Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Slocombe of the Antarctic

'It's no good...I can't stand it any more!! I have to get out...' shouts Captain Bingo Slocombe.
'Don't be stupid, Bingo!' says General Beakslapper Miggins. 'Listen, old chap, it's treacherous out there. I know we've been trapped for four days now, but we've got to sit it out.'
'But I can't breathe! Oh, the claustrophobia!!' yells Cpt Slocombe.
'Would a slap around the beak help you breathe better, Bingo?' says General Miggins.
'Rather unnecessary, don't you think, Captain?' says Corporal Chuffer Pumphrey, ever the peacemaker.
'Too late!' shouts General Miggins, and delivers a swift slap to the twitchy beak of Bingo Slocombe, who responded thusly -'Ouch! Bloomin' ouch, sir!!'

General Miggins sighs and leaves Corporal Pumphrey to administer a bread poultice to Captain Slocombe's slightly pink beak. She turns back to her diary and records the events of the last few days.

'General's Log, 21st December, the Year of Our Lord 1910. Minus 11 here last night, this being the lowest temperature recorded since 1823, so Granny says. Four days trapped in the tent, blizzards raging outside. We've taken in a moose for extra warmth, but food is running short and not a Harrod's delivery boy in sight.
Bingo's starting losing it. Snow blindness and signs of mental incapacity are obvious, which cannot bode well for future generations of her line. Stupid fool stuck her beak through the tent flap this morning and thought she spotted a patch of fresh greenery. The Corporal and I had to pin her down before she did something stupid. Well, more stupid than usual.'

General Miggins looks up. Bingo seems calmer now; she's eaten most of the bread poultice. After tucking Bingo safely into the moose's armpit for extra warmth, Corporal Pumphrey approaches.

'How much longer do you think, sir?' she says.
'Who knows, Corporal, who knows?' says the General. 'Could be days, could be weeks.'
'Unlikely to be back in Blighty for Crimbo then,' says Corporal Pumphrey.
'Doesn't look like it, Chuffer,' says General Miggins. 'But we'll get through this, I know we will. Even though we've only got half a tin of pilchards and three Jacob's crackers left for rations.'
'Share a pipe and a waffle?' says Chuffer.
'Don't mind if I do,' says General Miggins.

A companionable silence falls across the tent; an uncompanionable fug settles in the air as Beakslapper and Chuffer share a companionable pipe of Old Harry's Rough But Smooth.

They don't see Captain Bingo Slocombe emerge from the moose's armpit and look around. They don't hear her commando crawl along the side of the tent and open the flap a smidge to look out into the blinding white landscape that has surrounded them for over a week now.

'There!' whispers Bingo to herself. 'I was right. There is a patch of greenery out there. Grass and moss if I'm not mistaken. If I could get over to it, I could bring it back, share it with the other chaps. A spot of salad to go with the pilchards...'

She looks around. The General and the Corporal are deep in conversation, something about hanging tin foil balls from the moose's antlers as a substitute Christmas tree. She edges closer to the tent flap and recces the scene. Slip through the flap, jump onto the wheelbarrow handle, then fling herself across the patch of snow and under the garden table to that temptingly delicious patch of green.

'I may be gone some time,' she whispers, though none hear her. And she is gone.

But not for long, as it was. I saw this black feathery object fling itself across the snow from the door of the greenhouse in one graceless bound, having launched itself from the wheelbarrow handle which was parked conveniently just outside the greenhouse, and I saw the black feathery object land under the garden table where it spent five minutes smugly eating some ratty looking grass, before realising it was flipping cold and she'd rather be back inside the greenhouse with the other girls but her path was barred by a snow drift and no way was she strutting herself through that.

So Andy went outside and after a little to and fro dodging game, rugby-tackled Mrs S and deposited her back in the greenhouse.

I wonder what Bingo would have thought of that.

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