Plotting A Course To Notoriety #blogbattle

This month’s #blogbattle prompt is navigate

Nelson Bonaparte Plonker was conflicted. His name, for starters. All male Plonkers had been named after their place of conception (or as close as the contributing member could recall) for generations. Nelson’s father, Halifax was pretty sure the big event consisted of four pints of Heavy Weather and a knee trembler behind the snug bar of the Dog’s Bollocks in the High Street. As it transpired this tradition ended when Preston Plonker, Halifax’s younger brother gave into some pressing procreative urges in Cockermouth on a squidgy bank holiday and the registrar refused to complete the birth registration on the basis of pre-emptive child cruelty.

It was the same registrar who had inadvertently given Nelson his unwanted middle name. Nelson’s mother, a professional gossip and dance pole greaser was in the queue for the registrar and was pressing the woman behind for more details of her Siamese twins’ operation when she was asked for her son’s names. As his mother said Nelson, the other woman explained how, in fact her twins were born apart. By such misfortune is the course of a life decided.

Taking a lead from his name, when Nelson left school he decided the navy was his best bet (his career’s advisor, Joe B’sworth, despaired of Nelson seeing sense, indicating that focusing on his middle name was fraught with risk as those seeking to conquer Europe had been tried and found wanting).

The first question was which branch of the aquatic services.

While the Royal Navy has its pluses: blue serge trousers, cute hats and enormously phallic weaponry, the Merchant Navy is equally blessed as giving opportunities for exciting foreign travel, novelty cocktails and institutional pognophilia. So unsure was Nelson, as he navigated his options that he took a job as a magician’s assistant on a Cruise liner, sailing under the authority of Captain Willie Wontee.

After some cursory training involving two rabbits, a top hat and a pair of excessively capacious trousers with elasticated ankles, Nelson was broadly ready for life as a sailor. He took to it as a politician takes his liberties, with a natural insouciance and sense of entitlement.

Indeed all was well until the third night, when Nelson was installed in the mystery cabinet from which Maestro Mystereo promised the audience he would disappear.

And so he did. But at the very moment he vanished, Mystereo suffered a catastrophic system’s failure and collapsed onto the stage. In the ensuing flap, the mystery cabinet was removed to storage with Nelson still ensconced within. Nelson was none the wiser.

Eventually, recognising he was becoming a touch peckish, Nelson began to hunt for a way out. And found none. It took the crew some three weeks to realise Nelson was missing – the increase in rabbit numbers with no one to care for them brought home his absence. A search was undertaken and Nelson’s skeletal form discovered in the small cupboard within a cupboard.

Many apologies were offered and he was given whatever opportunity he fancied to try a different aspect of sea life while he navigated his way back to health.

‘The kitchens,’ he responded with alacrity.

‘No surprise there,’ murmured the purser. ‘He must be starved.’

Indeed, Nelson was peckish but that wasn’t the real reason. During his three week enforced incarceration he had survived on a diet of his own urine and his nipples, reckoning they were pretty useless as originally intended. So taken was he with the various ways in which he had been able to enjoy these gratuitous body parts that he felt sure with some experimentation he had a winner on his hands.

Some two years later, to much fanfare, Nelson launched his unique line in cocktail nipples for the discerning host and was arrested shortly thereafter, being charged with seventeen thousand incidents of chest mutilation.

When later he was questioned why he did it, his response was a sigh and a reference to his career’s advisor, Joe B’sworth. ‘He always said I’d make a tit of myself.’

Posted in #blogbattle, creative writing, flash fiction, humour, miscellany | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Christmas Limerick #limerick #poem

This week’s prompt is Santa from Esther’s stable

Elle Fish, the head trainer for Santa
Taught his reindeer to trot and to canter.
When asked why she stayed,
Being so underpaid
Said, ‘They’re dears, with the best line in banter.’

And I submitted this to Chel’s Terrible Poetry comp. Go there. Participate. You know it makes sense, unlike my poetry…

All hope’s gone, all is lost.
She loves me, she loves me nost.
I gave her flowers. a sort of red.
They had thorns, so she bled
Out. Now she’s a gost…


Posted in humour, limericks, miscellany, poems, poetry | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Unpicking History

We went to the British Museum to see their exhibition on Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The most interesting section, for me, was the description of the hunt to decipher this unique and almost lost language. A French Egyptologist and and English polymath probably played the largest rolls in this detective story but there were many others involved. Most especially, the Rosetta Stone provided the vital clues to how the language was structured.

I must say, if you are visiting, take your best reading glasses as so much is in a tiny print that, by the end, I rather felt as if my eyes had pulled the duvet over their heads and refused to come out. And more than once the confusing layout – there was no coherent order to your way round – meant I found myself reading from the end to the beginning – a bit like reading a line of script right to left when it should be left to right.

There were other Egyptian objects to admire.

And one to snigger at…

It happened that our visit coincided with two other events. the first, and directly related was the 200th anniversary of the British bringing the stone from Egypt to London to be housed – as it still is – in the British Museum; and the second the announcement that another museum, but not the subject of as many legal constraints as the BM – the Horniman Museum – is returning some Benin bronzes to Nigeria which had been looted in the 19th century.

The Rosetta stone’s history is somewhat different. It was found when the French colonial authorities were repairing a fort in Rashid in Egypt in the 1790s – it had been used as building material in that city and somehow been preserved – and ‘given; to the British when, with the help of the Ottoman Empire, they had pushed the French out of Egypt.

But, and of course here’s the thing, it is clearly as crucial to the understanding of Egyptian history as the Sphinx and the Pyramids and the many sarcophagi that have been disinterred over centuries. More so, given its crucial role in deciphering the complex language.

I stared at that famous slab, at the extraordinary intricate carvings in there languages: Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Egyptian Demotic which derived from northern hieratic forms and Greek. And I thought, you know, it should go back. I’m sure they’d loan it to us when we had a major exhibition; you can make an identical 3D print of it these days and no one would be any the wiser and, frankly, it’s the right thing to do.

I know the arguments, how if we’d not looked after it in the 19th century it probably wouldn’t have survived – that argument runs with the Greek marbles that Elgin acquired and sold to the BM in the 1800s (and which are being discussed today by the BM authorities) – but that, even if true then, is it a reason to hang onto something so fundamental, so much at the core of that civilisation? One day maybe we will see sense.

Meanwhile, here’s Dog being Dog

Posted in miscellany, museums | Tagged , , , | 32 Comments

Week Forty-Five: 2022

I realise I must have missed a few weeks as there aren’t seven weeks left in the year. I wonder what I did with them?

This week we had a trip to the British Museum to see the Hieroglyph exhibition which I’ll detail in another post. Very educational if a little dry and academic for my tastes.

I was also taken out for a meal for my actual b’day though rather unfortunately I had some sort of migraine that, as is its wont left me wanting nothing so much as to hug the great white telephone, so I went home and left the family to it. Apparently it was a really good time without me. Que sera, sera.

I managed to recover promptly and spend time in the garden. In discussion with the lawn expert and cognizant that pretty sharp cold weather (for us) is on its way, we decided (a) this would be the last cut of the year and (b) we’d trial a new design for next year, at least occasionally. I take no credit but I think it looks great. You?

We had a v. sweaty time moving two fruit trees too, having cleared the triangular bed of its dahlias and cleaning and storing them in the garage. If the promised frosts arrive, next time it will be pulling up the last of the herbaceous borders that have hung on grimly to date.

On Thursday (Dec 1st) I was dispatched to acquire advent calendars for each child. There’s a splendid chocolatier in Crystal Palace called Blowing Dandelions where I procured four for the price of about half of Kensington. I hope they enjoy them. I did snap the city from Gipsy Hill on my way home. One of my favourite shots.

And I’ve ended the week in Suffolk – shit, it’s cold on the coast – and Dog and I and the Textiliste tromped the sand dunes. I tried to video Dog on a fast trot to keep walm but my own heavy breathing and uncertain footing tells me to stick to stills. Do you agree?

Posted in 2022, thought piece | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

Inspirational Quites

Do you sometimes come across a quote and think ‘yes, that’s exactly right.’? These aren’t those…. These are more likely to make you think ‘well, quite’.

Those fluttery things at the ends of branches are called leaves because every year that’s what they do.

When in love and you come to a fork in the road, it is time to spoon.

Either bend your knees when lifting a heavy weight or you’ll back out of it.

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the life of a sports’ fan

If you cook oats for breakfast, you get toast without the tea.

It never rains when you want it to.

If everyone gets too big for their boots, the answer is a load of cobblers.

Posted in humour, miscellany, quotes | Tagged , | 47 Comments

Two Peas #writephoto

This week’s #writephoto prompt is

Horace And Henry

Horace and Henry Plasterboard, Little Tittweaking’s one set of identical twins had always done the same thing, dressed the same, achieved the same academic results, undertaken the same apprenticeship and finished the other’s sentences. After a lot of searching they bought two identical terraced houses. They considered the purchases to be the height of adulting as the properties were mirror images rather than identical. Oh how delighted they were to be so brave.

Well, not Horace. Horace, you see harboured an ambition, one he felt certain Henry did not share. To be different. It was the ‘shame with no name’ for one such as Horace. Yes, buying mirror image homes – indeed living in a separate house – was a major step. But Horace wanted more. He agitated for complimentary rather than identical Christmas pullovers; he wanted to finish his own sentence and, more to the point, not fell obliged to finish Henry’s even though he knew it was expected and if he failed to do so Henry would be more than offended.

He craved individuality. To be greater than the sum of their parts. But he knew he couldn’t just do his own thing. It would destroy his brother. He had to be gradual about it. What he needed was a small step, a little chink of light.

That’s when he took his first radical step. As the two brothers said good night and entered their respective homes, Horace waited. Henry switched on his hall light the customary 31 seconds after entering the property and Horace… didn’t. He stood in the dark, thrilling at his rebellion, allowing the shiver of revolt to rumble through his buttocks, vibrate his bowel and leave via a small belch.

Henry didn’t notice. He assumed that his brother had turned on his light and unaware of the calumny being perpetrated next door, headed for the kitchen to put on the kettle. Horace went to the toilet. Never had an act of relief been such a relief. He had broken the Gordian Knot, unbound his bindings and unumbilicalled himself. He flushed as he flushed, wondering where this defiance might take him.

Indeed, so overwhelming was this dazzling moment of release that his heart, never his strongest organ gave out with a small but decisive pfft and Horace, now unchained slipped to the floor.

Next door, Henry, whose hearing was attuned to his brother’s vital rhythms began to realise something wasn’t right. Grabbing the key, he headed for the door, trembling at the bravery of doing something so clearly different from his brother. He found his sibling sprawled, as if in state on the hall floor, wide-eyed but smiling. Henry, who similarly had the same congenital weakness, blinked, expired and fell.

When they were found, they were in exactly the same pose as each other, save for Henry’s sad expression. Their friends said they would have been happy to die thusly symmetrically intwined, though no one knew how delighted Horace would have been with his contrarian smile.

Posted in #writephoto, creative writing, flash fiction, humour, little Tittweaking, miscellany | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

To Confuse A Muse

I really thought I had a poem about to emerge but all I ended up with was a confused nonsense…

To Confuse A Muse

I tried, ‘The sun is scintillizing…’

But my muse stopped me with a cry

‘You can’t make up words or the poetry will die.

And why this adverbalizing?’

I harrumphed. ‘That’s not a word.’

And began to inject my protest with vigour

When my wretched muse stopped me with a snigger.

‘You know you are being ridiculously absurd,’

She exclaimed. ‘Let’s polish up your stanzas,

After all that’s what you favourite muse is for,

And if we don’t, your public will abhor

You continued verbal extravaganzas.’

Which frankly left me undone, confused

Though my muse, the wretch was highly amused.

Posted in miscellany, poems, poetry, sonnets | Tagged , , | 25 Comments


Posted in miscellany | 50 Comments

Primate Deniability #carrotranch #99wordstories

This week’s carrot ranch prompt is

November 28, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the saying, “not my monkeys, not my circus”. What is the situation that would spawn that aphorism? Have fun with setting and characters! Go where the prompt leads!

Primate Deniability (with apologies to Inspector Clouseau)

Gere Stick, visiting Professor of Chaos theory at Little Tittweaking University and part time ringmaster sat in the big top and watched Ali Gator approach. She pointed at some playful and cute -looking primates.

‘Are you a qualified ringmaster?’

Gere nodded.

‘Are your monkeys well-behaved?’

Another nod.

Satisfied, Ali corralled the troop of mewling macaques, leading them away.

Later, with her clothes and hopes in tatters, a furious Ali found Gere. ‘You said you’re a ringmaster and your monkeys are well-behaved.’

‘I am and they are. Those aren’t my monkeys and that’s not my circus.’

Ali shot him.

Posted in #99wordstories, Carrot Ranch Congress of Rough Writers, creative writing, flash fiction, humour, little Tittweaking, miscellany | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Week Forty-Four: 2022

For once I’m pleased the autumn rugby internationals are over. England’s performances have been pretty unappealing and that’s a shame as I do enjoy a bit of looking forward to sporting events.

It’s the same with the football. I’m with those who think Qatar shouldn’t have been awarded the hosting rights. It smacks of dodgy dealing. And while I abhor the egregious discrimination that pervades that society, in many ways it’s no worse than many other hosting countries of various major sports events. Every nation has its blind spots and skeletons. If we applied even basic standards as we view them in the West we’d end up with every tournament in Denmark or on a Faroe Isle or some such. There is always hypocrisy but it goes with the territory of hosting. You will be vilified. Get over it. If you can’t take the heat…

Anyway, world cups are in June so this one doesn’t feel right for temporal as well as moral reasons. And leave the players alone. They’re good at football. They probably have a range of views on the hot button issues of the morally certain but why should they be held to some standard that doesn’t apply elsewhere. It’s for the likes of governing bodies to make protests, not individual players, and if, like the Iranian team not singing the National Anthem in a protest, we should applaud their courage, given the likely reaction back home, rather than criticise those who just get on with playing.

I mentioned last week that I’m approaching a birthday. Yippee! Double yippees when I was told to present myself at this building in Covent Garden. ‘Wear comfortable clothes and bring a deodorant.’

Okay… still I love me a treat (was it only in my family that, at birthday time, we had to choose between a party and a treat? I went for the party, the Archaeologist the treat – says it all really) so I ignored the implicit critique of my bodily hygiene and did as I was bid.

We were in a Sandbox, which naively I thought would have some sand. Nope. It was a venue for team based VR gaming… That’s what that weird pic at the top is all about.

Yep, me gaming. Woop woop. As well as the Textiliste, I tried to look knowledgeable and failed. Still I’m ever up for a new experience. That’s when we found out that she has a Kinemortophobia.

So no zombies. We swapped games to hunting treasure in Davy Jones’ Locker. How to describe the experience? Discombobulating at the start. Unexpectedly engaging as it progresses. And sweaty too, hence the spray. Here are some stills and then a video to give you some idea.

Get me, eh. Part of the metaverse.

I think overall I prefer the garden or walking Dog.

And after we did have a delightful Italian meal at a place called Norma. I ate too much as per… back to Joe Wicks sessions this week methinks.

Meanwhile, under a tap…

Posted in 2022, miscellany, thought piece | Tagged , | 35 Comments