“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.

Vanilla, anyone?

So here we are, the morning after the Valentine’s night before.  A night for romance, love, fine food and wine. And, like any good meal, dessert to finish. Now, I’m not always one for dessert straight after a ‘special dinner’ such as Valentine’s. Sure, I’ve been looking forward to dessert all day, but sometimes I might want to rest a while before diving in to the final bowl. And you know how it is. With all the build up and the planning, all the anticipation of the luscious end to a night filled with all the romantic trimmings. Yes, one or both of you fall asleep before the piece de resistance, the final movement, the climactic finale. Even worse, one of you is definitely up for dessert and the other is too full of the trimmings to want to finish the meal.

nothing wrong with vanilla

 And when you do get dessert, do you always want vanilla ice cream? Don’t get me wrong, I like ice cream as much as the next guy, but if you’re always served vanilla, even the richest, creamiest, sweetest vanilla you’ve ever tasted, just occasionally you might like to spice it up and throw a new flavour in there. But you bought the restaurant that makes the best vanilla ice cream in the world, and the pâtissière is the woman you love the most and would never hurt, not for anything, and certainly not for a brief taste of another ice cream flavour which is not her preferred (or, god forbid, her own). Back in the day, of course, we were happy to get any ice cream. As a young, free and single guy, I would take a bowlful whenever it was offered, and I’m not exactly proud to say, generally speaking I wasn’t too fussy ~ I would lick a bowl clean from whomever was offering. But in those days ice cream was not a common treat and our tastes change with age. So the investment was made, and we built a most amazing ice cream parlour, just the way we like it. When we started out we did experiment with lots of different flavours, as you do. And, again as you do, we fell into the routine of a regular bowl of vanilla (it’s nice to lick the bowl, but apparently licking a cone is less appealing for some reason).

What also doesn’t help is that we see recipes for all manner of ice cream flavours every day, what with the interweb assailing us in all directions. Facebook fiends will tell you about this amazing new ice cream parlour they tried, and there are plenty who claim to have tried thousands (‘claimed’). Social media (which surely is actually the most anti-social form of media) regails us with bawdy tales of the rich and famous caught at the flavour fountain, gorging on pistachio and mocha, walnut maple fudge with a chocolate stick shoved in the middle, or strawberry swirl lashed with thick straps of licorice laces. We hear about people every day who are open about their preference for a savoury snack for dessert, or those who take their ice cream differently to the rest. Even those who claim no interest in dessert whatsoever, and that’s all fine. It’s just that we never had this exposure to the richness of flavours when we were kids. Back then, the only hint of the flavours available came from the recipe books hidden at the back of the wardrobe.

who new Dad was such an ice cream afficianado?

Back then, there was rumour about the options available, and always some kid who claimed to have tasted the sweetness of freshest vanilla before anyone else was even thinking about dessert. Back then there were always ‘those girls’ who liked to share a bowl of their ice cream with the chosen guys (never me, but there were always rumours). Later there was rumour, only ever rumour, about the couples who liked to throw in an extra flavour burst from time to time. Stir in some chocolate maybe, or a lashing of whipped cream. The crushed nuts never appealed, but the suggestion of adding a pinch of spice, maybe a little cayenne to add some fire to the sweetness always lingered. But I never did. I chose what was right for me, and built my own ice cream parlour with my dearest milkmaid. And, for the most part, we seem to want dessert at about the same time. My tooth is sweeter, and she’s not always hungry, but she’s always willing to rustle me up a quick milkshake. So much better than the ones I make for myself.

And I’m happy, very happy to enjoy rich, creamy, sweet vanilla for the rest of my days. The flavour board sure is tempting though.