“BOING!” said Zebedee, “Time for bed!”

Ah, the childish joys of the Magic Roundabout. by that I mean this Magic Roundabout:

Not this abomination of town planning that the poor people of Swindon have to deal with (as if living in Swindon wasn’t bad enough):

So who amongst my extensive readership has a single clue what I’m rabbiting on about when I talk about Dylan, the pot-smoking hippy rabbit based on Bob Dylan; Ermintrude, the matronly cow; Brian, the simple-minded snail; Douglas, the shaggy dog with a taste for sugar; and Florence, the totty for the younger generation.

I’m sure there was far more of an adult under-current to the series that I was not aware of back in my innocence (or possibly not, but we like to infer a little innuendo as smutty -mined adults).

So in an attempt to ruin your memories of Douglas and co, I will leave you with this revved up version of Jasper Carrot’s Magic Roundabout parody:

“Hello children. It’s a quarter to six. Time for Magic Roundabout…”

“I wonder where Florence is?” said Dougal.

“I’m over here,” said Florence. 

“Hello, Florence,” said Dougal.

“Hello, Dougal,” said Florence.


“Hello, Florence and Dougal,” said Zebedee.

“Hello, Zebedee,” said Dougal and Florence.

“Hello, Zebedee, Florence and Dougal,” said Dylan.

“Hello, Dylan,” said Zebedee, Florence and Dougal.

“Dylan,” said Dougal.

“Yes,” said Dylan.

“I wonder if Florence is a virgin?”

“Drops ’em for sure,” said Dylan.


“That’s right enough,” said Zebedee.

“How do you know?” said Dylan. “You’re wound so tight you’ve clearly never had a woman.”


Zebedee ignored Dylan’s slur. “Half of Toytown has enjoyed her horizontal pleasures. Let’s face it, Noddy’s the biggest ram round here and he said he scored when they were in Hector’s house,” said Zebedee. “And Big Ears got his name when she pulled his face in so hard they stretched!”

“I can hear you,” said Florence. “It s not true. Noddy and I are just good friends. And Big Ears is just a gossip.”

“Rubbish”, said Dougal. “It’s all over the canteen. Everyone knows about you, you brazen hussy.”

“You lousy old flea-bag,” said Florence. “Call yourself a dog? I’ve seen better hair on a lavatory brush!”


“Now look here,” said Zebedee. “Things are getting out of hand. Let’s get back to the story-line!”

“It’s a crummy story anyway,” said Dylan stubbornly.


“No, it’s not,” said Zebedee commandingly.

“Who cares?” said Dylan dejectedly.

“Well, I like it,” said Florence, hopefully.

“Well that’s obvious!” said everybody, cockily.


“Now look,” said Zebedee, “let’s try and get it together.”

“Well, I’m not working for that fat-bat any more,” said Dougal. “I’m off to join the Flowerpot men.”

“Good riddance,” said Florence.

“Knickers!” said Dougal. “If you’ve still got any!”

“Ihat’s no way to talk to a lady,” said Dylan (knowing he’s on to a good thing).

“Some lady!” said Dougal.

“Oh, piss off,” said Dylan.

And so Dougal did, all over Florence.

“Thank you for sticking up for me,” said Florence.

“I’ll stick up for you anytime”, said Dylan, with a smile.

“Cheeky!” said Florence. She fluttered her eyelashes. “You know I’ve had a soft spot for you for a long time.”

“I’ve got just the thing for that soft spot,” said Dylan.

“Where do we go from here?”, said Florence.



And with that, we say “Time for bed” to A to Z for another year.


xxx-suffix.jpeg (605×328)

I thought that might catch your attention. Well just for that, you dirty minded perverts, you can keep reading !


The xenos knocked on the door. I opened it and observed a strange little man who clearly suffered from xanthodontous. He saw me looking and spoke, “The condition was caused xenogenously. I use saffron in the course of my work and it stains so terribly. I hope you are not disgusted.”

“Not at all,” said I, as I toyed nervously with the xenocryst hanging by the gold chain around my neck. Feeling rather guilty I asked him why he had strolled along my xystos to the portico of my home. He spoke not one more word, instead choosing to show me the xylopylography he had been working on – it was an intricate xiphoid design carved with a xyster and based on a similar design he had seen in a xyst in xylotypographic texts of ancient Greece. This was what inspired him, he said. He told me this would be one small piece in the large xylotypography he was working on. I asked where he had learned his craft and he told me he had xenoplastic encounter when he returned to his native Xuan Zang, which led him to study xylopylography and xylotypography. I found myself unable to speak, enthralled by the artistry of his xylotypes.   “I’m so sorry,” said I, you must think I am a xenopus. I am so rude!”

“not to worry,” he said. He sat x-legged and pulled a xylorimba from his bag, upon which he created wonderful music. I was enthralled, and being a being a xenophile, indeed verging on xenomania, I welcomed him into our home. My spouse, being the exact opposite to me and a severe xenophobe, merely glared in my direction and retired to our bed chambers.


I offer you these morsels of the 120+ words beginning with X in the modern English dictionary, for all you Scrabble players who dread the X.

Volks Wagen

Yes, I know, another double letter posting, but hey, who could resist the obvious here? After all, the VW Beetle was ubiquitous, until it wasn’t, and now it is again. The car of the 60’s hippy revolution and a rival to only the mini as the coolest car of all time. The original Beetle production ran for 65 years and 21,000,000 vehicles – making it the longest production run of a single vehicle type ever. The resurgence of the ‘new Beetle’ kick-started a swath of retro-designed vehicles including the Mini, Camaro, Mustang and ……. Oh my this is boring – if you wanted to read about VW Beetle production you could just go to Wikipedia, same as I can. You came here for wit and repartee. So, starting with VW, where can this go?

Well, of course Volks Wagen translates as People’s Car. Cheap transport for the masses. Hitler’s answer to the Model T Ford, and a prime example of the lack of creativity in the world of German engineering. I mean, nothing changed in 65 years? Was it that good to start off with? If you’ve ever driven a Beetle in winter, you know it was absolute crap. But then the Germans have a habit of sticking with the original formula – just look at the stablemate of the venerable Beetle, the Porsche 911. This is basically a sporty Beetle, and it has been in constant production, and constant evolution, since 1963, yet the thing has barely changed at all.

Germans have a knack for the basics, that’s obvious. They are a very logical people too. I tried to learn German once, very briefly. There’s a language built on solid footings and so full of logic it would make Spock proud. I remember something about second verbs going to the end of a sentence. I struggle to identify even the first verb. I can’t imagine a sentence with two verbs, let alone having to shove one to the end. Then they have three genders for words. I thought French was bad enough! English, being the mongrel language it is, ditched the masculine / feminine nonsense generations ago. Apparently German is closely related to English. So you will naturally understand the first German phrase I ever learned: es ist nicht schwarz, es ist blau. And that funky form of transport, the luftkissen. And who recalls the catchy strapline for the Audi ads – Vorsprung durch technic. I’m sure you’re all following along quite nicely. And to all the fraulines out there –  ICH LIEBE DICH!

Anyway, in the interests of European harmony, the EU recently issued an edict stating that English would become the standard language of Europe:

The European Commission has announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other contender. Her Majesty’s Government conceded that English spelling had room for improvement and has therefore accepted a five-year phasing in of “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make sivil servants jump for joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of the “k”, Which should klear up some konfusion and allow one key less on keyboards.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”, making words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e” is disgrasful.

By the fourth yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and everivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. ZE DREM VIL FINALI COM TRU!

Herr Schmidt

And that’s it for VW – I will just leave you with this snappy German threat to ponder via Google Translate:

ich rasiere dich ohne schaum!


We all know the old riddle: which came first, the chicken or the egg.

The more intriguing question is this:

Is the fruit named for the colour, or the colour named for the fruit? And why are there no rhymes for orange? It’s the strangest thing.

And what’s even stranger is that this website managed to find 29 facts about oranges. Weird. And in case you don’t feel like browsing over to some random website you’ve never heard of before, here are those 29 facts.

Pucker up and suck a navel.


1.) In Afghanistan, oranges are customarily used as a seasoning at the dinner table; oranges are squeezed over the food to help cut grease. (Not sure how this might go on fish n chips. I prefer vinegar myself)

2.) In Jamaica, people clean their floors with an orange cut in half; mechanics there use oranges to clean away grease and oil. (And leave behind a nice sticky mess)

3.) Spain has over 35,000,000 orange trees.

4.) In Switzerland, oranges are sometimes served smothered with sugar and whipped cream.

5.) Europeans sometimes eat oranges with knives and forks. (If you are Royalty)

6.) English children make “orange-peel teeth;” they wedge a piece of the peeling over their gums on Halloween. ( as a former English child I can categorically declare this fact to be untrue. I have never heard nor seen ‘orange peel teeth’)

7.) It wasn’t until after the Second World War that commercial orange-juice concentrate became available in America.

8.) Oranges were once considered the fruit of the gods; they were referred to as the “golden apples” that Hercules stole. (I heard that Diana often referred to Hercules’ ‘golden apples’ but I’m fairly sure she wasn’t referring to his oranges)

9.) The taste and aroma of oranges differ by season, county, state, and country, and even in the position in which it grew on the tree.

10.) The outside color of an orange has no absolute correlation with the maturity of the fruit and juice inside.

11.) Oranges were used in cosmetics by ladies of the French court in the 17th-century. (Sexy)

12.) The navel orange is one of the oldest varieties of oranges.

13.) About 25 billion oranges are typically grown in the United States each year.

14.) Not all orange varieties mature in the same season. Valencia matures in the spring and summer; the Washington Navel doesn’t ripen until the fall or winter.

15.) Although Florida is the leading orange producer in the United States, they produce very few Navel Oranges, one of the most popular varieties.

16.) Varieties of the Temple Orange and the Murcott Honey Orange are not true oranges. They are natural hybrids: half orange, half tangerine.

17.) Many orange varieties float when placed in water; very sweet varieties, however, sink to the bottom.

18.) In the 19th-century orange blossoms were regularly shipped to Paris in salted barrels, because no French bride wanted to be married without wearing or holding them.

19.) After Francis I saved Marseilles from a Spanish siege, the ladies of Marseillaise pelted him with oranges as a token of their love and gratitude. (Strange way to show affection, but each to his own)

20.) Temple Oranges were native to the Orient and thought to be sacred.

21.) Some oranges turn orange when they are still unripe; others turn to green again as they ripen.

22.) An orange tree in Europe referred to as the “Constable,” is said to be four hundred and eighty-eight years old.

23.) Lightning kills as many orange trees as any disease.

24.) 17th-century Frenchmen liked to pour orange juice over their roasted chestnuts (I’m seriously hoping this is actually a euphemism. So much funnier that way)

25.) Oranges and orange blossoms have long been symbols of love. (See 19 I guess)

26.) Many societies once believed that the worst thing that could happen to an orange tree was the touch of a woman, which — it was believed — would make the foliage wilt and drop. (Yet they are a symbol of love? Or just man-love? Or self-love?)

27.) Some ancient civilizations used the juice and peel of oranges as antidotes for innumerable poisons.

28.) Oranges were so esteemed in Florence that paintings of the fruit cover the ceilings of the Medici’s Pitti Palace.

29.) To make oranges a more appealing orange color, oranges are sometimes gassed. Some oranges are also dyed in a vat, dried, then coated in Johnson’s Wax. ( Mmmm so appetizing)


Ooooo, here’s your O my friends.


I spend a fair bit of time in Newfoundland. At least, this year it’s headed that way and likely from here on out, but we can’t ever know for sure. A few years back I was in Mississauga a dozen times in a year. And then it was Toronto, saaying in this swanky hotel steps away from the Air Canada centre. The hotel had huge black and white pictures over the beds – of half naked Raptors basketball players. I’ve a feeling the designer was gay. This was masculine art of men, not feminine art. Also the rooms have a glass walled shower that’s basically in the bedroom. Very nice if you’re sharing the room I guess. Kinda lost if you’re there alone. They also had the worst coffee machines – very art deco little espresso things. And a ‘personal hygiene’ kit in the drawer, which in a sexist was again made me assume the gay designer thing. Stereotypes are such aweful things.

And then there’s Newfoundland. Not a place you’d choose to be gay, for sure. This hotel was designed in the 1970’s I’m sure, and every single room has the same godawful picures – two doors on one wall, a fence on the other, a boat in the bathroom and a round mirror. Every single room is the same. Mrs Drew is questionning if I actually go away on these trips, wondering if instead I am in a studio somewhere on some clandestine secret agent mission, calling her via Facetime every night from the same set deep under a mountian somewhere. It would be nice if she’d assumed I was off having an affair, that maybe someone else might want me, but I guess I can live with the James Bond premise instead.

Newfoundland. The Rock. Not in a Dwayne Johnson, super-macho wholesome yet handsome kinda way. More in the barren wasteland set adrift in the cold North Atlantic kinda way. They tell you how ot pronounce the name when you land here. It’s Newf’n-land, rhyming with understand, not new-found-land. First time out, they also rope you into some archaic initiation ceremony to make you an honorary Newf’n-lander. They have you kissing a cod (they use tongues, too), slurping the moonshine hooch they call Screech, and chomping down on a bit of baloney. This part makes the fish interesting. There’s a rhyme too, about big jibs drawing, or something of the sort. I was drunk at the time. This island is also quite huge, largely deserted and spectacularly barren. Less than a half-million people live here, most clinging to the extreme east. It takes 10 hours to drive across to the western ferry terminal. 10 hours across bogs, moors and marsh. Barely a tree exists. There are way more Newfies off the island than on, a diaspora to rival the mirror image island off the coast of Great Britain. And they are always from here, wherever they are in the world. There seems to be some sort of magnetic attraction between Newfs. They spot each other across a crowded room. They know everyone on the island, and most of those who left. Some even chose to go back to retire, though God knows why given the appalling weather. Even today, 16 April, it was snowing, freezing cold at -4c and windy as can be. Bitter is an understatement. I saw a brass monkey crying as he hunted for his frozen assets.

I’ve been stuck here on more occasions than I care to remember. I wrote on this one time if you’re interested. People get stranded for all manner of reasons, largely because this is a terminus. Airlines don’t send planes unless they know they can get back out again. Shops run short on basic supplies because most stuff comes by boat, and this winter the ferries kep getting ice-bound, so nothing came in. Scurvy was a very real possibility for a while.

It’s good to travel, certainly. But just occasionally I would like to go somewhere where it is not winter for 10 months of the year. I’d rather stare at an artfully shot basketball player than a fence and a door, and if I’ve got the choice between showering whilst watching TV and having an over-bath curtain plastered to my ample form, you can guess which I’m going for.

Newf’n-land, I’ll never understand

What those other folk do see

When they sit awhile after tackling some August snow,

right up to their right knee


You kiss a fish, you chew the meat

You sign your wretched song

You shoot the screech and take a bow

Be thankful it didn’t take long


A to Z Challenge part N – past halfway now.

Jeux sans Frontiers


Hands up everyone who remembers ‘It’s a Knockout’ and the insane laughter of Stuart Hall, the now discredited presenter currently serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure for diddling young girls (but that’s a story for another day).

You likely also recall the international series (well, European) titled Jeux Sans Frontieres (games without frontiers).  For my ‘murican readers, It’s a Knockout / Jeux sans Frontieres was a slapstick style team game show. It was also the inspiration for the 1980s hit tune of the same name by Peter Gabriel. 

There are a lot of little known facts linked to this song. Whilst it takes inspiration from the game show and the Olympics, it is also an anti-war message (I sense an unplanned theme with my Imagine post). There is analysis aplenty all over the interwebs, some accurate, much likely not. I like to add my own little spin, as you may have gathered:

Jeux sans frontieres

Jeux sans frontieres

Jeux sans frontieres

Okay, yes, we get the title – although in the xenophobic ’80s most people thought Pete was singing ‘She’s so beautiful’

Hans plays with Lotte, Lotte plays with Jane

Jane plays with Willi, Willi is happy again

Suki plays with Leo, Sacha plays with Britt

Sounds like my kind of party. If Willi is happy, so am I. Sui and Leo sound like the only straight couple at the party which must have made them a little uncomfortable. Maybe that’s why they stuck to themselves. Mostly, the girls all swing both ways, which adds a little je ne sais quoi.

Adolf builts a bonfire, Enrico plays with it

And there are always a couple of nerdy geeks in the kitchen who do their own thing. Unless Pete had another euphemism in mind for ‘bonfire’ in which case Adolfo and Enrico had no need of Lotte, Jane, Sacha or Britt!

Whistling tunes – we hid in the dunes by the seaside

Whistling tunes – we’re kissing baboons in the jungle

It’s a knockout

Peeping toms and ass kissing? Maybe the party headed out to the beach to take advantage of some warm summer sunshine and skinny dipping? Hiding in the dunes might make sense if the day trippers are still out. Kissing baboons? I’m thinking we are back with Adolfo and Enrico playing their little games. Methinks Adolfo took one of the sticks from his bonfire and whupped Enrico til he had a butt like a baboon. Must be it.

If looks could kill, they probably will

In games without frontiers – war without tears

If looks could kill, they probably will

In games without frontiers – war without tears

Games without frontiers – war without tears

It seems Leo didn’t only want to play with Suki. He got quite friendly with Sacha and Britt. The meat to their sandwich, so to speak. And it was Suki hiding in the dunes and spying on the trio as they were howling like a bunch of baboons (sorry Adolf and Enrico. I misjudged you. You are just a pair of nerdy geeks with not a jot of passion between you). Suki naturally took offence and gave a particularly nasty stare to the trio before becoming a sulking Suki.

Jeux sans frontieres

Jeux sans frontieres

Jeux sans frontieres 

In case you forgot ….

Andre has a red flag, Chiang Ching’s is blue

They all have hills to fly them on except for Lin Tai Yu

Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games

Hiding out in tree-tops shouting out rude names

Yeah, I don’t have a funny line for Andre, Chiangmai Ching or Lin Tai Yu. Sorry. As for the costumes, well clearly the party took a swing for the even better. And ‘silly’ is a matter of interpretation. Nothing wrong with roleplay – ask Sacha and Britt ( they are my ‘naughty nurses’). Adolf and Enrico are really getting to me though, peeking at the adults and shouting out every name for the body parts they see in action. 

Whistling tunes – we hide in the dunes by the seaside

Whistling tunes – we’re kissing baboons in the jungle

It’s a knockout

Definitely a knockout for Adolf and his little friend. At the very least they will be baboon-like if they don’t just disappear. Back in the days of It’s a Knockout, children were seen  and not heard – which is quite probably how Stuart Hall got away with this disgusting activity in the first place!

If looks could kill, they probably will

In games without frontiers – war without tears

If looks could kill, they probably will

In games without frontiers – war without tears

Games without frontiers – war without tears

I’ve got news for you Peter. Games without frontiers do not make for an absence of tears. It’s all fun and games until it isn’t. There’s poor Suki, nursing the loss of her true love to those hussies Sacha and Britt. Adolf and Enrico certainly ended the night in tears sporting very realistic baboon bottoms, and the rest of the debaucherous crew may well wake tomorrow with sore heads and itchy bits.

Jeux sans frontieres

Jeux sans frontieres… 



And there’s your J. A day late, but better late than never.