Monday, 30 March 2009

G20 Protests



I am in London for the G20 Summit.

Barack offered me a lift in Marine One, but I prefer to arrive more discretely in my own helicopter 'Unc One'. I do find all that razzmataz a bit ostentatious.

I know that Barack is rather keen for me to lead the way on his programme matching private sector money with U.S. treasury funds to buy up to $1 trillion of toxic assets.

It could be quite a good deal - but I am only really interested in buying up any skyscrapers that are going cheap. I'll have to check with Cowgill and see what the shipping costs might be.

Shame the Empire State Building is not on the market - I think it would look rather good adorning Homeward.

Sadly, our arrival in London was somewhat noisy. It seems the Summit is the target of widespread protests.

Not surprisingly, Beaver Hateman is here - leading a group called "Put People First".

Looking down from my hotel room I spotted him inciting the crowd.

"Our future depends on creating an economy based on fair distribution of wealth, from Unc's treasury to our pockets!" he cried. "Free Black Tom for all!" he added to cheers from his coterie.

I was disappointed to see inhabitants of Homeward amongst the marchers. It looked liked there could be a bit of a fracas, as some jostling occurred amongst the different factions. Exception had been taken to Beaver's exhortation to put "People" first.

The badgers demanded that they should be put first, as did the dwarfs, goats and various other groupings. Beaver faced accusations of peoplism.

It seems they have resolved their differences, however, and formed a 'Rainbow Mammalian Alliance'.

I was astonished to see the Old Monkey carrying a "Put Monkeys First" placard - but he assures me that he was only there in the interests of primate equality.

Bizarrely, even the King of the Badgers was there!

He tells me that the Royal coffers are somewhat depleted and he is just as deserving of any hand-outs that are going as anybody else.

I, of course, had little choice but to lend him some money - if only to get him off the streets. It would have been most embarrassing to have a member of royalty outside, chanting with the crowd, whilst we are deliberating the future of the world.

I only hope they are not too noisy - one needs to concentrate when one is fixing the financial systems.






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Friday, 27 March 2009

Monkey-and-Engine-Room Wood



I have returned from my holiday at Monkey-and-Engine-Room Wood - it was not quite the restful retreat that I had been hoping for.

Monkey-and-Engine-Room Wood is full of huge circular flowers that revolve in the breeze as if they were the wheels of an engine. It has a large lake in the middle with trees all around and under them and ranks of the large flowers turn, some fast, some slow on their stems like windmills. It's a most unusual place. So I bought it after my last visit.

The monkeys who live in the wood form into bands and move about the trees in circles. I find it all rather dazzling and bemusing but the Old Monkey is very keen on the place because it gives him the opportunity to revisit his youthful days swinging about with his brethren.

It has become quite a tourist attraction, and we stayed in the splendid five star boarding house now located on the small island in the middle of the lake.

Boats are now hired out so that guests can circumnavigate the water.

I had expected a pleasant and relaxing sojourn in this beauty spot but on arrival we were not made welcome.

As we walked in, Mister Forrard, the proprietor of our Guest House grumbled "Oh it's you - I suppose that you expect to be given free accommodation as well?"

"I beg your pardon?" I inquired "The rent that you pay me is quite sufficient, I would not expect you to house me gratis!"

"Oh," said Mister Forrard, somewhat taken aback, "It's just I assumed that, as we had been required to provide a room for your newly appointed Lake-Keeper, we would also be required to supply yourself with a free room."

"Lake-Keeper?" I asked.

"Yes Sir, and I am reluctant to question your judgement, Sir, but I have to say I find him a most disagreeable chap. Also, I have to say that your tripling of the boat-hire costs has not gone down very well with visitors, Sir!" he countered - clearly trying to hold in a pent up feeling of indignation.

"I have given no such instructions" I replied "Tell me, where would I find this Lake-Keeper?"

"I expect he will be out on the lake, Sir, haranguing the poor tourists, and demanding payment with menaces. I must say, Sir, I was somewhat surprised that you condoned such strong arm tactics!" said a sheepish Forrard.

We decided to investigate who would have the audacity to represent themselves as one of my employees and took a boat out onto the lake.

It came as no surprise to discover Beaver Hateman rowing around the lake - we had heard his raucous cries from a distance.

"Oi, you!" he shouted to some badgers enjoying a dip in the lake "It's an extra bob if you want to swim in ere!"

Then he spotted some ferrets picnicking on the bank. "Bloomin' cheek!" he cried "Don't you kno you can't bring your food? - you gotta buy my scob fish sandwiches! Thats the only grub you is allowed!"

Then he spotted me "Oh blimey! it's the fat tyrant come to ruin my holiday - I spose you just helped yourself to that boat! Half-a-crown you owe me mate - but I don't fink it'll take your weight!" he chortled.

"Need I remind you, Hateman, that all these boats belong to me - and the hire fee is supposed to be one penny!" I shouted back.

"From each according to his jammy wealth, to each according to his needs - and I needed a holiday, mate!" he cackled back at me, "Catch me if you can - lardy bottom!" he added and proceeded to row as back to shore like a bat out of hell.

I have to say this incident somewhat marred my enjoyment of the vacation.


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Thursday, 26 March 2009

A Royal Visit Chez Ferret Princess



Hello, all my faithful subjects, King of the Badgers here. As you know, Uncle is on holiday at Monkey-and-Engine-Room Wood. He has asked one to keep the old blog up for him. One would only be too happy dear chap, one told him.

One is very busy, as usual, on a State Visit to Great Britain.

The Ferret Princess has, very hospitably, agreed to put one up for a few days. Not quite the Palace one was expecting, but a charming abode all the same.

Her children are delightful, but the dog keeps eyeing me in a suspicious manner. One fears that he is not used to badgers around the place. One prefer corgi's oneself.



Her husband is a bit of a rum cove, he insisted on showing one his collection of comics and toys.



One did one's best to feign interest but when one was a child, one spake as a child, if you get one's drift. Still, one found him a decent enough chap and he obviously cares a great deal for his wife - he has equipped the Royal Arsenal with the latest in high tech weaponry. The Johnny Seven OMA. One has no doubt that he would not hesitate to use it in defence of the Royal Ferretage.

He is a very generous fellow, to boot. One happened to remark on the fact that the Royal coffers were somewhat low at present, and he kindly agreed to lend one a very useful sum of money. A man after Uncle's heart I am sure you will agree.

The Princess laid on a great banquet for one. It consisted, mainly, of some rather delicious doughnuts.



The evening, sadly, was marred by a rather nasty incident. Hitmouse, the chief reporter of the Badfort News, had disguised himself as a Spanish waiter - in order to infiltrate the Royal Household and take paparazzi photographs. His subterfuge was revealed, however, when his false moustache fell into the gazpacho soup.

Confronted, the slimy individual shouted "Viva the republic! look at you - living the high life whilst your poor subjects are struggling!"

One was aggrieved, it has to be said. Here on important state business, representing Badgertown to the world - only Uncle understands the terrible burden that one carries.

The Ferret Princess's husband forcefully expelled him from the property. Hitmouse cried out "Watch it Wossy! - this is gonna be all over the Badfort News! How do you fink the public will react to yet another attack on an harmless Spanish waiter!"

One is not sure of the meaning of this barbed attack, but his wife did remind him that he should be on his best behaviour on our visit to the Queen of England. It seems she does not want him upsetting another national institution.

Sadly, one fears that it may be one who should have heeded this advice. One is somewhat prone to making gaffs.

One thinks that one may have said the wrong thing to her Majesty, Elizabeth.

One merely remarked on how smart one thought her grandson looked in the pictures of him wearing a German military uniform and was rewarded with a frosty silence.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Badger King held by Twitter



Shocking news today!

It appears that the King of the Badgers is being held by Twitter for 'suspicious activity'!

I can only assume that this is some misunderstanding - perhaps the King's behaviour seemed odd because of an excess of royal presumption?

I have news that he is presently being made to stand on a stool, whilst being interrogated by a fiercesome owl.

I am sure that you join me in hoping he will soon be released.

Do not worry @BadgerKing - I am bringing all my diplomatic power to bear to insure your release.

I have also heard some appalling news from a Mister Harkaway - it appears that under present U.S. legislation old copies of my biography could be destroyed!

Is civilisation collapsing around us?

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Friday, 13 March 2009

Comic Relief



This is one day when I do not mind playing the, dignified, fool.

This year I am doing a sponsored balloon ride around Homeward.

At least, I can be assured that the Badfort Crowd will not be firing arrows or skewers at the balloons. It is the one day, apart from Christmas when we have a truce.

I hear that he is making fund-raising efforts too
.

Donate here



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Thursday, 12 March 2009

A Day of Public Rejoicing



Following our victory yesterday, I have decided that today will be a day of public rejoicing.

Many presents have arrived from well-wishers. The Maquis of Wolftown has outdone himself sending a hundred trains filled with hams, lard, and cocoa. Cheapman has sent an army of a thousand badgers each carrying on his head a box of provisions.

The King of the Badgers, poor as he is, sent boxes of choice dates and fruits, as well as a case containing some of his family jewellery. This I, of course, returned with a handsome gift in cash.

An unknown magnate called Rosco, sent a a hundred wagon-loads of butter, and twenty kegs of first-grade water-melon pickle.

I have even been given an address by the badgers containing three hundred and fourteen lines of praise.

The whole castle is illuminated by millions of electric lights and high above Homeward is a monster sign 'Uncle the Victor' which flashes in red, purple and yellow.

My main concern, however, is not that I am lauded for my great achievement but that the people of Homeward have a grand day.

We are having a great festival banquet for all the inhabitants, and an enormous display of fireworks will end the night.

There are many jugglers and singers at hand to entertain the crowds.

I gave a speech.

"Friends and followers, we are all assembled here today to rejoice over the defeat of a set of human skunks. We can rejoice that this castle is not under the iron thumb of a rampant despot. Now you may all disperse and enjoy the festivities but remember - be upright, pay your rent, avoid brawling and disorder, and you will find Uncle a friend and protector at all times"

The cheering was deafening but, as it died down, the sound of raucous laughter and an awful musical racket could be heard coming from Badfort. I had hoped that this defeat might dampen their revolutionary ardour but, sadly, it would seem that this is not the case.


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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A Fierce Battle



This morning, Beaver Hateman and his gang of villains made an attack on Homeward armed with their latest weapon the Johnny Seven (OMA) gun.

But we were prepared, I had surrounded the courtyard of the Great Hall with followers - armed with high power treacle hoses.

I had ordered the that only light resistance should be made so that as soon as they burst through the gates we would have them trapped and surrounded.

My plan worked perfectly, I knew that once the firing pins of the Johnny Seven (OMA)'s were sufficiently engulfed in treacle they would be useless.

Unfortunately, they were still able to let off some initial salvos of Duck Bombs - one of which hit me square on the trunk.

Totally incapacitated, I found myself trapped in the deluge of treacle.

Beaver had also been mired in the flood and for a brief moment the hostilities of battle were put aside as we aided each other to escape the quagmire.

Of course, I did not allow the sentiment of this isolated incidence of camaraderie to prevent me giving him a good kicking up as soon as the effects of the Duck Bomb wore of.

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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Smuggling at Sunset Beach



My dream about dark clouds brewing over Sunset Beach had left gnawing doubts in my mind. Was there some issue I had overlooked - a potential danger to my domain?

I decided to consult with my detective A.B.Fox.

"Well, if you remember, Sir, on your last holiday there, you did raise some concerns over the suitability of the location for smuggling operations" he reminded me.

"In that case, I think it best if you carry out some investigations" I informed him.

That night he sent an urgent call, via Owl Post, for me to join him at the seaside resort.

The Old Monkey and I joined him at the cliff top in the dead of night.

"Look Sir, they have attempted to disguise themselves with false beards, but, it is clearly the Badfort Crowd taking in an illicit assignment!" he whispered.




"Hmmm, yes I can see - a large number of boxes marked J7 OMA - what is it?" I replied.

"I fear, Sir, that they have got hold of a very rare and lethal weapon - The Johnny Seven (One Man Army) gun. It is a multi-functional device, but crucially, my sources tell me that it has been adapted to fire Duck Bombs and bladders of vinegar." he said.

Duck bombs burst when they hit you, and cover you from head to foot with a liquid which looks like lemonade but instantly turns into a tough jelly which is almost impossible to remove; in fact, you can't get it off for hours, and in the meantime you can only move very slowly.

You will not be surprised to hear that the Badfort Crowd are always using them.

"The one advantage we have is that they do not know that we know what they are up to - we have the element of surprise!" remarked A.B.Fox

I shall be ready for them.




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Monday, 9 March 2009

Last night I dreamt I went to Homopoly



Lat night I dreamt I went to Homopoly.

It was most peculiar. It began by me being interviewed by Mister Wossy. In the dream, he was a fanatical collector of board games. He kept on going on about a very rare edition of Monopoly he had that was set during the blitz. It sounded a very difficult version of the game, given that you could put a hotel up on Park Lane and the next minute have it blown up!

He asked me if we played Monopoly here at Homeward. Of course, we have our own version - Homopoly. The Great Hall is the equivalent of your Mayfair and then there are the various towers that all have their places on the board. Watercress tower is worth quite a lot, but Haunted Tower has little value. Badfort is, not surprisingly, of a similar value to the Old Kent Road.

The dream then got even stranger as we all became part of the game.

I was staying at Sunset Beach in a holiday home owned by Mister Wossy and his wife, the Ferret Princess. It was infested with extremely long mice and their youngest child insisted on letting them loose in the skirting boards. The electricity kept blowing up as they gnawed through the wires.

I was there to present a programme on seaside resorts with a Mister Walliams, the famed cross-channel swimmer.

As you know I am very fond of seaside holidays.

He was presenting his part of the programme from, of course, Dover - in England.

We did a live link-up, and as a jest about the quality of the weather at seaside resorts the director had arranged for large storm clouds to appear in the sky at both Dover and Sunset Beach. It poured with rain.

Dear reader - what can it all mean?

Do the storm clouds infer that trouble is brewing with the Badfort Crowd?

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Friday, 6 March 2009

Gordon follows my advice



I am glad to see that Gordon and the Bank of England are following one of my tips for combating the recession.

If only others would take heed of my wisdom.

Watch the skies for manna from heaven!


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Thursday, 5 March 2009

My Speech to Congress



This is an extract from the speech I gave to Congress - not sure how well it went down.

"Pull yourselves together. You have made a right royal mess of things and its no good going off and weeping about it.

You have all been very greedy and should be ashamed of yourselves. You have let those bankers and Wall Street chaps run rings around you.

An economic hurricane, of your own making, has swept the world creating a crisis of credit and confidence.

Now you want me to sort it all out.

First of all, no more financial shenanigans. You need only look to such great figures as the banker George Mainwaring for an example. Brave and patriotic - it was his type who got us through the war. All bankers from now on must go back to wearing pinstripe and bowler hats - and moreover, should live in modest semi-detached houses.

People must save up for things - count the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves, as my mother used to say.

No more ill thought spending on tawdry technological knick knacks to avoid facing the deadening existence of modern daily life. Get out there for goodness sake and enjoy the wonders of nature and the other gifts the world has bestowed on us!

Why, only last week, I said to the Old Monkey "Get the traction engine out, we shall go for a steam around my glorious domain!"

Climate change - I have decided to bestow the inventions of my engineer, Cowgill, upon the world!

The factories of Homeward will work overtime to produce Solar Towers, Hydrogen Cars, Magic Coal, and Nuclear Fusion Power Plants.

If you behave yourselves from now on, I might licence them for the world to use and give your workers something to do.

Sieze the moment and stop shilly-shallying around!"


Then Gordon did his speech - it was a bit rubbish I am afraid.

Meanwhile back at home, Beaver and his crowd are dredging up the dim and distant past, again.



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Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Humility



Gordon and Barack have been droning on about the "special relationship" between their countries and Homeward.

I think that can be interpreted as merely diplomatic speak for "can we borrow some money?"!!

I know that Gordon is keen for me to back his ambitious plans for the G20 summit in London in April.

I expect I'll have to make some speech to explain to them how they can sort things out.

Gordon really gets on my nerves sometimes, yesterday he said in a BBC interview "I think there is always a need for humility and there's always a need to accept collective responsibility..."

Lord knows I am a humble elephant, grateful for the good fortune that has made me the figure I am today, and mindful of my civic duty.

But let me remind you, I am where I am today by virtue of the fact that I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and moved on.

I reminded Gordon that I was in no way responsible for this mess, I have always held the purse strings to my treasury tight. No willy nilly lending to disreputable types like the Badfort Crowd, and certainly no financial shenanigans.

"Prudence, always my watch word" I told him.

He just blushed and looked embarrassed.

Honestly, sometimes they are like a couple of naughty schoolchildren, I am sure they were joking about my rectitude behind my back.




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Tuesday, 3 March 2009

A dignified silence





I think it best to maintain a dignified silence over this.


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Monday, 2 March 2009

Picnic at Hanging Rock



Today I decided I would have a day off from dealing with weighty financial matters and have a picnic at Hanging Rock.

Hanging Rock is one of the great tourist attractions, here at Homeward.

It is certainly an amazing sight. This stick of rock seems to defy gravity, perched on the side of the Leaning Tower. It is made of sugar candy and nobody knows how it got there.

It is not an easy journey - it is somewhat disorientating trying to climb a tower that leans. One is never quite sure of the direction one is going in.

I took with me, Goodman, A.B.Fox, the Ferret Princess, Lucy the Parrot, some of the Crookball People (they don't get out much) and, of course, the One-Armed Badger.

How can I go on a picnic in the midst of a financial crisis you might ask?

Let me remind you that picnics are not only good for your health, all that fresh air, but also very economical.

The One-Armed Badger carried buttered biscuits, two casks of ham, a dozen bottles of meat extract, two crates of bananas, blankets, chairs etc;

He is an excellent worker - trustworthy and very good at carrying things, although I sometimes wonder at the things he insists on bringing on expeditions.

The Ferret Princess brought a flask of Koolvat and a stick of french bread. An odd meal, but then I have found that royalty can be quite eccentric.



It was an enjoyable afternoon - apart from the fact that there was a very irritating, persistent, harsh noise disturbing the peace and tranquility.

Then a rather disreputable man came around trying to sell us boiled sweets.

"What are these comestibles that you are trying to sell us?" I inquired.

"Rock chippings mate - they are delicious!" he replied.

"Do you mean to say that these are chunks of my rock!" I declaimed.

"Oh gawd! your Unc ain't you!" he declared and ran for the stairs.

We decided to investigate the droning noise that had disturbed our meal.

I was appalled to discover Hitmouse behind the rock - drilling out chunks of it!

"Are you mad!" I cried "The rock is held in balance on a knifes edge!"

We looked up - the rock was teetering on the brink!

"Sir,' cried Goodman "It is about to fall on the Great Hall!"

"That's the idea!" screeched Hitmouse "Up the revolution!"

"Up Hitmouse, you mean!" I cried as I administered a swift blow to his rear.

He sailed off into the air towards the moat.

However, the rock was now wildly swaying.

"Excuse me, Sir" said the One-Armed Badger, as he produced a giant jack from one of his suitcases. "I'll just place that here, Sir - should hold it until Cowgill can fix a more permanent solution."

"Well done, that Badger!" I cried "I shall never call into question your expedition packing again!"




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Sunday, 1 March 2009

My Biopic



Interest has been muted, again, in the idea of a biopic of my life story.

Last year, doubts were raised, believe it or not, as to whether there would be an audience for a film about a trillionaire elephant!

Following the Oscar success, however, of 'Slumdog Millionaire' it would appear that Hollywood is now clamouring for similar rags to riches stories.

As you know Mr Frank Cottrell Boyce was very keen - but I was reluctant at the time for my life story to become a 'commodity'.

However, I have been persuaded by my good friend, Mister Neil Gaiman, that the Ferret Princess could do my story justice.

As you know, badgers are normally not keen on ferrets but even the King of the Badgers has nothing but praise for her.

In order to make sure that the film is as I would want it to be, I have set out certain guidelines in the following brief.

Firstly, it must be an uplifting film that teaches young children the importance of good citizenship and entrepreneurship. For, a film showing how a lowly elephant from the jungle can rise to greatness is bound to inspire the disaffected youth of today.

Secondly, whilst I accept that Beaver Hateman and the Badfort Crowd must feature in the film - it is important that they are portrayed correctly. Due to the eccentric writing style of my biographer, Mister J.P.Martin, many readers have commented that they are actually rather fond of Beaver!

It must be made clear that they are nothing but villains - intent on the overthrow of capitalism!

You may think that in recent months capitalism has made a pretty good attempt at doing that itself - but let me make it clear, that kind of thinking leads to the sort of anarchy so beloved by Beaver.

Finally, I suppose that it is inevitable that some mention has to be made of the incident, with the bicycle, in my callow youth, when I was at University. Behind every great elephant there is always some ignoble event that comes back to haunt him - however much he attempts to make amends. As the Ferret Princess's husband knows only too well.

It must be made clear within the film, however, that, I only borrowed the bicycle because I was late for an exam and that there was no way that I could have foreseen that it was shabbily made and unable to sustain my weight. In short, it was crushed.

At the time, being a poor student, I was unable to make recompense. But it is a well known fact that, as described in Volume 1 of my biography, I have since more than made up for the incident. I sent the owner a cheque for £2,000, six hundred casks of herrings, a thousand kegs of Turkish Delight, and fifty thousand first-grade cheeses.

I think that the bestowing of these gifts would make a first rate scene in the movie.

Many of you have asked why, with my writing skills, I do not write the script myself?

I did consider it - but the Old Monkey feels that I am far to modest to do the story justice.

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