Saturday, 17 September 2022

The Case of Black Tom - Part Five

I expect you are all looking forward to the next episode of A.B.Fox's exciting adventure as much as we were.... Trapped on the roof of the Badfort Crowd’s HQ at Walmington-on-Sea. Siggi had a crossbow pointed right at me. It looked like I had no choice but to surrender. Then I noticed something glinting below. The Sea. I dived as Siggi fired. There was a huge splash and I desperately held my breath beneath the waters. My hands were still handcuffed – which made swimming a tad difficult. A lifebelt appeared as if from nowhere and I could hear someone swimming towards me. My head went under again but I managed to struggle back to the surface “Please – hurry – can’t last much longer – got handcuffs on.” I managed to splutter. My rescuer was soon at my side, pulling me back to shore and aiding me on to the beach. I looked up to see the identity of my saviour. She was certainly a sight for sore eyes. A really foxy vixen. “Hi, I’m Delores – I was just rescuing a lost kitten when I heard your cries.” she whispered. “Well Delores, I hope you like a fox of action – because tonight’s going to be some adventure.” I replied. She looked somewhat askance at my handcuffed paws. “Uh, Oh yes, I need to get out of these things – it’s a long story.” I stuttered, blushing. She was some game dame – without batting an eyelid she ran to a sports-car on the esplanade and returned with some bolt cutters. Funny thing to keep in the boot of her car, I thought, perhaps she often has to help foxes in handcuffs. “Thanks,” I said, giving her a peck on the cheeks. It was her turn to blush now. “No time to lose – we need to get to the Tower of London – fast !” I cried, before events got out of hand. She certainly knew how to make that motor purr. She was easy on the eyes too, but I had to concentrate. One thing was bothering me. Walmington-on-Sea should have been crawling with cops. Had Colonel Lungy failed me? As we approached Tower Bridge the lights were green. “Put your foot down, we’re nearly there.” I shouted above the roar of the engine. Delores floored it, but as we got onto the bridge the roadway began to lift. I turned to face the control room hoping to warn the engineer of our presence. The face of Beaver Hateman grinned back at me. Dolores applied the brakes, but it was too late. The sports-car flew over the elevated roadway and dipped towards the Thames. It looked like another dip in the water for me tonight. Blushing a little, Goodman told A.B.Fox that Delores sounded like a feisty young vixen. A.B.Fox merely sighed and looked into the distance. I thought it best to change the subject. "Well," I told the assembled literary devotees, "I'm sure tomorrow will bring another fine example of our detective's ingenuity in escapology!"

Last night I dreamt I went to Homopoly

Lat night I dreamt I went to Homopoly. It was most peculiar. It began by me being interviewed by Mister Wossy. In the dream, he was a fanatical collector of board games. He kept on going on about a very rare edition of Monopoly he had that was set during the blitz. It sounded a very difficult version of the game, given that you could put a hotel up on Park Lane and the next minute have it blown up! He asked me if we played Monopoly here at Homeward. Of course, we have our own version - Homopoly. The Great Hall is the equivalent of your Mayfair and then there are the various towers that all have their places on the board. Watercress tower is worth quite a lot, but Haunted Tower has little value. Badfort is, not surprisingly, of a similar value to the Old Kent Road. The dream then got even stranger as we all became part of the game. I was staying at Sunset Beach in a holiday home owned by Mister Wossy and his wife, the Ferret Princess. It was infested with extremely long mice and their youngest child insisted on letting them loose in the skirting boards. The electricity kept blowing up as they gnawed through the wires. I was there to present a programme on seaside resorts with a Mister Walliams, the famed cross-channel swimmer. As you know I am very fond of seaside holidays. He was presenting his part of the programme from, of course, Dover - in England. We did a live link-up, and as a jest about the quality of the weather at seaside resorts the director had arranged for large storm clouds to appear in the sky at both Dover and Sunset Beach. It poured with rain. Dear reader - what can it all mean? Do the storm clouds infer that trouble is brewing with the Badfort Crowd?

End of the Pier Show

What a marvellous day it has been! My supporters organised a fantastic show in the pavilion at the end of the pier. Noddy Ninety sang and Wizard Blenkinsop gave an amazing display of the art of prestidigitation. This was followed by a performance of a play I had written myself on the dangers of revolutionary zeal called "Homeward - This Green and Pleasant Land". At the end of the performance a brass band began to play 'Hail to Glorious Uncle' and as I walked onto the stage a group of young badgers began to sing: "We love to hear of Uncle's deeds; He makes us feel so glad; His bounty makes the poor man rich And fills with joy the sad. "How vast his stores of ham and lard; How huge his vats of oil..." Unfortunately, at this point a raucous voice interrupted: "See that pompous humbug Unc On the platform raise his trunk... I felt that the only dignified course was to take no notice of this sordid and unfortunate incident. In the corner of my eye, though, I could see Beaver and Hitmouse bobbing around on a raft by the pier and making rude gesticulations towards me. I decided to make my short speech of farewell in which I thanked everyone for their support and hoped that the tourists would enjoy the rest of their holiday. Besides me were a whole pile of parcels containing items such as buckets and spades, rubber rings and water wings which I graciously offered as a token to their esteem. Everybody clapped and cheered and, despite the incident with Beaver, I felt it was a fitting ending to my time at Sunset Beach.

A Fierce Battle

This morning, Beaver Hateman and his gang of villains made an attack on Homeward armed with their latest weapon the Johnny Seven (OMA) gun. But we were prepared, I had surrounded the courtyard of the Great Hall with followers - armed with high power treacle hoses. I had ordered the that only light resistance should be made so that as soon as they burst through the gates we would have them trapped and surrounded. My plan worked perfectly, I knew that once the firing pins of the Johnny Seven (OMA)'s were sufficiently engulfed in treacle they would be useless. Unfortunately, they were still able to let off some initial salvos of Duck Bombs - one of which hit me square on the trunk. Totally incapacitated, I found myself trapped in the deluge of treacle. Beaver had also been mired in the flood and for a brief moment the hostilities of battle were put aside as we aided each other to escape the quagmire. Of course, I did not allow the sentiment of this isolated incidence of camaraderie to prevent me giving him a good kicking up as soon as the effects of the Duck Bomb wore of.

In the Far Southern Seas

The village has suddenly sped up on its journey. We have become caught in the West Wind Drift, have rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and now find ourselves in the Indian Ocean. As we drift through the tropical seas, the people who are left carry on a dream-like way of life - not caring where we are going or what is to become of us. Tourists still bring in a bountiful revenue, as do the offshore registered companies, so the villagers are still wealthy. But they no longer seem interested in money - they are happy to sit watching the long blue ocean swell past giving the whole mass of the place a slow, sleepy, gentle rocking motion. Only Beaver is still scheming away with money-making ventures. The one thing that I have missed on our journey is bananas - I do like my bananas. So, I was most pleased today when Beaver paid a visit to my cell with a big bunch of them. "Thank you very much, Beaver, but why the despondent air?" I inquired of him. "Them damn yellow fings - thats wot" he bellowed "You know its the Brits favrite fruit? I thought I would corner the market in the fings! make a killing. So I met up with some plantation workers and done a deal with them for some knock-off fruit. Only I found out I paid the same wot Tesco do!" "Hmmm, I see - well look at it this way Beaver. For every £1 worth of the fruit, the retailer takes 40p, the international trading company gets 31p, the distributor gets 17p, the plantation owner 10p and the worker picking them 2p. By buying them direct from the workers you have just exponentially increased their wages. It is a huge publicity coup!" I replied. "Cor, strike a light you're right, mate! Beaver Hateman - Hero of the Working Classes!, I can see the headline now!" marveled Beaver. "So, how about releasing me - in return for that sage advice?" I asked him. "You must be joking - after that kicking up you gave me?" laughed Beaver. "Not on you Nellie!". I remarked that his attitude merely confirmed my belief that he had turned the village into a banana republic - but he did not seem to get the joke.

Boris claims dirty fight in mayor race !

Boris Badger claims that his office was infiltrated by Internet hackers who broke into his email and disrupted his computer system for several hours. He also said that his opponents were "fighting dirty" and would use any tactic to smear him and ensure that Ken Goat won a third term as mayor. A politician, journalist and former editor of Badger News, Boris is the great-grandson of Ali Brock, a Turkish journalist who was briefly Interior Minister in the government of Ahmet Melo Borsuki, Grand Vizier of the Ferret Badger Empire. On his Web site Boris describes himself as a "one badger melting-pot," with Blaireaus, Porsoks and Dachs among his ancestors.

All of a twitter

Cowgill has insisted that I get up to date with modern communications and start being a twit. At first I thought that he had gone mad and was insulting me but, apparently, it is all the rage and many celebrities are doing it. Now you can keep track of all the momentous events in my life, that may have global significance, in the column on the right. I think it is marvelous and quite enthralling but the Old Monkey is cynical. He thinks that it is frivolous time wasting and merely reflects the mundanity of most people’s everyday lives. I would hardly describe my life as mundane. He says that, as with all new gadgets, I will soon get bored with it and fed up with being constantly twitted. We shall see. My first day's twitters:- * The Old Monkey has drawn my bath. With an HB. Now he is filling with lots of hot water to the optimum temperature. * Lost the loofer. Old Monkey is diving for it. * Barack on the phone - in the middle of my bath! Honestly, he cannot keep ringing me up for advice all the time! about 23 hours ago * Breakfast. Bananas and Koolvat! My Favourite! * Rent Day. There is nothing more I like to see than the sight of thousands of dwarfs in well organised lines queueing to pay their rent! * Gordon just twitted me - should he smile more? No, I tell him your lugubrious features fit perfectly the current depression. * I am sure that Goodman had made a mistake in his book keeping - we are a farthing short! * I'm making Goodman count them all again. One has to learn the importance of punctiliousness. Meanwhile, I am having a nice cup of tea. * Having a ride around in my traction engine! * Barack twitting me now. Any more whizzy ideas for saving the world economy? he asks - honestly can a celebrity entrepreneur ever have peace? * Beaver just threw a duck bomb at me. Missed! * Sarkozy twitting me now. Absolutely furious that Barack is visiting me first! * Stephen Fry just twitted me. Apparently he is going for a walk. * Even the birds are twittering at me now. * Elevenses! A cask of Ham and a bucket of Cocoa! * No surprise that the King of the Badgers is twitting me now - and no surprise that he wants to borrow some money! * Nasty itch in my trunk - the Old Monkey is scratching it for me. * Gordon again. Wants to know if he should save the car industry. Tell people to get on their bikes I say. * Now Beaver is twitting me! He wants to know if I have had any bowel movements today! * All this twittering is driving me twitting mad!

Going Green

I have come under some criticism over the use of my EUV (Elephant Utility Vehicle). In particular, The Badfort Press have taken great delight in making snide comments and accusations about it's fuel consumption. I have therefore decided to convert the top of Ramshackle Tower into a sustainable forest. I have re-named it Green Tower and will, from henceforth, only be using logs from this source to burn in my traction engine. I have also instructed Cowgill to put a wind turbine on top of Windy Tower. This will supply most of the power needed in Homeward Hall. I hope this proves my green credentials. The Old Monkey is very much enjoying swinging around in the newly planted trees on Green Tower.

A Nightingale sang in Jumeirah

Last night, Beaver and I were invited to a party - the launch of the Atlantis Palm Jumeirah hotel in Dubai. Well, actually only Beaver was invited - due to his status as the leader of the newest offshore state. I, apparently, no longer count as a world leader because of my dispossessed position. Beaver, in a surprisingly jovial mood, kindly brought me as his guest. It was a lavish affair - even by my standards. There was a heady cocktail of sunshine and as much champagne and oysters as one could wish for. We partied away in the company of A-list stars and had a feast of 4,000 lobsters. The nightingale from down under, Miss Kylie Minogue, performed and was, as usual, radiant. Beaver and I decided to get some fresh air and take a ride around. We were appalled to discover a city of labour camps hidden away from the eyes of tourists. Migrant labourers lured into a life of squalor and exploitation. "This is an absolute disgrace. This is no way to treat one's workers - if this is the price to pay for a life of luxury it is not worth paying!" I declared. "To right, Unc - its a bloomin' disgrace. Lets show 'em a good time for a change - we'll take them to the party!" shouted Beaver. For once, I heartily agreed with him. In a long procession, we led them all to the party - Sultan Ahmed Bin Whassisname went puce with anger but there was not a lot he could do about it without provoking an international incident. Beaver sidled up to him and whispered "I've got a duck bomb under my kaftan and I ain't afraid to use it - one false move and Badsea declares war on you." It was wonderful to see the workers partying with all those celebrities - Robert de Niro, Janet Jackson, Wesley Snipes, Michael Jordan, Charlize Theron, Mischa Barton, Agyness Deyn, Sir Philip Green, Dame Shirley Bassey, Yasmin Le Bon, Jade Jagger, Lily Allen and Lindsay Lohan. Mind you, I suspect that they thought they were all unrecognisable Bollywood stars.

Children in Need

I see that Mister Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has called on all the major countries to cut taxes to prevent the global economy sinking deeper into recession. I was expecting a call from him asking me to attend the G20 Economic Summit. I felt sure that they would want to draw on my many years of expert opinion. No such call, however, was forthcoming. Of course, Hateman has been a major ally and confidant of Mister Brown in his endeavours. Beaver has been crowing about the success of his policies ""Good evening, friends, unlike other countries, hit by depression, Homesea is very much afloat - because here no one pays any taxes!" he declared on the television last night, during one of his 'fireside chats'. Of course, that is only half the story. The village has gone gambling mad and Beaver is raking in the money at the Town Hall Casino. He declared that today they would mark the great success of his fiscal stimulus by having a special parade for the needy children of Homesea. Beaver Hateman has been playing the Pied Piper of Badsea, leading the children around the village playing his flute and singing "Hail, the Revolution!", a traditional Badfort protest song. Like the Pied Piper, I am convinced he is leading them astray. It is not surprising that the children are needy - their parents spend the whole day at the roulette table. "Look at the old miserable elephant," shouted Beaver as he strutted past me "I have just given a million to Children in Need, hope you have turned out your pockets!- have to do your bit don't you and, as you know only to well, the odd philanthropic gesture does wonders for the image don't it!" I have, of course, made my usual donation. I did ask Sir Terry not to make a big deal out of it - but he insisted on waving my cheque about in front of the cameras. One does find the acclaim for ones generosity quite embarrassing. I really think it was a bit much, however, when he pulled out Beaver's cheque and said "and look here is another even bigger one from the old sackcloth saviour himself, Mister Beaver Hateman- Baron of Badsea !" If only Sir Terry knew the source of those funds I am sure he would be outraged.

Antony and Cleopatra

As you know I am a great enthusiast for the works of England's greatest playwright - Sir Ernest Wiseman OBE. Every Christmas I like to sit down in the fireplace of the Great Hall of Homeward and watch a videotape recording of one of his masterpieces. Last night we watched his great tragedy Antony and Cleopatra. I must say I was moved to tears by the tragic grandeur of their infatuation. Is their relationship one of love or lust? Is their passion wholly destructive, or does it also show elements of transcendence? Here is an excerpt for your delectation - the only element that mars this presentation is the fact that, for some reason, the audience keep laughing all the way through ? - the hoi-polloi often misunderstand the great playwrights - or perhaps it is nervous laughter ?, the audience falling into Wiseman's ingenious trap: the playwright has devilishly induced the audience into involuntarily laughing at the drama of the events.

41st Anniversary of Moon Landing

Today is the 41st Anniversary of my first landing on the moon. As you will remember, last year we celebrated the 40th anniversary by returning and sorting out a bit of bother that the dwarfs mining on the moon had got into. One year after my first landing, some Americans turned up on the moon. We thought it best to keep quiet about our own presence. Over the next few years they left rather a lot of junk to clear up but, as I suspected, they soon got bored and stopped coming. They are still under the illusion that they arrived first - and I think it best that they do not find out how lucrative Helium 3 mining is. I am often asked what happened to all the discarded American Lunar Modules? Clearly we could not let them crash on the moon - for they could have landed on one of our mining operations, damaging equipment and putting the lives of dwarfs at risk. So we would collect them from lunar orbit and let off a small explosion on the surface so that the Americans would think that they had crashed on the moon. I can now reveal that I have the actual Apollo 11 Lunar Module, here at Homeward, in my Space Museum. Here is a picture taken today of me sitting in it. I have had to make some adaptations. It needed to be strengthened a little as it was designed for two humans - an elephant is somewhat heavier.

The Whole of Homeward gone!

(The content of the following blog has been received by carrier pigeon) When I awoke this morning I knew that something was different – but I could not place my finger on it. There was a different smell in the air. The Old Monkey scampered into the room – “Do you feel it too, Sir? It feels like something is not quite right?” We decided to climb up the rickety wooden staircase to the top of my tower to survey any damage caused by last night’s storm. As I looked out from the roof, in the weak dawn light, I could not believe my eyes. I blinked a number of times and pinched myself in the hope that it was all a dream. We scanned the 360 degree view from the top of the tower with our binoculars. Instead of flat marshland, the great walls of Homeward, the wooded hills to the North and the cliffs to the West there was nothing but low grey clouds and a grey-green sea ending in a pencil straight line all around the horizon. “The whole of Homeward gone!’ cried the Old Monkey. My home engulfed by floods!

The Homeward Art Gallery

Whilst A.B.Fox continued his investigations to discover how Beaver intended to make use of the Wizard's Dressing Gown, we decided to continue our tour of Homeward with a visit to the Homeward Art Gallery. It is reached via a cupboard at the bottom of the back stairs at Homeward. Once through one enters an open space between immense towers. The gallery is in a tower opposite a very strange-looking castle called Crack House. As we arrived the curator, a small shabby man called William Snowjuice, came rushing up to us. "Oh Sir, calamity, calamity - all your paintings are gone. They came to life!....they literally floated out of the gallery of their own accord!" he cried. We rushed into the gallery and it was true - it was empty apart from one crude picture of myself. "Oh yes Sir, as the other paintings all left this one floated in and hang itself upon the wall - It is by the artist J von Tussle." explained Snowjuice. Jellytussle is one of the Badfort Crowd, he's thickly covered with jelly of a bluish colour, and he's a very spiteful character. It did not take much thinking to work out how Beaver had made use of the Wizard's Dressing Gown. By rendering him invisible it had enabled Beaver to remove the paintings undetected - creating the impression that the paintings had taken on a life of their own. At that point, the artist, Waldovenison Smeare arrived. He is very thin, with long hair and a thin straggly beard, and he was wearing paint-stained trousers and a coat made out of a worn hearthrug. Looking around at the empty gallery he let out a groan and collapsed. "My Masterpieces!" he moaned "Breakfast at Homeward. The Owner of the Castle and Friends, The Stolen Sandwich...and one of my earliest works - Still Life.One melon on a cracked plate....all gone." he cried. Overcome by the loss of his precious work, Smeare fainted. The One-Armed Badger carried him to a couch and sat near him with a tray of delicacies in case he recovered enough to nibble a few of them. It was indeed a black morning. I inspected the caption that had been pasted alongside the Von Tussle. The Tyrant of Homeward - hit him where it hurts! it said. "A bad day, Sir, indeed" said A.B.Fox "...but it gives us a clue to where they might strike next. They have struck here for a purpose. Most of the stolen pictures depict the glorious events in your life - you opening the Dwarfs' Drinking Fountains, opening the Hoof and Claw Trimming Stall, and the many illustrations of your battles with the Badfort Crowd - their aim is to take the objects most dear to you. To wipe your deeds from history and humiliate you. There is only one other thing they could do to bring you down - hit you in your pocket." I looked at the Old Monkey and we both nodded, at least we knew Beaver's next target.

Christmas Island

Homesea is drifting past Christmas Island. It has made me rather homesick, for normally at this time of year I would be making preparations for the Great Homeward Christmas Eve Party. I feel that I cannot leave, however, until the village is out of the clutches of Beaver Hateman. Christmas Island has an administrative body which basically governs the island, of which the head Administrator and his wife are known in some circles as the King and Queen. Chief amongst the old ladies of Church Square is Miss Fitzbuller, and it turns out that forty years ago she went to school with the Queen of Christmas Island. They have been having a good old chinwag about hockey teams, school chums, the old times and looking at old faded photographs. It did not surprise me when she told me that she and the other ladies of Church Square had decided that they would stay on the island. The climate is delightful, there are strong young men to do things and she tells me that they intend to celebrate Christmas Day everyday from now on. It does, of course, mean that there is no longer anyone to run the teashops. So the Old Monkey and I have decided to rename one of them Chez Oncle and run it ourselves. We are doing a brisk trade - the remaining old Homesears, and the pirates in particular, do really like a nice cream tea. Beaver Hateman still insists that he is in charge, but as I keep reminding him - of what does he think he is in charge? It seems to me that Homesea could drift forever, about the oceans of the world, no longer serving any useful purpose in his hands.

Homeward Olympics 2008

I have hardly had time to catch my breath after my trip to the moon. As soon as we returned I had to perform the civic duty of hosting the Opening Ceremony of the Homeward Olympics 2008. It was all going rather well until it was discovered that Hitmouse had dressed up as a little girl again and pretended to sing "Hail to Uncle'. It turned out that Beaver had kidnapped a young dwarf, who was supposed to perform, and forced her to sing while Hitmouse mimed. I immediately became suspicious when the words "Hail to Beaver" were substituted for my own name. Beaver then had the cheek to claim that the Badfort Crowd were merely seeking the "best voice and the best performer" for such an important ceremony - and anyway he was sick of the whole event being hijacked to bolster the ego of some jumped up elephant! The whole farrago got worse. Beaver has managed to bag himself a world record 12 Gold Medals! He has won Gold for the "Yard of Black Tom' competition, Long Distance Skewering (even beating Hitmouse), brawling, the One-Legged Donkey Race (there was only one entrant!), haranguing polemics, both the Short and the Long Con (he managed to trick a number of people into buying fraudulent tickets for the event and sell the Stadium to a rich Texan), mud throwing, food eating (24 large hams!), debt collection (a lot of dwarfs will be ruing attending that event), the raucous singing competition, and the Stolen Bicycle Race! You might well ask how all these strange sports came to be part of the Olympics? So did I ! A.B.Fox interrogated the Olympic Committee - and it turned out that they had all been bribed by Beaver Hateman! Needless to say, I won a Gold for my skills at Kicking Up - and I am sure you can guess who the recipient of the Kicking Up was.

Badgertown Rocks

I had the King of the Badgers around today, wanting me to bail out something called Badgertown Rock. I could not understand why he wanted me to fund some music festival? He had brought with him some sleek looking badger in a rather ostentatious suit. He introduced himself as, Peter Porsche, COE of said Badgertown Rock. It turns out they are some financial organisation that has got involved in lending in something he called the sub-prime market. Enough of your financial gobbledegook, I said, what you mean is that you have been stupid enough to lend to some ne'er do wells and you have no hope of getting the money back have you? Peter Porsche admitted this was the case. It turned out that they had lent a million pounds to the inhabitants of Badfort who had used Badfort castle as collateral. I spluttered in disbelief. I could not believe that anyone would be so foolish as to lend money on the basis of the value of that broken down old wreck of an eyesore. Porsche, looking embarrassed, argued that Beaver Hateman had claimed it was a desirable residence, with beautifully laid-out grounds and an excellent scob-fishing river running through it. Yes, I told him, but if he had thought to actually look at the place he would have seen that most of the windows were smashed and the beautiful rooms long since torn apart for firewood. I surmised that they would have no hope of getting their money back from those blackguards. Porsche started crying then. Apparently he had been around to Badfort to tell Beaver that steps would be taken to turn him out and he had been answered with a volley of Duck Bombs. The Old Monkey and I soon came up with a solution. I told Porsche to block the Scob river at either end and put road blocks at all entrances so that they could turn back any transport carrying Black Tom. That will force them to hand back their ill-gotten gains.

Who sat next to me?

Never mind the world economic stimulus, I know that, who sat next me? is the burning question you all want answered. Well here is the all important seating plan for dinner at Downing Street, last night. As you can imagine, it was quite a game of diplomatic musical chairs as everyone wanted to sit near me. It has to be said, it was a bit of a tight squeeze on my side of the table. "Shove up, Barack!" I said good heartedly "This is half the size of my banqueting table, you know!" Everyone shuffled along a bit and we all fitted in eventually. Luckily, the Korean President is only a little chap so he did not take up much room on my left. The German lady and that funny French man were a bit sulky - I don't think he was too happy with the "best of British" menu. He kept complaining it was too stodgy for his tastes. I gave him a withering look and he could tell that I would brook no storming off. There was a lot of, frankly, rather boring talk of reshaping capitalism and reviving the stalled global economy. I do wish that people would not talk shop at dinner. I soon had them in stitches, however, as I regaled them with some of my funniest anecdotes about Beaver Hateman's antics and his foiled attempts to usurp me. More tedious discussions today.

King of the Badgers - State Visit

The King of the Badgers has turned up for another State Visit. This usually means he is short of cash and is looking for another hand out. He started banging on about the 'special relationship' between Homeward and Badgertown which spells trouble. I expect Beaver Hateman is refusing to hand over his rates again so he needs some enforcement help. My detective A.B.Fox is providing his exemplary services to ensure security for the visit. He's already foiled Hitmouse's attempt at throwing a duck bomb at us as we were enjoying a garden party on the lawns in front of Homeward. Duck bombs cover you from head to foot in a liquid that looks like lemonade but instantly turns into a tough jelly which is almost impossible to remove."Not a problem, Sir" he said when I thanked him for his vigilance. Exactly what you would expect from a fox whose Great-Grandfather worked for Pinkerton's Detective Agency. Down these mean streets a fox must walk who is neither tarnished by nor afraid of the Badfort Crowd.

We Set Off

Today we set off on our great bus journey around Homeward. The Old Monkey was determined to have a go driving the bus - which suited me fine. Goodman filled the jacuzzi with mud and, after a leisurely breakfast, I had a good wallow. There is nothing like a good soak in bubbling mud to start the day. We received lots of telegrams from the inhabitants of my estates - wishing us a safe trip and tremendously excited at the prospect of a chance to meet their benefactor.

Come Dine with Me - Day 2

Yesterday evening, it was Wizard Blenkinsop's turn to provide a sumptuous banquet for the contenders in my 'Come Dine With Me' competition. At first, I was a somewhat put out. The wizard had decided that, as it was Shrove Tuesday, all we would have to eat was pancakes! I did not feel that this really constituted a meal - nor involved much effort on the Wizards part. Of course, I should have known better. On my first bite I slipped into a remembrance of a wonderful day, that the Old Monkey and I had, climbing Watercress Tower. Immediately, my mouth filled with the paradoxical pleasures of the peppery coolness of a watercress sandwich. I could feel the freshness of spring water running between my toes. The Old Monkey, meanwhile, insisted that he felt the unbounded joy of swinging through the trees and filling his mouth with wild berries. "That is the whole point of these pancakes!" declared the Wizard "They are magical," he explained, "As you eat, they bring back your most treasured memories, the taste, the smell and the feel of a time when you were most happiest!" Well, I must admit - it was a most impressive dining experience. Then Beaver had to spoil it all. "Cor! I can taste the Black Tom we guzzled on that joyous day when we trapped you in that cage! Bloomin' marvelous - one of the greatest days in our struggle against your despotic rule!" he wept. I have three more evenings of his company to endure.

The Lost Clinkers Cooling Tower

Cooling towers are heat removal devices used to transfer process waste heat to the atmosphere. The Cooling Tower at Lost Clinkers is a large hyperboloid structure that is 200 metres tall and 100 metres in diameter and used to be part of the Power Station supplied by the Gasworks. I am keen to pull the whole thing down and replace it with a big new skyscraper. I do like skyscrapers. Skyscrapers embody many things, including technical achievement, economic prosperity, and civic and corporate pride. Homeward, centre of economic activity and capital of culture, is unimaginable without skyscrapers. They are as thrilling as the ecclesiastical towers and steeples of medieval Europe. I would build the tallest skyscraper in Homeward on this site – furthermore it will have Giant propellers, like those of wind turbines, set into or on to the tower. Thus, the new building will carry on the previous function of the old power station and cooling tower – supplying Homeward with electricity. But there are always some who want to stand in the way of progress. Unfortunately, The Cooling Tower at Lost Clinkers has divided opinion at Homeward. Many agree with me that it should come down but others see it as a local landmark and have started up a campaign to “Save our Tower”. It is quite infuriating ! All this fuss over a crumbling relic of industry best demolished. They have even organised a competition for ideas on how the Cooling Tower could be reused. Here are some of them - and I have to say they are pretty far-fetched. As for the Badfort Crowd’s idea, well, not surprisingly, it is an absolute disgrace. To make matters worse the Heritage brigade have stuck a preservation order on the Cooling Tower – insisting that the strange natural phenomena that occurs at the top of it needs to be investigated first. They argue that the strange spiraling vortex of blue mist, that can be seen when one looks up, is unique and has not been seen before. To me this odd anomaly is clearly merely condensation of some kind and I aim to prove this. I am going to lead an expedition into the mist to take samples. Once I have proven the pedestrian nature of this gas – the tower shall come down! Picture of The Strange Phenomena

Rescue Plan

This morning I gathered all the village folk in the Town Hall to hear my rescue plans for Homesea. "Good citizens of Homesea," I began "Today, I can reveal to you the plans I have put in place to return Homesea to it's rightful place on the coast of Homeward. Tomorrow, ships of both the Navy of the United States and the United Kingdom will be placed at my disposal. As I pointed out, to there respective governments, it is the very least that they can do considering the fact that my loans have saved both their financial systems. Cowgill is, at this very moment, locating secure points around the village to which steel cables can be attached. The village will be towed home!" I paused here for cheers - but none were forthcoming! "I realise that these have been troubled times..." "No they've not! we've been having a great time!" interrupted Beaver. "I appreciate that some of the residents may have been enjoying the fame and fortune that has come to the village due to it's unique status as a floating..." "Too right we have - we've been making money hand over fist from these tourists!" shouted Mrs Turncoat, proprietess of the Toby Jug Tea Rooms. "Yes, but as the owner of Homesea I cannot allow these flagrant breeches of economic regulations to continue - the tax evasion going on amounts to grand larceny!" "Oooooh Unc's all in a tiz cos he's not getting his share of the dosh!" laughed Hitmouse. "I would remind you all that I have been a great benefactor to this village over the years, and that I have not been charging any rents in this time of crisis. I am sure that all law-abiding inhabitants wish to see a return to legality and order and the normal status quo - without which life will descend into a free-for-all...." At this point someone threw a tomato at me! The meeting turned into a bedlam of raucous, shouting and babbling voices. Honestly - the ingratitude of these people! I ordered the Homesea Guard to clear the hall.

A Blog Award

I am back from my sojourn repairing the Ancestral Home - but more of that anon. Mrs Slocombe has kindly granted me an award for the excellence of my blog. It appears to be the interweb equivalent of a sort of chain letter - allowing us all to show our appreciation for our favourite bloggists. The 2008 Premio Award Rules are:- 1. When received, you may post the Premio to your blog. 2. Link to the blogger you received it from. 3. Give it to 7 blogs. 4. Link to those 7 blogs. 5. Leave those 7 bloggers a comment about receiving the Brillante Premio This gives me the opportunity to pick out my own favourites to bestow an award upon. 1: Mister Stevyn Colgan. A great fan of myself, he has a very interesting book coming out shortly about thinking in a joined up way. I have picked out an interesting blog that he made about a particular interest of mine - traction engines. As you are aware they are my chosen means of transportation and I own a very fine example 2:Skyscrapers. I have selected this blog because it combines my great love of tall buildings with my philanphropic activities. This is something that Butterskin Mute and I are working on - we hope to feed the whole of Homeward with our 'Skyscraper' Farms. 3:Ernest Wiseman. I have chosen this blog because it features my favourite playwright -Sir Ernest Wiseman. It is not well known but Mister Wiseman was not only a great writer but also, like myself, very appreciative of the musical arts. Here he can be seen with the well known conductor Andre Preview. 4:Sheffield. As you know I am a great lover of industrial landscapes. This site is all about the industrial metropolis of Sheffield and the sad demise of its cooling towers. Hopefully they will be replaced by some large skyscraper shopping centres. 5:Young Entrepreneurs. I am always keen to assist young people in the arts of money making. I have given an award to this site for its sterling efforts in this direction. 6:Quentin Blake. I have picked this site for a fadcinating blog about the illustrator of my biographies - Mister Quentin Blake. Waldovenison Smeare was most put out that he did not get the job. 7:NYRB.My final award goes to Ms Sara who blogs for the publishers of by biographies. I must say I have a bit of a soft spot for her - the Old Monkey says that it is just the foolish infatuation of a middle aged elephant. I am certain, however, that I detect a certain frisson in our correspondence. It may just be the infatuation of a young girl with a rich older gentleman, though.

Treehouse Conundrums

As you know, I have been away for a while, with my brothers, making repairs to our ancestral home - 'Treetops'. The troop of dwarfs that we took with us have made sterling efforts and have carted away skip loads of deceased and rotten wood. We had a few problems with the neighbours. The giraffes and the monkeys were most put out about our activities - complaining that we were disturbing the peace of the jungle and that we had put our skips where they liked to park their cars. But that is typical of jungle dwellers - very small minded and conservative. But what to do with it now? Modernise it and bring it in to the 21st Century or attempt to restore it to it's former glory? Personally, I feel that we need to make use of some of the skyscraper technology we have developed here at Homeward - this is my design. As you can see, the telescopic struts create a platform with expansive views over the trees, and the accommodation consists of three large open plan rooms. My brother Rudolph, however, wishes to knock out all the walls and create a 'hide' from which our neighbours in the jungle can be observed in their natural environment. But I think that he is only thinking of his television career as a 'reality' documentary maker. I am sure that our neighbours would be incensed if they knew he intended to secretly film them. My other brother, Bertram, insists that my ideas are typically expensive and over flamboyant. He insists it just needs a cheap makeover and has bought a lot of old boiler parts and pipes off Ebay. This is his design. A right old mess if you ask me. I suppose that we could consider selling it, but it would be a wrench to see the old ancestral home go, and, of course, in the present property market I do not think we would get a very good price. We had an estate agent come round. A gorilla in a very shiny suit. A bit of a spiv, if you ask me. He was most rude about my plans - claiming that jungle dwellers were not ready for that kind of modernist approach. Apparently, they like traditional wooden treehouses with a garage and dividing walls so that there are lots of small rooms. No imagination, these jungle creatures. The gorilla said we should put it up for auction because it is in such a poor state and is not worth much. Then I caught him on his mobile phone talking to Beaver Hateman - it turns out they were in cahoots trying to get it for a knockdown price. Talking about the present financial troubles - that President Bush is getting almost as bad as the King of the Badgers. He was on the phone begging for a loan again today. I have said that I can stretch to $200 billion but not a penny more - they really have to try and sort out their own problems. It has been such a busy year, my Bus Tour of Homeward, the Beaver Hateman Libel Trial, the Badgertown Mayoral Election, The Lost Clinkers Cooling Tower Expedition, the Lunar Return, The Homeward Olympics, being a 'Secret Trillionaire' and discovering the Higgs Boson. I think that is quite enough, even for an elephant of my stature - it is too much to expect me to sort out trivial matters like the collapse of the International Banking System. Sorting out the Ancestral Home can wait too. I really am quite exhausted and in need of a holiday.

The Case of Black Tom - Part Three

Last night, we were all intrigued to discover how A.B.Fox would extricate himself from his predicament. He began reading... There I was, in a cave in Comfort Cove, tied to a pole with the sea rapidly rising. It looked like lights out for me. I cried out for help in the vain hope someone might near me. “I say old chap, what you doing there – a spot of scuba diving hey?” came a shout. “No actually, I am tied to a post.” I replied. “What you want to do that for?” shouted back the disembodied voice. Out of the gloom a tall some-what dried-up looking man wearing a khaki shirt and well-pressed khaki trousers appeared. “Hello old fellow, Colonel Lungy at your service, what’s this then – some villainy afoot I’ll be bound. I’ll have you free in a jiffy.” The water was up to my mouth now so I conserved my breath. Colonel Lungy took out a curved knife and cut the ropes. I explained the situation. He nodded his head and said “By jove smugglers, you say? – reminds me of an incident back in the province of Shotconjuberry, or was it Shutvanjuberry? No matter, I’ll think the names out afterwards…anyway as I was saying…” I interrupted him “Sorry Sir, this is a time when swift action is needed. We must follow those villains back to Walmington-on-Sea with their next consignment of Black Tom – do you have a boat?” I decided I liked Colonel Lungy a lot despite his propensity for long and fearfully boring stories. We were soon in his fast and sleek speedboat heading after Beaver and his gang. “Did you have a chance to visit Uncle’s palace during your adventure?” he inquired, shouting to be heard as we crashed through the waves. “It reminds me very much of the palace of the Rajah of Duk Duk Province. It was one of the wonders of the world! We used to take troops there to see it from Banderush, Osnobagger, Chellsbojerry and another place – the name escapes me for the moment. Let me see, it was Nocharchander. No, thats not right. It began with an N, that I do remember.” I tried to interrupt. “Wait, wait, I’ll get it” he continued. “Don’t trouble Colonel,” I said hastily. “We need to formulate a plan of action.” “Indeed we do, Sir, indeed we do.” he replied “I think those rascals need to feel some cold steel.” He was certainly a game old bird, who had seen some action, but stealth was clearly not part of his vocabulary. “I was rather thinking, Sir, it is now likely, with the speed of your vessel, that we will get back before them. I intend to lie in wait and discover their plans. I was hoping that you could inform the authorities so that we can catch them red-handed.” Colonel Lungy looked thoughtful. “I was rather hoping” he said, pointing to a boar-lance on the deck “that I would have the chance to use that on them blackguards – but I take your point. You can rely on me to organise a rear guard action.” We soon reached Walmington-On-Sea and I strolled along the pier, pretending to be a tourist, whilst Colonel Lungy went off to contact Scotland Yard. A poor little girl, who seemed lost, approached me. She was crying. Drat, I thought, that’s the last thing I need. Still, Wolferton’s code of conduct meant that I had to assist. “What’s your name, little girl?” I enquired. “Little Liz,” she sobbed “and I can’t find my mum.” “Where did you last see her?” I said – trying to be patient. “I think she went in that dark and gloomy hut there that is the perfect place for a trap.” Funny turn of phrase, I thought as I escorted her to the hut. I poked my head through the door “Are you sure she’s in here…” Suddenly it all went dark as a sack was pulled over my head. I just had time to hear Hitmouse cackling…”he fell for that, pronto!”…before a blackjack blow to my skull turned the lights out.

My Big Bang Machine

We are all extremely excited here at Homeward because on Wednesday my Big Bang Machine will be switched on. It has taken Cowgill 20 years to build it, in his spare time, far below Homeward and encircling it. He has had the assistance of a large number of dwarfs who are, of course, very skilled at digging and tunneling. The technical term for it is a Large Hadron Collider and it will smash together matter at speeds never before seen. Enough energy will be produced to recreate the conditions that existed one trillionth of a second after the big bang. 13.7 billion years after it all began we are about to go back in time. Mine is the largest particle accelerator in the world - many times the size of the little one the Europeans have built at Cern. Cowgill is hoping to glimpse exotic objects like Higgs bosons that have a profound role to play in the structure of our everyday world by giving everything mass. Thats what he says anyway. But I am a little uneasy - will the world end on Wednesday? What if this atom-smasher creates mini unstable black holes that grow exponentially and swallow up Homeward and eventually the planet? This would be extremely annoying as I have only had one holiday this year. Cowgill assures me that the chances of us producing black holes are minuscule and even if we did, they could not swallow up the earth - they would disintegrate immediately. Are we about to answer the most profound questions about the universe? Hopefully, I shall be able to tell you the results of our experiment on Wednesday - if we are all still here.

Mugged by Children

Cowgill came up with another ingenious gadget to help me retrieve the gold bullion stolen from me by the Badfort gang. A giant ballista. Yesterday we launched our attack. I was catapulted into Badfort Castle and took the villains completely by surprise. I was astounded to see in the central courtyard that they had piled up, not only my gold, but also what looked like millions and millions of dollars. Beaver and his gang were still all fast asleep so I kicked open the gates and my followers burst in. Hitmouse gave a cry and soon Beaver and his gang came streaming into battle. A furious fight ensued. Although they put up a determined resistance we were like a mighty avalanche and events had soon turned in our favour. I was about to give Beaver a mighty kick up when he suddenly shouted "Look it's Kenny Hogan!" Was this some kind of trick? I thought. What would the famous television personality and professional Irishman be doing here? Holding Beaver tight I looked around and saw the celebrity getting out of his stretch limousine with a whole gang of precocious children. He thanked us profusely for all our good work and proceeded to supervise the children whilst they loaded his car with my gold and Beaver's dollars!!! What could we say?...after all I had my image as a philanthropist to consider and Beaver could hardly complain given all his rantings about stealing from the rich to give to the poor (which we all know is nonsense). With a wave as he drove away Kenny once again thanked us for doubling the amount raised this year. Beaver and I looked at each other disconsolately. "Ever feel you have been mugged?" whispered Beaver. We both looked up at a banner over our heads...written on it in large letters were the words "Children in Need - Sponsored Fight". "Who put that there ?" Beaver and I shouted in unison. Nobody came forward but I noticed the Old Monkey was conspicuous by his absence. Oh well, I suppose it's a good cause. Beaver suggested we drown our sorrows and make a night of it so we had a bit of a party. He seems remarkably sanguine about his financial loss - he must be up to something. These truces don't last long. Donate to Children in Need here

Scurrilous Rag !

Today's Badfort News contained a libellous account of the incident at Watercress Lake last week. THE DICTATOR'S BIGGEST STEAL We have pointed out, again and again, that the Dictator of Homeward is a thief. The citizens of Badfort were peacefully laying claim to Watercress Lake when they suddenly found themselves being attacked by depth charges. The fat tyrant then deliberately sabotaged their vessel forcing Mister Hateman and Mister Hitmouse to flee. If it were not for their noble skills at swimming they would not have escaped with their lives. Uncle and his brutal followers just laughed at their predicament. I have had enough of this. The paper is a disgrace. It is always full of attacks against the people of Homeward, and against any sober, honest person or decent trader. The advertisements are also very low. Burglar outfits are offered for sale, also knuckedusters and false money. It's high time I put a stop to this. I shall call at the office of the Badfort News tomorrow, and make a complaint.

A Day of Public Rejoicing

Following our victory yesterday, I have decided that today will be a day of public rejoicing. Many presents have arrived from well-wishers. The Maquis of Wolftown has outdone himself sending a hundred trains filled with hams, lard, and cocoa. Cheapman has sent an army of a thousand badgers each carrying on his head a box of provisions. The King of the Badgers, poor as he is, sent boxes of choice dates and fruits, as well as a case containing some of his family jewellery. This I, of course, returned with a handsome gift in cash. An unknown magnate called Rosco, sent a a hundred wagon-loads of butter, and twenty kegs of first-grade water-melon pickle. I have even been given an address by the badgers containing three hundred and fourteen lines of praise. The whole castle is illuminated by millions of electric lights and high above Homeward is a monster sign 'Uncle the Victor' which flashes in red, purple and yellow. My main concern, however, is not that I am lauded for my great achievement but that the people of Homeward have a grand day. We are having a great festival banquet for all the inhabitants, and an enormous display of fireworks will end the night. There are many jugglers and singers at hand to entertain the crowds. I gave a speech. "Friends and followers, we are all assembled here today to rejoice over the defeat of a set of human skunks. We can rejoice that this castle is not under the iron thumb of a rampant despot. Now you may all disperse and enjoy the festivities but remember - be upright, pay your rent, avoid brawling and disorder, and you will find Uncle a friend and protector at all times" The cheering was deafening but, as it died down, the sound of raucous laughter and an awful musical racket could be heard coming from Badfort. I had hoped that this defeat might dampen their revolutionary ardour but, sadly, it would seem that this is not the case.

The Culprit Exposed!

It has been a strange journey through the desert plains of Goldfish Lodge. We have had to contend with the strange mirages that appear and make ones inner most desires and fears come true. For a long period Goodman believed he was the author of a number of detective stories and Noddy Ninety was convinced he was a railway magnate. At times it has become difficult to tell the difference between reality and dreams. For a moment, I believed that the collapse of the world economy had merely been a nightmare come true. The Old Monkey was able to convince me that this was not an effect of the mirage - but then my fevered imaginings led me to think that I had raised tax rates for the wealthy! As if I would do any such thing to great entrepreneurs such as myself! We have finally got to the bottom of the mystery of the disappeared rents from Goldfish Lodge, however. Following the tube, that transports the shillings to the tap in my cupboard, we finally found a breech. The coinage gushed out of it in a fountain of silver. Dancing around it, in a fit of ecstasy, was Old Whitebeard. As you know,he is detested by everybody and shunned even by the Badfort Crowd. He sang in a raucous voice - "Rich, rich beyond my wildest dreams, I have struck silver!" His detestable voice made us all feel dizzy, nauseous and depressed. There is something in the tone of it that engenders despair. "You have not discovered a silver mine, you fool!" I thundered "These are my rents from Goldfish Lodge! and you are just a common thief!" "No! it is all mine! I came prospecting in this desert and discovered this rich seam! I have laid claim to it - you can't have it!" screamed the old miser. "I am afraid, Sir, there will be no reasoning with him." said the Old Monkey. "It is the effect of the mirage. It has seized on Old Whitebeard's dreams of avarice and given him his hearts desire. Wealth beyond imagining. He is convinced that he has discovered a silver mine!" he added. "Yes," I mused "Getting rich quick, easy money - the dream that can so easily become a nightmare. When will people learn that the only way to succeed is to apply oneself to hard work - as I did, pulling myself up from lowly beginnings..." "Yes, Sir - but what are we to do?" interrupted the Old Monkey "If we try to mend the breech Old Whitebeard is bound to put up a fight." "We just need to think of something that he will find more attractive than silver - so the mirage effect will make him pursue a different desire." I suggested Then it came to me. New carts for old. Knowing that Old Whitebeard's cart was an ancient ramshackle affair I felt sure that he would not be able to resist the idea of exchanging it for a new one. "I say, old man - I'm offering £2,000 for old carts when you change up to a brand new one. Just pop along to the showroom at Lonely Tower and they'll fix you up with the latest model!" said I. A gleam came into the old misers eyes and he scuttled off, muttering "A shiny new cart - rich beyond my wildest dreams!" Cowgill effected a repair to the holed tube allowing the shillings to flow freely once more into the coffers of my Treasury. But there were piles and piles of silver coinage laying around the vicinity. "Will you and your troop of camels be able to manage this lot?" I asked Claudius. "Hail Sultan, all powerful prince, demand and we do any bidding!" he declared. "Yes, well, jolly good" I replied, somewhat abashed by this profuse show of loyalty. As we set off on our journey home I admit to a tinge of guilt. I had felt sure that Beaver and his gang had been responsible for the theft of my rents - perhaps I have misjudged them.

Christmas Caroling

Preparations are well under way for my big party tonight. Last night, we decided to do a spot of caroling with my great friends the Respectable Horses. They always look so neat and tidy, and it's wonderful to see how smooth and black their coats are. Near the throat they have a patch of white almost like a clergyman's collar, and they always have well-brushed hooves. Our caroling was in aid of a Home for Retired Horses. The Respectable Horses singing, I must admit, is really painful. Horses cannot be said to have good voices, and theirs are particularly dull and heavy. Still, they manage a few good notes now and then - and I had brought my Bass Viol which I have to say, in all modesty, I think improved the tone. We had just finished a rendition of "On a Bitter Winter's Night" when a roar of engines filled the cold night air. We were suddenly surrounded by, what appeared to be, a gang of bikers. It was Beaver and the Badfort Crowd. It would appear that not all of Cheapman's goods had been returned for they were all astride his halfpenny motorcycles. "Hi Unc - thanks for the invite. What do you think of our new motorised transport?" said Beaver. I replied that I suspected that it would just enable them to ride around terrorising the countryside even more. "That's the thanks we get for coming out on a cold winters night to help you caroling!" he replied. I felt quite sheepish - I must admit I tend to think the worst of them. They agreed to help us along with the next song, and so we began. O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us. O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us. They're green when summer days are bright; They're green when winter snow is white. O, Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your branches green delight us! at which point Beaver and his gang cut in... The people's flag is deepest red, It shrouded oft our martyr'd dead And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold, Their hearts' blood dyed its ev'ry fold. Then raise the scarlet standard high, Within its shade we'll live and die, Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, We'll keep the red flag flying here. I should have known - a leopard never changes it's spots. I can't believe I have been suckered into inviting them to my Christmas Party. For those of you who cannot make it to my party - here's a jazz version of "O Christmas Tree"

Badger King held by Twitter

Shocking news today! It appears that the King of the Badgers is being held by Twitter for 'suspicious activity'! I can only assume that this is some misunderstanding - perhaps the King's behaviour seemed odd because of an excess of royal presumption? I have news that he is presently being made to stand on a stool, whilst being interrogated by a fiercesome owl. I am sure that you join me in hoping he will soon be released. Do not worry @BadgerKing - I am bringing all my diplomatic power to bear to insure your release. I have also heard some appalling news from a Mister Harkaway - it appears that under present U.S. legislation old copies of my biography could be destroyed! Is civilisation collapsing around us?

The People's Republic of Badsea

The Badfort Crowd have moved into the Town Hall and put up a banner declaring that Homesea is now 'The Peoples Republic of Badsea". The villagers do not seem to care about the name change. Our floating village has moved further south into a region of warm breezes, blue skies and sparkling clear water. It seems to have taken on a new life as if in a dream. Everyday, cruise liners come alongside and disgorge hoards of rich tourists who pour along the cobbled streets buying trinkets from the antique shops and gorging themselves on cream teas. In between the visits of the ships the village folk just seem to be basking in the sunshine and enjoying a life of new found wealth. For the village is awash with dollars and other strange money, and the people have discovered 'retail therapy'. There is no shortage of goods for them to buy. Refrigerator ships full of food, cargo vessels filled with consumer goods - all stop by and sell their wares. Providing tax free goods for the shops, and every luxury the inhabitants can now afford. Upmarket cars fill the streets, and with oil tankers passing us daily there is no shortage of fuel for these gas guzzlers. Today, Beaver and his gang put tables, chairs and bright umbrellas outside the Town Hall and organised a parade to celebrate the 'glorious' republic. As for me - well for the first time in my life I do not know what to do with myself. I have taken legal advice - Beaver seems to have a cast iron case. I am no longer the owner of the village (I cannot bring myself to call it Badsea). When I do venture out onto the streets the villagers look away, sheepishly and clearly embarrassed at having deposed me. I am a virtual exile in my tower - there is no longer, apparently, a requirement for a rich philanthropic elephant when everyone is a millionaire. No one wishing to heed my words of caution. No desire for the paternalistic advice, the wisdom of many years of governance. In short - it seems I am redundant. Who can blame them for their actions? It must feel like they have won the lottery. But, do they understand, like myself, the terrible burden that wealth carries?, do they understand where this careless and inappropriate spending might lead them?...and what further idiocies is Beaver planning? Perhaps, as the Old Monkey keeps telling me, it is time to leave - to return to Homeward.


The village has once more come to rest on the mainland - specifically on the coast of North West Africa, the Kingdom of Tarboosh, and the inhabitants seemed none to pleased to see us. This morning, as the shore loomed nearer and nearer, we could make out the details of square white-washed houses, domed mosques and tall minarets. Crowds of people poured on to the waterfront and even at a distance I could see the excited state that they were in. Hateman was becoming more and more anxious. "What's up with this lot?...we better break out the duck bombs... it looks as if we're in for some trouble!" he shouted to his cohorts in the Badfort Crowd. "Calm down, Beaver, you'll only make matters worse if you take precipitous action, lets see if we can find out what the trouble is first." I said, trying to defuse the situation. This just made him more angry. "Listen, mate - if you remember you ain't in charge any more - I'm the boss now." he shouted. The people of Tarboosh swarmed across the beach and into the cobbled streets. They all seemed very angry, the leaders shouting strings of angry words over and over again, to which the followers replied with harsh sounds in chorus. Here and there were banners with strange curly writing and one or two in English, saying things like: 'GO HOME BAD PEOPLE." and "DOWN WITH THE HATING INVADERS!" "I think, Beaver, that there seems to have been some misunderstanding engendered by your renaming of the village as 'Badsea' and the fact you have an unfortunate surname" I explained to Beaver, who was getting more and more irate. "Well, if its a fight they want, I'll show them the might of the glorious People's Republic!" he cried. "Wait! I think I see a friendly face!" I declared - for in the crowd I had spotted none other than Cornelius the Camel, brother of my old trusted friend Claudius! "Greetings, Sultan of Sultans." said Cornelius. The camels always speak in this way - it is highly embarrassing but what can one say? I explained the misunderstanding that had occurred and asked him if it would be possible for him to assure the crowd of our good intentions. "Do not worry, Sire, the knots of discord shall be swiftly cut through!" he replied. He then jabbered away to the crowd for a bit and they suddenly looked at me in awe. "Well that seems to have done the trick - what did you say to them?" I asked Cornelius. "I merely explained that you have the brow of Solomon and are deeply versed in learning. Oh, and that you are very rich and a great patron. They beg you gather the silken tassels of their homage and request you look at some carpets, of the finest quality, that they feel sure you would wish to purchase" replied Cornelius. "Most gratifying!" I answered. This exchange sent Beaver into apoplexy. "Oi, Camel, tell em its me thats what is in charge here!" he screeched. "You are a very noisy annoying man and they are not interested in what you have to say." snorted Cornelius. The folk of the village and the folk of Tarboosh were soon exchanging goods and experiencing each others cultures. The Tarbooshi had their first experience of a traditional cream tea whilst the villagers had a go smoking hubble-bubble pipes, playing backgammon and drinking little cups of coffee. As the village basks in the heat of the desert, only Beaver seems annoyed at the change in circumstances.