At this time of year, we have a tradition that every evening of the festivities my guests and I draw
our chairs up to the fireside in the Great Hall and each, in turn, tell tales of the supernatural, which go hand in glove with the
Last night, it was my turn.
You will all be aware that in a dark corner of my domain there is an enormous black bulk that looms over the surrounding environs - The Haunted Tower.
It is now run as a kind of hotel, but this has not always been the case. This is the story of how it came by its name, and my first encounter with the Badfort Crowd.
Shortly after I had purchased Homeward, from Wizard Blenkinsop, the Old Monkey put together a list of recalcitrant tenants who had failed to pay the rents due on the properties they occupied. Foremost of these was a character who you are all now familiar with - Mister Beaver Hateman, and this was to be my first meeting with the gentleman. "He owns that ramshackle castle across from Homeward, Sir, but he rents the Black Tower as his Homeward residence." declared the Old Monkey.
Despite it being Christmas Eve, I decided that the matter of the rent arrears was best dealt with sooner rather than later and so my traction engine was brought around to the front entrance ands we set off to the tower.
The snow lay thick on the ground, and gaunt trees stood up black and leafless out of the white expanse surrounding the Black Tower. The sky was of a frosty blue with sharp twinkling stars, and a hard-looking moon.
Mister Hateman welcomed us with much bonhomie. Although I found him a rather uncouth character, with a somewhat offensive manner, I was willing to give him the chance to redeem his failure to pay his dues. He gave me a tour of the property. It was a wonderful old barrack of a place, with broad passages, twisting interminably like a labyrinth, small bedrooms furnished in an old fashioned manner, and vast reception rooms with polished floors and painted ceilings. Around these were suits of tarnished armour and ancient tapestries embroidered with grim and ghastly legends of the past.
I raised the matter of the unpaid debts. Mister Hateman looked gloomy as I spoke. "Unc, mate, you don't understand, the place is uninhabitable - you can't expect me to pay rent on a haunted tower can you? I mean, really I am doing you a favour by looking after the place ain't I? Cos, believe me, no one else would put up with it!"
Thus speaking, he led me into a large room with a low ceiling, and a broad window looking out on the unkempt park surrounding the tower. The walls were hung with black cloth embroidered with grotesque figures. There was a large old fashioned bed and a quantity of cumbersome furniture. It was clear the the room had not been inhabited for many years and had a desolate and silent look - and to my mind looked gruesome enough to conjure up a battalion of ghosts.
"The Black Chamber!" declared Hateman "the original owner of the tower was a silent misanthropic man, until, that is, he married a beautiful young girl. She slept in this very room. But one day the he got into a right fury after seeing a strange man at the window kissing her hand. In his temper he challenged the man to a duel and killed him. Then he cut the offending hand from his wife. And she died too. But not before she had cursed all those who dared to sleep in her room - foredooming them to a ghastly death. The owner then discovered that the man at her window was in fact her outlaw brother, on the run, who had come one last time to say goodbye to his sister. Within a year the owner was found dead in this room with the mark of three fingers on his wrist. It was thought that in his remorse he had courted death by sleeping in the room cursed by his wife!"
"What errant nonsense!" I declared "And I shall prove it by spending the night here, myself!"
Mister Hateman did his best to persuade me against this course of action. "Look Unc, best you go home, this ain't the place for anyone of a nervous disposition - you leave me to look after the place - if you just pay me and my gang a fair wage we'll look after yer property for you - can't say fairer than that!"
But I would not be deterred. "I'm ready for ghosts or goblins - if any really exist. This is my tower now!"
I took up my quarters in the ghostly territory, with much curiosity, but - as I can aver - no fear. I slipped into bed and placed my large club under my pillow, ready to my hand in case of necessity.
I lay awake for a long time, staring at the queer figures on the draperies which seemed to come alive when the draught fluttered them. I did not feel very comfortable, sceptic as I was. When the candle has burned down pretty low I fell asleep. How long I slumbered I know not: but I woke with the impression that there was something in the room. I heard a soft step crossing the room, and as it drew near a sudden spurt of flame from the candle showed me a woman standing by the side of the bed. She was dressed in a floral brocade and I felt a deadly fear as I realised that this was the veritable phantom!
The next moment I felt my right wrist gripped and with a yell I rolled over, away from the ghost, wrenching my wrist from that horrible clasp. I seized the candle with one hand and in its illumination saw the ghost gliding back towards the tapestries. With the other hand I raised the club from under my pillow and threw it at the retreating figure.
There was a yelp, the fall of a heavy body on the floor, and the thing moaned in the darkness most horribly.
At that point my followers arrived with more candles and we lowered them to look at the ghosts face.
"Beaver Hateman!" I shouted.
"Ow!" he screamed "You miserable old tyrant! bashing me with a club like a bloomin' great bully!"
It did not take long to ascertain that behind the tapestries lay a secret passage which led to Hateman's apartments. The whole story of the previous owner murdering his wife and her brother had been an elaborate charade to persuade me to leave the tower and allow Mister Hateman and his gang to live rent free in it for evermore.
Unfortunately, before I had the chance to rent it out to new tenants, the Black Tower was soon filled with squatters again. Beaver Hateman had been successful in convincing people that it was haunted. News had travelled far and wide, amongst the ghostly fraternity, that it was a welcoming place for ghouls and spectres and it was soon infested with them.
That is the story of how the Black Tower became known as the Haunted Tower.
My usual practice, at Christmas, is to make a presentation, to the dwarfs and other eager neighbours in the towers of Homeward, a sack of coal and a sack of fine fare - cakes, hams, biscuits, chocolate and so on.
In a departure from this tradition, this year I had decided to present all with a copy of the splendid new edition of my biographies - 'The Complete Uncle'.
The majority of the citizens of Homeward were, of course, more than happy with this bountiful gift.
There were a few carpers - the Badfiort Crowd chief amongst them.
As I announced my intentions, to the gathering around the Great Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve, Beaver Hateman shouted "Who wants to read about the boring old tyrant's exploits?". "Despite it's size it won't burn like a good old sack of coal !" guffawed Hitmouse.
I thought nothing of the remarks - the Badfort Crowd always like to kick up a fuss at Christmas, but usually toe the line. They don't like to risk missing out on the Christmas Feast I always lay on for the festivities.
I should have known better. On Christmas morning I made my way to the specially set up 'Book Bank' where the dwarfs and other inhabitants of my many towers would queue up to receive their special Christmas gift. The Old Monkey came running up to me in with a concerned look on his face.
"Sir, Sir, terrible news, I am afraid" he cried. "the Book Bank has been raided - all the books are gone!"
"Stolen ! what heinous act is this, that will ruin the poor dwarf's Christmas ?" I declared.
At this point A.B.Fox appeared with even worse news.
"Sir, the books have been deployed to commit another terrible act." he informed me. "They have been piled up to form a staircase, enabling unknown miscreants to gain access to Comestibles Tower. Large quantities of miscellaneous Christmas provisions are missing!"
"I don't think I need a detective to work out who the culprits might be." I responded. A stroll across to Badfort soon revealed what had become of the missing victuals.
There in front of Hateman's ramshackle castle stood a hastily erected shed with the legend "Food Bank' scrawled across it. Beaver stood in front of it shouting "Roll up, Roll up, free food courtesy of the Badfort Revolutionary Front - if the old gaffer can't be relied on to give you a proper Christmas do, you know you can rely on me!'
"Oh, Sir," said the Old Monkey "he's giving away all your food, what shall we do?"
I looked at all the happy, smiling dwarfs with their arms full of Christmas cheer.
"Hmm, I hate to admit this, but perhaps Hateman has the right idea for a change. There is no doubt that my biographies are educative tomes, but, perhaps, not as cheering as a full belly, a warm fire, and friends to enjoy Christmas with. Bring my traction engine with a trailer full of coal sacks. Let's enjoy the end of the year the way we have always done!"
"Yes, Sir! we should rejoice in the fact that we don't need real food banks here at Homeward, unlike so many poor countries around the world !" said the Old Monkey reflectively.
For one time only, I ordered that the Great Tree be brought in front of the ramparts of Badfort. An unusual, but pleasant, Christmas Day was spent with the Badfort Crowd as our hosts.
In the evening, I shared a toast with Beaver under the branches of the tree.
"Don't worry, we been giving out youse books too, with the grub," he remarked "and actually, gaffer, them yarns about you ain't bad - especially the bits about all our great schemes to overthrow you, they are brilliant!"
"Well, I suppose they had to go in the books, if only to show how my mental agility always manages to thwart your plans!" I replied.
"Ha! not this time, though, you must admit, Unc!" he laughed.
And, truth be told, I am rather glad that his plan succeeded.
I have persuaded the King of the Badgers to issue a pardon for Beaver Hateman and his gang so that they can go home for the festivities.
Earlier this month they had all been arrested and jailed, when it was discovered that they were selling horribly tacky Christmas toy figurines of myself and the King.
These they claimed "will grant every purchaser the wish of their dreams on Christmas Day - a promise to you from Uncle and the King of the Badgers, themselves."
These disgraceful 'souvenirs' were subjected to various tests, by Wizard Blenkinsop, and found to have no magical properties at all. In fact, when the innards were investigated by my detective A.B.Fox they were found to contain a large quantity of soot, a small quantity of explosive and a timing device set to go off on Christmas Day. The recipient of one of these 'presents' would have been covered in soot from head to toe, whilst a recorded message within the object would announce "The King of the Badgers and the tyrant Uncle have perpetrated this attack against you. Rise up and overthrow them, now!"
I have received much praise from leaders around the world for my kindly act, considering how heinous the crimes of the Badfort Crowd.
Whilst not wishing to blow my own trunk, I was pleased at the reception to my magnanimity. Until that is I stumbled across the copy of 'The Badfort News" that my followers had attempted to keep hidden from me:
The decision demonstrate Uncle’s singular ability not only to wield
executive power but also to bend the legislative and judicial branches
of government to his will, and to exert heavy control over the Homeward
“What we are seeing is an elephant who has no limits on his power in a
country that never was democratic, that never had anything called a
balance of power — where one of the estates could balance the power of
another,” said Mister Beaver Hateman on his release.
“There is no Fourth Estate,” he said. “And as a matter of fact there is
no Second or Third Estate. There is just the First, just that fat tyrant pachyderm.
That’s the way things are today in Homeward.”
That is the thanks one gets from those Badfort anarchists for making sure they can enjoy Christmas with the rest of us !
I have a good mind to rescind our usual Christmas Truce and not invite the scoundrels to my Christmas party !
My Head Chef, the dwarf Mig, uses an oxy-acetylene gas stove. He stands on it to work and wears
dark glasses, or else the glare would ruin his eyes. He has long been a
proponent of this style of cooking, and has achieved a great deal of
celebrity on the television extolling its virtues.
His Christmas cookbooks are now as much a part of Christmas as mince pies, family
arguments and my speech on TV.
Somewhat annoyingly, it looks like his offering this year is likely to outsell the recently released new edition of my biographies 'The Complete Uncle'
I wish, at this point, to point out that the scurrilous rumours, being put about by Beaver Hateman, that I have been sending my staff out to buy copies of the book in order to boost the position of it in the sales charts are totally unfounded. I may have bought a few additional copies to give to my loyal followers as Christmas gifts. The fact that these followers (in high positions of influence, naturally), number in the thousands is neither here nor there.
Cheapman has surpassed himself this year, with his Christmas television advert for his store.
A poignant animated tale of a dwarf battling to ensure a his best friend, a badger, doesn't miss out on
the festivities by going into hibernation.
The dwarf sneaks into the badger's burrow and spikes his drink with Gleamhound's Sleepeazy potion.
This, of course, has the opposite effect and poor old badger just can't get off to sleep !
So, they all enjoy a wonderful Homeward Christmas around a big tree !
Some carpers and naysayers have criticised the ad - questioning if a dwarf and a badger could ever get on that well. I must admit that dwarfs and badger tend to argue a lot with each other over their respective talents at digging and tunnelling, each laying claim to be the world's best subterranean excavators. These arguments almost always degenerate into fisticuffs.
Nonsense, I say, for, if leopards are to change their spots then what better time than at Christmas !
Others have pointed out that badgers do not actually hibernate in the Winter. Difficult to argue with that.
However, this is not the time of year for nit-picking. Well done, Mister Cheapman for showing the true essence of a Homeward Christmas !
Yesterday, we made are annual trip to Christmas Tree Towers to select our tree for the Great Hall of Homeward.
Christmas Tree Towers are where Cheapman grows all his trees for his department store.
He has a fine selection - you can buy a small tree for a penny, and a giant ten foot tree for a shilling.
Cheapman sells them pre-decorated so, as you can imagine, it is a year round job for the dwarfs who tend the trees and festoon them with lights and baubles.
He reserves the tallest for me, undecorated. One of our little Christmas rituals is for my followers to climb amongst the branches decorating the tree, in the days leading up to the holiday.
Cheapman insists that, in order to imbue the trees with the spirit of Christmas, everyday at Christmas Tree Towers must be Christmas Day.
The dwarfs sing carols as they labour about the trees, and have Christmas Dinner daily. They would get very fat if it were not for the physical labour involved in tree husbandry. Truth be told, they get quite fed up with all the turkey, brussel sprouts and other accoutrement's of Christmas fare.
As a special treat they are allowed to have baked beans on toast for their actual Christmas Day lunch.
On the way back, I felt it my duty to pop into Dearman's store. All his goods are frightfully dear, and therefore he does very little business. In fact, I am the only customer he really has. If I did not find something to buy in his shop I feared that Dearman would have a very dismal Christmas.
As we entered the shop he was weeping loudly and bemoaning his lack of customers.
He cheered up as soon as he caught sight of me, and came running with a big smile on his face.
"Come in, Sir, come in at once!" he declared "Look, I have prime Xmas trees, this year - only £500 6s 6d!"
He showed me a most decrepit specimen. "Sir, I think you will admit that this is a fine example of the yuletide..."
"Enough!" I countered "Please do not inflict your sales patter upon me - I'll take it, and have a nice Christmas!"
"Oh, I shall now, Sir, I shall indeed!" smirked Dearman.
"What shall I do with Mr Dearman's tree, Sir?" enquired the Old Monkey as we rode home in my traction engine.
"Send it to Mister Hateman, with all my best wishes of the season !"
I have received my personal copy of 'The Complete Uncle', just published in the United Kingdom.
What a mighty and excellent tome.
These stories of my life, struggles, and adventures are, of course, well known to me - after all, they happened to me !
But the many eulogies in praise of my great deeds are most gratifying and humbling.
I am quite embarrassed by the praise heaped upon my personage.
To know that I was a guiding light to such luminaries as Mr Self, Mr Gaiman, Ms Summerscale, Mr Riley, Mr Nix, Mr Langford, Mr Pollard, Mr Ingrams, Mr Rowson, Mr Griffiths, and no doubt countless of others, is truly gratifying.
I was somewhat surprised that the Queen, Mr Cameron, Mr Obama, Mr Putin and the King of the Badgers failed to submit their thoughts - considering the assistance I have given them, financially, in the past. I appreciate that they are busy heads of states, but I find it hard to credit the idea that their burden of leadership is greater than mine own. One feels that it would not have taken a great deal of effort to pen a few words of appreciation, but I shall not let such thoughts mar this happy day.
It is wonderful that so many people of influence have acknowledged that they owe their position in society to the lessons that they learnt from me, in their formative years, in regard to the value of good citizenship.
The only criticism I would have is that some of these paeans dwell far too long on some of the regrettable aspects of the books - the modus operandi and behaviour of the Badfort Crowd, for instance.
This was the one flaw I found with the interests of my biographer, Mr J.P.Martin. He would insist on dwelling on their foolish anarchic antics. I notice that his family still insist on maintaining the fiction that my adventures came from his imagination. A great and godly man he was, but clearly my life is not the sort of thing you could just make up !
Since my annual Homeward Christmas card was sent out earlier this week, there have been a number of scurrilous rumours claiming that I am a member of some worldwide organisation conspiring to control world affairs by masterminding events and planting agents in governments and corporations to establish a New World Order and gain further political power and influence !
Going by the hysterical reaction, anyone would imagine that, just because I am a world renowned celebrity, I belong to some weird Kardashian cult.
Let me make this clear, the pyramid shaped Christmas tree was the idea of the photographer, some dubious character by the name of Dave Chapel. I had my suspicions, he claimed that just because he wore a sackcloth robe it did not mean that he had any connection with the Badfort Crowd. He insisted he wore it for purely aesthetic reasons, and because he suffered from piles.
I now know that he is a fully paid up member of the Badfort Revolutionary Front and that this has been a despicable attempt to undermine my good name.
Christmas will soon be upon us, and, once again, I have the tricky problem of deciding what to put in the stockings of all my dear friends. Last year I treated them all to a tin of Whooshmeat - I find luxury comestibles are always well received at this time of year.
The happy day was only marred by the fact that, unbeknownst to myself, the Badfort Crowd had sneakily followed me as I delivered the gift. They placed mousetraps upon said tins, making the operation of a tin opener well-nigh impossible for the recipients swollen fingers.
This year the choice is simple - I shall, of course, be distributing copies of the splendid newly printed 'The Complete Uncle'. I must say that I am rather enamoured of the silver and blue cover - so sophisticated, so dignified. As the Old Monkey has commented 'Very like your own self, Sir!"
It is not too late to order up this edifying tome for your loved ones, either directly from the publisher here:
The Book Depository offer free shipping worldwide, and has 25% off, so might be the best
place to buy if you're not in the UK.
I am so pleased that my followers outside Homewrad will now be able to purchase the complete biography - despite some inacuuracies about my life, it contains many pearls of wisdom on good citizenship. We are all very grateful to Marcus Gipps for making this possible - apparently the finished cover will be silver foil stamped onto blue cloth.
means that more money goes to my biographer J.P.Martin's family and Quentin Blake, who illustrated the books. It irks me somewhat that as the subject of the books I recieve no royalties - but as the Old Monkey pointed out "You are already as rich as old Croesus, Sir!", which is a valid point, I suppose.
The Homeward Gazette will not back down in its battle with Beaver Hateman.
I advised the newspaper not to issue an apology for the editorial I wrote concerning Beaver Hateman's father.
Beaver Hateman has consistently claimed that his father was a rabid anarchist, like himself, and a great influence on his political thinking. It is therefore only right to investigate the background of the man. To this end I sent my detective, A.B. Fox, to rummage through the trash cans outside Badfort.
As I exclusively revealed, in my editorial, it is clear now that Ralf Hateman was a stockbroker from Purley and an out and out capitalist.
Far from dressing in the trademark anarchist sackcloth garb of the Badfort Crowd, Ralf Hateman preferred a pinstriped three-piece suit. In fact, he was the picture of sartorial elegance and could be seen regularly at 8.00 a.m. on the fast train to Loadsamoney Tower.
He built Badfort in the 1930's and, despite Beaver's claims that it's ramshackle nature was an anarchic riposte to the capilist monolithism of Homeward, his writings clearly show that he hated the place because it was such a tip.
Hateman Senior's intention was to build a home that rivalled Homeward in it's opulence and ostentation. However, a share deal that became mired in accustations of skullduggery and litigation forced him to complete the project with the cheapest of materials. His home became a symbol of his own failed ambition.
Beaver Hateman has issued a statement that is typically blunt:
"My father loved Badfort and the anarchist cause. As always, the fat tyrant of Homeward seeks to smear my family by questioning our values. This, from an elephant of the jungle who lives by the law of the jungle!"
The lands to the North of Badgertown are, indeed, a desolate place.
They were once the centre of an industrial revolution. There were mill towns, textile centres, shipyards, and mining towns.
However, now that the economic centre has moved to the Southern areas around Badgertown there are large, sparsely inhabited, areas.
The Northern nether regions of Badgertown are almost a separate country to the Southern environs, one of the main causes being the migration of young professional badgers from the north to work in Badgertown itself.
The Northern badgers are a strange folk - they live in rows of terraced burrows, wear flat caps, race pigeons and play brass musical instruments.
There has been much furore, in the region, over the King of the Badgers decision to grant a license to the Badfort Crowd to use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to recover gas and oil from shale rock.
For this purpose they have recruited a number of dwarfs (experts in the process) to carry out exploratory drilling.
However, the drill site in has been the scene of anti-fracking protests
for the past week, with demonstrators facing off against Beaver Hateman over
the controversial technique.
Mister Hateman chucked a bucket of water over them shouting "The North is a right old dump! You should be bloomin grateful - ain't I promised to donate to setting up some whippet and pigeon clubs for you lot? what more you want?"
There was cause for great celebration in Badgertown last week - Prince Bill Badger and Lady Katie Badger had a baby boy !
The King of the Badgers was over the moon and there have been scenes of much rejoicing in Badgertown.
All eyes have been on Katie's changing pregnancy shape over the last few months but she has always been super-fit and I'm sure she'll be back to her pre-baby shape in no time, helping her husband dig their new burrow next to the King of the Badgers Palace.
So great has interest been in the Royal baby, that stockists say that they have sold out of the Royal Blue swaddle blanket that he was seen wrapped in on leaving hospital.
The new baby has been named Georgy Porgy Badger, after the King of the Badgers father.
Further good news - The Mayor of Badgertown, Dave "the biscuit" Macaroon, has finally decided to crackdown on the Badgertown immigration problem.
Despised in so many countries, Badgertown has been flooded with Tax advisors and accountants seeking asylum.
Lacking basic digging skills, they have been unable to find suitable employment and many, as much as 2%, have taken to a life of petty crime.
The Town Council have launched a mobile billboard campaign telling illegal immigrants to "go home or face arrest”. However, the notorious "Mr Big", said to have advised Starbucks, Amazon and Google, is holed up in a vast underground burrow and refuses to come out.
You may remember the furore , last year, over the King of the Badgers decision to appoint Hateman's Grunge Four (Beaver, Hitmouse. Hootman and Jellytussle)
Security to police the Homeward Olympic Games.
Even more malpractices have been revealed to have been perpetrated by this dubious gang of four.
It would seem that, in order to bump up their fees to the King of the Badgers, Hootman had tagged all the ghosts of the Haunted Tower.
"Really," moaned the King "it is a bit much to tag dead people!"
Beaver, however, was unrepentant. "You gotta watch those dead uns, you know" he declared "Them been seen getting up to all sort of mischief at night - rattling their chains and walking through walls and allsorts!"
Furthermore, it would seem that the Gang of Four have also been using strong arm, and other dubious tactics, to sign up dwarfs to ensure their candidate was selected for the forthcoming Badgertown Council elections.
The King of the Badgers was furious. "Honestly," he complained to me "one minute they are ripping me off on their contacts with me, and the next minute they are trying to steal the election from my candidates !"
"Yes, very trying." I said sympathetically, but warily - I felt I knew what was coming next.
"Yes, well, I was just wondering if you could lend me a few thousand - I'm going to need to buy those dwarfs a few treats to get them back on side, you know!" he blustered.
Uncle's Day is a celebration, that the inhabitants of Homeward insist on having, honouring me and recognising the many charitable donations I have made over the past year, and the influence I have had on good citizenship in Homeward society.
The Crookball people always get terribly excited over the event and like to parade through the many towers of my domain with banners.
I have, also this week, had the great pleasure of opening the Badgertown Broadcasting Corporation's new state of the art facility at Broadcasting Tower.
I was very keen to see how the £98 million I had lent the King of the Badgers for a super duper new digital media system had been spent. This very clever system enables programme makers to call up any material in digital format at the touch of a button !
I was looking forward to seeing a very old film of the day I first accepted the keys of Homeward from Wizard Blenkinsop. I don't know what went wrong - smoke started pouring out of the computer and everyone got into a panic. Luckily they managed to dust off an old projector and I was able to watch the film over a nice bucket of cocoa and a bunch of bananas.
I think I will have to have a word with the King about that 92 million, though. I very much hope he has not spent it on a new coach.
On Uncle's Day the I also give out my annual awards and honours. I have made the Old Monkey a knight, he is now Sir Old Monkey of Monkey-and-Engine-Room Wood.
The media tycoon, Rupert Miser, is a MUG. He received the Most Uncilicious Order of the Garter.
Unfortunately, this led to more broadcasting traumas and accusations against my goodself. Unbeknownst to me, it appears that Mr Miser has been funding Badfort TV. I would never have honoured him if I had been aware that he was enabling their dissemination of half truths and lies.
Thank goodness, the plug was pulled on the station and it is now off air. It appears that Mister Miser accused Beaver Hateman of profligacy when he discovered that the drinks vending machine in their studios had been tampered with so that no money needed to be put in.
The Badfort News is now attempting to claim that the real reason for Mister Miser's actions has more to do with the award I have bestowed upon him. A quid pro quo, if you will, for a gong.
Rumours abound, however, that the true reason for Mister Miser's behaviour may have more to do with Beaver Hateman's amorous dalliances with his wife.
Not a very sensible way for a political leader to behave.
This weekend was the final of that ever popular television show "Homeward's Got Talent".
Distraction, a group of shadow badger dancers from Badgertown, reduced all of the judges to tears with a Homeward themed performance that included a rendition of "Hail, Glorious Uncle" and excerpts from one of my sterling exultation's on the importance of good citizenship.
Somehow, they even managed to contort their bodies into a representation of the skyscrapers of my vast domain with myself depicted atop its ramparts !
Not surprisingly, they won the most public votes - despite some carping from the dwarfs, of my many towers, who moaned that we might as well rename the programme "Badgertown's Got Talent".
They were none to happy about the fact that the performance of the two singing dwarfs, who had also made it to the final, was marred by a rather nasty egg throwing incident.
It appears that Hitmouse had disguised himself as a dwarf, in order to infiltrate their backing singers.
So incensed was he by what he described as "all this sucking up to the fat tyrant" that right in the middle of the duos rendition of "Oh what a friend we have in Uncle" he ran forward and threw eggs at all of us judges. The King of the Badgers got yolk all down his ermine and I got an egg in my face!
You will be very pleased to know that the website about me http://uncle-tv.com/ has been updated with all the latest news.
It is full of inaccuracies, of course.
It is amazing how many people have fallen for the idea, put around by my biographer, that my life is a work of fiction created by the Reverend Martin !
However, it has some interesting facts about my good works and the nefarious Badfort Crowd.
Also, good news on the re-publication of my biographies in Great Britain - the Kickstarter project has been fully funded and is over now - fear not, though, you can still order copies of this magnificent tome from Mister Marcus Gipps at http://gipps.org.uk/The_Complete_Uncle.html
Rather an important issue, given that goverments appear to have decided to base their policies on their findings!
It brought to mind the scandalous mystery of the Badfort Rate Rebate - another case of figures just not adding up right.
I remember, one morning, getting a very agitated telephone call from the King of the Badgers.
"You must come over, at once, Uncle - it is inexplicable problem - it makes no sense at all. We need a great mind, such as your own, to find a solution!" he wept.
I arrived at his Palace to find him in a very distraught state.
"My economists have tried again and again, but the sum still works out the same - as you can see there is one blue ball still in the deficit column - they say that it means I owe Badfort one million pounds as a rate rebate !" he cried. "I do not know what we shall do - I suppose I shall have to sell the crown jewels!"
"I see...can you remember when the Badfort Crowd last paid any rates?" I inquired.
"Ummm, well, no actually? - 1964 I think?" he responded in a perplexed manner.
"Well then, unless they overpaid by a considerable amount, the calculations would seem somewhat unlikely" I replied "Let me have a look at this abacus your economists have been using"
I soon spotted a fundamental error in the economists calculations.
"It seems to have escaped their notice - but I deduce, from a quick perusal, that your abacus has 11 blue balls. Where did your economic professors acquire this device?" I asked.
"Fetch the economists!" demanded the King.
Two rather fusty old men were brought before the King. They were rather irate and irritable and one began a tirade against me:
"Let me begin by saying that we are both highly qualified Harvard professors, we do not need the advice of some amateur elephant, with no economic qualifications, telling us how to conduct our business. We have no doubts of the facts - the King of the Badgers needs to pay the Badfort Crowd one million pounds and must adopt austere measures to do so..."
"Enough!" I interrupted "Where did you buy this abacus?"
"In the interests of austerity we did, of course, buy the cheapest model available. We bought it from a rather grumpy man in a sackcloth suit at the market - he assured us of its fine qualities!" retorted the other economist, with the long beard.
I picked the abacus up and observed the "Made in Badfort' sticker on the bottom.
I was very sad to
hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher.
She did so much to help us here at Homeward.
The 1980's were a particularly difficult time for our Gold mining industry. The dwarfs were exhausted - there was just too much gold buried deep beneath my vast domain.
Luckily, for us, she decided that mining coal in the United Kingdom was a complete waste of time - so, lots of jolly hard working miners emigrated here to help out the dwarfs. They were very pleased with the assistance - not least because this meant they had much bigger tunnels to work in !
We have decided to commemorate her memory by erecting a statue of her dressed as a miner - to symbolise the great service she did for dear Homeward !
Apart from helping us out with mining, the emigrants from Great Britain have also enabled us to have one of the best Brass Bands in the world.
The Old Monkey and I had a meeting, today, with Mr Marcus Gipps - regarding the forthcoming republication of my biographies in the United Kingdom.
We all agreed that a good title for the 6 volume opus would be 'Uncle and his Good Deeds' - it helps convey the many charitable works I undertake during the biographies.
I think Marcus was also in agreement that far too much of the biographies are taken up with the antics of the Badfort Crowd. It would be much better to concentrate on my civic work and the toils, tribulations and organisational skills involved in running a vast domain.
There is always the danger that young, impressionable minds will find the Badfort Crowd's louche behaviour, disreputable and sordid as it is, appealing- in a rakish way.
Look at how history has rewritten the appalling thievery of Robin Hood - he is now seen as some sort of heroic outlaw!
I don't think it would be a problem to rewrite sections of my biographies - perhaps the Badfort Crowd could be seen to see the error of their ways and decide to spend their lives, henceforth, aiding me in my charitable works?
There will be those, I suppose, that will argue that it is wrong to rewrite the past. My simple question to you would be - What is more important? historical verisimilitude? or the hearts and minds of our young people?
It was very good of Marcus to make time, on this first day of the month, a bank holiday, to meet with us and discuss these improvements.
Not surprisingly, he is already close to his target even though it has been up for only a few hours !
For too long the people of that forsaken isle have been bereft of my words of wisdom - on good citizenship and the importance of charitable giving.
No doubt, Marcus will soon be in touch so I can assist him in editing out any unnecessary references to my past and to the more dubious exploits of the Badfort Crowd. I am filling my fountain pen with red ink at this very moment !
The recent news on the
republication of my biographies
in Great Britain has caused me to dwell on the need to chronicle the events
that have occurred in my life since the final volume by the late J.P.Martin.
It is a decision I have put
off for some time. What writer could follow in the footsteps of that scholarly
The old Monkey has suggested Mr
Neil Gaiman. I am a great admirer of his many
works - but is his style too fantastical and whimsical for the depiction of the
minutiae of my many civic duties? Collaboration with Mr Terry Pratchett has
also been proposed, but his work has a satirical edge that would, I believe, be
totally inappropriate for a serious tome depicting my many duties. Will Shudder put forward
his namesake, Mr Will Self.
Completely out of the question. He would get everything back to front and all
over the place. It would just give everyone a terrible headache, reading his
version of events. My personal favourite at
the moment is double Man Booker prize winner Ms Hilary Mantel.
I feel that her experience
would enable her to produce a well-rounded portrait of a pragmatic and talented
elephant, such as myself, attempting to serve the people of Homeward amid the
political machinations of the Badfort Crowd.
She has proved herself more
than able to flesh out the historical fact of a life to produce a complete and
compelling characterisation. I am also sure that she can
be relied upon to forswear any mention of bicycles.
I am most gratified to hear, from the Old Monkey, that a Mister Marcus Gipps is planning a 'Kickstarter' project aimed at funding the publication of an omnibus edition of my biographies, as related by J.P. Martin, in the United Kingdom.
I do have a few spare gold ingots - worth a couple of billion, I believe.
However, this is earmarked for another of my many charitable projects in aid of destitute dwarfs.
I may be able to make a donation from my International Development Fund for Impoverished Countries. Such a shame that the U.K.'s credit rating is so poor now.
I am sure that it will not be needed - Britain's politicians will be all too keen to invest in literature that extols the virtues of good citizenship and paying your rent on time.
Here at Homeward, of course, the books have always been in great demand. I make sure that every child receives a finely-tooled leather bound omnibus edition on their first day of school, gratis from their benefactor.
The only point that has somewhat irked me is the fact that my librarian, Will Shudder, has, so far, refused my offer to revise the manuscripts.
Really, there was no need for the Reverend Martin to make so many references to the bicycle incident. Also, there are occasional references to the anarchic activities of the Badfort Crowd that suggest a humourous element to their behaviour - even, dare I say it, engendering sympathy when they are resoundingly confounded !
I am sure that Mister Gipps will be seeking my advice on how these errors might be corrected. Of course, I would not suggest in any way that funds from the IDFIC would be contingent on my editorial guidance.
The romance we associate with Valentine's Day may spring from the
medieval belief that birds select their mates on February 14th.
Many folk in Homeward still believe that if a woman sees a robin flying overhead on Valentine’s Day, it means she
will marry a sailor. If she sees a sparrow, she will marry a poor man
and be very happy. If she sees a goldfinch, she will marry a rich elephant.
Normally, this would not be a problem - Homeward is very cold at this time of the year and the Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) prefers warmer climes.
However, The Badfort Crow, always on the look out for a means to embarrass my public personage, were spotted this morning releasing thousands of the blighters into the skies over Homeward.
Their song is usually a pleasant silvery twittering. But today they merely, repeatedly, chanted "Love won't pay the bills, Unc's got money!"
My castle was soon surrounded by avaricious gold diggers.
What could I do to to sate their desires?
Once more, faithful Old Monkey came to my rescue.
"Sir, as a precaution I have purchased a large quantity of Gleamhound's 'Love Inducing' mascara. It actually contains an oxytocin blocker - it inhibits people’s romantic impulses!" he explained.
The ladies were most appreciative of my gift, but were soon drifting off and making rather rude exclamations such as "He is actually rather fat, isn't he?" and "Yeah, money isn't everything - I bet he's dead stingy with it, anyway!"
Love is indeed a many-splendored thing, but, sadly, my duty is to the smooth running of my great domain - sometimes we all need to tie ourselves to the mast.
As you know, Whooshmeat is a fine delicacy and one of my favourite meals.
I particularly enjoy a Whooshmeat lasagne.
Imagine my horror, therefore, to discover that the Whooshmeat lasagne produced by Find Us (if you can) has been found to have been contaminated with up to 100% beef !
It is wholly improper that the Homeward public are presented with a product marked Whooshmeat when it contains a significant amount of beef.
The evidence so far suggests it’s either criminal activity or gross negligence.
I decided to telephone the secretive Find Us (if you can) food conglomerate and demand to see a representative of the firm, immediately.
The phone rang and rang and eventually was answered by a very uncouth sounding voice. "Yes, what you want !" it screeched. "This is Uncle, I demand that you come to my office and answer the allegations that your Whooshmeat Lasagne contains beef!"
"Oh, old lardy elephant is it" he replied "Well, I'll have you know that we are far too busy to answer your absurd questions about these spurious rumours - our food is lovely and their is certainly no food safety problem here!"
"In that case," I responded "you will have no fear of an immediate inspection by the Badgertown Police!"
"Look, no need for that, mate - our chief will pop over, just to reassure you like" wheedled the voice on the line.
That afternoon, a rather uncouth bearded man turned up at my office.
"Look, mate, what happened is this. There was this cow was walking by the vat where we churn up the Whooshmeat and it slipped and fell in. Simple as that - just an accident. Won't happen again, I assure you." he declared.
This did not allay my suspicions - I let the man leave, but instructed my detective, A.B.Fox, to follow him.
He soon reported back "As you suspected, Sir, false beard, Hateman in disguise, returned to Badfort. Large factory full of Beef !"
Once again, the Badfort Crowd proved to be indulging in their usual criminal activity.