Well, another week of news and events which stunned us all with it’s lunacy and weirdness. From democracy gone mad to strangers trying to sidle in with the Queen, it was another cracker.
There was another apparent ‘tense stand-off’ during the State visit of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, after a Beijing based ‘spy’ allegedly tried to get into the Queens Royal carriage alongside her. Now, not only have I been brought up with the motto ‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd’ but why would a spy want to get in the carriage in the first place. I have some ideas……
To plant a bug on the Queen so the Chinese could sit in Beijing and belly laugh listening to bedtime conversations between Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Protect Xi Jinping in case the Queen made a move on him
A Chinese plan to weasel information out of her as to who would win the 4:30 Handicap Chase at Kempton.
Apparently a heated exchange took place with the Queen trying to hit the spy over the head with one’s umbrella, until security guards pointed out she was hitting Xi Jinping. Rumours that Daniel Craig intervened with a karate chop to the neck to save Ma’am have been denied,
One other significant news item was the Lords voting down George Osborne’s Tax Credit Bill. I mean……the audacity….to democratically vote the way they thought was right and then be told they’d ‘voted wrong’. So Mad Dave and Dangerous George are ‘going to sort them out’. How dare they vote against a Government who need to save 20 billion a year from now until 2064 to prevent our descendants living like street urchins on scraps and rusty nails.
George’s cuts would see 3 million British people poorer by £1,300. All the Lords appeared to be saying was ‘HAVE YOU THOUGHT THIS OUT GEORGE?’
Now, I’m not a big fan of the Lords. Full of people who’ve been given a privileged place in society based on questionable criteria. However, they are there, and are a braking system for any wild ideas the Government of the time has (I wish they’d applied the brakes when Margaret Thatcher introduced the Poll Tax 🙂 )
Given the public outcry around the cuts I think it would be wise of David Cameron and Mr Osborne to relent on chastising the Lords, stop behaving like spoiled oligrachs, and listen to people instead. 🙂
‘Pabebe’ – yes, I’d never heard of it either. The Philippines has seen the emergence of the pabebe wave. Basically you raise your hand, cup it a little, smile and Pabebe away. With the right owner and distributor it can look cute, exuding warmth, trust and love, all in one little shake of a cupped hand. As you might expect, but, unlike my blog stories 😦 , Pabebe waves have gone a bit viral with tv stars, basketball players and even Gollum getting in on the act.
Apparently it started when two television presenters Pabebe’d on their show ‘Eat Bulaga’, which fortunately is not about eating Buluga whales, but is about doing Pabebe hand wave. Eat Bulaga, apparently translates as ‘lunchtime surprise’, and there have no doubt been some in its 36 year Filipino history. A quick check on Wikipedia gives us dramatic details of the shows history, incluing 2006, where there was a row between the shows producers and the resident dance group, ‘The SexBomb Girls’ which resulted in the SexBombers leaving the show. That’s probably why I stopped watching it. 🙂
It made me think about Scottish handwaves. Despite being the friendliest nation on earth, we don’t do cute. Even our El Presidente, Nicola Sturgeon, doesn’t do cute and her wave is a bit rigid to be described as ‘cute’. Maybe she should try a bit of Pabebe to soften her image 🙂
Scots salutes I came up with are the TwoBebe, which consists of two raised fingers, mainly used by Football fans up and down the country, and the OneBebe, which uses the middle finger thrust in the upward direction. The latter is consistently used in the direction of crap drivers who insist in being in the wrong lane at roundabouts. There’s a third ScotiPabebe wave which is too rude to mention in a PEGI 15 blog 🙂
Anyway, try a bit of Pabebe this week and let me know how you get on. Send me a pic of you Pabebe’ing and I’ll post it next week on ‘Dave’s Week’ 🙂
The three people, nay two…… (one just unfollowed me 🙂 ) , who follow me on Twitter, will know, like many others, how exasperated I get about Sepp Blatter and FIFA. The 79yr old leader of World Football’s famous organisation is either starting to get a bit dottery or he’s just not that bright. ‘Old Sepp’ has allegedly now stated that Russia were always going to get the 2018 World Cup before a vote was even cast. Oh what a Ratner moment that was.
He then went on to say that the USA were going to get the 2022 World Cup right up to the last minute when a Qatari prince walked in and sprinkled fairy notes all round the room.
Now…….I always thought FIFA had two main objectives. To host a World Cup every four years and promote football throughout the world especially in poor regions. I think for years and years this probably was the case. I’m not sure when it started to go wrong (How long’s Sepp been in charge? 🙂 ) but, in recent times, it’s went AWOL in a giant car crash type of way.
You see, for some people, trappings and wealth, get in the way of sensible thought and pabebe waving. Seven course champagne receptions, flying around the world to exotic locations, meeting princes instead of paupers. Given the choice of an all expenses trip to Qatar, five star hotel, more champagne, canapes and beautiful women, versus a trip to give football strips to some little kids in Ebola stricken Liberia, you can see how an organisations roots and aims can be ‘misplaced’.
“The FIFA code of ethics plainly prohibits such gifts. Football officials may not offer or accept gifts that have more than ‘symbolic or trivial value’ ”
Given the above, it was embarrassing that the Brazilian Football Federation gave 60 watches to FIFA officials at the 2010 World Cup as a ‘thank you’. What was even worse, they accepted them. There was an outcry, and they had to be told (presumably by Sepp in the Naughty Corner at FIFA headquarters 🙂 ) to give them back.
Now, given Ronaldinho learnt his tricks barefoot on Copacabana beach, youngsters from the slums in Brazil might not need football boots and kit, but, buying £16,000 watches for FIFADOM officials doesn’t seem a great way to spend sponsors money.
Roll on 2015, and Sepp is denying any bribes took place during the process of awarding the next two world cups to two of the richest nations on earth. One, who had illegally snatched some major countryside from its neighbour and the the other, one of the hottest countries on Earth, where football players will melt in front of our eyes. Knowing our luck, the latter competition in Qatar, will be the one we gingers will qualify for 🙂
Sepp and his silly sidekick Michel Platini, are now also embroiled in ‘Platini-gate’. Way back when Sepp was just a boy. circa early 2000’s, allegedly the bold Michel did ‘some work’ for Sepp as a ‘consultant’. Both Platini and Blatter obviously had the same memory lapse, as Michel was never paid for all his time and brilliant consulting…….until 11 years later, when the now UEFA President Platini was paid £1.3 million, just before Blatter was seeking re-election as FIFA’s president. Even better, allegedly this small payment to Michel didn’t warrant going through FiFA’s books!!
Now, all these alleged anomalies are hidden behind rumours and smokescreens. Who knows what really goes on. Even forgetting about the other FIFA officials who are now being investigated, i think there’s enough information for us all to agree Blatter and Platini should give us all a Pabebe wave (hiding their watches) take their Armani suits and bugger off. Return football to it’s grass root officials, the supporters of Sunday Amateur teams right through to the the Champions League and beyond. Maybe then the little Liberian boys will get a chance to be the new Ronaldo, with FIFA’s raison d’etre backing them.
Until next time ( inserts ickle Pabebe wave here 🙂 )
Well, that was a week wasn’t it. All seven weird wacky days of it. We had grown men in the shape of Rugby Union referee, Craig Joubert, running like a big wet pansy off the pitch, after awarding Australia a ‘non-penalty’ in the dying minutes of last weekends Quarter final of the 2015 World Cup.
We had the visit of the Chinese Leader, Xi Jinping, and his wife, Peng, who’s a well known folk singer in the Chinese state apartment block. They met David Cameron, the Queen and Jeremy Corbyn. If only they’d added Chris Eubank and a Dalek to that list, they’d have had the full gamete of British life. 😎
With Christmas fast approaching, both the Chinese premier and the Queen set the trends for gift ideas to the British public, with Xi Jinping receiving recordings of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and the Queen receiving two of Xi Jinping’s wife, Peng’s, folk cd’s. These will surely top Drones and Call of Duty BlackOps 3 for the XBox at the top of the Xmas gift charts!
China is growing at such a fast rate, the average population height will be five foot eight inches tall by 2050. Xi also told us it was not China’s fault that steel prices had fallen to the point where many steel plants in the UK were being forced to announce plant closures or redundancies.
When quizzed on the matter Xi Jinping stated……..
“I want to answer the steel question. The world is seeing an oversupply [of steel] following the financial crisis. China also has overcapacity,” he said. “We have taken a series of steps [to remedy this]. We have cut 700m tonnes of production capacity. You can imagine the task of finding jobs for those workers.”
700 MILLION TONNES!!!! Jinping……what on earth were you doing mate? That’s enough steel to build a bridge to bloody Mars man! I think he was exaggerating as the New Statesman quoted annual production as ‘1.6 billion tonnes’ with China supplying around half. What Jinping didn’t say was, as China’s own economy slows, it’s State subsidised steel has flooded global markets slashing prices to the point where again the New Statesman quotes
“In July, it was reported that steel was cheaper per tonne than cabbage”
Now, I’m not a steel commodities expert, but, ‘cheaper per tonne than cabbage’ sounds cheap to me. So far there has been no news of cabbage growers across Europe jumping from steel bridges. That’ll probably be next week.
David Cameron also touched on Cybersecurity. In the week that Talk Talk’s security systems had been breached by a 12 year old Russian boy using a Raspberry Pi, it was topical that Dave the Rave should broach the subject. He stated “the cyber agreement is a first step towards wider potential security cooperation between China and the UK, in which each country will agree not to condone or conduct spying on each other’s intellectual property and confidential corporate information.”
Dave……c’mon…..China and Copying are almost anagrams in a bad edition of Countdown! Apart from fireworks and terracotta soldiers, which were definitely invented by the chinese, it has spent the last 50 years copying everything from jeans to i-pads to space rockets. If they stop stealing data from the West they’ll be growing only cabbage within ten years. Then the price of cabbage on the commodity markets will plunge below steel, UK cabbage growers will be out in the streets and it’ll all go belly up once more.
I mentioned Chris Eubank earlier. Younger readers won’t know who he is, but he’s famous for his lisp, and owning a big motherf***er truck. He also did a bit of boxing and likes dressing a bit dapper of a day. I don’t know him personally, but he’s always been nothing but entertaining. Well, having not heard of him for a while, he popped into the news this week, with the announcement, that, to avoid confusion with his boxing son, Chris Eubank Jr, he wants to be called ‘English’, in deference to his Dad, who’s nickname it was. I was going to say ‘We love you English’ but as a Scot………. 🙂
The news that ruined some people’s weekend, was the World Health Organisation’s announcement that eating processed meats increases your chances of colorectal cancer by 18%. The fact I was eating a bacon roll at the time added to my misery, resulting in a Heimlich manoeuvre of tectonic proportions. I had to eat a sausage roll and beans to calm me down!!
The thing is, the risk of you getting colorectal cancer is still low. Are you going to avoid bacon for the rest of your life? A quick flick through this website http://www.benbest.com/lifeext/causes.html suggests 2% of us will cop it due to cancer of the colon which is less than those dying from the flu……get that feckin grill on, a bacon sarnie beckons 🙂
The BBC website announced that ‘character bento’ was trending. Character bento i hear you ask?…..what’s that? Well, you know how you go to a restaurant and ‘you want to see a nice plate of food Johnny’. In Japan apparently they’ve taken ‘a nice plate of food’ just a wee bit too far.
I’ve never been to Japan, but have heard from friends who’ve been there, about ‘bento boxes’. People working there, returned to tell me they had tried Japanese bento boxes but found them ‘disgusting’. Full of cold things and slime. Luckily, they were supplied with ‘European Bento boxes’ I thought this would consist of a cold sausage roll, a packet of Cheese crisps and a Mars bar with a little bottle of red cola. However, it simply consisted of more cold stuff and less slime.
But, the entrepreneurial Japanese, have come up with this……….
Yes, Bento box food with cute little faces on. Apparently it started in a karaoke bar in Tokyo when some young Tokyo-ites got off their face on saki. Things have never looked back! The Bento boxes taste exactly the same, but at least you have something nice to look at whilst you hunt for a McDonalds 🙂 you can read more here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-34610320
My week I hear you ask…..:-) Well. I did more boring things than you can shake a stick at. Hunted for red squirrels as we’ve had our first ever visitor to our garden. I spent some time writing a 3000 word story called ‘Luke’s Escape’ as part of The Village Gossip series.
I had Sandra, star of #Gogglebox follow me ( I should point out she does follow a lot of people 🙂 ). I also sketched a woodpecker and tweeted away merrily all week. I really should get out more 🙂
Luke Gabriel stumbled through the undergrowth, still dressed in nothing but a doctors coat, trousers, and his now muddy shoes. He’d been fumbling about for an hour or so now, not sure where he was, nor whether he was running in the right direction. He was also hungry. Despite being a doctor himself, hospital food and he did not agree, and hunger pangs were now a prevailing ailment trumping wet feet and the darkness. He had to get back to LochTae, find the farmer who knew what was causing half the village to start itching, then have their skin turn bright pink.
He heard a noise…….an engine………lights…..he could see lights………he scrambled towards the source……..at last……at last he’d found a road and civilisation. He sprinted through the trees. He was just about there, when a tree root came between him and the touchline. He was probably not even as ungainly looking as the sack of potatoes he went down like. As he lay there in yet more mud….his potential good samaritan drove on, oblivious to Luke’s unplanned woodland floor tour.
On a slightly different mission, but nonetheless just as dangerous, Janet crept through the wood adjacent to her magical little cottage. She’d managed to escape from the village pub, clattering an unknown casualty in the process, but, was now nearly home. She was sure the soldiers would either not know her cottage existed, or they’d have searched, found nothing, and moved on. Assuming her theory was correct, she’d be back, safe and well, with enough food and fuel to see her through this dreadful episode. It was going to be a bit nerve-wracking, as the rest of the family were off visiting relatives in England but she’d be brave. Janet was now wishing she’d gone with them.
She arrived at the back gate, pulled the latch, and moved towards the back door. She’d picked up a thick branch on the way through the woods, just in case. She had just reached into her pocket for the key when she heard the noise………..she froze……..her Tai Chi classes were meant for moments like this…..she slid behind the wheelie bin.
Calm Janet calm……now deep breaths……it could be a fox, badger, deer, the fairies from the bottom of the garden…..it could be anything……but it wasn’t……..a human sized shadow carrying a torch, appeared round the side of the house, towards where Janet hid, Tai Chi’d beyond frozen, her heart was now dancing to a unstrictly come dancing beat as the intruder reached the cottage door…..
Janet launched herself from behind the wheelie bin….
She whacked the intruder on the back of the head, and down he went like Luis Saurez of a Saturday afternoon.
She grabbed the torch……and shone it in the now distinctly groggy assailants face……
There, lying at her feet was Barry. The villages one man Territorial Army expert. He groaned, creaking open one eye.
‘What did you do that for?’
‘Oh I’m sorry Barry. I didn’t know it was you. What are you creeping around here for anyway?’
Barry, now rubbing the back of his now throbbing skull, slowly stood up.
‘Let’s get inside……….you won’t believe what I’m going to tell you’
Luke estimated he’d been walking along the road for at least half an hour, when another vehicle came into view. The bright headlights blinded him, but he was desperate, so he leapt out into the road, and waved frantically. The car screeched to a halt, managing just enough momentum to lift Luke up onto the bonnet.
‘Jesus buddy. wad’ya doin jumpin about in the dark. This is Scotland, you people don’t behave like this. This….. is also a hire car…. one dent and I’ll sue your ass!!’
‘I’m sorry…..I need your help…..let me explain….’
ten minutes later…………
‘So buddy……you’re telling me that one day into your new job, having left your OCD psycho girlfriend, you were arrested, taken to an isolation ward, probed, prodded and jagged, only to be helped to escape by a nurse who ‘couldn’t resist your blue sparkling eyes’. You then spend half the night diving in mud in a doctors outfit only to jump in front of my car at 2 a.m. and all because of some pink men who stole some sheep!!! Look son……or should i say ‘Luke son’, geddit Luke son…. ‘
Luke feigned a smile.
‘Ok buddy. I’m not sure what medication you’re on, but just in case even half of what you’re sayin is true, I gotta get u somewhere, even if it’s just to one your mental institutions…..Look, you’ll need to get in the back with the girls. They both do karate, so I’d sit still if i were you……I’ve got a shirt in the boot that might fit you and some deodorant…….’
A can of IrnBru and some XL crisps later, they set of with Luke adorned with clean socks and a somewhat tight but clean dry shirt. He was already feeling a great deal better.
‘Okay, I’m Bob, this is my wife Lisa, and guarding you are FT and the one that’s snoring loudly, is Giovanna. We’re from Franklin, Maryland. This is our second visit to Scotland. You have a beautiful country. Last time we were here we stoopidly decided to meet up with some Scots we met through Twitter. Sheesh…..some real doozies. Would never do that again! So this time, we didn’t tell them we were coming, we hired a car and we’re off to explore the Heelands……’
‘Well, my name is Luke, I’m a doctor and no matter how bizarre the story I’ve told you may sound, it’s all true. I need to find the farmer who knows the truth behind the villagers turning pink, get him to tell the authorities, and the whole saga will be over. Hopefully, I can then return to my job, get some peace, tranquility and live a normal village life’
Bob swerved as a car hammered round the corner in the opposite direction nearly careering into them.
‘Jesus man, what’s got into this place? Last time it was fat guys running away from fireworks, haggis n’ neeps, shopping in Edinbro. Now it’s mad doctors, pink men and psycho drivers….’
Despite nearly taking Bob’s car out on the bend, Lolo kept her foot down on the pedal. She had seen the hospital where Luke was being kept on the news. She’d found him at last. Even if he did have a deadly disease, she’d ask to die with him. That would be special. Together to the end.
‘What do you mean they’re Russian?!’exclaimed Janet
‘I’m telling you. I overheard some of them. One minute they’re talking English better than you or I, the next it’s ‘Niet Niet Nietski’
‘but Barry, how could, what, 50 or so Russian troops, arrive here in LochTae unopposed, at the same time as an unknown virus strikes down the village…..it’s impossible!’
‘I’m telling you. We HAVE to phone the authorities and warn them’
Dawn arrived over LochTae and the Village Pub BootCamp was stirring.
‘I hope this is all over soon Ginny. Even surrounded by lots of young fit Rugby players, even I’m getting a bit bored of all this’
‘Never thought I’d here those words coming from your lips Gill’ 🙂
‘Well, since the telly in the pub’s gone bonkers, I can’t even watch the Cardiff game tonight, and, it’s really weird that they’ve confiscated everyones smartphones. Something about stopping the press invading our privacy while the Army sort everything out’
‘I hope Janet’s alright? That was brave of her making a break for it. I wonder where she is?’
‘The phone’s dead’
‘Dead?…….that’s strange………I know you’re in the middle of the woods, but do you normally have problems with your phone?’
‘Nope…..Barry……I do not……I’m starting to think you’re theory might not be as barkingly mad as I thought. I’m not sure how we prove it, and, if it is true, what we do about it?’
‘Well, I plan to take them out one by one…..ping ping ping’
‘Barry! this is getting way out of control. You don’t even know whether you heard them speaking Russian or not. Could you have misheard them?’
‘Okay. It could have been Gaelic, Welsh or Liverpudlian for all I know. I just thought I heard one of them say “Niet” ‘
‘So, based on that, you’re going to load up your snipers rifle and take them out one by one?’
‘Well……..maybe we should double check then’
‘I think maybe we should Barry. I’m not sure what the penalty would be for shooting 50 Scottish soldiers by mistake, but I don’t think you’d be allowed on any more TA training courses……I have a plan which might prove whether you’re right or not…..’
Lolo strode past the front desk towards the lift. At last she’d have the chance to prove to Luke how much she loved him. Minutes later she was outside the isolation ward. Damn! It was keycoded. She rolled her fingers to whiteness. However, it wasn’t long before a nurse emerged from the other side. Lolo barged past her……
‘Excuse me…you’re not supposed to….’
Her words evaporated in the air, as Lolo homed in on her prey………nay…boyfriend (also now known as ex-fiancee 🙂 ) It wasn’t long before she located a room with five males……
‘Stop her, you can’t enter….’
Too late was the cry. Lolo barged past another nurse and burst into the ward….
‘Luke Gabriel…..where is he!!????’
‘I’m afraid you missed him, he escaped last evening’
‘But…..he has to be here he HAS to be….you’re lying!!’
She never had a chance to find out whether they were lying or not, as four suited up staff grabbed her from behind. She turned and lashed out, pulling the mask from one of her assailants. No one could hear what the muffled hospital staff were saying, but it was evident panic had set in as the clearly bonkers woman ladled into them. It was only when another group of staff appeared, that Lolo was finally taken down and restrained.
‘Dr Ratcliffe and Jones looked through the window at the young woman now restrained in an isolation room bed’
‘Who is she?’
‘She’s the girlfriend of Luke Gabriel, the Doctor chap who escaped yesterday. Not much else known about her at the moment. Police are checking her background. She managed to expose three of the staff to the air in the isolation room. We now have fourteen villagers and five staff in isolation. At this rate we’ll all be in there soon’
‘Perhaps not Dr Jones. My initial tests show no pathogen is present in the patients. Also the female staff from the village Doctors surgery, despite being exposed, show no symptoms at all. It’s more like an auto-immune response to some external factor like a chemical or an irritant of some sort. Perhaps you’d keep that to yourself to enable me to do more checks but, at this moment, an endemic pathogen is not on my list of culprits’
Luke peered down at Lochtae. Bob and his family had not only given him a rather tight fitting, but waterproof jacket to go with the tight fitting shirt they’d lent him earlier, they’d also donated a pair of binoculars. Giovanna, who’d snored through most of the trip, had finally woken and had stared scarily at Luke reluctantly handing over her bottle of Irn Bru. Luke had promised them he’d look them up on Twitter once it was all over and pay them back.
He could see vehicles moving around, but that was about it. He was too far away. He looked round the valley. There was a large wood down to the left which might give him enough cover to get close enough. Hopefully, if he wasn’t shot in the process, he’d find someone in command, and tell him the truth about the ‘contagion’. He’d wait until dark and set off towards the woods.
‘So, you’re going to borrow the megaphone from the Village Hall and shout in Russian “the British Army are here!” That’s your plan?’
‘Well, it’s better than your plan to ‘shoot on sight’ for goodness sake. If they understand what I say, and start panicking, then your theory is correct’
‘….and i can start shooting them??’
‘Oh Barry, you are not right of the head…..no, we escape and let the authorities deal with them’
‘What if they take everyone in the pub hostage?’
‘Oh Barry!!! You’re theory is bonkers…..downright bonkers…..I don’t know why I’m even thinking about doing this. There will be a simple explanation as to why some villagers turned pink, and, as we originally thought, these are simply Scottish soldiers carrying out their duties. A Russian invasion in the middle of Scotland! You’re incorrigible sometimes….!’
Meanwhile, in the Doctors surgery just along from the pub……..
‘Okay. Everything looking quiet in the village?’
‘Yes Captain. Everything is fine. The rugby boys are already in full swing and it’s only lunchtime’
‘Any more patients?’
‘No Sir, nothing at all.’
‘We must move quickly then…………..’
At around 11pm Luke finally reached the edge of the woods. The extent of his stealth training was a few paintball sessions whilst at Medical School, and watching Bear Grylis stalking prey on tv. He listened. Nothing. He crept from tree to tree, sometimes waiting minutes before moving on. As he lay on the moss floor of the forest, he contemplated the madness of not just this week, but the previous mayhem of long hours as a medical student and junior doctor, followed by the madness of Lolo. Why couldn’t he have copied his brother, got a job in the City, made his money and retired to Florida by the age of 30. He wondered where Lolo……Laura, was. Probably stalking some other junior doctor and making lists. He almost smiled. It was just then he heard a click and opened his eyes to find himself staring down the barrel of a gun……………
Last Sunday, Rugby Union referee, Craig Joubert, ensured Scotland was never going to be a future holiday destination when he did the most dastardly thing ever in the whole of Earth’s existence, awarding a penalty against Scotland in the dying seconds of their Rugby World Cup Quarter final against Australia. Three points later, fearing he may be asked to eat haggis, our ‘brave’ Craig became the fastest South African since Oscar Pistorius, running off the pitch at about the same speed as David Cameron caught outside a Glasgow pub by some Partick Thistle Ultras 🙂
What Braveheart Joubert didn’t realise, was he had just added to the trail of sporting self destruction which has trailed Scotland like an evil little puppy that won’t go stop following you. This time, despite the fact the actual reason Joubert ended up the bad guy, was actually a daft decision by Scotland at the preceding lineout to throw long, which resulted in the whole saga unfolding and we Scots being sent homeward tae think again.
That last statement tugs on our tartan heartstrings. Once again we were within seconds of doing something special. An underdog ripping off it’s fluffy coat to reveal tartan superheroes, leading us out of the sporting wilderness into oval ball shaped nirvana.
Ha I say! Ha!
Having lived long enough to see so many similar events happen, I just knew it was never going be. The ball was never going to be caught by the lineout. The forwards were never going to form a scrum, hold the ball in and grind forward for 90 seconds, then kick the ball out, finally beating Australia, waking up the next day in the Semi finals of the rugby world Cup. It was destined never to be. You see, we have a history. A sporting history so mindboggingly unlucky there must be questions asked whether it’s genetic or there really is ‘someone upstairs’.
Why am i saying this?
Well, you see, I’m old enough to remember a few other ‘special moments’ in Scottish sporting history. Special moments that have scarred my sporting soul. My first proper memory is the 1974 World Cup. Different shaped ball, same horrible ending. We were drawn in a group with World Cup holders Brazil, Yugoslavia and Zaire. We started off playing a country who, (and no disrespect here) I didn’t know even played football. We pummelled them 2-0 :-), followed by 0-0 against the Yugs, leaving us to get something against Brazil to go through. Despite drawing 0-0 against the reigning World Champions, we went out because Brazil had scored just one more goal against Zaire. Yugoslavia rubbed haggis in our face by scoring nine….YES…NINE foofing goals.
…….and that was it we were out…..
Four years later we were off to win the World Cup in South America with Ally’s Army. Peru, Iran, and the only decent team in the group *sic Holland, stood between us and the Final 🙂 It soon became obvious that Ally hadn’t watched any videos of any South American team, but our goalkeepers hairdo was nice. Peru guubed as 3-1 in hte opening game and we’ll skip over the next game against iran for psychiatirc purposes ( Iran 1 Scotland 1) 😦
After the opening farces, the game was up. We had to face the mighty Oranje. We were out. Or were we????
I remember Scotland going down 1-0 to a penalty, but, wind on to the 68th minute ,and one of the finest goals ever seen in any game by Archie Gemmill saw Scotland lead 3-1, One goal away from making it through the group stages with 22 minutes to go. For a whole 4 minutes we were thinking the unthinkable. Scotland could do it, We were going to beat a decent team after making a cods of it……..hten……….BANG!!! a REP screamer from 800 yards out. 3-2 Holland. We were OUT again 😦
I was too young to realise there was a pattern emerging. But, wait, everyone told me Scotland had once beaten World Champions England 3-2, playing them off the park in a meaningless friendly just a year after they’d scudded the Germans at Wembley to be the best on the world (not a lot of Scots know that 🙂 )
It was only a matter of time. We were good, we just didn’t know it. We could and would do it at some point…………….
Hail 1982, we played and won against New Zealand (5-2) and lost to Brazil (1-4) and needed a result against Russia to go through. We almost looked as if we would do it until Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen went tor the same high ball on the half way line and Hadron collided with each another. As they lay splayed out on the turf, a Russian collected the ball, run all the way up the pitch and in on goal and put us to the claymore once again. In an instant replay of previous ignominies, we had created our own downfall once again.
By the time the 1986 World Cup came along I was already starting to have conspiracy thoughts. Someone or something was deliberately knobbling us. By the laws of probability we were due a rub of the green, a lucky rabbits paw etc. After all nearly everyone has a little bit of good luck at some stage. This time our luck was in. We needed a win against Uruguay, and, In the first minute of our final group game against Uruguay, our lottery ticket came in. Uruguay had a player sent off. We were now playing TEN men for 89 minutes. Easy peasy lemon squeezy……………89 minutes later i sat in disbelief. They’d kicked us off the park, they’d hacked at us, gouged our eyes, pulled, prodded and pushed us. We didn’t score. We didn’t win and the plucky losers getting sent homeward malarcky tae think again was becoming slightly boring.
Returning for a second to the oval ball, In 1990 i got up at the crack of dawn, to watch us lead the All Blacks 18-12 at half time in Auckland. We were going to beat them for the first time ever and, it would be on their own soil! The hairs on the back of my neck stood up with pride. But somehow, our grip on hte game ebbed away, white line syndrome was endemic. With 10 minutes to go, once again we capitulated losing 21-18.
Fast forward to 2001. 2-0 up against 10 man Belgium we were on our way to the Euro 2002 finals……..somehow we managed to throw it all away losing two goals including a 90+ minute Belgian equaliser.
you could go on and on……..missed penalties vs England at Wembley, last minute goals vs Poland two weeks ago, all culminating in a last minute penalty awarded by Craig Joubert against Australia on Sunday.
So, stop running Mr Joubert. It wasn’t your fault. You see, we’re Scottish. Cut us open and we’re full of words like ‘plucky, gutsy, unlucky’. Probability and luck are things other countries get. Don’t feel sorry for us though, we’ll still be singing our heart out, waiting for our luck to turn. Unlucky, but still proud to be Scottish but unfortunately, sitting at home watching. 🙂
Intro……. i work full time (not that my workmates would say that 🙂 ) so, it’s sometimes hard to find time to write stories. However, making people smile or even laugh is just a great thing to do. The world’s full of serious stuff so I’m doing my little bit to buffer you, the reader, from all that bad stuff. Even if it’s just for a moment………
……..the idea for ‘Crane – The Voyage Of Ineptitude’ just popped into my head one day. I’d been brought up on Isaac Asimov, HG Wells, The HitchHIker’s Guide, Red Dwarf, Dr Who, Star Trek, UFO, Star Wars etc. etc. I remember laughing my head off at a film called Dark Star, a comedy film about 3 astronauts, it was hilarious. I’ve also played sci-fi games for years, Halo, Gears Of War and even Ratchet and Clank 🙂 Crane’s story is probably a mish mash off all of the above.
There’s also a bit of me in him. We all want to be hero’s and I like to try and be funny with it ( friends would say otherwise). So..Crane is captain of the 20th ship to leave Earth, Arkadia 2, as part of a vague exploratory group. He has, on paper, the most useless crew, who like nothing more than to play pranks all day long. Crane’s father was Captain of Arkadia 1, something happened to him and we’ll learn more about that later on when i’ve worked out what it is 🙂
We also have some Vorisians, Bloorp, RedUrzuBird, Alien Xarth and Exar. They have been on Earth being evaluated for 5 years and are being returned to Planet Voris as they never spoke one word…..until now 🙂
Crane’s journey will lead him to find out what happened to his father and what the purpose of the fleet is. On the way, we might have some fun as well 🙂
if you haven’t read them, here are some links to the previous three episodes – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments, suggestions or just want to chat or you can follow me on Twitter @qosfc1919
The Arkadia 2 sat in the Perinski nebulae with a rather irate Captain Crane on the bridge.
‘Look, you lot! You may think to land on the wrong planet ‘just for a bit of fun’ hilariously funny, but to do it twice in a week is just being really rotten.
*sniggers from the crew*
‘I know we’re here to “boldly go where no man has gone before”, never mind some Vorisians, but, we have a mission. This is seriously serious stuff……..’
*more sniggers from the crew*
‘I’m not sure you’re taking this seriously. Whoever, swapped StarMap version 3.6 to the power 83 for version 2 running on Windows 3.1, is in need of serious help’
‘Laugh as you may. As of now, I’m appointing Bloorp as second in command and Medical Chief, Exar as head of weapons and strategy, and Alien Xarth as Navigator’
‘Yes………….indeedy…….we’re not laughing as much now, are we?’
‘Captain Crane, we are within 500 parsecks of Taupu’
‘Thank you Xarth. Put us into orbit, hope we’re in the right place this time, scan the surface as best we can, and land hopefully on a planet littered with tropical islands, white beaches and inhabitants worthy of being interviewed for a new crew’ 🙂
‘Bloorp, Exar……my quarters in 5 minutes’
A few UniFolds* away
*UniFold – along with a note apologising for the Big Bang, space explorers had found instructions on dark matter and folding space. This enabled modern ships (or in Crane’s case modern’ish’ 🙂 ) to travel quickly through space and, for me, the author of this nonsense, to get Crane to some planets quickly enough before he died of old age. 🙂
‘Get this ship ready!! NOW!! or i’ll have you all court martialled. Crane could ruin everything. We have to find him………and……if needs must……..’
‘Yes Commodore Higgins. The only thing I’d like to mention is the Vexus has never been tested. The blueprint you gave us was way beyond anything we’d worked with before. It’s taken our scientists and engineers ten years to get to this stage. We expected to start trials in a years time, not this weekend’
‘Get the Vexus flightworthy. I’ll get some help to speed things up – you just make it happen……or I’ll find someone who CAN make it happen….understood?’
Commodore Higgins turned to look out at the Atlantic Spaceport. He’d underestimated Crane and those pesky Vorisians. The task had seemed simple. Crane would be given a crew so useless, they’d be lucky to fly a kite, never mind Arkadia 2. However, once the ‘mute’ aliens had started speaking and giving Crane help, they’d managed to do the impossible and get the rustbucket ready. The task then looked simple. Set up an innocent meeting, kill Crane using the ‘well……the Armataks did it……routine, retrieve Crane’s fathers glix** from onboard and carry on with the plan. If, by chance, Crane discovered the hidden material on the glix, he might discover the truth. Although the chance was minute, Higgins could not risk it. He would find Crane, and, just like he’d done to his father, kill him……
**Glix – a one molecule thick material, produced at vast pressures and temperatures, which , even at room temperature, could hold vast amounts of information. Normally held within a magnetic field, if the owner decided to ‘hide’ their glix, the only way to find them was using a glix scanner, which was really just an adapted Google Nexus 8500 with a pointy thing on the end.
Arkadia 2 hung in orbit around the planet Taupu. Crane, wasn’t sure what had drawn him to land here. There were other Earth like planets nearby but, for some strange reason, this particular one had drawn him in like an Astarian Sucker plant**.
**Astarian Sucker plant – an innocuous looking plant like a large daisy, which could suddenly open up, swallow a person whole, dissolve him or her and regurgitate them as a 5cm block of carbon.
‘There are some areas we can’t scan properly, however, it’s atmosphere is much like Earth. There, do appear to be structures, therefore, signs of life. No major cities or indications of technology though’
‘Thanks Bloorp. Ok Xarth, take us down to that large green area over there. Green, usually means nice’
……..and with that scientific based logic…..Xarth fired up the drives and aimed Arkadia 2 towards the ‘green area’.
An hour later Arkadia 2 lay in a flat open area in the middle of a lush colourful mismash of giant plants, flowers and forest.
‘Exar, Bloorp, Fittipaldi, Mansell and Button….meet at the airlock. We’ll have a look round, see if we can find anything interesting, some fresh supplies of anything edible and hopefully, some Neutronium**
It did strike Crane for the first time that his crew all seemed to be named after formula one drivers from the 20th Century racing drivers. He dismissed his daft notion.
**Neutronium – elementally sounding material needed for the Treon engines of Arkadia
The airlock door creaked its way open, and, as was normal with the bits of the Arkadia 2 that Bloorp and Co hadn’t had time to fix yet, it stuck half way. They squeezed out into bright sunshine. Crane sucked in the fresh air. Wow. There was nothing like a bit of nitrogen and oxygen on a sunny day, even if it was quite a few light years away from home.
None of it was visible, but there was certainly some wildlife nearby. Crane could hear chittering, chattering and clicking from all around them. He was glad Bloorp and Exar were with them. It had suddenly dawned on him he was no longer in the predictable safe world of Earth. This was new, the unknown, an adventure. Every time fear started crawling out of the metalwork, he thought of his father, in who’s footsteps he was following. He’d ventured into space with much poorer technology than his son found himself with, and, to his knowledge, he’d never been scared once.
‘Captain Crane, there is a life sign 2 clicks ahead’
‘Thank you Bloorp. Ok. Weapons at the ready just in case…..let’s have a look’
Although ‘armed to the teeth’ would be an over exaggeration, this mini squad from Arkadia 2 had enough firepower to deal with most known beasties in the galaxy. However, to Crane’s knowledge no human had set foot on this planet. His grip on the Harkness 4 Black Hole Transformer** tightened.
**Harkness 4 Black Hole Transformer – weapon invented by Davie Harkness in a small scottish laboratory. A scientist who’d been working on trying to record the sounds midges make when biting humans using lasers and a table top version of the Google Hadron collider when a tiny black hole formed and took the top of his left pinkie. Now refined, the Harkness 4 scanned its target, opened up a black hole large enough to suck the said target through, transferring them through time and space to a car park just outside Sainsbury’s in Leamington Spa.
Not surprisingly, the three aptly named crew members were up front in pole position, pushing their way through the multicoloured lush foliage.
Crane jolted and gave one of those startled bug eyed looks when something you didn’t expect to happen, happened. Fittipaldi was now no longer attached by gravity to the ground. He was now dangling some 20 feet up in the air with a green vine coiled around his left ankle and another green vine heading for his right arm.
In less time than it takes a Mercean Marauder to maraud, Exar had sliced the plants tendrils, albeit forgetting to think about the gravitational consequences of Fittipaldi not been attached to an alien plants tendril.
Boomph…! Our little Italian joker wasn’t laughing now as he came to a crunching landing on the ground. However, at least he hadn’t been dragged off to tendril hell to discover what ever the scary tendrils had had in mind for him. One thing was for sure. This beautiful looking planet had some surprises.
‘Ok mental note number one team. Anything bright red, that looks a bit tendrilly, steer clear…….or……….make sure it’s Fittipaldi that’s nearest it’ 🙂
Fittipaldi harrumphed, rubbing his now sore bottom.
The team pushed on, now more alert than a Thorean Nightbird at mating time.
‘There is an opening ahead Mr Crane. I believe our lifeform is to be found there’
‘Ok, everyone quiet’
They crept forward and peered through the undergrowth.
The sight that met them wasn’t on the top ten list of ‘things the crew of the Arkadia 2 thought they would find when they peered through the undergrowth’
Sitting on its own was a bright yellow furry cuddly looking ball of eeksy weeksy cute joy eating what appeared to be coal. Oblivious to the voyeurs nearby, it happily munched away on its black rock equivalent of a Big Mac.
‘well, he doesn’t look dangerous’ whispered Crane.
Then, out of the corner of his eye he spotted Button and Mansell heading towards it.
Crane’s cry was too late. The cute little furball stopped and turned towards them. It threw the coal to the side, stood up and said ‘ickle’. Then it screamed at the top of it’s voice and ran like a blur towards the two stupidest crew members Crane had, apart from the rest of the stupid crew he aldo had.
Within seconds the yellow ball of cuteness, albeit with a blackened coaldusty face, reached Button. It was so quick you couldn’t quite make out where it was. One thing for sure it had already managed to bring Button to the ground, and who now appeared to be……………laughing. In fact laughing hsyterically.
‘What’s going on Mansell?’
‘It’s………….tickling him Captain………it appears to be ticking him’
‘ok pull it off him and let’s get our little yellow chap under control’
Mansell stepped forward to help Button.
‘……..I can’t grab it, it’s moving so fast……. at this rate Button will be tickled to death!’
Crane, rolled his eyes. Their first encounter with an unknown species and it turns out to be a coal eating yellow furball of cuteness that tickles it’s prey to death. Just as he was about to implement Plan B of the ‘Rescue Jenson Button from a Tiny Furry Coal Eating Tickling Thing’, Crane heard a noise…..
He turned away from the laughing carnage to his left, and looked round. There, in multi-coloured reality, were 20+ more of the little blighters. Looking like a tellytubby flashmob, they ran towards Carne and Co. Within seconds Crane had 3 of the little buggers around him. As long as they didn’t tickle him under his armpi……….
Crane writhed on the ground in a ball of wriggling laughter. It wasn’t long before he’d reached that stage where it moves from being just funny ha ha tickling to not being able to breathe properly and getting just a teensy weensy bit bloody annoying. If he’d been able to look round, he’d have seen, Button, Fittipaldi and Mansell all in a similar position to himself. However, Bloorp, despite having several Ticklers around him, appeared immune and slight embarrassed by the whole escapade. Exar, likewise, floated above the scene unable to obtain a clear shot to rescue his human friends.
Bloorp, for once was stumped. Despite being able to recite Pi to 40,000 decimal places, he was struggling to work out how to stop tiny multicoloured furballs tickling four humans to death right in front of his viewer. He was just about to take a gamble and shoot at Button when he heard an almighty roar.
Suddenly the Ticklers stopped tickling. They froze like cute cuddly things playing statues. Everyone looked towards the noise. Then the ground shook followed by another blood curdling roar. As a 100 foot pink plant that sort of looked like a tree but wasn’t, crashed to the ground, the source of all the roaring, stomping and plant throwing became clear. Now standing on main stage as the main act of the eventful afternoon was something very very large, like a giant hairy bull……………with SNARLING TEETH!
Even Bloorp wished he’d worn his Nike trainers as, Ticklers, humans and Vorisians about heeled and fled. Crane blundered through the undergrowth like Usain Bolt wearing lead lined trainers. He kept himself going with the thought that he was certainly faster than the slightly rotund Button. He would certainly be the first to be caught and eaten in a Button-like smorgasbord frenzy.
The Arkadia 2 had just come into view. He could see Exar, Bloorp and the Ticklers up ahead. He had just clocked Fittipaldi and Mansell to his right when he heard Button scream. Crane stopped and turned. The ‘RazorBull’ as Crane had just nicknamed it, had caught up with Jenson Button and was now drooling above him. Crane, watched as Bloorp and the Tellytubby flashmob entered the airlock of Arkadia 2. He turned back. He was the Captain. Right enough, the captain of the worst crew in the galaxy, but he was still their captain. He was also his father’s son. If one of his crew was going to die, he wouldn’t die with nobody there to save him. Crane started running.
Crane had started the attempted rescue by using a plan he’d seen in many a film, where the hero distracts the monster by shouting ‘HEY’ and waving his arms about. Shaking, he took his Harkness 4 Black Hole Transformer from his belt and aimed it at the RazorBull. He was about to pull the trigger when it dawned on him Button was so close to the drooling razor sharp teeth baring snarling maniac, he might end up sending him to the Tescos car park in Leamington Spa as well. A fate he could not gift to anyone lightly. Instead, he took his Berit laser gun from his hip pocket, shot the RazorBull in the bottom and ran. Unfortunately, his plan worked. The RazorBull lost interest in the Button appetiser, and was now after the main course. Crane a l’orange.
He knew he wasn’t going to lose it, but, running in a straight line seemed to be the only obvious plan open a this particular moment in time. If he could get it a reasonable distance away he might get another chance to use the Harkness 4 and Leamington Spa, here it would come. That reasonably lovely thought was still with him when the ground gave way beneath his feet. He rolled, tumbled and rolled some more. It was as he was rolling and tumbling he heard the sound. Drowning out the sound of the ponderous RazorBull clinking it’s knife and fork, was the sound of……water……roaring water. Crane grabbed the blue stem of a large yellow flower. He had no time to dwell on its beauty, nor the symmetry of it’s bright red stamens. It broke in his hand. Now he and the large yellow flower with blue stem and beautiful stamens were sliding in symmetry towards their doom. (Well not the poor flower as Crane had already ruined its afternoon) 🙂
If Crane had been able to scan the situation from above, he would have known the Razorbull had stopped as it wasn’t stupid enough to tumble down a steep slope , fall off a 1000 feet cliff and drown in the tempest below. But he couldn’t and he didn’t. The RazorBull growled and smiled at the same time as Crane fell off the edge to his doom………as he fell, he remembered his fathers words……
‘Saving yourself is easy, sacrificing yourself to save the life of another is the most difficult choice someone can make…….he closed his eyes…..’
‘One degree off and we’ll hit the waterfall Bloorp!’
‘We have no choice……..programming is complete, wave your hand on the holokey NOW!’
The Arkadia 2 sped across the water at lightning speed. Crane was an orange flashing dot on the the 3D holo viewer. Even Bloorp knew this would be close. As Crane continued to plummet he was blissfully unaware of the spaceship which was turning beneath him, that Exar and Xarth had opened a ducting chamber on the roof of the ship which Mr Tumpkins had filled with plant leaves to cushion his fall.
‘Now, BRAKE AND TURN!’
Arkadia 2 creaked and groaned as it was forced to do a manoeuvre which wasn’t on it’s top ten list of manouveres it would have chosen to do that sunny afternoon.
Crane plunged through the hole at speed, got buffeted a few times, but eventually came to a halt surrounded by fluffy green leaves.
‘We have him! Brakes off, accelerate 45 degree lift NOW!’
The Arkadia 2 graoned some more, narrowly missing the top of the waterfall to safety simultaneously unclenching some buttocks in the control room.
Jenson Button looked at John Crane in a new light. No longer was his main aim in life to play practical jokes on him day in day out. He had just saved his life.
‘Thank you Captain Crane……… what you did for me there………I’ll…….I’ll never forget it’
‘Don’t be silly, I would have never left you……after all. We have other worlds to see and get this lot back to Voris.’
The crew cringed ever so slightly as Button stepped forward and hugged the Captain.
‘Anyway, I need to thank all of you for risking your own lives to save me. What a brilliant manoeuvre! Bravo to you all!………..between that RazorBull thing and those flipping Ticklers, what a start to our adventure!. I take it you managed to ditch our furball friends?’
‘Not quite Mr Crane. I’m afraid RedUrzuBird gave them coal flavoured ice cream to calm them down and now they’re all in sick bay unwell – On top of that, we’ve located an electronic signal to the north of the planet which i think you should see…..’
‘A signal……..what type of signal?’
‘Exar’s been working on decoding it………..I think he’s ready to put it up on the holoviewer’
The green hue of the hologram lit the room. A shape formed then disappeared. When it re-appeared, Crane’s jaw dropped. There, three feet away in front of him in 3D was his father………….’
Film and Writing Festival for Comedy. Showcasing best of comedy short films at the FEEDBACK Film Festival. Plus, showcasing best of comedy novels, short stories, poems, screenplays (TV, short, feature) at the festival performed by professional actors.