Chapter 4 The Village Gossip ‘Luke’s Escape’

The Village Gossip
The Village Gossip

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…… 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… 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….

‘Hoyyyyyyy Yaaahhhhh!!!’

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…’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’ πŸ™‚

‘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’

‘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 πŸ™‚ ) 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…, 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……………

Episode 4 ‘Luke’s Escape’ was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 Β©Dodo Productions 2015 – if you like my stories you can email me at


Crane – Intergalactic Hero – The Voyage of Ineptitude – Episode IV – The Planet Taupu

Intro……. i work full time (not that my workmates would say that πŸ™‚ ) 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

if you haven’t read them, here are some links to the previous three episodes – email me at if you have any comments, suggestions or just want to chat or you can follow me on Twitter @qosfc1919

hope u enjoy reading πŸ™‚

Episode 1 Bloorp and the Camouflage Door

Episode 2 Getting Ready

Episode 3 Blast Off

exploring other planets
exploring other planets

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’ πŸ™‚

*crew mutters*

‘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’ πŸ™‚ ) 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. πŸ™‚

‘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?’

‘Yes Commodore.’

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.

Emmerson Fittipaldi
Emmerson Fittipaldi

**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.

‘Heeeellllp me!’

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’ πŸ™‚

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……….

‘Hee, heee, hooooo, nnooooo, NOOOOooooooooo, hee, ha STOP it, STOP it, hee……….’

tellytubby flashmob
tellytubby flashmob

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.

‘Hey, HEY…..HEY…….’

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) πŸ™‚

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.


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………….’


Episode 4 ‘Crane – The Voyage of Ineptitude – The Planet Taupu’ was brought to you by David Linden and Dodo Productions Β© 2015 follow me on Twitter @qosfc1919

Pell Of The Selgovae – Chapter 4 – The Black Hawk

It was hard to believe that over a thousand years hence, the place where six Roman soldiers found themselves stuck in mud trapped by a large bear, would eventually become a large Tescos site just off the M6 near Carlisle………..

‘Excuse me, you can’t park there, it’s a parent and child spot…….!!’


‘What is it?’

‘Someone’s nicked me kids…..!’

‘But…… only just drove in to the space’

‘Oh well, must have left them at home… piss off!’

Fort Lugulovia nr Tescos just off the M6 @ Carlisle
Fort Lugulovia nr Tescos just off the M6 @ Carlisle

Back in 82AD, Tirious Fearsus, Lactos Tolrant and the others stared at the bear.

‘Well, I think it’s come to that time my friends…..’

‘What time is that Tirious?’

‘The time Romulus, when one of us has to take one for the team…’

‘What do you mean ‘take one for the team?’

‘As in the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’ (see that didn’t appear first in Star Trek…Spock stole it from Tirious Fearsus πŸ™‚ )

Sam wriggled uncomfortably in the mud. Not only because he could see where this was going, he was also uncomfortable from having spent eight hours stuck in a bog with a large bear waiting to eat him. It also annoyed him immensely, that, despite being from a fine Roman family, instead of Romulus Romulus or Sunnius Tannas or even Tirious Fearsus, his lazy parents had called him Sam. Not Sammius Sammus or Sambuko Sampdoria, just Sam.

‘So, in that last sentence ‘needs of the few’, who’s the few?’

‘Well Sam, life teaches us many things. Things like ‘women and children first’ and ‘tomatoes didn’t exist in 84AD’. Unfortunately, we don’t have any women and children, but you’re the closest. Therefore, I vote, you distract the bear, thus saving five of us in return for losing just one of us’

‘Run that past me again. You’re hinting that as I’m the youngest, i should make a break for it, risking my life to save you lot. What criteria are we basing this stastistical problem on?’

‘You’re the youngest, fittest, bravest, most intelligent……….and, most of all, you’re the fastest of all of us.’

‘I would also like to point out, I am the youngest….and……….and……… Gran back in Rome thinks I’m ‘special’ ‘

‘Ok….we should have a vote….all those in favour of Sam distracting the bear while we escape, live our lives fully, eventually dying of natural causes in our forties, raise their hand………………………. ok, that’s unanimous – five votes for and one against’

‘Exsqueeze me. I might be the youngest but I’m not daft. If i tell you that it was Tirious Furious who drank the last of the red wine and tried to blame it on one of the local peasants………….how about a revote?’

‘Yooouuu stole the wine???’

‘Look, it was a momentary lapse whilst under enormous stress’

‘Enormous stress!!! It was the one and only night you had to do the cooking as Herbius was sick!’

‘Exactly……..and I’m no cook’

‘Well, we found that out πŸ™‚ ‘

‘Okay okay……i made a mistake. One solitary mistake. Hang me for it for Caesars sake! ok we’ll have another vote. All those in favour of Sam, who ate the last of the bacon last weekend, saving our lives…….’

‘Sam…… ate the bacon, even though you’d eaten two plates of milky oats, a trout and a slab of beef the size of Romulus’s head?’

‘okay, over some bacon i will die to save you. Tell my Mother and Father I hate them for not giving me a proper Roman name and dressing me up in girls clothes……….’

The bear growled…………

Sitting upon his black stallion he watched, hidden by foliage and the fact the Romans were too preoccupied with deciding who would be the sacrificial lamb. He lit the torch………


The Black Hawk, fiery torch in hand, pulled on the reigns and drove his hoven beast towards the bear………………

THe Black Hawk's Black Hawk :-)
The Black Hawk’s Black Hawk πŸ™‚


Pell was soaking wet. He’d climbed the Grey Mares Tail, and, was now traversing the narrow ledge behind the waterfall. As the falls cascaded behind him, he finally reached the cave entrance. The Elders of the village, usually while under the influence of beer, spoke of The Wise One, a magician of sorts. Legend had it, he sat in this cave conjuring monsters from pockets of air and making trinkets to sell to travellers. Pell crept foward into the darkness. There was no sign of any life here.
Dark, damp, and really really smelly. It couldn’t possibly be the home of someone so powerful and wise. Something slimey dropped from the roof onto Pells face.


Several other things happened to Pell in the dark, dreary, damp, dingy cave and, I would normally use at least another two paragraphs, nay, three, to create the atmosphere of a young warrior hunting for a Wise Man in a cave, but my dinner is ready……so….Pell reached the end of the black dark cave.
He pulled a bag of sprokle* from his pocket…….

sprokle* a fungus which glows in the dark

As his eyes adjusted to the sprokle’s glow, he could now see the cave was much larger than he’d thought. Stalagtites, stalagmites, little weird beetles, relatives of the sprokle he held in his hand and……..


………and………someone in the cave right beside him………

‘It’s ok Pell, it’s me!’

‘Arla, in Estrella the Night God’s* name!’

*Estrella the Night God – made that up. I don’t know who they would have worshipped at the time, and, Jesus, who had just been nobbled by the Romans, they might not have known about mainly due to the slowness of the world wide web in 82AD.

‘You followed me……I told you to stay at Hightops and watch for Lyan and Raich’s return’

‘They’re back safe and well. Scared the Golden Ones to death and left them stuck in a bog watched over by the biggest bear they’d ever seen :-)’

‘What was that!?’

‘What was what Pell?’

‘That rumbling noise’

‘I can’t…….’

Suddenly the floor beneath their feet started to vibrate…..


It was too late. The cave floor in front of them disappeared downwards, leaving an unjumpable chasm between them and the way out…….


Even large black bears were scared of fire and even more scared of someone riding towards them shouting ‘YAAArgghhh’. It growled and ambled off into the woods.

*cliche warning*

‘…..and so, who do we have here?’

‘Thank you for saving us, we’ve been stuck here for hours…..’

‘You’re not saved yet….I leave…..the bear comes back… get my drift’

‘But that would be really evil’


Hissing was The Black Hawks speciality. He was also a natural at evil guffawing and laughing sarcastically.

‘Yessssssssss, it would be particularly evil. I am not called The Black Hawk for nothing’

‘Is it because of that long crooked beak of yours??’

‘NO, you fools, it’s because I am EVIL and mainly because of the black hawk that’s sitting upon my shoulder!’

‘but, there’s nothing sitting on your shoulder’

‘Shoosh Sam! You’ll have us killed’

‘He must have snuck off for something to eat. Let’s hope he finds something or he may return and choose something else for his main course. He particularly likes Roman eyessssssss’

The bogged down Romans looked at each other. Their ‘saviour’ was turning out to be worse than the bear.

‘Who are you and where are you headed?’

‘We are Roman soldiers from the Fort of Lugulavio. We are on a mission north to engage the Celtic savages’

‘…and dessspite having weapons, armour and six of you….you managed to let a single bear beat you’

‘Well, it was a BIG bear and there were other things going on at the time’

‘Like what?’

‘Well, fiery things, ghouls, ghosts and devils in the trees…..’

‘Devilssss in the treessss you say’

‘Yes…..north of here there are forests containing demons, monsters and magic’

‘Are there now…..jusssst the very thing I’m looking for…..I will help you out…..provided you give me two gold Roman coins each’

‘TWO coins each…but…..!’

‘I hear the bear……..’

‘Okay okay…..’

Just then a black hawk landed on The Black Hawks shoulder. He drew a snearing smile’


Within seconds a small bag landed in front of The Black Hawks stallion. He threw them a rope and within a few minutes some rather muddy Romans stood befuddled as to what to do next.

‘Thank you’

‘Do not thank me. I am unthankable. I gathered your horses. I may have a use for you Romansssss’

The Black Hawk knew that hissing and adding extra hissing esses to words was a stereotypically evil character thing to do, but it worked. He’s tried using extra d’s when using the word ‘dead’ but it didn’t work as well. He’d stick to esses for now.

‘Ssssso, your plan was to travel north, engage these Celts in the Magic Forest of Demons, and, I presssummme, kill them?’

‘Well…….our General….Claudius Nimbus…’

‘Not….thee Claudius Nimbus, who attacked his own Roman Army after his legion got lost in fog…. not THAT Claudius Nimbus’

‘See……even he’s heard of him!’

‘Shoosh Sam….!’

‘Yes. that’s him. He doesn’t believe us that there are untold horrors to the North. We have to find, capture and take back something to Lugulavio’

‘Well……I think you should continue your journey……I will be keepng an eye on you’

With that, The Black Hawk wheeled his black stallion and was off into the mist’

‘Did you notice that hawk of his had poohed on his shoulder……’ πŸ™‚

Tirious Fearsus, for the first time that day, laughed.

‘Right, so, death awaits us if we return with nothing, possible death awaits us at the hands of monsters and demons to the North, and, we now have an evil psycho with a black hawk that’s has a penchant for Roman soldiers eyes, who’s keeping an eye on us. Oh joy. It gets better by the moinute. Let’s get a move on’


Pell and Arla stood in the sprokle light staring at the hole.

‘Great. what were the chances of that! Been sitting happily as a cave floor for thousands of years and today of all days… decides to disappear………………unless……’

‘Unless what Pell….unless what…….?’

Arla was now scared and clinging on to Pell’s arm.

‘Unless someone built this as some sort of defence mechanism to keep people out’

‘But we’re on the wrong side of ‘out’ Pell?

‘Yes, that’s true’

‘what’s that over there in the corner’

Pell turned.

‘Can’t make it out. Hold the sprokle up higher’

They moved closer. Suddenly Arla screamed.

A skeleton lay long dead in the corner. Slumped and sad.

‘Ah……we’re definitely on the wrong side of ‘out’ Arla, we definitely are….’

‘Oh Pell….. what if this is it. This is where we die together……..hold me……I don’t want to die alone’

Pell put his arms around her. They’d never been this close. He gazed at her sprokle lit face. She was beautiful. From the first minute he’d met Arla, he knew there was a spark between them. Bright, beautiful and brave, she gave him butterflies in his stomach. They drew closer. For the first time his awkwardness and fear of the opposite sex had diminished. They drew closer still. Arla closed her eyes…….. Pell closed his…….. their first kiss was about to happen……..

……….when the rope ladder clonked Pell on the head………!


Pell, unclenched himself from Arla with a mixed sense of relief and disappointment. He looked up.

‘LOOK, up there, there’s a light!’

Arla, who’s face still bore the look of bitter disappointment, looked up. There was indeed a light and a ladder leading up to it. If only whoever’d dropped it had done it two minutes earlier, she’d have been even happier.

‘Well, I suppose we should give it a go. Looks like someone lives here after all’

After a bit of a struggle with the rope ladder, they both stood at the entrance to a long stone walled corridor. There were no flaming torches nor sprokle, yet there was light. They started walking, and walking and did some more walking until, eventually arriving at a wooden door which carried a sign saying ‘DO NOT DISTURB!’

Pell knocked at the door.

‘CAN’T YOU READ THE SIGN!’ bellowed a voice behind the door.

‘I’m sorry’ said Pell in a slightly embarrassed tone. ‘We need help’

‘The door opened’

‘I know you need help. That’s why you’re here isn’t it………Pell’

‘How I know your name is not important……you are in grave danger…… is your young lady friend here……Arla…isn’t it?’


If he did succeed in finding Ethrid The Wise One, Pell had expected an old wrinkled man with white hair with a crooked back and smelling of dead sprokle. Instead, the man that stood before him had long fair hair and looked the same age as Tarlo, Pell’s father.

‘We are fending off the Gold Ones even without the Elders from the tribe. They know nothing of what we do. But more are coming. I know we may need more than swiftness, brains and bravery if they return with more soldiers. That’s why we tried to find you’

‘I’m afraid, it’s not the ‘Gold Ones’ as you call them you need to fear. No, there are many darker forces out there looking for both of you than those stupid Romans. One is only two days horseride from here. He aims to hunt you down and kill you………….both’

‘Who knows us and why would they want to kill us?’

‘You are both more special than you know…….and he? He is…….. The Black Hawk…………..’

Pell Of the Selgovae Chapter 4 – ‘The Black Hawk’ was written by David Linden. you can follow me on Twitter @qosfc1919 Β© Dodo Productions 2015

@Radio6Music – The Cashline Dancer

Driving home from work the other night, I was listening to Radio 6 Music. They wanted listeners to email in their ‘dance floor disasters’. By the time I got home I’d forgotten all about it until this morning…………

I hope the person who I’m going to write about doesn’t mind. If he ever does read it he’ll know its him πŸ™‚

We had some workmates over from one of our companies other sites, and a group of us had decided to go out for a few drinks in the town centre. If i remember rightly we met up in a Wetherspoons, had a couple of drinks and headed up the High St. As we were walking past a bank, one of our visiting group from the North East (let’s call him Jim) stopped and said he he needed some money from the cashline. We walked slowly on up towards Menzies. As we reached the Steeple I stopped.

dangerous cash machine!
dangerous cash machine!

‘Where’s Jim?’

We all turned to find him hobbling along with a limp. We thought he was kidding on.

‘C’mon you silly old fart….run!!!’

After a few seconds it became clear he wasn’t having us on. Something had happened.

‘What happened?’

‘Well, I took the money from the machine. Turned my head. Saw you’d walked quite a distance and decided to turn and skip into a slow jog. As i turned I tweaked my right calf muscle’

‘Tweaked your right calf muscle! You look as if you’ve been ten rounds with Mike Tyson! We only left you for a second. Christ!’

One of the girls who wasa bit more sympathetic suggested we change our plans and go somewhere where Jim could sit down’

‘I’m fine…… Jumpin Jacks here we come!’

‘Are you sure Jim. A dance club isn’t probably top of your to-do list at the moment’

‘It’s ok. I did it once before. I’ll be fine’

So we trundled on with limping Jim, contemplating just how easy it was to hurt yourself.

We eventually ended up at the club, and, after parting with our hard earned cash, we were in. It wasn’t long before some of the group drifted on to the dance floor. I found myself standing with one of my mates just watching a cornucopia of dance moves, ranging from standing still waving ones arms to a couple of John Travolta Saturday Night Fever types.
It was then i spotted Jim. Our limping star and one of our other Strictly Come Dancing stars had somehow managed to persuade two pretty girls to get up on the stage. Jim seemed to be managing reasonably well with his torn calf muscle, although he was listing to one side a bit.

Eventually the girls decided a third dance with our two Fred astaires was pushing it and left them standing dancing with thin air. They looked around in a ‘we’re not really bothered if no one wants to dance with us but we are really’ πŸ™‚ Eventually they gave up and started down the steps from the main stage down to the lower dance floor.

Jim as John Travolta :-)
Jim as John Travolta πŸ™‚

Suddenly, Jim was sprawling on the floor having taken two dancers with him. His compatriot went to help him up but was beaten to it by two burly bouncers who grabbed Jim by the lapels and hoisted him up the steps. Theres was a commotion, waving arms and the last we saw of them was Jim and his sidekick being escorted off the premises. By the time we got outside they’d gone. There was no sign of either of them.

On Monday morning, work beckoned. It wasn’t long before Jim arrived, still limping.

‘Hey Jimbo, didn’t realise you’d had that much to drink. Not exactly the best way to finish the evening getting booted out by the bouncers’

‘I wasn’t drunk. My calf gave way as we were walking down the stairs. With no handrail, that was it, down I went and took two dancers out on the way’

‘Jeezo Jim. Really wasn’t your night’

‘Is your leg ok?’

He lifted his trouser leg……

‘OMG Jim, christ…!’

He really had ruptured his calf. His entire calf was almost black!!

‘I did something similar 20 years ago. It’ll be fine’

Then he lifted the sleeve of his shirt.

It wasn’t quite as bad but it was also black and blue.

‘My shoulders got something similar too. When i fell off the steps I banged myself good and proper.

‘God Jim. The thing is….you’re up here to work a couple of days on a product trial. When you head home tonight, how on earth are you going to explain to your wife what happened to you!?’

I never did find out what story he came up with, and I didn’t send his story to Radio 6 music but let Jims travails remind you to be aware of dangerous cashline machines and dodgy calf muscles……… πŸ™‚

@Radio6Music – The Cashline Dancer was written by David Linden. You can find me on Twitter @qosfc1919 Β© Dodo Productions 2015

The Village Gossip Chapter 2 ‘Itchy Pink Men’

‘So when did the itching start?

‘This morning…’s driving me nuts. Can you give me some cream or something?’

‘Callum isn’t it?………..Well…Callum….we need to figure out what might be causing it and we’ll take it from there…….have you come into contact with anything unusual? Chemicals….changed toiletries…..members of the opposite sex……?’

‘What do you mean……arrgghh….please make it stop!!’

‘Well, your Mum….Anne, she mentioned a Roberta Snodgrass……’

‘She……what!!!……I’ll kill her!!’

‘I don’t think we need to go as far as that…..well?’

‘NO i’ve never been near Roberta Snodgrass……. well…there was that snog at the school disco’

‘Ah… when was this………ahem……..snog?’

‘Ten years ago….. I’d be about 7 years old’

‘Ah, it’s not that then……let’s have a closer look…….you’re skin does seem to be a bit pink……..’


Meanwhile the ‘ladies who do’ had met for their weekly social gossip (sorry WRI meeting πŸ™‚ ) in the Black Bull pub…………

‘Oh Ginny, Gill, Mary…..Jan…… terms of good looking doctors we have hit the jackpot dearies. He’s like a damson pudding followed by an ice cold G&T of a Sunday afternoon……..he’s gourgioso……..!!’

‘Well……I’d swap my MBE for a dashing young doctor’

‘Steady Gill…..what’s in that Moscow Mule? πŸ™‚ ‘

‘Well, Ginny……in the 30 years we’ve been having our WRI meetings in the Black Bull, we’ve talked about bad doctors, rude doctors, nice doctors….but never a 6 foot two, handsome packet of lush’

‘I hope if i dare to give him a peck on the cheek, he turns into my prince, and i can whisk him of to my magical fairy cottage in the woods, where we will live for ever and ever amongst the faeries and flowers’

‘Oh….Jan……if only………i’m sure he would love that little thatched cottage in the forest. You have such a beautiful garden…..’

‘….and faeries at the bottom of it……don’t forget the faeries!’

‘I’m sure he’d love the fairies too…..only one problem…….’

‘What’s that……don’t tell me he doesn’t believe in them……please don’t’

‘No…….the only problem is there’s a queue for our Luke Gabriel…….a queue that’s getting longer by the minute…….may the battle commence……..’

*giggles from round the table*

‘Changing the subject….did you hear that Callum Robertson has been cavorting with that Roberta Snodgrass!’

‘What do you mean……..cavorting?’ Camilla

‘Well………when we met the gorgeously dreamlike Dr Gabriel earlier, Callum came running round the corner shouting and yittered on about an itch. Ended up being his first patient. His mother was affronted. That’s what happens with the youth of today. You’d never have seen it in our day. Disgusting!’

‘But……what about all those Navy officers you’re always meeting in Portsmouth every time your Randall is back in port???’

‘That’s different Gill, very different……..have another Moscow Mule and let’s change the subject shall we……?’

*More giggles……*


‘Well…….I can categorically say young man…I’ve never seen anything like this before. Are you sure you haven’t done anything unusual lately? I mean, your whole arm is bright pink, and, if I’m not mistaken it’s spreading to your face’

‘My FACE!!!’

‘I hope it’s not contagious…….’

‘What do you mean….contagious??’

‘Well, if it is…..I might be bright pink as well tomorrow…..I think we’ll try you with some anti inflammatories and see how you are in the morning. You don’t seem to have any other symptoms, so we’ll go with that just now. Don’t hesitate to call me if things change’

Just then there was a knock at the door. It was Callums mum, receptionist Anne.

‘sorry to bother you Doctor Gabriel, and, I know you don’t officially start until tomorrow, but there’s another patient here to see you. Is Callum okay?’

‘Yes, Anne, take him home, get him an early night and we’ll check him again tomorrow’

As Anne curled her arm (or attempted to) around Callum, a burly man strode through the door.

‘Hi, I’m Luke Gabriel…..and who do we have here?’

‘Hello Doctor, I’m Joseph Connolly, I own Barrhead farm, just up the road’

‘Well, Mr Connolly, it must be urgent to drag you away from your beasts on a Sunday. What seems to be the problem?’

‘Well, I woke up this morning with a really itchy arm…………..’


Five hundred miles away, Luke’s ex fiancee, Laura, stared at her laptop. Photo after photo of Luke popped up on Windows viewer. Followed by pictures of her and Luke together. She’d photoshopped out his friends. She wanted him for herself and couldn’t believe he’d disappeared. leaving behind only a solitary note……….

Luke's note
Luke’s note

He didn’t mean what he’d said. The list of his friends he’d found in her bag with some of the names stroked out was just a silly thing. She hadn’t really forced them away. Well. maybe one or two. After all, Luke was hers. It wasn’t right that Karl robbed them of time together to play squash and cricket. It wasn’t right. It was their time……… It was peculiar that, despite asking everyone, no one at the hospital knew where Luke had gone. Even his friends knew nothing. She hoped he was okay. Perhaps he’d had a breakdown or something. She would find him and make him love her. They were meant to be together and no one else would have him………


At The Fallows, Miss Pearson was getting dressed to take Princess, her little Chihuahua out for a walk, when she was startled by something jumping on to the windowsill. Hortense the hen, not for the first time, stood and stared at her. Despite the fact it was only a chicken, there was something about its staring eyes that made her feel uncomfortable. She banged on the window and shooed it away.


She finished getting dressed, and headed down the hallway. It was a lovely day. Perhaps she would bump in to Cis….. oops……she laughed……she meant the Reverend….on her walk. That would be a fine thing to happen.


Roberta Snodgrass was not a happy bunny. She stormed up the path and thumped on the front door. How dare he accuse her of doing such things. She’d give him a right thumping.

Anne opened the door……


‘I don’t think there’s any need to shout my dear…. who’s ‘he’ ? ‘


‘He’s not that well at the moment, he’s up in hi………’

Anne didn’t get time to finish her sentence. Roberta burst past her and up the stairs.


There was some thumping, some banging and then a scream…………

Roberta came running down the stairs with a look of terror on her face….


She almost clattered Anne and ran down the path just as quickly as she’d come up it.

Anne rushed up the stairs. What had she done to Callum? His door was wide open.

There stood Callum staring ahead. Anne took a step backwards, her hand automatically cupped her mouth.

‘Oh Callum…….what on earth?’

From head to toe Callum was bright pink. Bright shocking PINK!


The next morning Luke headed off early for his first day at his new job. He’s parked the unusual probability of having two people with severe itching in the surgery on the same day, and, Roberta Snodgrass couldn’t be blamed for every illness in the village. The sun was shining, the Morgan was purring, and psycho Laura was a thing of the past. Life was good…………until he saw the huge queue in front of the surgery.

It looked like half the village was there. As he drew closer, he saw, it was almost an entire regiment of women, apart from two very uncomfortably sheepish looking old men at the back of the queue.

He parked up and headed for the entrance. As ‘morning Doctor Gabriel’ after ‘morning Doctor Gabriel’ emanated towards him, each attached to a grinning smile and doughy eyes, he could feel a slight blush coming on. He doffed his salubrious quiff of fine hair in their direction, which was met with either a sigh, a blush, or eyelids being lowered.

Lucy, the morning receptionist met him at the door.

‘What’s all this Lucy?’

‘I’ve never seen it like this Dr Gabriel. Normally, on a Monday morning, we have two pensioners and someone who wants you to check out their pet hamster! Can I get you a coffee or tea before you start?’

‘No, I’d better get on or we’ll be here until midnight…’

Lucy smiled.

‘Oh……and before I forget. Anne took Callum to the hospital last night……and Mrs Connolly left a message to say her husbands been taken in as well……..spookily they’re in the same isolation Ward’

‘Iso…..lation ward’

‘I’m sure that’s what they said’

By lunchtime Luke was exhausted……..

‘I can’t believe it Lucy, only lunchtime and I’ve had at least three women faint and another two men with severe itching. I came here for peace and quiet, not swooning women and pink itchy men’

‘I’m sure it’ll settle down Dr Gabriel. It’s normally the most peaceful place on God’s earth’

Suddenly there was the sound of engines roaring outside. Luke peered out the window. Army lorries. Three of them followed by two police cars with blue flashing lights. They drove straight in to the surgery car park.

‘What on earth?’

Luke and Lucy stepped outside. The door of the first Army lorry opened and out stepped a fully armed rather large soldier. Within seconds troops and police were everywhere.

‘Dr Gabriel?’

‘Yes….that’s me’

‘Did you come in to contact with a Callum Robertson and a Mister Joseph Connolly’

‘Yes, they both turned up at the surgery yesterday…..and todays my fir….’

‘I’m sorry Doctor, but I’m afraid you and your assistant will have to come with us. The village is now in lockdown, nothing is to move in or out. You and your assistant here will be transferred to the isolation unit at our military research base’

Two ‘people’ in white suits and masks appeared from the back of the lorry. Sprayed Luke with a spray like thing and carted him off……

Episode 2 of The Village Gossip ‘Pink Itchy Men’ was brought to you by David Linden – you can follow me on Twitter @qosfc1919 Β© Dodo Productions 2015

The Village Gossip

The Village Gossip

‘I can’t believe anyone would do this!’

‘Well, they have…..50 of my prize sheep, including my prize ram Pedro….rustled in one night. Can’t really believe it myself. Never mind, chances of catching them are pretty good’


‘How’s that Dad, no clues. They’ll be long gone by now’

‘well…you see son…….I was approached by the local Agricultural college to test something new. It’s a harmless spray to sheep but once on human skin, within 48hrs it apparently causes really bad itching for a couple of days. then turns their skin bright pink. I think there’s a good chance we’ll find them, or at least the police will.

In the meantime, there was mucho excitement down in the village. It had been known for months that Dr Matthews, the village doctor, was nearing retirement. What wasn’t so clear, was, who would replace him. Unlike in the past, the Village Council had not been involved in vetting the new incumbent. Nerves were fraught. The head of the Council, Camilla Tarquin-Knowles, who’s family owned a 3 storey Georgian House on the outskirts of the village, was forthright in her views……

‘He or she has a lot to live up to if they are even to come close to filling Dr Matthews’ shoes. I mean, the last one they sent when Dr Matthews was on holiday, he couldn’t even speak the english language!’

‘You mean Dr McTaggart from Thurso?’

‘Yes, I mean that red haired, hirsute, rude, mad highlander. I could not understand one syllable he came out with. Just a bag of indecipherable noise. I’ve just had a horrible thought, what if he’s applied and got the job permanently. Oh, i feel faint…….get me a seat, a cushion and some sparkling water’

‘Well, our new doctor is due to arrive at the surgery an about an hours time. So, we’ll find out one way or another.’


At the local pub, temperatures were also rising. It was customary whenever the pub door opened, the entire congregation turned to view, vet, comment on, then forget the incoming act. On this occasion, however, the next act on stage was Ginny, the horsey lady from Ginnys’ equestrian centre. As she strode in wearing her usual, higher than the average leather riding boots and the tightest jodhpurs on Planet Earth, she could induce a man to sweat before she’d even come into view.
Old Tom and Bill, retired local farmers, looked up from sipping their beer. As Ginny clip clopped her way to the bar, the years seem to drop from Tom and Bills’ old eyes as they hypnotically followed Ginnys’ jodhpurs to the bar.

‘Hi everyone, how are we all on this sunshiney day today?

She turned deliberately round towards Tom and Bill, giving her thigh an overtly pensioner attention grabbing slight thwack with her riding crop, causing Tom to spray his beer over the table.

‘Hi Tom, Bill. How are we today?’

The now red faced ex-farmers dipped their caps, swiftly returning to their beer and Racing Post.

‘The usual Ginny?’

‘Yes Paul, a large on on the rocks please. I’ve been going hard at it all morning.’

Old Toms’ Racing post was now beer stained and soaking wet …….

Ginny soon had her usual besotted entourage of young men around her, goggle eyed, agog, as she relayed her mornings outdoor equestrian activities. She wouldn’t have to buy one more drink before closing time. πŸ™‚

‘Rumour has it Old Jock won’t be winning First Prize Ram at the Agricultural show for the 21st year in a row……I heard he was rustled last night’

*chortling round the bar*

‘What’s funny?’

‘Nothing, Ginny, rumour has it, it was rustlers from Wales…..they’ll be long gone by now. It’s a shame for Old Jock, as he was looking forward to breaking the record but, hey, it’ll give someone else a chance, won’t it. That can’t be a bad thing eh?’

*more chortling*

‘No, i suppose not. I also hear rumours our new doctor is arriving today. Anyone hear who it is?’

‘I’m sworn to secrecy, but my cousins wife’s sisters man works at the Health Board. He says it’s a young man with a fancy sports car’

Ginny’s interest perked up.

‘Is he…………………………..single?’

‘I believe so. He’s coming here for a bit of peace and quiet’


Ginny’s eyes lit up. Maybe things would be less boring round here after all.


Luke Gabriel M.D. stared at the cows crossing the road in front of his Morgan. What had he done? He’d made the classic ‘I must get away from it all’ leap, after his year long relationship with Laura had disintegrated. She was pretty, a graduate from Cambridge with a first and her father was a judge. What was there not to like. Everything had been fine until she moved in. On the first day she’d replaced all his cooking utensils with her own. On day 2 his sock drawer had been colour coded alphabetically. On Day 3 she’d produced a shopping list, not only in alphabetical order, but by food type, colour, shape and country of origin. It wasn’t long before he’d get home to the flat only to find lists which indicated the evenings activities. What time they would start, what time they would finish and the order in which they would be carried out.

1700hrs Luke arrives home
1705hrs Luke wash hands
1710hrs Luke peels spuds
1750hrs Lolo arrives home
1830-1900hrs Dinner
1900-2000hrs Channel 4 news
2000-2100hrs Scrabble
2100hrs BBC4 documentary on Picasso
2200hrs Beddikins

The last straw was finding a list. A list of his friends in red ink on an innocuous looking piece of paper, in a handbag, In alphabetical order, or it might have been the order he’d noticed his friends disappearing by the week. The names had been stroked out one by one, roughly…………SPECIFICALLY…….in the order his friends had stopped coming round.

So, having at least passed his medical exams, spent 24/7 working in casualty departments, he’d taken his beloved and heavily debted, Morgan sports car, his cutlery, and his list of ex friends, and applied for a job as many miles away from psycho Laura as possible, only to find himself staring at cows on a country road in the middle of nowhere. LochTae would be the perfect quiet hideaway to develop his medical career, rekindle his ties with his long lost friends by inviting them for weekends to his new country cottage, and the opportunity to stay away from women for as long as possible……….



‘Callum! what are you doing? Scratching away there like a dog wi fleas!’

‘Feeling a bit itchy that’s all’

‘You’ve not been near that Roberta Snodgrass again have you? I told you to keep away from her.

‘NO…I’ve not been near ‘that Roberta Snodgrass”

‘Good, from what I’ve heard you’ll be the only one in the village!!!…..Maybe if you’d shower once in a while you wouldn’t be itchy!………….Right, I’m off down to the practice to meet my new boss’

‘New boss’

‘Yes… our new doctor is arriving at 2pm. The staff are going down to meet him for the first time. I’m actually quite a bit excited’

‘Yeah Mum……..excited………..right’


Miss Pearson of Fallows Cottage was just arriving at the Village Shop when the Reverend Van Der Gelt appeared through the shop door.

‘Morning Miss Pearson……what a beautiful day. May I say how lovely you look in that dress’

Miss Pearson knew her normally pale complexion would now be the same red colour as the shop sign above her head. Hiding her feelings for Reverend was one of life’s daily challenges and, each day she sat the exam she failed.

‘Thank you Reverend’

‘Listen, don’t keep calling me Reverend. It’s so formal. You can call me Cis.’

She stared into his Belgian brown pools of handsomeness, lost in a world where he whisked her off to a land of 12% volume beers and frites beyond imagination.

‘Are you alright Miss Pearson?

‘Oh sorry….. I was away in another world there’

‘I’m taking a walk down to the practice to meet our new doctor. Would you like to walk with me?’

‘Why not……Cis….that would be nice’

The Reverend, like a man from a chivalrous age long gone took Miss Pearsons arm and they strolled off together enveloped in the warmth of a glorious Sunday afternoon.


‘Here he comes! Here he comes!’

After finally escaping from the cow traffic jam, Luke turned into his new place of work, where a small crowd of people had gathered. Given there was only a Practice nurse, a cleaner and two receptionists, he’d worked out it might not only be staff who’d come along to meet him.

‘Hello, Dr Gabriel. Welcome to LochTae’

The Village Doctors
The Village Doctors

The Reverend Van Der Gelt strode forward and offered a strong handshake.

‘Thank You. I’m Luke. Lovely day isn’t it’

The Reverend turned round to find all five women behind him, staring. If there was one thing Luke underplayed or perhaps didn’t even realise, was how good looking he was. A chiselled jawline film stars would die for, bronze skin an Australian surfer would have been proud of, and a sweeping waft of dark silken hair. Add his 6ft 2 inches, his sparkling blue eyes, smart suit and the sports car, he had basically already managed to do what most men fail to do in a lifetime, and leave five women speechless.

Swoon :-)
Swoon πŸ™‚

‘Oh my…….Oh my oh my oh my…… jackpot!! ‘ whispered Camilla Tarquin-Knowles.

Despite the Reverends presence even Miss Pearson had become light headed at the sight which met her. He was Darcy, Hugh Grant, Paul Newman, Robert Redford and George Clooney all wrapped up in one medical phenomenon.

‘Hi, I’m Luke…pleased to meet you’

‘Hello, I’m…….eh……………’

‘This is Anne’ interjected the Reverend. ‘She’s not good with names, even her own sometimes……she’s your cleaning staff…..this is Miss Pearson from Fallow Cottage….. Lucy and Marjorie from reception and last…but not least…. Camilla Tarquin-Knowles, head of the Village Council……… I’m sure they will all regain their voices at some point in the near future’

Just then, Callum, Anne’s son came screaming round the corner.

‘What’s wrong Callum……….you’re bright pink!!!!…….what on earth?’ shouted his Mum.

‘My arms, my hands….. they’re itching, itching…..can’t stop……CAN’T STOP!!!!’

Reverend Van der Gelt turned to Luke……..

‘I think you have your first patient Doctor Gabriel…..’

Episode One of ‘The Village Gossip’ was written by David Linden. You can find me on Twitter @qosfc1919 Β© Dodo Productions 2015

War – Only a Game?

As the salt water engulfed them once more, Private John Heisenberg of the 4th Platoon, US Marine Corp, was already angry….

‘What the hell is with this nonsense. Must be 100 times we’ve hit this beach. Always the same result. They win, we lose. Madness!’

‘Och, come oan man. This time, this time for America and Scotland’

‘Your a madman. How they ever let a Scot into the Marine corps, I’ll never know’

Hitting the Beach
Hitting the Beach

Another explosion to the left of the landing craft sent another wave lashing on top of them. Suddenly, they stopped and the landing craft door slowly lowered itself. This was the time they were at their most vulnerable. A sitting target. Explosions could be heard all around them, along with the sound of gunfire.

‘Ok Guys, Let’s Hit It!’

No matter how hard you tried, wading through water waist deep, was a slow and frustrating process. No matter how great the desire was to go faster, the grey sea was out to stop you. Bullets whistled past Heisenberg ears. He’d never been hit at this point before, but you never knew the moment. He closed his eyes, lungs bursting, he stretched every sinew to hit the beach and hopefully, temporary safety.
He’d been through this before. He knew there was a sand dune to the right large enough for at least half a dozen men. From there, it was possible to get to a point where they could at least see the pillbox and take a shot at it. He knew, even to reach that point, casualties were inevitable.

‘Get oot o’ ma road man, yer like an elephant wi gumboots oan!’

Private Heisenburg clattered into McQuade and found himself on his knees, in the water.

‘C’mon man, wiv nae time fir swimming aboot in this pond, the piraΓ±a will get you’

As McQuade helped him up, and, despite bullets, smoke and fire all around them, Heisenburg laughed. He and McQuade had been on so many missions together, they were like brothers. It always seemed to be Heisenburg who fell, with McQuade coming to the rescue every time. The Scot always seemed to be in the same place, ready to help him, without fail.

The sea released its grip on the them both and they found themselves pounding towards the right. Ahead, 18yr old James Hoolahan fell to the ground like a stone.

‘Christ, he took a hit the last time. Unluckiest son of a bitch so he is’ shouted McQuade.

‘We can’t leave him. We’re not far from that dune, let’s grab him’

150 yards might not be a great distance but, when you’re carrying 12 stones of marine, it can seem like 150 miles. They dragged Hoolahan by the lapels and, after a few close bullet whishes, they made the dune.

‘Sheesh, he’s been hit in exactly the same place as last time. Took 6 months before he was back on duty. Looks like he’ll be on his holidays once again’

‘Aye, that’s if we get him out of this hellhole’

A large shell landed nearby sending a shower of debris and sand on top of them.

‘Ok, we patch this boy up, he’ll be fine here. A medic will find him. We’ll go again through Hell Valley, only this time, we’re gonna kick some ass’

‘Aye, right son, kick some bonnie arse we will’

landing craft
landing craft

Having patched up young Hoolahan, McQuade and John looked at each other, shook hands, and ran. They ran like Olympic sprinters across the sand. They knew they’d be spotted and soon a rain of fire would descend upon them. They both knew the chances of making it were slim, but, they both knew, the only way to win this was to take the giant pillbox out, something, no platoon had managed thus far.
John could here McQuade humming some Scottish lament in between lung bursting gasps for breath. At any moment they could both be hit and die on a lonely French beach, and the mad Scot was singing.
Then it started. The sand danced in front of them like tiny whirlwinds, as bullets scattered the shore. Soon, they could hardly see for sand. As usual, Heisenburg started to fall behind. Although he was fast, he was no match for the flying Scotsman. His lungs were now officially on fire. He heard something hit him. Oh god, this was it. He was annoyed, he’d nearly made it. The next dunes and safety were so close. He ran and ran, waiting for the pain to hit him. Through the smoke he caught a dark object ahead. It was McQuade.

‘Here son, yiv made it. Well done that man!’

Heisenburg landed in a crumpled heap.

‘I’ve been hit!’ He gasped.

‘Hit! Where son, where have ye been hit?’

‘Right here in my chest. Nearly knocked me off my feet’

‘Ah cannae see anythin’ son. Where do you feel the pain?’

‘I don’t know….oh GOD it hurts….’

Then………. McQuade spotted it. There was a bullet hole in the top left pocket of Heisenburgs jacket.

‘Ok, son sit still’

He quickly opened his jacket. That was weird. No blood. He looked inside. There was no hole on the inside of his pocket.

‘Is it still sore son?’

‘Yes, what is it, am i dying, something definitely hit me’

McQuade looked inside the lads pocket.

‘Whats this?’

‘Its my fathers war medal. He gave it to me when I signed up’

‘Well son, yer Dad just saved your bloody life. The bullet’s skimmed awf it and away! Yer a lucky boy’

The battle raged on around them………

‘Richt. Let’s give those jerries a taste of their own medicine’

McQuade picked up his rifle and took aim at the German pillbox.


‘This is bloody hopeless. We’re trapped on this stupid beach and we’ll never shoot anyone in that pillbox from here’

Two feet away Fran thumped the keyboard……

‘What’s wrong?’

‘Well, you got me sucked in to playing this and, after two hours, they’ve been killed 73 times and we’re still stuck on the bloody beach’

‘It can’t be that hard. Some people finish the whole thing in five hours…………..try again…..what’s that guy on the beach saying?’

‘What guy?\

‘I can hear someone saying something’

‘Over here private, over here!’

‘What’s he saying?’

‘Okay Okay…..he’s telling me to go over there’

McQuade and Heisenburg heard the voice………

‘Over here Private. Over here……..’

‘Look, there’s a hole in the wire…….Let’s go’

As bullets continued to spray all around them, the Scot and the American ran like the wind towards the voice. Suddenly they were through the wire and on their way to the tops of the grassy dunes. The Pillbox was now to their left.

‘We’ve got cover now. If we sprint to that dune over their, I think we can get behind them……let’s go’

Within 60 seconds McQuade, Heisenburg and four other members of the platoon crouched behind a wall to the right of the pillbox.

‘Okay….two grenades…..then we rush………on my mark’

They all knew this was it. One shot, one chance, and inserted into every second, a chance they would die. Heisenburg touched his fathers medal, closed his eyes……….


‘Within seconds they heard the explosion. There was no time to thin about their opponents and what might have happened. They had killed hundreds of their mates and kin. As they entered the concrete box the smoke hindered their view. They sprayed the room from top to bottom. Within seconds the place lay silent. As the smoke cleared six German bodies emerged from the smoke, lifeless.

‘Well done guys……good job…….we’ve secured the bridgehead. We’re okay now’

McQuade put his arm around his new found friend.

‘Thank god, Thank our lucky stars and most of all thank your Dad…..’

Two feet away.

‘Well done Fran…’re an XBox expert now, ready for Level 2?’

‘Only A Game’ was brought to you by David Linden. Follow me on Twitter via @qosfc1919 Β© Dodo Productions 2015

The PseudoAvengers and Mr Whippy

‘Dougal. There’s a report coming in of trouble in the Windy City’

‘Michty Me! Again…. mair trouble. Was there no trouble there aboot 5 years ago wi a bairn who’s balloon got stuck up a tree?’

‘I think this is a bit mair serious Dougal’

‘Mair serious???? Ooh. Isn’t this jist magic. Ever since we joined the maist secretist secretist government agency in the world, it’s jist been great. I mean, t’was so secret I didn’t even realise Ah was in it until you telt me Donald’

‘Well, Donald, the FB Aye needs to stick to it’s motto ‘Secretus Nae Kenna’ – If Na’body kens yer their, Naebody kens’

‘Aye….it makes ye swallow yer pride when ye hear it’

‘Aye Dougal Aye… does’ *raises eyebrow and frowns* πŸ™‚

‘So, Donald, is it a weans balloon that’s stuck this time or don’t tell me, it’s thae #TeamTartan yins again. They’re a bunch of troublemakers richt enough’

‘Neither, Dougal. Have ye ever heard of the PseudoAvengers?’

‘You mean like thoan Marvel comics wi spiderman, Thor and thoan yin that looks like a rock?’

‘Aye, sort of. They’re like them but they don’t quite have what you would call ‘super powers’.

‘Whit dae they have Donald?’

‘Well, Spiderman produces spider silk stronger than steel which he can jet onto things, enabling him to leap tall buildings and get to the supermarket a lot quicker than you on your moped. Whereas the PseudoAvengers have the likes of PhotoCopierMan for example’

‘Whit can he dae – use a photocopier? Wi can aw dae that – hee hee’

‘No, PhotoCopierMan can take a picture with his eyes and produce good photocopies and bad photocopies’

‘Good and Bad. Whit dae ye mean?’

‘Well Dougal, the good photocopies come out of his mouth…..’

‘….Och……ye don’t mean that bad photocopies come out of………’

‘Exactly Dougal, we also have MoonMan who lights up when it gets dark. Another useless talent which only comes in handy when a torch isn’t available or KnitterWoman who can knit a jumper in 0.8 of a second or MarmaladeMan who’s bright orange, sticky and got bits’

‘Jeezo Donald, whit a useless bunch!! So, how could they be causing trouble?’

‘well Dougal, there are loads of them for a start, we don’t know where they all are, what useless things they can do. Even worse, they think they are just like the Avengers and are starting to try to fight crime, save children’s balloons from trees and other things that the police and the FB Aye are here for’

‘So, what trouble is there down in Edinburgh then……?’

‘Well, there are reports from FB AYe agents that, MoonMan, MarmaladeMan and ScrabbleMan have been seen together in the Meadows. There are reports that people have been fleeing the scene, reports of sticky stuff being dolloped on people and buildings alike. Perhaps these PseudoAvengers are not only useless but they’re troublemakers as well. We need to go down there and find out……’

100 miles down the A9 and a bit beyond, ScrabbleMan, who could not only make words from seven scrambled up letters, but could tile a whole bathroom in five minutes, was hiding behind a bush in Edinburgh’s Meadows……..

‘WOAH! – I WISH you wouldn’t do that MoonMan, always scares the crap out of me, lighting up like that just when you least expect it!’

‘I can’t help it… gets dark – I light up…..I wish I could stop it happening but it’s the burden I pay for being ‘special’. ‘

‘Well, it’s not much bloody use when we’re trying to hide is it? You’d have been better staying in the van! It’s all gone quite anyway, we might as well head towards the Castle and see what’s been going on’

They hadn’t gone far when they found a large dollop of white stuff hanging from a beech tree.

‘Well, what is that my friends? Either the seagulls around here are getting scaredly ginormous or that mad Putin has unleashed some mighty weird chemical warfare on Edinburgh……… DON’T TOUCH IT MOONMA…….’

Too late, MoonMan, shining more brightly by the second, gave it a sniff, stuck a moonbeam enhanced finger into the mix, licked it and turned…….’

‘It’s Mr Whippy Ice Cream…….delicious……’

‘Mr Whippy Ice Cream, twelve feet of it, hanging from a tree in the Meadows……..what’s going on’

‘Yep. He’s right. It’s creamy dreamy Mr Whippy ice cream – marmalade flavour I would guess’ said MarmaladeMan, who’d forgotten, most things he licked with his finger, tasted of marmalade’ πŸ™‚

Suddenly their newly found communal desire to find a large spoon and get tucked in, was shattered by a noise over to the right. The three PseudoAvengers walked over to the path. the sight that met them made the large blob of ice cream hanging from a tree seem as mundane as finding an odd sock in your laundry. There, lying on the path was, what looked like, a large glace cherry with a pair of womans wriggling legs sticking out the bottom.

Mr Whippy
Mr Whippy

‘Well, I’ve seen it all now. Ok I think I’ve worked it out’

‘What do you think’s happened ScrabbleMan?’

‘Ok, I think our lady friend here has been advertising Mr Whippy Ice Cream in a very badly designed costume. Lost her bearings whilst dressed in a large glace cherry, banged into a tree, losing her ice cream and toppling over onto said path for us to discover’

‘That would be a great theory but for several reasons…..’

‘What’s that old moonbeam me son?’

‘Those, that and that over there….and that’

As MoonMans light became brighter, the sight that unfolded in front of them in the dim Edinburgh light was baffling. There were two more giant glace cherries, one with legs and the other without. Further over to the left, near some park benches were what looked like giant smarties and a 99 flake.

‘Right, so let’s go through that theory of the woman advertising ice cream again……..’

‘Well, it was just a postulation’

It took them nearly ten minutes to free the petrified woman and a twenty something male rollerblader from their sweet prisons. They looked slightly sticky. Well, a LOT sticky, but otherwise, unharmed by their ordeal. Now they’d get to the nitty gritty of WhippyGate……..

‘So, one minute you’re heading towards the Grassmarket, the next a giant glace cherry lands on top of you and that’s the last thing you remember?’

‘Yes. it wouldn’t have been so bad but I’m a type 2 diabetic…..’

‘What about you son…do you remember anything before you…..ahem, were abducted by a cherry?’

‘Well, I remember three giant frisbees coming towards me through the air. I skated to the right, then to the left, then to the right again. I was just about to spin and take off along the path when I spotted it……’

‘Spotted what?’

‘A giant Mr Whippy’

‘A giant Mr Whippy???’

‘Must have been thirty foot tall. firing giant smarties and glace cherries in all directions. I tried to turn back, but it spotted me, next thing all i can see is red all around me and that godawful smell of glacier cherries. I’ll never eat one again’

The PseudoAvengers looked at each other. As the saying goes ‘this was pure mental!’

‘Okay, I know you’re dazed and traumatised. How many fingers am i holding up’


‘Where are we standing?’

‘In the Meadows, Edinburgh’

‘Okay son, get yerself home……’

‘Thanks for getting me out of the cherry’

‘Aye, nae bother son.

As the dazed woman and rollerblader headed home the PseudoAvengers gathered their thoughts.

‘I’m glad normal humans can’t see what we really look like, as getting trapped in a giant glace cherry only to be rescued by a torch and a bright orange sticky mess, might have been enough to send the poor souls over the edge. Anyway, bizarre though we are, they were a pair of loons …..a giant Mr Whippy giving out free, but bizarrely dangerous, free sweeties…….mair like some marketing campaign that’s gone squeegy…….’

It was about that point that the hundreds and thousands started falling on top of MoonMan’s head…….

‘Sheesh, that’s sore…..and that’s sore as well… for cover boys’

They’d just made it under the trees when they saw it. At the far end of the meadows, there was indeed a thirty foot tall Mr Whippy shooting hundreds and thousands into the air like there was no tomorrow.

‘THAT, is either the best manually operated object since Warhorse, OR, it’s a feckin giant Ice Cream monster set on carnage…. I think we might need to call on some help…….’

The next morning Dougal and Donald, the secretist secret agents of Scotland’s most secret Government Agency, the FB Aye, arrived in Edinburgh. There had been reports of several incidents across the city overnight, including a Japanese tourist who’d felt sick and been taken to hospital after trying to eat her way out of a giant glace cherry, four american tourists who’d rolled down the Royal mile on a sea of hundreds and thousands and a Venezuelan woman who’d become pinned against the Scott’s monument by a giant smartie.

‘I’m telling you Dougal, I knew these PoundShop Avengers would be trouble. Contact Agents Mellor and Taylor. Tell them to meet us at the coordinates as planned. Let’s show them what Highlanders can do when they’ve been starved of haggis for a day!’

It was just about then that their car was hit by a large wodge of raspberry ripple sauce………

At the PseudoAvengers Headquarters, deep underneath the centre of Edinburgh, FiloFaxMan was trying to organise some sort of plan…….

‘Hold on a second. My FiloFax is a bit over endowed at the moment. It’s here somewhere’

‘Why don’t you ditch that thing and use a computer like everyone else?’

‘Ok GadgetWoman….smartypantses… things for sure….you can’t hack a FiloFax’


‘Here it is. here it is. According to the information from ScrabbleMan, which is a bit disjointed, as, as per usual, he hasn’t used any words greater than seven in length, we have pinpointed some potential weaknesses in our Whippy friend.
First of all, assuming it’s a normal 99 cone, it’s not going to be very strong. We all know when cones get soggy, they tend to leak and drip all over the your hand. If it’s also filled with whippy ice cream, it’s going to be susceptible to rain, heat and being licked.’

‘So, we could arrange a flashmob session and lick it to death?…’


‘Donald, can you open your door?’
‘I’m trying Dougal. I’m trying…….oops…….yeeuucchh…..maybe that wasn’t a good idea’


As their blacked out DB9 filled with raspberry ripple sauce, Donald and Dougal panicked and jumped out of the car. Now covered in very sweet raspberry ripple sauce, they found themselves out in Princes St. moving very sweetly, but slowly….wading through a sticky mess. As a giant wodge of chocolate sauce hit them, Dougal and Donald realised this was not going to be a childs balloon stuck up a tree sort of day.


BREAKING NEWS – Edinburgh – the Capital of Scotland is in chaos tonight after a giant Mr Whippy caused mayhem across the city. Reports are coming in of giant sweets enveloping tourists and city dwellers alike. Rumour has it that events are so dangerous, even the secret FB Aye may have been called in to rescue the city.


‘Okay, GardenHoseMan, HairnetGirl, ChewingGumMan and MarmaladeMan. We ALL know what we’re doing yes?’


‘Okay let’s go dae this’


As Mr Whippy reached Edinburgh Castle, tourists scattered faster than a politician after a general election. Having clambered the wall, it continued it’s sweet but chilling mayhem within the castle walls. As he reached the esplanade a giant hairnet landed on top of him. This not only stopped him in his tracks, but caused large chunks of Mr Whippy Ice Cream to flop on to members of the public and soldiers of the 3rd Highland Regiment.

‘Ok GardenHoseMan – GO!’

GardenHoseMan got his sprinkler out and aimed it at the cone. At the same time ChewingGumMan ran at speed round the feet of Mr Whippy, dropping well chewed chewing gum on the ground. something he wasn’t proud of, but which came with the territory.
MarmaladeMan now stood in front of the now very attractively hairnetted MrWhippy.

‘Chase Me…..Chase Me’

As MrWhippy lurched forward his feet got stuck in some well masticated spearmint. His now soggy cone, gave way and he lurched on to the castle embankment.

As tourists clapped, minutes later GardenHoseMan was using his hose to clear up the last of the mess. The PseudoAvengers had averted a sweet disaster for the city of Edinburgh.

‘Dougal, whit are you doin?’

‘Ma Dad never let me have sauce on my ice cream’

‘Jesus…that’s not right Dougal…..we need to talk’

Back at the PseudoAvengers headquarters………

‘Well done everyone. We may not silver surf, spin webs, get green and muscly when we’re angry throw giant hammers, lift trucks or leap giant buildings in one go, but…….what we have proved is we ‘useless’ avengers can save people and make a difference. We should not feel powerless or ashamed of our ‘powers’. Onwards and Upwards………’

‘PseudoAvengers and Mr Whippy’ was brought to you by David Linden, qosfc1919 on Twitter and Dodo Productions Β© 2015

Pell of the Selgovae Episode 3 The Romans Strike Back

Roman Fort Lugulovia just off the M6 nr Carlisle……..

‘So, you, Tirious Fearsus, a trained Roman centurion were on a scouting mission, fully armed and ready to die for the glory of the Roman Empire, when, and i quote, ‘a howling noise came from within the forest, something large and scary knocked me off my horse into some mud. At which point, i was covered in manure and chased out of the forest running for my life on foot, by giant monsters with scary teeth’?

‘Yes, more or less. There were some other noises and wailing like i’ve never heard before………and….an….and…..I’m SURE I SAW A DEVIL!’

‘A Devil?’

‘YES, it had glowing eyes of fire, 60 feet in the air’

You could sense a slight *feariness arising in the other fully trained and armed Roman centurions in the room.

*feariness – to be feart and then some…. πŸ™‚

The Roman Empire minus Alba
The Roman Empire minus Alba

‘There are no such thing as devils and ghouls. It sounds like something fell off a tree causing you to fall into a stinking bog, you scared some animals and ran like a small boy who’d seen a scary thing at the bottom of his bed’

*chortling from around the room*


‘Well, next time you’ll have some company to help you’

‘Next time!……what ‘next time’ ?……I’m not going back there…..never ever ever……over my dead body…….

2 Days later…….

The others continued to scowl at Tirious Fearsus. Thanks to him they found themselves riding north in the pouring rain, potentially towards 60 feet devils with burning eyes and god knows what other scaredy maredy items. Even worse than that was the fact Claudius Nimbus had prevented them from taking any wine with them, for fear it was that which had caused Tirious to ‘see things’.

‘Look, it’s not my fault. I DID see those things but no one believes me. All we need to do is pretend to go up there, have a few days camping in a nice spot, go back, say we saw nothing, and let the foggy General decide plan B’

‘There’s six of us this time, not one inappropriately named wimpy centurion. If we return without engaging what, if anything, is up there, we’ll only get sent out again and again until we find something. We’re armed to the teeth, armour plated, golden helmeted, CENTURIONS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE! LET US CONQUER THIS COUNTRY AND BE NAMED AS HEROES!’

Tirious groaned, there was always one prat in a group and Lactos Tolrant was he. Tirious was sure he’d be the first to run when he saw those burning eyes staring at him. Plonker!

Meanwhile, up the road a bit and to the left in a forest……

‘Esh, you have to put this on. If they see you, it’ll give the game away. Then they’ll know there are humans here, more golden helmets will come and we will be……..well……you know’

‘But I’m going to look silly in it. Like a cross between a scary bear and a bush’

‘You’re supposed to be a scary fire sprite’

‘Fire sprite? ….but where’s the fire bit?’

‘Ah yes…..well, just before you run across the trail, we set fire to the back of your costume, you scream a lot and jump into the hidden burn’

‘Set fire to me!!’

Well, you did want to be a warrior…… anyway, the *dreachan we’ll put on burns brightly,but you won’t, we’ve tried it loads of times. I wouldn’t put you in danger little brother. I love you too much to do that.

*dreachan – an oily substance which burns brightly but does not burn peeps and has been wholly made up by me for the purposes of this story πŸ™‚ if you have any oily substances at
home and have some Romans you want scaring, i would recommend just phoning 999 (or if u live in America 911 πŸ™‚ )

”Ok. Arla, Esh…..get the others….we’ll rehearse the whole thing. We must be prepared. The Golden Ones will return soon and there will be more of them’

‘What about Dad and the Elders? We have to tell them we’ve seen one of them’

‘I agree Esh, we will tell them at some point. However, if we can scare them off for a while, rather than fight them, they might just leave this area alone and we can live in peace. In the meantime, Lyan and Raich are keeping look out at Arnochan. They will give us a days notice of the Golden Ones return. They also have some surprises for our friends. It’s only 50 miles from the fort, riding fast they can be here in 2 days. We must be vigilant.’

As Tirious and Lactos’s group continued in the pouring rain, riding fast wasn’t high on their agenda.
The thought of taking an age to pitch their tents on some sodden patch of ghoul laden foreign land, versus a night in a warm bed in a safe Roman fort was looking a sorrier option by the minute.

‘It’s getting dark. We should stop here. There is running water and some nice grass’

Tirious thought it looked boggy, wasn’t high enough compared to their surroundings, but, he was too tired to argue, so, he nodded in a tired non argumentative way and dismounted.

Lyan and Raich watched the arrival of the Romans from the tree house. The strange glass Pell had given them allowed them to watch from quite far away. They immediately let off the carrier pigeon warning Pell of their arrival. Now the fun could start……….

As usual Tirious was left on first guard duty. All the others could snuggle down, while he sat outside, damp dreary and dismal. An owl hooted and, in the distance, he thought he heard something growling. He shook himself. After his nightmare in the forest he was completely paranoid about any noise, creak or scary burning eyes 60 foot in the air. As that little thought process went through his brain, he saw them. He blinked……..he blinked again……..he blinked so much, he was almost about to invent a new national sport, when he realised what it was. Two burning eyes, 60 feet in the air. As blinking wasn’t working, this time he rubbed his eyes. The burning eyes had disappeared. He was tired and obviously starting to hallucinate. He was just about to sit down and ‘guard’ when he saw them again. This time they were much closer and 100 yards over to the tight. As another pair of burning eyes lit up, this time to the left, the fearless Tirious was up and running towards his tent. He was just about there when he heard the noise. He stopped in his tracks. He looked behind him. There were burning eyes popping up everywhere, he turned back towards his tent which promptly disappeared under the thing that had made the sound,. He watched in firelight, as a huge ball of fiery rock not only took his tent out but was heading for Lactos Tolrants tent. Although he couldn’t stand him, he didn’t want to be left alone. He also didn’t want to picture himself explaining why the others got squashed flat.


Then the wailing started……. ‘waaaaaiiiilllllllll……..waaaillllll……..oooooohhhhhhh…….waaaaiiiiiiilllll’

That was it. Tirious Fearsus ran. He ran faster than he’d ever ran. Unfortunately, he’d been right earlier when he thought the ground looked boggy. As he began to sink, he tried to turn to warn the now scareder than scared Lactos and the others. Too late. The whole squad of Roman Legionnaires were now stuck in a bog, surrounded by 60 foot high in the sky fiery eyes, two tents flattened by a huge fireball and……a bear……. (ooh have i not mentioned the bear – that’s because Tirious hadn’t seen it yet)

‘Oh Caesar’s Aunt!’


‘We are sooooooo dead’

The bear stood up and roared. The only thing stopping it from eating the now petrified Romans was the fact it wasn’t stupid enough to get stuck in a bog. If that wasn’t enough fireballs rained from the sky landing yards away from them. Lactos screamed. As his scream faded it was replaced by the screams of the five others.


‘What a great time to quit. Stuck in mud up to our bottoms…..trapped by a bear, fireballs and 60 foot demons….great call’


Lyan and Raich watched the whole farce from the treehouse. The fiery eyes had been genius, as had the fiery boulders and the fiery fireballs. The bear……well, that had just been pure luck. Where that had come from they had no idea.

‘Job done i think Lyan…….Let’s go home……’

As dawn arrived, the six legionnaires stared at the bear and the bear stared at the Legionnaires, it was going to be a long day……. πŸ™‚

‘Pell Of The Selgovae – The Romans Strike Back’ was brought to you by David Linden. Follow me on Twitter @qosfc1919 Β© Dodo Productions 2015

The Wedding – The Final Countdown

Last time we had another SHIRTGATE PART 2, we had SANDWICHGATE, LATEGATE, CHURCHGATE. If that’s enough to explain it all, or you actually read Parts 1 and 2 😳, then let’s go………

Never had a wedding drained the guests so much, before actually getting to a wedding. Many would have given up by now and gave it up as a bad job, but not us. We were resolute in our mission to attend this wedding, no matter what😳……blessed with the knowledge it HAD to be better than what we’d encountered thus far. At last, Borthwick Castle loomed on the horizon. We’d made it in time. 😍

Borthwick Castle
Borthwick Castle

The scene that met us was one of serenity and beauty. Lovely manicured lawns, populated by lovely manicured people carrying glasses of champagne…….CHAMPAGNE…..they were already into the CHAMPAGNE!!!! Now, I was starving, but as the old saying goes, any old port in a storm. I can’t remember who welcomed us onto the lawn or whether I even acknowledged them, but, within seconds, I had my paws round a flute, nay flaggon, of France’s best. At last, as the 13% sparkly bubbles descended my parched throat! I felt peace descend upon me……….


It was Fran! I nearly sprayed my peasant squashed nectar into the middle of next week.

‘what’s wrong? We only just got here….!’

‘You’ll never guess what Uncle Gavin just said to me…..’


I was already in monosyllabic mode. We’d barely been on the bloody lawn for 5 minutes. The sparkly champagne bubbles had barely had time to burst in my throat and something had happened.

‘He asked me if I was “number 1 or number 2” ‘

Oh crap. The silly old bugger. Of all the sentences on all the lawns, he had to pick this one, this time and that sentence. That was him out of the running for ‘diplomat of the year’. At this point it’s worth knowing I’d separated and was now with Fran, so i could understand her getting a bit annoyed.

‘Look, he didn’t mean anything. Probably just his daft sense of humour. 😳 Ignore it and get some sparkly down you’

Fran calmed down, and, it wasn’t long before we were called to attention to move into the castle for the actual ceremony. I was checking taxi numbers on my phone……πŸ˜‰ We were escorted through a door and onto a narrow spiral concrete staircase. I don’t know what I was expecting, It was a castle after all πŸ˜€ Despite being reasonably fit,I was pecking by the time I reached the top step. There to greet us, were rows of pews on a fine carpet, surrounded by flowers and other weddingy things that you find at weddings. It was lovely. It was lovely until my sister came rushing over to me and exclaimed…..

‘You’ll need to come. It’s Dad, I think he’s having an attack!’

Now, given she was a Sister in a hospital, the words coming out of her mouth had to be taken with some high degree of seriousness. At the rear of the regalia’d hall sat Dad. He was struggling for breath and his lips were not a good colour.

‘Are you ok Dad’

The lack of a decent reply, told my brain, that, no, he wasn’t ok. He wasn’t the fittest of blokes and I’d forgot selfishly, he’d had to climb the 76 concrete spiral steps as well. I shouldn’t have felt so bad, as I certainly wouldn’t been able to lift him 😁
I was about to phone an ambulance, when Dad got his nebuliser out and started puffing. Within a minute or two his colour returned and he started breathing properly again. Eventually we got him sat down on a pew and I knew he was ok when he said…..

‘Bloody weddings…….never again’

Just then my Aunt Jan and my Mum arrived from the opposite direction. They looked lovely in their wedding finery and not a bit out of breath’

‘How did you get up here?’ My Dad asked them.

I couldn’t help it……..’the LIFT’ I blurted out…

‘the LIFT……what BLOODY LIFT!’

My mum and aunt stood flummoxed, as the rest of us burst into laughter. Dad was back from the brink and even he smiled. To this day I’m not actually sure how mum and co. got up there. They certainly didn’t climb the 76 steps of the spiral staircase. So, the lift has become folklore, even if I’m not 100% sure there ever was one.

If you think I’m going to spend much time on the ceremony itself then you’d be mistaken. There were hats, veils, white dresses, kilts, music, standing up, sitting down and some ‘I Do’s’ at the end. That was it, they were married.

We were directed into a grand room to wait while preparations for the wedding meal were completed. I checked Dad was ok, saw more sparkly bubbles being offered and headed for a seat. I noticed there weren’t many so, I nudged Fran towards a two sweater sofa near a large warm open fire.

‘Get in there quick!’

We selfishly nabbed it, feeling pleased with ourselves for getting ‘pole posish’. We now only had the meal and the disco to get through and it would ALL be over. One night in the hotel and home to a warm bed and normal life. No shirts, no tantrums and no Moffat toffees (well, maybe one ☺️) we were still high fiving and backslapping each other when this happened…….

‘Hello. ladies and gentlemen. We have a break before the meal, and….since half of you have travelled all the way from New Zealand to be here, we thought we would provide some traditional Scottish entertainment…….. I’d like to introduce Dougal who will……….’

Dougal who will…..what? Sing? Highland Dance? Play the bagpipes, the fiddle, toss the caber……WHAT? What was Dougal going to do……..?

‘………tell some stories…..’

TELL SOME STORIES……..WHAT? AT A WEDDING! Sheesh……. Then Dougal appeared. Dressed in the ubiquitous kilt and wearing a green beret. He looked the part and I shouldn’t have been so harsh on him……..until he took up residence right in front of the fire……right next to us…..

‘Ah’m here Ti tell ye a story, aboot a princess and a frog. One day a Princess was oot walkin along bi the river, the sun was oot, nae a breath o’ wind…….’

Fran and I looked at each other. Not only was our route to the champagne blocked, not only was our escape route blocked, within one sentence, we realised we’d picked the worse seat this side o’ Dalkeith. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the New Zealanders loved it, but, it was my worst nightmare. The only thing worse would have been if he’d asked Fran, in front of everyone, whether she was number one or number 2, or, even worse, shown my Dad where the lift was.

‘…..until she saw where the voice wiz cummin frae……on a stane beside the sparklin water, there sat a frog……’

Arrgh, so he went on, while we, parched starving and trapped, listened to Dougal. It served us right. ‘POLE POSISH INDEED’

‘……so, she kissed the frog…and guess whit happened……?’

The Frog and the Prince
The Frog and the Prince

Don’t say it turned into a Prince…

‘……it turned intae a handsome Prince’

Arrgh, help me please…….

Eventually, to tumultuous applause, ( I gave him a standing ovation 😳 ) Dougal had run out of frogs, princesses and other Disney characters who’d obviously popped over to Scotland for the wedding. He left, his cruel work done, to go and write something about a girl locked in a tower with long golden hair or something.

With Dougal gone, we were escorted through to a lovely hall for the meal. Fran and I followed the rest of my immediate family to a table on the left. Mum seemed to know what she was doing so, we followed her. As, one by one, my family began to sit down, Fran started to look a bit confused…..

‘I can’t see our names’

She was right. Our names were not there. We went into ‘slightly embarrassed’ mode as we were now the only ones left standing. It turned out we’d been shuffled to another table complete with total strangers. Fran gave me a look. I sheepishly sat down and looked at my watch. We quaffed more french bubbles to make us forget we were the only ones shunted to the rear amongst the boyfriend of the best man and other important guests. 😳

Soon, the meal and the speeches were over. It was the last leg……le discotheque. Well, actually, I didn’t know whether it was a ceilidh band or Bon Jovi. Sometimes Scottish weddings have a mixture of Scottish and modern music. I waited with baited breath…….
At least, having moved to yet another large room I the castle, we were back safely within the confines of my family. We’d all had enough percentage of the water, we’d even started laughing about all the things that had gone wrong. It was all behind us, we’d have a dance, drink some more, go back to the hotel. End of……

a New Zealand accent arrived…….it was the grooms mother.

‘ thank you everyone. I hope you’ve had a lovely day (😁)….. We have some music now and I’d like to introduce the New Orleans Jazz Band. I hope you all like jazz music…..thank you once again……enjoy the rest of the evening….’

I turned to the rest of the family….

‘did she just say “Jezz” ? ‘

Suddenly, there were red and white stripey waistcoated, boater wearing, shiny instrument wielding punters everywhere.
Now, I like a wide range of music, but, unfortunately, jazz was not on the list. I couldn’t believe it. JAZZ, at a Scottish wedding! We all looked at each other.

All That Jazz !
All That Jazz !

As the first ragtime something or other kindled up, the 4 people who liked jazz got up to dazzle us with their jazz moves. My head finally sank into my hands. It was almost like someone was using a Dave’s Wedding Voodoo doll and was happily sticking pins in it with gusto.
After the 20 down to 10 ragtime hits had been completed, the New Orleans Monsters of Jazz moved on to the all time Top 10. I was praying they’d kill a jazz version of Living On A Prayer just to finish off the perfect day.

Suddenly, it was over, and, apart from having to wait an hour in the darkness for a taxi, nothing else went wrong. The Wedding Voodoo Doll controller had obviously run out of pins, or gone to bed.

The next morning at breakfast, we went through it all again. We laughed so much, we were getting strange looks from other tables. We packed our bags and, as we set of down Dalkeith High St. we were still laughing………..

The Wedding – The Final Countdown was brought to you by David Linden aka @qosfc1919 and Dodo Productions Β© 2015