Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Grey Clouds At Two O'Clock

Like some well-crafted metaphor about a man trying to overcome a bad mood, I took aim at the grey clouds with a bazooka of my own making. I’d had no hand in designing the warhead. That had come straight from the BBC props department via the 'Top Gear' offices with a slight detour through the Met Centre where currency was exchanged for enough silver nitrate to dose the skies of East Anglia.

‘You two don’t actually think you’re going to achieve anything with that thing?’ asked Judy through the open kitchen window.

‘Pah!’ said Clarkson rather pithily.

While I'd only got Fry's answer phone and Oddie was busy doing things with Nige and a snowy owl, Jeremy had responded to my SOS by shattering the sound barrier in his rocket car and leaving a half mile scorch mark down the M1.

‘This is the best quality television explosive, Mrs. M,' he assured her. 'And with all the silver nitrate I’ve loaded in this baby, those clouds will dump all that rain over Norfolk and won’t come anywhere near us.’

And with that he turned back to me where I was holding the length of drainpipe on my shoulder and he slapped me on my motorcycle helmet. This, as J.C. usually says when he's about to put his foot through the throttle of the latest Italian supercar, was the moment of truth.

I aimed at a particularly offensive cloud which reminded me of Hughie Green’s chin and I squeezed the trigger. It moved all of an inch before the rocket ignited with a pop.

And then it whistle softly as though it were Roger Whitaker taking a leisurely stroll down the length of the bazooka. When it reached the end of the tube, the rocket fell out and landed at my feet from where it mocked me with the message ‘Norwich or Bust’ which Jeremy had earlier scribbled on its side.

Clarkson peered over my shoulder.

‘I think we should move,’ he said and made a dash towards the shed. I joined him there moments later.

‘What happened?’ I asked.

‘I’ll be buggered if I know,’ said Jeremy, thick with sweat. He sat down as he looked at his watch and counted off a few seconds. ‘Where’s Judy?’

I looked out at the house. Judy was standing in the kitchen where she was about to do the washing up.

‘She’s in the kitchen,’ I said.

‘Near the window?’

I looked again. Judy looked up and saw me watching. She gave me a wave. I waved back.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘She’s right in front of the window. She’s just putting on her marigolds.’

Jeremy winced as he took out his mobile and dialled a number.

‘Hello Judy,’ he said a few moments later. It all left me a little confused. ‘It’s Jeremy. Yes, the Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame. I’m currently sitting on a pile of imported Afghan merkins in your garden shed... Yes, odd isn’t it? I know... He was waving to you too. Anyway, I just wanted to get you away from the window. Why? Oh, I think there’s going to be a rather large explosion in your back garden right around...’

The shed shook, Clarkson fell from his seat and Afghan merkins were soon covering every inch of his seven feet one inch frame. I might also say that I thought he deserved every last one of them. When I stepped out of the shed, there was a hole the size of a quarry in the middle of the lawn and the air with thick with the smell of Daniel Corbett’s best silver nitrate.

‘Well, if that doesn’t make it rain, I don’t know what will,’ I said as Jeremy emerged behind me. An Afghan merkin sat on his head and he looked like some misshapen, freak-show version of Bruce Forsyth.

‘But I bet this cheered you up, Dick!’ he said and slapped me on my back.

I couldn’t say that it had or hadn’t. There were only a couple of hours before I would have to go and do a show for Channel 4 and I really didn’t know how to feel about an enormous crater in the lawn or a man wearing a merkin toupee. I was more concerned about the state of my wife who had appeared at the back door.

Judy, as we say around these parts, was simply distraught.


katyboo1 said...

You could always try turning the hole into a Blue Peter style Italian Sunken Garden. Just a thought.

Dick Madeley said...

Excellent idea, Katyboo1. Unfortunately, I'd probably throw myself into it given my current mood. And, I ask you, how would Blue Peter explain that one? I bet they wouldn't even launch an appeal for old stamps to help a melancholic blogging celebrity.

Princess said...

Im glad somebody answered your sos call.....though I dont know how I would feel about leaving a hole in the garden........but Im a little concerned about you knowing the brand of Frank's tights

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