Saturday, 29 September 2007


Malaprop and Marple vs. Litefinger

His Honour Judge Anticant presiding.

The case before the Court was brought by Maria Malaprop and Jane Marple against Dorcas Litefinger for intrusion of privacy and breach of confidence.

The matter complained of was an article in the Burrow Bugle entitled “Burrow Bedroom Secrets: All is Revealed”, written by Snoopy Scribbler and reading as follows:

“Our in-house correspondent at Anticant’s Burrow, ‘BEDBUG’, informs us that unexpected possessions lurk under various Burrow counterpanes. Miss Marple, for instance, treasures a set of first editions of the Complete Works of Agatha Christie, and a set of Victorian curling tongs. Mrs Malaprop, the housekeeper, secretes under her bed a portmanteau full of ribbed woollen stockings in various shades, and a china mug inscribed “Ever thine, O Beloved, your devoted Beadle”. Under the Beadle’s bed is a heart-shaped silver frame containing a portrait of Mrs Malaprop. I have not yet had an opportunity to investigate the bedroom hoards of Anticant, Ben, or Dame Barbara, as that horrid Wooffie keeps sniffing around my ankles whenever I approach their rooms. But I shall report further in your next issue.”

The plaintiffs called for an apology, damages, and an injunction against publication of further items emanating from ‘Bedbug’, who, they claimed, was Demure Dorcas Litefinger, aka The Crafty Chambermaid.

Judge Anticant said that as he was proprietor of the Burrow Bugle, a conflict of interest was indicated and he would therefore step down from the bench and invite Dame Barbara de Carteblanche to take his place which she accordingly did.

The first witness was the Bugle’s gossip columnist, Snoopy Scribbler. Asked to confirm the identity of ‘Bedbug’, he declined, pleading journalist’s immunity to revealing his sources. He was reprimanded by Dame Barbara and told to step down.

The next witness was the Beadle, who professed outrage that his intimate love-tokens should be revealed to the world by a saucy guttersnipe. Dame Barbara told him to moderate his language, as the identity of the offending whistleblower had not yet been ascertained.

The defendant was then called to the witness box and asked whether or not she was Bedbug. “Oh, your Dameship”, she replied, “I have never bugged a bed in my life”. “But did you write this article? Yes or No?” Dame Barbara demanded. “Well, your Honour, I don’t clearly recollect doing so” replied the Crafty Chambermaid, “but then again I cannot swear for 100 per cent. certain that I didn’t. That Mr Scribbler was plying me with champagne and I may have signed something he put in front of me without realising what it was. Can I plead diminished responsibility?” “No – you can NOT!” Dame Barbara snapped. “You will plead either guilty or not guilty.” “In that case”, said Dorcas demurely, I shall opt for jury trial.”

A special jury was empanelled, consisting of Trousers, Wook, Lavenderblue, Merkin, and Zola. They are now deliberating, and their verdict and suggestions for sentencing [if the verdict is ‘guilty’] are awaited.

Thursday, 27 September 2007


Ben found this on Ananova:


A Bosnian couple are getting divorced after finding out
they had been secretly chatting each other up online
under fake names.

Sana Klaric, 27, and husband Adnan, 32, from Zenica,
poured out their hearts to each other over their marriage
troubles, and both felt they had found their real soul

The couple met on an online chat forum while he was at
work and she in an internet cafe, and started chatting
under the names Sweetie and Prince of Joy.

They eventually decided to meet up - but there was no
happy ending when they realised what had happened.

Now they are both filing for divorce - with each accusing
the other of being unfaithful.

Sana said: "I thought I had found the love of my life.
The way this Prince of Joy spoke to me, the things he
wrote, the tenderness in every expression was something I
had never had in my marriage.

"It was amazing, we seemed to be stuck in the same kind
of miserable marriages - and how right that turned out to

"We arranged to meet outside a shop and both of us would
be carrying a single rose so we would know the other.

"When I saw my husband there with the rose and it dawned
on me what had happened I was shattered. I felt so
betrayed. I was so angry."

Adnan said: "I was so happy to have found a woman who
finally understood me. Then it turned out that I hadn't
found anyone new at all.

"To be honest I still find it hard to believe that the
person, Sweetie, who wrote such wonderful things to me on
the internet, is actually the same woman I married and
who has not said a nice word to me for years."


Dame Barbara de Carteblanche comments:

"How unromantic! If they had any sense, they would have flung their arms around each other, embraced passionately, laughed heartily, said 'Where have you been all my life?' and gone off for a slap-up celebration meal. But what a plot for my next bosom-heaver......"

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


Ben found this surfing the internet. Maybe it is more suitable for the Arena, but an occasional serious note in the Burrow is in order.


Just finished a week cycle holiday along coast from Newcastle to Edinburgh, and had a few new experiences en route.

At train station in Birmingham I took a photograph of the other three I was cycling with, only to be accosted by one of the platform ticket checkers who objected to my taking a photograph on which she appeared. She claimed her religion does not allow this, and when I suggested the platform and similar CCTV was likely recording most of her working day and that she would be very much in the background of my photo the discussion got heated.

Later in the trip, one of the ladies with us took a similar group photo of three cyclists stood outside a cafe. Unfortunately there was also a group of young kids being taken along the street and they were in the background of the photo. One of the adults supervising the kids went ballistic and demanded the photo be deleted, claiming anti paedophile regulations.

In Edinburgh, sat on platform waiting for train, approached by police and had to empty the contents of our panniers under 'Stop/Search S.44(2) anti-terrorism laws of 2000'. (Brave guy, 6 days of cycling doesn't make for lots of clean socks). One of my panniers had laptop etc, so I expressed to the policeman that I'd rather not advertise publicly that I've got a few thousand quids worth of electronic gear in a fairly insecure place, and would it be possible to go somewhere less public. The request was refused.

Arrived home to discover the porch had been pilfered, not a lot of damaged and only a few boots and post nicked or damaged. Police took report over the phone but otherwise no interest.

What a bloody country.(The cycle trip was fantastic, very lucky with the weather, met some top people along the way, and managed a rare relatively keyboard free week).

Monday, 24 September 2007


Miss Marple writes:

Discreetly entering my bedroom I beheld Demure Dorcas, the Crafty Chambermaid, on her knees rummaging through the contents of my suitcase which she had dragged from under the bed. She was so absorbed in one of the Poirot mysteries by the immortal Dame Agatha Christie [from whom I learned most of what I know about sleuthing] that she only realised I was in the room when I exclaimed “Pray what does this mean?”

“Oh excuse me, Miss Marple,” the saucy hussy replied, “I was dusting under your bed when I found this fascinating masterpiece.”

“And who told you to pry into my belongings, Miss?” I sarcastically enquired.

“One must always be on the safe side, Miss Marple”, she replied. “I was brought up to check all unopened packages for possible intruders. As my late revered great-Aunt the eccentric music hall artiste Nellie Wallace frequently used to sing:

My Mother said

Always look under the bed

Before you blow the candle out

To see if there’s a man about.

I always do

And you can make a bet

It’s never been my luck

To find a man there yet.”

“Singing disreputable ditties won’t excuse your misbehaviour, ma’am”, I retorted. “I shall summon the Beadle and have you put into the stocks until Anticant convenes a Burrow Court.“

“I shouldn’t advise it if I were you”, the wicked wench responded. “You’ll never guess what I found under Anticant’s bed. Or under the Beadle’s and Mrs Malaprop’s – not to mention Dame Barbara’s. I hardly think they would like you or anyone else to read about it in the Burrow Bugle, which I fear they will do very soon if you proceed as you propose.”

I was dumbfounded. “You are a blackmailing chit!” I exclaimed, and set off to find the Beadle.

Thursday, 20 September 2007


The cream-and-gold Roller swept under the archway purring to a stop in the Burrow courtyard and Dame Barbara emerged, followed by Anticant who was dreamily warbling:

‘Mud, mud, glorious mud!

Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.

So follow me, follow

To Anticant’s Hollow

And there we will wallow

In glorious mud!’

He then tottered off to his den, supported on each side by the Beadle and Mrs Malaprop, who were cheerily calling ‘Hi-de-Hi’ and ‘Ho-de-Ho’ to each other.

Dame Barbara proceeded to hold a press conference, saying she had three important announcements to make.

“First, I have decided that in future I shall be known as Dame Barbara de Carteblanche, to avoid any confusion with other best-selling Romantic novelists, living or dead.

“Second, Anticant and I are so enchanted with the Thermal Health Spa we have just been visiting that I have purchased it for his 80th birthday present, and it will accordingly be re-opening in the near future after appropriate refurbishment as ‘Anticant’s Hollow’. We shall be inviting applications for the important post of Water Beadle.

“Lastly, I am embarking upon my 954th epic, inspired by our trip. I had intended to call it Water Sporting, but as dear Ben Trovato has pointed out this might be misconstrued I have decided that its title will be Aquatic Passions. The heroine’s name – need I say? – is Undine.

“Six large pink gins please, Ben.”

Ben Trovato, who had followed Dame Barbara out of the Rolls accompanied by a primly dressed young woman with her hair scrimped back into a bun, hastened to attend to Dame Barbara’s requirements.

The young woman, he explained, was a highly qualified Crafty Chambermaid whom he had recruited from Mrs Jump’s renowned Impeccable Domestics Agency, guaranteed to supply only persons of unblemished character. Her name was Demure Dorcas.

Left alone in the courtyard, the new acquisition looked furtively around to see that she was unobserved, and then announced:

“I am the Craftiest of Chambermaids!

I’m a dab hand at getting laid

By rich old men as big as tents

Whose largesse helps me pay my rents

And buy a big Mercedes Benz.

“Dame Chastity don’t plough my furrow -

I mean to liven up the Burrow.

But better not tell Anticant

Or the old fool will start a rant

And set the Beadle on my track

With Mrs Malaprop, alack.

“I’ll have to wheedle Master Ben

And throw Wooffie a bone, so when

A likely man checks in

They’ll turn a blind eye to my sin.

If Trousers calls, or maybe Wook, or Zola,

I’ll be ready for you, guys.

- Yours, Lusty Lola.”

She then skipped saucily into the Burrow.

Meanwhile, Miss Marple was reporting to Anticant on the absence of any startling incidents during her stewardship. No inappropriate articles of clothing had been hoisted aloft on the flagpole, and no rude messages had been received. There had been only one phone call – from a hiccupping Wooffie, barking somewhat incoherently from a “divine distillery on Dartmoor”, where the superb quality of the brandy had delighted both Lavenderblue and himself so much that he had ordered two dozen barrels for the Burrow cellars.

It looks as if there are interesting times ahead at the Burrow. Watch this space!

Thursday, 6 September 2007


Next week is the Burrow staff annual holiday, so there will be no more posting in the Burrow or the Arena for a while.

Dame Barbara is wafting Anticant away in her cream-and-gold Roller to an exclusive luxury health farm in the depths of the country, where they will both be mud-bathed and otherwise cosseted and pampered to their hearts’ content.

The Beadle and Mrs Malaprop are embarking on a “getting to know you better” event at Butlin’s, Somewhere-on-the Coast. Will they share a chalet? Perhaps we shall never know…..

Wooffie has been loaned to Lavenderblue as her escort on a Westward Ho! nature trail. The original plan was for Ben Trovato to take Wooffie on a mountain rescue adventure course in the Cairngorms, but Wooffie is avid to have his portrait painted, and looked so pathetic that Dame Barbara rashly lent him her best string of pearls and waved them both goodbye – we hope only temporarily.

Ben, who is a keen student of ‘form’, has duly absorbed the Naked Kayaker’s highly instructive exposition of ‘grobbling’, and has announced his intention of going wherever destiny leads him to grobble for Crafty Housemaids. We await the results of his efforts with interest and some trepidation.

Miss Marple has kindly offered to stay behind and guard the Burrow against intruders. She Is a most trustworthy and resourceful chatelaine, and we have every confidence that her prim determined respectability – not to mention her close contact with the local constabulary - will be highly effective in deterring unwanted callers.

And so, for now, farewell……….

Wednesday, 5 September 2007


Another from Ben:

This guy  goes into a shop in Tel Aviv after looking at all the watches in the shop window.

"I'd like to buy a watch, please."

"But this isn't a watch store," says the owner. "I'm a moyel. I do circumcisions."

"But...., but..., but...," says the guy, "what about all those watches in the front window?"

Says the owner, "And just what would you have me put there?"

Tuesday, 4 September 2007


ben trovato's latest gleanings:

A man died and went to heaven.

As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall
of clocks behind him.
He asked, "What are all those clocks?"
St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a 
"Every time you lie, the hands on your clock will move."
"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?"
"That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating
she never told a lie."
"Incredible," said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"
St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have
moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire Life."
"Where's President Bush's clock ?" asked the man.
"That's in Jesus' office...... He's using it as a ceiling fan"
                +              +              +              +
Hitler dies and goes to heaven.
Jesus greets him at the Pearly Gates and says
“Sorry, but I can't let you in.”
“Why not?” asks Hitler.
“Well”, Jesus replies, “Its all the people you've murdered.
Let’s face it, you haven't exactly been a model human have you?”
 “Well no”, Hitler admits, “But if you let me in, I'll give you the
Iron Cross.”
“It's tempting”, says Jesus, “let me go and see what my Dada says”.
Jesus goes to God and relates the story.
God says, “So what do you want to do?”
“Well”, answers Jesus, “I want to let him in. He will give me the
Iron Cross.”
God quickly replies
“You had enough difficulty carrying the wooden one!”

Monday, 3 September 2007


Ben Trovato has just learned that among the National Trust's 230,000 volumes scattered around the libraries of England's stately homes nestles a "racy little 1770s tome" entitled 'THE CRAFTY CHAMBERMAID'S GARLAND'.

This has given him the notion that a Crafty Chambermaid would be an adornment to the Burrow, and doubtless much appreciated by Dame Barbara, Miss Marple, and others. [Not to mention Ben and the Beadle. How this would go down with Mrs Malaprop remains to be seen.]

The search has therefore commenced for a suitably comely and well-qualified wench.

Watch this space.

Saturday, 1 September 2007


ben trovato thanks Gummihund and Yankee Doodle for pointing out this one:

I was barely sitting down when I heard a voice from the other stall saying: "Hi, how are you?"

I'm not the type to start a conversation in the restroom but I don't know what got into me, so I answered, somewhat embarrassed, "Doin' just fine!"

And the other person says: "So what are you up to?"

What kind of question is that? At that point, I'm thinking this is too bizarre so I say: "Uhhh, I'm like you, just traveling!"

At this point I am just trying to get out as fast as I can when I hear another question. "Can I come over?"

Ok, this question is just too weird for me but I figured I could just be polite and end the conversation. I tell him "No.......I'm a little busy right now!!!"

Then I hear the person say nervously... "Listen, I'll have to call you back. There's an idiot in the other stall who keeps answering all my questions!"