Tuesday 25 January 2011

Fawlty Turrets - The Lakelander's Cut...

The scene : - A small hotel near Tunbridge Wells, Kent. A frustrated Basil O’Blene (Scrobs...) is peering at a computer screen with increasing anguish and frustration.

Basil O’Blene: - "Polly, I thought I asked you to sort this blasted contraption out"

Polly: - “I’m sorry Mr O’Blene; I’ve just got too much to do here, what with Manuel having one of his turns, and Chef doing a stupid thing with the eggs again...”!

Basil O’Blene: - "Well, it’s just not good enough Polly – Manuel is a waste of space anyway, but I’ve always thought you could sort him out – one way or another”!

Polly: - “I know he’s useless Mr O’Blene, but at least he tries to help; he is from Barcelona you know...”!

(Sybil enters the reception area of the hotel; she is looking very sexy and wiggling her bits about as usual...) (Pru moment...)

Sybil : - “Basil, I thought I told you to sort out that computer of yours! It’s there in the office, making squawking sounds, and smells of something unpleasant! Sort it out will you - NOW”!

Basil O’Blene: - "Yes I know ‘Dearest’, it has a mind of its own! It is a COMPUTER Dearest, a machine which makes life easier! (hits forehead with palm of hand in exasperation. Aside and softly) Something you’ll never understand”!

Sybil : - “I heard that Basil! I don’t care what you do, just make it do what we paid all that money for, and get us some customers!”

Basil O’Blene: - "Yes Dearest Heart... (aside) ‘witch of the wind’...”! (rolls eyes).

Sybil : - “I heard that too Basil; if you spent more time talking to our guests, and less time fiddling around with that silly machine, we’d all be much better off"!

Basil O’Blene: - "Bye bye Dearest; presumably you’re off out somewhere? The golf course maybe? The Coven"?

Sybil : - “You’re not funny Basil; I’m actually going to meet the ladies of the new crochet circle, they have a small party arranged for people with real skills, not playing with things they don’t understand...! And while I’m gone, just call ‘Lakes Computers’ and they’ll have someone there who knows what they’re talking about.”

Basil O’Blene: - "But I’ve already called Mr O’Reilly, Sybil, and he told me that he deals in Apples all the time, he’s also much cheaper...”

Sybil : - “He deals in Apples because he is a greengrocer Basil; now do as I tell you and get it fixed!”

Basil O’Blene: - (ignoring her, then looking up) "Still here Sybil? I thought you had to get stitched up somewhere”! (starts to laugh inanely at his own joke. Sybil gives him a pitying look and wiggles out of the front door). (Another Pru moment...)

Major : - “Evening O’Blene, anything happening this evening”?

Basil O’Blene: - "Evening Major, not much to report I’m afraid; typhoid outbreak in Tunbridge Wells kills three hundred, outbreak of rats in Westminster! Earthquake in Hawkshead! I can’t get the computer to work, so I’m afraid that the drinks are limited tonight; the brewery didn’t get the order!”

Major : - “I knew a commuter once, he used to go to London every day to work in an office! Rum way of life don’t you know”!

Basil O’Blene: - "No, this is a COMPUTER Major, an electric machine which does things for you, it's supposed to help you and let you get on with life”!

Major : - “Oh, I don’t think he did anything like that, he worked for a bank”! (wanders into the bar).

Manuel : - ”Meeza O’Blene, Polly she say tha’ yo’ compuher no work! I fix”?

Basil O’Blene: - “Manuel, I’m more likely to get it mended by a dyslexic one-eyed terrapin than by your efforts! Just get out to the kitchen and start with the tables, and clean the silver tureen while you’re at it”!

Manuel : - ”Turin...Turin, but I come fro’ Barcelona...”! (looks worried).

Basil O’Blene: - “I said TUREEN Manuel, TUREEN! God - didn’t they teach you anything in that dungheap of a place you were dragged up from?”

Manuel : - ”Que?”

Basil O’Blene: - “The tureen is the large silver bowl we serve soup from Manuel! It is in the dining room! Just go and get the polish”!

Manuel : - ”Que? Polish, bu’ Meeza O’Blene, I say I come from Barcelona...no Polish...”! (wanders off looking hopelessly lost).

(the phone rings, Polly answers it)

Polly : - “Mr O’Blene; Mrs O’Blene is calling to ask if you’ve rung ‘Lakes Computers’ yet”? (Yet another Pru moment...)

Basil O’Blene: - “Polly, I only have one pair of hands, and Manuel is going to get both of them round his neck any minute now! And no, I haven’t rung ‘Lakes Computers’ yet so tell her that I’m trying to run a hotel, not fool around with one of her chums that she’s met at her golf club”!

(Noise of Sybil’s screech from receiver, “I heard that Basil”!)

Polly : - “Mr O’Blene, the number’s here, on this post-it note, with some – er - pencil flowers wound round the name and a few – er – crosses in the corner...” (stares at note with vaguely distant expression...)

Basil O’Blene: - “Well don’t just stand there Polly, call ‘The Lakelander’! Tut; ‘Lakes Computers’! What sort of name for a firm is that! Why not ‘Windermere Wiring’, or – oh – ‘Kendal mend-all’! Pah! (slowly shakes his head with a pitying smirk, tuts and rolls his eyes).

(Polly dials the number).

Polly : - “Yes, is that ‘Lakes computers’? It is? Oh good!.....what?.....how did you know we were going to call.....you know everything because Syb.....you know her from the golf.....how many times.....Thursdays.....and Fridays....oh.....and Mondays!!! Look – er – Mr Lakelander.....oh, it’s ‘Lakes’ is it.....er, we have a problem with our.....oh, you know all about that you say.....riiiiight....”

Basil O’Blene: - (exasperated and crashing his fingers all over the keyboard) “Polly what’s going on? (peers at her) Polly, you’re all flushed – are you alright"?

Polly : - “I’m fine Mr O’Blene.....just fine.....I – er - think I need to go outside and perhaps, oh, smoke a cigarette, maybe dream quietly for a few minutes......” (she pulls herself together and leans over Basil, breathing heavily).

Basil O’Blene: - “So what do we do then Polly? Has the ‘Coniston Cableman’ explained how to find the Holy Grail?” (stares back at screen with wild expression).

Polly : - (softly and calmly) “You just press that key there (presses key), then do this, (clicks mouse) now this (presses two keys), now watch...”!

(the computer hums into life, and immediately begins to work perfectly)

Basil O’Blene: - “Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs...”! (stares in wonderment at all the messages bubbling up on the screen; the printer hums, clicks and starts working, and the speakers send out the crescendo from ‘Zadok the Priest' at full blast)

Polly : - “He is just fantastic”! (stares at screen then Basil)

Basil O’Blene: - “Polly, I’ve just decided that I’m going to give you the biggest hug you’ve ever had! (alarm all over Polly’s face).

(Basil grasps as much of Polly as he can with two hands just as Sybil walks in the door)

Sybil : - “So, as soon as my back’s turned Basil, I come back and find the Major drunk in the bar because he’s had two pints of Creme de Menthe and Dubonnet, Manuel is lying unconscious with a soup ladle embedded in his right ear, and here you are groping a lady member of the staff and just about to have your wicked way across the computer....(slowly stops ranting and stares at computer, which is humming away, and working perfectly.)

Polly : - “It was ‘Lakes Computers’ Mrs O’Blene, he pressed all the right buttons...”

Sybil : - “Yes. I thought he would Polly. He does know which buttons to press doesn’t he..." (gazes into middle distance, and touches her pearl necklace slowly They both stare at faraway objects in the room for a few seconds, while Basil looks with increasing horror at the screen He suddenly jumps up and escapes into the hotel lobby)

Sybil : - (turning back to the screen) “We’re fine now Polly, all our messages are flooding in and so are the new reservations for next...” (sees something which makes her frown, then fume, then explode). “Basil, BASIL! What are these pictures on the screen. Basil, who exactly is Ivana Havitova, asking what massage you ordered.....and....ohhhh yes?.... what’s this on-line poker money you’ve won, and – Basil....what’s this, ‘Teenage Tales of the unexpected – explicit”!

(sound of front door banging shut. Grinding sound of Austin 1100 failing to start, with Basil screaming yelling and cursing it from inside...)

Sybil : -(running after him, brandishing a crochet hook) “BASIL, you just come back here this instance! Basil, COME BACK HERE! BASIL! BASIL! BASIL! BASIL! BASIL.....”!

Saturday 22 January 2011

Rorke's Drift, 22nd/23rd January, 1879

You've seen the film a hundred times, heard the story a thousand times, marvelled at the number of VCs...

This weekend is the anniversary of the The Battle of Rorke's Drift and is always remembered in The Turrets because somewhere in the roof, is an old CCF cap badge, with The South Wales Borderers emblem.

I got History 'O' level on the strength of all that, which surprised me and also my long-suffering history master, who also told me once that I had a good game of rugby, and showed some 'guts'...

We learned a lot from men like him - thankyou DJ, you don't really know how much all that meant to a budding Scrobs!

Tuesday 18 January 2011


Yet another superb guitarist, who was never on the Scrobs radar...

This is seriously well played, and what a great chap!. R.I.P.

(Hat tip BP, who knows these things...)

Sunday 16 January 2011

Nah na nah nah, nah na nah nah, Hey, Heyaah, what a...

The following article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph in 1989.


Rattles and scarves are old hat among the followers of the new-look Football League. Today's fans prefer to leave home equipped with inflatable fruit, preferably bananas, with which to demonstrate their approval of the skills deployed on the park.

Suddenly, bananas are everywhere. Like gigantic market stalls come to life, the terraces are burgeoning with six-foot finger fruits. The Mexican Wave has given way to the Tropical Tribute.

It began, so legend has it, with the arrival of a lone banana at Manchester City's Maine Road. The reason was the appearance of a talented player, Imre Varadi, known to the aficionados as `Imre Banana'.

The dirigible digit with which he was applauded was an immediate hit, and soon the yellow peril had reached Arsenal - inflatable cannons must have been too difficult to make. At West Ham, however, blow-up hammers were soon making their impact felt, while at Grimsby the air-filled fish surfaced. Bury's bloody response was the world's first black pudding blimp.

League officials were nonplussed. Bananas were mushrooming to the extent that a view of the pitch - and the action between the goalposts - could only be obtained from the touchline. Spectators were even turning up at the turnstiles carrying children's inflatable dinghies and airbeds.

There was no alternative. Police sent in the Ludicrous Crimes Squad and began to confiscate the offensive fruit, and soon the sight of a billowing banana may be as rare as a bottle of scotch in the Ayatollah's cocktail cabinet. A sad day indeed for the seriously silly.

(Just to prove that Scrobs is not just a grumpy old man who hates football. He's just been reading the obit for Nat Lofthouse, who was never a 'Jodrell Banker', but he was a damn good centre forward).

Wednesday 12 January 2011

January economics...

Sometime at the end of last year, those of you who are over 60 years old will have received a heating allowance payment.

This is indeed a very exciting programme and I'll explain it by using a Q&A format:

Q. What is a 'WHA' payment?
A. It is money that the government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen of it.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?
A. Shut up.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the economy by spending your compensation cheque wisely:

* If you spend the money at Currys, the money will go to China or Sri Lanka.

* If you spend it on petrol, your money will go to the Arabs.

* If you buy any fish, the rest of the EU will get it.

* If you purchase a computer, it will go to India, Taiwan or China.

* If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.

* If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea.

* If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan.

* If you want a plumber, it will go to Poland.

* If you pay off your credit cards, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

Instead, keep the money in England by:

1) Spending it at boot sales, or

2) Going to football/rugby games, or

3) Spending it on prostitutes, or

4) Buying Beer, or

5) Getting tattoos/body piercing.

(These are the only UK businesses still operating here profitably)


Go to a football/rugby game with a tattooed/rewired prostitute that you met at a boot sale and drink beer all day!

No need to thank me, I'm just glad I could be of help.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Post Christmas Blues...

I'm sorry to see that Blue Eyes has decided to park his mouse.

I always liked his posts because they seemed to be individual, personal, often enlightening and above all, sincere. As Damon Runyon might have said, he seems 'An honourable Guy'.

So, when you're reading this Blues, and even if you're outside a few tinctures of the chilled material, then call by as an Anon, or an acronym eh?

I'll look forward to being the first to spot your reincarnation!