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The Real Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver was born Margaret Ig in deepest revolutionary France some fortyfew years ago. His early years were spent living in a lake, where his parents has taken up residence to avoid the all-pervading strains of Charles Aznavour records. 

At the age of five and barely out of nappies, his childhood was traumatised by the sudden arrest of his father on charges of making sexual overtures towards a pickled herring.

At the trial, his father, Ernest Ig, threw himself on the mercy of the court and asked for sixty-three other charges to be taken into account, including committing a lewd act with a hatstand, bathing in discarded film footage of Morris Dancing, and fathering Bonnie Langford whilst under the influence of low-fat yoghurt.

The jury of one man, one woman and ten hermaphrodites gleefully found him guilty, and he was shipped off to the “La Fondue” minimum security prison and retail ear-muff outlet. There, he was subjected to such diverse tortures as the authorities could muster; Chinese burns and towel-flicking were rife, and the enforced watching of Jim Davidson videos had the inmates cruelly subjugated.

However, the Ig family’s separation was happily short-lived when Ernest was rescued by son Margaret and far-from faithful wife Claudine in a daring lunchtime raid. Disguising themselves as freelance travel agents, they easily entered the facility and absconded with a struggling Ernest, who had been quite enjoying himself until then.

Following Claudine’s carefully laid cunning plan, they ran like buggery to Calais, evading the pursuit of a crack hamster attack squad. There, a boat was waiting for them. Unfortunately it was a police boat.

Fearless, they blasted their way through the line of Gendarmes using a particularly powerful aerosol can of that dreadful artificial whipped cream, and leapt into another standby boat which Claudine had knitted only that morning.

Using Margaret as a paddle, they reached England in good time, beaching just south of Fort William. (Ernest has acquired his stout seamanship from his father, Slim, a Chinese waiter who had never set foot outside his Kentucky ranch.)

Sleeping on the move, the Ig family made their way on foot to the wilds of Bishops Stortford and broke into an abandoned caravan once allegedly used by Cardinal Wolsey. Exhausted from their journey, they slept.

When they woke, Margaret was twelve. Ernest decided that, in order not to arouse suspicion, they should change their names, and thus they became the Oliver family. Richard (nee Ernest) set about providing for the family in their new life, and easily found work pulling the legs off spiders. However, soon afterwards the international market for spiders legs collapsed, and a distraught Richard was made redundant. Walking home after his last day at work, he was mobbed by wheelchair-bound tarantulas and chewed to death.

Distraught, Jamie joined a local technical college with a view to learning a trade, and within a year had built his first sparrow. This set his life’s course straight and true, and he vowed to be the best sparrowsmith in Hertfordshire, whatever it took.

Three weeks later, he fulfilled that dream. Overcome with emotion on hearing of her son’s achievement, Jane (nee Claudine) passed out in the kitchen while making eggs Benedict and hit her head on a protruding antelope.

After being tended in hospital for twelve long years, with Jamie at her bedside 24 hours a day, Jane finally recovered consciousness. Startled by unfamiliar surroundings, the first words to her loving son were “Are Band Aid still Number One?” Tragically, she never found out. Jamie was busy dashing to the toilet to relieve twelve years of bladder discomfort, and by the time he returned to Jane’s bedside, the hospital had been closed down.

After so long in the employment wilderness, Jamie found it painfully tough getting a job. That was until he was found unconscious in the gutter outside a Burger King restaurant. The franchisee, having suffered the decimation of his staff that previous evening during a vicious bout of chutney tasting, woke Jamie with a kick to the eyebrows and employed him there and then.

The rest, as they say, is history…

Find a longer chuckle in my humour writing compendium of offbeat short stories on Kindle : The Real Jamie Oliver and other Stories

the new flag

The New Flag

‘What about a buffalo?’ asked Grig, shaven-headed focus of the New Flag Committee.

‘Buffalo?’ Jones, the smartly-dressed Home Minister was perplexed.

‘You know, a nice big fierce buffalo. In profile.’

Bell, the Foreign Minister, furrowed his brow. ‘What does that represent?’ 

‘Well, buffaloes,’ Grig said.

Bell furrowed his deep brow and took another sip of what should have been coffee but wasn’t. He needed a moment to think, make sure he wasn’t missing something. Polonius Grig was a respected flag designer, and the Foreign Minister didn’t want to look like a eunuch at a pissing contest.

‘I see,’ Bell said. ‘But what’s the significance to Newdonia?’ He finished stirring his un-coffee and set the spoon down in the saucer.

‘Isn’t it obvious?’

‘No,’ Jones said, to Bell’s relief. Evidently he was not in a minority of one in failing to follow the designer’s train of thought.

‘Buffaloes are a great symbol of this country,’ Grig said.

‘Er, we don’t actually have any buffaloes in Newdonia,’ clarified Finch, the freckled young Arts minister. ‘Not one. Including the zoo.’

‘But they are a great symbol of strength,’ Grig said. ‘Powerful. You don’t take shit from a nation that acts like a buffalo.’

‘I’m not sure Newdonia is planning to act like a buffalo,’ Home Minister Jones suggested.

‘Really?’ Grig asked, with just a hint of desperation. ‘What about all these mock-ups I’ve done?’

‘Sorry,’ Bell said firmly. ‘You might just as well propose we use an elephant.’

‘And what’s wrong with elephants?’ Grig protested, fearing that his un-revealed backup design was shortly for the trash heap.

‘We don’t have any of those either,’ Finch pointed out.

‘But you don’t take shit from—’ Grig began.

‘The taking of shit, or otherwise, from this new nation is not the raison d’etre behind the flag design we are seeking. I thought that was clear from our brief.’

‘Designers don’t always stick to the rules. That’s why we’re called designers.’ Grig’s tone bordered on patronising.

‘All we want is a bold design,’ Jones said, trying to smooth over things, casting his gaze around the room, placating the rest of the Committee.

‘A horse?’ proffered the designer.

‘No animals!’ Finch and Bell insisted in unison.

The designer sighed and tweaked his ear pensively. ‘Okay, what about this?’ Grig picked up his felt-tips and sketched something roughly on a sheet of his notepad. He nodded satisfactorily and held the pad up for all to see.

‘Er, isn’t that the Union Flag?’ Finch asked.

‘Yes,’ Grig replied, confused.

‘Well, aren’t the UK using that?’

‘Are they? Are you sure?’

‘Pretty sure,’ Finch said.

‘Completely sure,’ Bell said.

‘Okay,’ Grig mused. ‘But do they like it?’

‘It is popular. It’s also got a lot of history behind it.’

‘You don’t have any history though,’ Grig said, stating the obvious.

‘Or a flag, as things go,’ Finch mumbled.

Grig, unfortunately, had heard the Arts minister’s under-breath jibe. His eyes lit up. ‘I’ve got it!’

Everyone perked up.

‘Don’t have a flag,’ the designer stated triumphantly, slapping a hand down on the large mahogany table.

Jones’ mouth fell open. ‘Don’t have a flag!?’ 

Bell just shook his head. Finch pulled a face.

‘Look,’ Grig said, rising to his feet, ‘What do you need a flag for anyway? You’re Newdonia. You know that. I know that. Your neighbours know that. The world knows that. They have atlases. What do you need a stupid flag for?’

‘To hang on the flagpoles,’ Bell said.

‘All the flagpoles were torn down during the revolution,’ Jones pointed out.

Bell nodded sagely. It was true.

‘The Olympics,’ Finch stated.

‘Olympics?’ Grig stopped striding and faced the raven-haired Arts representative. ‘What chance have you got of qualifying for the Olympics? Do you ever see Liechtenstein at the Olympics? You’re not even that big.’

‘World Cup?’ Bell suggested reluctantly.

‘Don’t make me laugh.’

‘Well what about all the T-shirts, souvenirs and such,’ Finch asked.

‘Think how much money you can save! No flagpoles, no tacky souvenirs. You can re-use all the picture postcards—the scenery hasn’t changed. You’re a young nation. You have to build, establish a solid fiscal platform. You can’t start plundering the publics coffers for some stupid symbol of nationhood. Keep your money. Have a big party.’

There was silence for a moment, followed by gentle nods from all the ministers.

Jones stood. ‘Well, thank you Grig. This has been a very productive session. Thank you for all your effort.’ The men shook hands.

‘Yes, thank you.’ Bell, then Finch, exchanged a parting handshake with the designer.

Grig pulled an envelope from his top pocket and handed it to the Home Minister. ‘I’ll show myself out,’ he said, heading for the double wooden doors at the end of the room.

‘What’s this?’ Jones asked after him.

‘Oh,’ Grig paused momentarily, ‘The bill.’

Find a longer chuckle in my humour writing compendium of offbeat short stories on Kindle : The Real Jamie Oliver and other Stories

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Igbad’s Rollerblading Stunts

In 2018, Tarik Igbad of the Czech Republic was crowned World Rollerblading Champion. Little is known of this diminutive and foreign genius, but his enthusiasm and dedication to his craft are an example for rollerbladers everywhere.

In 1997 at the age of fifteen, Tarik’s father sold all the family’s worldly possessions to buy his only son the birthday gift of his dreams. Initially, Tarik’s progress was slow, and his father began to have second thoughts about the decision, but in October 1998 he was rewarded when Tarik learned to stand upright on the wheeled skates.

Tarik’s confidence began to grow, and by late 1999 he could be seen shuttling up and down the street outside their house in the suburbs of Prague. All the children in the neighbourhood would line the filthy pavements, beating sticks against the gutter and cheering as Tarik weaved along, wearing his favourite yellow bobble hat and blue skates.

Egged on by the crowd, and with an eye to impressing local teen beauty Ivana Belzak, Tarik attempted his first stunt. It wasn’t a pre-planned affair, just a daring spur-of-the-moment lunge for greatness. Cast down in the road was an empty tin of kidney beans, lying on its side. Passing by to check out the situation, Tarik ‘bladed up the road, made a full turn and began his run up. He built up a good head of speed, a Mexican wave of cheering urchins following him, and leapt ebulliently into the air.

A year later, after recovering from the broken collarbone and shattered knee, Tarik Igbad was ready to rollerblade again. Yet now the streets were empty. Even Ivana didn’t emerge from her front door to watch him. This made him all the more determined. Day after day he practised, leaping over chalk marks scribed in the road, until he was ready to try the can of beans again.

It was a bright warm day in June 2001 when Tarik began that run-up again, trying to banish the memory of failure from his mind, not daring to gaze into windows, to try and look past curtains, to wonder if anyone—especially his beloved Ivana—was watching him.

He cleared the tin by a full half-inch and punched the air in delight. Now he was ready for the big time.

Buoyed up, he coasted back to the site of his jump and cast the empty tin aside. Things were going to get serious. He went over to the pavement and fetched his second obstacle; a spaghetti tin. He laid it on its side and powered off for his first run.

Tarik has always candidly admitted that his first attempt was aborted, his mind distracted at the last minute by the colourful writing on the can’s wrapper. But he was not to be beaten, and on his second attempt he sailed majestically over with five-eighths of an inch to spare. He was ecstatic. He was also level-headed and knew not to push himself. He drew a line under that greatest of days and went to bed, almost tearful with joy.

A fortnight later, and with curtains undeniably twitching in the houses that lined what was fast becoming his arena, Igbad jumped the spaghetti tin with it standing upright. By the time evening came and his margin of clearance had bettered an inch, he was sure he saw Ivana Belzak’s face outlined behind her thin bedroom curtain.

By the following week, with an almost showy Tarik having graduated to two tins side-by-side, Ivana was out on the pavement, watching again, and the number of local children joining her grew day by day. It was late October when, after his first successful attempt to clear a hurdle two tins deep, Tarik finally got up the courage to speak to his beloved, and that night,  whilst still wearing rollerblades, the new local hero lost his virginity down by the stagnant canal backwater.

By early 2003, and with Ivana now a constant companion, Tarik Igbad progressed to yet more amazing stunts. Quickly he’d mastered jumping diverse obstacles such as four spaghetti tins in a row, two bricks arranged in an inverted V, and a miner’s helmet. Kids were coming from nearby streets to watch, and even his parents had stopped beating him. Late in the year he held a demonstration event, charging a small entrance fee, and used the proceeds to help buy a new pair of ‘blades to replace his very worn blue set.

Everything snowballed from there. There was the odd injury, notably a broken finger when attempting to jump a line of pre-cooked chickens, but he was already the talk of the city and much of the country too, signing autographs and resisting the temptation of groupies.

To celebrate his engagement to Ivana in October 2005, Tarik held a charity event, jumping, amongst other things, a Yamaha motorbike (upright), a disused lawnmower, a bus queue, a bus queue where the participants hadn’t been pre-warned, and the Minister Of Finance in a leotard. For the grand finale he whipped the crowd into a frenzy before jumping over three women dressed as John Dory blanched in milk with a herb sauce and steamed asparagus.

Now famous across Europe, Tarik undertook a world tour to thousands of screaming fans. It was not without incident though, nor controversy. In Milan he grazed both palms after landing awkwardly following his signature jump over six men with red hair holding jars of honey. Far more notable was the now infamous “Thames incident” which occurred during his spell in England.

Grandstanding, Tarik claimed on 17th June 2008 that the following day he would jump the river Thames. Crowds lined the London Embankments, their mood anxious but excited, waiting for the incredible stunt to play out before them. Tarik, however, occasionally prone to the odd practical joke, was talented but not insane. At 2pm he proudly jumped the river a few miles from its source in England’s heartland, clearing the fifteen inch stream with ease. The protestations of fair play were as loud as the cries of ‘foul’, but Tarik, although he left England knowing he could never play there again, retained his mantle.

From stunt jumping, he eased smoothly into competition and his prize money rocketed. Ivana his wife was always by his side and in late 2010 he bought her a square mile of the Pacific Ocean just two hours flying time from the Galapagos Islands and had it marked out with buoys in vermilion and chestnut, her two favourite colours. She knows she can go there whenever she wishes.

As new World Rollerblading Champion, Tarik hasn’t changed much. He’s still blonde and blue eyed, loves his fans, wishes his parents would accept him, and is always looking for a new challenge. 

And he still carries that empty tin of beans wherever he goes.

Find a longer chuckle in my humour writing compendium of offbeat short stories on Kindle : The Real Jamie Oliver and other Stories

Books by Chris Towndrow

The Rich List

The annual publication of the UK “Rich List” is an eagerly awaited occasion, with much journalistic attention being given to its upper echelons. This, however, ignores the achievements of some of its less well-publicised members. In order to go some way to redress this balance, there follows an excerpt from the 2017 List.

Ranked No. 1876

J. Simon Harpenden, Bricklayer

Just pipped by the Spum brothers, Mr Harpenden has nevertheless had a very successful year, if a sad one. The death of his wife Irma in a tragic cucumber picking accident has reduced outgoings tremendously, allowing this resourceful individual to climb well into the top 2000.

Ranked No. 1877

Herbert Spill, Computer Programmer

A bad year for Mr. Spill, who, despite fixing the “Q” on his keyboard, suffered from financial losses after the publication of the 2016 List. He drops 198 places after blowing a cool five hundred large on a big party to celebrate his rise up the rankings last year.

Ranked No. 1878

Jemina Smith, unemployed

Heir to the Smith fortune of over £10bn, Jemina has eschewed profligacy, despite her fondness for designer socks. It has been reported that her father has refused to build any further extensions to her house, thus limiting the size of her footwear collection to its present 62,128 pairs.

Ranked No. 1879

Martin Crisp, transvestite and father of nine

Mr(s) Crisp is a new name on the Rich List this year after blackmailing the Governor of the Bank Of England.

Ranked No. 1880

Paul What, insurance salesman

Paul What faces expulsion from the Rich List as his trial draws to a close. If convicted, he will be stripped of his fortune, amassed by selling “Sun” insurance policies to old people. These policies, built on weekly or daily contributions, were only due to pay out if the sun did not rise the following morning.

Ranked No. 1881

Jane Kirkby-Follicle, inventor

Sales of her patented diamond-encrusted fishing rod have been very sluggish, and the inventor has been forced to put up personal money to keep the business afloat. She drops 762 places. As a consequence, her place as one of the most eligible spinsters in Rugby is under threat.

Ranked No. 1882

Smith Walston, pothole maker

Smith Walston has been a controversial figure over the last three years, but this hasn’t affected his wealth. He continues to thrive on his retainers, paid by local construction companies who defraud county councils and thus the taxpayer.

Ranked No. 1883

Q. Milkfancy, recycler

Mr. Milkfancy is suffering troubled times, struggling to maintain profits by stealing empty beer glasses from pub gardens and selling them off.

Ranked No. 1884

Miss S. Trouble, heiress

Miss Trouble continues to gently fritter away her family fortune, dropping 65 places. Her great grandfather Ben Trouble, of course, is famous for inventing the word ‘embryo’.

Ranked No. 1885

David David, investor

A very recent success story, David David made millions by carefully timed investments in rubber tulips for deaf children.

Find a longer chuckle in my humour writing compendium of offbeat short stories on Kindle :The Real Jamie Oliver and other Stories

advanced sexual positions

Advanced Sexual Positions

“The Illuminator”

Good for  :  Reducing the “To Do” list

Not recommended for  :  Use outdoors, overweight couples

The man stands on the chair (recommend a sturdy kitchen-type chair, no wheels or cushions) with his buttocks against the chair back. The woman gets onto the chair and stands facing away from the man. The woman bends over until her back is at a 45 degree angle. When the man has attained a comfortable position, he changes the light bulb.

“The Surf N Turf”

Good for  :  Women called Stacey

Not recommended for  :  Vegetarians

The woman assumes the Crab position. The man assumes the Llama position.

“Just Coming, Love”

Good for  :  Safe sex

Not recommended for  : Energetic types

The man lays on the bed and achieves a state of preparedness while the woman removes her nail polish in the bathroom. The man falls asleep.

“Giving The Bird”

Good for   :  Wierdos

Not recommended for   :   Men with a fear of common fowl

The man lays on the bed. The woman straddles him and flaps her arms, clucking like a chicken.

“The Long Shot”

Good for   :  Energetic types

Not recommended for   :  Those with sensitive eardrums, impatient couples

The man and woman both engage in a rigorous 9-month course to train as Human Cannonballs. Having graduated, and when the mood is right, the couple enlist the help of professionals to set up two cannon in close proximity. Consulting appropriate experts, the couple ensure that the cannon are arranged such that the two flight paths intersect about 2 seconds after the cannonballs leave the barrel.

Both cannon are fired simultaneously. The man and woman – wearing the appropriate safety headgear – meet in mid-air, copulate, and fall to earth (a safety net).

It is recommended that both parties attain a significant state of arousal before being fired. Intercourse lasts less than 4 seconds. This position requires tremendous practice and is notoriously difficult to get right. Female orgasm has been recorded only once.

“The Obvious Deception”

Good for   :  Future divorcees

Not recommended for   :   Those who buy their milk at the supermarket 

The man goes to an important conference in Hastings. The woman shags the milkman.

“The Un-Obvious Deception”

Good for   :  Confused husbands

Not recommended for  :  Those who buy their milk at the supermarket 

The woman goes to an important conference in Hastings. The man shags the milkman.

“The Good Neighbour”

Good for   :  Suburbanites

Not recommended for  :  High rise apartment block dwellers, left-handed people

Best on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The woman pours herself a Pimms and lays out in the garden on the recliner, and soon falls asleep. The neighbour looks over his fence, sees this, dons his gardening gloves and takes the opportunity to trim the woman’s bush. When he is finished, he wakes the woman. She tells him it looks nice, but that he should clean up the leaves. He does this and then they make love.

Mowing the lawn is an acceptable substitute.

“The Yee-Hah”

Good for  :   Practising your balance

Not recommended for   : Hemharroid sufferers

The woman mounts the horse. The man mounts the woman.

“The Politician And The Mistress”

Good for   :   Role-players

Not recommended for   :  Honest people

The woman lies down on the bed. The man lies.

Find a longer chuckle in my humour writing compendium of offbeat short stories on Kindle :The Real Jamie Oliver and other Stories