Police warn of ‘scary clown’ craze
Borsetshire’s Rural Crime Unit (PC Harrison Burns) has asked residents to be vigilant following reports of ‘sinister clowns’ seen in and around Ambridge this week.
‘So far, these incidents have had an innocent explanation, but you can’t be too careful,’ he said. ‘Someone reported a clown in a comedy car with a ridiculous horn, but it turned out to be Toby Fairbrother.
‘And there was a sighting of a ‘robot-like’ figure with terrifying sticky-up hair, but on closer inspection this was Roy Tucker, who’d overdone the hair gel and was wearing some stiff new chinos, which were chafing and making him walk funny.
‘Most disturbing were the reports of a couple – a man with an older woman – who spent some time loitering on the Green. Witnesses said the man looked grim-faced and determined, as if he were plotting a malicious prank. And the woman was egging him on.
‘I was able to approach them and realised it was Rob Titchener and his mother Ursula. I asked Mrs Titchener to remove her fright wig and red nose, but she said she’d just been to Fabrice and had a slight cold. It was all rather embarrassing, especially after our row at the cricket last week. Mind how you go now…’
Close call for renowned critic
A performance of ‘The Yeomen of the Guard’ by Felpersham Light Opera Society was interrupted last week as theatre critic Tristram Hawkshaw was taken ill.
Mr Hawkshaw was rushed to Borchester General Hospital by ambulance, but was discharged after tests.
‘It ruined a delightful evening,’ said Mr Hawkshaw, who is recovering at home. ‘Dear Jean Harvey and I had enjoyed a light pre-theatre supper and were looking forward to our pink gins in the interval, when I made the disastrous error of checking my phone. That woman Lynda Snell had texted me – texted me! – with the news that she is to direct an Ambridge Christmas show, and has recruited Kate Madikane as her assistant.
‘Suddenly everything went black,’ said Mr Hawkshaw. ‘Memories of last year’s ‘Calendar Girls’ came flooding back and I felt as if I were having a heart attack. The thought of another evening in that draughty hall, subjected to Mrs Snell’s theatrical abominations, was too much.’
However, Mr Hawkshaw said doctors had diagnosed anxiety and that, with counselling, he should be fit enough to review the Ambridge production later this year. ‘To quote dear Dame Judi, “The show must go on, darling”,’ he said.
Service engineers threaten fines for no-shows
Borsetshire’s largest domestic appliance company has said it will introduce penalty charges for appointments that are cancelled without notice.
‘Customers don’t seem to realise that call-outs to rural locations cost time and money,’ said a spokesperson for FixersRUs.com. ‘This week for example, our engineer drove all the way from Smethwick to Honeysuckle Cottage, Ambridge, to look at a washing machine. When he knocked at the door there was no answer, so he peered through the kitchen window and waved his spanner set at the two gentlemen inside. They clearly did not want to be disturbed as there was a touching scene of reconciliation going on. But determined not to leave customers with a poorly-draining drum, our engineer persisted and one of the gentlemen came to the door. But he was unable to gain entrance as the other gentleman shouted: “Ian, come back darling – I’ve fired up the hot tub! Let’s party!’ and the door was shut in his face.
‘We have no wish to intrude on customers’ private lives but that call was a write-off,’ said the spokesperson. ‘Love is all very well, but it won’t keep our engineers in diesel.’
‘I’m not bitter’ – Borsetshire laureate
Local poet Bert Fry has denied that he harbours any resentment after being overlooked for the Nobel Prize for Literature this week.
‘I send Mr Dylan hearty congratulations and I want to set the record straight in the best way I know how – in rhyme,’ he said. Thank you for these gracious lines, Bert!
When they announced the Nobel Prize
For Literature, I was surprised
When mates said: ‘Bert Fry, you were robbed –
It never should have gone to Bob!’
For while I find my verse fulfillin’
I’m not a patch on Mr Dylan!
I’m happy in my bungalow;
This stone stopped rolling long ago.
And if my odes make someone’s day
I could not wish for higher praise.
The vicar says, for what it’s worth,
We shouldn’t seek reward on earth.
My prize awaits in Heaven above,
When I’ll see again my own true love.
Coffee break with… Alistair Lloyd
This week, in our series of interviews with readers who have interesting jobs, we book an appointment with local vet Alistair Lloyd.
Q Do you specialise as a vet, or are you more of a GP?
A As a single-vet practice, you have to be an expert on every creature you might meet, from cows to cockatiels! My practice nurse Denise deals with some of the small animal work, but most days you’ll find me on a farm somewhere. And yes, quite often I’ll have an arm up a cow’s backside! It all helps pay the bills.
Q What about more exotic animals? Are there many of those locally?
A Oh yes – only this week, for instance, I had to look after a llama with toothache and a bad spitting habit. And a squirrel fell off a bird table. That was nasty. There are ferrets, the local pub has a peacock, and there’s a rumour that Barry Simmons keeps a bearded dragon – but if so, it’s had no problems so far.
Q Is it difficult being a one-person practice?
A Yes, very. My wife Shula tells me she can’t remember the last time I had a day off. In fact, between you, me and the gatepost, I’m considering an offer for the practice. Becoming an employee rather than a sole practitioner. There’s a lot to be said for it: proper holidays, a pension, and a nice white coat with my name embroidered on it. Shula’s always too busy to do that sort of thing for me.
Q What do you do to relax?
A I enjoy cricket, though I’m a bit past it now. And we’re very horsey – my wife loves hunting. In fact, it’s her dream to become a joint master of the South Borsetshire, so if I did sell the practice, the cash would come in very handy. Anyway, must dash – got to do some AI over at Penny Hassett. Now, where did I put that bull semen? There’s only milk left in this fridge. Oh God, not again! Pass me your coffee mug, would you?