Uncle’s Annual Christmas Message as broadcast today:
Hail to Glorious Uncle Anthem – intro pictures of the Great Hall at Homeward
Cut to Uncle at his desk in front of the Great Christmas Tree.
2010 has been a difficult year for many of you, in particular for those in Badgertown facing the economic downturn and deepening recession. We, here at Homeward, are weathering it all better than most – due to my excellent head for economics.
Sadly, I have noticed that some of you dwarfs have been missing your rent payments – even though I only charge a farthing a week!
At this special time of year, all over the World, we celebrate the spirit of community so come on, let’s see a bit more civic responsibility and pay your rent on time!
The spirit of community should not just be for one or two days; it should be something for every day, but you have all got a bit lax and selfish recently
What is the solution to this sorry state of affairs? There is only one.
Sport, sport and more sport!
I have decided that 2011 will be a “Year of Sport” in Homeward.
There shall be a singing competition, dwarf throwing events, a new Spigots league, and a water cricket tournament!
In the spirit of fraternity, I have even agreed to a friendly game of “mob football” between the people of Homeward and Badfort.
This will be played on the ground between the two castles involving an unlimited number of players on the opposing teams.
The winner will be the first team to get an inflated pig's bladder into the opposition’s moat. I have Beaver Hateman’s word that his players will not have skewers or Duck Bombs secreted about their persons.
By the end of the year I am sure we shall see a return to that traditional community spirit so typical of our proud City, and we shall once again see Homeward united!
Remember, be an upstanding citizen, pay you’re rent, and you will always have a friend in Uncle!
A final Christmas tale of Stiener Brashburg's Antique Shop 'Temptations'.
As I have previously recounted, each purchase from Brashbag's comes with "a big novelty surprise". For those who pay a fair price this surprise is generally good, but for those that cheat Brashburg - well, a nasty fate awaits all of them.
Sigismund Hateman came to rue the day that, whilst out of sight of Brashburg, he put the price tag of a cheaper snuff box on the one he wanted to buy.
Brashburg sold him the box at the altered price, bidding him farewell with a cheery "I hope you enjoy snuffing it."
When sniffed, snuff causes one to sneeze - but the preparation contained in this particular snuff box was none other than Gleamhound's "clear your nose" snuff - as his concoctions always work backwards Sigismund soon found his nose completely blocked. Unfortunately, however, this was not the only damaging aspect to the snuff box - for it had once been stolen from the Haunted Tower.
"Dis snuff has bade be all blocked up" complained Sigismund as he sat by the fire in Badfort Castle. "Id going do ruin by Bismas! - an I god a pain in by ear too!"
Hootman walked in and let out a yell! "I'm not surprised you got a pain in your ear! There's a bloomin Elementalist sitting on your shoulder poking it with a skewer!"
Being a spirit, Hootman can see other supernatural beings that are unseen by ordinary mortals.
He cast a few runes and managed to make the Elementalist partly visible - Hitmouse tried to skewer it but as it was made of something like a thick fog, this was no good.
"You rotten little ghost! You are spoiling our Christmas!" shouted Beaver.
"Well, what do you think its like being stuck in a snuff box over Christmas?" wailed the Elementalist. His voice was piercing, and so strident they all had to put their hands over their ears.
"Alright, alright, thats enough screaming and wailing!" muttered Beaver "You can stay with us for Christmas - if you behave yourself!"
The Elementalist was ecstatic "Oh Brill, nobody has ever invited me to spend Christmas with them! They usually try and exorcise me !" he said joyfully.
"Blimey, don't tell anyone we were nice to you! It'll ruin our reputation!" laughed Beaver. "Here, have a flagon of Black Tom, and join us in a few choruses of a good old Christmas song!"
The elementalist sang in a high falsetto voice, with the Badfort Crowd.
On a bitter winter's night By the gates of METZ I waited in the fading light, In my torn VEST.
So, once more, Stiener Brashburg's Antique Shop 'Temptations' had worked its magic - even the Badfort Crowd had been imbued with something of the Christmas spirit.
As you will recall, I was recounting the tale of the mirror that I had bought from Stiener Brashburg's Antique Shop 'Temptations' as a Christmas present for the Old Monkey.
Rather foolishly, we had agreed to the Muncle's suggestion that we hold a Christmas seance.
Suddenly, a ghostly figure appeared in the mirror and floated into the room crying "feed me, feed me!"
It was none other than Hootman - Beaver Hateman's spectral schemer!
"Begone, you conspiring anarchist - you are the one responsible for plotting most of Beaver Hateman's schemes against me!" I cried.
But the Old Monkey pleaded the waif like spirit's cause "After all, it is Christmas, Sir, and he does look very hungry" he argued.
"Oh alright, as it is Christmas.." I began, but, suddenly, the rest of the Badfort Crowd appeared from the mirror!
"Cheers Unc!" declared Beaver "We have been waiting ages in that Netherworld for some rich old fool to buy this bloomin' mirror from Brashburg's shop!"
Being Christmas, I had no choice but to invite the Badfort Crowd to join our feast.
I had organised a mighty meal. My feasting table was so loaded with provisions that it had actually to be supported in places by casks of ham!
Even so, the Badfort Crowd were soon stuffing themselves and grabbing the tastiest morsels before my guests had a chance to sample them.
As the clock began to strike midnight, Beaver shouted "Cheers Unc!" and extended his hand to shake mine.
However, I spotted the spiky sprig of holly tucked away in his palm and looked at him coldly.
"So you won't shake hands?" began Hateman. "Right lads get out your duck bombs, it's Midnight. Christmas is over, truce is over! We are going to take Homeward and teach this despotic elephant a thing or two!"
The Badfort Crowd drew out their weapons and looked menacingly at my guests.
But, as the clock finished striking twelve, a mighty wind pulled Beaver and his cronies back into the mirror!
I admit a feeling of relief, each purchase from Brashburg's comes with "a big novelty surprise" and I had thought that, despite my exemplary behaviour, mine might have been about to be a nasty one.
We looked into the mirror at the Badfort Crowd shivering in the cold, dingy, infernal realm inside.
"Merry Christmas!" I cried to Beaver - and he scowled back at me. "I think that we shall leave them to reflect on their appalling behaviour for a few days before we ask Brashburg how to release them." I suggested to the Old Monkey "In the meantime, they can watch us enjoy the rest of the festivities!"
Another Christmas tale of Stiener Brashburg's Antique Shop 'Temptations'.
One Christmas, I was doing my usual search, at his shop, for unusual curios to give as presents.
Prominently displayed was a most splendid antique mirror - "How much for that wonderful artifact?, my good man" I inquired.
"Oh, I am afraid that is a moost unique item, Sir. I would have to ask £50 for it, really." replied Brashburg.
"Nonsense it is worth far more than that - I shall give you £100!" I replied, feeling full of beneficient Chrismas spirit.
"Oh thank you, Sir, that is most generous!"
As I have previously recounted, each purchase from Brashburg's comes with "a big novelty surprise". But for those who pay a fair price this surprise is generally good, so I had no qualms over my purchase.
On Christmas day I gave it to the Old Monkey and he was most pleased.
However, the trouble began when the Muncle suggested that, it being Christmas - a time when the spirits are supposed to walk abroad amongst their fellow men, we should hold a seance.
I knew that no good would come of this...as you will see.
Yesterday, I told of how Beaver Hateman conned Stiener Brashburg into selling him an antique door, reclaimed from the Haunted Tower, for half a crown. A nasty fate awaits all who cheat Brashburg - for the items he sells all exact retribution, good or bad.
"Brilliant Boss!" cried Hitmouse when Beaver returned to Badfort with his prize "But, where we gonna put it?"
"I fort it would make a brill new door for the Black Tom Store!" declared Beaver. As you know, Black Tom is a noxious, but extremely, intoxicating brew - much favoured by the Badfort Crowd.
Their Black Tom store is huge - the size of a large dungeon.
The Badfort Crowd celebrated Beaver's find with much drinking of this liquor.
However, The Door began to exert a strange fascination over Hateman - mainly because he was very thirsty and the Badfort Crowd had soon drunk all the jars of Black Tom in the Feasting Hall.
To resounding cheers from his cronies, he declared that he would fetch some more Black Tom from the store.
But when he opened the door, the enormous store of alcohol had mysteriously turned into a tiny Stationery Cupboard!
Standing in it was a small ghost, muttering "I did it! I took the photocopy paper!"
Beaver was unsympathetic "Where's our Black Tom gone you horrible little runt!" he shouted.
A bucket of coal happened to be standing near and Beaver picked it up and emptied it over the ghost.
Beaver was about to turn around and call in his gang, to interrogate the diminuitive spirit, but found the door had shut fast behind him.
"There is no escape!" cried the ghost "This Stationery Cupboard was in the Haunted Tower - I was trapped inside when I tried to steal some stationery supplies and I starved to death! It traps all those who enter through it!"
"We'll soon see about that!" cried Beaver bringing out his trusty axe from beneath his sackcloth robes and proceeding to smash the door.
As he did so the Stationery Cupboard began to crumble. "Oi, you can't do that!" cried the Ghost "That's vandalism!"
Finally, Hateman managed to break the door from its hinges and in a puff of dust the Stationery Cupboard once more became the Black Tom Store.
"Ooooh errrr! what am I going to do now?" blubbed the ghost "I've got nowhere left to haunt?"
"You're welcome to haunt Badfort if you like mate!" said Beaver "here have a jug of Black Tom - That'll cheer you up!"
Everyone enjoys a good ghost story at Christmas, so, over the next few days I thought I would regale you with some of the curious incidents that have taken place here at Homeward.
As you know, I always like to do a Christmas shop at Stiener Brashburg's Antique Shop 'Temptations'. He always has the most interesting curios - eighteenth-century crabtree cudgels, medieval boaster's stools and the like. His motto is "Offers You Cannot Resist".
One Christmas, I arrived rather late - having stocked up with bargains from Cheapman's Store first. He had a number of electric cars at the bargain price of five shillings so I snapped up fifty of them for the Homeward Taxi service.
"Any interesting curios, my good friend?" I inquired.
"Well, I did have the most magnificent ancient ornate door - reclaimed, I thought, from the Haunted Tower. I priced it at £200. I think that you would have most impressed." he replied.
"A bargain - has someone beaten me to it, then?", I responded, sadly. I must admit I was somewhat disappointed that this wonderful artifact had slipped through my hands.
"I'm afraid so, Sir. A mister 'Hateman' came in early this morning looking for a present for his dear maiden aunt, he said. He spotted the door and was quite aghast at the price. He informed me that it might well be worth the asking price - it it were not for the fact that it was clearly a reproduction. He offered me half a crown to take it off my hands - as it was Christmas he wanted to do me a favour. In the circumstances I accepted his offer. Such a shame, I was sure it was an original from the famous Haunted Tower!" said the despondent Brashbag.
"Hateman, you say? I fear that you have been tricked, Steiner. Hateman is the leader of the Badfort Crowd and is renowned as a con artist." I replied.
Brashbag was furious - and Hateman had made a grave error of judgement in cheating the proprietor of this store. For each purchase comes with "a big novelty surprise". For those who pay a fair price this surprise is generally good, but for those that cheat Brashbag - well, a nasty fate awaits all of them.
What would fate bring Beaver Hateman as a reward I wondered?
Last night, whilst on a visit to the King of the Badgers, a man in a wheelchair hurtled towards me and ran over my foot!
I was in fear for my life!
Luckily, a vigilant member of the Badgertown Police bravely dragged my attacker from his lethal weapon and threw him to the ground.
It transpired that he was merely an autograph hunter, but in these times of unrest in Badgertown one cannot take chances - anyway, one should not go around dressed in sackcloth if one does not want to be mistaken for a member of the Badfort Crowd. He could well have been Beaver Hateman in one of his nefarious disguises!
I have been forced to reprimand Piers Morgan and Sir Alan Sugar for their unseemly behaviour on Twitter.
It really is beyond the pale to bicker over who is raising the most for charity, it is unseemly conduct which could lead people to question the actions of all us multi-millionaire and billionaire philanthropists.
It is also a pointless exercise - for am I not known as the 'Prince' of Philanthropists?
Have Mister Morgan or Sir Alan ever been presented with a painting, by a world renowned artist (Waldovenison Smeare), depicting one of their charitable acts?
I talk of course of the famous work of art "Uncle opening the Dwarf's Drinking Fountains" - one of my many great deeds of benovolence.
How many civic leaders have had a statue dedicated to them by students of the university they have funded?
For it is true, in recognition of my bountiful dedication to free university education the students of Homeward University erected a fine effigy, of myself, to grace the entrance.
Mind you it makes sound economic sense - I can only charge uneducated dwarfs a farthing a week rent (although they do get a fair wage down my mines) whereas graduates get far better paid jobs and I can charge them a halfpenny!
The King of the Badgers was poked last night by violent student protestors.
No doubt encouraged by that yob, Beaver Hateman.
I admire the King's fortitude of spirit, coming under such violent assault, - apparently he only fainted twice.
Of course, I have some sympathy with the protestors - coming from humble beginnings myself I would never have had the opportunity to have gone to University or to have enjoyed the many edifying recreational pursuits therein if it were not for the fact that I was able to gain a scholarship.
However, the rule of law must be upheld and The Badgertown Police were right to enforce this with the utmost severity.
As always, one must be magnanimous - I have sent the hospitalised student badgers a crate of bananas and a crate of grapes to show there are no hard feelings over the matter.
A very interesting article has appeared in the Homeward Gazette:
Badfort is a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Beaver Hateman in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a "virtual mafia state", according to leaked secret diplomatic cables that provide a damning American assessment ofthe Badfort regime.
In his cables the US ambassador details countless examples of the theft and extortion carried out by the Badfort Crowd:
1) The farmer, Butterskin Mute, reports the theft of his largest pumpkins by Mister Hateman.
2) Mister Hateman pretended that he owned Lonely Tower (belonging to Uncle) and charged the occupants excessive rents. 3) Mister Hateman impersonated a school inspector and forged a permit to Sweet Tower for the children in order to appear generous at Uncle's expense. 4) Mister Hateman attempted to defraud Uncle by substituting gold for gilt lead. 5) Mister Hateman attempted to extort free food from Cadcoon's Store and when he was refused set the store on fire. The ambassador went on to say: "Beaver Hateman cannot be trusted - he likes to portray himself as the champion of the people, a modern day Robin Hood. But it is quite clear that his main aim is to steal from the rich (Uncle) and give to himself. His cloak of revolutionary fervour is merely a mask for criminal activity." Beaver Hateman made clear he was not amused by a US diplomat's description of him . "To be honest with you, we did not suspect that this [criticism] could be made with such arrogance, with such rudeness, and you know, so unethically," he remarked.
Well, perhaps these yanks are not so stupid after all! Alongside such abuses as the slanderous statements made about myself, there are a host of cables, such as those that reveal the true nature of Hateman, that reflect very much better on the United States.
The following article has appeared in The Badfort News:
The Badfort News
Uncle launched a scathing attack on Badfort anticorruption investigators, journalists and Beavers during an "astonishingly candid" performance at an official engagement that shocked a US diplomat.
Titania Goodfellow, Washington's ambassador to Badfort, recorded in a secret cable that Uncle spoke "cockily" at the brunch with business people, leading a discussion that "verged on the rude".
During the two-hour engagement in 2008 at a hotel in Badgertown, Uncle, who travels the globe boasting about his business prowess, attacked Badfort's corruption investigators "They've got a cheek! suggesting corruption in Badgertown with all their rotten little scams!"
He went on to denounce Badfort News reporters investigating bribery as "those (expletive) journalists … who poke their noses everywhere".
She said the talk turned at another point to allegations of corruption in Badfort: "While claiming that all of them never participated in it and never gave out bribes, one representative of a middle-sized company stated that 'it is sometimes an awful temptation'.
In an astonishing display of candour in a public hotel where the brunch was taking place, all of the businessmen then chorused that nothing gets done in Badfort if Beaver Hateman does not get 'his cut'.
The kind of vindictive statement one would expect from capitalists who fear our great leader's concern for the proletariat.
The US ambassador, a veteran career diplomat who speaks six languages, did not appear to have great regard for Unc's intellect.
Her dispatch included some passages noticeably tinged with sarcasm. In a section headed: "You have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps", she wrote: "Again turning thoughtful, Uncle mused that outsiders could do little to change the culture of corruption in Badfort. They are a bunch of anarchists who want a free ride. But if you want to get on in this world you have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Look at me - from humble, lowly beginnings, I am now the richest elephant in the world. I did it all myself. No one else can do it for you."
The ambassador also refers to the incident of the stolen bicycle - "One cannot help wondering if this was a one off incident? - can this elephant be trusted?"
It is a pack of lies !
However, I shall be severing all relations with the United States - for a youthful indiscretion to be used by an Ambassador of the United States to blacken my name is unforgivable.
The Badfort News is one of a number of newspapers to have advance sight of the 250,000 US State Department classified documents released by the whistle-blower website Wikileaks.
I am absolutely livid at the criticism levelled at myself in some of these cables.
President Obama is supposed to have described me as "a bit pompous and overbearing"!!
Another states"he has an over inflated opinion of his own importance on the world stage"!!!
The material includes a reference to me as "over indulgent - he sure has a big appetite! we ordered in two crates of bananas for one state banquet and he ate the lot!"!!!!
One cable records that during a meeting in January with President Obama, I supposedly implied that a loan to his financially beleaguered company would be dependent upon a rather unusual favour in return:
"I have always fancied my head carved into Mount Rushmore" I am supposed to have said.
Sheer nonsense! This was entirely Mister Obama's suggestion!
In one missive they even have the audacity to criticise royalty - The King of the Badgers no less!
They claim that he 'behaved inappropriately' when President Obama visited Homeward. It seems that:
"The King told the President that he was a bit strapped for cash and asked if he might lend him a few thousand until 'Unc' stumped up another loan"
This is the thanks I get for saving the world from financial ruin!!!
I suspect that this is all because of my speech to congress and my statement that "There are occasions when elephants in Homeward would wish that those in responsible positions in the US might listen and learn from our experiences."
The United Staes catapulted into a worldwide diplomatic crisis today, but nothing will worry them more than the fact that they no longer have a friend in Uncle.
As you know, I recently launched my "happiness index" in an attempt to measure the inhabitants of Homewards quality of life as well as economic growth.
There was much snorting and desrision from the Badfort Crowd regarding this endeavour, not surprisingly.
"Try paying yer dwarfs more than two shillings a week, you old skinflint!" lambasted Beaver Hateman in an editorial in The Badfort News.
Damn cheek! - considering that I only charge the dwarfs a farthing a week for a flat, in one of my many towers, you would think that they would all be as happy as larry.
That is why this idea is not woolly and insubstantial, otherwise I wouldn't be bothering with it. We'll continue to measure gross domestic product. But it is high time we admitted that, taken on its own, GDP is an incomplete way of measuring a country's progress. Happiness is not just about money - I may be the richest elephant on the planet, but with it comes many great responsibilities and burdens. Many's the time that I have been working long into the night on the Homeward accounts and listened, with envy, to the loud boisterous singing of the dwarfs in their towers after a busy day down the mines.
Yet, every Saturday when they pay their rent (which includes free electric light and gas for cooking and heating) and collect my presents to them of bananas, raisins and motoring chocolate there are always a few trouble-makers moaning about their neighbour getting more than them.
But that's dwarfs for you - always finding something to gripe and complain about. I think that it must be because they spend so much time underground, mining my gold.
Happiness for Beaver Hateman, it would appear, is leading a good riot.
Somehow, (I suspect by bribing the Dean with Black Tom) he has managed to wangle the post of Professor of Economics at Badgertown University.
He has abused his position by using it to extoll blatant left wing propaganda and has been a bad influence on many of the students.
This week he led them in a 'protest' against tuition fees.
Unfortunately, the police of Badgertown are not very bright. They decided to use a technique of crowd control called 'kettling', to wit, erecting a giant kettle in front of the Town Hall Square.
To prevent the crowd taking over the square they were marshalled into this kettle, the idea being that after a few hours they would become bored and go home.
However, being filled with warm water, it provided an excellent environment for bathing. The students had brought their bathing trunks and a number of lilos. The water was soon bubbling with people and Beaver Hateman was diving from the spout.
They launched a gigantic raft, into the kettle, piled high with food: roast oxen, hams, and copious bottles of Black Tom.
These police tactics are hardly likely to 'dampen' their revolutionary fervour, I fear.
Firstly, due to a vindictive campaign by The Badfort News, I was forced to resign from my duties as The King of the Badgers, unpaid, enterprise guru.
The Badfort News claimed that I had stated "For the vast majority of people in Badgertown today they have never had it so good ever since this recession – this so-called recession - started." and that I had said complaints about spending cuts came from "people who think they have a right for me to support them".
This is a gross distortion of the truth. I do not know how a private conversation between myself and the King of the Badgers became public, although I have my suspicions regarding Hitmouse's usage of phone tapping, but this is not what I said.
I was actually admonishing the King for asking me for yet another loan.
"Dear fellow," he begged "the fact is that I find myself somewhat finanacially embarrassed, my son has decided to get married - could not come at a worse time. He's insisting on the works and, to put it bluntly, I'm skint - any chance of a small loan?"
"Honestly, King there is a recession, you know? with all my loans you have never had it so good ever since this recession started. You seem to think that you have a right for me to support you - it really is not good enough - you must tighten your belt like everyone else!" I admonished him.
"Well," he blustered "I have sold the Duck House! and filled in the Moat!"
Of course, after the article in The Badfort News he described my remarks as inaccurate and offensive!
"Sorry old chap, had to, you know how it is - such a fuss - jolly good of you to resign!" he wheedled.
"Still, plenty of jobs need tackling at the Royal Palace - any chance, you fancy a job organising this bloomin' wedding? - your bash's at Homeward are always splendid!"
"Hmmm - a Royal Wedding? I must admit, that would be a first for me..." I mused.
"Great, knew I could rely on you...just a small matter of the finances..." said the King, clearly embarrassed.
"So you want me to organise it and pay for it!" I exclaimed.
"Splendid, chap! - jolly decent of you!" cut in the King.
"No what do you think of this Katie, then? she's a commoner you know? not sure if its a bit beyond the pale?" asked the King.
"Her family have a ten room burrow in Badgershire - they probably have more money than you!" I said scornfully "and may I remind you of my own humble beginnings in a mere tin shack in the African jungle - are you suggesting that I am in the slightest bit common?!!"
"No offence, old bean - er, any chance of a cheque today do you think?" blustered the King.
Of course, the big problem - will we be able to get away without inviting the Badfort Crowd?
This week has seen Hitmouse's dubious attempt to overturn his conviction of "menace" for making threats against me in a Twitter "joke".
The judge decided that his comment on the site "I am going to skewer that fat dictator!!" clearly contained menace against my person and Hitmouse must have known that it would be taken seriously.
The judge also cast doubt on his "claim" that he was not refering to me at all but to a barbecue that was to take place at Badfort later that evening. "I woz merely refering to a chicken kebab I intended to prepare for the feast, yus honor!" Hitmouse argued "My life had been made a misery by a particularly truculent chicken that was always telling me wot to do and I intended to char-grill him!" he added.
It did not help his case when it was revealed that the chicken in question had been stolen from Farmer Butterskin Mute.
The judge called the tweet at the centre of the case,"menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary elephant reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed."
Representing Hitmouse, Beaver Hateman then argued the defence that the tweet in question was merely part and parcel of the defendants job as a revolutionary anarchist and therefore could not be seen as any more menacing than everyday statements made in the pursuit of his chosen career.
When this did not wash with the Judge, Beaver then claimed that "It was an ill-conceived attempt at humour, m'lud, you should just tell him off for being stupid...", however, before he could continue with his argument, Hitmouse became enraged at being called stupid and skewered Hateman.
The Badfort Crowd then started fighting amongst each over and the trial was adjourned.
I was awakened this morning by raucous cries through my bedroom window.
I was flabbergasted to see a group of youths, from Doctor Augustus Lyre's Select School for Young Gentleman, standing by the moat protesting.
Furthermore, I was astounded to see Doctor Lyre, himself, urging them on and denigrating my personage in front of them.
Some nonsense about tuition fees!
As you know, I am the chairman of the Board of Governers. I subsidise the fees for poor students, but it has been necessary, in these difficult economic times to raise the fees from a farthing a month to a halfpenny - for the wealthier students.
I feel the fees are still very reasonable - and could not believe the attitude of the ungrateful scholars.
I went to remonstrate with them - and got a tomato in the eye!
"What's all this about, Lyre?" I demanded.
"Whilst we appreciate all the good works you have done for the school, Sir, I am afraid that I cannot condone your actions - a shilling a week from every student is an impossible demand!" he wept.
"A shilling a week! what are you talking about man?" I declared.
"Don't deny it, Sir," piped up Noddy Ninety "I have been on the receiving end of that bully you have employed as fee collector!"
"Yes, he waits outside the school gates every morning and gives us a good shakedown. He lifts us up and shakes us until he has all our dinner money - he even takes any sweets or lollies we got!" squeaked another of the urchins.
"Arrant nonsense! I am a multi billionaire - what would I want your lollies for!" I shouted.
"What kind of man is this fee collector ?" I quizzed Noddy.
"Oh very smartly dressed, Sir - he has a blue uniform and a badge!" he answered.
"I see...and what is it made of?" I continued.
"Well funny you should mention that, Sir, but it is of a very poor material, a very rough sackcloth - and he is quite uncouth!" Noddy muttered.
"You fools! is this what you call a good education, Lyre? why, they cannot even recognise one of the Badfort Crowd in the crudest of disguises!" I spluttered.
"Oh Sir, have we been duped?" cried Lyre.
"I am afraid so, like many academics your mind is so absorbed in the loftier aspirations of the intellect that you fail to see the baser motivations of the hoi-polloi for monetary gain. I forgive your questioning of my leadership - Cloutman and Gubbins will be at the school gates tomorrow to administer a good kicking up to this fee collector!", I reassured him.
"By the way, Lyre, I think we need to discuss additional tests for the pupils - their spelling on those posters is atrocious!"
No, Don't worry, I will not be giving up on this blog - but I have decided that I will no longer be a twit.
So some anarchist paper misquotes misquotes a humorous interview I gave, which itself misquoted me and now I'm the Antichrist. I give up.
It all started when I was interviewed by Hitmouse for the Badfort News. I should have known better.
He cornered me on the thorny issue of housing benefits - claiming that dwarfs could be driven out of areas with high rents as a result of my drive to reduce the cost of housing subsidies.
This only became an issue because of the fracas that developed between the dwarfs of Tedium Tower and the Crookball of Lonely Tower.
On discovering that the Crookball people had been paying me no rent I decided that they would have to pay me a farthing a week.
However, in order to mitigate this additional expense for the hard working Crookball's I decided to open a shop for them at the top of their tower. I also had a very large jacuzzi installed so that they could have exhilarating baths.
This incensed the dwarfs of Tedium Tower who claimed that the Crookball's were receiving "extravagant" benefits.
I pointed out that there rents were subsidised and that they only paid a halfpenny a month. They are now up in arms because I have given them a jacuzzi but increased their rents to farthing a week!
I made some jocular remarks, which I admit may have been ill considered, but I insist that The Badfort News took them out of context.
“I feel sorry for short men. They are only useful for working down my goldmines.” they claimed I had stated.
My words were misconstrued, Beaver Hateman has claimed that my words were arrogant and deeply shortist, however I was merely pointing out that, as everyone knows, those dwarfs are a bit chippy and always looking to make trouble.
Alonzo S. Whitebeard, the new Finance Minister in The Badgertown Town Council, has unveiled his plan for getting the Badgertown finances sorted out.
He has put Noddy Ninety, the perpetual schoolboy, in charge of education as well as transport - he does love his steanm trains. Noddy has calculated that he can save 20% on the schools budget by banning soggy cabbage from school lunches. He is alsp pressing ahead with his plans for more steam trains - he says that this will open up many jobs for redundant civil servants as stokers.
The police budget has been severely cut - "This will have a devastating affect on our waistline" cried one badger. However, Whitebeard offered a new definition of waistlines saying that it won't affect the visibility of the police. "Cushions will be supplied to every copper on the beat for them to stuff up their jackets!" he argued.
Benefits are also badly hit. Inhabitants of Badgertown will not be allowed to retire until they are absolutely exhausted. Single badgers will no longer receive housing benefit - they must either get married or take in a family of dwarfs. Social homes for life will also end for all badgers - they must all dig new burrows every year. Ministers believe that 150,000 new affordable burrows can be built in Badgertown, in this manner, between 2011 and 2015.
The arts are a big loser in today's spending review, facing a cut of 30%, which will be seen as devastating to Badgertown's cultural landscape, however Whitebeard has promised every family a box of paints and a lump of modelling clay.
"We expect all the inhabitants of Badgertown to display their work and open up their homes to the public!" declared Whitebeard "thus creating a huge number of new galleries!"
Worst hit, sadly, is my old friend the King of the Badgers. His budget has been cut by 50%, forcing him to open up his palace to paying guests. "I had that Hotel Inspector, off the telly, round and she said my palace was in such a parlous state that she doubted how I could turn it round at all !" he moaned to me.
Not much chance of my many loans to him being repaid in the near future, I fear.
Of course, the big news story of the last few months has been about the dwarfs trapped in one of my gold mines.
Now, I would not wish blame to the miners for their predicament but it would appear that a number of rather greedy dwarfs discovered a seam of treacle (a bit of a delicacy amongst our vertically challenged brethren) and could not resist opening it up.
This caused a flood of treacle to pass through the tunnels - setting hard within hours.
Unable to escape, the dwarfs took refuge in my food store - 625m below ground.
Luckily, they were not short of food, as it was amply stocked with provisions of casks of ham, bananas, Whooshmeat and Scander biscuits to be used on special occasions such as Feast Days and important banquets.
Not surprisingly, Beaver Hateman attempted to make political capital out of this unfortunate event.
He claimed that "It is because of the capitalist system, favouring the rich capitalists, that mine owners like Unc can get away with lax safety for their workers! The safety and general well-being of workers is never a genuine priority for those in positions of economic and political power. Acting in accordance with the rules of the capitalist system, Unc, sent workers into a situation that he knew was completely unsafe."
Some poor benighted souls were taken in by this propaganda and actually marched in protest!
Before long I had organised a rescue mission using Cowgill's digging machine. Sadly, due to the resistant properties of treacle it has taken us 69 days to reach the dwarfs.
Normally one could easily fit a dozen dwarfs into the digging machine - however they have eaten a year's supply of food in just 69 days! They are so fat we have had to bring them up one by one!
Not content with eating all my food, I have also discovered that they have not managed to mine a single nugget of gold for me because they have been so busy eating!
On top of that they are moaning about wanting damages! Ungrateful misanthropes!
Of course, the big news event, whilst I have been absent from the interweb, has been the battle for control of the Bad Party between the Hateman brothers.
The poor showing by the Bad Party at the Badgertown Town Council elections led to a tussle for leadership between the Hateman brothers.
I know, astounding as it may seem, after his many years in power, the citizens of Badfort turned against their leader Beaver Hateman and he was forced out of office.
His cousin Sigismund declared "He is bad-tempered miserable old git and it's about time we got rid of him!"
Nailrod and Filljug Hateman immediately put themselves up for the job, closely followed by Hitmouse. In order to make the contest as inclusive as possible Nailrod persuaded some of his supporters to nominate Jellytussle - even though he is quite detested by most of the Badfort Crowd.
Who to choose though? Ideologically speaking, were they that different from each other and, indeed, from their brother Beaver?
Sartorially speaking their was certainly very little difference - both wearing the trademark garb of Badfort, the sack cloth dress. Nailrod looked smarter, and it was later discovered that Ozwald Boateng gave him a discount on two sack cloth suits.
Sharing the politics of their father, the lefty intellectual Ralph 'Roughie' Hateman, they are both commited to the international class struggle and both ran on a platform of bringing down the local capitalist 'gangster' - me.
Not so different to their brother Beaver, then.
In fact, there is so little difference that they both had equal numbers of supporters and much switching of allegiances caused, it would seem, by numerous gifts of Black Tom and Scob fish being offered by the candidates.
It was a very close vote, with Filljug being declared the winner by one vote. That is, until Flabskin cried out "I only voted for him because he gave me a chinese burn!"
At this declaration all hell broke loose. It all kicked off - with the two brothers and their supporters getting into a full scale fight over the issue. It seemed entirely appropriate, to me, that this contest between the brothers would descend into a playground fight.
Their big brother decided to weigh in and sort the two of them out. "Wot you two fink you is doing!!" shouted Beaver, as his two brothers rolled around on the asphalt. "That's enough of your shenanigans - these counteracting tendencies are no way to bring about the collapse of capitalism! Off to bed with you!" he screamed.
"A strong leader - that's what we need!" shouted Hootman. "Hoorah for Beaver! Our great leader!" he added, winking at Beaver, whilst he passed Flabskin a large tankard of Black Tom.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la meme chose.
His cousin Sigismund declared "He is big-hearted genius, and is just the leader we need for these hard times!"
The King of the Badgers has asked me to head a Badgertown Town Hall spending review.
I am to identify inefficiencies and savings in Town Hall departments.
For a start, I shall put a stop to the practice of High Tea at 4 o'clock, everyday!
That should save, at least, 2/6d per day on cream buns.
Predictably, the Badfort Crowd have reacted with their usual vitriolic comments.
"He don't even live in Badgertown, or pay taxes there - in fact he don't pay any taxes at all! The King of the Badgers seems to be thrashing around trying to find people who will back up his dodgy plans for the destruction of our public services. What does Unc know about delivering public services on the ground?" said Beaver Hateman.
"We're not wholly surprised that the King of the Badgers has appointed a billionaire, to whom he owes many millions, to say that his cuts, which will devastate services in Badgertown, are 'fair'."
Poppycock! of course, I have wide experience in supplying public services - is it not I who supplies the many dwarfs of Homeward with a cask of herrings, a keg of Turkish Delight and a first-grade cheese every Christmas?
One of the followers of my blog, Kate, recently commented:
Dear Uncle, What a delightful find your blog is! I have been a long-time Uncle fan. Would you be so kind as to post a high resolution photo of your dear cat, Goodman, reading so I may have it engraved on my iPhone case? I would be ever-indebted, kind sir.
Your wish is my command - click on the image below for a high resolution version:
I have to say, however, that I find the public's interest in him rather odd. Yes, he is very efficient at dealing with my correspondence and his postal duties - but he is far too talkative and prone to flights of fancy inculcated by a love of cheap fiction!
The Badfort party's latest quest for political respectability collapsed in fiasco when its leader, Beaver Hateman, was barred from the Unc's garden party at Homeward just two hours before it was due to begin after the Old Monkey decided he had exploited his invitation for financial gain.
Announcing the decision, the Old Monkey said brusquely: "Beaver Hateman will be denied entry to today's garden party at Homeward. As you know, it is traditional for there to be a friendly game of spigots at the annual party held on the lawns by the moat. It has been discovered that unusual bets had been laid on the outcome of the game - not only is this illegal and grossly discourteous but I have also been informed that bribes were offered to one player to give our dear Uncle a hefty blow on his trunk, in a feigned miss hit."
Uncle declared "In the prevailing spirit of conciliation, I offered the hand of friendship to my sworn enemy. Why should we only make truce at Christmas? I was willing to offer him hospitality at my annual Summer get together, as well. I was even prepared for the fact that I would have to put up with one or two insulting renditions of 'The Tyrant of Homeward'. But to cheat at Spigots - unforgivable!"
Hateman said "This is quite amazing news. This spurious Spigots story reveals that Unc was desperate for any excuse to bar me. I am held to a different standard to everyone else. The truth is that the fat dictator is frightened of the support the Badfort Crowd receives from the disgruntled, exploited, citizens of Homeward. I don't care anyway - his cucumber sandwiches stink!”
Brad posted the following comment, here, yesterday:
To spite the Badfort tribe I have a proposition for you. I hope that with your influence and widespread appeal on twitter we may get the remaining four volumes of your biography published. Post the New York Review Books' link to recommend a new title on your twitter: http://www.nybooks.com/books/recommend-book/
Tell everyone to give a spirited plea for a reprint of at least "Uncle and his Detective". I read a statistic that the NYRB only needs to sell around 5000 copies of a book to make a profit on the average cost of the rights to said book. So, if several hundred people write in within a month, let's say, they will know there is business to be had with Uncle. I hope you try this, as I am all eagerness to read your life story to my young niece. You are our favorite presiding pachyderm.
Best Wishes, Brad
What a splendid idea! My biographies are, of course, never out of print, here, at Homeward. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer a mail order service but you are all welcome to come and purchase them at the Homeward Souvenir Shop.
Many a young dwarf has come up to me and thanked me for the sage advice contained within and describing how my many adventures inspired them to turn from a dissolute life to one of entrepreneurship and good citizenry.
The Old Monkey is convinced that there is a conspiracy to keep my books off the shelves, masterminded by disgruntled politicians.
Clearly, sales of my biographies would massively outnumber titles such as 'The Audacity of Hope' or Mister Blair's forthcoming autobiography 'The Journey'.
I, myself, suspect that the answer is closer to home. I have it on good authority that publishers are reluctant to reprint my books out of fear of reprisals from the Badfort Crowd.
You will have noticed that I have not had the opportunity to pen my adventures, here, on the interweb over the last few months.
The Old Monkey and I have been very busy, recently, overseeing the design and build of my own little Beach House, by Wizard Blenskinsop, at my favourite resort - Sunset Beach.
As you can see, it has been built in the modernist tradition of Homeward. Sadly, the local council refused me permission for a tower in the middle but it has many of the attributes of that great citadel. There are lots of secret passages - and even the Wizard admits that he does not know the purpose or destination of them. There are 120 rooms - 90% of which are underground and can only be accessed via water chutes.
The only blot in the landscape is, as usual, a certain abode at the end of the garden owned by Beaver Hateman and his cronies.
Beaver claims that it was donated to the cause by an old man who claimed to have played a mayor opart in the Russian Revolution of 1917. This seems a fanciful story to me, and I suspect the rumour that he won it in a rigged game of Spigots is nearer the truth.
As you can see, it is an utter eyesore.
It is almost as ugly as Badfort itself.
I have also been busy embracing the new style of politics that is against pointless regulation and unnecessary bureaucracy. I have asked the public of Homeward how they want me to redress the balance between the citizen and myself.
Unfortunately, this has led to the usual silly responses. The dwarfs have said that they want the law repealing that allows the fine old tradition of dwarf throwing.
The grey squirrels want to repeal the requirement to report the sighting of them in your back garden to the Old Monkey. However, everyone knows that they are renowned for their scavenging ways and are not to be trusted.
Beaver Hateman, not surprisingly, wants the law repealed preventing the letting off of fireworks during my speeches.
As you know, the Badgertown Town Council Election resulted in a hung Council.
It appears that the various parties have reached an agreement.
The new Mayor is to be Dave "the biscuit" Macaroon. The new Mayoress will be Nick 'Cream' Custard. This means that he will have to wear a dress, and he is not happy about this - but has agreed to do it for the sake of stable government.
From my point of view, the good news is that Alonzo S. Whitebeard is to be the new Finance Minister.
I am sure that the old miser, whose policy can be summed up as "look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves", will soon have Badgertown's debt under control.
Hopefully, the King of the Badgers will soon start repaying my loans!
The hung Council in Badgertown, following the results of the Council elections has led too much arguing between the mayoral candidates over who is in charge.
Meanwhile, some of the populace are now arguing that attempts should be made to ditch all the present candidates and offer the job to some of the now unemployed members of the British Parliament.
The dwarfs are very keen to recruit Julia Goldsworthy - being mostly gold miners I think that they may just find her name attractive, but by all accounts she was a very good MP for Camborne and Redruth.
They have been protesting on the streets, but met strong opposition from a counter demonstration by members of the Badfort Crowd - who are keen to offer the job to my old friend Gordon Brown.
The King of the Badgers has rung me, in a bit of a tizz over the Badgertown Town Council election results.
"None of the silly blighters has a majority!" he blustered.
"Surely, constitutionally, the incumbent Mayor is supposed to sort it out?", I tried to calm him.
"That old fool Noddy Ninety went off on one of his train jaunts again!" spluttered the King.
"Well, far be it from me to interfere in the democratic processes of Badgertown - but my advice is to invite Alonzo S. Whitebeard to form a government. After all, his policy slogan was "Make Do and Made" - and I think that is what you'll have to do!" I advised.
It seems that Alonzo S. Whitebeard's manifesto for The Badgertown Council Election has struck a chord with the populace.
It would be wrong of me, as the richest elephant in the world and an international celebrity, to try and influence your vote.
However, let us consider the options. Gordon 'Fudge' Brownie has inadvertently let slip in a microphone incident that he thinks badgers are 'a bit smelly'. Whilst we all like to see the human side of our politicians, this remark makes him untenable as the Mayor of Badgertown.
Dave "the biscuit" Macaroon is very charming, however, one cannot in all conciousness vote for a robot. His mechanical nature was revealed yesterday, when his personality chip fell out and he started repetitively intoning "Change...Change...Change..." He then started fizzing and his skin, which had always looked a bit smooth and plastic, started to melt.
Nick 'Cream' Custard had seemed like a good bet. However, his policy of letting the dwarfs stay in Badgertown, once they have finished digging burrows for the badgers, has not met favour with the voters.
Now, I do find Alonzo's miserliness a tad annoying. I find his jealousy of my vast wealth and his constant scrimping and moaning burdensome. However, his ideas on fiscal policy are clearly what is needed in Badgertown to kerb the Badger King's constant borrowing - from me!
So, without intending to influence your vote, I say Make Do and Mend!
Last night was the final Mayoral candidate's debate for The Badgertown Council Election.
Once more, The King of the Badgers decided the format for the debate and, again, based the rules on one of his favourite TV programmes.
This week it was Total Wipeout!
The debate was based in a large pool of water and mud and candidates had to get across their points whilst crossing a large assault course.
Gordon 'Fudge' Brownie was doing quite well, avoiding Dave "the biscuit" Macaroon's and Nick 'Cream' Custrad's sucker punches, however he came unstuck at the Big Balls. These were four large inflatable balls that the candidates had to jump. Gordon was just explaining a difficult piece of fiscal policy when he lost concentration and slipped up.
However, Dave and Nick also came unstuck on the Sweeper. The candidates had to stand on 10-foot-tall podiums, over water, whilst a robotic arm span around in a circular motion attempting to knock them off. Candidates had to time their jumps perfectly to avoid this.
Unfortunately, Dave and Nick were having such a spate about how many dwarfs should be allowed to come to Badgertown that they both were sent flying!
With all the candidates knocked out it looked like it was election game over - but a new candidate has emerged from nowhere!
Alonzo S. Whitebeard has thrown his hat into the ring. He ran out of the audience and effortlessly made it through the "Wipeout Zone"
Alonzo is well known as a great miser.
Apparently, he had lost a penny through a hole in his pocket, it had rolled into the zone and he was determined to retrieve it.
In his efforts to get back his penny he pushed the politicians aside shouting "What do you know about fiscal policy! What we need to do is Make Do and Mend!"
This has now become the slogan of his campaign and has struck a chord with ordinary voter.
"Stop all this extravagant spending - Make Do and Mend!" declared the white whiskered skinflint last night.
I follow the Badgertown Town Council Election with much interest.
I find all this talk of a 'Big Society' quite perplexing - it seems not so longer ago that some of the candidates denied even the existence of society!
Here at Homeward we already have a number of big societies! After all, it is a very big place - some parts of which, to this day, remain unexplored and unmapped.
We have Noddy Ninety's Steam Transport Society, the Best Kept Tower Society, the Dwarf Throwing Society, The Spells and General Wizardry Society, The Cocoa Drinker's Society, The Homeward Green Preservation Society and many others.
I, of course, am the Chairelephant of all these commitees. It is an onerous duty, but these responsibilities are the burden that one has to carry when one is the richest elephant in the world.
Homeward has a small government - after all, I own the whole place!
Frontline services are delivered under the auspices of these many great bodies. My many fabulous parties act as a kind of parliament, these are where I keep my trunk on the pulse of our societies. They also provide an opportunity for me to spread the ethos of our community - "be upstanding, pay your rent, and you will have a friend in Uncle"
They also provide an arena for all the latest gossip - mutuality flourishes over a good natter about the latest contestants on "Homeward's Got Talent"!
Here at Homeward, Butterskin Mute toils the land, the many dwarfs toil the gold mines, and Noddy Ninety toils relentlessly to keep the trains on time!
And I toil for all! - for, Homeward is the spiritual capital of the self-sufficient entrepreneur (that's me!)
The stakes were raised for the three Mayoral candidates, Gordon ‘Fudge’ Brownie, Dave, the biscuit, Macaroon and Nick ‘Cream’ Custard as they went head to head for the second televised debate of the 2010 Badgertown Mayoral election campaign.
The King of the Badgers has decided the format for these debates - he appears to have been influenced by the structure of some of his favourite television programmes. This second debate has been based on the popular Badgertown Broadcasting Corporation show ‘Blind Date’.
The compere, Priscilla Badger, began by introducing the young lady who would be questioning the candidates. Edna Average had been selected as the most, statistically verified, ordinary voter of Badgertown.
Priscilla: We’re gonna have a lorra lorra fun tonight so lets meet the luvly lady who gets to choose from our three gorgeous guys. Well, Edna I know that you have got a lorra lorra luvly lot of questions so lets have your first one please!
Edna: Question one to number three, if you had a foreign affairs policy – what would it be!
Nick Custard: I am sure that you are so attractive, I would never even consider having an affair!
Edna: Oooh ur! And number two?
Dave Macaroon: Don’t get caught! Phoaar!
Edna: Hmmm, number three!
Gordon Brownie: You would be my foreign affair - I would whisk you away to Badfort where we could drink Black Tom, wear sack cloth and watch the sun set over Gaby’s Marsh – it don’t get much more romantic than that!
Edna: Sounds entrancing – Question two to number two. If I found you dipping in my purse how would you restore my faith in you?
Dave Macaroon: Zero tolerance! I would resign as your boyfriend immediately - spending the rest of my life pining for you and wondering how I could have been so stupid. Constantly sending you abject letters of apology and red roses – er, no not red roses – green trees!
Edna: I’ve only got a small garden, you know. Number three?
Nick Custard: I would insist on a complete change of the system. I would apologise profusely and buy you a safe to put your money in.
Edna: And what about you number one?
Gordon Brownie: I would not apologise – for I would only have borrowed the money to place a bet on the 2.30 at Badmarket races. I would shower you with the winnings and you would profess undying love for me!
Edna: Ooooh I think I would you know. O.K., Question number three for number one. Will you still need me, will you still love me, when I’m 64?
Gordon Brownie: Course, I would darling! We at the Bad Party don’t believe in retirement cos we never do any work anyway! It’s the good life, innit, all the Scob fish and Black Tom you can eat and drink at Badfort!
Edna: I’m not sure I care for Scob Fish – I have a delicate stomach….what about you number two?
Dave Macaroon: Well, I will look after you, of course. I should be giving you dignity and security in old age, however, not at sixty four. I’m afraid it will have to be nearer sixty seven. Also, I would require £8,000, in case you need nursing. You really can’t expect me to wipe your bottom.
Edna: Huh! Number three?
Nick Custard: I’m quite handy at mending fuses and every summer we can rent a cottage on the Isle of Wight - providing fiscal policy allows.
Edna: My next question – to number two. If I decided to choose all three of you, would a coalition date bother you?
Dave Macaroon: I am afraid that I could not see that working – Gordon is an anarchist and Nick is wet. We would only end up squabbling about who was going to kiss you goodnight.
Edna: Number three?
Nick Custard: Of course it would work – I don’t mind sharing you!
Edna: And number one?
Gordon Brownie: I’ll knock their blocks off – have you seen the size of my club?
Edna: Ummm, yes, moving onto my final question. When Uncle next visits Badgertown will the candidates dissociate themselves from him? Number three?
Nick Custard: Well, I think that Uncle has some good points and some bad points…perhaps we should have a refererendum?
Gordon Brownie: Aw shuddup ! – he’s a bloomin’ tyrant….always throwin’ his massive weight around!
Dave Macaroon: Rubbish! Uncle is a figure to look up to…he embodies the entrepreneurial spirit…a fine example to us all…
Gordon Brownie: Shut yer face, slime ball!
Nick Custard: Now, now there is no need for this bickering…can we not find a consensus?
Priscilla: Well, that was a lorra lorra fascinating political debate…so Edna which one is it to be?
Graham: Yes Edna, whose it to be? Dave, who will look after you into your old age, providing you can stump up the cash ? – or Nick who has no problem with a threesome?, or Gordon who can’t wait to buy you a sack cloth bridal suit?
Edna: None of the above….I choose the incumbent Mayor, Noddy Ninety!
Priscilla: Ooooh, well, I am sure you will have a lorra lorra fun with Noddy even though he is a lorra lorra years old!