Thursday, 10 December 2015
Thursday, 3 December 2015
Monday, 30 November 2015
Sunday, 18 October 2015
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
Monday, 28 September 2015
It was one of those days, God knows we each of us get them from time to time, when absobloodylutely nothing goes right and sods law swings into action with a vengeance; the heavens do not open, nor is the glory of God declared to all and sundry. In short it was the sort of day that causes a body to opine that if this be an example of the Deity’s sense of humour, then the old bastard should keep it to himself and leave he rest of us to get on with our lives as best we can.
There was nothing whatsoever to distinguish this particular day from any other. To no one’s particular surprise, the sun had risen as per the popular expectation, and by eight of the clock the streets of London town were already snarled up by traffic, but this day was different, although there was nobody in the land who could have testified to the fact. If Queen Elizabeth II had reigned in her wilder impulses and confined her breakfast reading on that morning to the Sporting Life, then the history of these islands would have been very different, but she had not. For some unfathomable reason the Queen had ordered a copy of the Daily Truth.
The Daily Truth was noted for several things, journalistic integrity not being amongst them, not for nothing had the rag been dubbed a skid mark on the underwear of British journalism. Why on this, or any other day, H.M would have chosen to read the damn rag was beyond the comprehension of mortal man, but she had done so, with consequences that could never have been guessed at this side of the Pearly Gates.
The Queen’s mood was not of the best at that particular moment, nor had it been for some time past. The Jubilee had been and gone, a monument to the organizational abilities of the Government, in short the entire jamboree had gone off like a dispso’s dick in a brothel, that is they were perfectly aware of what it was that was required of it but were physically incapable of rising to the occasion. The truth of the matter was that they had no interest in making the celebrations a success. The entire Government was against the monarchy and did not take too much trouble to disguise the fact, all that stood between them and declaring a republic was a vague feeling in their intellectual bones, that the great British public, God rot the fascist bastards, might not go along with the scheme, which of course they would not. The public in their wisdom, considered it was bad enough to have to have to pay for the politicians in the first place, without having to bow and scrape to the sons of bitches, which is what would happen if they took over from royalty.
None of this had brought into play a sweetening of the royal mood over the past year, and even if the jubilee celebrations had been better organized, there were other factors, which would have curdled the milk in the royal cornflakes. The press in general and the Daily Truth in particular continued to snipe at every royal peccadillo, real or imagined; and the B.B.C, po faced and sanctimonious as only that organization can be, made it a condition of promotion that the monarch be belittled by its employees at every opportunity. No wonder Her Majesty was a tad pissed off.
Prince Phillip entered the breakfast room just as that morning’s edition of the Truth went in to orbit over the table, missing the corgis, before scoring a bull’s eye on one of Queen Victoria’s less than distinguished daubs. This rather flatulent projectile was closely followed in its defiance of gravity by the tea pot. Fortunately this example of the potter’s art was not one of the more valuable items from the royal collection. The teapot missed the painting but fragmented on making contact with a credenza parked next to the fireplace.
“Offended by the cartoon were we?” enquired the royal consort, not even trying to avoid the appearance of being facetious.
“I’ve had it” spat out his better half, while at the same time bringing a silver teaspoon down on a boiled egg with a force sufficient to make the offering inedible in the form originally intended. “I’ve bloody well had it.”
“So has the teapot. You’d better ring for another one. I’m gasping. Oh, and do try not to chuck the next one up against the bloody wall, we’re not made of money y’know, despite what the Truth says.”.
“I don’t want that damn rag mentioned in my presence again.” Her Majesty had commanded.However not even Her Majesty could expect to be obeyed implicitly at eight fifteen in the morning by a spouse of fifty plus years duration, dressed in nothing more prepossessing than a Marks and Sparks dressing gown which had seen better days.
“All right. All right. Keep your crown on.” He plonked himself down at the table, snatching as he did so a slice of toast of imposible daintiness.
“If we are fated to start this day with a first class bitching session, can I ask, for the umpteenth bloody time, why in the name of almighty God and the choir of queens why we can’t have toast served in respectable sized slices and not these pansy shaped bits that would embarrass a man to be seen holding in his fist?”
“The chefs think their professional standing would be damaged if they did not tart everything up for the royal table. I’m reliably informed by someone who knows about these things that I have never seen a natural looking spud on my plate in my entire life. Perhaps he was right, how the hell am I to know?”
“I still can’t see why we find it so impossible to get a decent piece of toast on the plate. But that doesn’t answer why you were reading the Truth. As far as I know you have never glanced at it in your entire life. Why now?”
“Something a little bird told me.”
“Judging by your reaction it was not so much as a little bird as a shite hawk.” Even at this early hour, the Prince had not forgotten to put his habitual delicacy of phrase in with his teeth.
“Come on, let’s have it I don’t want to have to read the damn rag myself.”
“It was another of those ruddy pieces claiming to know what I am thinking before I have even had chance to think the thoughts myself.”
“So. What’s the problem? That is hardly pioneering a new avenue in journalism.”
“Arabella Clackmannon, she’s the bloody problem. The cow.” Most folk, securely swathed in the incontinence pads of naivety would be terribly shocked at majesty using so intemperate a phrase; however, Prince Phillip, after fifty odd years with his trouble and strife recognized she was being frightfully restrained, which in itself was a danger signal to be accorded due respect.
“Might one enquire who exactly is this Arabella whatsit?”
“Clackmannon, Lady Arabella to be exact. The bitch.”
“I’m still no wiser, but for the sake of the succession if not your blood pressure, start at the beginning and explain all, in words of Anglo Saxon simplicity. And where’s that bloody tea?” H.M. picked up the phone and made a crisp enquiry that had the recipient of the call fearing for his pension, while all the time thanking whatever gods there may be, that the chopping off of heads had gone out of fashion for the time being.
“Arabella Clackrnannon is a distant cousin of mine.”
“Well I’ve never heard of her, let alone met the woman.”
“She’s very distant. On Mummy’s side.”
“Oh. One of that lot, no wonder. I wouldn’t put anything past that crew, but how come I’ve never met her?”
“Well, as I said she is very distant, almost an antipodean in genealogical terms, you’d literally have to dig to find the connection, and when you got there, there would not be much to examine. I last met her about sixty-five years ago, Margo and I were in the Brownies, she was brought to the palace to meet us for some reason. We neither of us liked her and she was never invited again. That was that, I never saw nor heard her again until I read that bloody rag this morning.”
“I still do not see why you bothered with it. The woman can hardly have said anything that has not appeared in Woman’s Own over the years, which is where she probably got hold of her info.”
“Sir Ralph thought I should see it, he’d been tipped off by a friend in the Truth’s office.”
“Sir Ralph!” The Prince looked as if he had been stabbed in the backside with a hypodermic charged with divine revelation; his questions had just been answered. “That flaming great pansy. Probably the wrong time of the month.” The Queen winced visibly, the lady could not by any stretch of the imagination be described as politically correct, but she did wish her spouse would be a little more understanding of the help; they were getting harder and harder both to find and to keep these days, especially with the wages she paid, which owed a lot to the age of Dickens, and buggerall to the current cost of living. “Just shrug it off like you always do. It’s not worth the aggravation.”
“I know, but this time it has well and truly got to me. Believe it or not I have just about had a belly full, no, not about; I definitely have, right up to the eyeballs and beyond.”
“But why, what’s so significant about this nobody, why does a few columns of journalistic drivel derived from her get you so riled up?”
“Straws and camels backs I suppose. This is it Phillip, I have had enough, the last ten years have been snipe snipe snipe, the press, the T.V., the damn politicians smiling in my face while all the time sharpening the knives they so delight in shoving in my back, and now this silly bloody nobody hell-bent on using my name and status to grab herself a few headlines. Enough God damn it.” Practically foaming at the mouth, H.M. broke into a steam of imprecations the intensity and originality of which surprised her husband, who realized that one or two of the phrases, had not been learned at his knee. He admired his wife’s originality but could not help but wonder who she had been keeping company with to pick up such language; the sound of Princess Anne outside in the garden, cussing about the weather in general and the rain in particular, for causing the dye to run in the new cardi she had only bought the day before from an Oxfam shop, gave him an inkling as to the origin of the latest additions to his wife’s vocabulary.
Prince Phillip allowed his wife to continue with her rant until the fresh tea arrived. He poured them both a cup before retrieving the littered corpse of that morning’s edition of the Daily Truth. It did not take the Prince long to find the article which had caused the bats to flutter in the royal belfry. He read the article swiftly, with a ferocious contempt born of much practice, he could see why his wife had been so offended, no-one with any intelligence whatsoever could possibly believe such copper bottomed crap, but, as most of the population were not possessed of great riches in the brain department, (for which politicians were supremely greatful come election time), the Truth’s bilious diatribe would be believed by all too many people.
Lady Arabella Clackmannon, the font et origo of the Truth’s most recent offering on the altar of literary journalism. Could, with much charity be described as eccentric, but if one was to indulge in a little unfashionable honesty and call a spade a bloody shovel, then the woman would unquestionably have to be described as barking mad, a condition of the mind exacerbated by a persistence in her affairs of a state of fiduciary incontinence. In short the woman was flat broke. Such a mode of life had shadowed her through most of her journey through this vale of tears, what little money there had been in the family she had managed to blow within a short time of inheriting it. From that time on she had had to rely on her shaky connection with the Royal Family as a means of drumming up credit, an activity she had turned into a cottage industry; her efforts would have won the Queens Award for Fantasy if there had been such a distinction. Loyal friends (She had one, who sadly had passed away fifteen years before the time of writing), averred it was this poverty that had led to her wilder exploits, such as her leaving the Church of England, after the failure of her campaign to persuade the Archbishop of Canterbury to substitute gin for the communion wine.
Whenever cash was in exceptionally short supply, Lady “A” had milked the American market, her selling point being intimate revelations by a member of the Royal family. Knowing no better, the Yanks had swallowed this hook line and sinker. The trashier American scandal sheets were eager to take her offerings for ludicrous sums of money. Unfortunately for Lady “A”, her talent did not match up to her imagination; basically, she had one story to tell and only one version of it, and even the yanks were only prepared to continue to print the nonsense so many times. After a few years that particular well had run dry and so had her supply of booze. Lady Arabella was a raving dipsomaniac; her party trick was to go into the Champion, a gay pub on the Bayswater Road, get herself well and truly tanked up, then stagger out onto her royal cousin’s main drag and make an offer to all comers to show them her fanny for the price of a pint of Fosters. In light of her age and physiognomy, this was not a wildly successful activity.
Such was the tenor of her life, when on a day when news of a substantive calibre could not be found for love or bribery, the features editor of the Truth contacted Arabella with the offer of a contribution to her private benevolent fund for the propagation of interest in Gordon’s gin. The old girl grabbed it by the optics; she spent three days holed up in a hotel next to Euston Station spilling the beans to the Truth, a more mold drenched platter of re-fried pulses it cannot be imagined, but the paper bought them and happily dished the mess up to the great British public.
Not to be outdone by his wife, Prince Phillip tossed the Truth across the room on completing his perusal of the offending article. His action triggered off another diatribe by the queen against the paper and its Australian proprietor, Bondi Paterson, known the length of Fleet Street as the obnoxious ocker.
“Really Lil, do take a grip of yourself.” Pleaded the Prince, more in hope than anticipation.
“Don’t call me Lil” Stormed the queen. “It’s so common and it makes me sound like the fucking cleaner”
“No. We couldn’t have you sounding common now, could we?” Perhaps it was as well his wife failed to see the irony behind his words. “So they printed a load of ridiculous nonsense by a silly old cow who should have been drowned at birth. It’s happened before darling. It’ll happen again, every time the sods want to raise their circulation figures, why get yourself all het up about it?”
“As I said, it’s like some of my Foreign Secretaries, the last straw. We are going to have a conference at Windsor on Friday night. Just you, me and the children, no others. No excuses.”
“But aren’t they a bit scattered at the moment? Ed in America, Charles in Saudi having a love in with Allah for the Foreign Office.”
“I don’t give a damn where they are; I’m having the lot of them fished back for the weekend. Sir Ralph can dream up some suitable lies for their hosts” The regal will having expressed itself, it swept out of the room to attend to it’s daily round of constitutional duties before settling down to the three thirty at Epsom.
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