Saturday 27 February 2010

The break-up of a once great country...




Members of the Scrobs Commune for Reality, Information, Nolledge and Grand Excellence (SCRINGE), are utterly devastated to learn that one of their favourite counties, Dorset, has broken away from the mainland, and will continue to disrupt the weathermen's bonuses for at least the next three weeks!

The Chairman of SCRINGE, Mr Stourton Winterborne-Stickland, was understandably almost sober when he reported to the Quinquennial Committee during some sort of meeting in ‘The Eight Bells’, that the new Met Office computer, which has been built in Widdleplopsplashgigglewhoopsie, (a small hamlet outside Dorchester), and designed to calculate the eight times table in just under three hours, is so heavy that the old county just groaned last Thursday, and decided to drift away into the English Channel!

Latest reports mention that parts of Weymouth have actually arrived in St Malo already, and several tables have been booked at ‘Le Fat Stoopede Rosbif’ for a slap-up meat meal washed down with pints of Calvados flavoured stout. (Engleesh cash only, £30.50 per tete inclooding pooding).

Miss Amelia Okeford-Fitzpaine, a trainee marble inserter from Purbeck, awoke on Friday, to find that her cottage was approaching Guernsey at three knots, while her small cat, Blandford, was sitting in a tree on the mainland, wondering what to do next!

“There I was, nearly relocated on a Channel Island, and with not a stitch to wear”, she said to anyone who bothered to listen. But she realised her mistake on being shown pictures of herself, well kitted out with three loosely rivetted Swanage-knit jumpers, a forage cap from the Poole Offensive, and a natty pair of orange chainsaw protective trousers.

Members of the A354 Protection Society (A354PS) held an emergency meeting just outside Alderney, where most of the alcohol from the previous night had nearly been washed away by the tide. Nothing was decided as the fumes overtook the whole lot of them and one by one, they slipped into a comatose state, except for the Treasurer, who actually managed to slip into the Secretary’s room in a moment of unprecedented passion.

He was refused at the second jump, but recorded in all the sports columns of the new Continental Press Agency for the new Colony to be known as ‘Saint De La Dorsette’! It joins the new 'Devon Colony Des Anglaises', floating somewhere near Quimper, but keeps wobbling, because everyone keeps giggling because they think it is a silly name for a town!

A spokesman for The Met Office, Mr Arthur Weather, admitted after intensive questioning by reporters, that his performance-related bonus (£4,500), from the previous fortnight’s sleep-ridden ‘work’ had not actually taken into account the desertion of the old English Counties. He was in fact looking at a photograph of small piece of cloud somewhere in Essex, and quite forgot the time!

The Mayor of Avranches, Monsieur Vin-de-Pay-Asyouearn, is planning a small reception in ‘Les Jardins de Lychett-Minster’, where he will welcome all the good Citizens who decide to stay, with a good slap-up fish meal and a pooding the size of their old neighbour, the Isle of Wight, washed down with anything left over from the party when most of Cornwall was washed up a few weeks ago.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Return from "Rabbit proof fence"...

For some time I've had the full music version of the movie, but have never seen the film itself, partly because there's one particular piece which moves me so much, I have to confess that watching the tale unfold might be a little too much for the old emotions.

But this story was on the box the other night, and I stayed up and was totally immersed! What a stunning yarn, never mawkish, mainly factual (probably, with licence), but how on earth the authorities got away with it I'll never know. It beggers belief that several of my friends went over in the sixties, and this was going on even then!

Just for the record, this is the piece which always reverberates...

Thursday 18 February 2010

Fatal beatings...

I had my OB Magazine delivered the other day, and after checking if anyone I knew had died, (no names recognised for a change) I was pleased to see signs of progress at the Alma Mater after all these years.

Quite a lot has happened actually, but one thing stood out from a couple of commentaries by ‘Very Old Boys’ (i.e. older than me by several years...). It was the fact that they admitted that there were ‘not very happy times’, at the old place.

Schools like this could be brutal in the early part of the last century, probably even worse before that, and I was brought up on a diet of ‘Smith Secundus’, and ‘Tom Brown’s schooldays’, which supposedly prepared me for the worst.

It ain’t right to name and shame the place, but I once made a mental list of all the punishments which we endured in the sixties, and it now seems a ridiculous statement of control, usually undertaken by Prefects, who were only a couple of years older than those lads they tried to terrorise.

Jacket undone – 30 lines.

Talking after lights out – 30 or 60 lines, or three or four whacks with a house shoe by a Prefect.

Late for anything like meals or lessons – 30 or 60 lines.

Talking in prep - 30 or 60 lines.

Hands in pockets - 30 or 60 lines, or three whacks with a house shoe by a Prefect.

Lines delivered late - 30 or 60 more lines. (You had one day to write 30, two days for 60 etc, all up to 120 lines in four days).

More than eight punishments a term – Housemaster’s beating – often four with the cane.

General rudeness/cheek/slovenly behaviour/mucking about – anything from 60 lines to four with a house shoe or cane.

Serious crimes like smoking – a range of beating tariffs from four with a cane by the Head of House, to five or six by the Housemaster.

Really serious crimes like drinking – a School Prefect’s beating. Usually eight with one from each boy.

Does anyone now remember Malcolm McDowell in ‘If’? Yup, that’s exactly what it was!

(My worst one was four with a five iron, and that hurt, and I know where you live LJ... grandfather eh...happy, hmmm)!

Still, after all this, if you tell kids today what went on then; they won’t believe you!


Friday 12 February 2010

So farewell Phil Archer...

It seems ages since I listened to The Archers.

Mrs S has been a reformed addict for several years now, but when Norman Painting died, it also formed a bit of a hole in the Scrobs' heart too.

On Sundays, Mrs S picks up on the latest episodes, and I usually adjourn to whatever has to be done, like sharpening the mower blades, or rodding the drains...

Years ago, when the Scrobs you love (hopefully), was in short trousers, at the 'Earlier Turrets', we used to listen to The Archers before we all sat down for tea/supper/dinner - whatever it's called now. Around the witching hour of 7.00pm, the wireless was King! My lovely sister and I would even stand on a chair so we could catch the sounds from the remote speaker high up on the wall, (which was the equivalent of a current squillion-pound sound system back in the fifties), and we'd gasp and chuckle at 'The Navy Lark', 'Take it from here', and most other programmes which were unmissable then.

When they killed off Grace Archer in the stable fire, we didn't have a television. We were in our usual positions on the chair in the 'Earlier Turrets', and then, came the fire!

Phil Archer's anguished last few words still hurt, and they were - believe me please - pretty powerful back then.

The Earlier Turrets stood still.

The next bits were confusing, but my Dad just said "They're not playing the music...", my Mum looked at her plate, and indeed, they didn't do the closing 'Dum de dum de dum de daaaaah...'.

It was deathly silent...

I didn't have clue about ITV starting that night, because, as mentioned earlier, we didn't have a television then...

'Bye Phil, I always thought I sounded like you, and now I don't.

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Gruynd Result...

And the winner is Trubes!

The answer is ‘Candles’!

The ‘first past the post’ system of defining a winner in this diverse and intriguing competition, indicated that the winner would be the first contender to mention the word ‘candle’, and from thereon, a complicated, but mentally rewarding application of data dissemination, statistical analysis, and cheating (a term borrowed from the H.O.C), showed that Trubes is first, closely breathed on by Lils, and followed by Pips, who provided a special post on the ‘Pesakh’ clue.

1) Elton John sang revised words to ‘Candle in the wind’, at Princess Diana’s funeral in Westminster Abbey. He had to sellotape a teleprompter to the keyboard of his Mellotron, to remind him not to sing about Marilyn, and concentrate on the job in hand.

2) There’s a page at the beginning of a chapter in Spike Milligan’s book, “Puckoon”, where he describes a gangling spotty youth who is about to sing in a pub somewhere near this immortal place.

It is possibly the funniest – and longest, description of a single ordinary action that I’ve ever read, and Spike takes up the whole page just describing how the unfortunate youth winds up his frail body, opens his awful and distressing mouth, and commences to make a singing noise in a weedy, thin voice!

The youth displays huge threads of spittle, while his gaping mouth is extending to achieve a vocal climax of some sort of sound. All this made me laugh uncontrollably, when I first read it, especially when I have to refer back to Mrs S’s descriptions of ‘Candles’ (see later).

3) My Dad once told me that his cousin, Jackie, used to sing ‘Old John Braddelum’ at Christmas as his party piece and this ‘star’ act in front of the assembled aunts and uncles, and bored everyone to death. It has taken me ages to find the song, and only recently have I discovered the words! But the unfortunate lad always had ‘candles’ and sniffed all the time as well! (My cousin was the same too, and I complained bitterly that he was getting on my nerves once, sniffing uncontrollably while reading a Giles book and eating cake. I was subsequently bashed senseless by everyone, including my cousin...)

Candles are when your nose starts to drip.

There are children’s candles, when the standard issue square-mouthed crying occurs, and great streams seem to appear in all orifices, soon to be mopped up and discarded while the sherry decanter circulates with frightening speed. And then there are the Oldie’s candles, which appear suddenly on the faces of the old dears – blokes as well, when you see them outside the chemist in January, and sometimes February and March.

These are the inevitable product of ‘Nosism’, a predilection for carrying a handkerchief up your sleeve at all times. You also get candles when you have a cold, but just don’t go there for now...

4) I was a bouncing one year old on 19th July 1948. (That was easy, because everyone knows that)!

5) And finally, there’s the Forest Candle!

We’ve recently logged five stages of candles, and they range from ‘Birthday Cake’, on to ‘Nightlight’, then ‘Mantelpiece Power cut’, up to ‘Church Altar’, and finally, ‘Easter Sunday’, with the Paschal Candle (Pesakh) stands in the corner of the Nave, looking just like a very, very cold day in the frost and the wind and the ice and the snow...

Thursday 4 February 2010

Ruynd Britain Quiz...

What do the following have in common: -

1. A teleprompter in a big church close to a place full of cheats and charlatans.
2. The first page of a chapter somewhere near the middle of ‘Puckoon’, by Spike Milligan.
3. This song
4. A recent walk in the forest in the frost.
5. July 19th 1948.
6. Pesakh.

This is devilishly difficult, and if anyone gets the three easy ones, then they'll probably guess that there's an association with the others.

One word will suffice, but the most improbable answer will also receive points, and what do points mean...?

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Up all night...

This brings a few ROHOBONs (see Scrobs passim)

One night a few months ago, while Mrs S slumbered softly and your correspondent was awake thinking of how to make the next day's crust, there was an interview with Kyle Eastwood on 'Up all night' on Radio 5.

I caught this piece and found it again the next day on the trusty Amstrad 464.

So far, I've missed three TV viewings of the film, and clearly have not grasped the potential for the emotion which was intended in the story.

But the music is so simple, it nearly hurts...