Friday, 7 August 2009


Mes tres chers amis

I will be incommunicado for some days.  Tomorrow, I have to deliver Mutti, the glamorous old harridan, to her cousin's cottage in Corfe Castle, a gloomsome model village, built to scale, in an inaccessible part of Dorset, or Darzet as the locals have it.  There is no room for me in the begrimed hovel, I am relieved to report, so I shall stay for two nights at Mortons House Hotel (no apostrophe), a ludicrously self-satisfied almost-adequate on a busy road.  I see that it has been awarded the Bronze Award for Accessible Entry by the South Wales Tourist Board.  This accolade moves me to an incandescent rage.  Why should Accessible Entry be so important to the Southern Welsh?  Some people are hoity-toity, I must say.  What about the North Walians?  Do they prefer something more challenging?  And who won the Gold?  Rest assured, I shall be making careful note of how accessible I find entry on arrival.  If I find it wanting, I shall say.  Or I shall move to the Bankes Arms across the road.  The entry there is very accessible, although the exit is oft-times more difficult, particularly when one is incapable through drink, or attempting to squeeze through the huge oaken doorway whilst a stout party from the Midlands is adjusting his dress.

I hope you will wish me Godspeed and good weather.  This time last year, you will recall, I was in Antibes for a month,  the toast of Cap d'Agde and dining with the Michael Howards.  How times change!  Saturday night will find me sitting on my chaste couch, gazing at a distant vista of the Purbeck hills, a large vodka and slimline in one hand and 40mg of Flupenthixol Decanoate in the other.


  1. I think it's something to do with sheep. They have to get their sheep in and out, don't they?
    Ask Boyo, he'll know.

  2. No, that would be North Wales, surely, Ms S.? South Wales is coal and steel, Ruth Jones and Charlotte Church. I forbear to comment any further.

  3. No, we don't want to start on the slag-heaps.

  4. A chaste couch eh?
    I'm sure I've seen one of those on the antiques Roadshow!

    Have a happy visit.


  5. Summer is a cumin in today.

  6. The temptation to join you on your chaste couch would surely be irresistible to any west-country gigolo in the vicinity, Mrs P. I have no doubt that in your company he'd end up paying for everything.

  7. The Bankes Arms eh? That wouln't happen to be the Bankes Arms Hotel would it by any chance?

    If memory serves, it is a quaint auld structure situated on its own on a sharp incline near to a castle of which I cannae recall the name.

    I lost a front crown on a clam shell whilst enjoying the generous menu on offer, and spent a full week looking like I had just pulled in on the train direct fae Toxteth.

  8. Pouncr my darling, I have just looked up 40mg Flupenthixol Decanoate on Wikipedia. It is, I believe, an anti-psychotic drug.

    Antibes brings back good memories. Happy times. Such happy times.

  9. If you get stuck in a lift or whatever, de-camp to the Square & Compasses in Worth Matravers and get some Palmers of Bridport down you. Ron Combo and I know someone in the village who will entertain you.

  10. y'all are such a busy lil thang, sugar! bless your heart! xoxo

  11. I trust you will take the opportunity to motor forth to Easton in Gordano (the land of my father's fathers) and rejoice in the heartlands of the Somerset poet laureate, the late Adge Cutler - he of the lyrical Blackbird I'll 'Ave E.

    The South and North Waleian are indeed breeds apart, and the expert accent spotter (what is the title of such a creature?) should be able to spot them easily. What the BBC considers a 'Welsh' accent - and the annoying bloke in the pub - is some amalgamation of a Swansea accent and the lilting valleys speak. Blame No Good Boyo's creator. A Cardiff (Kyeerdiv) accent is a thing all of its own, and not neccessarily one of beauty one to most ears - a drinking acquaintance in one of the roughest of the city's boozers complained of being misidentified as a scouser, another was called Australian whilest sojourning in London.

    I trust you have a portable wireless with you to keep abreast of the Widow Bellamy's latest doings. The Archers, spiritual home of the actorly so-called 'West Country' accent, is an abomination to owners of the real thing - I am the proud owner of a Forest of Dean accent, and only a door post could not tell that from a Gloucester accent.

    Harrumph and haroomph!

    The Drinker.

  12. The Drinker speaks words of wisdom as ever.

    The southern brigade of the militia that is Wales considers everywhere that ends in "-set" to be terra irredenta, hence the recommendation.

    We North Welsh are less welcoming to visitors, all of whom who suspect of wanting to outstay their welcome, blaspheme their gardens with gnomes - whom we venerate as saints - and burn leaves - which we regard as a sacred act reserved only for druids and badger spirit-guides.

    Eagerly awaiting your return, Clarissa.

  13. Yes, I am home. And thank you for not caring very much. It really is beyond all reason. I say I would be away for a couple of days, and noone seems to be alarmed that I have only just returned! Have you absolutely no interest in what might have befallen your old friend? And where is Kevin Musgrove? You are all aunts.

    Scarlet, I have now been to the hotel, and can tell you that it is nothing to do with sheep. It is to do with Zimmerframes and calipers. I couldn't be angrier. My bath had haul-out handles on each side.

    Auty, at least you know how to hold your tongue, for which I am truly grateful. The whole area is beswarmed with Welsh. I went to Wareham and wish I hadn't. A male voice choir was there, on a day trip, singing their guts out on the quayside in matching jackets. I sat in the Black Bear and had a stiff one.

    Mapstew, you bring me scant comfort. I sincerely hope you weren't trying to be funny at my expense. I am sorry, but this week has driven every last vestige of humour from my very being. I have had a terrible time, as you will shortly see.

    Pat, you are pertinent. Those very words are bescrawled on the remaining walls of Reading Abbey, hard by the gaol. However, the weather in Dorset was kind, that's true. Everything else was brutal.

    Dear Gorilla, you have to be very, very careful about putting things in the ether. Upon arrival, I was pounced on by the born-again gorblimey merchant and gallery owner, Lee Vitt-Ahht. As a result, my return to the glorious Thames Valley was delayed. Mutti came home alone in high dudgeon and low spirits. My sumptuous new post will kiss 'n tell.

  14. Welcome home!
    Blogger is really playing up at the moment and things aren't updating properly - just thought I'd mention it.

  15. Jimmy, you seem to know the Bankes Arms well, which doesn't surprise me at all. However, I don't like your tone. Although I sound as if I have never left Guildford, I am Merseyside's favourite daughter and protective of places such as Toxteth, yes, and even Fazakerley. The most disreputable looking character I ever saw came from Bishops Stortford.

    Emerson, I simply can't imagine what you were doing in Antibes, unless you were a mere infant staying with an indulgent old aunt, or possibly employed as a shell-shucker at Chez Zanzan. No matter. I take Flupenthixol for fun. It is much cheaper than Tanqueray and available from all bent geriatricians, particularly those newly-arrived in this country.

  16. Dear Mr Ashley, thank you. However, I am deeply suspicious of Ron Combo, soi-disant. He claims to love and adore me, but never visits these opulent pages and spends his time manuring his tomatoes. I last visited the Square and Compasses in the summer of '87. A persuasive barman insisted I stepped outside to admire his osiers. Then a goose appeared, honking angrily. I remember little else.

    Sav, yes, I am, aren't I? And yet none of it pleases me, for some reason. I feel out of sorts; peevish. Liverish. I need a drink.

  17. pouncer, sugar, y'all are an absolute tonic this morning! thank you, honey! xoxox (welcome back!)

  18. Dear The Drinker, it is a strange thing but true: I can do all UK accents except Welsh or Geordie, for which I am deeply grateful. Imagine how dispiriting it would be for my friends and admirers if I yapped away like Shirley Bassey or, worse still, Lauren Laverne and other members of Lindisfarne. People admire my Julie Burchill, particularly when I say Bartnil (her birthplace), and oft-times imagine that Bernadette Devlin is in the room as I speak, but I once stood becalmed in a pre-fab at St Fagans whilst a coach party from Risca swarmed about me, and I knew I could never grasp their vowel-sounds no matter how hard I tried.

    Boyo, I would reply at length, but it will only spoil your appetite for my new sumptuous post. It has sprung full-formed from a message I have received from a man from Llansummat. Do not move from this spot.

    Dear Mr Trubshawe, how nice! I see that you recommend a dosage of 85cc: I call that miserly. Cheeseparing. Why not round the thing up to 90 and knock yourself out? I have a whole stack of old 'scripts from my dead dad's surgery; I will make one out for you (nominal fee, natch) if you share your hilarious Reiter's Protein story with us. Hugs xx

  19. Sav, it is enormously kind of you to say so. For myself, I feel strangely dull. I have not felt so gloomsome since the day I sat with Lady H. Mills-McCartney in a Mount Street bar. She wore an angora cardigan and I have a photograph of us together. Should I try a little light extortion, do you think?

  20. Dame Shirley has long ceased to speak her Mam tongue, but a brief youtubery has uncovered a frighteningly accurate full-on Kyerdiv, which you can see here: - I don't blame you at all if you don't want to see yere innit.

    The only local speak I have managed to pick up is:
    "Can't fault it" or "Happy days, innit" as general expressions of delight; I've won the Nobel Peace Prize, can't fault it."
    "Where you to?" Where are you?
    Valleys people speak reassuringly like Foresters, inserting do into sentences willy nilly - "I do go and pay him every week."

    I am the source of much pub fun with my extra vowels, apparently saying Foive, Noine, and Voilence.

    I love accents and they fascinate me - I'm saddened you can't do two of my favourites; nothing makes me happier than Shola Amoeba's lovely Geordie.

    And, of course, I am sure I speak for the entire blogosphere, nay, the web itself when I say how pleased I am you are back - I missed you like Dame Shirl misses Tiger Bay.

    Cwtch to ya.

    Drinker (ex)

  21. Dear the ex drinker, Iam pissed.

  22. The late and much lamented, Alan Clark M.P. was apparently much strapped on by the Brummie accent of Clare Short, another Honourable Member.

    Just thought you should know.

  23. No snub intended, dear old tart, I just couldn't think of anything Hardy enough to say.

  24. So, you Are back home!

    And thank you so much for the postcard!



  25. You could at least have popped up the road to Dorchester and graced the hallowed halls of Cafe C :-(

  26. Well. Hello Mr Retronaut. You took your time. I don't think I have forgiven you for standing me up on Maundy Thursday. I waited outside the Swan & Edgar until a passing loss adjuster took pity on me.

    Beasty, is it licensed? I wouldn't make the trip for a Vimto, you know. And I visualise a surly old drudge with a begrimed J-Cloth for some reason.

    Mapstew, you are welcome. I hope the risque nature of the illustration didn't upset the subpostmistress. I know you're not on speakers with him, but Dr Maroon is currently displaying a v. amusing post at Cape to Rio on this very subject. Do visit. Incognito if you like.

    Kev, I'm amazed! And you a Librarian! Hardy was in short supply TBH; the vibe seems to be more E.Blyton who had a house in Swanage, of all places. Not that it made any difference to my fellow visitors who were all reading Martina Cole and Katie Price's latest.

  27. Dear Madam
    Being an Englishman,I habitually take and require,as Eartha Kitt could have testified,were she still in circulation,time.
    I have never experienced any complaints thus far.
    As far as "standing you up" is concerned,I was unaware that I had done so,as I usually take considerable pains to avoid contact with those who choose to make the doorways of department stores their boudoirs.
    I suggest that were you to assume a rather more perpendicular aspect,and avoid from what you have told me would appear to be your preferred environs around Charing Cross railway station,perhaps a future encounter,however brief,might prove rather more mutually satisfying.