Month: August 2014

Mr Benn Day: 30th August 2014

At last, in these times of international famine and conflict we have something worth celebrating.

The government has just announced the introduction of Mr Benn Day.  Therefore on Saturday August 30th the star of the legendary but short lived 1970’s TV cartoon finally gets the recognition he deserves.

The few episodes (from stories by David McKee) that were made and broadcast by the BBC have been seen many times since their first broadcast.  So to celebrate Mr Benn Day 2014 we will pay homage to the only original McKee story never broadcast:

123456789 Benn:   In this story Mr Benn visits the shop and tries on a prison uniform.  Not surprisingly he finds himself in prison and he inspires his fellow inmates to decorate their cells.

To avoid everyone clashing the following edict has been issued by Mr Cameron’s newly appointed Minister for Mr Benn Day, Michael Gove:

Children will all dress up as the inmates who will ultimately be inspired by Mr Benn;
Mr Benn himself will be the domain of all adult males;
Women will act out the role of the shopkeeper;

The simple premise is to keep alive the ethos of Mr Benn.  A simply drawn life, in black and white, with potentially scary adventures that work out fine in the end.

Additionally, in honour of this momentous event, a brand new Mr Benn story has been written.  It is published in its entirety below and shall form the basis of Mr Benn Day on August 29th 2015.

 Mr Benn The Professional footballer:

Narrator: All was quite at number 52 Festive Road.  Mr Benn decided to go for a walk.  He put on his hat and coat and set off along Festive Road.  After a while he turned into an alley and found himself outside a small costume shop.  Without hesitation, he steps inside and looks around at the selection of costumes on display.  As if by Magic the Shopkeeper appears.

Shopkeeper: “Hello Sir,  have you seen anything you’re interested in?”

Mr Benn: “Yes indeed, That red shirt with the odd-looking gold coloured cross on the front seems most interesting.”

Shopkeeper:  “Excellent sir, please follow me”

Narrator:  The shopkeeper showed Mr Benn to the changing room.  Inside Mr Benn changed into his costume.  He looked at himself in the mirror and then walked through the door to see what adventures awaited him.  He found himself on the edge of a large grass arena surrounded by what appeared to be thousands of people. Mr Benn realised it was a football stadium and he wondered what the life of a footballer would involve.
A woman rushed up to him.  “Quick”, she said. “I need to introduce you to your personal aides before your first game starts.”  So Mr Benn followed the woman into a large room.  In the room were some people Mr Benn had never met before.
“These days”, said the woman, “a footballer needs his own aides to help everything run smoothly. Let me introduce you to yours”!  Mr Benn walked along the line and was introduced to Andy Coulson, his biographer; Max Clifford, his publicist; his physio, Dr H. Shipman; Nick Leeson, his financial advisor, Tom Daley, his diving coach and finally his social secretary Paul Gascoigne.  Standing behind them was his trophy girlfriend, Cheryl.  Mr Benn wasn’t sure if this was a good idea after all.

Mr Benn: “Nice to meet you all, when does the match begin”?

Narrator:  As Mr Benn spoke he heard a whistle from somewhere outside and he was rushed out to start his first game for his team, Moanchester Disunited.  The match was against Spartak Chelski, a team with a history going back many months.  One of his opponents passed by about 2 yards away and then, for no apparent reason, fell over.  Mr Benn wondered if his opponent felt silly rolling around on the grass like that?  After all he hadn’t been shot had he?  The referee blew his whistle and awarded the Spartak Chelski player, Drogba,  a free kick.  The referee was wearing a shirt which advertised the company he used to purchase his spectacles, Mr Benn wondered if he was overdue for a check up.  Mr Benn mentioned  these thoughts to the referee and also expressed his concerns regarding the referees parentage.  During the remainder of the first half Mr Benn received the ball a few times and wondered why one of his team, Tom Daley, kept shouting at him to do what they had worked on in training.

In the second half Mr Benn received the ball from a small fat teammate called Diego.  He ran forward with the ball until he reached something called the penalty area.  He then tripped over his boot laces and as he fell he wondered why Paul, his social secretary, had tied them together like that.  For some reason the referee, who was still near the halfway line, blew his whistle and awarded Mr Benn a penalty.  His England teammate Chris Waddle was to take the penalty and Mr Benn wondered if the woman in the 42nd row of the stands was a friend of Mr Waddle.  Why else, he thought, would Chris kick the ball to her?  Another of Mr Benns teammates, Eric KarateKid, was sent off by the referee for kicking,  despite his protestations that the ball was supposed to be kicked.  Chelski defender Dumb Terry was substituted late in the second half having failed to get involved in the game at all.  A subsequent investigation found that line chalk was put in the referees vanishing spray bottle.  As it failed to vanish Terry stayed where he was.  (I believe he is still there.

When the final whistle blew Mr Benn went to have a drink.  His social secretary gave him his drink but drinking it made him feel very strange and wobbly.  Before he collapsed he had time to wonder why the rest of his aides were leaving with some Police Officers,  Mr Benn assumed they were helping the police with something and he was sure he would see them again soon.  (Except Cheryl who, in Mr Benns opinion, had a horrible grating voice and he didn’t want to see her again).

When Mr Benn awoke he found himself back in the changing room at the costume shop.  He had a terrible headache and decided that, while this adventure was fun, he wouldn’t want to repeat it.

As he was changing back into his suit he found a brown envelope in the pocket of his costume.  He pulled out the envelope and discovered it contained £1000000 in cash.
“Fuck me sideways”, said Mr Benn, “I’m fucking minted, where’s the nearest strip joint”?

The Road (and ocean) To Hell…

itchyscratchyblog

…are we nearly there yet?

Mid June:

Time again to think about the annual family pilgrimage to somewhere that isn’t home.

This year it’s a rare chance to educate the natives with a trip to foreign climes, in the shape of La Belle France.  I must practice speaking slowly and shouting which, given that I normally speak to the kids in that fashion, shouldn’t be hard.  Having booked very late (as usual) we couldn’t get the sailing we wanted so our 2014 road trip begins with a 200 plus mile drive to Plymouth on the first Saturday of the school holidays. This is followed by the 10pm overnighter to Roscoff.  The whole thing should be a breeze, what could go wrong?

Late June:

Received paperwork from holiday company (Brittany Ferries).  Ring them to find out why the car reg number (an important thing) isn’t on the travel documents.  Find out…

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The Road (and ocean) To Hell…

…are we nearly there yet?

 

Mid June:

Time again to think about the annual family pilgrimage to somewhere that isn’t home.

This year it’s a rare chance to educate the natives with a trip to foreign climes, in the shape of La Belle France.  I must practice speaking slowly and shouting which, given that I normally speak to the kids in that fashion, shouldn’t be hard.  Having booked very late (as usual) we couldn’t get the sailing we wanted so our 2014 road trip begins with a 200 plus mile drive to Plymouth on the first Saturday of the school holidays. This is followed by the 10pm overnighter to Roscoff.  The whole thing should be a breeze, what could go wrong?

Late June:

Received paperwork from holiday company (Brittany Ferries).  Ring them to find out why the car reg number (an important thing) isn’t on the travel documents.  Find out that they have no passenger names recorded either.  What are these people on?

The RAC want an extra £96 to cover the car in Europe.  I suspect it would be cheaper to join the French AA.  Actually given the stress in the run up the AA might be necessary and I don’t mean the automotive version.

As usual in the run up to summer holidays numerous people say the exact same thing.  “Are you going away?” and “Going anywhere nice?”  To which I reply “Yes” and “No, France”.

Mid July and It’s time for the off:

We decided to set out at 10ish to take a leisurely crawl along the A303 (That’s after getting past the M3 and the Farnborough Air Show).  So promptly at 11.45 herself was finally ready for the off and off we finally went.  The leisurely crawl turned into a nice drive so clearly many schools were still in residence!  I also cannot claim the credit for the overnight ferry decision (actually I was against it) but what a great idea, so relaxing.  Thomas and I shared a cabin and we were kept awake for a while by noise from the next cabin.  Despite what I told him the moaning was not related to sea sickness.  I nearly gave them a round of applause at the end…

I had planned for the (very commendable) fact that finding an open shop in france on sunday afternoon is rare, so food for the day was in the car.  I had however not planned for seeing a note in the Gite telling us that the tap water was not suitable for drinking…  An afternoon of boiling and cooling water ensued.

I clearly don’t know my gauche from my droit:  Driving on French roads is generally much nicer than English roads and driving on the wrong side is fine.  However my brain clearly cannot cope with giving verbal instructions when herself is driving.  I know that we need to take the first exit at the roundabout and I know that it is a right turn.   However my English driving brain insisted on saying left EACH time causing annoyance to herself and, I think, a number of French drivers…  Désolé

It is noticable that most car parks in France don’t charge.  But for those that do two things stick out.  They are cheap and (Epsom Council take note) they give change.

Thomas on the beach is an interesting exercise.  He hates going topless in public and it was well into the second week before the t-shirt came off, even in the sea.  I suspect he just doesn’t want sun cream on.  But the aggravation when we have to remove his wet trunks and put dry clothes on is unbelievable, involving two shielding towels, two parents and much whingeing from all.  France hasn’t seen such a well planned operation since the 1940’s.

We had generally lovely gites but both had no WiFi so the children actually discovered a games compendium and learned to play, among other things, backgammon.  Will that continue now we’re home?  Amusing to read the “visitors book” in the second gite.  One entry complimented the cottage etc but complained that the kitchen clock was an hour slow (English time) and therefore confusing.  The visitors a week later were equally complimentary and ended their comments with “PS. We put the clock right”.

Big thanks to Mark for constant text updates on the test matches although I discovered (too late for the cricket) that the car still picked up Radio 5!

So after 2 lovely weeks of sun, sea, BBQ and booze in what I must admit is a beautiful part of the world we are now home again.   Back to doormat status for me then.

And finally:  I returned to 49 emails in the junk folder.  42 of which were offering me the chance to enlarge a certain part of my anatomy… How did they know?