did not!” It was a lie. But the challenge was laid down: while my attention was drawn to my now rattling stomach visibly trembling, about to blow! Or during that split second when my eyes had followed my lovely Aunt about the room. Not that anyone would ever know.
“What? I wasn’t staring!” Cross my heart and hope to die… the others now looking at me with some confusion. “Never mind.”
According to Uncle Arthur and his inexplicably stuttered metaphors, I had been slapped hard across the face with the proverbial equivalent of a “gruelling dove”? And now, as a laughing Liam limbered up and prepared to “take me down”, the lined up glasses and ornate silver tankard were being… Lined up. Blimey, I was feeling funny.
The family name of Wimp, once so proud allegedly, had to be defended. For what would my father say? But was I up to it? Up to this challenge?
They laughed at me. Their words taunted me, prodded me, dared me, as I looked into Liam’s eyes, his shoulders being rubbed and soothed… Not finding as much as a hopeful flicker.
My gulp was audible.
“A boat race?”
I didn’t really understand. And couldn’t it be with lager and lime? A question to which they laughed. My father would be horrified, or so they repeatedly reminded me. Would if they could, if it was up to them, they said with sad shrugs, but rules are rules. And they closed in, sensing blood in the water. My Uncle and his bloody metaphors.
“Play nice,” but Ellie quickly shooed from the room, and with her, any last hope of salvation. But if this was how they wanted it… And as the family name was so important.
Liam remained so bloody calm as his silver tankard was filled, even smiling as I fumbled with my pint glass, my hand slipping rather awkwardly through the handle, sweat on my anxious brow in spite of winter’s chill.
I waited for the countdown, beginning to wilt under the withering look, including Ellie, her worried face pressed up against the frosted glass.
“Play nice.” But oh God, this was going to end badly. “Remember the new carpet.”
Finally, “Go!” and Arthur’s fist banging down on the table, the loud tribal chanting erupting: “Down! Down! Down!”
I went for it straight away, eyes closed and pouring this foul tasting liquid down as fast as possible… God, it was horrid! But if I was going down, then I was going down with a fight, and I was taking one of the buggers with me.
“Oh, fighting talk.”
I was encouraged, slapped hard on the back, which didn’t help much, if I’m honest. That ale, ever fouler with every desperate gulp and soon trickling down my chin, dripping onto my shirt. But, across the table and perched comfortably on his chair, with long legs folded, Liam calmly smiled, licked his lips, even managed a sure wink at Arthur, towards Bill, to a terrified Ellie… Finally picking up his tankard and coolly mopping his brow, the cocky bastard.
“Cheers.”
The last few drops trickled down my now burning throat, or dangled attractively from my chin. I swallowed, shook my head and banged down the now empty glass. For I had won, surely? A triumphant, ha bloody ha! ready to erupt. Opening my eyes to accept the plaudits…
I could only gasp… Fumble. Could only shake my head… Mouth enquires into how?
Bollocks!
What would my father say?
But Liam merely smiled and Bill simply shrugged, pointing to the silver tankard, back on the table, placed down so very carefully – for Ellie was still watching. He calmly brushed back his hair.
If you play with the big boys.
“Again.” I demanded another chance. Suggested the best of three? They tutted, sadly shook their heads, pondered my request while stroking chins, my Uncle Arthur unable to look me in the eye, such was the shame. “Again.” Sliding my empty glass forward. “Please?”
I could do it, I was sure. I could beat him. Next time I’d try harder, do better. I’d got the hang of it now. The taste for it.
“Well, as you’re family.” But they wouldn’t normally, of course. Just this once wouldn’t hurt.
The glass and the tankard, slowly refilled. Lips wiped clean and shoulders, Liam’s shoulders, again massaged. The last minute words of advice.
“Go!”

Stolen from the upcoming novel Reluctant Country Boy

Horace Wimp’s Christmases of Yore… Part 3

We entered a welcome warmth, Uncle Arthur and I. A fire roaring in the corner and people laughing in the crowded public bar, toddies held high in the spirit of Christmas. Kisses of the season planted firmly on my uncle’s cheeks under mistletoe bunches, before the door had swung shut behind us. To fight our way to the bar, through this excitable crowd, my glasses steaming up: bashing into chairs and up against chests, my apologies mumbled into an ample cleavage, my disability quickly explained, and hopefully before the boyfriend’s fists began to fly.
“Merry Christmas!” Noddy Holder hollered painfully.
The pints began to flow, passed back over heads very carefully, through or around this scrum – drinking mine discreetly, while the landlord wasn’t watching – and we became more cocksure with every gulp or sip, our burps more fruity from the mulled wine. Elbows now in deep puddles of spilt ale and poorly consumed crisps and peanuts, spat out when in deep excitable conversation, or while laughing far too raucously.
“You lot! Shut it.”
We propped up the wooden bar, or slumped down on any available stools – my head beginning to spin – those around me busy, winking at the new barmaid, trying desperately not to dribble down their chins when in front of her, this petite brunette with a nervous smile but the most enquiring of eyes, with hands on shapely hips, defensively perhaps, as she struggled to peer above or between the pumps, struggled to reach the optics, as she gingerly held out a hand for the money.
“Now there’s something I wouldn’t mind in my stocking.” And she still found a sweet smile for this highly unoriginal line.
With another lager and lime at hand, or sucking up a Malibu with coke through a straw, I listened politely to their adult stories. Of those fast cars, so often crashed, and the wild teenage escapades. Of drunken girls from long, long ago now, whose names were easily forgotten, or necessarily changed to protect already fragile reputations: “Especially that bird from Greenford.” The Looker, to use the vernacular, who could hold a lit cigarette to the back of her hand for thirty seconds and who do wonderful things with a ping-pong ball that would make my hair curl, all for the promise of a rum and coke and maybe a lift home, if it was not out of their way?
“Doris.” What had ever happened to Doris?
“I married her.”
“Oh yeah.”
I laughed, ha, ha, ha, and loudly, following their example closely, so as not to give myself away, but my mind boggling all the time, trying to keep afloat.
In the secluded safety offered by a dimly lit corner, we talked of manly things, suddenly brave once out of “their” earshot.
“Don’t get married,” was the basis of their advice. “If you know what’s good for you,” and relayed with a finger pressed firmly against lips. “Not that I’d be without my Doris.”
“Or my Lynne.”
“Or my Ellie.”
“Or his Ellie,” this group of friends agreed.
“Peanut? They’re a bit soggy now, but…”
I tried my best to join in, to become involved, to be “one of the lads”. “You wouldn’t believe the trouble I’m having with this girl at school.” Faces looking at me. “She puts it about with everyone,” according to the usual gossip on the toilet walls. “But me…? Not a bloody thing.”
“Probably ‘cos you’re funny looking?” someone advised, the others taking this into consideration… Before nodding wholeheartedly. Cruel but true, my uncle thought.
“Not as much as a quick fumble behind the bus shelter, or up the secluded water tower.”
“Never heard it called that before.”
They laughed. I laughed, rather overdoing it though, bringing nothing but suspicious glances in my direction and cricking my neck, but understanding the premise of a saucy joke at long, long last. At least, I think I did.
Someone, as yet unseen through the cigarette smoke, bitterly sighed. It was the same with his wife, he said sadly, chewing on the slice of a bitter lemon. She was, we were all informed, a rather fetching lady with “umpteen” tattoos all proudly displayed and boldly proclaiming both love and hate in equal coverage, “depending on what hand she hits you with first”. He pointed her out, by the crowded bar, this gentile creature arm-wrestling the drunken sailor.
“You don’t know how lucky you are.” Liam draped an arm around sagging shoulders, the rest of us singing loudly to the tunes on the jukebox; Slade, again, Wizzard, again; Bowie and Bing Crosby, again. A landlord short of Christmas cheer, despite the little drummer boy, now growling and shooing everyone away with a dishcloth, needing silence to count his takings.
“Bah humbug!”
My coin dropping into the jukebox and the buttons chosen and pressed, a record dropping into place. Not particularly Christmassy perhaps, but who could resist just a little bit of Tenpole Tudor?
The landlord!
Quietly watching now, banished to a distant corner, and trying to catch my breath. To calm a stomach beginning to bubble and gurgle. And so I sat before I fell, all of a sudden light-headed… But the room continued to spin… And those around me drifting out of focus.
I tried to negotiate my way about a glass of Malibu, navigate an ornamental umbrella and the straw continually poking me in the eye. A conga line materialised and shuffled from bar to bar in time to Wham! and Modern Romance, embarrassingly. I wasn’t that drunk, preferring instead to become morose along to Tears For Fears.

Horace Wimp’s Christmases of yore… Part II

Simon's Ramblings...

Christmas at Uncle Arthur’s.

A quiet family Christmas in Pinner. The endless arguing between endless rounds of that new board game, Trivial Pursuit, after one too many drinks.Standing to attention during the Queen’s Christmas Speech, and then falling asleep after dinner: burping because of the turkey and farting due to the sprouts.
“God bless her,” Dad always said of his Queen, somewhat embarrassingly throwing up a crisp salute as the credits slowly rolled for another year, and as we settled down for Top Of The Pops, Ellie bopping to Hungry Like A Wolf.
This was still a few days away, but my dread was growing.
Aunt Ellie meticulously lined up the Christmas cards, spreading them around the living room on lengths of string, trailing them into the hall, through the open front door and across the street. Uncle Arthur prepared himself mentally, to do battle with the ostrich-sized turkey flatly…

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A Christmas Carol… of sorts

Simon's Ramblings...

The now threadbare decorations, wanly flapping across the city streets awash with shoppers and carollers, had been gleefully garrotting the unsuspecting since early October. Signs merrily wishing everyone a joyful “Peace To All”, and seasonal discounts in seventeen different languages – including an ancient script of Hebrew – colourfully littered every shop window, alongside mannequins bedecked in sexy red attire.
A wonderful time of the year. When old men, disguised behind straggly off-white beards and bulging uniforms of faded red, dotted with the stains accumulated over time, could safely bounce young children up and down on swelling knees without fear of a quick lynching from the normally baying mob of over-protective vigilantes.
“Don’t talk to strangers,” a young mother reminded her little daughter in the middle of Debenhams, before quickly hurling her into a dingy little grotto and waving as she wandered away, hand in hand, behind a strange little…

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Diary, Entry 2

14th July
It’s worst than I thought.
Instead of carrying off this new and fashionable, “Tramp Look”, with something approaching the aplomb I originally envisioned, today someone commented that I looked like Kenny Rogers. He’s dead, isn’t he?
Thank you very much indeed, Mum.
15th July
Not that I have been unnecessarily deliberating on it at all, due to the fact that there are a lot of things currently going on in the world that I feel demand my attention a little bit more, but… Kenny bloody Rogers?!
Really!?
I decided, mainly after catching a rather unfortunate whiff from his breath, that
little Teddy desperately needed his little teeth cleaned. Having finally caught him and secured him and pacified him somewhat with the vague promise of a biscuit, or two, my mum went to work as quickly as possible, whilst I tried to hold the little scamp’s head as still as I could – he doesn’t half wriggle about and fidget! After a few exhausting minutes we had managed to clean the whole of the left side of his little mouth and a couple of the molars at the back of the right side of his mouth, before he decided that enough was simply enough and promptly tried to eat the toothbrush. He’s not getting a biscuit after that! We never had this problem with little Holly… Unless it was bath time, and then we had to tie her to a tree, get the hose out and stand well back! She would quite happily jump in any old stream, dirty puddle or lob herself into the sea, but when it came to the bath!
On the plus side, and despite the many desperate warnings from all the experts on FaceBook, Godzilla has not shown up as of yet. Sally from Exeter, who apparently knows all about these things from her previous job as a hairdresser-come-beautician, thinks that this could be due to the current travel restrictions? In her opinion, the fact that he would, or would not, now have to self-quarantine himself for fourteen days has slightly put him off travelling to G.B. Apparently, he hasn’t got the time and hasn’t arranged for the extra days off work. Apparently, during the week, he’s a Quantity Surveyor.
Phew!
16th July
I found out at six o-clock this evening, after Pointless and just in time for the 6 O-Clock News, that it’s a Thursday. I could have sworn that it was the Tuesday from 9 days ago. What happened to that Tuesday? This sort of throws my diary out of kilter a little bit.
Spent my time between writing the various drafts of my new article for, For The Love of Bands, by relaxing and watching The Deadliest Catch, but had to quit the daring chase for King Crab and return quickly to shore due to a heavy bout of incapacitating sea-sickness.
Don’t like crab anyway, to be honest. They are the Devil’s sea creatures! All that sideways walking and snip, snip snipping.

NOTE: Whilst searching high and low for my favourite Umbro trainers that Teddy has no doubt taken hostage, I finally found Tuesday 7th July down the back of the sofa.

17th July
Megan Markle, one time actress and current part-time duchess with a busy social media account, has now decided that she and Prince Harry do not like Los Angeles after all, as its full of people who refuse to take any notice of her – let alone bow and scrape like peasants are supposed to nowadays – and hundreds of film companies that don’t want to employ her what-so-ever. Megan is reported to be in tears now, having, according to her friend(s), given up her entire life for the royal family; for at least 90 minutes whilst she was getting married. This is all said to have come as something of a complete shock to poor husband Harry, who was informed of the news by her staff whilst doing the dishes. So where next for the couple, now that the whole of Great Britain and Canada are out of the running? Afghanistan was suggested by poor Harry, although Narnia is supposedly nice at this time of year as well.
Sir Tom Moore has finally been knighted by Her Majesty. He is reported to have explained to the Queen that he would gladly kneel for her but was slightly worried as to whether he’d be able to get back up again. Well done Colonel, Sir Tom! Who, due to massive undermanning in the armed forces, has now been called up for a 6 month tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards.
18th July
Publication of the overall daily figures for coronavirus-related deaths in the UK has been paused after Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered an urgent review. The news comes after Public Health England confirmed that the reported deaths may have included people who had tested positive for the virus months before they died and thousands who have since been revealed to have died from everything else; 2, for example, from having been run over by a car. According to some reports, namely this one, because the word “CAR” also starts with a “C”, health experts reportedly became confused and labelled the death as virus related anyway, just to be on the safe side. Allegedly, and according to both the Independent and The Mirror, Boris Johnson was heard to loudly exclaim, “Oh, for fuck’s sake, can’t I leave you lot alone to get on with anything?”, whilst Dominic Cummings’ is believed to have already organised a firing squad for the crack of dawn next Wednesday, when no one’s looking!
Sir I’m Botham, one time cricketer and full-time pundit to be found with his arthritic feet in a bowl, is to be given a Knighthood for his work during the Brexit campaign. Apparently his persuasive argument, to hit anyone who voted “Stay” over their treacherous heads with a big bat, was invaluable over the course of the debate, and is thought to have swung the vote, especially “up north”, where they don’t really like being hit over the head with a big bat! The knighthood had nothing whatsoever to do with his years of charity work.
Boris Johnson has confidently announced that Britain will be back to normal, and Great once again, by Christmas. He hasn’t however, said exactly what Christmas.
20th July
Today I received a text from my bank. It was enquiring after me, which is nice. Apparently, concerns have been raised in Barclay’s head office by the fact that I don’t seem to be spending any money, and that, furthermore, and more worrying still, that money now actually seems to be accumulating somewhat!? In a round-about way, and without being too invasive, the text just wanted to make sure that everything is okay… and that I am, “still alive and well”? Now doubt, the next time I go to Morrison’s the relief to them will be palpable.

NOTE: Coincidentally, I also received a text from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. It said, and I quote: “You better be dead, you useless four-eyed…!”

21st July
What week is it?
Have started to read Moby Dick.
22nd July
Have finished reading Moby Dick.
What a crap book that is! Three hundred-odd pages in, and still no sign of the bloody whale! And, I am openly rooting for the bloody whale! I therefore chucked the book in the corner at around three-thirty, thereby becoming the only book I have never bothered to finish, and this coming from a man who stuck with Wuthering Heights right the way through! Believe me, the song is a lot, lot better!
Unfortunately though, and after searching through Amazon, Moby Dick doesn’t seem to have a song sung after it by Kate Bush, so it’s obviously a complete and utter waste of both time and effort then.
At around about four-thirty I start to read The Karamazov Brothers…
23rd July
Still reading The Karamazov Brothers…
So far the whale hasn’t bothered to appear in this tome either? All rather strange.
On the TV, Britain’s new superhero, Captain Hindsight, has announced that he and the Labour Party would have handled the outbreak a lot better and would have put Britain into lockdown in 2017. So why did it take them 4 months to elect Captain Hindsight as leader? And why has it taken them 8 months to bury the report into anti-Semitism? But maybe I’m a sceptic because I remember the excellent way in which they handled Foot & Mouth!? I am therefore mightily relieved that we haven’t all been culled unnecessarily and left in huge piles in fields to be burned later, when they can get round to it. And before the stink makes those of us who are left, ill.
24th July
Captain Hindsight, who now comes with his own cape of neutral colours so as not to offend the colourblind, has today revealed to a glorious fanfare that, under his guidance and leadership, the Second World War would have been handled very, very differently, starting with the cutting off of the gas supply to Germany! The young and gullible from Suburbia have decided that this is just another reason as to why the evil and bloodthirsty Churchill’s statue must be removed immediately and replaced by one of Robert Mugabe, the brave, black freedom fighter who fought relentlessly against colonialism and all food grown and supplied to the masses by evil white farmers. Or, if dear old Robert’s not available, then Eddie Izzard would suffice just as well! At least till someone realises that he’s white, and, despite the dress, a man, and they have to send each other to weeks of re-education classes immediately!
25th July
I have a headache.
Three hundred-odd, really odd, pages into The Karamazov Brothers and I have totally forgotten what happened at the very beginning. And what the book’s supposed to be about. If it’s not careful it’s going to end up in the corner with bloody Moby Dick!
Where is Kate Bush when you really need her?
Those sunning themselves on the beaches of Spain whilst trying to dodge the donkeys being thrown off of neighbouring church roofs have been informed today that they now have to quarantine themselves for 14 days upon their return, mainly due to the fact that Spain, like the rest of Europe is now in the midst of a ‘spike’, or another hefty wave of Covid 19. According to the B.B.C., which is still scaring people half to death on an hourly basis with a smile, most holidaymakers over there are quite angry, but why? They’re getting an extra 14 days holiday at home to recover from their 2 weeks in Spain. Result! I have no sympathy for them though, as I can’t lose this feeling that they should have holidayed in the U.K., helping to rebuild our economy.
28th July
An electrician kindly visited my flat in Watford today, in order for me to get a brand new certificate for something or other and a new bulb in the kitchen. By the time he left, 20 minutes later, I needed a new fuse box and had an empty bank account? Some bulb! Hey ho, easy come, easy go. Barclay’s will be relieved!
I wrote an article last week for the webzine, For The Love of Bands, reviewing the Aussie band, The Lucid Hoops debut album. I heard today that they liked the review so much they have used it all over their social media platforms… Fame at last! Fortune now surely beckons, and can only be just around the corner? And it can’t come soon enough to be honest, especially if I ever need another electrician!
29th July
I can wear a ponytail! I start modelling various looks and stances in the mirror… But decide, after just a couple of hours, that I look like a prat any which way.

31st July
The relaxing of restrictions as we attempt to come away from the grip of this worldwide virus has been delayed, with scientists and government ministers worried by the tsunami of a wave now washing once more over Europe and the levelling out, and in some places, in the decrease in cases over here, especially in the north west. The reopening of gyms has therefore been postponed.
Damn! What a shame. But never mind. Now, where did I put those packets of Custard Creams?
3rd August
Threw The Karamazov Brothers in the corner!

Diary, entry 1

1st July 2020
So far, this year has probably been the most memorable, if only for all the wrong reasons.
A worldwide pandemic has scared everyone indoors, despite the fact that hardly anyone seems to have caught it. Covid 19, (no I don’t know what happened to the previous 18 either), is not even trying, if you ask me. It’s a half-arsed pandemic if ever I saw one!
The worst thing about it is the fact that the barbers have had to close their doors, resulting in the fact that now everyone looks like a frigging tramp… Apart from the frigging tramps who now look like Yetis, and particularly angry Yetis. This look though, goes well with their peculiar and unique grunts as they thrust plastic cups up at you. Or they would, if there were people still wandering around on the streets. Apparently, frigging tramps and your local hooker were not covered by the government’s far reaching furlough scheme and can’t ‘work from home’ They weren’t even allowed to partake in the recent riots as they were judged not to be well dressed enough.
This is exactly what happens when you vote Tory.
In other news, the B.B.C. has finally discovered what everyone else knew months ago, and that is that the B.L.M. movement has nothing to do with protecting or enhancing the rights of black people the world over, instead just contenting itself with trying to bring down capitalism in favour of a strict marxist dream. Every one else seems to have been well aware of their simple aims, I discovered it for myself just by reading their well versed and angst driven website, but this was apparently beneath the beeb – it’s apparently against their remit to actually investigate anything anymore, according to a spokesman, woman, trans-neutral-thing-of-gender, rock, vegetable or mineral. And, anyway, they were far too busy “taking the knee”. They can’t do everything, you know. Not on their budget.
If only they had listened to people, rather than just labelling them as Far Right Extremists whilst siding with those poor little middle class white kids happily destroying statues.
2nd July 2020
So far July seems to be behaving itself. It has decided, after much consideration and deliberation, to just sit quietly in a corner somewhere and to keep its gob shut! At least till Godzilla arrives on the 27th.
I have noticed a very welcome side effect to this worldwide pandemic however, and that is that EastEnders seems to be off our screens. To think that it only took 40,000-odd deaths and the crushing of the world’s economy. If I’d have known it was that easy though, I would have slaughtered everyone in nursing homes ages ago. A special mention here must be made regarding the foresight of the Labour Party though, for having the wherewithal to sell off the nursing homes 17 years ago in readiness for just such an eventuality. Now that’s vision for you!
As an aside, Labour have become the latest institution today to try and distance themselves from the B.L.M. movement, claiming that the “brave movement” has now been “hijacked”! Apparently it was hijacked last Monday by a group of masked men who demanded a full tank of fuel and to be taken to Afghanistan.
Sir Keir Starmer has told of his relief at the move though, claiming that the constant getting up and down off of his knee was playing absolute havoc with his arthritis.
SOMETIME AFTER LUNCH BUT BEFORE THE AFTERNOON MATINEE ON CHANNEL 5
Just after his midday nap – which lasted 4 days and 17 minutes – and having survived another 12 assassination attempts by his favourite pet dog, the North Korean leader Kim Jon-un has proudly informed the rest of the world this afternoon that his country had, “made a shining success”, in the constant battle against the Corona Virus, having had it shot at the border. Upon hearing the news, that lord of all he surveys with hindsight, Sir Keir Starmer, immediately fell to his knee again, although onto the left one this time to relieve some of the boredom, calling for an immediate enquiry and demanding to know of Boris Johnson why he hadn’t thought of this?
3rd July
The independent report into the Labour Party’s anti-semitism has been delayed again by their leadership. It will now be released to the gullible, sorry, to the public, just as soon as it independently reports what they tell it to independently report.
In other news, according to the experts on FaceBook who have successfully moved on from giving their expert opinions on dangerous diseases and the history of racism, Elvis Presley has been found alive and well and living in Skegness. They have also found the time to repost a thirty second film of a puppy terrier running around with its owner’s false teeth in its mouth. Aaah!
4th July
The pubs reopen just in time for payday, hurrah! And thanks, BoJo…
I may be gone a while as I try my best to support local businesses…
12th July
… I remember the pub re-opening, but after that it all becomes a bit of a blur, if I’m honest with you. I fear that a goat may have been involved somewhere along the line, and not in a good old fashioned Cornish Satan Sacrifice sort of way, either. If there are any photos in circulation please ignore them as that is not my best angle! And, also, my bum is not really that big. It’s just that the camera adds about 10lbs… so Lord knows how many cameras were on me at that precise moment?!
I really must get my haircut.
Bude is very busy, which is nice to see. The pubs are open and their gardens look to be full of happy people drinking and chatting and socialising, at arm’s distance of course, and happily being served by what I assume to be, behind those masks, rather attractive girls? Or boys in a dress?
I have found out that when I wear one of the masks I bought from Sainsburys’ my glasses steam up, which is extremely hazardous when I’m driving. Or walking. Or doing anything strenuous basically, and that involves breathing in any way. I tried to hold my breath, but surprisingly that turned out to be even worse, leaving me quite light-headed and giddy.
Later on in the day, to cut through the endless tedium before the arrival of The Chaser, I suddenly had something of an epiphany and decided that my new ambition in life is to become a pirate and live life on the open ocean… or Bude canal if I can get a permit. I quite like the idea of an eye patch – I think it’s a look that I can pull off at the moment, especially with my hair in its current state! – and drawing up a treasure map whilst drinking rum!
13th July
I have decided that my idea to become a pirate is idiotic. I had this new epiphany whilst being chased around Brook’s Garden Centre by their parrot, who wasn’t even called Polly. What is the bloody point?