-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

Monday, June 1

Toad Rubbing and Other Delights

Well! What a week of glee...it was my birthday on Saturday, and dear Weevil paid for us to go to the Toad Fondling Festival in Maiden-Up-The-Duff, Fife. She's so thoughtful, and knows exactly what sort of birthday treat I like. The weather was perfect, we took a picnic and sang songs of plague and pestilence on the way!

The festival was marvellous, so many exhibitors. The West Wankel Wood Turners were there and there was quite a tense atmosphere before we knew what they were going to turn the wood into. It was wine! That set the day off with a bang! I was three sheets to the wind before 10.00AM and had received my first police warning by half past. Weevil was bladdered before I picked her up that morning.

We started the day with a visit to the Trebollocks Toad Rubbing Association and said hello to a few acquaintances (after a short trip to the Gin Tent). It's become quite the new sport, with specialist glove stands everywhere that have caught onto the craze and charge the earth.
Safety levels were at a maximum, with a small St Vitus Ambulance stall next door. They had a special poison unit attached which has been a godsend at past festivals when I've taken Folly with me. She will not learn to hold toads without licking them. Bloody tongue the size of an avocado, but never mind - that's forgotten.
I did learn from Professor Rimsky-Spatula that a highly rubbed toad can be jettisoned from the hands at speeds of up to 150km/hr. The spectacle in the rubbing arena was phenomenal. Only two fainted, and only one black eye from a flying toad.

The Quedgeley Toad Balancers were there, too. A mainly male organisation that specialised in spoon balancing on noses and other body parts - they have just branched out into toads to jump on the band wagon.
I do think they are rather arrogant with their 'UK Champion' banner as they've not won anything yet. Such arseholes plague these events.

However, one young lad from our neck of the woods balanced this toad for 52 hours which was most impressive. He only put him down by mistake when someone handed him a Guinness. I took a photo.

There weren't many tortoise flingers this year, I was so terribly disappointed and so was Weevil. She really kicked of big style. The organisers told her that she should calm her temper and stop spitting, and then a policeman appeared so we wandered off hastily for another gin. Good job Aunt Vom wasn't there, really.
The only one flinging our shelled-reptile friends was an elderly lady of 84, who didn't seem very focused on where she was flinging the tortoises. They seemed to just whizz off into the woods, the next field, and the boot of someone's motor car. Weev said it was pointless but I think the local children enjoyed it.

And this photo (left) is Derek. He is the champion toad, trained by Mrs Nora Chunderly of the Gloucestershire Toad & Frog Rubbers. It's a very shiny toad, as she has rubbed him every day since he grew legs. I was fascinated by the range of noises he makes when he takes off. It was like a bullet from a gun.
On propulsion, he will go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds which is a British world record.
She gave a talk in the afternoon, not really sure what it was about though. I was pretty bollocksed by then and Weev was asleep under the table.

But all in all, a wonderful day. I am going home with my new toad-rubbing manual to try some new techniques. All I need is some almond oil apparently......


  1. I smell a new BBC series: ``Toad Gear`` (I`ve lost my quotes marks and am still searching.)
    Perhaps Derek would be better with the moniker: `Jeremy`` - they have much in common, after all.

    Sounds like a rollicking good time - wish I could have been there with you at Maiden-up-the-Duff.


  2. Cor, MAB you make me laugh as much as Bill Bryson. And that's saying something. I laughed till I cried on page THREE of his book in which he describes wearing his underwear on his head at Folkestone.

  3. I think I have been to Maiden-up-the-Duff! There was no rubbing of the toads that day, though. Too bad. I did enjoy reading about your adventures, Aunt Bernard. I hope your hangover clears up soon.

  4. Happy(belated) Birthday MAB.What a totally rapid day out,I would love to have gone.I've never rubbed a toad before but did indulge in some championship 'Fidgety Ferret Fettling'and I'm pretty sure I was in Maiden up the Duff,after a drunken disco in the seventies.

  5. Oh, how kind! I'm so glad my post was educational - it's important to learn about the valuable things in life.
    I did buy a 'Rub That Toad' t-shirt though. And a bandana with swearwords embroidered all over it.

  6. 52 hours?!?! (A) is that sanitary? and (B) isn't that toad abuse?

    It actually sounds like it would have been fun - and I'm not really that into toads when it comes right down to it!

  7. If only I had known soon enough, I could have got you a few toads for your birthday. You'll be brilliant at it - you are so good at laptop rifling.

  8. I wondered, which you enjoyed the most ...the rubbing, balancing, noises or propulsion? I only ask as I have been feeling the need for a new and challenging hobby and you have inspired me!

  9. This all sounds rather jolly and unusual, Aunt Bernard! Happy Birthday - if the post wasn't so slow from Camelopardalis, I'd send you a knitted toad hot-waterbottle cover as a present.

  10. I've come across the Quedgeley Spoon/Toad/Scalpel Balancers in my neck of the woods..... they were on the 'boil lancing' bandwagon at the time. The spectacle was reasonably amusing, loads of scalpels, blood and bandages but I do wish they'd just stay with spooning and wearing loose underwear .... gonna try toad rubbing though .....

  11. I went to Quedgeley once. No Toad Rubbing on that day, it was the annual Tie A Giraffe to your Ear Festival.
    Hope your birthday was happy, and that your hangover wasn't too bad.

  12. A belated hippo birday, oh MAB of the dun frock.
    Did you celebrate with a hot toady or two?
    No!, well to participate in such illicit of pleasures.....
    First catch your toad, or at least pilfer one from one of the many attractions and events springing up all over the land.
    Rub it profusely till it warms, having worked up a sweat, then add yeast and sugar. Brew until the specific gravity pleases then throw the toad away before imbibing in such guilt ridden pleasures.Beware so as not to overdo things and work up a lather, as people who turn wood often become violent when the drink is in.
    If you fear your reputation then throw said toad in the same direction as the congregation and instead of being labelled a sot, one professes to being a sports person, a participant in the days events.
    NEVER throw a toad upside down, else blood will run to your head.Always check ones vessel before quaffing heartily for fear of getting a frog in the throat and should you forget at least check its passport.

  13. Ah! Hello Daddy Papersurfer - I'm glad the toad rubbing is appealing to you. Do let me know how you get on?
    Penibear, did you tie a giraffe to your ear, or just spectate? And was the entry fee reasonable?
    Yaff, always a pleasure, you seem to have grasped the idea very quickly. I haven't tried yeast yet, but puree of flageolet beans works well.
    Thankyou for all my birthday wishes, I had a fabulous day, and I rather like being a hundred and eleventy-twelve.

  14. I think however adept you get at Toad Rubbing, it would be wise to wipe your hands on your skirt afterwards. Or someone elses....

  15. The funny thing is that balancing toad looks to be enjoying it (for 52 hours??? - must be a glutton for punishment) Glad you popped by MAB call again.

  16. Oh droppings! I forgot your birthday AGAIN! Are you having one next year? There's an International Newt Slandering Fair I'd love to take you to, if you're up for it. Anyone reeking of Vick gets in free. Let me know and I'll hire some nostril tweezers.