The Befouled Weakly News

31 December 2006

Good morning to you all on a somewhat grey and overcast (but at least it’s not raining) kind of day. We’ve had an excellent few days since we last corresponded; an exceedingly fine Christmas Day, a delightful visit from two of the three Jefferies boys, and a fantastic fondue festival next door. Apart from the prank phone call at 3:00 in the morning by some crank lunatic on Christmas Eve, I guess one could say that it’s been a delightful week.

As you might be able to deduce from that list, there has been no shortage of food and/or drink during the past few days. The birthday dinner (which we described last week, I believe) set the tone and actually I can confirm that the schedule for the past week is little short of ideal. A huge feast followed by a day or two off followed by another feast and so on. We had my birthday and then a few days off. Then there was Christmas and a couple of days off followed by the arrival of George and Joe Jefferies which necessitated, obviously, another feast. We then had a day off and then came the Fondue Festival. So, as you can see, it’s been a challenging few days.

Christmas was very nice – just Pen and me (Nick and Lucy and Michael all had very much more attractive invitations than to sit around with a couple of old farts) but that certainly did not preclude Ms Playchute from preparing a most wonderful and delicious Christmas lunch. She decided, this year, to go for a goose (free range and organic, of course) and it was delicious. The roast potatoes in goose fat were particularly outstanding, the red cabbage was, surprisingly, almost palatable and the Christmas pudding was, well, Christmas pudding. The only less than outstanding aspect of the feast was the Brussels sprouts which, even though they were prepared with one of Nigella Lawson’s “guaranteed to please” sprout recipes, they were still fairly nauseating. I guess there really is very little one can do to disguise the taste and smell of Brussels sprouts. (This particular recipe had diced Parma ham and Marsala wine which one would think would be enough to get rid of the taste and smell of the sprouts but, alas, there was little impact. Surprisingly, we had sprouts left over for just about the whole week).

On Boxing Day we had a rest but were delighted to receive a phone call from George and Joe Jefferies who were in the UK and keen to come for a visit. The Jefferies, you will remember, were a family from Ratley (at the top of Edge Hill) with three boys just about the ages of our three. We lost their mother Jan to breast cancer about five years ago now and the boys have gone their various ways. Bill, the eldest, is a lawyer and currently working in Bahrain. Joe helps run French Cycling Holidays with whom we pedalled our socks off in the Dordogne a couple of years ago and George is currently teaching English in Hanoi (he set off on a world tour a few years ago and, like Adam, seems to have become stalled somewhere along the line). So, Joe and George were in the UK visiting relatives and we were delighted to be able to welcome them along with Jan’s boyfriend Steve to dinner and accommodation at Penelope’s Playchute Palace. The boys are both doing very well and it was a delight and joy to see them.

Then, after another day off, it was time for Pete and Sally’s annual Fondue Festival. I’m not quite sure how this started but they’ve been doing it around about Christmas/New Year’s for six or seven years; I’m not sure if the first one might not have been on New Year’s Eve in 1999? We moan about being invited every year (well, I moan a bit, not being a great fan of cheese fondue although there are always enough other fine bits and pieces to ensure that I don’t go hungry by any stretch of the imagination) but it always turns out to be a lot of fun. This year there was a theme which required some degree of dressing up. Pete is planning on an odyssey this summer around each of the fifty United States and has set himself the challenge of visiting every single major league baseball stadium in the US and, in those states which do not have a major league baseball team, he is planning on visiting a minor league baseball game. The trip will take him about seven months and certainly we plan to catch up with him at the end of August when his schedule takes him to the Yankees and the Mets. His visit to Fenway in Boston is not until the 31 August and that may be too late for me but, of course, it’s Fenway that I would love to visit. Anyone who lives near a major league baseball town and who wants to sponsor Pete in the sense of perhaps providing a bed for the night, let me know and I will pass your invitations along.

So, since Pete is going to the US for the summer, the theme of the fondue fest was to come along as something American. Not surprisingly, I gave the issue absolutely no thought at all. After all, I could simply turn up as myself. Ms Playchute, on the other hand, thought long and hard and in the end I was instructed that we were going to attend as Sonny and Cher. Obviously, as far as I was concerned, almost no costume was necessary – with my head of hair and moustache, I am regularly mistaken for the late Sonny Bono. Pen, however, had her work cut out but it’s amazing what a long, straight wig can do. Regrettably, (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) there is no photographic evidence available so you will just have to let your imaginations loose and then multiply the terrifyingly horrific image in your mind by about twenty.

And so ends 2006 and what a fine year it’s been. We are blessed with wonderful family and friends and cursed by relatively few tedious acquaintances. We love you all and, as you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way.



This from Sarah

Top 7 Idiots of 2006

Number One Idiot of 2006

I am a medical student currently doing a rotation in toxicology at the poison control center. Today, this woman called in a very upset because she caught her little daughter eating ants. I quickly reassured her that the ants are not harmful and there would be no need to bring her daughter to the hospital. She calmed down and at the end of the conversation happened to mention that she gave her daughter some ant poison to eat in order to kill the ants. I told her that she better bring her daughter to the emergency room right away.

Number Two Idiot of 2006

Early this year, some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting it out of the plane and home. Shortly after, they took it for a float on the river, they noticed a Coast Guard helicopter coming towards them. It turned out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locator beacon that activated when the raft was inflated. They are no longer employed at Boeing.

Number Three Idiot of 2006

A man wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America walked into the Branch and wrote "this iz a stikkup. Put all you muny in this bag." While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the teller's window. So he left the Bank of America and crossed the street to the Wells Fargo Bank.

After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells Fargo teller. She read it and surmising from his spelling errors that he wasn't the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not accept his stickup note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to Bank of America. Looking somewhat deflated, the man said, "OK" and left. He was arrested a few minutes later as he was waiting in line back at Bank of America.

Number Four Idiot of 2006

A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that measured his speed using radar and photographed his car. He later received in the mail a ticket for $40.00 and a photo of his car.

Instead of payment, he sent the police department a photograph of $40.00. Several days later, he received a letter from the police that contained another picture, this time of handcuffs. He immediately mailed in his $40.00.

Number Five Idiot of 2006

A guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and demanded all the cash from the cash drawer. After the cashier put the cash in a bag, the robber saw a bottle of Scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the shelf. He told the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but the cashier refused and said, "Because I don't believe you are over 21." The robber said he was, but the clerk still refused to give it to him because she didn't believe him. At this point, the robber took his driver's license out of his wallet and gave it to the clerk. The clerk looked it over and agreed that the man was in fact over 21 and she put the Scotch in the bar. The robber ran from the store with his loot.

The cashier promptly called the police and gave the name and address of the robber that she got off the license. They arrested the robber two hours later.

Number Six Idiot of 2006

A pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him.

Idiot Number Seven of 2006

Arkansas: Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back knocking him unconscious. It seems the liquor store window was made of Plexi-Glass. The whole event was caught on videotape.

And finally, a toast for the New Year!

John O'Leary hoisted his beer and said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife!"

That won him the top prize for the best toast of the night!

He went home and told his wife, Mary, "I won the prize for the best toast of the night."

She said, "Aye, and what was your toast?"

John said, "Er... it was: Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife."

"Oh that is very nice indeed, John!" Mary said.

The next day, Mary ran into one of John's toasting buddies on the street corner. The man chuckled leeringly and said, "John won the prize the other night, with a toast about you, Mary."

She said, "Aye and I was a bit surprised meself! You know, he's only been there twice! Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come."

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