Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jolly boating weather

A correspondent accuses me of being a toady to the English upper classes, citing several posts in which a titled lady or gentleman has either saved the day or provided timely advice. My defence is that I can only write about what I have experienced. It so happens that the aristocrats I have encountered possessed admirable qualities, be it resourcefulness, stoic determination, good humour or simply a firm bottom. And while there are surely many toffee-nosed swine among their number, it has thus far been my good fortune to avoid them. (Lord Angus Fartwell may be the sole exception, although I suspect he is an impostor.)

The first patrician to cross my path arrived on the scene in my early days with the circus. She was the daughter of a Baronet and her name was Millicent. Trained as both a nurse and a masseuse, she had a job at England’s premier boarding school for boys. She was seconded to us for a summer season, pending the appointment of a permanent circus doctor. Millicent was a woman of early middle-age, full of figure with a handsome face and flawless complexion. Although unwed – and consequently childless – I would describe her bust as maternal.

Oddly enough, it was the circus dwarves who were most intrigued by her. She was not at all perturbed by their appearance, nor intimidated by their brusque behaviour, which seemed to impress them. Maybe they reminded her of the schoolboys she was used to tending. I noticed that one muscle-bound manikin called Edgar was a frequent visitor to her trailer for rub-downs and perk-ups.

“I know she wants me,” I overheard him saying to one of his bow-legged comrades. “She’s seen me in my underpants and knows I’m not small where it counts. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be waiting for her in the pavilion.”

The pavilion of which he spoke had been loaned to the circus for its bathing facilities. Millicent showered there every morning at precisely thirty minutes past six, when virtually everyone else was sound asleep. Being an early riser, I had seen her stride purposefully from her trailer in her dressing gown, with towel over shoulder and shopping bag in hand, the latter no doubt containing the shampoos, gels and lotions that women apply on such occasions.

I resolved to be close at hand next morning, lest the dwarf’s ignoble scheme give rise to an untoward incident. So shortly after daybreak, I assumed a strategic position on the far side of the pavilion, beneath an open ventilating window. Although this denied me a view of the action, I would certainly hear the accompanying dialogue (and other noises). Peering round the edge of the building, I presently spied Edgar approaching alone. When he was inside, I heard him take off his boots and make unpleasant puffing noises. I began to imagine the surprise he had in store for Millicent and my nostrils twitched in distaste. A little while later, I heard another person enter. I held my breath and listened intently.

There was a wordless exclamation, which sounded like the noise a woman might make on seeing a dog licking its private parts. This was surely Millicent. But before she could utter a word, Edgar made his pitch:

“No one knows I’m here,” he panted huskily. “If you lie on the floor I can keep going for as long as you want.”

There was a pregnant silence of no more than five seconds, in which Millicent appeared to be formulating a reply to this unexpected offer.

“You ghastly gnome!” she cried indignantly. “Do you really think you can seduce me with that…that THING?! I grew up in the country and watched my father tease stallions when I was a girl in pigtails! Put on your clothes and get out of here at once, you stupid naked little man!”

There were no more words spoken, but I surmised that Edgar was following the instructions given to him, and soon heard him stomp out of the place briskly. Millicent then turned on the water in preparation for her shower, and I crept around the building to return to my trailer. Before I had gone twenty paces, I was halted in my tracks by the following words ringing out from the pavilion:

Jolly boating weather!

And a hay harvest breeze!
Blade on the feather!
Shade off the trees!

I could scarcely believe my ears. How could a woman indulge herself in a merry sing-song so soon after such an unsettling experience? I bit my lip and gulped before resuming my journey. Ever since that day, I have held upper class English ladies in no small measure of awe. Anyone who can sing the
Eton Boating Song five minutes after being propositioned by a naked dwarf has the respect of Gorilla Bananas.

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For that last paragraph alone, may God grant you fruits and berries in abundance!
I think I made that noise at paragraph 10...
A lucky escape for dwarf I'd say. He could have disappeared without trace.
ari: I had a girl say that to me once.
Such incidents peppered my childhood as my mother was a member of the general synod. bag in hand, the latter no doubt containing the shampoos, gels and lotions that women apply on such occasions.

Frankly, GB, this phrase requires me to question your credibility, much though it pains me. Yet, 'tis true, I've been married twenty years and have observed that my wife cannot go anywhere without retaining the services of several families of Sherpas to transport "The Official Toiletries." I've heard, anecdotally, the same is true everywhere, and I would imagine especially among female members of the peerage.

Sorry, but I felt compelled to mention it.

Having been a pony-tailed girl while spying how my dad and hired hands encouraged Angus breeder bulls to romance Angus cows, I can relate.

But, I'd be blasting some more current musical distractions on my player after the modestly endowed one's departure.
Excellent, my dear Mr. Bananas. For some reason I am beginning to suspect that you developed your literary style from reading—or, perhaps writing—Victorian pornography
You could have been in there with a bit more courage. Public school matrons like a bit of rough.
if i had a nickel for every time i've been propositioned by a naked dwarf, i tell you.

i've always wanted to see that boat race. i probably never will. i think i'm going to turkey next.
I expect it was a massaging shower head. With that calling to her, a dwarf wouldn't stand a chance.
Hard to believe a classy pick-up line like that didn't work. Maybe she had issues with Edgar's politics?
Kevin: Thank you for that blessing. Coconuts too, I hope.

Ari: The one in which Millicent speaks? The phrase "stupid naked little man" became quite popular. There was even a catchy tune to sing it to.

Hossenpheffer: I can sense the seething class hatred beneath that jibe.

Mutley: And such women are particularly attractive to naked dwarves. I hope your mother managed to fight them off.

Randall: After years working as a roving nurse/masseuse, she had learned how to travel light.

Letty: Ah, you should have more confidence in your singing voice.

Saintly Nick: Thank you, Reverend, the only Victorian porn I know is written by my friend Lord Likely. (

Ulaca: I couldn't have joined her in the shower, my coat has to be dry-cleaned.

Kara: Naked dwarves can't get enough of sassy chicks like you. Boat races are pretty boring, just a bunch of sweaty hulks heaving back and forth. You'd be a great cox.

Ms Dgny: So that's what you ladies get up to in the shower!

Kyknoord: Either that or his third nipple.
My word! The former Mrs Can Bass was a similar woman, and I therefore feel eminently well qualified to opine on this topic. Believe me, the dwarf had a very narrow escape!
No, I meant you could you have been in there (as in, you could have scored) if you'd exchanged your voyeur role for a larger part. Use it or lose it, Big Boy.
Now this is precisely why the upper classes and the extremely lower classes should not meet.
Seething class hatred?

No, it was just the thought of dwarf's dinky little boots laying there on the grass, the only monument left to his existence.

What a way to go though!
As a patrician matron with a maternal bust myself, I admire your gallantry, GB, but I could have told you that lady was more than a match for the dwarf, who should think himself lucky he wasn't ejected via the air. Those hockey lessons are for a reason you know.
I'm far from being patrician myself, but I can do this. I've segued right from cleaning out the toilets and clearing drains to singing The Volga Boat Song or Ave Maria.

And I've had no trouble with dwarves, but I once had to straighten out a couple of fellows who believed that peeking through the vent in the ladies' shower room was one of the perks of staying at the Taipei Youth Hostel. Hope they got the shampoo out of their eyes eventually.
Words fail Cow.

This is one of the most charming, well-written, entertaining posts it has ever been Cow's lucky fate to read.

Not only does it have flowered hats but a link to the Eton Boating song!

(Cow sinking contentedly into the warm meadow, her day complete)

"Hope they got the shampoo out their eyes eventually."

No I didn't actually, I went half blind and ended up in penury. What a dump.
Is that David Cameron second from the left? He really must get his roots done.
Can Bass: She treated the dwarf leniently because it was his first offence. I assume you repeatedly got up your ex-wife's nose.

Ulaca: You've been watching too many King Kong movies. Gorillas have no interest in cross-species action.

Lord Likely: I'm sure she would have reacted quite differently to your proud organ, m'lud.

Hossenpheffer: Really, Hossenopheffer, the woman wasn't a whale! You have no respect for well-bred ladies.

Lady Daphne: I actually thought she was more like Aunty Marianne than your good self, milady. Where is Marianne these days? I'd like her to read this.

Mary: Good shooting, Mary! I have always taken a firm line with peeping toms.

Ms Cow: Thank you kindly, Ms Cow. I hope you will have the chance to visit Eton, if you have not already done so. The school has a museum for tourists, and the Queen's castle is a short distance away across the river.

Larry: Serves you right!

Marquis of Sly: We don't discuss such parochial figures here. You have to make big waves to get mentioned on this blog.
Dear Mr Bananas, The main point is that dwarves can be slippery creatures. My daughter, Joybells, is a theatrical and appeared with Mr Phil Dudds, in The Lost Dwarf, High Wycombe 1990. Mr Dudds stands 4ft 1 inch in his socks, but rode a child's tricycle to great effect during the denouement. However, he kept questionable company and developed some displeasing habits, such as running between people's legs to escape bar bills. He is to appear at the wedding of Mr Wood's daughter. Mr Wood is of the Rolling Stones and appealed in the Stage newspaper for dwarves to perform at the reception as "mischievous imps who steal ladies' hats". Mr Dudds will do far worse, and Mr Wood will rue the day. Cordially yours, Mrs Pouncer
They have my respect too. Clearly, that kind of person is able to deal with the unexpected.
She sounds like a splendid woman but a little lenient. I would have hung him by his shirt on a peg and let him hang there until sundown.
What a fine figure of a woman Millicent sounds. Top hole.

Edgar should perhaps have considered his third nipple before trying his luck. I'm sure it was that which put her off her stroke - so to speak.

Excellent post as always Mr Bananas. Much tittering here in the Wrinkle household. (I wouldn't mind betting Millicent came from a village with a name like 'Much Tittering').

Larry: Are you German? Do you have a couple of bearded friends? Did you feel silly hunkered down on that icky floor?

There was a bottle of bleach in the shower room, you know. Consider yourself lucky.

Sorry to hijack your comment section, Mr Gorilla, but I'm happy to know you take a firm line with peeping toms. Me, I take a bottle of shampoo.
Selective breeding among aristos has equipped them with sang froid, noblesse oblige and a 360-degree approach to sexual partners. I'd follow them anywhere, albeit it a judicious distance.
As has been said before, that type of lady is more than capable of looking after herself in any social situation and to carry on with grace and aplomb having dealt with anything that isnt cricket. They are trained from birth you know. Like Emma said, I do think she missed a trick with the hooks tho!
Oh wonderfully told.

I married into the upper classes when I was young and I remember the first time I went to dinner with the soon-to-be inlaws I could not believe how outrageously crude they were. But conversation was always excellent - only those with a public school education, or maybe a grammar school education, are taught how to argue properly and with humour. It was like being in the House of Lords (except my inlaws generally managed to stay awake).

Sadly I am no longer associated with any gentry but I do talk posh!
Mrs Pouncer: Welcome, ma'am. The impish theatrical dwarf you describe is a different breed from the more muscular and lascivious circus dwarf. He would rather grope ladies than steal their hats.

Mosha: It's a pity you don't have such a woman in your touring party.

Emma: That would teach any dwarf a lesson, but don't underestimate their strength!

Kitty: Thanks Kitty! You'll be pleased to know that there is a blogger who might be Millicent's twin sister.

Mary: That's OK, Mary, you're entitled to respond to larrikins.

Mr Boyo: I think a pastoral upbringing affects one's attitude to sexual partners, as the Welsh are rumoured to understand. Let's hope the Countess of Wessex will preserve the royal Welsh bloodline.

Mrs Cake: She's a real leader, isn't she? Who would be the man to tame her?

Ms Reluctant: Thank you, ma'am, how I'd like to hear your posh voice! What you say is undoubtedly true of the more intelligent members of the gentry. Some are only capable of discussing horses.
mary witzl.

"Larry, are you German?"

I'm registered with several German internet porn sights as Heini Humphister. Does that count?

I have one bearded friend, but I don't like to talk about her.

Do you still have that birthmark shaped like a.......well I'll keep that just between us shall I?
"The school has a museum for tourists, and the Queen's castle is a short distance away across the river."

A perfect example of why England is so much cooler than anything in the USA.

we'll all pull together...

sorry G. B. couldn't resist.
is a cox the person who sits at the end and yells? if so, then yes, i probably would like that gig. if it's something else...don't tell me.
I question what she was really doing as she sang that tune in the shower...
Mr B - the link which you posted tells me the blog has been removed :-( x
Larry: A comment from the legendary Heini Humphister! This thread will live in history!

Ms Cow: It's got it downsides as well, but I'm sure you'll be made to feel welcome.

Dr Maroon: Very close to the actual lyrics, Dr!
Swing, swing, together
With your body between your knees

How much would I have to pay you to sing that on Burns night?

Kara: Yes, and you have to steer as well. After the race they'll fill you up with champagne throw you up in the air like a mascot.

Clea: Scrubbing her shoulder blades vigorously, I would have thought.

Kitty: Yes, what a shame! Her latest posts are up on the google reader. She has recently suffered a bereavement.
Is it swing? Pull sounds better, wouldn't you agree? It's what the cox calls after all.
Our school didn't have any boats. Or songs for that matter. I think there was a glockenschpeil and some tone bars in a cupboard but the Janitor lost the keys.
What better way to put out of mind a recent upsetting incident than a rousing chorus of the Eaton Boating Song? Really, GB, you shouldn't have been so surprised.
i've never been propositioned by a i feel so left out :(

Call me. Although a dwarf I'm not short of a trick or two.
Dr Maroon: It was written over a century ago, so maybe people swung rather than pulled in those days. I think your school was better off without boats. Where there are boats, there is water to be ducked in.

Baba Doodlius: Well humans take longer to forget than birds. I once saw a parrot singing a happy song 5 minutes after getting a tail feather plucked.

Daisy: It's not too late!

Shortstuff: The empty boast of an impostor!
Our Daisy needs a hearty main course of good British Beef not an appetizer.....
beast...that almost sounds like an offer...or a challenge...
sorry shortstuff didn't get to your comment on email till after beasts...i wasn't ignoring you...really
Daisy: Beast will work like a galley slave if you want a man who'll help you in the kitchen.
Daisy its the Beast's mission statement :-)
beast...i didn't know you were a man with a mission...uh erm statement...:)

gorilla...there are a few things i could be helped with in the kitchen...but it extends so much further...
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