-It makes more sense than a couple of other things.

Mad Aunt Bernards Tortoise Poetry

"The page to come and visit for a fabulously sensible intake of poetry straight from the divinest of inspiration - and it's only a bit tortoisy. A cracking good read if you're under anaesthetic."
Lord Elpus - The Guardian

Wednesday, June 24

Gran Canaria Tortuga Bonanza!

!Gran Canaria Tortuga Bonanza!

Hola! Mantequilla! Zapatos! Orificio Nasal!
'Tortuga' is Spanish for tortoise, I'm told, so it's my new word. I'm home after a whirlwind surprise holiday in sunny Gran Canaria. I won a prize after entering a competition on a box of fly papers and answered the following question correctly....'When is it considered acceptable to electrocute a sleeping relative?'. And would you believe.... Jolly Dee! I won! (Weev is fuming as I tore up her entry and copied her answer, she's now telling everyone I was in the nick - no doubt she'll get me back...my wart insurance is due for renewal soon...)

I flew out from St Vitus on a sort of pedaloe with wings, and sat next to the gunner. It was a pleasant flight, with the bugs hitting my goggles and a crap view of the sea. I landed in Bahia Feliz in the early hours of Sunday 14th. The temperature was still very warm, and I found a new level of stench in my sack attire. Nice.
My company was fabulous, a collection of ten of us who enjoyed annoying other tourists, eating everything in sight, and drinking almost anything that was labelled (and some things that weren't). We haggled in markets with the looky-looky men selling dreadful sunglasses, swam in crystal blue pools (a far cry from the ditch I live near), and poked fun a people changing under small beach towels.

Well, the bonanza was fabulous. Juan de la Vega (left) was there with his matador act. He is my hero. I got his autograph, and he shook my hand. I shall not wash it again, although he washed his very quickly after. He was mildly impaled by one tortoise, but it was only a flesh wound. We were hoping for something more, as the Arguineguin Tortoise Flingers were late, and the act was getting a little stale.

The Arguineguin Tortoise Flingers finally arrived, and broke not only a Canarian record, but a World Flinging record of 320.8ft. The longest fling in history since Edward II had a go, and fibbed about the result.
After tortoises are launched off the cliff, they gather at the bottom to come back up and take their places for the next flinger. This picture is a birds-eye view of the lift coming back up after the first round. The tortoises pictured are multi-lingual, and are all sponsored by Speedo and San Miguel beer.

This was the picture I took of Juan de la Vega's tortoise, after it went on the rampage. It is a particularly aggressive species and broke free of its moorings several times. It ate an old lady called Renata. The x-ray I saw clearly shows her in the beasts stomach, still knitting away. Bless.
Apparently it had been fed peanut kit-kat in addition to breakfast, and that is not a good idea.

Then we had music. First were the Fataga Reptile Orchestra accompanied by a small singing gecko from Sioux City. Next up was a variation on 'Lip Up Fatty' from the Maspalomas Naked Singing Troupe....nuff said - a little twee for my tastes. Then we were charmed by these two delightful children, Maria and Miguel Vileda, played the tortoise for us. Maria is pictured tuning the tortoise, while Miguel is on standby to hold the legs and begin playing.
Although this picture seems full of jollity, I was suspicious that it was a case of the children fulfilling the dream of the parents. Maria confided to me that all she wanted in life was a bloody Nintendo DS.
Miguel didn't comment. His face says it all.

So, I finally flew back in to good old Blighty on Sunday, and they didn't even bother to land. Just pushed me out over the airport with only my double chin as a parachute. Charming. Passport control below got very crabby when I 'didn't look like my photo', and it appears that my unshaven appearance had fooled them. I usually keep a smooth chin (despite the odd habits of my sisters), and a three inch of growth like a pampas grass meant I was immediately whisked off to an office for interrogation as to the whereabouts of thirty pounds of semtex. At that point, I remembered last month that I couldn't find my passport. At the same time, Aunt Vom had been on a 'weapons run' to Ineedastahn, and I just bloody knew she'd stitched me up.
Well, after a bribe with some Honey Rum laced with cuckoo spit, and a naked picture of Jeremy Spake, the customs bugger let me in.

I hope to be back in good old G.C. soon, and take my perfected shrieking act to the Spanish masses. You never know, if you're familiar with the island, you may well see a haggard, warty, stinking old bat shrieking professionally one day from the top of Roque Nublo. Pip pip and glad to be back with you all! Missed you like buggery....well, not quite like that.


  1. Looking upwards from under my eyelashes.... errm, (bearing in mind that I have lead a very sheltered life).... what did you mean by "sack attire???? .. .? hmmmm?

  2. San Miguel Singing Tortoises Rock!!

    A priceless post, a real gem . . . .copralite that is...most enjoyable jollity.
    aloha from Hawaii (my two pet sea turtles send regards also)
    Comfort Spiral

  3. Hello Meno! Sack attire simply means my sack-cloth beach dress, fashioned by Aunt Mary-Jaffa, and made from sack. It smells of dockyard which attracts sailors, so you wouldn't think I'd still be single, but there you go.
    Aloha to you, Cloud! Glad you enjoyed it, and tell the turtles that hiding behind rocks is not a job in this day and age....they can't get away with it forever, bless them.

  4. I loved this!! I really wanted to see just how you'd wriggle out of that one!

    Sorry. I forgot! I'm still not speaking to you after telling everybody about my penguin tits.

    See? ............................... (That was me not speaking to you) ...............................(an' look -) ..................... (I'm not lisnin' neether!)

  5. Am I bovvered though? Am I? Look at my face - bovvered - face - bovvered.....

  6. MAB!!! You're back! I've missed you so!
    I read your whole itinerary and adventures to the master of the house and he said (and I quote): "He/She" is one warped individual!" I just brushed him off. He wouldn't know genius if it bit him in the bum.
    I'm still wiping the tears from your description of the flight, next to the "gunner" and your insight into Miguel and Maria's thoughts. Glad you had such a wicked trip!


    Kat (who is just shy of 50 today)

  7. Just shy of 50! You are still a pup, my love! You are now allowed to spit in the street, chase pigeons, talk to yourself on the bus and make rude noises to neighbouring cars with their windows down at traffic lights! Oh the joys of life you've yet to find....

  8. Oh! I've been doing those things for years!


  9. It's nice to go away but even nicer to return to the smell of kippers - jolly good show .....

  10. Luckily for me I read Spanish like a native but sadly I don't understand nor speak it, so I looked at the pictures instead.
    However I would like to challenge your definition
    I believe the correct word for tortoise in Spanish is El meato pie muchias cruncho
    Glad you are back safely, missed you.
    Will there be any diplomatic repercussions? Was there an international incident?
    In your absence I have claimed, on your behalf, naturally, for all your expenses to cover travel, insurance, hotel etc
    I even managed to wangle a claim for Marmite flavoured Veet to help address your soul patch.
    If I get away with it then I will keep the money but if challenged I will naturally only respond by giving name rank and serial number....YOURS!!!

  11. OK where is MAB and what have you done with her?
    Thank you for throwing one of your pebbles my way, your kind comment was very much appreciated.
    It has just struck me, you poor poor thing.
    You seem to have contracted a nasty foreign ailment, as I understood clearly, your comment.
    I fear you have GC pedaloe flew aggravated by GB blighty upon a case of dropsy, rendering you not as homesick as you ought to be.
    Lets hope that an unction of tortoise ear wax together with a tincture of terrapin tears puts you to rights.
    Love the new quill, not as scratchy as the former, methinks. Is it brand new or merely re-discovered? The Spanish candles though don't appear as bright, so I had to read your missive with both eyes wide open.

  12. Still short of breath from laughing so much. Glad to have you home dear MAB, and do try to take life gently for a few days after all that excitement.

  13. Lovely to have you back, MAB. Did you remember the duty-free snail moustache broth? If this were anybody else's blog, I'd think they were exaggerating, but since it's yours I'm inclined to believe every word of it. Viva la howsyerfather!

  14. Ooh, Aunt Bernard, I do love Honey Rum - but I've never had it laced with cuckoo spit ...

    Glad to have you back!

  15. Queen MAB: This posting was a blessing in disguise aafter a week of quailing English weather...

    Is there a CD of those two delightful children playing the tortoise? I'll bet there was nary a dry eye in the house, not least the tortoise.

    Pray tell whence comes your sackcloth dress - I am looking for just such a vestment for an upcoming job interview as a Mole-Wrangler...

    Merci mille! And please kiss the dahlink tortoises for moi! Mwah!

  16. Hello dear auntie ,Glad you had such a cool beano of a holiday and found much mad tortoisosity going on but perhaps you shouldn't fly Ryanair next time.I really missed you despite not even knowing you were away.Ps. where's me feckin postcard?

  17. Hello Feck! Nice to see you, and hope the ankles on the mend. Your postcard is still in Gran Canaria, on a little stand outside a shop. It's blank for your message, as I forgot to buy it and write it :-P

  18. Hi MAB, thanks for visiting my blog - have really enjoyed the account your visit to Gran Canaria. Love the poem (latest post) too. Will be back to read more later! Best wishes. Lesley

  19. Me again - above should read 'account of your'....