Tag Archives: humor

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…

 

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.

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 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.

 

Tooty the Chef in ‘The Dog’s Dinner’

Now there’s a strange thing about the colloquial English language spoken in Tooty the Chef’s neck of the woods: If something is described as being ‘the dog’s bollocks’ it usually means that it is very good indeed. To use a motorcycling metaphor: a Yamaha Tracer 700 is considered ‘the dog’s bollocks’, whereas a Linfan 125 is  a ‘dog’s dinner’.  That is – not well put together. And so thought Tooty the Chef of the dinner he was about to produce. It was an end-of-the-week-use-up-whatever-is-left kinda meal. He was certain that the result would be a dog’s dinner, so he didn’t bother to take any photos of the preparation or the cooking. In fact, so certain was he of miserable failure, that he put aside some of the ingredients to actually produce a dinner for his dogs. Yes, a genuine dogs dinner. So he didn’t feel particularly inclined to place his chef’s hat upon his shapely head. In fact he wore this instead…

Oh yes, I forgot to mention: he was also really busy doing the weekly wash at the same time. And yes those are his underpants, freshly laundered and smelling sweet. But then, as the meal progressed he began to have doubts concerning the ineffectualness of his cheffing: the dog’s dinner was actually looking rather appetising…

So appetising that he decided to fire up his Canon Ixus and present the mixture to it…

Then to one of the recipients…

…which, because it contained minced turkey, minced beef, minced pork, sea bass, steamed carrot, sweet potato, and parsnip, with sweetcorn and peas, sent the little guy into a frenzy…

…and only too keen to get stuck in…

…unlike his pal, who wasn’t sure about something in the bowl…

…but because she’d been told to eat it by Tooty the Chef, complied anyway…

Meanwhile the human meal had finished cooking, and Tooty the Chef began to believe that (once more) victory was his…

A look through the transparent roasting thing confirmed this hypothesis…

And when he shoved the big spoon in, he became elated…

Sea bass, bream, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, peas, sweetcorn, and prawns – immersed in a parsely and onion sauce and topped with grilled mashed potato. Shit it was nice…

But then the celebration was ruined utterly  when he discovered that (whilst in his negative mental state) he’d swigged back the remaining wine, leaving nothing behind…

Bollocks! And not the dog’s ones either!

Revel in the Ribaldry 22

For R.i.t.R 22  we visit, once again, that great well of ribaldry – Fanfare For The Common Hamster. This is what the e-book looks like…

And this is what a tiny portion of the script looks like…

Joan was surprised to find Stubby Collett alone upon the path that led away from Far Kinell by the most circuitous route possible. Of the Abbot there was no sign, despite the fact that he’d promised to tend Stubby’s wounds in their absence.

The others – Darkwood, Rootley, and Brother Alfonso, weren’t though, and nodded sagely as Stubby explained that the Abbot’s nerves had become frayed to within one micron of total mental collapse, and that, in an effort to free the poor hamster from his inner religious turmoil, he had pretended that they were being stalked by a wild mutant weasel, and in an effort to dissuade the beast from consuming them Stubby had apparently transformed into a mythological homo sapien once again, and frightened the imaginary monster away.

Naturally the Abbot had sought, and found, solace in his beliefs, which ran counter to the sights that his eyes beheld, and so, in an almost catatonic state, the former Farley Dunnock had taken the only course left to him (other than madness) and had returned to the town – presumably to reassume the role that he believed he was born to do – that being The Abbot of The Wheel.

“I didn’t like him anyway.” Stubby concluded, “He smelt funny.”

Then his eyes alighted upon Felicity, and despite his grievous injury, his trousers flapped alarmingly. “Cripes,” his voice half-said/half-trilled, as he surveyed the dormouse’s non-curvaceous hips, “there’s a sight for sore eyes, and make no mistake.”

He then introduced himself to the two newcomers.

“I’ve always wanted to meet a brilliant illusionist.” Felicity informed him, “A really crappy one visited our school once, and appeared to turn into a bowl of pitted cherries. He looked delicious; but I saw right through his visual subterfuge: It was quite obviously a hologram.”

Stubby bristled, “It was no such thing!” He bellowed his best – which with his chest seeping blood all over the place was really quite impressive.

For some mysterious reason no one seemed to notice the incongruity of the small harvest mouse’s outburst – except Roosevelt. And he spoke in a manner that greatly impressed Rootley Farnham.

“Excuse me,” he said, “How the fluff would you know? Were you there?”

Now under normal circumstances it is certain that Stubby would have denied ever having been anywhere near a school for girl rodents, let alone within Joan, Felicity, and Roosevelt’s continuum: But these weren’t normal circumstances: He was grievously hurt, and he was also in the company of a psychic catalyst. So he said, “Yes. I’ll have you know that appearing to turn into a bowl of pitted cherries in front of several hundred young females taxed me enormously, and I had to have a lay down afterwards.” Then in a more aggrieved tone he added, “And to think that they believed that it was nothing more than smoke, mirrors, and advanced laser technology: Well it offends me greatly.”

“I’m sorry.” Felicity whispered as she reached out to comfort Stubby, “But why were you giving an exhibition of advanced illusionism to a bunch of girl hamsters and one dormouse?”

Stubby sighed. He then informed them that prior to becoming a psi-cop field agent; he was a talent scout for them. He’d hoped to promote an interest in psychic abilities amongst the young persons of several alternate realities.

“Sadly with scant reward.” He sighed again. “We met with little success. Except for Joan, of course.”  Then he coughed a bit, and everyone knew that the interview was over.

                                                                 ***

The timely arrival of the Abbot – Farley Dunnock – at The Rancid Maggot Inn might have saved Perfidity Gallowsmith from a lynching by outraged ‘Wheelists’, but The Law Master quickly realised that she must regain their trust and loathing by being seen to act as a Law Master should, and stop behaving like the drunken, exhibitionist, trollop that she was.

The primary reason for this sober summation of her current situation was that only moments after having made his grand entrance, the Abbot had strolled to the bar, downed a flagon of ale, touched up the barkeeper, and then slumped to the floor – where he began speaking gibberish, and attempting to unravel the coarse raffia mat that Mooney kept for soaking up his customer’s sweat and vomit. Clearly something had happened to the Abbot, Perfidity reasoned well enough: Now she must grasp the nettle: This was just the opportunity that she’d spent the last thirty seconds praying for…

“Right then,” she announced, whilst slipping into her best chainmail knickers, and strapping on Jock, her favourite dagger, “who’s feeling ready for a punch-up? I’m looking to form a posse.”

                                                                         ***

The small group of rodents had been prevaricating over a decision concerning Stubby’s immediate future for some time, and were no closer to a solution regarding his welfare, when Rootley gasped, and hissed, “A posse departs the Rancid Maggot Inn. We must act – in haste if possible.”

Stubby forced his trembling eyelids to flutter open. “You have a talent too, I see.” He then added, “Do you have more details concerning this posse?”

Rootley shook his furry little head, “ ‘Fraid not.” He said.

Stubby then shook a wavering finger in the approximate direction of Roosevelt. “Touch the puny hamster, young dormouse: He has need of your energy and ministrations.”

Everyone’s expressions asked the same question: What energy’s that then?

“He’s a psychic catalyst.” Stubby explained as quickly as his trembling lips would allow, “I sensed it the moment he arrived. He resonates with such power that my buttocks haven’t stopped clenching for more than ten seconds at a time.”

Feeling rather embarrassed by the attention, Roosevelt coloured beneath his fine mantle of fur. He then straightened his tie, and did as he was bid.

Immediately Rootley’s buttocks constricted so violently that he squeaked in alarm. But then his pinched expression was replaced by a look of serenity. “I can see them.” he breathed, “Not my spasmodic buttock muscles, you understand: The whole posse. They’re on their way to the Hoopla Hall. The Law Master leads them. She’s carrying her favourite dagger – Jock. And her knickers…they’re her best chainmail ones. Fluff it – the bastards’ll be passing straight through here in just a few moments!”

Then a nearby horn could be heard blaring into the night. It sounded like a cavy giving birth to a weasel inside a tin bath.

“Cripes.” Roosevelt squeaked as he jumped and released his grip upon Rootley.

Darkwood began to panic. “What are we going to do?” he said, casting his gaze first one way, then the other. “I can’t get caught hanging about outside a gent’s bog-hole again! Not so soon anyway.”

“Run, muy rápido.” Alfonso suggested.

“Bog-hole?” Stubby’s tremulous voice cut through the type of mass-apprehension that is so taught that it almost audibly twangs like the whiskers of a champion weightlifter, “We’re in close proximity to Far Kinell’s almost-famous public bog-hole? By The Saint of All Hamsters – salvation stands before us upon cast iron feet and rough wooden shingles: There’s an inter-dimensional cross-over portal inside it. I’ve used it several times before. Quickly now, despite the agony – get me inside.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

This magnificent example of hamster fiction is published by Lulu.com, and is also available at most e-book retailers, including the one that best suits your e-reader, tablet, or whatever

 

Tooty the Chef: Kitchen Commando

Welcome to the kitchen of Tooty the Chef: the only chef in Britain who cooks whilst going commando – at least publicly. The same chef who only cooks for people who don’t want to cook, but (through no fault of their own) have to…

Well  on this particular day, Tooty the Chef had been out of the kitchen doing other fascinating and often thrilling stuff – like walking the dogs, riding his motorcycle, or raking leaves from the lawn. Unfortunately not only had he forgotten to turn the heating on (December after all), but he’d also left the kitchen door open to the elements. But, true to his credo ‘the bum must always be bared’, he began as he always does. Only this time he turned on the oven early so that he could defrost his buttocks…

Then it was on to a grub hunt. Quickly he found some soft cauliflower. But before it had a chance to decompose in his hands he chopped it up…

Then he discovered a packet of bacon that still had a couple of days life in it…

It was smoked, which Tooty the Chef abhors almost as much as an astronaut abhors a vacuum, but the label said Great Taste 2020, so he went with it. But first he placed the cauliflower in his plastic microwave cooking thing; added some boiling water…

…and set it to cook in the microwave for nine minutes. Then he did what any chef worth his or her silver collander award would do; he trimmed the nasty fatty bits off the bacon…

…then splashed a whole bunch of olive oil (Spanish naturally) into the oval roasting thing…

…and laid the bacon in it. To this he added some frozen peppers…

…before returning to the freezer for a handful of peas and sweetcorn. After all you gotta have colour in your meal: otherwise it’s just oatmeal…

On cue the microwave went ‘Ding’, so it was a tentative tipping of the scalding cauliflower into a sieve…

…before slopping it on top of the other stuff in the roasting thing, and covering it with a jar of white wine sauce…

Tooty the Chef selected a white wine sauce by Morrisons. He reasoned that if the label was accurate, and that the company had been established in 1899, it was fair to assume that they knew a thing or two about sauce…

Anyway, then it was into the (already hot) oven…

Did you notice the tray on the lower shelf? Tooty the Chef didn’t. This would come back to bite him on the ass later – at least metaphorically. So, with the grub in the oven, it was time for some meditation…

A quarter of an hour later the roasting thing was removed from the oven and coated with the last of Tooty’s grated cheese…

Then back into the propane furnace, which released the great chef to watch a bit of TV and make himself a nice cafe au lait…

A further quarter of hour passed, and Tooty the Chef judged that the meal was cooked…

But when he poked around in the bottom of the roasting thing, he found – to his professional horror – that the bacon wasn’t quite done. He also discovered the hitherto unnoticed baking tray that had absorbed much of the oven’s heat. So it was out with the tray, and in with the meal. Then, as the oven door closed, he realised that his nether regions were once again chilled mightily. Fortunately he had the wit to plug in a fan heater with which he brought the general area back to life…

Ten minutes on and, not only were his comfort levels returned to factory specifications, but  the meal was cooked…

…to perfection…

So it was off with the jumper and hat; and time to select a complimentary drink. Naturally he chose a 2016 Muscat de Rivesaltes and 2020 sugar-free Sprite. A perfect combination, I think you’ll agree…

If One Was Great: Two Must Be Fabulous

Remember how much you enjoyed those serialised Earplug Adventures? Weren’t they…ah…great? Of course they were. But sometimes the episodes could be a bit short. Just as you were getting your metaphorical teeth into them, they were over. Well today is your lucky day, coz here’s two episodes of The Time Tamperer placed back to back – for extra length and emotional comfort. Episodes 12 & 13 to be exact. Read on…

But Gregor wasn’t finished. There was far more interesting news for him to impart. “Yeah, right on. What a groove.” He said. “And there’s far more interesting news for me to impart too.”

With that he called in Police Constable Salisbury Wilts as a witness and led the curators to an adjacent room, where he introduced them to…

…Runt and Twinkles, who, in turn, presented a new piece of hardware.

“Ladies, Gentlemen, and P.C Wilts,” Runt spoke clearly above the building excitement that ran like a raspberry ripple through the assembled V.I.Ps, “may I present to you the Tubo Di Tempo. It’s a new, mini version of the Tunnel Temporal – designed by the brilliant Italian scientist, Piggies Du Pong.”

“If you don’t mind me saying,” the charming (if ancient) former movie star, Sir Dodger Muir…

…interrupted, “Piggies Du Pong doesn’t sound overtly Italian. Rather, I’d wager the fellow hails from either Belgium or France.”

“In your era, perhaps.” Runt replied. “But in Piggies’ era he’s Italian; so shut it, okay?”

Sir Dodger was about to author a dazzlingly witty riposte, when his train of thought was interrupted by the activation of the Tubo Di Tempo and the arrival of two bug-eyed weirdos from another time zone…

Instantly the newcomers addressed Cushions Smethwyke. With a curt bow the smaller-nosed of the couple introduced itself as Glumb Kimball and it’s huge-hootered associate as Hombolt Whale. “Greetings from the future.” It added. “What do you think of the Tubo Di Tempo?”

Cushions wasn’t sure how to respond: and P.C Wilts’ expression betrayed his instant dislike of the pretentious twerps from a clearly technologically superior era.

“Er…very nice.” She managed. Then growing in confidence she added: “A lovely shade of blue. My favourite. Well my second favorite actually. I’m rather partial to a warm orange glow.”

“How wonderful.” Hombolt Whale squeaked through it’s huge, but obviously restricted, snozzle. “Because when it’s turned on at this end it glows orange. Regarde s’il vous plaît.”

Moments later the Tubo Di Tempo did just as Hombolt had promised.

“There.” Sir Dodger grumbled. “Told you it was French.”

But even as the ageing thespian was speaking, so too was Glumb Kimball: “Well we’ve left a copy of the owners’ manual with your Time Techs, so, if its alright with you, we’ll be on our way to our own era. It’s much nicer there, by the way. By-ee.”

With that the time-travelling duo stepped into the tiny maw of the machine and disappeared in an instant…

Naturally Cushions rushed forward to deliver a blistering farewell insult, but she was too late and needed to be consoled by the former bounty hunter and part-time curator, Hunting Provost: “Don’t concern yourself, my delightful love interest.” He whispered into Cushions’ ear. “They were ugly sods with big bulgey eyes: the future’s welcome to them. And they’ve left us with something really valuable.”

 

“They have?” Cushions inquired as everyone crowded around to take a look at the wonder from the future…

“Of course.” Hunting spoke in a conspiratorial hush. “Now we can start charging visitors for trips into the Museum of Future Technology twice. Once in this era; and again when they go into the past. I bet, if we take a look at our bank accounts, we’ll find that we’ve already begun amassing a vast wealth before we’ve actually begun sending anyone through. All we need to do is actually set the metaphorical ball rolling. We need to find new-arrivals with no prior knowledge of our earlier time travelling problems.”

“Yeah.” Cushions replied as she let her gaze wander past Hunting. “People who aren’t scared of visiting the past and run the risk of getting stuck there. And I think I know the very people.”

Naturally Cushions had the security forces round-up a number of the morning’s intake of visitors. Fellow curator, Winston Gloryhole appeared uncomfortable when he and Cushions were required to answer some searching questions…

“How do we know it’s safe?” The white female named Dina Havoc demanded.

“That’s right,” the vaguely brownish-purple Edie Chalice threw in her two penny-worth. “This is a new and un-tested technology.”

“Yeah.” The helmet-wearing Peter Crushing added as he gazed upon P.C Wilts shiny police helmet with avarice in his eyes. “Just coz it works in the future, it don’t mean it’ll work in this era.”

“We’re not stupid.” The yellow-headed Noodie Bumsho snapped angrily. “We know what you’re up to. We’re just a bunch of unpaid test dummies.”

Several times the turquoise android curator, Montagu, tried to interrupt the tide of accusations. But despite his best attempts, which consisted mostly of “Excuse me,” and “Oh for flip’s sake!”, the barrage continued:

“You ought to be taken out and shot.” the small mauve guest, Bungay Jumpur snarled from behind Edie Chalice. “We’ve spent our hard earned cash to come here today; and all you want to do is get us killed in an experimental time machine.”

“It’s not good enough.” The tall yellow earplug with blazing red eyes, named Randy Blueprint, bellowed as he stood beside the inactive Tubo Di Tempo. “We demand an immediate apology.”

“And our money back too.” The immeasurably sad-looking blue earplug named Porceen Pillock suggested in a manner that couldn’t be ignored. “With an ice cream cone from Cafe Puke thrown in for good measure.”

Cushions cast a quick glance at Hunting Provost. At first his grin appeared to be fixed, much like that of a cheerful manikin. But when Cushions looked a little closer she noticed that his lips moved almost imperceptibly: “Tell them that we’re sending them to an era when custard wasn’t outlawed and that the Cafe Puke of that time was named Cafe Blancmange.” They said.

Cushions could see their potential wealth draining away before her eyes. “Custard.” She shouted. “It’s really tasty in the past.Vanilla. Chocolate. Rum and raisin. Turron, Honeycomb. Cinnamon. You name it; they’ve got it. And it’s free too.”

Moments later…

“Have fun.” Twinkles Forgetmenot called as the visitors moved by him into the Tubo Di Tempo. “Yum yum!”

And after the last visitor had disappeared into the past; and the curators had gone for a celebratory run across the Woven Expanse, Gregor, Twinkles, and Runt…

…congratulated themselves on a job well done. But, as they turned away…

…their smiles felt a little forced. Although not one of them would admit it to the others, they all shared the same nagging doubt: what if they had tightened one bolt too loosely? What if one of them had stripped back a length of insulation by one millimetre too much? What if one of them had crossed-polarised the jim-jam waffle valve? What might the result be? It didn’t bear thinking about. So they didn’t.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

Of course the best way to view this story is by purchasing the e-book of the same name…

It’s available at almost all e-book sellers. One of them must be right for your device.

 

Tooty the Chef Returns to the Crock Pot

Tooty the Chef’s last foray into slow cooking was so successful that he’s decided  against waiting for the next millennium to arrive before his second attempt: he’s gonna do it now!

Of course the preparation for any meal must begin with the discovery of the ingredients. I say ‘discovery’ because that’s what Tooty the Chef does. He discovers what he has hidden away in cupboards and freezers and whatnot; then goes with them. On this occaision he discovered some frozen stir-fry veggies that he’d tossed in the freezer some time previous when their sell-by-date had expired…

Unfortunately this time the sauce mix shelf came up horribly short…

There were no casserole mixes, or anything that could be turned to that role. “Oh bum.” He cried, “This is gonna taste bloody awful!” So he had to get inventive. And if there’s one that Tooty the Chef is good at (apart from rushing to the lavatory) it’s being inventive. So he followed up the stir fry veg with some regular root veg, along with…

…a lump of pork loin, some mystery cereals and pulses in an unmarked jar, and a packet of Spanish rice and mushrooms that had lost their label, and which he hoped contained some spices and flavouring. Hope is a neccessary prerequisite for any meal. Every cook ‘hopes’ their creation is going to be wonderful. He also hoped that the out-of-date stock tubs (pictured to the right) weren’t actually poisonous. That’s another thing that cooks do: try not to poison anyone. They don’t always succeed; but they do try. Anyway, Tooty set to work on the root vegetables with verve and elan…

He was equally vervish when it came to  stripping the pork loin of any nasty fatty bits…

You know how much he hates fatty bits. Then he chopped up the meat and veggies; chucked them in the slow cooker; and stirred like a cement mixer on steroids…

The result was this…

…to which he added the stir-fry veggies…

Then it was a matter of introducing some flavour – in the shape of black pepper and paprika…

In an aside, let me tell you that he fell in love with paprika when, at age twenty, he stayed a while in Zurich, Switzerland, with his girlfriend, who introduced him to paprika flavoured crisps. He was heart-broken when, upon his return to Britain, he discovered that such things did not exist in his homeland, and probably never would.

Anyway, on with the show. Of course kitchen steam had been hard at work ruining anything powdered, so he was forced to stab his way into the paprika…

But, having done so, the resulting ingredients looked an awful lot like this…

Yummy already. Then is was time to mix the stock with boiling water and pour on…

The result? This…

So he then set the dial to LOW and went off to do lots of other things – one of which was to take a well-earned, and relaxing, bath…

Only it wasn’t really relaxing because he spotted the camera…

And fearful that his willy might protrude above the level of the water, he sat up…

…and was mortified that anyone would be so underhand as to place a camera in the bathroom with him…

Fortunately the great chef’s ruffled feathers were smoothed down in time for his return to the kitchen – some hours later – where the under-cooked meal was looking decidedly…ah…undercooked – with the veggies succeeding where his willy had not…

Time to add some more water. But just to be sure that the flavour wasn’t weakened and made wimpy and putrid, he grabbed one of those Spanish stock cubes for lentils that he so likes…

…and mixed it with the boiling water…

…and poured it on top…

Looking yummy again. But an hour later all those cereals, pulses and rice had sucked up all the water…

It looked arid, but rich. So this time he just added hot water…

…which also got sucked up. But it didn’t really matter because an hour later the meal was cooked. And since his speciality is stodge, this is what he served up…

And, not only was it excellent in every way possible (as long as you don’t mind stodge), but there was some left over for a mid-day snack the day after…

Two meals for the price of one. Well almost.

Revel in the Ribaldry 21

Due to some over-enthusiasm with the last episode, I’ve managed to get out of whack with these excerpts. So,this time I’m taking you back to the first volume – being this…

So, if you don’t mind, here is the excerpt…

Then Lionel took a sip of the steaming-hot tea. If it hadn’t been wet it would have set his bifurcated lips aflame.

“By the Great Angler’s Enormous Tit,” he bellowed, “that’s certainly cleared out both my sinuses and my cobwebbed mind!”

He then went on to explain that he’d been deep in thought. But before he could actually explain anything at all, Boney interrupted…

“It’s about the pretty lass, aint it, son?” he said – which surprised both Lionel and Boney because he was so rarely this insightful.

“Yes it is.” Lionel replied. “And it’s all to do with that day, long ago, when I arrived here.”

“Nose-surfing on an ocean of filth, I seem to recall.” Colin piped up during a break in the game for TV advertising and a desperately needed lavatory break for the players.

“That’s right.” Lionel turned to his android colleague, “And who was it that caused me to slip and fall into that vile ocean swell of slurry?”

Boney had no idea where Lionel was going with this train of thought, but he figured it best to humour the youngster, “A tractor driver, weren’t it?”

Lionel smiled. “And what happened to said tractor driver?” he inquired metaphorically.

Boney recognised the inquiry as being metaphorical because Lionel answered his own question before there was time to so much as suck a lower lip in contemplation, “He was taken to Chunderford General Hospital!”

This last point was obviously very important; but it was still early in the day, and not all of Boney’s neurons were facing the right way when they fired.

“Hmm,” he said, “nasty business. Nasty, nasty business.”

“Would that be his perforated scrotum that you’re talking about there?” inquired Colin.

“Indeed it would.” Lionel turned his attention back to Boney. “And whose teeth left those deep, painful, incisions?”

This final question stumped both flesh and blood, and non-flesh and blood hamsters alike.

Eventually Boney mumbled, “Well it was Fanangy, weren’t it? But ‘ow can that be? She was with us the ‘ole time. But she wouldn’t lie about somethin’ as important as biting down viciously on some poor unfortunate tractor driver’s ball-bag: That’s a pretty major to-do, that is. Grievous Bodily Harm at least. What d’ya reckon the answer to this conundrum is?”

“Time travel!” Lionel blurted the words more loudly than he intended to.

This was not received well by Boney: He was certain that it was a well-publicised fact that time-travel was impossible, and would remain so until the end of…er…time. The best argument against the existence of time-travel was the fact that no one had yet met someone from either the future, or the past: Ergo – time-travel was impossible. Boney said as much.

Now Lionel was quite adept at constructing illogical responses to random ephemera whilst playing his beloved computer games; and since he was rapidly becoming an expert on the television science-fiction show, Rat Trek, he thought that he could see a hole in this line of reasoning so vast that he could sail an ocean-going raft through it at top speed, with microns to spare.

“But what if they didn’t let on that they could travel in time? He said.

For a moment this fabulously reasoned argument stymied Boney. He was forced to fall back upon a stock answer to such difficult questions…

“It aint my place to think about such stuff,” He said, “Better minds than mine ‘ave got ‘emselves all tied up in a knot over simpler things than time-travel and suchlike.”

He may have got away with such a poor response just a few weeks earlier; but Lionel had gained much in mental stature, even if he hadn’t physically. So Boney was forced to retreat into his mental castle’s inner keep.

“Arse-holes,” he said as Lionel scoffed, “I’m going for a shit!”

This verbal bombshell exploded in Lionel’s lap like a packet of bursting Grainobisk Crappettes. He was stunned at his employer’s bluntness. In fact he was so stunned that he utterly failed to see either Boney make for the lavatory, or Colin quietly depart for destinations unknown. Eventually, after taking several heartbeats to recover his decorum, he elected to merely sit by himself for a while, cogitate, and sip his scalding tea until it stopped hurting.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2012

Obviously I don’t need to mention that this e-book is available on most platforms, including those mentioned on the sidebar and on Tooty’s Books Available Here beneath the header: you already know. Well if you didn’t, you do now.

 

Tooty the Chef in…How Not to Cook Paella

Long ago, shrouded in the mists of time, Tooty the Chef cooked paella. He did it properly, using Spanish ingredientes; a Spanish butano stove;  and a casual Spanish approach. It was easy for him because he lived in Spain at the time. But his miserable life has moved on. He is no longer a handsome man in  his late forties, but a bewildered old duffer in his mid-sixties. Or, to put it another way, he kind of forgot how the cook paella: but he didn’t realise the truth until he was half-way through cooking the meal. Here is the tale.

It all started when he found this paella spice in the back of his ‘international’ cupboard…

As you can see, he was thrilled at the prospect of cooking up a splodge of his favourite meal. So, once more he delved into the deepest recesses of the freezer – to find this slightly aging Bream…

The fridge assisted by offering up a rather withered pepper. Luckily it wasn’t too far gone for Tooty the Chef to use…

Although, for a while, it did resist his blunt veggie knife…

Soon some generic cheapo prawns joined the Bream…

…along with a huge chicken breast and a pair of bacon slices…

The stage was set. But then Tooty suffered a lapse. For a moment he confused what he was doing with something else completely. So instead of cooking the chicken, followed by the pepper, some frozen peas and whole beans, and the other animal products…

…he sprinkled the paella spice and an inordinate amount of pudding rice (the closest he could get to paella rice) into his rather miniscule paella dish…

…and set about cooking it in boiling water. Unfortunately, not only did he cook things in the wrong order, he also lacked a butane powered stove with a large central gas ring for cooking paella. Instead he was forced to use the largest ring on his propane powered stove, and, quite frankly, it was not a match made in Heaven. Still, needs must, and in went everything else…

…which is where Tooty came a little unstuck. No matter how much extra water he added, or how much he stirred furiously…

…the heat was too great and too concentrated to cook the rice properly. In fact it became horribly vile…

…so he transferred it to a non-stick wok. Smart move…

It was about then that he discovered that his son hadn’t eaten all the chorizo after all, so happily included what remained…

But following a tasteless taste test it became clear that the paella spice had suffered a degree of entropy and no longer tasted of much. Cue the cubes of paella spice that his subsquent hurried search discovered…

Back on track – kind of…

So, with the application of more water to satisfy the rice’s insatiable demand, the deed was finally done, and Tooty the Chef found a use for the paella dish. It made an excellent lid to keep the meal warm whilst he rushed around warming some plates and poring out the bebidas…

…though, by then he couldn’t wait…

Any drink would do, just as long as it was alcoholic and would erase the memory of a complete gastonomic cock-up. But the finished product came out looking – and tasting – just fine…

Yes, he got away with it it once again.

A few hours later Tooty the Chef took the time to look through some of his greater culinery triumphs – and discovered the following three shots…

See, he does know how to do it. He just has to be in Spain to get it right!

The Grand Tour Has Toured Off

By that I mean that room for new stuff on this blog had to be found, so  the serialised version of Junior Earplug Adventures: The Grand Tour has been sacrified. Still, it’s not the end of the world. The lovely pair of e-books is very much available at most e-book retailers…

And the book version is better anyway – with improved grammar and fewer typos, so it’s probably a good thing.

Fishy Goings-On with Tooty the Chef!

It was a chilly day, so whilst Tooty the Chef scoured the kitchen for culinery ideas, he decided to wear his famous brown jumper – the most seen brown jumper on the Internet. It was a wise choice of apparel because his first port of call was the bottom of the freezer…

…where he stared myopically at items that had lain there for longer than he cared to remember. But eventually two items made their presence felt…

Sea Bass and Salmon: the obvious combination. Clearly it was time for a fish pie. Cue the packet of fish pie mix!

Well, as everybody knows – even Tooty the Chef – a fish pie recipe calls for mashed potato. Cue the spuds…

…which he boiled frantically. It an act of desperate inspiration he used the steam to steam some sprouts too. Please note: only keep a cloth beside the burning gas when your potatoes spit and dribble water down the side of the saucepan in an uninterrupted manner. Any decrease of flow could result in ignition!

So, whilst all that was going on, Tooty took to relieving the fish of it’s skin…

A filthy and aromatic task, I think you’ll agree…

Thereafter he chopped them up into chunks, before putting them aside…

Then it was out with a roasting thing. Not the regular roasting thing, or it’s smaller oval buddy: but a different roasting thing all together…

…into which Tooty sliced some tomato. He then did what no chef before him has dared to do: he added the steamed Brussels sprouts to the toms. Inspired or what!

Then it was time to add some butter and salt to the boiled spuds…

…and mash like buggery…

Setting the frothy mess aside, Tooty then mixed up the sauce with some milk and added a bunch of paprika…

Doesn’t it look appealing? It looked a whole lot less appealing when he added the fish, and boiled it all for five minutes.

Then it was time to add the resulting fishy goo to the sprouts/toms duo; pile the mashed spud on top; and shove it in the oven…

This gave Tooty the opportunity to take a short break and read a chapter or two of an Earplug Adventure – using Adobe Editions of course, which is free to download from Adobe and allows the user to read epub e-books on their laptop or desktop computer…

Tooty not only marvelled at the inventive stories and witty turn of phrase, but also at the fact that the e-books are readily available at most e-book retailers, and are remarkably inexpensive – or ‘cheap’ as it is more commonly known.  And look how amused he was by their silly silicon shenanigans…

But eventually it was time to return to cheffing, and before long he brought the grill into action for the first time…

Tooty the Chef avoids grilling if he can because his propane cooker was designed by a complete shithead, and he is forced to attach this shield to stop the knobs from melting. But that didn’t stop him sprinkling some cheese on top of the pie and set it to grill itself stupid…

Having done so he then took a moment to carefully select some pleasant Marks & Spencers ginger beer…

…before fetching the fish pie from beneath the grill and carry it to the serving area…

…where, once again, the finished product was proven to be aesthetically divine in every way…

…including the sprouts…

It tasted nice too. Another triumph!

Spy Shot

The place I call Home sits at the bottom of a shallow valley. So if I want to go for a nice walk in the countryside I first have to walk up hill. The same goes for cycling – which is bloody hard work. It is the reason why I bought a motorcycle. But that’s by-the-by. Recently, as I sauntered casually along a narrow path, with my dogs, at the upper edge of the hill, I chanced to notice that (from a very restricted angle) it was just possible to discern my abode from those huddled around it. So, whipping out my X50 zoom Sony, I ‘zoomed’ in on it…

Oh dear, thought I. Any ideas of nude sunbathing next Summer will have to be put on perminent hold. With a really long lens someone will be able to see my willy!

Tooty the Chef Goes Crock-Potty

In this thunderously wonderful instalment of cooking tips for those who don’t want to cook, but have to, Tooty the Chef shows you the delights of the slow cooker – or crock pot as it is sometimes known. Hence the title of this piece.

Well, naturally he went straight to rooting for inspiration through the nearest fridge…

And he came away with…

…carrots, pork, potatoes and parsnip. From the cupboard he liberated some dumpling mix – after all he’s never been one for pissing about with flour, water and suet. And why not: it could all go horribly catastrophic: it’s so much safer with packet stuff. Ditto the Moroccan casserole mix. The cous-cous is all right though: no one can go wrong  with that. So, with the ingredients carefully selected it was time to chop up the veg and hurl it into the slow cooker…

…then dice and remove the disgusting fatty bits from the pork…

…and chuck it in on top…

…quickly followed by a furious stirring action…

Tooty the Chef’s next act was to stir the spice-mix in with some cold water and pour it over the meat/veg combo…

…then put on the lid; select LOW; and go do something else – like shopping; riding his bike; visiting the lavatory; watching some TV; topping up the tyre pressures on his ancient (but one day classic) Toyota; walking the dogs; revisiting the lavatory; and a quick spot of shed-clearing. Five hours later he climbed back into his apron; put on his hat; and turned his attention to the remaining ingredients…

He was so confident that he was almost looking forward to it. He’d reasoned that surely a chef of Tooty’s standing could knock up a bowl of cous-cous, and roll out a few dumplings with one hand behind his back and the other holding his willy. Well maybe he’s not quite that talented, but he could do it with one behind his back. I’m sure of it. If he really wanted to of course.  Whatever, he read the instructions on the packet; somehow managed to create more dumplings than the instructions suggested he could; and pressed them gently into the bubbling caldron of deliciousness…

Then he took thirty minutes off to await the dumpling’s inflation…

Five minutes to go he poured the desired amount of cous-cous into a bowl and covered it with freshly boiled water. It, in turn, sucked up the water; cooked itself whilst doing so; and then enjoyed a frisking by Tooty with a fork…

Tooty the Chef then selected an apropriate drink…

Slapping the finished product on to a plate, he admired his work…

…and took a picture to prove that not everything he makes looks like it fell out the back of a commercial restaurant’s garbage truck…

Oh yeah; it tasted nice too. Not sure about the cola though. It created dumpling-flavoured burps that lasted for hours. Perhaps a red wine might have sufficed.

P.S “Why didn’t Tooty the Chef use an onion in his casserole?” I hear you say. Well there’s a good reason for the onion’s omission: you can’t share the left-overs with your dog if it has onion in it. Onion and dogs are mutually exclusive. Something in it wrecks dog’s livers – or kidneys, I can never remember which. Maybe both. Anyway, it’s not good for them.

 

 

 

Tooty the Chef Gets All Iberian

Now, you may have noticed (what appears to be) a typo in the title.

“Tooty the Chef?” I hear your baffled tone. “Where’s our Chef Tooty gone?”

Well I’ll tell you. Being an egotist of vast proportions, he Googled himself – only to discover that there is another Chef Tooty. A proper Chef Tooty. A Chef Tooty who doesn’t cut corners and boil things to destruction. A Chef Tooty who cooks for people who enjoy cooking. A Chef Tooty who is prepared to piss about making fancy sauces, and who wouldn’t touch a jar of pasta sauce if you threatened to disembowel him/her. So, with ego duly deflated, the Chef formerly known as Chef Tooty felt constrained to alter his moniker. Hence Tooty the Chef. It’s not the same; but it isn’t really different either. So, explanation complete, it’s on with another recipe for people who would prefer to buy out, but can’t afford to do so on a perminent basis.

Tooty the Chef was rummaging about in his ‘International’ cupboard recently, and discovered this…

“Perfecto.” He uttered when he noted that the product was a Spanish form of stock cube intended for use with lentils. “I can add this to some baked beans!”

He was thrilled further to discover some spuds in the second fridge..

So, as inspiration struck like a meteorite from the depths of space, he dragged all of these from their respective gastronomic domiciles…

Front row from left to right; bacon, toms, eggs.

Second row from left to right; spuds, stock cube.

Back row from left to right; chips spice, paprika, garlic granules, baked beans, spicy baked beans with chorizo.

He would have used two beans with chorizo, but they only had one can in the cheap bin at Sainsbury’s, so he had to improvise. Hence the use of the Avecrem stuff. So then he chopped up the spuds as though he was going to make Patatas Bravas…

…and lobbed them into some boiling water, and wound up the heat…

It didn’t take long for them to go soft, so it was quickly out of the water and on to the perforated French Fries cooking thing, where he sprayed them with garlic infused olive oil…

And, of course, some garlic granules…

Despite his prodigous use of saucepan lids to keep down the steam, sometimes the contents of spice jars still become solidified. So it was in with the knife and a quick wiggle on the chips spice and paprika…

Here’s a tip from Tooty the Chef that should always be remembered. Waggling a knife inside a jar doesn’t always work that well; so tip the loosened contents into your hand before sprinkling. Like so…

See, he does know what he’s taking about after all. And just to prove it – here’s what the spud lumps ended up looking like…

What Tooty the Chef should have done at this juncture was place the chopped spuds into the oven thus…

But what he actually did was slice the toms and place them beside the bacon on a second tray…

Sadly he placed them into the oven at the same time as the spud chunks. Bad move. Should have put the spuds in five or ten minutes earlier, which just goes to show that even gastronomic genii can make culinary errors. But, unlike sixty-five million years ago, it wasn’t the end of the world. But it was time to transform the Spanish stock cube into a sauce, which only required the addition of boiling water a good old fashioned stir…

Please note: you don’t have to pretend to be French to make a sauce: anyone from anywhere can do it. Even Namibia.

Naturally this was added to spice up the baked beans – to which the spicy beans with chorizo was also added. Then came the egg-frying part of the recipe…

…which Tooty the Chef juggled perfectly with the stirring of the beans…

You may have noted that one of the eggs broke when dropped into the hot olive oil. Normally this sort of behaviour would not be tolerated by a chef of such high standards, like wot Tooty the Chef is; but on this occaision it didn’t matter one jot. And here’s the reason why…

As you can probably see, the psuedo-patatas bravas don’t look particularly over-cooked. That is because they are not. Sadly the toms and bacon were on the verge of self-destructing in the oven, so the wise and wonderful chef called time on them. The only-just-cooked spuds went into a dry pre-heated wok on a low setting. The toms, bacon, and eggs were then shredded…

…and added to the spuds…

…where they were folded in. Note the word ‘folded’. They were not stirred; that would have wrecked the eggs and made it all appear like another of his vomit-look-alikes. Then, whilst the conglomeration of yumminess sizzled for a minute, Tooty the Chef selected the dregs of the rhubarb squash that had been sitting in the cupboard since early Summer…

…and added it to some lemonade. A perfect partner for this…

Not too bad, huh? next time, though, he’ll use the beans as a bed, and lay the other stuff on top. But, all in all, very scrumptious – though probably not terribly Iberian.

Revel in the Ribaldry 20

That last excerpt from The Abduction of Wetpatch Wilson was so divine that I thought I’d include an extra one. And here it is…

Only the Saint of All Hamsters knows how many slimy tunnels that the delightful Sprightly was led down by the floundering Wetpatch Wilson. Wetpatch certainly didn’t. He’d given up counting almost straight away, and even the normally observant field mouse had retreated into a world of her own. So when they literally stumbled upon a gang of huge mutant woodlice – each emblazoned with rather faded examples of the emblem of the Crustacean Collective upon their tough, segmented carapaces – both rodents were very surprised. Wetpatch was well aware that woodlice couldn’t speak – even huge mutant ones – but he was reasonably well-versed in the semaphore language of the local woodlice that lived amongst the rotting mushrooms and other disgusting detritus of Hamster Heath’s famous Danglydong Dell. So, despite being an insolent youth, he attempted to convey his thoughts in the time honoured fashion of sign language.

“Hello.” He said by waving his paws above his head in much the same manner that woodlice use their antennae to communicate. “Can you show me the way to the Federation Council?”

Unfortunately the mutant woodlice that lived within a vast series of tunnels that had been burrowed into a submarine mountain didn’t speak Danglydong Dellish. All they read was, “Herpes. I’d like to show you something that bounces.”

Well naturally, having little contact with mammals, the woodlice had no conception of herpes. But the idea that there were things that bounced intrigued them.

“Show us. Show us, oh damp furry thing.” Their leader implored, “Bouncing things are simply marvellous.”

Unfortunately Wetpatch read this as, “Bow to us. Bow to us, you damned flaccid thing. Dancing will sting my mother’s anus.”

Wetpatch looked to Sprightly for help. Fortunately, being a servant of the Federation, she recognised the creatures for what they were – terrestrial woodlice that had been deliberately bio-engineered for use as construction workers in areas that were too hazardous for both mammals and water-dwelling crustaceans. She had instinctively spoken fluent mutant woodlouse since the day when she bounced upon the knee of her lesbian aunt – the strange Uncle Daphne – and now turned that talent to good use. So in order to placate them she picked Wetpatch up and shook him so violently that his swollen testes bounced with sufficient vigour to satisfy the woodlouse leader’s request, and added “There, was that what you wanted?”

“That was lovely.” The leader woodlouse signed. “Thank you vastly. How can we repay you for such intense entertainment and a profound sense of fulfilment?”

“Well what we’d really like,” Sprightly signed carefully lest a stray finger might suggest that she wished to procreate, “is to be taken to the Head Council Member with almost infinite alacrity.”

To her surprise Sprightly watched as the entire group of mutant woodlice bristled angrily. “Have I said something out of place?” She enquired.

Then, to her dismay, she watched the lead wood louse as it signed, “Sorry, no-can-do. Think of something else.”

“I can’t think of anything else.” Sprightly complained. “We’ve come here on a mission to save the Crustacean Collective from tearing itself apart with petty rivalries and stupid empire building. Why can’t you take us to the council, you foul multi-legged abominations?”

“Because we’re runaways.” The leader replied in an agitated manner that made his antennae difficult to read. “We don’t work for the lobsters no more. We work for ourselves now. We’re building our own empire. It’s not very big yet: But you know what they say – from substantial tubas giant rhubarb trees grow. Not that any of us have seen a real rhubarb tree of course: But we’ve felt the Braille descriptions, and they seem majestic and desperately moist.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Like I’ve mentioned countless times previously, this magnificent e-book remains available at most e-book retailers (including the one of your choice), despite the fact that, in seven years, not one bloody copy has sold. Please do something to recify this desperately unfair situation!

Revel in the Ribaldry 19

Revel on the Ribaldry 18 featured an extract from The Psychic Historian. So, mathematically the next extract should come from this less-than-successful e-book…

And so it does – purely at random too…

Cecil staggered aboard the Disemboweller upon unsteady legs. He took a moment to check fore and aft to see if he’d left anybody upon deck; threw up over the side; then dropped into the conning tower, and sealed the hatch shut behind him.

In their tiny submarine that was parked directly astern of the huge former-pirate vessel, Tutu and Gloria sighed with relief. Finally they were about to get underway.

“Now am I right in thinking that Cecil understands about the Z-Drive?” Gloria asked over Tutu’s shoulder from her position upon the spectacularly embroidered pillion seat. “I mean – he does realise that the field that we generate might not encompass his entire vessel, and that it may be torn to pieces by seismic sheer, or whatever the computer called it?”

“I imagine so.” Tutu replied coolly.

Actually Tutu was having second thoughts about taking the Disemboweller along. His original plan was to find the Bargebutt – which he was certain would be desperately damaged by the exploding volcano, and utterly unserviceable – and carry everyone to safety aboard the pirate ship. But now that he’d had time to consider his plan, he now thought that it might be total cak.

“My plan is total cak.” He verbalised his thoughts. “The Disemboweller is a rust-bucket, and Cecil Seasalt is a drunken tit. What was I thinking? The mission is clearly doomed from the start. We might as well give up now, and go live in the woods.”

Naturally Gloria blamed herself. Her beauty had obviously dazzled Tutu into a state of intense ‘thickicity’ and ‘twat-ness’. Due to the unexpected sight of her scanty bikini, he’d obviously lost his power of proper reason, and only now was he really showing signs of recovery. She cursed her genes. Then she cursed her skin-tight denim jeans, because they were giving her a right royal ‘wedgie’, and she wasn’t enjoying it.

Then the computer said, “Engaging Z-Drive.” And it didn’t matter anymore: Gloria was screaming too loudly in fear to worry about chafed labia majora.

Quite how the computer knew where to point the two vessels as they transited null-space no one knew: But one moment they were bobbing up and down alongside the quay at Chunderland – the next they were bobbing up and down somewhere else entirely. Although inebriated Captain Seasalt grabbed the periscope and turned it through three hundred and sixty degrees. He was greatly relieved to find that the submarine had remained intact, and that none of it was now slipping forlornly to a watery grave upon the seabed immediately alongside the quay in Chunderland harbour.

“Any idea where we are?” He asked of the navigator – Gustav Grossemember.

“Nein.” The former pirate and rock group roadie replied. “One sea is looking much like another to me. I am usually navigating by chasing smaller vessels, capturing their crew, and asking the way.”

Cecil nodded: It was good system: Certainly he would have employed it – had he ever been a pirate of course. “Not much help to us here though, is it?” He responded in a most ‘captainly’ way.

“Sorry; Kapitan.” Gustav looked down at his huge feet in shame. Then a thought occurred, “Hey, maybe those two on the really titchy submarine are knowing.”

Cecil nodded again, but wished that he hadn’t. Unfortunately his sea legs appeared to have remained back in his office in Chunderland, and it made him feel decidedly nauseous. “Yes.” He said, “Pop across and find out, will you?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Okay, this book isn’t the great work that the 3rd book in the Hamster-Sapiens series is; but it isn’t total ‘cak’ either. How about you break it’s duck and go purchase a copy. The Lulu logo on the sidebar will take you to the publishers. Or, alternatively, click on one of the book covers (also on the sidebar) and you can get it for your Kobo, Nook, or Kindle. Doesn’t that sound like a really good idea? iBooks also sell it. And others too numerous to mention. 

Chef Tooty and The Dissenting Voice

Chef Tooty…

Every day millions of fans write in to thank Chef Tooty for his wonderful cookery tips – particularly fans who hate cooking, but have to because no one else in the house/apartment/pension/galley will – the idle, lazy, bastards. Some tell him how his techniques helped save their marriage. Others remark upon how much their dogs enjoyed the leftovers. And a few mention the fact that his meals taste almost as good coming up as they did going down. We don’t quite understand that last remark, but we’re confident that it’s meant in a complimentary fashion. But, every once in a while, a non-fan writes in to complain. Some have gone so far as to suggest that Chef Tooty isn’t very good at cooking. LOL. A very small minority cast aspertions in his direction. The word ‘Shit’ was mentioned more than once or twice.  But one letter, in particular, caught our attention. We shall quote from it…

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about. That Chef Tooty is a charlatan. He couldn’t cook his way out of a tool-roll. Almost all his meals look like vomit. I cannot understand why everyone thinks he is so fabulous. Anyone would think that the sun shines out of his arse-hole.”

Well, say we in response to this, it’s strange you should mention that. Because, only the other night, Chef Tooty felt the need to do a spot of midnight cheffing. He didn’t want to disturb anyone, so he didn’t bother turning on the lights. This is what the security camera caught…

Clearly his fans think correctly.

Easy-Peasy Cooking with Chef Tooty

Chef Tooty: he who gives tips to reluctant cooks who only cook because they have to. Today a quick and easy knock-up – Tuna Pasta Bake!

For a Tuna Pasta Bake Chef Tooty recommends these items…

…and, of course, some pasta – but not the toaster: that only appears in shot by accident. To begin with, our resident gastronomic giant threw some pasta in a saucepan – on top of a sprinkling of olive oil, which he swears  stops the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then he added some boiling water and set it going…

Note how he placed a lid upon the saucepan. Yes, that’s right: it means that  the gas can be turned down, and the clean clothes on the dryer in the corner of the kitchen…

…don’t get pleasantly steamed and made soggy again.

About ten minutes in, he repeated the act (minus the oil) with some peas and sweetcorn…

Then, when he judged the pasta to be perfectly done, he strained it and lobbed it into the famous Roasting Thing…

Please note how not a single dollop of pasta has adhered to the bottom of his pan. One fancy chef, I think you’ll agree…

Then it was repeat time with the veggies…

Yes, I know that’s an awful lot of steam; but (like rushing off to the toilet) some things can’t be avoided. Once his glasses had lost their misty veneer, Chef Tooty took on the most dangerous procedure: the opening of the tuna can…

Oil/spring water could have gone everywhere. Fortunately Chef Tooty has a high tolerence to squirty cans, so it wasn’t long before he was depositing the contents onto the pasta/veggies amalgum..

This was quickly followed by the contents of the tuna pasta bake sauce jar, which, as you can probably imagine, is the mainstay of most great chefs…

Naturally a hearty stir followed…

… which itself was followed by the mandatory sprinkling of grated cheese – before being deposited into a pre-heated oven, which (on a rare occasion) wasn’t quite maxxed-out…

…for approximately ten-or-so minutes. Well long enough for a quick trip to the loo, a moment of relaxation, and a congratulatory chocolate chip cookie…

Then it was back to retrieve the finished product before incineration commenced…

Yummy – or what?  For an accompanying drink Chef Tooty eschewed the contents of the bodega this time, and instead selected some lovely…

…sugar-free strawberry and watermelon Tango. Perfecto! Who would have thought of that? Such class.

 

 

Photography: Different Day = Whole Different Look

Because I have a tendency to re-walk familiar ground, I’ve noticed subtle (and not-so-subtle) changes in my environment. We all do it; but some of us do it a lot more than others. I’m one of the latter. In fact I do it so much that sometimes I’ve been known to photograph the same bloody thing two or three times. Not at the same time, you understand: but over a period of time. You know, back in 2012, when I first arrived here in the English countryside, I actually went back to the same spot once a month for a whole year. It looked an awful lot like this…

That’s the July shot, by the way. Then some bastard went and cut the tree down! But I digress. Sometimes it can be quite interesting to compare photos of the same subject taken at different times or under different lighting situations. Like this bunch of holly berries…

Nice, aren’t they? But look what the passage of a couple of days did to the same scene…

Yes, bloody horrible, isn’t it? Imagine,then, what two weeks might do. Regard this pleasing autumnal sunshine…

Now regard the same scene after two weeks of miserable November rain has been at it…

I read, somewhere, that a good photographer should be able to shoot good pictures in any conditions – even when it’s pissing with rain. In fact it was recommended. Guess I’m not a good photographer: my wet-weather shots just keep coming out drab. And drab is like cars painted silver: boring. Still, it hasn’t been a total waste of time. Remember that post I did recently, titled The Wisdom of Tooty: Motorcycling Makes Your Eyes Better? Well, just the other day I went on one of my wet-weather photo jaunts. As usual I was rushing, despite a total lack of time constraint, when half way through it, as the rain fell in cascades and the wind blew up my metaphorical kilt, I realised that I’d forgotten my specs. And, wouldn’t you know it, I’d been snapping away merrily – altering the light balance and all that technical stuff – and I didn’t even notice! I could actually see the tiny on-screen icons. Yippie! So, not only does motorcycling make your eyes better; but it makes taking pictures in the rain easier too. Look, just to prove it – here I am standing serene and majestic after negotiating some nasty slippery roots…

P.S Despite the rain and the umbrella, I neither danced nor sang whilst doing so. I may have broken wind though. That’s quite possible.