-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

Saturday, November 21

Folly Made Breakfast...

Well, it's been an eventful few weeks, I'm posting this from my temporary accommodation provided by the government as we've had a little disaster. They've been very nice, keeping me wrapped up with blankets, and provided a special box for the toads. I get fed three times a day (no hessian crackers here, though, and no lungwort soup) but it's better than an iron boot up the arse.

It all started two days ago.....

Aunt Bench, in a desperate plea, left a note, pinned to her daughter, on the doorstep of Mrs Coddy from next door. Bench is suffering episodes of 'funny ideas' and 'wistful notions of sailors' again, and needs a break. So at 6am yesterday, she put Folly on Mrs Coddy's doorstep and said 'Wait here until she opens the door, darling, and don't be impatient and ring the bell'. Mrs Coddy finally opened the door at 1pm, and found Folly eating the cow parsley. Of course, not wanting to take in a renowned disaster magnet, she tactfully came to me on the grounds that 'family is better'. I could quite cheerfully kick Mrs Coddy up the arse...but she'll keep for now. No-one will look for her under her own patio.

I managed to keep Folly entertained and out of trouble for the first night. While she was distracted in destroying a perfectly good piano with grandfathers' mace, I had time to hide the matches, flammable liquids, and anything that could be set fire to or exploded. Once my task was completed and I'd taken the bolt cutters off her for the third time, I tried to teach her counting, which failed after she ate the flageolet beans I was using for demonstration purposes. Then I decided a game of Ludo would be nice, but she's eaten four green counters and two yellows, and Lord knows where the red one went. So I switched tack and we watched 'Snatch' on my new wooden DVD player that Weevil made for me. It's marvellous, a little grainy in the picture, but great for what I need. And Brad Pitt was in his most handsome, hunky role....

It's funny, but other than looking after the toads, I'm not very maternal. I have no yearning for creating socially dangerous people to go charging across our little village, so I find this 'mentoring' and 'nurturing' gubbins rather tiring.
I slept fantastically, and vaguely remember noises in the kitchen first thing. As soon as my subconscious shouted to me to get up and check on Folly, there was the most almighty 'BOOM!', followed by a cold wind and a rushing sensation.
The rushing sensation turned out to be my bed-bound airborne journey from my hedge, across the fields and byways of Trebollocks, and onto the roof of St Crapulent the Martyr's church in Skiddy-Under-Grundy, seven miles away. I thought I was on the set of Bedknobs and Broomsticks for a minute, until I sailed over East Bung and caught sight of Bench down by the docks.

According to the police, the fire department, and the bomb squad, a unique chain of events happened that defies human comprehension. But they gave it a title, and my heart sank when I read the heading of the report. It just said....'Folly Made Breakfast - NATO Class III Alert'.

Forensics said the damage was caused by three things: Trying to cook a gas bottle in a pan on a gas cooker (she'd even seasoned it with Jamie Oliver's Lemon & Thyme salt mill; poking dynamite into the toaster; and baking some petrol soaked halibut in the oven at gas mark 8 for 30 minutes. (The fish had a chilli and flat leaf parsley rub, and was garnished with roasted shallots and peppers.

I now have to find Bench and tell her that Folly is being 'counselled' by a nice lady with a big cardie, chunky beads and a tasselled skirt. The police have also told me that Folly is a death trap and must not be let out into the community again, at which point I was hopeful until the social worker whined on about rights. I was gutted. She's been released into my custody, even after licking the face of an old policeman.

Aunt Vom turned up and took her way, thankfully. When Vom got her home, she hung Folly up on a coat peg by the loop in her school blazer, and is leaving her there until the morning. I like to picture her there, with her little feet dangling below. I'm so grateful to Vom, but furious with Bench. My hedge is ruined, Mrs Coddy is livid as the blast flattened six of her geese. They're ok, but you can only see them when they turn side-on.
Trebollocks has issued a state of emergency, and thousands are homeless or living in dangerous conditions. The Royal Marines are being called in to clear up the mess. The mess was so scary, the Coldstreams ran away and told their mums.

The Home Secretary and the Ministry of Defense are monitoring Folly, and instructing Vom on her care. the Russians have already been on the blower to Number 10 and said whatever the bribe is for Folly, they don't want her. Bin Laden sent a text saying 'don't even ask, man'. The social worker popped in with advice on sharing and issues. Vom showed her her knife collection, and the woman went away with apologies.

So, no Fawlty Towers omnibus for me, no quiet teas by the brambles, no crackly leaf carpet, no more hedge until it's been checked and sealed by men in plastic suits with 'creaky things' that read radiation. I'm only able to write this thanks to the emergency dongle, kindly provided by Major Ponsonby-Goppin, of Her Majesty's Royal Marines. They play nice music as well. As I was being airlifted off the church, they did a drum display to keep us entertained. We all clapped, except the Vicar, who'd lost a hand in the blast.

Sadly, most of my spiders didn't survive, but the Marines rescued Peadar, and have housed him in a little box in my sidebar. Though I wouldn't recommend pointing a cursor at him as he'll come after it and take it off to his web for tea. They also rescued Leopold and Erica, the tortoises, which are also in the sidebar, so point at them if you like, as they're too slow to catch anything.

I will report more when Trebollocks is a little better restored, and I'm safe in the knowledge that Vom has nutted Bench for her stupidity. Meanwhile, any ideas on how to re-decorate my hedge? Do I go rustic again, or street chic? And does Feng Shui really affect the happenings in the house? If so, is there a magic mirror to repel unruly children?


  1. Ah, but you have had an eventful week, have you not? This would explain your absence at my Kipper'N'Nutella Soiree the other evening. I was a little miffed at your apparent boycott of the event, but now is all clear. And there was me thinking you were still in a paddy about the pickled goldfish pate. Skiddy-Under-Grundy! Now there's a name that takes me back to my youth. Of course, this was where Shirley and I spent our honeymoon. Of course, he was so young and handsome then, and hadn't yet developed the propensity to pick his nose. It's not that I'm squeamish, as you know, but he refused to get his own fingers dirty and it was rather off-putting in genteel company. Lady Pendleby-Oompah didn't know where to put herself. Ah, Happy Days! Must dash, darling, the rozzers are here and they've caught another one for me. Joy!! I'm only helping them out for the next week or so, while the Custody Sergeant's boxer shorts are being exorcized. Nasty business, that. Toodle-pip.

  2. Dear Auntie,
    re: the hedge.
    Up country in the urban sprawl of Brisle there is a lovely young man who goes by the name of Banksy who does a lovely line in graffiti tortoise. (I know, I know! it is too brilliant.)
    So, here down the lane we have had a whip round and the good news is he will take the commission. He mumbled something about an ironic take on the tortoises head when I spoke to him on the phone, sounds fabulous.
    So anyway I told him to make his way to the outskirts of Trebollocks and start shreiking and you will meet him there.
    You see, the spririt of yuletoad is strong!

    Love Cousin Down the Lane x

  3. You poor dear thing - what a disaster. I hope you are recovering from that awful shock and when you feel up to restoring your hedge I think you should go for the rustic grunge look - it will do nicely should any other disaster occur.

  4. A personal hedge favourite of mine is the retro, 1974 suburbia, you know the sort. of course it does attract various leaping urchins who delight in hedge holing, but it's worth the effort. Personally, I'm glad to hear there are children out there are who are still so incredibly naughty! frying a gas can in a pan on a gas stove is inspired! The girl should be held up as an example to those other yoofs... where has the rage gone!? It's all hoody mooching these days, squinting at predictive texts and that... sorry to hear about your abode and hedge.. but well done folly I say!

  5. Whenever I have to trim my bush, I always go for the Commando-style cammo look. These modern styles just aren't the done thing in nice neighbourhoods.

    Curiously, the word verification for this comment is 'Trident' - are you SURE Folly isn't still loitering somewhere nearby? I'd pop out and check, if I were you.

  6. after a blast like that I would go for street chic...

  7. Breakfast, the most dangerous meal of the day. Definitely go street chic with the hedge I say; & what is the sound of a one-handed vicar clapping?

  8. I'd go for a 10ft wall if I were you Auntie, with razor wire, broken glass and security lights, a sort of gritty urban chic look.I've never heard of Skiddy-under-grundy though I was in Skiddy-under-ware for a couple of weeks.Nasty.
    Peadar? What an utterly ridiculous name! What class of feckin EEjit spider would have a name like that.Squish it I say.

  9. And I was just going to remark on the great name for the spider, but I see TFE's given a thumb's down, so I won't.

    Either I need another drink or a really long lie down. What a whirlwind week. Too bad about the vicar.

    I love "Bedknobs and Broomsticks"!

  10. Where does Peadar theoctoleggedeejit go when it's off screen?It seems to be chasing it's own shadow, the total feckin EEjit. And how come the other two get company and food?

  11. Well, many thanks for your careful consideration of my plight. Street chic it is! I've got Vom coming round later with some rusted metal and a couple of spray cans.
    The spider, by the way, has some ritz crackers hidden off-screen which he likes to attack in between meals....I don't mind so long as he doesn't spoil his appetite. He is a bit of a boffin, and doesn't like company, whereas the turtles are helplessly in love and sing to each other constantly with an orchestral background which I've switched off. It does my head in. Pip-pip!

  12. Tortoise-pacing with the next post, M'dear?

    Aloha, Friend! Miss You

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