Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Tenth Day of Advent - and They're...OFF!!!

(Before we begin this evening, the management need to inform the guests that our storytelling for today is passed to the most admirable Mrs Miggins, because our resident and official storyteller, Lady Malarkey herself, is currently inconvenienced by a bit a listhp, because she is all tanked up with local anaesthetic after a visit this afternoon to the dentist. She thays that thshe has never ever felt a dental anaesthetic reach her eyeball before and it ith not an exthperienth thshe wanths to repeat. Having thaid that, thshe ith very imprethed with her new dentitht chappie, who theems very profithient and ith altho a bit of cor blimey eye candy being a bit dark, brooding and mythteriouth-like. And now, if you'd excuth her, she needs to go and mop up the dribble and wait for the feeling in her faisth to return...

'...and so it falls to me, dear readers, to relay the story featuring the winner of the 'Name the Reindeer' competition,' said Mrs Miggins, who had escaped the undivided attentions of Turtle Dave and Colin Bird by setting them to do useful things around the Manor, like unsqueak door hinges, sort out that drippy tap in the 'Monet's Waterlilies Bathroom Suite' in the West Wing and fetch the Christmas decorations from the attic and check all the lights were still working. 

'Ooooh,' says Daisy, 'I've been very excited about the 'Name the Reindeer' competition. In fact, I put in an entry myself, even though I wasn't really allowed to because I am directly involved with the main judge in that I lay her an egg for her breakfast every morning.'

'And what did you decide the reindeer were called?' says Primrose.

'Doe, Ray, Mi, Fart, Sew, Laaaaaaaa, Tea and other Doe, ' says Daisy. 'And Kurt.'

'Probably just as well you weren't expecting to win,' says Primrose.

'Picture the scene,' said Mrs Miggins. 'We are in Nazareth...'

'Are we?' said Turtle Dave.

'Please DO NOT interrupt me for the next half an hour,' snapped Miggins. 'I am charged with delivering an important piece of information. I shall not have my flow impeded. Have you fixed that drip yet?'

'Yes,' said Turtle Dave. 'Can I go and put the kettle on?'

'Yes,' said Mrs Miggins. 'Now shush....ahem...we are in Nazareth. Thousands of visitors are pouring into the centre of the city...'

'For the World Cup?' said Turtle Dave. 'No, for the Olympics. I like a bit of sport, I do...'

'So do I,' huffed Mrs Miggins. 'Mostly Short Distance Turtle Shooting.'

'Point taken,' said Turtle Dave, shuffling off to the kitchen.

'...and there is a frisson of excitement in the air. A carnival atmosphere, if you will. Most have come to register for the census, but there is another reason why so many have come to this great city. And that is that the census happens this year to coincide with the tri-annual reindeer races. How convenient is that, dear readers? Eh? Eh???'

Mrs Miggins paused and took a sip of gin. 'You see, each year reindeer race trials happen, and every three years, three teams compete for the ultimate prize - to pull Santa's sleigh for the special night of Christmas Eve.'

'And who were the three reindeer teams for this particular year?' said Colin Bird, appearing suddenly behind Mrs Miggins with an oil can.

'Well,' said Mrs Miggins, 'here I shall put on my commentator's hat and wibble-wobble myself back in time....'

(Cue Mrs Miggins putting on a hat and going all wibbly wobbly and appearing back in time and place...the City of Nazareth...the First Nowell...'

'Good evening,ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the tri-annual Reindeer Race!' said Mrs Miggins, looking very fetching in a checked flat cap and holding a very large microphone to her beak.

The crowd went wild! There was whistling and cheering and much a-stomping of feet.

'And here are the three competitors!' said Mrs Miggins, waving her wing impressively in the direction of the arena entrance where there appeared great clouds of dust, and much noise akin to the honking and snorting of many over-excited reindeer.

'First,' shouted Mrs Miggins, 'from South East England - Olly's Octet - Reckless, Feckless, Hopeless, Dastard, Darcey, Len, Craig and Bruno! Let's hear it for the Essex Gang!'

The first team drove into the arena, with Olly the Awesome looking relaxed and in charge at their helm.

'Secondly, from New Zealand, land of lushness and greenness and more sheep per head than any other country in the world - Diana's Dashers! Let's hear it for Trev, Barry, Hemi, Gazza, Shirl, Darl, Lofty and Blue, with Noel in reserve just in case Lofty's knee gives out.'

And the Kiwi team cantered into the arena, Diana steering them with skill whilst, very impressively, standing on her head.

'And last,' shouted Miggins, 'but not least, from Hampshire in the South of England - Team CT! Margaret, Timothy, Robert, Eleanor, Scarlet, Bob, Harold and Crimblebum!'

'Crimblebum?' says Primrose.

Daisy shrugs. 'Words fail me,' she says.

And Team CT hover into the arena, pulling a sleigh in the shape of a giant moth!

'And as the three teams take their places at the starting line,' said Mrs Miggins, 'our guest of honour, Santa Claus himself, arrives to start the race using the traditional hollow reindeer antler...the starter is holding them all back...they're all jostling for position...Santa raises the horn...and...they're OFF!! And immediately Diana's Dashers take the lead with Team CT close behind. Olly's Octet seems to be settling in behind for the moment as they take the first bend...and it's Team CT who have the advantage coming out of the bend with the Dashers losing their initial lead. As they take to the straight on the approach to the first jump, Chimney Pot Leap, Olly's Octet is making some ground. Yes! Olly's Octet is drawing level, but Team CT isn't giving up easily as they take the first jump...and it's Team CT who lands first...and they're on to the second jump, Rooftops, and it's Diana's Dashers suddenly appearing from behind...look at those reindeer go...and they take Rooftops and it's on to Slates and Tiles, a bit slippery at the best of times...and they take the fence together...there is little to separate these three magnificent teams...on to jump numbers four and five - Starlight and Starbright - and as they thunder into the home straight it's Team CT leading by a nose, with Olly's Octet nudging her rear and Diana's Dashers pushing for a home advantage...and as they approach the line at Christmas Bend they are all neck and neck - this is one of the most exciting races for, ooooh, at least 3 years...and they are 50 yards from the finish...thirty yards...ten....and IT'S A DEAD HEAT!! Never before in the history of the Reindeer Challenge have we seen a dead heat!'

(Mrs Miggins pauses at this point and has a bit of a breather in the form of a frappacino and a chocolate muffin.)

'And it looks like Santa is coming in with the results,' said Mrs Miggins. 'And the crowd become still and hushed, waiting to hear what the great man has to say...'

'Ahem!' said Santa, tapping the microphone in that way that makes sound technicians grimace. 'The photograph on the line has shown this year's race to be a dead heat. And so I have decided to pick this year's Christmas Eve Special from each of the participating teams. So, from Team CT, it's Timothy and Margaret (because Denise has both an aunt Margaret and an uncle Timothy.)  From Diana's Dashers, I select Gazza and Blue (because Denise's family dog was called Blue) and from Olly's Octet, the winning reindeer are Feckless and Hopeless (because they are the names of two of the cows in Cold Comfort Farm, one of Denise's best ever and most favourite novels of all time.)

'What about the other two reindeer?' shouted someone from the crowd, who could have been Daisy. 'You need eight to pull a sleigh!'

'True, true,' said Santa, 'so to make up the eight I have chosen two reindeer from another entry from a Daisy Malarkey, and those two reindeer are Tea, because we all like a cuppa, and Fart, because we may need a following wind with tonight's weather conditions.'

'HURRAH!' shouted the someone from the crowd, who very likely was Daisy. 

And so the special team was assembled, made up from reindeer trained by some very special Much Malarkey Manor people. And the news was relayed to Denise, whose face was now merely a bit tingly and not completely numb-bum as it was a couple of hours ago. 

'What?' she said. 'You mean, none of my reindeer were chosen? What about Widdecombe, Stella or Figaro? Or Lavender, Piggy or Pamplemousse? I don't know, Mrs M, I leave the story telling to you for one evening and this is what happens....'

Mrs Miggings sighed. 'There's no pleasing some people,' she said. 'I blame the anaesthetic.'


Olly said...

That has made me roar! A very diplomatic decision - I am thrilled that Hopeless and Feckless (yes,I thought you'd recognise them - and it is a fabulous book isn't it) have made it into the team. Brilliant writing - I can't wait for the next instalment!

I hope your face is feeling better.
PS How did you know I was from Essex - I thought I hid it so well :)

rusty duck said...

What, no Steward's Enquiry? Even though there was nudging of the rear?

doodles n daydreams said...

Absolutely hilarious. I'm thoroughly enjoying this tale. I can't wait for the next installment. Yes a very diplomatic decision, haha.
Hope your face/teeth are better soon.


Countryside Tales said...

I loved it too! Marvellous that all our reindeer are now famous. You do make me laugh. Hope the eyeball has recovered x

Denise said...

I am glad you all enjoyed this episode - p'raps I should hand over to Miggins more often! Of course, if she was still with us (God bless her) she would have been insufferable today with all the praise!

My face is back to normal! Given it was just a quick filling, the dentist used a lot of anaesthetic. Still, better safe than screaming and hitting the rafters.

(Olly, I know you are from just across the border because I sometimes frequent the Omlet forum!! And Jessica, there was a steward's enquiry! All will be revealed in today's episode!!!