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Monday, 8 November 2010


And now on Radio Four, Part 17 of our adaptation of Warmly Marmsley's 'The Campanile Loan' by Muris i-Dock.

The story so far...

Hichard Burtcuthbertson and his wide wife Rowenta have been celebrating Hichard's victory in the Commode Cup where his craft, The Frying Fish, won best of class in the Catamarran made solely from marzipan and balsa wood (senior) section. Meanwhile, in Calais, his beloved daughter Calliperso has been arrested by the gendarmerie on suspicion of being 'a bit of a goer with an eye on the main chance - which is about the nearest English approximation we can get to what is an otherwise untranslatable French colloquialism that, in the mother tongue sounds uncomfortably close to the sound produced by someone throttling an otter wearing a swimsuit made of bacofoil - and has been incarcerated in a filthy cell. Dressed up as a rubber WREN she has been left with nothing but a well-stocked cocktail cabinet, a selection of top-end cosmetics and a handful of lusty French artisans in the way of home comfort. Back in Blighty, Palter and Wally, the twins, have been discovered in the airing cupboard at Howardsendaway seemingly tied in an elaborate, knot-like embrace from which they're proving devilishly difficult to extricate. Abandoning her 'three strikes and your off to the workhouse policy', Great Aunt Ted Nugent has taken a kindly view of the two incestuous lovers' antics and, instead of the customary pubic whipping over a pot of boiling wax, is planning to have them shipped off to Istanbul where it's not only legal to indulge in such practices, but you also get a subsidy from the rates, apparently.

Now read on...

Driving home from the Commode Cup, the Burtcuthbertson family enjoy singing a wide range of noughtically-themed songs - 'Zilch Went the Strings of My Heart', 'Less Than Zero', 'Nothing Compares 2 U' and so on - ahead of a bountiful lunch over which they joyously recount their memories of Hichard's remarkable victory. Rack Jolfe, the Boatyard manager and occasional spare auto-part reveals that he is due to have lunch with Morrie Leadows, the Yardy Merman's bank manager and the series' obligatory stock caricatured Jewish stereotype, the following day and that he will convince the bank to extend their overdraft and, if Rack's luck is in, Morrie will have completely forgotten all about the £250,000 he's already owed for the outrageous bet Rack placed before the 1922 election on Lloyd George not only polling no votes whatsoever but also having a sex change operation immediately afterwards and changing his name to Muriel Pinge. Over a spenetic, high-carbohydrate luncheon of boiled potatoes and a high crabohydrate puddingb of crabs in water, Bovril broaches the subject of her engagement to exotic cabaret dancer and sould singer Candy Rawford. Rack tells her staright that it will never last and henceforthwith bans the playing of 'A Rainy Night in Christarrantcester' anywhere in the boatyard and claims that if Bovril goes through with the union, one day she will return with her tail between her legs and have to explain the reasons behind her sudden departure and return to the fold, which he reminds her, may at the moment be no more than a half-hearted crease, but what the hell it's home and will one day form the bulk of her inheritance if you don't mind. At the end of their lunch, Hichard intercedes in the proceedings to reveal that he has been made redundant, surprising no one - he was alaways practically a spare part at the aerodrome and couldn't even master twisting the elastic bands used to fire up the propellers. When Rowenta presses him for an explanation, a strange oily substance leaks out.

Over in Calais, Calliperso, using a file smuggled into her cell in the centre of a cake by the ever-wily Soiliver, has finally managed to finish her manicure. Bored, listless and ever-so-slightly tipsy, Calliperso begins to flirt mildly with Hercules, the prison guard. "I could be very accomodating to a man prepared to lend me the key to my cell for a couple of hours or, failing that, pop down to the local key-cutting shop and get me a duplicate made while you wait and, oh, while I think of it, you wouldn't mind getting these pumps resoled whilst your there would you, dwarling?" But Hercules appears impervious to Calliperso's womanly charms and, despite several hours of frenzied love-making and a hastily arranged engagement, the prison officer proves him to be, in all-matters unrealted to sexual perversity at least, almost completely incorruptable.

Next time on Howardsendaway: Will Calliperso and Hercules' engagement last long enough for her to squeeze into her new rubber nurse's uniform? Will the rubber nurse ever find out that her uniform is being used as a lame concluding gag in a 4 million part continuous narrative? Is the Pope really German? Or did he just think it would be a good laugh?

And now on Radio Flour, Part 137 of our adaptation of Weasly Marbles's 'The Cochinneille Loaf' by Brainy Berylbidge.

The story so far:

The plight of Palter and Wally, the incestuously intertwined twins takes a further twist when tom-boyish Palter is discovered to be not a muddy kneed little boy, as Great Aunt Ted Nugent had first feared, but a rather promiscuous and well-developed young lady with expensive tastes in nether-garments and an unnaturally advanced nose for a winning hand at gin rummy. Despite the introduction of a lubricant, they are still touchingly inseparable, although now - it's generally acknowledged even by the most conservative elements of Howardsendaway - as filthy lesbians, not a rather dashingly coupled brother and sister.

Back in Calais, Calliperso has broken off her engagement to Hercules, the charming, non-key-collecting prison guard. Turning her attentions to Hercules' dimwitted assistant prison guard, Grimondi, she is able to lure the innocent, demented young understudy into her cell with promises of unlikely acts of contortion and a jar of brylcreem. With her captor lulled into a sense of security and a pair of falsies, Calliperso is soon free of her bondage - although it takes her a considerably longer time to get out of the prison cell as her escape has coincided with an unlikely 1970's style power cut. She is reduced to scrabbling around in the dark feeling for her fur-trimmed handcuffs to the accompaniment of Neil Sedaka on a transistor radio. Lighting restored, and finally out of the bounds of her gaolers, Calliperso boards the first ship back to Britain, a tramp steamer headed back to Tyneside. Noticably ravaged and with the grime of the cell still visible about her person, Calliperso brushes up her Geordie accent amid the dank rows of slowly baking vagabonds.

Now read on...

Back at the Yardy Merman, newly redundant and visibly trimmer after his workout on a yacht-simulating treadmill, Hichard reveals that the situation had been on the cards for a month, and that he kept it a secret from the family as he believed he could find another position before his final days at Southern Aviation - although he now acknowledges that the dip in salary occasioned by his drop from highly paid aircraft designer to part-time traffic warden might have made it hard for the family to make ends meet. However, this having not eventuated, or happened, even, Hichard must now rely on his redundancy settlement and the paltry amounts he's able to earn selling close ups of his shaven legs to desperate Polish underwear models for whom, in the current economic climate, it is cheaper to manipulate Hichard's photographs in photoshop than it is to purchase a razor.

Rowenta is angry that Hichard did not confide in her earlier, and she storms from the dining room and proceeds to play her trusty old 8-track cartridge of the Bat out of Hell album at full volume for several hours. Hichard, realising he has handled the announcement badly and, notwithstanding their hirsuteness, wishing he'd handled one of the Polish models instead, endeavours to placate her by donning his trusty old Mata Hari costume and doing a loose-limbed version of The Sand Dance in the doorway of her bedroom to the blaring sounds of Meatloaf emanating from the 8-track cartridge machine by his wife's bed. Rowenta angrily confronts him, demanding to know why he didn’t speak to her before announcing it to the family, although admitting that his new see-through veil does look very fetching. She voices her concern that they once shared their worries, although Hichard is quick to point out that this usually led to both of them being twice as worried as they had been when worrying individually in secret and that he had been wondering if, by the same logic, there was more to be said for sharing their finances instead which could lead to a higher interest yield and, who knows, might eveb enable them to afford one of those nice flan cases they've been eyeing up for some time and enable them to carry flans with them wherever they went.

As the pair exchange apologies, they speculate on their uncertain futures. Rowenta is confident that Hichard will find another job easily, although if he *insists* on going back on the game, she would *much* rather he used his own nylons as he has a tendency to stretch hers and she doesn't want to be waddling about the boatyard like Nora Batty, does she? But Hichard angrily reveals that after a month-long search, he has been unable to find a new position and so will continue to crouch down on all fours with a bucket on his head as he finds this perfectly comfortable and, what's more, he may soon be able to apply for a grand on the rates if he can prove that his position is not liable to abuse by asylum seekers or other such undesirables. He reveals he will be unable to find a new aviation role at his time of life, especially now his arthritis is starting to worsen and now prevents him making even the most cursory attempts at the flapping motions so vital in man-powered flying craft in effect clean take offs and landings. Now that his contacts have “melted away” upon hearing the news of his Polish leg-modelling expolits, why, he'd be laughed out of the aerodrome without even a thought given to his gliding prowess. He tells Rowenta that he considered an offer in Pretoria, to become President of the Republic of South Africa, and poses the question of leaving Christarrantcestershire altogether. But Rowenta expresses her desire to remain in the area, not to mention her dislike of the South African accent in general, which she's always found too coarse and guttaral, even on the daintiest of men to enable effective foreplay, to which Hichard counters by revealing he has already turned the offer down on the grounds that his legs will be unlikely to find a suitable tonal match should he ever need to fall back on the day job servicing the the regions undergarment modellers. Rowenta is upset that he had already made up his mind regarding a future decision without consulting her, but reluctantly acquieses because the Antiques Roadshow is just about to start and she has a fiver on the first item being a cakestand that will turn out to be worth at least a hundred pounds.

Will Calliperso be able to keep up her geordie accent until the boat docks on Tyneside? Will she be able to keep her boobs up until elevenses? Will Rowenta's dislike of the South African accent prove an impediment too far in her crusade to become the Chairperson of the Commission for Racial Equality? Will Hichard be able to find a gravy powder match for the Cape Colored thigh tone? Find out next week on Howardsendaway...

Meanwhile, Leo and Lynne try to come to terms with the news of their father’s redundancy. Tom reveals to his children that the family will be forced to trim their sails somewhat in the future (namely Lynne being forced to find gainful employment, the cancellation of their planned summer holiday in France, and Leo cutting back on expenditure ahead of his first-term attendance at Exeter University).

At The Jolly Sailor, Jack ruminates over his current predicament over a pint, and is joined by site foreman Bill Sayers. They discuss Avril’s bitter temperament of late (Jack believes a man is responsible for her guarded nature), the future prospects of the boatyard and their mutual past together.

With Tom having taken a walk to clear his thoughts, Jan emerges from her isolation and engages in a bitter exchange of words between herself and Lynne, with Leo acting as peacemaker.

On the banks of the River Hamble, Tom encounters Avril, who has also been endeavouring to clear her mind of personal matters. They are reunited after five years, and they discuss her return to Tarrant, the Commodore’s Cup victory and the news of his recent redundancy. At forty-four, Tom has reached a turning point in his life: having devoted so much time to a job in which he was far too comfortable, he now considers working on his own, running his own business. He is adamant he will not re-enter the rat race to be kicked in the teeth again, and his future lies in engaging in work on his own time. When the conversation turns to Avril’s time in London, she becomes evasive and does not want to discuss her recent past. Tom is surprised that he has spent half an hour bearing his soul to a complete stranger.

At the Howards’, Jan apologises for her exchange with her children. Whilst they are all hopeful that Tom will secure a new position, Jan is damned if she will be forced to scrimp and save once again. She speculates on whether or not Ken Masters, a local businessman, can offer her increased hours at Masters Chandlery, and Leo expresses a desire to work rather than go to University himself. She is shocked when he reveals he never wanted to go in the first place.

Later, Jan telephones Ken, whom she interrupts in bed with his girlfriend, Dawn. Breathless and half-naked, he is concerned when she asks to meet him the following morning to discuss “something important”. At the end of their conversation, he expresses his concern that she might hand in her notice, and reveals to Dawn that he would not want to lose her. When Dawn asks what Jan is like, he describes her as an ordinary housewife, and not in her league.

That evening, Jan and Tom discuss the situation as they prepare for bed. Determined to put his redundancy pay-out to good use, Tom is keen to secure a fresh occupation which will put his aeronautical expertise to good use. He expresses to Jan his desire to utilise the money and venture into independent design work, but she voices her concerns over the risks involved. Tom believes that is playing it safe has got him where he is today, perhaps it is time to take a few chances.

Meanwhile, Avril has a disturbed night’s sleep as she recalls her recent past in London.

The following morning, Tom visits the Mermaid Yard, at which the Flying Fish is being hauled into dry-dock for a preliminary assessment prior to repair work being undertaken. Jack assures him that a scratch like the one on Tom’s vessel would not affect the wooden ships that the Yard prides itself on, and the pair discuss the high-quality craftsmanship they predominately deal in.

At Masters Chandlery, Jan arrives for her early-morning meeting with Ken, at which she ventures the possibility of working more hours. Ken is hardly surprised at news of Tom’s redundancy, as he had been made aware of Southern Aviation’s cutbacks, and is more surprised when he learns that Jan was only informed the previous evening. Agreeing to her request, Ken is surprised that she has taken him up on his offer to work longer hours. He reveals he has other plans in mind for her future, which he will discuss with her at a later date.

At the Mermaid Office, Jack and Avril discuss Tom’s paint-job commission on the Flying Fish. When she counsels him to reduce the cost of the commission to something of a gift to Tom, Jack is surprised to learn he has been retrenched from Southern Aviation. He hurries to collect himself ahead of his lunchtime appointment with Laurie Meadows.

At the Howards, Leo and Lynne discuss their futures in light of their father’s redundancy before Tom arrives and invites them out on a picnic. Over lunch at the Yacht Club, Jan complains to Polly regarding Tom’s treatment of herself and the family with regard to keeping his redundancy a secret. She ruminates over the fact that they no longer discuss their problems, and whilst Polly assures her that he has the children’s best interests at heart, she reveals that her husband, Gerald, has hardly noticed that their daughter, Abby, is in Switzerland.

Nearby, Jack and Laurie Meadows enjoy a modest lunch whilst the former highlights the financial viability of the Mermaid Yard. Laurie pressures Jack into revealing the last and most lucrative design commission the Yard has enjoyed, and when he cannot provide examples more recent than two years previously, Laurie insists that unless incoming cashflow improves the loan the Yard has with the bank will be called in. When Jack implies that the German repair contract will bail the Yard out, Laurie highlights the fact that without confirmation in writing, the bank will foreclose the loan. Jack pleads with Laurie to lend a helping hand in his hour of need, but he is found wanting.

Jan reveals to Polly that Tom is tossing around the ludicrous idea of “going it alone”, and Polly assures her that they will need to find him a nice, safe job.

On the banks of the River Hamble, Tom and Lynne enjoy a quiet lunch-time picnic. She is concerned when Tom voices the option that they may have to sell the Flying Fish if their finances become depleted.

At the Mermaid Yard, Bill catches sight of Jack solemnly returning from his meeting with Laurie Meadows. When he approaches him for news of the meeting, Jack reluctantly reveals the bank intends to foreclose on the loan in the immediate future. He later reveals to Avril that they will be issuing an official letter later that day, and that the firm may not even be able to meet the wage bill over the coming months. They speculate over the future of the Yard, and Jack is at a loss to provide a solution. He lets slip that he even married to secure the Yard, and whilst he believes his daughter was previously unaware of this fact, Avril confirms that she was told that when she was at school. When Bill reveals that the repair work on the Flying Fish is complete, Jack suddenly has the spark of an idea. He tells Avril that Tom Howard might be the solution to their problems, and he hastily telephones the man in question and invites him for a drink at the pub.

Over a game of Scrabble, Tom and Lynne discuss Leo’s meeting at the job centre in pursuit of paid employment. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of a delivery driver, who presents Leo with a bouquet of flowers addressed to Jan – from Ken Masters.

Tom clashes with Jan over her desire to work longer hours at Masters Chandlery, and even more so when she expresses the fact that Ken has offered to establish some contacts for him in pursuit of a new position. Their tense exchange of words is interrupted by a telephone call from Polly, who reveals that Gerald has learned of a design position at the Civil Airforce Authority which would be ideal for Tom. When Jan broaches the subject with Tom, he insists that the position is entirely unsuitable, as it would involve increased commuting time and, despite the healthy salary, he is not going to endure another position he hates just to bolster her social status. Tom concludes that “I intend to spend the rest of my working life doing something I want to do”.

At the Mermaid Yard, Avril confronts Jack as to his intentions to soak up Tom’s redundancy money to temporarily bail out the company. She insists on having no part in his plans, as she could not forgive herself if the Yard finishes up bankrupt and Tom is destitute.

At The Jolly Sailor, Jack presents Tom with a proposal: inject his redundancy money into the Mermaid Yard, and come on board as a partner in what he has described as a thriving enterprise which could only benefit from his design acumen. The manner in which Jack frames the proposal is such that Tom may find the offer too difficult to resist: “Here, you could be master of your own little kingdom”.

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