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Dead monkeys and self portraits

my studio, cleanOne of my mom’s best friends was a carney. We called her the Monkey Lady, on account of she had a monkey act. Duh. When Mother adopted her, she was old and retired and lived in a burnt-out bar down by the river, and her five big evil monkeys spent every waking minute working at the bars of their cages in an effort to free themselves and — she devoutly believed — chew through her jugular vein while she slept. Shitting you not. But they were still her precious furbabies.

Well. I didn’t like her, either.

Somehow, Mother got guilted into arranging to have these beloved psychotic homicidal monkeys gassed. I’ll tell you the whole horrible story some day, but you’ll have to get me drunk first.

The general plan was, the Monkey Lady would leave the house and come back some hours later to a peacefully monkey-free zone. Only, when she came back, she found one of the vet’s assistants had left a choke harness behind in the middle of the floor.

Dun-dun DUNNNNN!

I feel a bit like that. I went through all the stuff in my studio, picked through thirty some years of old letters and bad self portraits and selected only the juiciest morsels for posterity. I fully expected to come back and find all the rest had been whisked away while I rolled about the countryside, madly gay, roasting champagne and drinking chestnuts.

And so it did come to pass, I thought as I arrived home late last night.

Until I left for work this morning and found the lot, neatly packed and stowed in the garage. I guess my ragpicker couldn’t believe anyone would give up such awesomely fantastic junk.

Albatross? WHAT albatross?

my garage, not clean

January 8, 2008 — 7:30 pm
Comments: 49

Go on, pull the other one…

christmas crackers

The last of the Christmas crackers. It’s a sort of Christmas-themed party favor popular among the Brittanians. They come apart with a bang (the crackers, not the limies), and each one contains a toy, a paper crown and a very bad joke. The quality of them is highly variable, depending on price — except the joke, which is always and famously bad.

I think you’re supposed to get one beside your plate at Christmas dinner. But as it’s just us, we tend to pull crackers on all the evenings leading up to Christmas…and sometimes the week leading up to New Year’s Eve, too — depending on how over-zealously Uncle B has supplied us with crackers for the year. Many are the photographs of Our Majesties drunkenly sporting paper crowns at improbable angles. Very regal.

Pretty good crackers this year.

Anyhoo, the last cracker has been pulled, and Ol’ Stoaty is headed back Stateside. I mean, right now. My plane leaves noonish, Central Badger Time and arrives at the final destination nineish, Central Weasel Time. Which, taking into account transportation to and from airports and timezones and all that jazz, means Monday is a 24-hour day of travel. And Tuesday morning, I go in to work.

Still, after all those goopy posts about champagne and misteltoe and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, please enjoy the astringent, palate-cleansing tang of abject misery.

¡Mañana, minions!

January 7, 2008 — 9:04 am
Comments: 41

Hello? Badger and Weasel’s Drunken Dishwasher Repair Service?

broken dishwasher

We didn’t so much fix it as…pour another stiff one and acknowledge its brokenness.

January 4, 2008 — 8:25 pm
Comments: 41

Please help me! I’m trapped in an episode of Masterpiece Theater

chestnuts roasting on an open fire

What are these, you say? I’m glad you asked. They’re CHESTNUTS. ROASTING ON AN OPEN bloody FIRE!

Yes. Yes, they were very nice. That’s not the point.

January 3, 2008 — 7:53 pm
Comments: 36

Three old coots and a big hole

old coots

About three months ago, the old coot on the left, whose family owned Badger House once upon a time, met up with the old coot on the right, who lived in it during the war. You know, The War. They fell to talking, as coots are wont, and Coot #2 asked who was living up at the old Badger place and whether anybody had “found the machine gun.”


Seems Coot the Second, who was a teenager during the war, watched an American Dakota bomber go down in the field behind the house, then crept out and nicked one of its machine guns. He balanced the barrel against our back fence and popped a few rounds across the field, to make sure it was in good working order, then wrapped the whole business in an oilcloth bag and buried it beside the hedge.

I shit you not.

Given the heartbreak of Tulsarama, I wasn’t hopeful there would be anything left, but I’m damned if I’ll wantonly crush the dreams of old coots. So we invited them both ’round for tea and hole digging.

No, we didn’t find it. Not yet, anyway. My nice new metal detector was no use at all; the whole yard lights up like a Christmas tree when I ask it to find iron. That’s what four centuries of tossing stuff out the back will do. An experienced bloke with a bigger metal detector and awesome hole-digging skills is coming out next.

Still, we had merry tales of the old days. At the turn of the (Nineteenth to the Twentieth) Century, Badger House was so derelict the shepherds refused to stay in it. It was nearly knocked down, but somebody driving by spotted it and offered Coot #1’s dad £200 for it. By WWII, the house still had no electricity or indoor plumbing (the tall roof is to maximize collection of rainwater). It sounds as though it has stood empty and overgrown much of the time. We’ll have a lot of tightening up to do.

Coot #3 is, of course, Uncle B…who stands just off camera, shamed by the hole-digging prowess of Coot #2. And you would be, too, if an 81 year old coot KICKED YOUR ASS.

EDIT: Uncle B says the Dakota was a transport plane. The bomber that went down in the lower forty was a Boston. Also, he adds that he is wounded in the arm, so there!

January 2, 2008 — 7:19 pm
Comments: 72



Here, Uncle Badger holds out the traditional New Year’s Day Balls of…oh, screw it, I forgot to post something, didn’t I? Hope y’all had a splendid first day of 2008. We spent ours as we mean to go on: sleeping, eating and a-drinking of alcoholic beverages.

We slunk down to the Adolph and Eva Memorial Recycling Center with our empties after dark tonight, and it took both of us to lift the box. Hooray for the noble mustelids!

And tomorrow afternoon, if all goes according to plan, several elderly persons of the district are coming to help us exhume a fifty year old veteran from the back garden.

Sweet dreams!

January 1, 2008 — 7:05 pm
Comments: 23