‘Lean, muscular and brawny!’
Four words and an outdoor life beckoned.
‘I don’t mind you gently nudging me awake,’ said Judy, pushing me towards the back door, ‘but I refuse to have the rest of your blogging friends applauding your misogynism. Let’s see how lean, muscular and brawny you feel after a night in the garden shed.’
‘I didn’t so much kick,’ I said, holding onto the sleeping bag she’d forced into my hands. ‘I toed! I toed! There’s a huge difference between a leg and a toe.’
‘At least a shin,’ I said. ‘Perhaps even a knee if you measure these things in Imperial units.’
‘I don’t take well to being laughed at,’ she sniffed.
I looked out to the garden where it was blowing a gale. I swear I saw David Dickinson’s groin go flying across the lawn before it leapt the fence and took out Ronnie Corbett’s greenhouse a few houses down.
‘I’ll put it right,’ I promised. ‘Let me get back online and I’ll make it all right.’
‘But I don’t want you to respond,’ said Judy. ‘I don’t want you going online ever again. From now on, Richard Madeley, you're no longer a blogger!’
‘Oh but Judy,’ I said. ‘I have to answer. Do you think I could ignore a woman of Selena’s obvious class and breeding?’
Judy’s flush went white. ‘I don’t see why not,’ she replied, cooly. ‘You always ignore Cilla.’
And there you have it, friends. Female wit boiled down, put into a small bottle, given a good shake, and then hurled with the might of the tender elbow to shatter at the bottom of the hole you’ve dug yourself. The aroma of cat has rarely been so strong.
Regular readers will know that it has been a long held wish of mine that visitors to this blog would ask me questions. I began my Appreciation Society in order to answer the many queries I know the world longs to ask a man of my experience. That's why, when Selena posted her list of questions, I knew it was of the utmost importance that I answer them immediately. It’s the reason that Judy discovered me hiding in the airing cupboard, this evening, when I was meant to be sitting in the front room as she talked me through a replay of last night’s boxing match. I’d naturally tried to hide what I was doing but she’d snatched away my laptop and discovered how we'd all been discussing my method of waking her up. It was the reason why I found myself on my way to a night with a man called Innes No. 3.
‘Okay,’ sighed Judy. ‘I’ll forget about this if you tell everybody the truth. You can go on there and blog but only if you tell them the complete truth and you must show contrition about your treatment of me.’
‘I will!’ I promised, as I dropped the sleeping bag and ran back into the house. And I swear that I will answer Selena’s questions with such honesty, it will rock the very foundations of light entertainment in this country. This, I swear, will be a proper reason for Gordon Brown to hold a COBRA meeting.
Selena’s Five Questions:
1.) are Bryan Appleyard and Bill Oddie about to get engaged?
Ah, I see we are to begin with a syllogism. All cats are myopic, my wife is myopic, therefore my wife is a cat... Well, given that I was the first person to reveal to the world that Nige is really Bill Oddie, it makes my job much easier: Nige is really Bill Oddie; Nige and Bryan are already engaged; therefore, Bryan and Bill are to be wed in the spring. I’m sure I speak for everybody and wish them great happiness. We are all eagerly awaiting photos of the church’s interior architecture.
2.) What exactly did you mean when you were overheard saying to Elberry: “I get plenty of it and can supply it for you?”
Stool softener. Nothing more than good old fashioned stool softener. Dr. Raj came on the Richard&Judy show about a year ago to discuss the psychological impact of constipation. He put a word in with the manufacturers of stool softener and, since then, boxes of the stuff have been arriving at the house on the first of every month. Elberry, as you will know if you read his blog, is a man greatly troubled in that department. He often boasts about travelling the country and squatting on the great Civil War battlefields, knowing that his little ‘Elberries’ will appear in auction houses under the label ‘genuine Roundhead musketballs’. I thought it only reasonable to help the poor man out, as indeed I’ll be helping out the nation’s collectors of antique musketballs.
3.) Have you ever been convicted for stalking The Honourable Nigel Havers?
Convicted: no. Caught: yes. It was at the Toddington service station and it was back in the early eighties. I’d followed The Honourable Havers there from the London BBC studios where he’d been filming Blankety Blank. It was years before This Morning and I was working on a documentary for Granada TV about shipments of Bulgarian squirrels being delivered to celebrity flats late at night. The show’s main target was Anthony Andrews but we suspected that Havers was acting as a middleman. I was hot on the trail of this illicit squirrel smuggling operation, hiding behind a rack of fan belts, when the shop assistant caught me. Nigel was attracted to the commotion. He got straight on the blower to Andrews and blew the whole gaff. That very night, Andrews released all the squirrels. Many people in the security services still blame him for causing South Kensington’s ongoing problem with squirrels with a taste for nibbling quality woollen worsted.
4.) Have you ever heard voices urging you to run for post of Vollsachverständiger für Konspirazionstheorie?
A day rarely passes without my hearing them. Luckily, the voices speak a language that my conscious mind doesn’t understand. It’s the reason why I fear learning German. I don’t know what kind of man I might become.
5.) Is it true, to the best of your knowledge, that Jeremy Clarkson was seen out dining with a man wearing a skirt while claiming he was AA Gill. Or that the Daily Mail thought it was so good they wanted it done again? And what do you imagine Stephen Fry thinks about that? I certainly do not trust the manhood of either. In fact, I rang Jeremy and tried to hide my disappointment, but he suggested, against my better knowledge, that he might just appear on this blog. What good is the word of a man with a predilection for skirts?
Good question. It takes me back. AA Gill once made a remark in his Sunday Times column about Charlie Dimmock’s breasts which I thought at the time to be the funniest thing I’d read. I rang him to congratulate him on the fact and I suggested that we meet. He was somewhat reluctant but eventually agreed to join me for a coffee, oddly enough, at the same service station at Toddington where I had been caught stalking Nigel Havers a few years earlier. To get a long story to its nub, Gill arrived wearing a tight blue business jacket and skirt, and I was again caught behind a rack of fan belts, by the same assistant, only this time trying desperately hard to avoid the heavily rouged Gill. The upshot of this is that yes: I do believe that Clarkson was seen dining with a man dressed in a skirt. Not only did The Daily Mail love it, they also hold it responsible for South Kensington’s ongoing problem with squirrels with a taste for nibbling quality woollen worsted.
As to the Great Fry's opinion, I rang Stephen and he was as astute as ever. ‘Ah, ’tis I, Fry, on my iPhone being asked about transvestites in service stations,' he said. 'Luckily, I’m on first name terms with AA Gill, or A as I like to call him, and I can explain the reasons for his occasional cross dressing. He adopts the guise of the female of the species when meeting people he’s too embarrassed to be seen with. You are, Richard, I know, insufferable when it comes to the high esteem in which you hold Jeremy Clarkson, but many men would adopt camouflage made to the highest standards of concealment. Had I the legs for it, I too would adopt the natural cover of the lady. A word to the wise, Richard: when forced to meet Clarkson, dress as a woman. Unless you are a woman, of course, in which case just keep you car engine running. You're not a woman are you Dick? Bless my soul if you are. In fact, bless all our souls...’
There you have it. It only leaves me to comment on men who like to wear skirts, though I have to be very cautious in what I say. I’ve had emailed complaints about describing them as 'whackos' and 'nutjobs'. So, I say, what’s wrong with them that a Bic razor can’t fix?
Speaking of which, Clarkson has yet to forward the piece he’s writing for me. I’ve informed him that we require none of that dross he gives The Sun. I want nothing less than his Sunday Times material. You know, the stuff he writes with the occasional comma. I’ve asked him to give me 1200 words on why men should never ever toe their wives awake.
I think he’s just the man for the job.