Tuesday, 29 March 2011

‘The Turdis’ that came ‘turd’ at the Bog-Oscars.

The only time the real truth and nothing but the truth - truly comes out is when a man is
'Pointing his percy at the porcelain'
This time around, the whole notion for the ‘toilet humour’ theme and content of this post was born out of commenter’s material I read yesterday on a blog I follow down in Christchurch, New Zealand called - http://morecanterburytales.blogspot.com/ and hosted by its lady author “The Sagittarian”.

As we now know, the city of Christchurch in the large east coast region of ‘Canterbury’ on South Island, was devastated by an appalling earthquake on 22nd February and subsequently, between 163 and 220 people tragically lost their lives.

Very fortunately, ‘Saj’ managed to escape injury from her heavily damaged office building, even though an adjacent building collapsed into its stairwell, and she eventually made it back home to find her two daughters mercifully safe but shaken, sitting out front of their severely damaged Christchurch home.

One of the great many serious and immediate challenges to be overcome by the wider population of Christchurch at large, was the disruption to the city water supplies and the major damage that had been caused to the network of sewage pumping stations throughout the city. But of course, when you’ve really got to go, you’ve really ‘got to go’, as the true but hackneyed old saying ‘goes’.

In spite of the fact that many of the low lying residential areas were now covered in a sea of ghastly grey sludge several inches deep, the local government gave out instructions for people to start digging holes in their gardens to act as temporary toilet pits until the water supplies and sewage pumping systems could be repaired back to full service again.

New Zealander's call these outdoor toilet pits ‘Long Drops’.

A bog with an even bigger hole in it - A bog on a bog - And a Lemming's 'last piss take' bog .
Faced with a set of sensitive needs and wants that well exceed the mere painfully obvious, the home grown DIY Long Drop architect must take into account a sizable number of bespoke design features and provisions to ensure that all visiting long droppers, of either gender, are able to happily endure as well as safely indulge in the very private business of external toiletry ablutions, in an environment of comfort and ergonomics that best befits their wider social tastes, cultural lifestyles and of course - personal privacy's.

Not an easy task this. Least of all when as a family you are collectively trying to secure an area within the dangerously wrecked remains of your property, that will provide you all with hopefully an acceptable level of safety and protection from the elements, especially while you and your children are asleep at night and you are constantly experiencing the sometimes terrifying aftershocks and tremors that you know could bring the already weakened remains of your property crashing down upon you in an instant, with potentially catastrophic and deadly results. No laughing matter.

A bog for a 'loose' but busy bogger - A cat that saw you nekid on the 'long drop' - And a pic of a wise dog bog..
However, in times of great hardship and difficulty, the more determined and resilient aspects of the human spirit along with a healthily colourful sense of humour, and our natural will to survive, have often inspired us to step up to the stage and face our adversaries with some often quite unexpected examples of creative ingenuity and originality.

As an intelligent society we have a vast capacity for inventiveness, most especially when we are on the back foot. Necessity being the mother ‘nature’ of all invention on this occasion, here is yet another fine display of our proud and distinguished record of adapting and improvising in order to stay comfortably afloat in a crisis.

Talking of floaters…

Following the quake in Christchurch, Canterbury – an enterprising individual constructed a website called: http://www.showusyourlongdrop.co.nz, specifically to showcase the myriad of photo images that had begun to surface of all the new and varied ‘long drop’ dumping dens in Cantabrian gardens and back yards. What started out as a bit of moral boosting – “my long drops better than yours” - toilet humour, quickly gathered a pace and a momentum that caught the eye of the National Press, as well as a few regional commercial sponsors.

The net result of the unbridled growth of this brand new Kiwi Internet phenomenon were two competitions – One: ‘The Public Vote Award’, and Two: The Press Vote Award. In other words…the very first Province of Canterbury, New Zealand - ’Bog Oscars’.

A clever promotion bog - A heffalump on a bog - And a time saving customer convenience bar bog.
Held just recently under streams of soft toilet tissue and amidst much banter and stinky toilet wit – the first ever ‘Long Drop Bog Oscars’ took place.

Dress code for the event was stipulated as ‘Briefs, Y-fronts, Panties, Winter thongs and Thermal underwear, absolutely must be worn, in the anatomical place and manner in which they were so intended. Although pyjama trousers, shorts and jeans should be worn at half mast and all those choosing to wear T-shirts, dresses, skirts or full length gowns should raise them to the fully hitched position when they step up to receive their awards from the golden carpet. Or as I say at home..."Bomb Bay Doors Open".

Well it now seems that we have a bit of a shy and modest ‘Kiwi’ celebrity in our bloggy midst. It’s clearly apparent now that our ‘Sagittarian Saj’ has been hiding her little bushel in a…well it’s a kind of flying phone box really, over these last few weeks and I think maybe she’s feeling an incy wincy bit flushed, because a discreetly posted email link has revealed that our ‘Saj’ has just picked up two of the ‘Bog Oscars’ gongs in person.

So…in the Public Vote category, in ‘Turd Place’ - to coin a very Irish phrase – for her part as best supporting actress in her first starring role – goes to “The Sagittarian and The Turdis” – the inspiration for which arose from her lifelong love of the ‘Dr Who’ TV series, and has now been contrived into both shrine and long drop reading room, having landed permanently down the bottom of her garden.

'The Turdis'
And..in The Press Vote category, ’Number Ones Place’ also goes to…”The Sagittarian And The Turdis”. Plus a prize of a full year’s supply of bog rolls. And here’s the living proof: 

Well Woopy Doopy Doo to you Saj girl and our hearty congratulations and best wishes for a long drop well dug. Definitely one that will go down in the anals of your family history, and I make absolutely no apology what so ever for ‘pulling your chain’ here ! So hey ho and there you go oh newly crowned Queen of the Turdis – sit on that and read till your good and dun why don’t you.

An it's no dunny good tryin to hide behind the paper cos we all know who it is!!                  Ho Hum.

And so where ever you are and what ever you're doing right now 'Saj', we're all damn jolly glad that you and your family and friends managed to scrape through this living nightmare without physical injury, even though you have experienced such devastation to your home. 

From those who don't yet know you, but will now hopefully take the time to click on these links and come say Hi! to you all down there, and from me and the rest who have already traded humour with you on your 'spirited blog', we all wish you as painless and speedy as possible a return to normal life and a safely re-built family home again. xx

And...just when you thought you were 'dunny dun dun' so as to speak - after "The Turdis", here are my personal favourite couple of examples of the perfect 'Pissoir' as they say in France, when referring to fully detached out of doors toilette's. So whether you have to squeeze yours out in a 'dunny' a 'long drop' a 'pissoir' or a 'khazi'...here's some more I prepared earlier:

Sarkozy's personal pissoir.

And as a chuckle and a tribute to a fellow blogga,
here's another one I prepared earlier:
"Fly's Antithesis 'Pissoir'
 to his frogs-croakworth above this one "

   And for all of you out there who are already fully familiar with the highly amusing, acerbic witticism's within 'Mme Fly's extremely well informed blog about the countless vagaries and often farcical activities within the French local and central government political system - you will relate to the above contrivance of her personal 'pissoir' of preference more than most.

Here then too, are the links to both her highly entertaining and informative blogs:

And finally - another selection of toilet craptivity image stuff you can find around the bogs on the web...

Ooooh! Very Very Scary Wary... Long Drops !!

The ultimate designer cure for constipated wannabe dumpsters this one.

You won't need turbo laxatives, just feel your way into this one with a blindfold on, sit down, hold on tight, 'whip the blindfold off' and... Bingo!!
"You've just successfully crapped yourself"


*Now go wash your hands...*

The Ultimate 'Bucking Bronco Bog'
And I've just gotta get me one of these. Just can't wait to see the expression
on the face of the customs guy at the airport when he opens this one up.

'A Bog in a Briefcase' - Perfect.
Okay...I've had enough so you can all 'pissoir off' now, and try doing something useful and productive with your day...Nitey Nitey Nite Nite and hope the dunny bugs don't bite..

Thursday, 24 March 2011

‘Sakura’ and the ephemeral nature of life.

Since the 18th century, the Japanese have had a saying: ‘Mono no aware - 物の哀れ,’ which translates to: ‘The pathos of things’ and also the phrase ‘A sensitivity to ephemera’. Often translated literally as - "The 'ahh-ness' of things."

The term is a concept which is used to describe the transience of all things living and the gently sad awareness of impermanence and thus existence as we know and understand it. The tragic but inevitable business of dying.


Part of their cultural tradition, the Japanese believe deeply that a healthy and respectful awareness of the transience of all things in life and love, heightens our appreciation of their beauty, and evokes a wistful sadness at their passing.

‘Sakura’ is the Japanese word for ‘Cherry Blossom’, the symbol of blooming clouds en masse and an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life and nobleness. The Japanese cherish and celebrate the short lived beauty of the Sakura as an omen of good fortune, an emblem of love & affection and the traditional and much anticipated arrival of spring.

From now until late April, throughout Japan, it is the blooming period of the Sakura, when the cherry blossoms usually remain in bloom for little more than a week after reaching full-bloom.

The small, delicate, pink and white flower petals flutter to the ground gracefully and are at their most beautiful and visually enchanting during this brief and final stage of their life, before they inevitably wilt, die and fly away on the wind.

Fortunately, there is nothing in the least bit ephemeral about the refined philosophies and customs of the Japanese race pursee. Deeply rooted in the values of public courtesy, selfless modesty and utmost respect for their elders, seniors, neighbours and guests, they have learnt over the centuries, how to pull together in times of extreme hardship and difficulty, with an abundance of calm and stoicism while dealing with the all to often ghastly and life altering consequences of sudden natural selection and disaster.

Possessed of an inner strength and spirit that gives them the fortitude to quietly persevere and rebuild in the face of the most unimaginably terrible of circumstances, human suffering and extreme personal loss, they are layered with an inbuilt awareness of duty, honour and a shared responsibility to their wider community at large.

This is not just an issue or a subsequence of their historical and cultural heritage, social teachings and practices over the centuries, as it is an evolved state of our most worthy human attributes, caring values and a genuinely overwhelming sense of concern for the well being of their fellow countrymen and women.

Often missunderstood in the past, the Japanese have become increasingly defined and revered by the world at large in recent days by their universally touching examples of natural humility, civilised conduct and compassionately selfless concerns for those around them who can no longer look after or fend for themselves.

All of this is underpinned by a deeper natural understanding of reason, purpose and place in the wider scheme of life and life's ‘things’. They are, and will always remain a deeply resolute, well educated, hard working and highly disciplined society.

In the face of soul numbing horror and adversity, the Japanese have shown themselves - and not for the first time in recent history - to be an immensely strong, determined, uniquely decent and resilient race of the very finest of human beings - for the great many more of us more fortunate citizens of the world to collectively admire, learn and draw much wisdom and inspiration from.

Japan – an island nation steeped in clanlike history and tradition, full of breathtaking vibrant colour, extraordinarily natural and diverse beauty - and the  home to a warm, elegant and smiling people, possessed of great pride, passion, humour, dignity and human substance. No small wonder they share a weakness for Scotlands finest 'amber tipple industry' products.

 Our thoughts will remain with you all in the coming months and years as you somehow begin to piece together the lives and future needs of whole communities along your devastated north eastern coastline and later in some way, start to come to terms with the appalling scale of damage and such tragic and unjust loss of human lives. 

This is my small and personal homage to the many thousands of known victims and those that are still missing, their families, friends and loved ones - of the terrible earthquake and tsunami devastation that took place along the north eastern coast of Japan during the mid afternoon of
 Friday 11th March 2011.

The sun will rise again in Japan.....

For the continued fortitude and better favour of the indomitable and dignified people of Japan – 'The land of the rising sun.'

And thence by the grace of good fortune and 'Mother Nature'...go us.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

“Jollity Farm, Bonzo Mania, A Gorilla & The Meaning of Life (?!!)”

“Oh dear oh dear oh deary me…where on planet earth is he going to go with this one then?”

Well…’He’ is not precisely that sure ‘himself’, so hang on to your mouse’s and let’s see what happens next:

Chapter One - Trakkerrr Time at Jollity Farm.

Back in the early-ish seventies when I was in my longish, curly auburnish haired middle teens and living in a rural mid Hampshire village, I had a weekend job working on a small local farm. Come harvesting time, long before autumn turned to gold, there was always plenty of opportunity to work weekday evenings as well for a couple of weeks, straight after school, helping to bring in the straw and hay for winter.

‘Hay Baling’.

Being in the general proximity of Lord Mountbatten’s sizable ‘Broadlands Estate’ just outside Romsey, many of the neighbouring farms were engaged to collectively lend a hand at harvest time, to ensure the estates vast crop of straw was collected and baled before the early frosts arrived.

One of the biggest highlights for me with all this, was the chance to drive a tractor and trailer on a public road – or as we used to say “Trakk-errrs”. This was big cheese for a fifteen/sixteen year old speed freak boy like me. Piloting a motorised machine with four big wheels, a hand throttle and a bluddy great steering wheel. Awesome.

Fond memories of the five mile journey through the back lanes at a blistering 20 miles per hour, peering through the Trakkerrrs stinky engine smoke, willing the next ninety degree bend in the narrow lane to arrive so I could work the steering wheel at the last possible moment then hang onto the rear wheel guard as I got the Trakkerrr and its trailer up on two wheels. Much to the amusement of all the other young hands clinging on behind me.

Having wobbled and skewed out of the corner I would flinch and brace myself in readiness for the sharp but playful cuff across the back of my head by the Farmers older son who was perched on the wheel guard beside me. Then I’d turn and share a conspiritory grin with him as he slowly shook his head yet again.

This piece of fun music here, not only inspired this whole post in the first
 place, but in my view should be adopted by John Gray as his official blog
anthem over at 'Going Gently'.

That said, this is the track 'Down on Jollity Farm' from the 'Gorilla' album,
recorded in 1967 by 'The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Of which there will be
more about later in this post. This too was one of the first record albums I ever
purchased with my own money, way back then "in the day" of the year 1974.

Chapter Two - Working up a Jollity Farm Appetite

Once arrived at our designated sector on the estate, we would hastily devote the rest of the evenings light level transition to dusk, forking up brick shaped straw bales as they dropped off the back of the combine harvester, and stacking them up ever higher on the low bed tractor trailers following on behind.

It was hard physical work of course, but amongst your mates and sprinkled with a goodly dose of boyish physical rivalry, the evenings used to pass by very happily as we rapidly burned off all that healthy youthful energy that only teenage boys seem to posess in so much abundance.

Just after sundown, as our final reserves of strength were more than beginning to wane, the regular streams of sweat now persistently stinging our eyes as the dust and the pollen became well and truly matted to our faces arms and hair, we would start to glance over our aching shoulders for the first distant signs of impending arrival of the farmers wife in her old grey Austin pick up van, as it bumped and lurched into view through the dusky glow of the pale golden tinged freshly shorn stubble, just a snub bonnets nose ahead of the rolling and tumbling plumes of wheat corn dust following closely in her wake. The 'chow waggon'...always the most relished and welcome sight of them all…

Food time.

The farmer’s son would slither down from his  'grab & stack' perch high up on the loaded straw bale trailer and signal his Dad in the combine harvester, with an impressively shrill two fingered whistle. As the clatters and throbs of tractor and harvester engines gradually died away, they were soothingly replaced by the tranquil sounds of silence, interrupted only by the soft chirps of cicadas and the lively calls of nightjars busy flitting back and forth across the hedge rows as we gratefully trotted over to the back of Mrs Hunts old grey van.


Chapter Three - Class of '73' - The Stuff of Boys to Men

There is something deeply personal and memoriable about my vivid recollections of those very moments, during that particular summers final days in 1973, sat out there on a loose bale of straw in the middle of a sprawling freshly cut corn field, resting 'back to sweaty back' with a best mate while almost feverishly trying to push the whole of your enormous crusty fresh bread cheese and pickle roll inside your head in one complete go.

Rarely was a word said in those first few glorious minutes as the dozen or so of us ‘men in waiting’ and a few real already grow’d ups, eagerly filled our taught and empty bellies, gulping down great big mugs of foaming bitter shandy, while spread out around the tractors and loose bales in various states of seating and recline. The aches in our shoulders and the prickly tingles caused by grip muscle strain and blister chaffing to our hands, was momentarily forgotten. The mere stuff of grown up boys pretending they were already fully trousered up men.  

As the initial impatient haste to chomp and swill your way through your ploughman’s chow and beverage slowed to a more civilised and respectable tempo, I would find myself beginning to focus my senses more appreciably on the calm and beautifully twilit environment within my field of vision, taking in the postures and expressions of my teenage peers as they too relaxed to gaze contentedly outwards at the visually arresting vista laid out before them.

In these calm and formative moments together on those warm and balmy late summer evenings out there in the depths of Hampshire’s Broadlands fields, we began to see the world around us in a broader, different light. We started to really look, take note and experience the early ponderings of a wider, deeper appreciation for this unique and special place we collectively co-exist on.

Privately, from within, there were way more questions than answers, but one thing was for certain – we all grew up a little faster in those harvest time fields and pastures that year. Me, Kemmy, Rob, The Two Steve's, Andy, Bessie and Dozer. We’d all somewhat unknowingly made a few quiet quantum leaps toward adulthood. The journey from boy to man had taken on a bit more than a mere burst, and we were quickly beginning to understand there was more to all this ‘life’ and 'growing up' business than we’d previously understood.

A bigger, wider picture seemed to beckon. We’d accelerated into a whole new phase of maturing and personal development, and nothing in our lives from those moments on...would ever be quite the same again.

Truly unforgettable, halcyon days.

I really love all this stuff.
It was generally just about then that old farmer Hunt would let out an impressively loud, long drawn out belch. Let everyone know he was still the biggest cheese in the pantry. And so then to a rising chorus of competing baby belchers here and there, we’d all enjoy an extended period of hearty chuckling and jeering as the friendly sound of nightjar bird song was drowned out to a cacophony of human derivative debauchment’s and other more extreme, audible crudities.

And good old Mrs Hunt would always remain completely po faced - never even a blink of a smile or a frown, as she gazed out calmly to the fading orange glows of the distant horizon.

"Hay Baling Fun" - You've really gotta take a look at this.

Chapter Four - The Fall of the 'Cretin Birds'

Yanked back to the realities of base life once again, old farmer Hunt would cast a searching glance to the heavens, coarsely wipe his mouth with the back of one of his equally coarse farmers hands as he reached into the long wooden tool box bolted to the side of his harvester’s engine panel.

Drawing out first one, then two twelve bore shot guns, we would all hurriedly clamber up the neatly stacked bales of straw to gain a better vantage point, as he passed the second gun to his oldest son. It was ‘cretin bird’ shoot time. Late night shopping for next months lunches, dinners, soups and pies - and as if bang on cue, the first suicidally cretinous bird would appear in the skies, eyes a bulging, head and neck straining forward, dumbly flapping its ungainly way inexorably onwards, straight into the sights of farmer Hunt and his number one son. Blam Blam Blam & Blamm.

Although a life long lover of our various bird and animal cousins, I have little care for the cretinous ‘Pheasant’ species at large I’m afraid. They really did dump out to the back of the queue when our lord and creator was dishing out the dregs of the brain matter. I mean they really did miss the whole armada.

Even down the lanes near where I live now, these totally inept, dumb ass malfunctioning kamikaze bipeds, disguised as semi pretty birdies, cause more motoring incidents as well as accidents, than all the other threats and hazards’ put together.

So there we casually watched from atop our fortress of straw, while the twin guns of Hunt & son blam blam blammed away at a virtually constant stream of low flying cretin birds, hopelessly determined to fall foul to the deadly spray of buckshot waiting to pluck them out of the otherwise deserted late summer evening airways.

And so as Mrs Hunt and ‘Boy’ the welsh border collie dog, stacked and fetched a sizable pile of deceased now ‘ex-cretinous’ game birds into the back of her trusty old pick up, I would slide down off my straw bales and claim my rightful place in the driving seat of my ‘trakk-errr’ once again and prepare for the dark drive back to ‘Jollity Farm’.

Chapter Five - Bonzo Mania & "It May Be Rubbish But By Golly It's British Rubbish!"

Quite who and of what circumstances got me into the record shop that day in 1974 to burgle myself a copy of ‘Gorilla’ by the comically avant garde jazz-rock group ‘The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’, colloquially known as ‘The Bonzo’s’ …I cannot recall.

Although a distant cow bell is telling me that it had something to do with two tracks:
a)      ‘The Intro’s and the Outro’s’ which sits at the top of this blogs sidebar, serving as the appropriately named musical ‘Intro’ to this whole fun blogger den – and
b)      ‘Down on Jollity Farm’ because it was just plain good old jolly childish fun.

Originally formed in 1962, The Bonzo’s gathered an impressive and loyal fan base, eventually launching their most successful album ‘Gorilla’ in 1967. ‘Jollity Farm’ was originally conceived and written by the singer song writer - Leslie Sarony - back in 1929 and thus adapted by the band for ‘Gorilla’.

During WW2, Leslie Sarony’s voice came to the public’s wider attention as one half of the duo who recorded the popular and jaunty wartime song – “We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line”. Interestingly, the other half of the duo was also another ‘Leslie' with the surname 'Holmes’.

‘From Wikipedia’:
As the Bonzo Dog band's popularity increased, they were asked by Paul McCartney to appear in the "Magical Mystery Tour" film at the end of 1967, performing "Death Cab For Cutie". Around the same time, they were hired as the resident band on Do Not Adjust Your Set, a comedy show notable for starring several future members of Monty Python's Flying Circus (Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin) and David Jason in the cast. The band performed every week as well as sometimes participating in sketches.

They had a hit single in 1968 with "I'm the Urban Spaceman" produced by Paul McCartney and Gus Dudgeon under the collective pseudonym "Apollo C. Vermouth". The Beatles were great fans of the group.

Here's some further accreditations and mentions of the Bonzo's lesser known achievements:

The Sunday Times [may 25, 2008]
The band get  special mention in Robert Sandall's look at 'comedy music'.

" As the decade wore on, and pop started to take itself more seriously, along came the funniest band of the lot, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. A surreally attired ensemble led by Viv Stanshall, a foppish fellow with big glasses, they mercilessly teased rock’s earnestness with songs such as Can a Blue Man Sing the Whites? - and so hip were they in their day, Paul McCartney, no less, co-produced their hit single I’m the Urban Spaceman."

Sunday July 2nd, 2008.

The Bonzo's appeared today on BBC's Sunday AM programme. Over 1.5m viewers watched the band perform Jolity Farm to Andrew Marr and his guests; Tessa Jowell, William Haig, Cathy Lett and Chris Patten. In the breakfast that followed, the band did offer William Haig a speaking part in the upcoming UK tour. Sadly (?) he declined!
The appearance was organised with Barney Jones, Editor of Sunday AM and a life long Bonzo's fan. Barney commented "the Bonzo's made such a contrast to the rather serious politicians we normally have on the show, it was a delight that they could join us."

Interestingly, the original songster to "Jollity Farm" - Leslie Sarony, was later to appear as an elderly Insurance company clerk in 'The Crimson Permanent Assurance' sequence, from the 1983 Monty Python film 'The Meaning of Life'. What a small and funny world we chortle around in then don't we.

Humour has always been central to my life. Weaned on a regular barrage of ‘The Goon Shows’, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Saturday night TV with the eponymous Morecombe & Wise shows, it was no great wonder that I would eventually gravitate towards other comedic genius’s such as Monty Python and Billy Connelly. Oh the laughter and the pain.

Especially when you’re unfortunate enough to be sat just two rows back from the front of house at one of Connelly’s ‘Banana Boots’ concerts in the late 70’s. Spent most of that one in total seizure, and even when I somehow managed to wriggle my way out to the aisle to try and slink off for a momentously needed pee, while in the middle of another full on rampantly hillarious delivery, Connelly suddenly paused in mid rant and glared alarmingly downward with his eyebrows ominously raised - at which point all the ceiling spotlights instantly lit me up like a bug eyed frozen rabbit - as he blammed down at me...“And where the f**k do you think you’re going!!!”

Very soon after, having successfully escaped from Connelly's merciless ire, I singularly overindulged myself with the bestest, loudest, monumentally longest ‘pee’ I have ever had by far...and believe me, I’ve had a wee few more than most !

"I'm the Urban Spacman"

Okay John...You'd better blogga off now and go milk your goats.
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