Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Eighteenth Day of Advent - A Find Romance With These Chickens

The sun was rising and Santa had put his sleigh down in a nice little town, location undetermined but could be somewhere like Chester, or Hereford, or Norwich, or Bath, you choose because I expect you've all got your favourites whichever part of the world you are in. The intrepid explorers were looking for a good place to have a hearty breakfast because it is hungry work following stars and suchlike, and they didn't want to arrive at the castle of King Wenceslas with rumbly tummies.

Following their noses, they soon found a little cafe open for breakfast. The cafe owner was surprised to see such a motley crew of characters arriving so early in the morning, but she assumed they were a group of university students getting up to university japes and set to cooking eggs and bacon, crumpets and toast, and even a pan of kedgeree. 

As they ate, Harold Angel couldn't help but notice that Tango Pete was being especially quiet. He seemed pensive and faraway, like a Romantic poet sitting atop a rain-lashed mountain, mist gathering around his enormous frilly shirt and hanging like gossamer in his bouffant curls.  

He nudged Tango Pete. 'Are you all right, old friend?' said he. 'You seem somewhat distracted, like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower, uncertain upon which to land, caught up in the heady perfume of each blossom and its uniquely scented glory.'

Tango Pete sighed. 'I am distracted,' he said. 'My head is muzzy, like it is filled with the softest cotton wool that is freshly fluffed to grace the delicate cheek of the highest born lady with the finest cosmetics, a lady whose face was ne'er burned by the sun, remaining that delicate porcelain sheen of palest pale...'

'Oh good grief!' exclaims Primrose. 'Just get on with it, will you?'

'Hush,' says Daisy. 'He is being romantic. He is building up to a revelation concerning a delicate matter of the heart. You can't rush these things, you know.'

'Well, I wish he'd get a bit of a shift on,' says Primrose. 'I've got a bath running. My window of opportunity for story-listening tonight is bijou.'

'...and my heart is under the most magical of spells,' continued Tango Pete. 'I can neither think, nor concentrate, nor organise my mind into any semblance of order to do what is it I know I must do before all hope for my future happiness  is lost.'

'And what is that?' said Harold. 'What is it that you must do?' 

Tango Pete lowered his voice. 'I must propose marriage to the most gorgeous hen in all Christendom,' he whispered. 'I must secure the admirable and delectable Gloria Pumphrey for my wife.'

'Thank goodness for that,' said Harold. 'There was me worrying that another piece of featherage had caught your eye and you'd abandoned Mrs Pumphrey altogether.'

'Never!' declared Tango Pete. 'She is my muse, my light, my angel, my goodness! But before I propose I need to find an engagement ring befitting her great, bumptious beauteousness, her glorious gloriousness, her voluminous voluptuousness.'

'Steady on there, old chap,' said Harold. 'It's barely 9 in the morning.'

Tango Pete stood up suddenly. 'Then I must hie me to a jewellers immediately. I cannot let another day pass for if I do my resolve will melt like that snowman out there.'

'What snowman?' said Harold, glancing out the window on a day that was proving to be remarkably clement for the time of year.

'You see!' said Tango Pete. 'It's vanished already! There is no time to lose. Come with me, dearest Harold. Help me choose the jewel that will secure my true love.' 

'Will you please keep the noise down at that end of the table,' said Merrily, glancing up from where she, Mrs Pumphrey and Santa were hunched over the Guardian cryptic crossword. 'We are trying to concentrate here.'

'Just going out!' declared Tango Pete. 'Back soon!'

And he and Harold emerged from the shop into the High Street of the undetermined town (although I am beginning to favour Norwich.)

The two friends headed towards the best jewellery shop in town - 'Glam Rocks - For All Your Glitz and Bitz Needs.' Inside, they were met by a lovely pink lady pig.

'Hello,' she said. 'My name is Pearl B. Foreswine. How can I help you?'

'We're looking for an engagement ring,' said Tango Pete.

'Something glamorous yet tasteful,' said Harold. He held out his wing and wiggled a feather in a dramatic sort of way, and immediately Pearl slipped a ring sizer on him.

'I'd say you are a size 'N',' she said.

'It's not for me,' said Harold, whipping his wing away. Pearl looked at Tango Pete, her eyebrow raised in an arch of questioning.

'Nor me!' said Tango Pete. 'Well, it is, but not for him...we're not...not...a's for my soon-to-be fiancée, Mrs Pumphrey.'

'Oh, I see,' said Pearl. 'Well, one can't assume anything these days, you know. What size would you say your fiancée was?'

Tango Pete looked a little confused. 'Well, she is a bit top-heavy I suppose but...'

Pearl sighed and smiled. 'Not that size,' she said. 'Her ring size.'

'Oh,' said Tango Pete. 'She's a P.'

'That's handy,' said Harold. 'P for Pumphrey!'

Anyway, confusion over and relationships firmly established, Pearl set about laying trays of engagement rings before Tango Pete, listening carefully to his description of Mrs Pumphrey so she could show him the most suitable options.

They eventually narrowed the choice of rings to five.

'Five gold rings,' said Harold Angel. 

'Who'd have thought?' said Tango Pete. He studied all the rings carefully, and eventually made his choice. The ring was placed in a velvet lined box, which was in turn tied with a pink ribbon and placed carefully in a bag. Tango Pete handed over his credit card, and he and Harold bade farewell to Pearl B. Foreswine, and stepped into the street.

'I wonder what the 'B' stood for?' said Tango Pete.

'Bodicea,' said Harold. 'And I got her number, too!' And he winked broadly at Tango Pete, who wished he had half the romantic bravado of his friend, because thoughts of the now imminent proposal were making him feel very anxious indeed. 

'So,' said Harold, as they made their way back to the cafe to find the others and continue their journey, for yea verily it was but one week now until Christmas Day and there was still heaps to get through, 'when are you going to pop the question?'

'Tomorrow evening,' said Tango Pete, determinedly. 'I shall ask Santa if we can stop off somewhere romantic and I shall ask my beloved for her wing in marriage tomorrow.'

'I thought you were going to ask Mrs Pumphrey,' said Harold.

'Oh, hahahah ahahahahaha!' said Tango Pete, giving his friend a friendly roister-doister shove that caused him to fall off the pavement. 


rusty duck said...

I need to know more about these complicated domestic arrangements. We have a Mrs Miggins with no Mr, and now a Mrs Pumphrey on the verge of becoming a bigamist. It sounds like it's a chicken's life.

Denise said...

The hens are, in fact, all spinsters of this parish, Jessica. When Mrs Miggins and Mrs Bennett first arrived at Much Malarkey Manor seeking board and lodgings, they thought it would be better if they presented themselves as respectable lady widows and therefore referred to themselves as such. They confessed as much to me over a bottle of Baileys and some Jaffa Cakes one evening.

It appears it is a peculiarly hen thing - the only one who has been married is Mrs Poo, and that, I believe, was something to do with a visit to Las Vegas and combination of too much gin, a heavy win on the roulette wheel and a dashing Polish Viscount. It didn't last. We don't talk about it.

Hope this clears things up. Mrs Pumphrey is free to marry, no bigamist she. She's a good girl, she is. Mrs Miggins has never felt any inclination to wed; she says it would only make twice as much work for her plus the last Rolo in the packet is always the best one.

Countryside Tales said...

A Christmas wedding! Just what the doctor ordered. Marvellous! I have been telling all my college chums about this story, they are terribly impressed. X

Denise said...

You are too, too kind! Would you like to be my agent??? X