Monday, 9 December 2013

The Ninth Day of Advent (is that all? Sheesh!) - Odd Shepherds Doing Odd Things

'I think,' said Tango Pete, 'that we need another clue to help us on our way. What's the next line of 'The First Nowell, Mrs Pumphrey?'

Mrs Pumphrey unfolded the crumpled paper containing the lyrics to The First Nowell. 'Well,' she said, 'we've consulted Harold Angel, fat good that did us, so...'was to certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay...' is the next line.'

'I heard that!' said Harold Angel. 'I may not have come up with any directly positive contributions to where we can find the Last No L but if you believe in the String Theory, then my very presence in this story is contributing to the overall chain of events which, I believe, will lead us to a positive outcome.'

'What's he talking about, 'String Theory'?' said Merrily Onhigh. 

'String Theory,' said Harold Angel, 'is a scientific process which explains to your average non-scientific lay person that all events that occur in the Universe are inextricably linked and that one process cannot further develop unless a previous event has happened.'

'Are you sure?' said Tango Pete, who had a degree in particle physics and was on the Christmas card list of Brian Cox, eminent and floppy-haired top-science person. 

'Yes!' said Harold. 'Why, unless is was the theory of stringing things together, would it be called 'String  Theory?' 

'I like Cheesestrings,' said Santa. 'I know I shouldn't, because they go against everything that is cheese, but I do.'

'What is 'string theory'?' says Daisy.

'I have no idea,' says Primrose. 'Shall we ask Andy? He's a scientist. ANDY!!!!!'

'Yes?' says Andy, emerging from the kitchen where he is making banana and strawberry muffins. No, really, he is at this VERY moment (4.40 p.m) making banana and strawberry muffins. 

'What's 'string theory'?' says Primrose.

'Ah,' says Andy, taking up a comfy position on the sofa, which usually means we are in for a protracted answer, 'well, what it is, is...............blah, blah, blaaaaaah, blah, blah......'

'Are you glazing over?' says Primrose to Daisy.

'Fraid so,' says Daisy. For it is a well-known fact that lady hens have not a scientific bone in their bodies.

'Do you know where we can find some shepherds, Santa?' said Mrs Pumphrey.

'Yes, I do!' said Santa. And he tugged hard on the reins of the reindeer (whose real names will be revealed tomorrow; contain your excitement everyone!) and the sleigh shot off across the sky.

They travelled for what seemed like a matter of mere minutes (which are like meerkats, only without the insurance) and then Santa pointed downwards. 'There!' he said. 'That's the place we are after,' and he began to guide the sleigh downwards, landing softly on a grassy plain in the middle of a mountainous landscape. 

The gang of intrepid explorers stepped from the sleigh, stretching their various limbs and wings.

'Where are we?' said Mrs Pumphrey. 

'Just outside Bethlehem,' said Santa, taking off his slippers and pulling on his boots, for the ground was very stony. 

'THE Bethlehem?' said Mrs Pumphrey.

'Indeed,' said Santa. 'I thought it would be the very best place to find shepherds. And,' he said, glancing around, 'I think we shall find them just over...there!'

Everyone followed the direction which Santa indicated. Tango Pete squinted. 'I can see some luminous pink lights,' he said. 

'And I can hear clucking,' said Mrs Pumphrey.

'And I,' said Harold Angel, who had already begun moving towards the mysterious luminous pink lights, 'have just trodden on an egg.'

All moved forward as one, and as they moved forward, the clucking grew louder and the luminous pink grew pinker and...

'I want to watch ITV!' said a voice that sounded very much like Mrs Betty Slocombe. 'It's the Eggs Factor Semi-Final.'

'You know what will happen, don't you?' responded a second voice which sounded very much like Mrs Poo. 'I shall tell you what will happen. That pesky Angel of The Lord will come down AGAIN and switch over to BBC. You know how she likes watching Strictly Come Prancing, and you were a fool to let her have the remote control.'

'That was a mistake,' said Mrs Slocombe (for yea verily, 'twas she indeed). 'She caught me unawares. I was washing the socks, remember. It is very tricky to hang onto a remote control when you have wet wings.'

And the scene was revealed thus: two hens, dressed in luminous pink candlewick dressing gowns with tea-towels tied to their heads, having a right old ding-dong argument in the best of 'what-shall-we-watch- on-TV-at -Christmas' tradition. 

'Why are they wearing dressing gowns and tea towels?' says Daisy.

'Best the costume department could muster at such short notice,' says Primrose.

'Excuse me!' said Harold Angel. 'But would you happen to know where we can find the Last No L?'

'Betty...Mrs Poo...what are you two doing here?' said Mrs Pumphrey.

'Well, about time too,' said Mrs Poo. 'We thought you'd never turn up. Have you any idea how chilly it's been laying eggs out here in this field?'

'Yes,' said Mrs Slocombe. 'It's been very exposing. I'm not used to alfresco living. And of course we don't know where to find the Last No L. If we did we would have told you before we left Much Malarkey Manor to come and take part in this ridiculous Advent Story idea of Denise's. Has she reached a state of disillusionment yet? Can we skip straight to Christmas Eve and have done?'

'Unfortunately not,' said Mrs Pumphrey. 'You know full well that once she gets the bit between her teeth she rarely gives up.'

'She could make an exception with this bit,' grumbled Mrs Poo. 'Can we come with you lot now? If I have to stay one more night in this field delivering any more of this ridiculous script, I may well lose the plot completely.'

Mrs Pumphrey sighed. 'I suppose so,' she said. 'Hop aboard.'

So they all piled aboard the sleigh.

'Where to next?' said Santa.

'Ah,' said Mrs Pumphrey, who was holding the results of the 'Name the Reindeer' competition very close to her plumage. 'Now that would be telling!' 


Countryside Tales said...

Are you starting to regret it lovely friend? If so, I shall issue a loud and booming : KEEP GOING! from all the way over here in Hampshire. It's staple reading now. In fact, I was wondering whether I could persuade you to keep writing it FOR EVER so I never need stop..... Too much? X

Denise said...'s okay! As long as I start no later than early evening, I can do it. Just had a couple of late days, that is all, and been a bit tired so there has been a teeny-tiny bit of huffing and puffing and 'Why did I start this???'

But I know roughly where the story is going now, which helps enormously when one is writing mostly by the method known as 'winging it,' and all should be well! Only 15 more instalments....if Dickens can do it, so can I!

Vera said...

Keep going Denise. Your imagination is magnificent!

Olly said...

I'm loving it - please don't stop!

Denise said...

Thank you, Vera! Is it imagination, though, or more a disturbed state of mind????

Olly, fear not! I cannot and shall not abandon Mrs Pumphrey, Tango Pete et al in a far off land in a sleigh, nor shall I leave Mrs Miggins to a Christmas with just Turtle Dave and Colin Bird for company, especially as they will both be asleep in front of the fire by 2.30 just as Miggo wants to crack open the board games and jellied orange and lemon segments!

doodles n daydreams said...

I'm glad you're not stopping, this is nail biting stuff. A lot of fun :)


Denise said...

Well, Diana, I have never had my writing referred to as 'nail-biting' before! I almost feel like I have to frame your comment and hang it on my review wall!! Glad you are enjoying the story! X