Monday, 28 May 2007


There will be no more posts in the burrow or the arena for the next ten days.

Anticant is heading for the Italian Lakes, seeking a week of lazy days, warm breezes, sunshine, scenery, boating, and scrumptious food [not to mention copious draughts of local wine].

He will be accompanied by the burrow's resident artist, lavenderblue, bearing her paintbox, in search of new scenic murals to decorate the burrow and other favourite haunts.

The stalwart boldscot/merkin will complete the trio of intrepid travellers - so expect some highly-coloured - if not lurid - accounts of our peregrinations in due course.

"Three Men in a Boat" will be nothing to it......

Thursday, 24 May 2007


ben trovato says:

Police farce

Well if we had ID Cards, this type of thing would never happen, would it?

Wednesday, 23 May 2007


Lavenderblue having successfully begged mercy for the Trousers twins, everyone was sitting around the Snug enjoying a potent nightcap – treble Pink Gins for Dame Barbara – when a bedraggled Beadle lurched in through the door, and recounted his adventures at the Duckpond. He had been flabbergasted to find that the ringleader of Lavvyblue’s and his abduction was the burrow’s newly appointed Chief Cashier, Paul Wolfie, who hysterically accused them of stealing the keys to his precious box which, he said, contained the source of his malign power. Although they had protested their innocence, he had stormed off into the forest swearing revenge. Lavender had then made her escape, and the Beadle had been released by Miss Marple.

That lady herself now arrived, and triumphantly produced the bunch of keys from her handbag. It was unanimously agreed to open the Box, which Ben and the Beadle carried down from Wolfie’s room. It was made of ornately carved wood, strengthened with iron bands, and upon its lid was inscribed in golden letters: “I HOLD THE MYSTERY OF THE UNIVERSE”.

As Anticant cautiously turned the key, everyone craned forward. He lifted the lid.

The Box was empty.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007


“Leaving the burrow after being briefed by Anticant and Ben about the missing Lavenderblue and Beadle, I made my way along the towpath for a couple of miles until I came to the lock keeper’s cottage, where the lock keeper’s wife – a chatty, homely body – told me that earlier that day she had seen a young lady answering to Lavender’s description being escorted through the lock and then paddled away up the tributary stream by a near-naked kayaker. A couple of hours later, the Beadle had come puffing along and she had pointed out to him the route they had taken, whereupon he galloped off at a smart pace towards the Yellow Duck Pond.

“Armed with this information, I myself proceeded more sedately in the same direction until I was alerted by the quacking chorus that I was within a few yards of the pond. Peering discreetly around the edge, I chanced upon the entrance to a large cave, cunningly concealed in the undergrowth. This, I assumed, was the Pirate’s Lair, so I moved towards it with the utmost caution.

“Peering in through the entrance, I thought at first that the cave was empty – but then I dimly discerned the figure of a man trussed up with ropes and tethered to a large stake in the middle of the cave. Tiptoeing towards him warily, I extracted my manicure scissors from my handbag and cut him free. ‘Bless you, Maa’m', said the Beadle [for it was he], ‘those villains have drunk all the brandy and made off with Miss Lavvyblue and Wooffie, saying that they would return and dispose of me later. Thank heaven you got here first.’

“ Telling the Beadle to return to the burrow with the utmost speed, I searched carefully around for clues as to the whereabouts of Lavenderblue, but found nothing although there were signs of a struggle at the water’s edge. Fearing the worst, I wandered slowly through the forest ruminating on the parameters of this mystery. As I did so, I beheld a crouching figure which I at first feared might be a wolf but which turned out to be a human Wolfie, crawling around the ground and mumbling to himself about lost keys. I concealed myself behind a tree – and behold! there were the keys on the ground at my feet. Divining from what Wolfie had said that the strange Box might well hold vital clues to the whole affair, I quickened my pace and returned to the burrow to report my suspicions to Anticant and Dame Barbara….."

Sunday, 20 May 2007


Dame Barbara has pronounced herself so charmed by the burrow, its inhabitants and environs, that she has embarked upon her one hundred and umpteenth Romantic Blockbuster which is to be entitled: Bewitched in the Burrow. The plot so far:

Lavenderblue Pantaloons, a simple young girl, has been sent by her mother to visit her old Grandpapa, Paul Wolfie, at Anticant’s Burrow. She sets out eagerly along the river bank, anticipating a chaste embrace from dashing young Ben Trovato on her arrival.

Traversing the towpath, she is hailed from the water by the Naked Kayaker, aka Zo-Zo Bare, who offers her a lift. Forgetful of her mother’s injunction never to canoodle with strange men, LavvyB steps gaily into the kayak and is whisked off down a tributary of the stream to the Pirate’s Lair, which is situated on a Yellow Duck Pond. Their arrival is greeted by an excited chorus of quacking marine bipeds.

Meanwhile, at the Burrow, the overdue appearance of Little LavvyB is causing concern. Her evil Grandpa, who is privy to the abduction, is dismissive of the others’ fears; but the Burrow Beadle, who has dandled Little LavvyB on his knee since she was a tiny tot and is her devoted admirer, insists on setting forth to ascertain her whereabouts. Girding himself with his second-best greatcoat, and accompanied by the faithful St. Bernard, Wooffie, bearing restorative brandy barrels, he sets off downstream…..

At this point, Dame Barbara retires to the Snug fortified by three hefty pink gins, and will be obliged for any helpful suggestions - strictly pure, needless to say - for the continuation of this mammoth bestselling epic.

Over to you.

Saturday, 19 May 2007


ben's dad says:

I went clubbing last night - well, not me specifically. [ben: "oh no?"]

Met a lady a couple of years younger than me, maybe late 60s, but still very attractive.

We laughed and talked and drank.

We drank and talked and laughed some more.

Then she asked me a question just about every man has fantasized about:

She asked if I had ever indulged in a mother and daughter threesome!

When I recovered my wits and replied "no", she said this was my lucky night.

Wow! It was one of those dreams come true!

I drove her back to her house, and she unlocked the door and led me inside. My heart was pounding.

Then she shouted up the stairs, "MUM, ARE YOU STILL AWAKE?"


ben trovato says:

Sauntering around the websites, I picked up this windfall from Zola's place:

A kid comes home from school with a writing assignment. He asks his father for help. "Dad, can you tell me the difference between potential and reality?"

His father looks up, thoughtfully, and then says, "I'll demonstrate. Go ask your mother if she would sleep with Robert Redford for a million dollars. Then go ask your sister if she would sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars. Then come back and tell me what you've learned."

The kid is puzzled, but decides to ask his mother. "Mom, if someone gave you a million dollars, would you sleep with Robert Redford?"

"Don't tell your father, but, yes, I would."

He then goes to his sister's room. "Sis, if someone gave you a million dollars, would you sleep with Brad Pitt?"

She replies, "Omigod! Definitely!"

The kid goes back to his father. "Dad, I think I've figured it out. Potentially, we are sitting on two million bucks, but in reality, we are living with two sluts."

[With acknowledgment to Makemlaff]

Friday, 18 May 2007


ben trovato writes:

In Germany, am 17. Mai geboren is a euphemism for 'homosexual', because the relevant provisions of the Penal Code were contained in Art. 175. The story is told, in one of Upton Sinclair's novels, of an art exhibition during the Nazi years at which the number was allocated to a painting of young men on the march entitled 'Spirit of National Socialism'. Unfortunately, the fact was pointed out at a preview by an American journalist; the director was shot, and the number reallocated to a still-life of a vase of flowers.

- From The Oxford Companion to the Year.

Thursday, 17 May 2007


ben trovato says:

A man was sitting at a bar enjoying an after-work cocktail when an exceptionally gorgeous and sexy young woman entered. She was so striking that the man could not take his eyes away from her.

The young woman noticed his overly-attentive stare and walked directly toward him. Before he could offer his apologies for being so rude, the young woman said to him, "I'll do anything, absolutely anything, that you want me to do, no matter how kinky, for £100 on one condition."

Flabbergasted, the man asked what the condition was. The young woman replied, "You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words."

The man considered her proposition for a moment, withdrew his wallet from his pocket and slowly counted out five £20 notes, which he pressed into the young woman's hand. He looked into her eyes and slowly, meaningfully, said: "PAINT MY HOUSE."

Wednesday, 16 May 2007


Ms Melancholy writes eloquently – she always writes eloquently – of the unexpected joys of blogging friendships. She ponders on the difficulties of making relationships using only the written word: “We rely so much on non verbals to aid our understanding of the other. A tone of voice, a slight look of shyness, a feeling of insecurity that silently passes between us, a teasing smile that indicates I was only joking really. With the written word we have only our words and our unconscious self to play clever tricks on our minds.”

This set me to reflecting on the importance of establishing mutually comfortable distances in relationships. So often, people complain that their partner in the relationship is too close, or too far away. We all have our preferred ‘personal space’. Some people feel claustrophobic in a crowded lift or underground carriage; others enjoy huddling close together, even with strangers.

Personally, I like not to be closer than about three feet from someone I am conversing with [unless I wish to embrace them]. When – as some do – they move closer and thrust their faces uncomfortably close towards mine [it’s usually the spitters who tend to do this!] I back gently away so that if the conversation starts in the middle of the room I end up with my back against the wall.

This feeling of being potentially smothered, or else abandoned by a too-remote partner, is an important factor in the ‘precious ruptures’ which Ms Melancholy talks about in both real-life and blogging relationships. If people don’t feel comfortable about their mutual space, one or both of them tends to sheer off. The benefit of blogging is that in one sense the Internet eliminates distance – it doesn’t matter whether I am in London and the person I am blogging with is in the next street or in Finland, Canada, or the Canaries, it’s possible to feel comfortable or uncomfortable with the relative space we have established between us. But, as Ms M says, the inability to see and respond to the other’s non-verbal signals can quite easily lead to misunderstanding. I can think of two or three occasions when I have got at cross-purposes with a blogging friend because we were unable to see each other’s facial expressions.

And the physical absence of an old friend with whom you are exchanging cyber-messages can sometimes be painful – especially when you haven’t seen them for some considerable time, and long to give them a hug. The beauty of blogging is that you can give and receive lots of metaphorical hugs over the Internet, and create warm, friendly places like the burrow Snug where your cyber-friends are always welcome and, one hopes, feel at home.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007


As you'll see from his comment on the previous post, Brian [1loneranger] has been knocked off his bike by a careless 4 x 4 driver, and is painfully laid up at home in uncharacteristically warlike mood.

I'm sure everyone will join me, Ben, and the Beadle in wishing him a speedy recovery. Here's hoping he will soon be back in action, and joining us again in the Snug.

Monday, 14 May 2007


ben trovato says:

Look what I found when surfing the Internet!

Is one of them Ruth Kelly, I wonder?

Saturday, 12 May 2007


ben trovato says:

"I found this on the internet, and it isn't funny".

Barbara Walters, of Television's 20/20, did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan, several years before the Afghan conflict.

She noted that women customarily walked 5 paces behind their husbands. She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands.

From Miss Walter's vantage point, despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to walk even further back behind their husbands and are happy to maintain the old custom.

Miss Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, "Why do you now seem happy with the old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?"

The woman looked Miss Walters straight in the eyes and -- without hesitation -- said:


Thursday, 10 May 2007


An amber alert is showing in the burrow, where Zola has not been seen or heard from for almost a week. Nor has he responded to requests on his own site to let his anxious friends know that he is alright, after telling us some days ago that - uncharacteristically for him - he was feeling weary and cynical.

So will Zola PLEASE post even a brief message of reassurance? Otherwise, the alert will escalate to red and search parties will assemble.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

IF ONLY.........


Shortly after the next revolution, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George W. Bush are condemned to face a firing squad in a small Central American country.

Bill Clinton is the first one placed against the wall but, just before the order to fire is given, he yells out, "Earthquake!"

The firing squad panics, and Bill jumps over the wall and escapes in the confusion.

Al Gore is the second one placed against the wall. The squad reassembles and Al ponders on what he has just witnessed. Taking his cue from Clinton, just before the order to fire is given Al yells out, "Tornado!"

Again the squad falls apart, and Al slips over the wall.

Now it’s George W. Bush’s turn. As he is placed against the wall he thinks "Ah, I see the pattern here!" So he confidently refuses the blindfold as the firing squad lines up.

As they raise their rifles in his direction, Dubya grins from ear to ear and yells, "FIRE!"

Saturday, 5 May 2007

"AH DUNNO!" - 5th May

anticant writes:

Today is my Grandmother's birthday. She was born in 1873 and died in 1947. She was, and still is, one of the most important influences in my life. She gave me so much, and taught me so much - more by example than by instruction - that I count all my shortcomings and failings as being due to ignoring the wisdom she imparted. I was fortunate enough to live with her and my Aunt during some of my formative years, and am truly thankful for the privilege. Like so many such blessings, the specialness of it only becomes clear in retrospect. We take so much for granted at the time. So today is for me a day of celebration and happy memory.

I wish everyone a good weekend and joyful Mayday. A warm welcome and a free round await you in the burrow Snug.