“There’s a stiff in the village,” Skrowte gravely informed Lady F as he poured her morning coffee and served chocolate chip cross-ants. I love cross-ants. I sat on the table by Lady F in the conservatory as we shared a cross-ant. There were lots of little soft black ants in my cross-ant. Ants taste like chocolate and just melt in my mouth as I roll them round my fangs! I don’t know how Skrowte catches them every morning but he certainly makes them taste good when he rolls them in dough and bakes them.

Mr Bumblehole, the gardener, had died at the great age of 97. He had, for many years, been the gardener at Gripewater Grange but his habit of swigging voddy and industrial meths in the potting shed had resulted in his family abandoning him, and his contract at Gripers being terminated. His final days were spent drinking strong lager and voddy in his shabby council flat watching ‘Crap in the Attic’ on TV while sitting in an old vest, smoking benches and hedges.

Sadly, Sir Teddie, had with great regret, let Mr Bumblehole go when he caught him quaffing a bottle of his prized chateau le fite 1959 by the lake on a magnificent summer’s day. Well, not so much caught him quaffing it but sleeping it off after boy-racing the lawnmower round the garden, leaving rather rude and crude images in the lawn before crashing the mower it into the lake giving the swans a good goose with the mower’s exhaust as it sank without trace.

“I’ll instruct Roger Mortiss and Sons to do the funeral. Charge it to my account, would you please?” Lady Fanny reached for her cheque book. “Least we can do for him, poor thing.”

“I’ll ring the Kwop,” Skrote took charge, “and charge the bonus points to my account. That will pay for the wake.” More nest lining by staff I mused to myself as I curled up on the sofa for a snooze.


The Kwop did Mr Bumblehole ‘proud’ apparently. I attended in my wicker basket with Lady F, sitting at the front of the council crem as we watched the undie taker roll the coffin in on an old trolley with a rather loud squeaky wheel. The noise resonated round the building, as the trolley was slowly pushed by the undie taker, fag in the corner of his mouth, and the coffin was then tipped onto the catafalque which was covered in green baize cloth and dusted off before each service by the cremstaff who enjoyed a good game of snooker on it.

A flower arrangement in the shape of a large vodka bottle rested proudly on top of the coffin, sent with much condolence from the local offie at the loss of their best customer. The service at the crem was rattled out and all over in 10 minutes as some chap who had never met Mr Bumblehole extolled his virtues. His coffin then clattered along the grubby, well used conveyor belt, then it was curtains for Mr Bumblehole.

It was all back to the Goat and G-String for a party!! And what a party, the village chavs know how to celebrate in style, especially on free food supplied by Kwop bonus points!

Prongles, seven varieties of pork scratchings, pork pie, prongles, chips lager, prongles, chicken tickers, prongles and a disco complete with glitter ball and overflowing bowls of prongles on every table. The whole village agreed it was a super send off for Mr Bumblehole, who would have appreciated the free bar, and what a shame he wasn’t there to throw a few pints down his neck, preferably pints of voddy!

A couple of weeks later, I was sat in Roger the Roller on my cushion in my wicker basket with Lady F. Skrowte at my side. Skrowte was driving, and in the passenger seat, next to him sat Mrs Bumblehole. A quite shabby little old person with a nylon hat which started had off white several decades ago and now with age was a rather fetching shade of nicotine yellow. On her knee rested a plastic Tupperware pot, which until yesterday had been used to keep cat grit in.

“Mmmm,” I thought to myself. “A picnic. Could be tuna sandwiches.” Chavs love tuna sandwiches, but ruin them by adding crushed prongles. But I was rather peckish so if offered, I wouldn’t turn my finely tuned nose up. I lived in hope.

Roger the Roller was driven very slowly to the highest peak in Sozzlebury -  Doggers Point. It was Mr Bumblehole’s favourite place to go and contemplate life after the sun had gone down. Usually accompanied by a litre or two of meths or a flagon or two of park bench cider, the cheapest kind the offie could sell him in bulk. We parked at the short stay and dogging carpark, and paid a pound for an hours parking.

Skrowte pulled up by the cracked memorial at the top of the hill, kicked away the empty lager cans and used condoms which littered the area, then helped Mrs Bumblehole out of the car. She very reverently carried the Tupperware pot with her. Lady F opened the door and we watched from the car as Skrowte mumbled a few words then Mrs Bumblehole opened the Tupperware pot, which contained her husband’s ashes, then threw them up into the air.

A sudden gust of wind caught the grey ash and whipped it up into a mini tornado. In a split second, the ash tornado was thrown down all over Skrowte and into the open car onto the driver’s seat.

Skrowte stood there all covered in grey ash like a ghost. Lady F stifled a snigger .

“Oh well,” sighed Mrs Bumblehole, “looks like he just wants to come home again.” With that she snapped the empty pot closed and got back into the car.

I never did get my tuna sandwich covered in prongles.

In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson