"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

A Farthingsworth of Tall Tales from Blighty's Fameless Blog
Newsflash from New York (no, not that one!) |  Are the British better drivers? |  The Story of the Telephone Kiosk |  Drinking Nelson's Blood |  Screaming Jelly Babies |  Flying to the UK is very dangerous! |  Brits to drive on the right |  Who hung the monkey? |  Upper class virgins |  Double, double trouble |  What a Lovely Morning for a War

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tolkien's Lost Last Work

The great English author J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings was born to an English family stationed in what is now South Africa. The Tolkien family moved back to England when young John was just three years old. It was in England that he penned the legends that have made him internationally famous.

Blighty's Blog's antiques expert Wilfrid Geandstove has just returned from a buying expedition to the United Queendom. During his travels, Wil uncovered a cobweb covered manuscript in a dank, dark basement below an ancient book store on the High Street in Whopping Lye.

Experts in England have poured cold water on the idea that the great J.R.R. Tolkien himself penned this manuscript, but our own panel of experts here at Blighty's Blog headquarters in Canada believe the style is unmistakeably Tolkienesque. Here is a transcript of an excerpt from the text from which you can form your opinion as to its authenticity.

The Sun rose rapidly from its slumber below the horizon and, just as quickly, the mists of the night lifted their veil from the verdant, green fields of Middle Earth. The great day had arrived. At last, it was time to set off on ... the Quest.

Jim-Bob Hobbit and his lifelong companion, the elf known simply as "Elfie" lifted their sacks up onto their backs and set off on the long and winding road. Elfie looked over his shoulder as their home shrank into the distance behind them. "Our house is a very, very fine house; with two cats in the yard. Life used to be so hard ..." he thought aloud. "Oh!" sighed Jim-Bob "what's it all about Elfie?"

As the Sun rose further into the sky they came upon the river across which lay the highway of cars. They were about to cross the river via the ford when suddenly, without warning, a loud noise beset their ears. The guardian of the ford, Effwun Fiefdee rushed towards them. Diving into the ditch beside the highway of cars they escaped his clutch by inches.

They walked on, determined to fulfill their quest. The Sun peaked in the overhead sky, its golden rays glinting off the hot shiny surface of the highway of cars. They heard a rattling sound. Faint at first, but as the source of the noise grew louder they recognized it. It was none other than their old friend Shev Roletimpala.

They exchanged warm greetings with their friend and climbed aboard his dilapidated wagon. "Take heart my friends" Shev told his companions, "you shall soon arrive at your destination".

And so they did arrive at their destination; the Plaza of Staples. Pausing to rest, they pulled a parchment from Jim-Bob's sack. "Seek ye not the first door to the south" it read "seek ye neither the next door thrice times two" it continued. "But go ye to the north and retreat one door from thence and there ye shall find the great door through which ye must pass".

They knew their quest was close to its end. They were determined to retrieve the prize which legend foretold a cad did bury in a secret place in the ville of Orange.

Elfie and Jim-Bob followed the directions and arrived at the great door. Staring up at its mighty, imposing stature they pondered to themselves: "but how shall we enter within". They turned once more to the parchment and read: "know ye the secret words which ye shall need to enter within for they are four". They read the secret words and, standing together before the great door they cried out in unison: "BLIGH ... TEES ... TUCKS ... TORE."

No sooner had the words been said, the great door groaned open and a bright light shined forth upon the travellers from Middle Earth. By the shimmering glow of light they could see the object of their quest laid out before them in great measure. They had found the ... bar of chocolate.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Maypole Leaf Forever

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons
In a tiny valley nestled among the rolling hills in the county of Dorset, England is a little village called Whopping Lye. It is a community with a great wealth of tradition. There are morris dancers, sword dancers and, on the first day of May every year, Maypole dancers.

A Maypole is a vertical pole from which gaily coloured ribbons hang. The dancers weave their way around the pole intertwining the ribbons and then skilfully unwind them again as they reverse their steps. It is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years.

Whopping Lye's Maypole, in fact, has stood since the mid-fourteenth century. It is so firmly planted in the ground that the villagers have been unable to move it. It also has another distinction. The pole was crafted from unseasoned wood. Over the centuries the pole has developed roots and, every spring, sap rises up the pole.

Around about the mid-seventeenth century leaves started to appear at the top of the pole. All but the very peak of the great pole is brushed and scraped by the Maypole ribbons which destroys any buds that try to emerge. But at the very top, about thirty feet above the village green on which it stands, a small sprig of leaves sprouts at the beginning of May each year.

With the ringing of Morris Dancers' bells in the background, the villagers dance and sing to celebrate the traditional start to summer and to charm the leaves into making their annual appearance. The words of the song will be very familiar to Canadians:
The Maypole Leaf
Our Emblem Dear,
The Maypole Leaf Forever.
God save our Queen and heaven bless,
The Maypole Leaf Forever. 
The song was brought to Canada by early settlers and has become something of an anthem over here. But, as you sing its stirring lyrics always keep its real origin in mind. The story behind the song originates in a Whopping Lye from England.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

True Blue But Pink Stinks

Ever wonder where the expression "true blue" came from? It dates all the way back to medieval times where the cloth dyers of Coventry developed a blue dye that would not fade when washed. The full expression is "as true as Coventry Blue".

The expression has come to mean faithful, trustworthy or reliable. Blue has also traditionally been the colour associated with boys. At the same time, pink has always been the colour associated with girls. But a pressure group in the United Queendom, eschewing the massive disruption caused by the global economic meltdown and the imminent demise of civilization due to climate change, is focussing on banning the colour pink.

"Pink stinks" they say. Forcing young girls to wear pink clothes condemns them to a life of femininity, they claim. Perish the thought! Blighty's Blog London bureau staff member Carna Bystreet reports that many British men think it's actually rather jolly good that ladies are brought up to be feminine.

Meanwhile, a newsflash just received at Blighty's Blog headquarters reveals that Mexican women have a different point of view. A new fleet of pink taxis has hit the streets of the Mexican capital and every one of the vehicles has a lady driver.

So young British men, when all the girls in Britain's streets have adopted drab grey fashions to match the drab grey skies, say Hola Mexico where the sky is a bright sunlit blue and the girls aren't afraid to be girls.

High Jinx and High Jump

Regular readers may remember the Blighty's Blog post (Upper Class Virgins) about the goings-on aboard Virgin Atlantic's fleet of jumbo-jollies aircraft.

Well, it seems the British are all for a little fun and "how's-your-father" whenever they look out of the window and see clouds below them. Who can blame them really? It rains all the time on the ground, but hop on a jolly old aeroplane and the sun is shining all around you.

It's cheap too. For two ponies (that's fifty quid) you can escape the gloom, doom and Gordon Brown (but I repeat myself) and jet off to sunny Spain. Hasta la vista Gordo; hola Benidorm!

Benidorm. Ever been there? Me neither. They say it's like Blackpool with sunshine, but worse. Brits go there for cheapo boozo and hanky-panky.

I read an article in the esteemed Times of London today that suggests the hanky-panky begins long before the captain calls for chair tables to be stowed and seat belts fastened. Times readers wrote in to relate stories of their unusual flying experiences.

One told of a flight to Australia on New Year's Eve. As the plane crossed the International Date Line the captain turned on the cabin lights to wish the passengers a happy new year. As the lights came on, one surprised couple were, apparently, already having a very happy new year. If I can phrase this with appropriate delicacy, they were ... um ... worshiping Venus the goddess of love ... they were renewing their membership in the mile high club. The other passengers gave the couple a standing ovation.

Another Times reader reported a regular flight plying a triangular route between three European destinations. Often, one leg of the journey would be flown with only the flight crew on board. During take-off the flight attendants would sit on tea trays and slide down the aisles as the aircraft climbed.

Oh what fun it is to ride in a British Airways jet.