Tuesday, 30 July 2013

My Name Is Denise And Caterpillars Ate My Pak Choi

'Welcome to Live At the Hen House with me, Primrose Glade Indawood...' says Primrose.
'...and me, Daisy Chain Lovemelovemenot...' says Daisy.
'...and on today's show we have a very special guest, especially in the light of the exciting news of the last week regarding a certain baby...' says Primrose.
'What's that, then?' says Daisy. 'What baby? Cousin Tess hasn't been at it again, has she? How many  chicks is it now? 245? 246? Is she still with Dave? Is it Dave? I lose track, really I do...'

There is a slight scuffle and the camera man (actually Tango Pete, who is currently in training for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing and needs the extra cash for new spangly hotpants) winces as Primrose's microphone connects sharply with Daisy's ear.

'As my silly friend knows only too well, ahahahahahaha, I am referring to the new Royal baby, Wee George...'
'They've called him Wee?' says Daisy. 'We're going to have a King Wee?'
Primrose, the consummate TV professional, shoves Daisy off-camera with a subtle slight of wing, and continues stoically.
'And to continue the Royal theme, I'd like to welcome our guest today...Lady Malarkey!'

'I'm not Royalty,' I say, 'and what are you doing? Where did you get that enormous camera?'
'The enormous camera shop,' says Primrose. 'And the microphone, before you ask, came from Daisy's My Little Simon Cowell Pop Star Kit. Now, can you, for the purpose of the exercise, at least pretend to be Royal? We, that is the idiot white one and me, are trying to launch a new cutting edge chat show.'
'Well,' I say, 'I am visiting Buckingham Palace tomorrow.'
'That'll do!' says Primrose. 'Now, I need you to tell us about a scandal. Something awful that has happened to you, that has damaged you mentally but not physically, because we still want to be fed every day and because of our lack of prehensile thumbs we may have a problem getting the lid off the food bucket.'
'What?' I say. I have to say at this point I am being distracted somewhat from potential television stardom because I have another 6lbs of blackcurrants staring at me awaiting Something Useful To Be Done to them, but really, how many jars of jam does a pantry need?

'A scandal. We need a scandal. It'll pull up the audience figures,' says Primrose.
'And what is the current figure for your audience?' say I.
'Sightly round,' chips in Daisy, who is either wearing an enormous pair of earphones or doing a pretty ropey impersonation of Minnie Mouse. 'Too many doughnuts.'
Primrose persists. 'Scandal!' she snaps. 'Now!'

Primrose is a very demanding hen.

'I'm sorry,' I say. 'I can't think that I have done anything scandalous, per se. I am a fairly conservative and generally well-behaved person.'
'Okay,' says Primrose. 'What has happened so far today?'
I pause and think. 
'This isn't making great TV,' shouts Daisy, who is now stationed behind the camera with Tango Pete and probably causing a scandal of her own if the unnecessary giggling is anything to go by.
'Well, I got up, fed you and the cats, went and bought a newspaper, had breakfast, put in a load of washing, did the ironing from yesterday, did half an hour weeding in the front garden...' I begin.
'BORING!' shouts Primrose.
'...found three cucumbers in the greenhouse,' I continue. 'Oh, and some bloomin' caterpillars have eaten my pak choi.That was quite distressing.'
'Ah!' says Primrose. 'That sounds more promising. Is Tango Pete getting it, Daisy?'
'I should say so!' giggles Daisy.
'Oh good grief,' says I. A microphone dabs impatiently at my chin.
'So what is this 'pak choi'?' says Primrose. 'An exotic and rare orchid? A cherished plant passed down through generations of your Royal family and now gone forever leaving a scar on your heart?'
'It's cabbage. Basically.'
'Cabbage. Chinese cabbage. Good in stir fries.'

Primrose sighs. 'You're going to have to put a more exciting spin on this. No-one is interested in cabbage.'
'I am!' shouts Daisy. 'I love cabbage, me! Savoy, January King, Hispi, Wispi, Boilerhead and Dollop...'
'You made up those last three, didn't you?' I say.
'Yup!' says Daisy.
'Can we concentrate?' says Primrose, through gritted teeth. 'Please? Tell me more about this pak choi.'
'Okay,' I say. 'I found a packet of pak choi seeds which must have been a couple of years old. I thought, what the heck, never grown them before, like a stir fry, nothing to lose, pop 'em in the compost and see what happens.'

Primrose adopts a look of motherly concern.

'And what did happen?' she says. 'Once you had planted those withered seed tenderly in the finest compost money could buy? Did you nurture them day and night? Feed them, weed them, water them and sing to them?'
'No,' I say.
'That's marvellous,' sighs Primrose. 'And to no avail. All that input and not a green leaf in sight.'
'I ignored them,' I said. 'And four plants emerged. I was quite excited. A first for the Much Malarkey Manor greenhouse.'
'And then what happened?' said Primrose, her brain still scrambling for an unusual angle, like obtuse or reflex.
'They grew and grew and last week actually looked like the ones you buy in Sainsbugs for quite a lot of money for what is, essentially, a cabbage with an odd name,' I say. 'I thought, I must harvest thosepak  choi. They are ready for consumption.'

A light goes on in a little chicken brain...

'But you didn't, did you?' accuses Primrose. 'You left those precious pak choi to grow on. And what happened? Go on, tell the audience!'
'The butterflies came...' I say.
'Yes!' says Primrose. 'The butterflies came, ladies and gentlemen. The butterflies came and they laid their eggs and the eggs turned into caterpillars and then what, Lady Malarkey? What? What?'
'THE CATERPILLARS ATE MY PAK CHOI!' I sob, because this is what reality TV does to a sane person. It turns them into a snivelling, drivelling wreck with pak choi issues.

'Yes, ladies and gentlemen!' crows Primrose (well, didn't really crow, because that would be unnatural behaviour in a lady hen). 'Because of this lady's blatant horticultural neglect, CATERPILLARS ATE HER PAK CHOI!'

'All right,' I say, wiping my nose on a passing cat, probably Tybalt, but he and Phoebe are both black and white and furry so it is sometimes difficult to tell. 'You enjoyed them, though. Didn't you?'
'What?' says Primrose.
'Your elevenses,' I say, sensing an imminent table turning TV victory. 'Pak choi with caterpillar croutons.'
'We ate the caterpillar wrecked pak choi?' says Primrose.
'Yup,' I say. 'Only don't tell the Caterpillar Mummy at Countryside Tales. Or she'll come and getcha! Now kindly remove yourself and your scandal. I have a hippo to finish knitting.'


Countryside Tales said...

Now listen here Daisy and Primrose: eating caterpillars is Naughty Chicken Behaviour and Not To Be Repeated (even if the hippo knitting member of the Royal family didn't disclose the contents of your snack to you properly beforehand, thus robbing you of the chance to say "no thank you" like the polite hens I know you to be). I do have some nice flies you're welcome too if you are still hungry.....

Countryside Tales said...

And I know that should have been "too" with one "oo" before you accuse me of improper grammar usage, which would probably make a good subject for your second reality tv interview...

rusty duck said...

Oprah will be kicking herself for missing out on that one. Enjoy Buck House.

Denise said...

We do like flies, even though the crunchy bits get stuck in our teeth, but caterpillars are even nicer because they are soooo satisfying to 'Schlick' down. Nom, nom, nom. However, they are a rare delicacy so we can assure you that henceforth we shall stand back from the caterpillars.

Hugs from Daisy and Primrose

(P.S Denise says she forgives you the 'too, to' incident, but not the errant apostrophe in your post of today, because she is a tad OCD when it comes to correct apostrophe usage especially regarding pronouns.)

Jessica - Never mind Oprah...Jeremy Kyle is spitting feathers!

Countryside Tales said...

Oh Lord, where was that? I have been all through it and can't see it AT ALL. My husband will disown me as he is very hot on That Sort Of Thing

Countryside Tales said...

Ahh, I have found it (with husband growling over my shoulder,thank you). Obviously that was an error caused by speed of typing rather than a failure to comprehend the difference between "its" and "it's". Blimey, you can tell you're off to the Palace tomorrow, all this insistence on correct spelling and grammar... :-)

Denise said...

It is true - I am the Guardian of the Queen's Apostrophe.

The local window cleaner put a flyer through our letterbox on Monday - 13 spelling and punctuation errors! I am resisting the urge to set about it with my green marking pen so I can return it to him for corrections. (And if you were wondering, teachers aren't allowed to use red pen for marking any more - too aggressive, apparently. We have to use green or pencil. Mind you, I once worked in a school that insisted on lilac marking pens - figure that one out if you can!)

Countryside Tales said...

L, who is colour blind and therefore can not tell red from green, would thusly not be remotely concerned what colour pen were used. To be fair, also being a boy, he probably wouldn't care about the appearance of any marks on his work regardless of colour!
M would similarly go through said flyer and write corrections on, and be boiling about it all for days!

doodles n daydreams said...

I loved your post and also the exchanges in the comments.
I once, not so long ago, got a book out from the library and there were corrections in blue pen on almost every page. I can only put it down to a retired, frustrated English teacher. It rather took the enjoyment away from the story though.


Denise said...

I try not to be too teacherly, Diana, but sometimes I just can't help myself! Glad you enjoyed the post and exchange of comments- my fellow blogger at Countryside Tales is a worthy wit is she not?!