Thursday, 12 November 2009

Chaper 13 - Unlucky For Some

'Wouldn't it be great if we did have a seam of rare marble running through the grounds of the Manor,' I said, as Andy and I started preparations for our annual 'Dress Like a Pirate Day' party. 'Think of what we could do with the money.'
'Call me a cynic,' said Andy, as he arranged Dead Man's Fingers, aka chipolata sausages dipped in ketchup, artistically on a plate, 'but I'm not sure I believe a word of what Miggo said. I think there's more to this so-called archaelogical dig than they're letting on.'
'Oh come on,' I said. 'If we can't trust our chickens, then who can we trust?'
'I didn't say I didn't trust them,' said Andy, remembering how a previos accusation involving the 'T' word had resulted in a cessation of egg production for a week. 'All I said was that I think the archaelogical dig thing is a smoke screen for something more complex. Somewhere I, quite frankly, don't think I want to go.'
'Like what?' I said.
'Well, 'said Andy, 'do you remember that time when they took our Jackson Pollock to the auction house to get it valued and it 'accidentally' got sold?'
'Yes,' I said. I had to admit that I hadn't been that distressed at the loss of the painting. Pollock by name and Pollock by nature as far as I was concerned. But Andy loved his Pollock to the point of distraction. It had been a very distressing time for him.
'And that a jacuzzi and sauna suddenly appeared in the South Wing of Cluckinghen Palace just over a week later?' said Andy, 'and the hens tried to tell us they'd raised the money for them by selling fish?'
'Yes,' I said. 'But be fair, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a Pollock and a pollack. It's all in the vowels, you know, and remember that Mrs Pumphrey's myopia hadn't been diagnosed at that point.'

Andy was starting to look dizzy. 'All I'm saying is that those hens sometimes get away with things they shouldn't through being masters of the art of sheer confusion,' he said.
'Okay,' I said. 'But it would be great if we were sitting on a seam of rare Italian marble, wouldn't it?'
'Yes, dear,' said Andy.

Back at what remained of the Japanese water garden, Mrs Miggins was getting down and dirty with a shovel, spreading tarmac over the now empty ponds and across the willow coppice.
'If we're careful we can spread this stuff around the base of the trees and they'll survive,' said Miggins. 'But we need to get this car park laid. The rest of Boom Penguin will be arriving soon with lorry loads of sound and lighting equipment. And then we've got to get the seating into the arena, set up the catering tents...oh, there's so much to do. How are you getting on persuading other acts to participate in the concert, Gloria?'
Mrs Pummhrey studied her clipboard.
'Well, if I'm honest, progress is being a bit slow,' she said. She peered over the top of her pink pearl-rimmed spectacles at Mrs Miggins.
'How do you mean, 'slow'? said Miggins. She paused in her shovelling and wiped a wing across her sweaty brow. 'How many acts have you actually secured. Give me numbers.'

Mrs Pumphrey coughed. ' The thing is, Laetitia, although initial interest was good, as soon as other acts find out that Boom Penguin is headlining, they suddenly remember they have other, more important commitments to fulfil.'
'I see,' said Miggins. Disappointed she was; surprised she wasn't.
'I've got a few more avenues to explore,' added Pumphrey, hurriedly. 'I'll soon get our lucky streak back, I'm certain of it.'

Mrs Miggins was full of admiration for Mrs Pumphrey's unwavering optimism, an optimism she wished she could share.
'And who is the one act you have managed to secure?' she asked, more out of politeness than a burning desire to know.
'Ah,' said Mrs Pumphrey, animated into an air of partial excitement. 'The Mysterious Pepe.'
'I'm sorry?'
'The Mysterious Pepe. He's a magician. A magic act is good, isn't it, Laetitia? I thought we could put him on during the interval, to keep the crowd warm.'
'Lovely,' said Miggins, weakly. Provided the crowd reach a state of tepid after watching Boom Penguin for half an hour that is, she thought.
'And also,' said Mrs Pumphrey, 'I thought we could perform at the concert. Like we used to in the old days.'
'Oh no,' said Mrs Miggins. 'Please, Gloria, please don't tell me you want to revive 'Poulet Nous', our Abba tribute act.'
'Oh Laetitia...pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze,' begged Mrs Pumphrey. 'Let's do it. It'll be great. You, me and Betty, blue sequin catsuits and pink feather boas. Pleeeeeeeeze say we can perform 'Poulet Nous.' Just once more. Pleeeeeze.'

Mrs Miggins leant on her shovel. She looked down at her blackened, dusty dungarees, her scuffed Doc Martin's, her lumberjack print shirt with the frayed cuffs and collars. Maybe a dose of femininity would do her good. She'd been very aware, since the arrival of the chic and highly polished Honeybun Slingsby, that she'd let herself go of late.

'Okay,' she sighed. 'But just this once, Gloria. Don't be getting any ideas about world tours or recording contracts.'

Mrs Pumphrey let out a piercing shriek.

'SHE SAID YES!!!!!' she yelled.
'HURRAH!' yelled back Mrs Slocombe, appearing from the half erected marquee wearing a white satin mini dress and pair of knee-high platform boots.
'You knew,didn't you?' said Mrs Miggins. 'You knew I'd say yes.'
'Kind of,' said Mrs Pumphrey, giving her friend a brief hug because she wanted to show how happy she was but didn't want to get mud on her vintage Biba lounge suit. 'First rehearsal tonight in the Marquee. Okay?'

'Okay,' said Mrs Miggins. 'Now get out of my way. I've got a tonne of asphalt to shift.'


  1. You'll see me to the right amongst your followers. Yea . . I will follow the unfolding chapters of your blog, even to the end of the story . .

    and today's wiggly verification word is doecoedll, than which they do not come stranger!

  2. Sometimes I get really freaked out when the word verification actually links with something I've been thinking about. I spent all day yesterday in fear that I might come across one that read 'scotch egg.'

    Thank you for becoming a loyal follower, Doctor. I am enjoying your poetry enormously. I did have a peep at your other blogs, too, and liked the 'homage to Mao' theme but I'm afraid the financial focus one left me feeling a tad dizzy.