I recently stayed in one of my favourite hostelries, the Old Faggot, a pub in Much Binding in the Piddle, a village in North Devon. It was an ancient hostelry going back to the reign of Ethelred the Unsteady, as were most of the patrons ever since.
Iolanthe Mandergarst the landlord, an old crony from escapades in Bristol opium dens, asked me down for the annual futtock nadgering contest, an old Devonian custom consisting of catching an errant futtock and then nadgering it.
On my day of arrival Gertrude Splinters Spittle the local pole dancer blocked my passage. She was hanging from a lintel over the door practising moves of an extraordinary nature involving a horse harness, a bucket of wallpaper paste and the Bishop of Bath and Wells equerry, a particularly well-endowed chap with a pleasant smile.
I watched as Gertrude made inroads into the very soul of the functionary’s garments whilst he remained transfixed, enshrouded as he was, in very pleasant flock wallpaper.
Eventually, I made for the bar, eager for my gin and Avgas heart starter. Iolanthe’s wife, a comely wench of undiluted habits welcomed me with salvos of wind and an enigmatic grimace, her unique way of making one feel at home.
Quivering Meg and Eunice Throbwalloper a duo of very little repute were setting up their equipment on a small stage, a plank of wood balanced precariously on two chairs.
They were an odd couple, Quivering Meg with long dank hair circumventing a long face like an upturned canoe and Eunice Throbwalloper a girl with a penchant for tattoos of a particularly graphic and revolting nature. They were about to entertain us with their latest hit ‘The girl with emphysema.’
Iolanthe, the landlord, stumbled through the doors carrying a plate of frog legs and St John’s wort, a speciality of the house, claimed to stimulate the sex drive of rock lobsters, goat herds and inhibit the urge to vomit up the main course of Marinated senna pods in aspic.
The actual futtock nadgering was in full cry by the time I ventured outside in a state of discombobulation after I gave a rendition of ‘Eskimo Nell’ in what I deemed to be a quintessential mellifluent tone.
Septic Jake, a retired spittoon engraver, clouted me on the snozzle and complained bitterly that the said rendition lacked empathy. I was lying down at the time and could only nod in acquiescence.
While the scrimmaging, involving the good burghers of the parish ran hither and thither searching for futtocks, I ran hither and thither and ran into Emily Freeaneasy wearing what looked like a strip of lagging from a discarded drain pipe. She looked like a public convenience at the best of times, this wasn’t one of them. I often wondered why father married her.
I gave her half a crown and she went off mumbling towards the beer tent. I headed for the stage where the Oil Drum Terrace Knee Tremblers were playing a selection of Brahms Variations and Fugues on Themes by a Mr Handel.
It was well received by the audience comprised mainly of The Countryside Guild of Village Idiots and Mavis Crabthrobber their devoted eighty five year old groupie.
Dear Mavis she had recently competed in the over eighties nude annual hedgehog squat championships in Lower Groping in Cornwall and come second to her mother-in-law, sprightly ninety eight year old Fifi la Bootstrap, a semi-retired lap dancer and leading role in various French postcards.
As afternoon gradually suffocated into evening Henry Slackbutt the Electric Druids bouzouki plucker and redundant rickshaw driver fell into a cauldron of simmering futtocks when attempting to dance the Darjeeling one-step with Yeti Puke, a trampolining acupuncturist with a declining cliental.
Fred Caughtshort, champion barbed wire hurdler until his tragic accident, attempted mouth to mouth resuscitation but was thwarted by thwart called Freddy Scrotum a wizened retainer and out of work lamplighter waiting for gas to make a comeback. What happened to Miss Puke isn’t worth mentioning.
The evening drew to close when Whispering Ermintrude, who normally earns a living perforating lavatory paper, gave us a veritable cornucopia of unmelodious songs for senile lovers.