Tooty the Chef: Where’s He At?

You may have noticed a dearth of Tooty the Chef posts in recent times. Millions have. Well there is an explanation. Of course the good cook would have liked nothing more than to blame the month of January and its scrotum-puckering chill that rises through the concrete floor of his kitchen and freezes his ass off. But, annoyingly he can’t. Not because it isn’t cold: it is. In fact he has been hard at work. Regard the following four pictures…

Nice, eh? Unfortunately poor old Tooty’s head isn’t in a good place right now. At the time of this report, it has been four months since he lost his wife to cancer, and, quite frankly, he’s having a hard time being funny. To use a colloquial term: he just can’t be arsed – which is quite ironic really, because  it’s his arse that he usually reveals at some point during the cooking of his meals. What little mirth he possesses is kept in reserve for the Earplug Adventure story. But he will be back: I’m sure of it. You can’t keep a good chef down – unlike his pants. And just as a reminder of  how brilliant he can be: here’s a picture of his trim buttocks as he selects a bottle of wine to mix with his sugar-free Sprite…

 

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Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part five)

Soon both Mars Shuttles had disgorged their loads and set metaphorical sail for Earth – leaving behind them a milling mass of silicon life forms…

Frisby – quickly realising that the dull light of the Martian sky was permeating the museum’s shell with its depressing lustre – decided to switch on the artificial lighting. He selected the blue of Earth…

“Well it’s not like its going to raise the electricity bill.” He explained to Tangerine. “We have a nul-space generator. Power isn’t a problem.”

Soon guests were swarming all over the museum – despite the fact that it still held no exhibits, or seemed likely too in the short-term…

“Don’t you just love this lower gravity on Mars?” Sir Dodger inquired of an attractive female guest on one of the main walkways. “I do believe I feel thirty years younger – if you catch my drift.”

“Oh I do, Sir Dodger.” She replied. “When my elastic snapped just now, my pants refused to fall down. I was very grateful to be here, and not Saturn or one of those large planets.”

“Oh, absolutely.” Sir Dodger sympathised. “I’d hate to think what might have happened on one of those gas giants. I’ve heard their moons are very pleasant though.”

Several months earlier  the Museum of Future Technology had dispatched a team of engineers to assist the native Martians – or ‘Muffins’ as they preferred to be known – with their attempts to resurrect thier  civilisation. They were easily identified by their orange colouring. Although most were on assignment upon the plains, others remained inside the museum. Some of them were delighted to see an influx of new people…

But they were not always best pleased when the aforementioned ‘new people’ brought their bad habits along with them…

But at least the engineers weren’t expected to guide them when they became hopelessly lost in the vast edifice…

There were just so many levels…

…that guests quickly tired and had to be taken to the dispensary for a pick-me-up. But other engineers managed to find fault with certain guests who failed to read the signage properly…

“What?” They would cry in despair. “You did what in the Tinkle Point? Don’t you realise the problems you’ve caused? It’s gonna take a team of eight to unblock this properly.” And: “No, Tinkle Point does not mean Toilet: it’s Martian for urinal!”

But out upon the Martian plains, engineers who lived in temporary shelters began to grow nervous…

There was a decidedly nippy breeze blowing in from both poles…

…and one or two of the gangs wondered if they should think about packing their haversacks and head back to the museum.

But new arrivals were unaware of the subtle shifts in the climate. They were just so glad to be able to get outside and experience the real Mars. People like the Museum of Future Technology’s sewerage workers union representatives who were enjoying a hiking holiday paid for by their union member’s union dues…

And former M.O.F.T visitors, Las Chicas De La Playas…

…who were fans of El Custardo y Los Natillas, and who believed with all their hearts that it was possible to get a tan from the Martian sun.

And amongst the shuttles manifest a small mineral prospecting company had dispatched representatives to discover what mineral wealth Mars still possessed…

 

But, perhaps, the most striking passenger, and therefore museum customer, was a property developer who had fallen foul of the  authorities on his home world, so pulled up his roots; put on his hard hat; and now sought to make his fortune at the expense of the natives of a different world entirely…

He was an Ethernet Cable End, and his home world was none other than Scroton!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part four)

Naturally it took a while for the transfer buggy to deliver the customers to the reception point inside the museum. It gave Frisby just enough time to persuade Charles De Glop to join himself, Lillie, and Tangerine in welcoming them…

Already they had fixed their smiles, and it wasn’t long before they could hear the hissing and grinding of the airlock as it allowed ingress to the travellers…

…one of which almost tripped on the ageing red carpet that wouldn’t lay flat.

“They’re almost here.” Frisby said quietly to Lillie. “You can do it. Just move a little closer to the door.”

“Okay.” Lillie replied in a tiny voice that belied her real capabilities.

Frisby could never forget that his assistant had seen real space combat experience. She had done things that most earplugs couldn’t even dream of. He was also aware that she had her frailties – perhaps as a result of those experiences. “Have you remembered to put your space knickers on this morning?” He inquired.

But it was too late for Lillie to reply: the first of their quests had arrived…

“Hello everyone.” Lillie began her welcoming speech. “We’re ever so pleased that you’ve managed to cross the vacuum of interplanetary space without suffocating or anything like that.”

But no one was listening: they’d spotted Tangerine…

…and, as anyone who knows anything about the history of the Museum of Future Technology, futuristic robots are often looked upon as potential threats and considered very scary indeed!

“Don’t worry about Tangerine.” William of Porridge spoke to the huge cork standing beside him. “He’s one of the good guys. He’s been with Frisby Mumph since the Future Museum of Mars was sent back in time from the future. He has no  ulterior plans for domination or anything.”

Lillie picked up on this. “That’s right.” She almost squealed with delight. “Tangerine is just a big cuddly lovey-dovey!”

“Well said, Lillie.” Frisby whispered to her. “You have great improvisational skills. Have you ever considered un-scripted stand-up comedy? I think you’d be wonderful at it.”

Lillie was too embarrassed to reply; so it was a timely moment that M.O.F.T curator, Sir Dodger Muir, chose to introduce himself…

“My, what a charming greeting.” He said in his beautifully cultured thespian voice. “I’m Sir Dodger Muir, by the way. I’m here to see how things are getting along. You can call me Dodge.”

Lillie was too young, and originated upon a distant world, so she didn’t have a clue regarding the famous Sir Dodger: but his demeanour and the tonal qualities of his aged, but still powerful voice made her knees tremble. And even Charles De Glop seemed pleased to meet the former matinee idol and TV thriller star…

“Great….Dodge.” Frisby said with a stupid smile upon his face. “No doubt you have a master key to the museum; make yourself at home.

By now others were beginning to crowd the narrow entrance…

“Indeed I have.” Sir Dodger replied. “I also have a full set of new artificial knees, so I’m not slow and creaky like I once was. As a result I like to show off a bit. How would you like me to show your guests to their quarters? I’m sure William of Porridge wouldn’t mind.”

“Thank you…ah…Dodge.” William spoke from amongst the group. “That’ll give me more time to stow everyone’s luggage properly.”

“Jolly good.” Sir Dodger replied, then had a thought: “Oh there’s one more thing: I don’t know if you’re in the know; but a second shuttle took off just after us…

…It should be landing any time now.”

And so it came to be. Once more the welcoming committee took up their positions – this time facing the eastern entry point…

“You know, Mister Mumph,” Lillie said as she composed herself following Sir Dodger’s departure, “I’m rather enjoying this. It’s so much more rewarding than raising defensive electro-magnetic screens, making evasive manoeuvres, and firing proton torpedoes.”

Then it was on with the task at hand: the airlock had opened again…

But it wasn’t the sight of some uncertain and hesitant customers that that made the museum staff smile…

It was the arrival of Frisby’s favourite mariachi band…

…El Custardo y Los Natillas!

Now, for the first time, Frisby Mumph was glad to have paying guests. He just prayed that William of Porridge didn’t damage either their guitars or their trumpets. He adored ethnic Latino music!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part three)

Meanwhile, upon Mars, the brief cold Summer was coming to a close. As is usual for the planet, Autumn was certain to be skipped, and the world would soon be plunged into a long, stunningly ultra-arctic winter. But, for the moment, the temperature at the equator hovered at zero degrees…

Inside the communications room of the Future Museum of Mars, its sole curator – Frisby Mumph – received an anticipated call from the Museum of Future Technology…

…informing him that more paying guests were en route from Earth aboard a Mars Shuttle.

His assistant, former bridge crew member of the K T Woo – Lillie Whitewater – was quietly going about her work in the hydroponics bay, where she experimented with Earth plants and Martian chemicals…

As usual she was disappointed with developments.

“Oh bum.” She snarled daintily. “Nada. I knew Frisby was wrong when he said that I needed neither air nor water. Next time I’ll listen to my inner voice.”

Frisby’s other assistant – that being the robot named Tangerine…

…was making its ’rounds’ – searching for leaks, blockages, and other annoying structural abnormalities.

“Check.” It would say. “Check. Lovely.”

And in the subterranean storage facility, the giant cork – William of Porridge – was making sure that he had sufficient room for their in-coming guest’s luggage…

“Hmm,” he muttered to himself, “might have to open up Bays Eight and Nine. One can never be too careful. Don’t want to get pinched for space. Best to avoid a panic. Yes, I’ll open Bays Eight and Nine. Oh yes; and I’ll keep Bay Ten as an over-spill area.”

Shortly, the radio message completed, Frisby turned away from the panel…

“A second Mars Shuttle is due as well. Oh, that’s going to stretch us thin. Guess it’s all those thrill seekers – hoping to catch the beginning of our murderous Winter, and hoping they’ll have a tale or two to tell for their friends, work colleagues, loved ones, and anyone who will listen to them yammer on incessantly about how they almost got frost bite and how parts could have fallen off, but actually didn’t.  If I’m honest with myself, I’m not really cut out for this touristy stuff: I liked it when I was terraforming a dead world. It was a worthwhile job that I enjoyed. Now it’s all…oh I don’t know…different. In a way I’m quite grateful for these mini ice-ages: it keeps the riff-raff out.”

But he’d managed to pull on his smiley face by the time he encountered Tangerine…

“A second shuttle, Sir?” A surprised robot responded to the news. “Methinks the Museum of Future Technology is running short of funds: they wouldn’t normally pack in two vessels this late in the Martian year. Have you had words with Cushions Smethwyke upon the subject?”

“I have, Tange.” Frisby replied cheerfully. “I told her where to shove the third shuttle. I think she took my displeasure on-board.”

Lillie – ever the professional – had listened in on the inter-museum com-chat, so had already been apprised of the situation. She decided to go do something else. Origami sounded quite appealing…

And in the storage bay, William of Porridge had similar thoughts. But he was more realistic…

“Oh, I suppose I’ll have to play the role of of doorman again.” He said with a sigh. “How very tedious. Perhaps I’d better visit the lavatory first: as much as I detest our guests, I don’t want to offend them with violent gaseous outpourings.”

It was about this time that Frisby encountered Lillie upon her balcony…

“Good news, Lillie.” He said without preamble, “You’re promoted to the role of Welcome Plug. It’ll mean a raise of pay and the key to the executive toilet. Starting today – with the very next shuttle in!”

Lillie didn’t know what to say. She’d paid her way out of the Worstworld military because she didn’t like responsibility: now she was going to have to smile and say meaningful things to complete strangers.

“Crumbs.” She managed. “What an honour.”

Then it was on the Charles De Glop – the museum’s chef…

“Hey, Chuck, baby.” Frisby cried out as he entered the super-futuristic kitchen from the…ah…future…

…”you’re going to need a bigger ladle.”

Charles De Glop was a fastidious chef: he didn’t like non-gastronomes in his facility. He didn’t much like Frisby either. He hated the smell than often escaped from his superior’s ancient (and superfluous) pressure suit…

“Impossible!” He snapped. “I do not have the herbs I need. Lillie has failed to supply me any from her hydroponics bay. And I will not open a single can of baked beans.  It is beneath me. I would rather perish on an open plain!”

“I wouldn’t ask you to.” Frisby replied. “But whatever you do decide on, make up your mind: I can feel a ship landing upon the landing mound as we speak.”

And he was right too.  Mars Shuttle One had landed…

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

 

Revel in the Ridiculousness

Since the on-going series of posts, Revel in the Ribaldry, seems to please readers, I thought it might be a good idea to revisit the early Junior Earplug Adventures as well. So, always one to act upon his thoughts with impetuosity, here is the first sample. Naturally the extract comes from the first tale – the almost-forgotten opener, The Museum of Future Technology, which was shot and written in 2014, and published (to silent fanfare) in 2016. And, like the Hamster-Sapiens excerpts, it’s chosen totally at random.

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2016

The photography (and probably the writing) may have improved with later tales – I hope so; but they remain just as ridiculous. Hence the title of the post.

Photography: Don’t Be Fooled by Big Numbers and Fancy Paint Jobs

Very often, as I peruse the ‘used’ cameras upon EBAY, I pause when confronted by low prices, big spec, or natty colour schemes. But seldom do I bite. Last week was an exception. I’d first noticed the very attractive and well specified Samsung WB30F a couple of years past; but it was always too expensive to warrant spending money on a camera that I didn’t need. So when no one else seemed interested in said camera, I bought it at rock bottom price. Today it arrived, and so I rushed outside to give it a try. But, just as a comparison test, I grabbed another camera (at random) and took a picture of the same subject within seconds of the Samsung shot. Below is a group photo…

Top  right is the WiFi able, 16 megapixel Samsung with its x10 zoom. Top left the rather lower spec 7 megapixel, x7 zoom Ricoh Caplio R5. Below each camera is the photo taken with it. Now you tell me how the Samsung is more desirable and worth so much more than the Ricoh. And (rhetorically) why does the older camera out-perform the newer? Answer: the lens. Look at the pissy little opening on the Samsung.  How’s that supposed to let enough light in? Then regard the Olympic swimming pool sized one on the Ricoh. Nuff sed. So when browsing for a camera, forget the spec and the colour: just let your eye measure the lens.

P.S I still like the Samsung though. I mean, look at it: it’s so pretty!

Revel in the Ribaldry 24

It’s  no good; when it comes to selecting which book supplies the next extract, I’ve completely lost the plot. But, rather than adopting my default position, which always results in me choosing The Psychic Historian, this time I’m going to plump for this slightly underrated e-book…

Okay – VERY underrated e-book. Maybe this extract, whatever it is (because its always random), will make people think again. Let’s hope so: I worked hard on this (all those years ago) and I really would like to sell a few copies.

“You miserable failure.” Wetpatch thought he heard someone say as he rematerialized beneath the emergency raffia mat.

“I’m no such thing.” He responded in his most indignant tone, which was very indignant indeed because he’d been studying Indignancy as part of the school curriculum, and had been practising upon the village green with his pal Algy Piecrust for weeks.

“Oh Wetpatch.” Amy squealed with delight as she whipped back the covering, and then quickly averted her eyes in case time travel did nasty things to people, “You’re back!”

Immediately everyone began fussing around the young hamster – asking all sorts of questions, and checking to see if he retained most of his more obvious body parts.

Naturally, after learning from Desmond that time travel can sometimes be disorientating, and can often lead people to hear things that weren’t actually said, and were usually the product of their sub-conscious, Wetpatch made his report.

Everyone was delighted, though slightly appalled by the news that both the crew and passengers were due for a pasting by the volcano’s shockwave, and that vomiting would be commonplace.

Desmond was particularly thrilled that Tutu would be safe, and was probably half way to Chunderland by now: But was slightly disconcerted when Wetpatch informed him that Tutu was a brilliant navigator, and that the lanky creature possessed a natural flair for the science, and could actually wipe his bottom with the bathroom light off.

So now, it seemed, it was just a matter of trying to survive the shockwave when it hit. And Wetpatch knew exactly where he intended to ride it out…

After securing Kevin to the wall with a pair of extremely large bolts and a length of braid from the lounge drapes, Wetpatch settled himself into a harness that swung lazily from a spring that was attached to the ceiling.

“It won’t matter how much the ship bucks about.” The youngster informed the education computer, “I’ll be cushioned from its effects by this. Of course I’ll probably empty my stomach all over the place, but I’ll remain fundamentally unharmed.”

Kevin, despite being a machine, was less than enthralled at the thought of being puked over.

“Hey, dumb-ass hamster,” it spoke as eloquently as it could, “How’s about stuffing me in a cupboard or up the extractor fan? I can’t stand no thoughts of messy stuff getting in my innards. What you wanna have me ‘round for anyways?”

Actually Wetpatch had a very good reason for having Kevin around when the shockwave hit. Amongst its many talents, Kevin could double as a DVD player, and it just so happened that during the rapid descent into the deeps, several box sets of Rat Trek had fallen from the hold of the Disemboweller into the Bargebutt, and Wetpatch had collected them, cleaned all the filth and bodily wastes from them, and now intended to spend his time on a sci-fi fest to end all sci-fi fests: Hour upon endless hour of Rat Trek re-runs – with popcorn. He simply couldn’t wait

“It’ll take my mind off my recalcitrant balance mechanism.” He explained after Kevin demanded an explanation for the inclusion of audio-visual stimulation during a period of extreme physical and mental stress. “And if I position a mirror on the opposite wall – you can watch too!”

And so it came to pass. Almost exactly three hours, sixty-two minutes, and ninety seconds later, the S.S Bargebutt found itself in the grasp of an invisible monster. Joints creaked, bulkheads bristled, and transfer hoses wobbled horrendously as the vessel was dragged across a sizable portion of the globe by the racing volcanic shockwave. Up became down, left became right, and somewhere in the middle seemed like it might end up on the outside. All in all the mighty sub was tested far beyond its builder’s design expectations, and was not found wanting. Regrettably the same couldn’t quite be said of its crew however. As promised by the earlier form of Tutu – vomiting abounded, and a great gnashing of teeth could be heard throughout its endless corridors. Recriminations were commonplace, and many a rodent said things that they feared they might later regret.

In his cabin, Wetpatch was riding the storm quite well. Although he was bouncing around the room on the end of his spring like an expiring house fly, his brain remained active, and his stomach surprisingly calm.

Kevin was doing less well. The two bolts turned out to be made of inferior shit-metal, and the braid had been manufactured in a country where quantity was generally preferred over quality, and had duly snapped at the first serious tug. The education computer now lay in the corner with both its display unit and solitary ‘eye’ camera facing the ceiling. Its tracked wheels spun helplessly, and oil was leaking from places that Wetpatch never imagined Kevin possessed. But like the obedient automaton that it was, Kevin continued to play Rat Trek, Episode Seven of Season One, ‘With Winter Comes a Nose Warmer’. And Wetpatch was doing his best to watch it even though Kevin couldn’t help itself from rolling from side to side as the vessel bucked and weaved like a conquistador’s cavy.

It was just as (on screen) Mister Splatt had finished explaining some complicated science stuff to an uncomprehending Captain Perp that a thought suddenly intruded upon Wetpatch’s enjoyment of the action adventure television show.

“Hang on a minute.” The adolescent hamster cried out over the general cacophony made by a ship that was being pounded to within microns of tolerance, “That can’t be right!”

And he wasn’t talking about Mister Splatt’s pseudo-science either. But it was to be another hour before the storm had passed, and he could put his resulting inspirational theory to Professor Desmond…

“Fluff and bollocks!” The wild-furred scientist bellowed moments after listening with great intensity to Wetpatch’s worrying tale and his most recently posited theorem.

“Fluff and bollocks?” Inquired Sally as she strode into the control room, paw in paw with Mister Ho, and with Amy in tow. “It’s not like you to swear gratuitously.”

Desmond apologised and then explained exactly what it was that had brought out the beast in him.

“I don’t think that Tutu was really Tutu.” He began, which confused the heck out of all three listening hamsters.

“What Professor Squealch means is…” Wetpatch decided to explain upon Desmond’s behalf, “…due to some unexplained interference from either the high pressures experienced in the depths. Or possibly somebody using an illegal cell ‘phone. Or perhaps electromagnetic activity from deep within the planet’s crust – his time machine didn’t send me back to the right time and place.”

“But…” Sally began; but she quickly realised that she knew next to nothing about temporal translocation, and duly shut her gob.

“But…” Amy tried more successfully, “…if it wasn’t the proper Tutu, in the proper place, at the proper time: Who was he, where was he, and when?”

The question had been succinctly put, and Roman, who had been snoozing beneath a pile of laundry, openly applauded her before joining the group.

“We think,” Wetpatch continued, “that I was diverted through a sub-atomic maelstrom into an alternative dimension in which everything appeared to be exactly the same as this one. But we can’t be sure that it actually was the same – so now Professor Squealch is all worried about Tutu again. He thinks he might be dead!”

“Fluff and bollocks!” Ho verbally ejaculated. “Some real bad shit!”

Indeed it was ‘some real bad shit’. “If our conjecture transpires to be proven,” Desmond came close to wailing, “then we can’t even be certain that Wetpatch is the same Wetpatch that we sent through time. And he can’t be certain that we’re the same bunch of miserable rodents who sent him. Oh this is unbearable: I’ve never felt more out of my depth – even when compared to that time when I went potholing with Tutu and Horatio Horseblanket, and there was a cave-in, and the river began rising, and we had to grasp the tunnel roof with our incisors, and converse through our nostrils!”

For several moments the situation looked extremely grim. Then Wetpatch had an idea…

“Send me back again.” He suggested chirpily, “Only this time I’ll take a camera. We can check the resulting photos for anomalies after I get back.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Well what a load of sci-fi cliches and quasi-scientific bollocks that was. But it was fun too, wasn’t it? Unbelievably this book is still for sale at most e-book retailers. They don’t give up, do they! And neither should you. Visit the sidebar or Tooty’s Books Available Here beneath the header, and buy it now. Like straight away. Immediately. This instant. You know it’ll be little money spent well. Bargain of the week.

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (episode two)

Meanwhile, in a place that was inconceivably distant from that beleaguered planet, the ageing space vessel, Gravity Whelk, illuminated by the nuclear fires of a nearby star, hung relatively motionless in deep space…

And aboard it, sitting at an observation window, Folie Krimp – co-owner of the vessel…

…recalled how that situation came to be. How he and his friend, Placebo Bison, were gifted the unwanted ship by the Captain of the Brian Talbot, for their sterling work in reuniting the people of Earth’s ruined identical twin planet with their ruler, Princess Cake of Potwell…

But that had been almost three weeks ago; and now Folie wasn’t quite so sure that he should have accepted the gift. At that moment Placebo joined him upon his seat…

He dared voice his concerns to his huge polystyrene pal.

“Yes, I know what you mean.” Placebo replied. “It’s like this ship isn’t really suited to us. It’s as if we’re merely temporary caretakers. Why, only last night, I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open…

…but when I went to lay upon the bed that you designated as mine, I was suddenly aware that it had never been designed for me; and that I was not its first occupant.”

“Oh.” A surprised Folie responded. “I always sleep like a log.”

“Hmmm,” Placebo said as he nodded, “I’d noticed that. I can hear your incessant snoring through the partition wall – or ‘bulkhead’ as it’s known aboard ship. But then you’re an earplug. Actually you’re a yellow earplug. The bed was designed specifically for a yellow earplug – namely Beaufort Skail, who happens to look remarkably like you. And, very sensibly, you tore down the posters too: that probably de-personalised the room for you. But for me that is a step too far. My room belongs to Richter Skail: and I can’t forget that…

   

So I spend my nights standing at the porthole, looking into the depths of infinity, until I’m so whacked out that I collapse on the deck and fall asleep.”

“Oh dear, Placebo.” Folie commiserated with his friend. “How absolutely sodding ghastly for you. But your bedroom isn’t the cause of my doubts regarding the suitability of this vessel. No; for me the perfunctory ‘bridge’ is what rattles my cage…

“I know exactly what you mean.” Placebo hurriedly agreed. “Even when we’re rushing through a dense, foggy atmosphere on some uncharted planet, it never feels like we’re really involved. That we’re just passengers. But that’s what comes with having an auto-pilot that flies the ship for us.”

This time it was Folie who ‘hummed’. He followed it with: “Well that might have suited the Skail Brothers: but it doesn’t suit me. Let’s go there now: I wanna show you something.”

It took several minutes for the two young would-be adventurers to shuffle along a couple of corridors and down two flights of stairs to the forward observation window – or ‘bridge’…

“What do you see?” Folie asked.

“Uh…space; stars; um…” Placebo answered

“And what don’t you see?” Folie inquired…

Placebo’s silence told Folie that his friend recognised a rhetorical question when he heard one. “Controls.” He said. “Read-outs, screens, buttons, levers, knobs, interfaces of any kind. That’s what you don’t see.”

“We have the verbal interface with the Automatic Pilot.” Placebo argued. “We say ‘go in that direction really fast’ and that’s what the ship does.”

“Is that piloting?” Folie asked.

Again Placebo didn’t answer. Well actually he did; but it came after a long period of deep thought. So deep that Folie feared that the sleep-deprived polystyrene blob might have slipped into a coma. “The ship is old.” He said finally. “It needs a re-fit. It needs to be adjusted to suit our collective psyche. And I’d like a bed that fitted my huge frame. And a couple more toilets of course. An ‘en suite‘ would be nice.”

This was just the response that Folie had been praying to the Saint of All Earplugs for…

Daring a sideways glance he asked: “And where do we get an entire ship re-fitted –  bearing in mind that we have no swollen coffers to raid?”

Placebo’s deep thought bore more fruit: “There is only one place that I’m aware of that might perform this great act of kindness for us. A place that is ruled by a brave and wise leader, who happens to like earplugs more than a bit.”

Folie tried to mask the excitement building inside him: “Does this brave and wise leader sometimes wear a huge plume on the top of his lustrous golden head?”

“He does.” Placebo replied as he turned around…

He then added: “Autopilot: start the engines and set us a direct course.”

“Sure thing.” The disembodied voice of the Autopilot boomed. “But where do I set a course for?”

“Scroton.” The friends said as one. “Maximum speed!”

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

Now The Real Work Begins

The opening episode of Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars used re-worked stock-shots. Today I began shooting originals and generic stock-shots with serious intent. It’s slow and sometimes frustrating. And, as you can see, a little cramped too…

It has been four months since my wife, Linzi died, and (as you can probably imagine) I haven’t really been in the mood (Tooty the Chef aside); but the bug is finally biting again. And, for the first time in my life, I don’t have to create the time to do it. If I feel like it, I just clamber up into that attic and get going. Here’s a shot from today’s work – as seen in the making-of shot (above). It features an (as yet un-named) engineering robot that has  been discovered by Folie just staring out at space from a view port set into the side of the Gravity Whelk…

As regards the Gravity Whelk: I can’t wait to start telling tales featuring that old tub again…

So hopefully you won’t need to wait too long for Episode Two!

After the Debacle

Following the gastronomic catastrophe of his Omeletty Thing, Tooty the Chef took a day off cooking to lick his wounds. When he did dare re-enter the kitchen he chose to step upon safer culinery ground. A Dolphin Nose with Pork. You know how he did it; so here’s the result…

Yep, he’s back on all three cylinders, and with the turbo kicking in too.

P.S as a footnote, the omeletty thing didn’t taste half as bad as it looked. In fact, he was assured, it tasted rather nice – just as long as you kept your eyes shut. One hat eaten in vain.

Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat (part 2)

And now for the concluding episode…

Although daringly bare-buttocked, our favourite chef quickly re-stocked the frying pan with oil, heated it, and tipped in the shaved potato…

At this point he was so sure of success that he moved aside to allow the camera to witness the cooking of the shaved potato…

…which actually proved far more difficult than he had imagined. Being thin and starchy, the spud shavings stuck to each other like procreating foxes: they just didn’t seem able to let go. So some were barely cooked, whilst others were browned to within microns of destruction.

It was at this juncture that doubts began to make themselves unwelcome. Especially so when he added the ingredients to the egg mix – which needed the addition of a further two eggs…

So it was with waning confidence that Tooty the Chef took up his flipping tool…

Gonna need another frying pan, Chef. I think he realised that. But, not entirely blind to the inevitable, he carried on…

And for a few minutes all appeared well. But that omelette looked awfully thick and disturbingly runny. In such a tiny frying pan his flipping tool was utterly useless. So, being an adaptive kinda guy, Tooty the Chef decided to up-end the omelette into a second frying pan – thereby cooking both sides equally. Genius – or what? But…

…he wasn’t desperately good at it, and when the sloppy mess fell from one pan into the other, it folded and broke in the middle. So he had to beat it reasonably flat with his flipping tool…

This enraged him greatly…

Following a further two attempts, the omelette was sufficiently cooked to remain in one piece and to flip correctly. This brought him great joy…

…and demonstrated his remarkable acting skills. But despite this, the centre  remained uncooked. The omelette looked fine until it was pressed, when, disturbingly ghastly coloured goo and lumps of half-cooked vegetable leaked out in various directions in a most emetic manner… 

It was beginning to look a lot like shit…

And it didn’t smell too clever either. So Tooty the Chef did what any self-respecting cook would do. No, he didn’t chuck in the bin: he’d promised his Son ‘something omeletty’ and ‘something omeletty’ he would get. So, in a desperate effort to cook the centre, he re-used the second frying pan and chopped the omelette in two – then, ultimately, four…

But still the centre-goo refused to play ball. So Chef cast off his apron; put aside his regular sugar-free Sprite; and took to the Moscato…

When he’d recovered his decorum, the omelette looked like this…

Here you see it placed beside his dog’s dinner. Can you tell which is which. Also, it transpired, there was insufficient to feed three people. So poor Tooty the Chef was reduced to eating his hat…

So he never got to find out what it tasted like. But, 24 hours later, neither off-spring had been admitted to hospital, so perhaps it wasn’t quite as bad as it looked.

 

 

Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat (part 1)

Recipes don’t always go to plan. We all know that. Of course Tooty the Chef doesn’t even have a plan, so it’s odds-on that eventually he will crash and burn – at least in a culinery sense. This is the story of his first total gastronomic cock-up. And it all started so promisingly – when his Son suggested something ‘omeletty’ – to use up the eggs. Unfortunately he also suggested using potatoes. But even then, had the wonder chef possessed a wide-enough frying pan, maybe it could have worked. Let’s see how it went, huh?

Initially Tooty the Chef was pleased as punch to find a use for his ageing eggs…

But he wasn ‘t quite so sure about wasting some nice fresh bacon on an experimental meal…

And when he was presented with tubs of strange stuff intended for North African style meals his uncertainty increased to alarming levels…

But never one to stand around pissing about, he set to work on some spuds – shaving them into…ah…potato shavings…

Other veggies would be required, so he tried on this charming comedy nose…

…but decided to dice the pepper instead, and added it to the pile that included some onion…

Then, of course, we had the inevitable rigmarole of removing the ‘nasty fatty bits’ from the bacon…

I don’t know why he can’t get a grip: a little fat isn’t going to cause instantaneous rigor mortis. Anyway, on with the cookery. In order to make the eggs nice, Tooty the Chef added some black pepper and oregano. See how he carefully measures it into the palm of his slender artiste’s hands. Ever the professional – even when he doesn’t really know what he’s doing…

Then it was time to tip it into the eggs…

…and annihilate it with this wonderfully tactile whisk…

What – you thought he’s use a rotary whisk? Or perhaps an electric one? Shame on you: this is Tooty the Chef we’re talking about here!

Well having done the deed, it was time for the usual…

Yep, extra virgin olive oil. Only the best for Tooty the Chef. Then the moment came to hurl in the pre-chopped bacon. Oh yes, did I mention that? When he sliced off all the nasty fatty bits, he also chopped the bacon up into smaller (but not very small) bits…

Then, having given it a very quick fry, he separately did likewise with the onion and the peppers…

Attention to detail: that’s the thing. Talking of which: please note that the good chef isn’t slacking in the apparel department either. It may be January; but he’s still cooking sans lingerie

Which is where we must leave the great chef for now – wearing yet another Waitrose apron (that he found in the attic) and with his bum showing. Come back later for part two of Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat. You won’t be disappointed. Well you might; but your level of disappointment will fall well short of Tooty the Chef’s!

Tooty the Shame-Faced Chef

Oh dear, look at Tooty the Chef…

Doesn’t he look sorry for himself? What could he have done to cause such shame-faceness? Shame-faceness? Is that a real word? It doesn’t look right. But then that’s the beauty of the English language: you can say or write something that’s completely wrong, but people still know exactly what you mean. But I digress: back to the shame-faced chef. Look what he created recently…

Doesn’t it look yummy? It even featured red cabbage and lemon sauce. I mean, by God, it must have been some wonder recipe! But there’s the point of his misery. He was so busy in the Attic Studio (fabricating some interiors of the re-fitted Gravity Whelk for the ‘Haunted Mars‘ photo-novel) that he didn’t realise how late it was. So he had no time or inclination to pause for photos of his wondrous gastronomic delight. Instead he could only spare enough time to actually snap this single shot of the finished product. And he’s so ever so ever so sorry about it. But, looking on the bright side; he did actually get something done on the third floor: look…

…a green deck,  sparkly gold wall, blue inter-compartmental air-lock, and a very nice lavatory with a pink light to show that someone is inside having a poop! Clearly it was worth all the misery.

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 23

For this fabulously random extract from the world of the Hamster-Sapiens series I have delved into the hallowed cyber-pages of this magnificent e-book…

And very nice it is too – as you will now discover…

Felicity Bugler, Joan Bugler’s diminutive dormouse adopted sister, stretched hugely beneath her cosy duvet atop the bunk bed that she shared with the slightly rotund hamster. She listened minutely as tendons popped into their allotted slots, and joints nestled together in the time honoured way that young joints generally do. Then she sniffed the air, and came to the instant conclusion that her sister was absent.

Perhaps in any other household this situation wouldn’t have raised more than a slightly inquiring eyebrow; but this was the Bugler girl’s bedroom, and there had been no recorded instance of Joan ever rising from her bed before the trim and nimble Felicity did. Not one eyebrow even so much as quivered upon the pretty forehead of the female dormouse: No: – alarm bells rang loud and clear inside her head, and inaudible klaxons all but deafened her. She was off of the top bunk quicker than you could say ‘Horatio Indigo Transvestite Horseblanket’. A second later she was in the corridor calling Joan’s name in her most frantic manner.

Felicity’s immigrant gerbil mother, Brenda, appeared at her bedroom door.

“Felicity.” She bellowed in her strange accent that no one had ever been able to place, as she entered the corridor whilst rubbing sleep-filled eyes, “What’s you doing girl? You’s gonna wake them neighbours, and make ‘em all mad as heck. What you shoutin’ Joan’s name for anyway – aint she layin’ in that bunk of hers like some lazy tart kind’a thing?”

It took a few nanoseconds for Felicity’s reply to penetrate the gerbil’s sleepy brain.

“What?” She shrieked in alarm, “She aint in no bed? Her day-clothes aint been took outta the closet? She’s done gone outside with no knickers coverin’ her shapely hamster ass? Where’d she go?”

It wasn’t a rhetorical question, but Felicity’s expression told the middle-aged gerbil that it should have been.

“She been kidnapped?” Brenda offered.

Again the look from her adopted dormouse daughter.

“You mean she gone to that weirdo place in that other dimension kind’a stuff?” She suggested less hopefully.

“Can you think of any other plausible explanation?” Felicity asked – more in desperation than hope. “Or even a whimsical one?”

“But her knickers, girl.” Brenda tried to argue. “She don’t go nowhere without her sturdy cold-store kind’a pants on. Nowhere!”

“I know.” Felicity suddenly wailed, and tears began to form in her eyes. “It must have been some sort of terrible trans-dimensional accident.”

Then a thought struck. She spoke as the thoughts grew in both numbers and intensity…

“Let’s think – this is a socially rented apartment that belongs to the local socialist government: What could be different about this particular edifice that might cause Joan to have a trans-dimensional accident?”

Both rodents placed their metaphorical thinking caps firmly upon their metaphysical craniums; but after fifteen minutes of intense thinking, Felicity came up empty.

“Nada.” She said dejectedly, “I’m calling Police Constable Gravy: Perhaps he can shed some light upon the situation.”

“You just hold your stag beetles.” Brenda held up a paw to thwart Felicity as she reached for the wall ‘phone. “I just thunk of something.”

Moments later both rodents were hammering on the toilet door, and calling Joan’s name. Felicity tried picking the lock with the end of her tail, but it was too furry. So Brenda set about the hinges with her powerful incisors. Within moments the door fell outwards into the corridor, and they raced each other to be first inside. Naturally, being small and nimble, Felicity won, and duly tripped upon the new mat, and, with a wail of dismay, disappeared out of the open window.

“Felicity, girl,” Brenda called down to her adopted daughter as she struggled amongst the briars below, “You gone done forgot your own knickers too. Ya just gave the post-hamster a heart attack. But ya done good: Ya found where Joan went. Now ya can call that P C Chest guy to come find her.”

But Felicity wasn’t so sure. As she struggled to regain her modesty by tucking her nightdress between her knees whilst giving the aging post-hamster the kiss of life, she called back, “I don’t think so. I’ll tell you all about it after you’ve ‘phoned for an ambulance.”

Felicity didn’t actually explain anything to her mother until she’d called her boyfriend, Roosevelt Teabiscuit. Naturally the equally diminutive dormouse had rushed around to Brenda’s apartment, and was already unbuckling his novelty sporran as he walked in.

“Sorry, Roosevelt,” Felicity had said moments after Brenda had screamed in horror, “I should have told you that mum was here, and that I needed you – not for your amazing powers in the rampant non-reproductive sexual intercourse department – but for your equally amazing talent as a psychic catalyst.”

Roosevelt had duly apologized for being presumptive, and now they all sat around the dining table to discuss Felicity’s remarkable discovery.

“As I fell through the window I remember distinctly hearing the words – ‘Honestly, if you spent a little more of the church’s coffers on constructing roads, we wouldn’t be having this difficulty’, which in itself isn’t proof positive that Joan has crossed over into Prannick, but the reply – ‘Never mind that, just keep pushing: It makes your powerful buttocks go all shapely’ – kind of tears it. Those voices belonged to Darkwood Dunce and Quentin Blackheart. I’d recognise them anywhere.”

“You heard all this while you was fallin’?” Brenda squealed with disbelief, “But it only took one of them seconds. That kind’a thing don’t sound right to me. I’m tellin’ ya – you’s took a nasty knock on your noggin, girl, that’s what you’s done. You’s aint heard nothing but the post-hamster droppin’ to his knees and praisin’ The Saint of All Hamsters for the sight of your wotsit.”

As theories went Brenda’s was a very good one. Unfortunately it was also entirely incorrect.

“Mummy, dearest,” Felicity responded kindly, “shut the fluff up, and listen.”

She then made her proposal to prove that she had really heard what she thought she’d heard.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

There, didn’t I tell you it was nice! This book remains available at most e-book stockists. Some are mentioned on the sidebar and beneath the header in Tooty’s Books Available Here. But you can get it at all sorts of places in many countries of the world. If you liked the extract, you’ll adore the book. Oh yes: it’s also a bit rude – so no children to see it, okay? 

Another Earplug Smart Phone Wallpaper?

Months ago – I don’t recall how many, a lot of things have happened since then – I posted an experimental Earplug Adventure wallpaper for  smart phones. I’d rather hoped that someone would download it and give it a try – just to see if I had the specs right. So now that I’ve been reminded of that chronologically distant event, I’d like to try it again – if that’s alright with you. If it works, just leave a comment in the ‘comments’ box. The same if it doesn’t, obviously. Thank you. Here’s a wallpaper featuring the scary version of Folie Krimp…

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (episode 1)

SPOILER ALERT: This prologue contains information about earlier tales. If you haven’t read them, and don’t want to know what happened in one or two of them (in a very brief summarised form, that is) look away now!

Before the tale proper can begin, Dear Reader, you must first be reminded of just how the planet Mars became the Mars that the curator of The Future Museum of Mars – Frisby Mumph – so adores, and for which he would gladly give his life; his generous pension benefits; or tear off his famous old pressure suit and show everyone his bare buttocks.  It goes like this: Mars…

…is dark, cold, foreboding, and miles from anywhere. A world that was seemingly lifeless. So, in their infinite wisdom, those beings from the future who gave us the Museum of Future Technology…

…that fabulous emporium of technological wonders from the future that have been sent back through time for safe-keeping in the past – decided to build a smaller version on Mars  (just in case Earth blew up or something) and awaited the successful terraforming of the red planet, before they delivered any artefacts worth paying good money to see. So, for many years, the Future Museum of Mars…

…sat quiescent – awaiting the lifetime’s work of the aforementioned Frisby Mumph to come to fruition.  Frisby…

…enjoyed the company of his huge robot – Tangerine – and an idiot assistant, named Badgerlilly, whom he kept in permanent suspended animation. He also enjoyed going to the toilet. But most of all he enjoyed trundling about the barren landscape aboard his terraforming machine…

…with which he hoped to transform the planet from a dead, barren landscape, into a thriving eco-system. Although most of Mars remained utterly lifeless, some areas began to show promise. Tough, wiry mosses began to take hold…

Although Frisby was unaware of the fact, he had been under surveillance from the day he’d landed upon the red planet. He continued to remain blissfully unaware until Magnuss Earplug and his protégé, Yabu Suchs, discovered the ‘Muffins’ in a buried city beneath the rusty sandstone surface…

Eventually the native beings became allies of Frisby – reactivating their advanced scientific laboratories (that had lain inactive for millennia following the destruction of the Martian civilisation by a cataclysmic accident when the combined gasses, produced during a global farting contest, had been ignited by a cooker’s gas ring, the owner of which had forgotten to turn off whilst boiling an egg ) and setting to work on realising some of the brilliant ideas they’d been dreaming up before being forced into uncounted centuries of suspended animation…

One particular device came in jolly handy -at a time when the staff of the Museum of Future Technology were battling robots from the future for control of that vast edifice. The significance of the device was so…ah…significant that the Earplug Brothers were sent to Mars to see it for themselves…

Long story short – the device allowed earplugs to transit between quantum realities. But, more significantly for Frisby and the ‘Muffins’, it was discovered that it could also shift worlds between quantum realities. So they chose a better, more suitable Mars, and swapped their knackered old version for a nicer one from a different reality…

And for five minutes the future looked rosy. For the first time the light outside shone blue through the museum control room’s translucent walls…

But, unfortunately, they’d randomly selected a world that was in the midst of an ice-age; and soon Mars began to freeze over…

Soon the museum became entombed in ice…

And recent arrivals from Earth found themselves up kaka creek without a paddle…

Of course, the locals had never before seen snow, and (as they slipped and slid down the ancient citadel steps) they didn’t much like it…

Frisby and Tangerine were aghast and mortified. They wandered about in the snow drifts, looking for their lost customers. But without success…

More fortunately Captain Sinclair Brooch, of the Worstworld star ship K T Woo, arrived and released a volley of well-aimed proton torpedoes…

…which exploded beneath the ice…

…and melted it – creating a dramatic climate shift…

…that brought forth great horticultural wonders. The areas in which Frisby had been working so hard for so long, bloomed with native growths…

And following a period of incessant rainfall…

…the sole curator was delighted to discover that his hardy Earth plants were doing okay as well…

So, all in all, it was a happy ending. Or was it? Mars, unlike Earth, lies outside the ‘Goldilocks Zone’. The Sun is much farther away. Mars, despite its new look, was still a cold world: and, with every passing year since ‘The Miracle’, winters seemed to be getting longer and starting sooner. Oh flip!

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 23

Well I seem to have lost my way slightly regarding which book should supply the next excerpt. So, in an attempt to bring you some of the most wonderful Hamster-Sapiens work available, may I present you with a random extract from this book…

Yes, the divine ‘The Psychic Historian’. The best book ever written in the history of the world. You don’t believe me? Read on…

Now one of the major tenets of Betty was coined from the words of a popular religious song of that era, which had been miss-transcribed by a probationary nun during the earliest years of the order of Our Lady of the Tilted Cervix. No one knows what the true wording of the ancient song was, but in her miss-transcription the probationary nun scribbled ‘When I get that feelin’ – I want sex on the ceiling’ and the ways of Betty were set (if not in stone, then certainly) in bold black print. The result of this error meant that the nuns of Our Lady of the Tilted Cervix then had to live up to their name by indulging the locals in high-altitude sexual intercourse.

Naturally there was no shortage of volunteers from a country plagued by internal strife and external war. In fact the recruiting office was so overwhelmed with would-be nuns that its recruitment officers had to beat them off with a sharp tongue and a big stick. Eventually a select number were then handed their habits, and duly packed off to the island of Impetigo. And for a while all had gone swimmingly. Then one day a nasty case of Poor Sore Willy was discovered in Deepest Jungle Land, and blaming the nuns for this worsening condition as it ran riot through the population, the convent was placed out-of-bounds by the elders of the nearby villages.

With no income and nothing to do, the nuns began calling the outside world upon their huge radio set. They searched the ether for inspiration. After weeks and weeks of twiddling dials they finally discovered what they sought.

Hamster-Britain had a severe shortage of fondant icing. What little could be manufactured domestically exchange paws for quite incredible amounts of Rodentos. It was beyond the pocket of all but the very rich, and if the situation remained, it was quite likely that the poor would rise up in some sort of confectionery revolution, and possibly bring down the government and behead the royal head of state. It was immediately clear to the nuns where their duty lay. They must save their country by the only known means possible: They must produce copious amounts of fondant icing, and ship it, by whatever means, to Hamster-Britain.

The first part of the problem was easily solved. They turned their creative talents away from inventing news means of sexual gymnastics – to the production of fondant icing. Sugar bearing plants were multifarious and many-fold: And beating them into a fine white paste-like material merely took physical effort. But the problem of transporting the resulting product to Hamster-Britain confounded them utterly.

“Fluff and bollocks!” The Mother Superior was heard to shout loudly from the privacy of her window in frustrated despair, “Arse holes and piles!”

But then fortune fell upon them from the sky – in the form of a lost dirigible pilot who had been blown off course by a particularly nasty gust of wind. His name had been Pilot Officer Brandenberg Dangerpimple. For a share of the profits, and some ‘sex on the ceiling’, he was willing to transport the fondant icing for them until either he was caught and hanged as a profiteer; the war ended; or he grew too old to either fly a dirigible or indulge in sexual intercourse.

“Marvellous.” The Mother Superior exclaimed, and threw up both her paws and the hem of her habit in joy, “But what might we do if any of those three possibilities were to transpire?”

“I’ll teach my future son to fly as soon as his rear paws can reach the rudder pedals.” Dangerpimple had assured the chief nun. “And any other sons that I might acquire en route to an old age.” He added with a wink of his eye.

But that was all in the past. Now Brandenberg Dangerpimple was being taken upon a tour of the new fondant production facility.

“As you can see, Brandenberg, this line is entirely automated.” Sister Serendipity Clone waved an all-encompassing paw to include the interior of a huge bamboo shed, into which a considerable amount of modern production equipment had been recently installed.

Dangerpimple was impressed; but he also foresaw a problem. He smoothed back his head fur and released the air from his lungs in a single rush. “I think I’m gonna need a bigger airship.”

Serendipity looked concerned. “Is this a problem?”

“I’ll have to be promoted to Flight Lieutenant.” Dangerpimple replied. “That’s going to mean a lot of greased paws. I’m not sure I have sufficient funds…”

Serendipity smiled, then reached under her habit and brought forth a huge wad of Rodentos. “I was saving them up for something nice – but needs must and all that.”

Dangerpimple snatched the offered cash, and rammed it down the front of his flying trousers. “There.” He said, “All safe and sound. And in a secondary role they can protect my wanger from anti-dirigible fire as well!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

See? Did I not tell you the truth? Where have you read better than that? Naturally this book is available at most e-book stockists, and for the best eReaders – including the more famous Kindle, iPad, Nook, and Kobo. Wonderful tales; witty prose; and cheap as chips. What more can you ask for!

 

 

Tooty the Chef Passes a Personal Milestone

Since his wife passed away, Tooty hasn’t been able to enter a Waitrose store. It brings back too many memories of the countless times they shopped there together. But today he required a boneless chicken that could only be obtained from Waitrose. So, plucking up courage, he entered one of their emporiums. After months of shopping in inferior stores, it was like a breath of fresh air to our master chef. So he duly bought the chicken – and a whole bunch of other stuff too. And all without a tear. Look how happy it’s made him…

Just in case you wondered – he likes Waitrose.

Tooty the Chef Makes ‘Rattatuti!’

Before we begin, let me bring you up-to-date with some of Tooty the Chef’s latest brilliant ideas. Well one anyway. Autumn has been wet and mild in Tooty the Chef’s portion of reality; so mosquitos have been rather prevalent in his kitchen. Unwilling to use ozone-depleting sprays (and having actually caught one of the little bastards as it attempted to finagle it’s pointy bits through the tough hide of his hairy knuckles), the great chef decided to tackle the problem head on. Literally. With a Sainsbury’s reusable cotton vegetable bag…

Voila! Not just a pretty face, I think you’ll agree.  Anyway, enough of that load of old bollocks: on with the cooking. Now Tooty the Chef has never been one to turn his nose up at a bargain: so when his local M&S Food Hall offered him three packs of four breaded chicken breast steaks for only £10 he snatched their metaphorical hands off. The downside of this was the need to devour them before the use-by date expired; which meant that whatever he was about to create, it must compliment breaded chicken breast steaks. Four of them to be exact…

No probs: let’s see what’s in the cupboard…

And, oh look, there’s some ancient eggs (that can easily recall high Summer) in the fridge…

Naturally the fridge had other gifts to give…

…those being soft and floppy courgettes; a pair of measly spuds; a couple of almost-rotten toms; three skanky carrots; an old onion; and a withered pepper that couldn’t decide if it was red or yellow. All grist to Tooty the Chef’s mill, I assure you. But what kind of sauce should he use? All the regular stuff was just too boring for words; so he stuck his fingers up at them…

But, after getting down upon his hands and knees, he discovered just what he needed…

…a can of Waitrose Cream of Petit Pois and Bacon Soup. Inspired choice. This was all the impetus he required: for the next half-hour he would transform in Le Chef Tuti!

Having turned on the oven to get warm, it was  dice-dice-dice-and- dice-again time…

Preperations complete, it was the correct moment to slide the chicken into the hot oven…

Now the race was on. Would the chicken cook before Le Chef Tuti was ready for it? Or would it be another of his fantastically unlikely dead-heats? Only…um…time would tell. Don’t fret Tuti; get those eggs broken…

…and lobbed into a bowl with black pepper, Himalayan salt, and paprika…

Come on Chef, pour out that olive oil with all your might…

Once heated upon the hob, the oil was joined by the slowest-cooking ingredients – those being the  potato, carrot, and onion…

Having given it a few minutes to get it’s head start, he added the courgette and pepper…

Look how delighted he was to do so. Actually he was acting.  He’s very good at that you know. He’d give Tom Conte a run for his money, I can tell you. And Pauline Collins. But I digress. After a while, when there was about ten minutes to go, he tossed the tomato in…

And, after fielding several gastronomic questions from his offspring, he tipped in the Waitrose soup and set it simmering on a low heat…

Yes, Le Chef Tuti has heard of ‘low’ you know. He doesn’t use it often, but (as a remarkable chef) he is aware that you should never boil soup: it makes it nasty or something. Then it was a simple matter of pouring the egg mix into a frying pan with hot olive oil at the bottom: blasting it for a while; then flipping it over;  blasting it a bit more; and chopping it into pieces with the edge of the flipping tool…

…before serving it proudly and displaying it to the camera with a stupid face…

Not bad,  eh?

Then, naturally, it was time to uncork a bottle of Muscat de Rivesaltes. On this occasion he decided to aschew the usual complimentary Sprite, and instead selected some vaguely uninteresting Schweppes Slimline Lemonade…

Unfortunately someone forgot to hide the key to the wine cellar; and when that one ran out, Le Chef Tuti found another, which could, inevitably, only end in one way…

Oh, if only we’d stocked it with shandy and ginger beer!

Another Earplug Adventure Perhaps?

The last time I shot a new Earplug Adventure photo was probably early in 2020 – maybe late 2019. As chronicled on this blog on several occasions, the intervening period has seen difficult times for me. I haven’t really been in the mood for anything creative. But today is the three-month anniversary of my wife’s passing, and as I made breakfast this morning  I found my thoughts wandering to a what-happened-next scenario for two of the main characters in the last tale – A Tale of Three Museums – those being  Placebo Bison and Folie Krimp…

So I took a peek at my library of unused earplug shots that are currently available for the next story. Sorry to say the catalogue is woefully brief. But those that exist might just inspire me with some ideas. Here’s a few of them…

 

I can’t let those go to waste, can I? Time to put on my literary genius cap and charge up those camera batteries, methinks.

 

Featuring wondrous writings and phabulous photos. It's probably quite nice if you're feeling a bit down. WARNING: RUDE WORDS AND BUTTOCKS: SOME CONTENT IS UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN!