Wednesday, February 14

Valentine's Day Survival Technique

Once again the spectre that is St Valentine's Day is upon us, and with it the dilemma faced by all who, like the Gnome, combine a romantic nature with an unparalleled ability for forgetfullness.

In other words, what can one do when faced by a spouse, eyebrow raised and rolling pin in hand, when she (or he) broaches the subject of a noticeable absence of love tokens?

The Gnome cannot be alone in facing this thorny problem, and therefore feels obliged to pass on a little of his hard-earned Gnome wisdom...

This morning every newspaper will carry at least two pages of extremely small font messages declaring love of all kinds. Unless you are unlucky enough to be the paramour of someone whose initials would score more than 18 points at scrabble, the chances are you will find a suitable message that can be co-opted to your advantage.

Admittedly you may have to face the ignominy of a signature line suggesting you felt 'Fluffy Nuts' or 'Chubby Wubby' an appropriate sobriquet when making a public declaration of your love, but surely that is a price worth paying for domestic harmony on this day of all days?

A pint? A pint?!

Gnome dog is keen on spreading happiness to others. No person or animal can she see without an immediate reaction of unbridled joy, coupled with the desire to bestow upon them the sort of wet, slavering kisses normally only endured by favoured nephews of elderly Great Aunts (and of this experience the Gnome can speak with some authority...)

So, perhaps Gnome dog should be signed up for this little programme? Of course, she will need assurance that after her act of canine altruism is complete, there will be water and Bonios in compensation, not to mention the sympathetic attention of a young veterinary nurse to aid her recovery.

Now the Gnome likes to think he has imbued Gnome dog with a sense of comedy history and is convinced when faced with the vet's assurances of how little blood is actually going to be removed she will draw on the wise words of Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock and say...

"A pint? A pint?...but that's nearly a paw full!"

Thursday, February 8

A Quick Plug

Not a plug you will find in the bath, but a little reciprocation to the folks over at Bobbarama's Carnival of Humor who very kindly selected one of the Gnome's pieces for inclusion in this month's edition.

Do yourself a favour... wander over there and look through the other posts, but don't enjoy them too much - the Gnome doesn't want you deserting him completely!

The Slightly Off Odour of the Greasepaint and the Quiet Murmurs of the Crowd

Writing about his brief foray into the unaccustomed role of artistic consultant started the Gnome reminiscing about his early years on the stage. The word ‘years’ may be pushing the boundaries a little, but to deftly conceal the reality of a few amateur dramatic performances as a teenager it seemed an appropriate tool.

Be that as it may, he still fondly remembers the triumph of his ‘Dame Fanny Faceache’ – a role in a local pantomime at the age of 17 for which he received a newspaper review that remains with him to this day…“The Gnome portrayed the vital comedy part of the Dame with a maturity beyond his years.”

To receive such a glowing notice from the Spalding Guardian – as prestigious an organ of the fourth estate as one could imagine – led to a somewhat inflated self image for several weeks afterwards. Demands for private jets, a coterie of bodyguards and the delivery of hard drink and soft drugs to his teenage bedroom produced some disquiet in the wider Gnome household.

Alas, despite further triumph as ‘Wally Dott’, retarded brother of Jack in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ the following year (“The Gnome got the audience laughing heartily with his slapstick routines and appalling puns” – The Holbeach Herald) the roar of the crowd’s approval soon faded and the Gnome travelled a more orthodox career path.

There was however one later incident that appeared to confirm the Gnome’s destiny lay as an international celebrity. In the unlikely setting of a doctor’s waiting room a fellow patient – a lady who must have been well into her eighties – saw him walk past and delivered a stage whisper to her husband to the effect of, “There’s that actor chap from the panto.”

Oh how the Gnome preened – his illness forgotten in the warm glow of adulation from his adoring public…

You’re going down, you slag…!

Ah, the British Bobby on the beat – a symbol of all that is reassuring about England. Calm, cheerful and approachable – just like the faces the Gnome saw on this poster in London. Look at them – the perfect examples of modern law enforcement as our political leaders would have us see them. The distant echo of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ lives on in their multicultural faces.

Crossing the road near the Houses of Parliament yesterday, the Gnome witnessed a scene he felt was more in tune with the reality of crime in the modern capital city. An unmarked police car – its temporary blue light strobing upon the roof, the siren’s banshee-like wailing rending the genteel air of the House of Commons lawn – hurtled through the early evening traffic towards him.

Trying to take the turn onto Victoria Embankment, it was forced to screech to a near stop as it came up behind a post office delivery van, serenely making its way towards a rendezvous with a post box.

Inside the car, the undercover detective was the personification of urban grit. Wearing a stained football shirt, chin sprouting a carefully cultivated growth of stubble, he had a wild-eyed look of anger. A look one normally only associates with a journalist whose expenses have been questioned.

Half leaning out of the window, he suggested in no uncertain terms that it might be in everyone’s best interests if Postman Pat pulled over to let him past. When this advice was not acted on with any particular show of haste, it was followed up by an expletive-filled torrent suggesting the recalcitrant driver lacked not only 20/20 vision, driving skills and a full set of intellectual faculties, but was quite possibly of illegitimate birth.

What capped the scene was the lighted cigarette the detective had in hand throughout the exchange. Sporting a long line of ash, precariously balanced and which somehow managed to defy both gravitational and centrifugal forces, it completed an image of undercover coppery the Gnome will not lightly forget.

If by chance you are reading this and recognise yourself as that police driver, then the Gnome salutes you. You are upholding the equally British law enforcement tradition of the snarling copper, racing to a date with destiny against the forces of injustice. DCI Regan would be proud of you… ‘Ave it!

The Wiles of the Countryside

The Gnome lives in the countryside, surrounded by acres of sheep pasture and gentle meadows. It is an area with a long history. Next door to the Gnome’s abode is an Elizabethan farmhouse, protected by government decree from modern development for its intricately carved wood panels.

It is strange to think at a time when Shakespeare was chewing his pencil thinking up ways to make Hamlet descend even further into madness, or Sir Francis Drake was making a career decision between the Royal Navy or a professional bowls player that some poor Elizabethan farmer was being badgered by his wife into redecorating the living room.

Like all true men he would have resisted for as long as he could, but eventually the wood panelling would have been installed as demanded and domestic harmony restored. Maybe it would have been of some comfort to him to know that no further redecoration would be undertaken for the next 400 years or so.

Earlier, on the farmhouse site, stood a Norman watchtower. Erected by William I’s troops in the years after the 1066 conquest, it served to guard against marauding Scots making day trips down south for a little raping, pillaging and shopping. Before that, Romans stopped off in the area on the way to garrison duty on nearby Hadrian’s Wall.

Given this history, you can understand the area holds interest for metal detectors. The thought of unearthing an Elizabethan doubloon or Roman coin is a great draw.

And so it was the Gnome woke up one bright crisp morning to see a lonely figure, ears covered by huge ‘cans’, trawling through the undergrowth of the field opposite. One could almost sense his excitement as he searched for a contact, rather like the sailors in wartime films, listening intently to the ping of the ASDIC as they hunt down a threatening U-boat.

When the Gnome bumped into the farmer who owned the land and asked whether he knew what was going on, he was told permission had been granted in exchange for the very reasonable fee of a bottle of 15 year old single malt.

“I wonder if he’ll find anything?” the Gnome wondered out loud, to which the reply, given with a wry smile, was…

“I doubt it. Somebody else gave me another bottle of scotch only last month to do exactly the same thing…”

Tuesday, February 6

“Something for the Weekend, sir? Would you prefer Matt or Gloss?”

It may be a cliché of countryside living, but clichés only become so by dint of accuracy. So it was that the Gnome was leaning on a five barred gate chatting to a local farmer. Alas the image you now have is slightly incomplete in that he was not chewing languidly on an ear of corn, nor wearing a tweed jacket with leather patches at the elbows. But still, as an image of rural idyll, it would be hard to better.

What do you think the Gnome and friend were discussing as they gazed out over the rolling pastures, sheep dotted about on the horizon? The price of lamb, perhaps? Tony Blair’s disregard for countryside traditions? How to turn red diesel into a useable form for your personal car and therefore avoid paying the duty? (A pair of used stockings and activated charcoal if you must know...)

Well actually, we were discussing sex toys.

Somebody once told the Gnome that farming was basically all about sex, but he never expected to have such a conversation with an aging farmer. What was particularly amusing though was the opening line into discussing them…

I see that the Asda has started selling those Dulux Sensations Cock Rings.”

A phrase that suggested next to the products in question would be sample colour strips so one could accessorise according to your bedroom colour scheme… 'Changing Rooms' should come to the countryside occasionaly - could make for interesting viewing...

P.S. The Gnome knows many of his readers are of a conservative nature, lacking the worldly-wise insouciance of the Gnome himself. Given that, you will just have to take his word when he tells you the photo is indeed a cock ring.

Thursday, February 1

Bowling the Maidens Over

The Gnome was flicking through ‘The Scotsman’ on the train home last night and read about a recent poll of the World’s 100 Sexiest Men. Not a topic he is particularly drawn to, but naturally he felt obliged to check his ranking in the grand scheme of things. After a thorough examination he can only presume his position remains unchanged at number 101.

Two things struck him though, the first being cricketer Mark Ramprakash’s entry at number 51. An unsurprising result given his wider exposure to the female public after winning ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ for if the Gnome’s female companions past and present are anything to go by, he does appear to have an effect on the ladies.

The Gnome has tried to introduce any number of paramours to the glories of cricket, but has found them completely unmoved by a cunningly disguised Shane Warne flipper or a David Gower cover drive. However, as soon as he points out Ramps things change. Although introduced as an exquisite exponent of the square cut, they seem more attracted to the square jaw. An unhealthy interest in his fine legs follows and then… well let us leave it there before we are drawn unerringly towards discussing his third man.

Enough of this – Mrs Gnome will be drooling over the computer if she senses Ramprakash’s picture being uploaded. That would make the keyboard slimy and difficult to use and the Gnome still has to get to his second point.

Scanning the list, the Gnome’s eye was caught by number 81 and the caption that read ‘David Walliams, bottom’. The Gnome thought this was a little unfair – after all nobody else had a specific body part picked out. It was only on re-reading the paper (it was a long train journey…) he realised it referred to the position of the accompanying picture, not his backside.