Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Stephen Fry's Honey Drizzler

Don’t you long for those days when a man could be caught strangling a ferret without having people judging him about it? I know that I do. It came to mind, earlier this morning, when I was caught manhandling a live rodent in the privacy of my own garden shed. Judy had assumed the worst: that I’d gone there with the intention of wringing some rattish neck. She just wouldn’t listen to reason and had even threatened to inform the RSPCA via their local representative.

‘What will Bill Oddie say?’ she asked, her panic only constrained by the shed doorway. ‘You’re getting a reputation as a serial rodent abuser, Richard. First it was house mice and then you killed poor Colin, John Cleese’s sweet lemur...’

‘That sweet lemur was trying to rip out your throat,’ I reminded her. ‘If I hadn’t smacked Colin with a copy of my hugely popular book (which is no misery memoir), you’d be without a larynx.’

‘Oh, a likely story, Richard,’ replied Judy. ‘Just like you told everybody that Stephen Fry had his arm broken by the flipper of an enraged manatee. Why can’t you just be a man and admit that you brought that ferret in here to have your evil ways with it? What is it you like about beating up these poor animals? It has to be something more than comic effect. Do you like to hear their little bones break? Is that what it is, Richard? Is that what excites you? Is that how you get your kicks?’

By now, I had managed to subdue the ferret my kneeling on its tail and I delayed explaining myself until I had carried the animal to the shed door where I cast it out onto the lawn. It bounced once and then made a dash for the fence and the safety of Ronnie Corbett’s vegetable patch.

‘Judy, if you’ll only listen. I’ll tell you how this happened.’

I then proceeded to tell her about the events of my morning which had begun quite innocently with the optimistic hope of drizzling some honey.

I woke up around eight, feeling nipped in the places where my toes had escaped the duvet. Judy was sound asleep, snoring in that baritone that is now so familiar and perfectly tuned to a low B flat. Rather than waking her, I slipped into my slippers (you might say, made for that very purpose), and went down to the kitchen to address breakfast. Because I was cold, I thought I’d make myself my favourite morning tipple: some hot water dosed with honey. The kettle was soon boiled and I poured a good amount into my favourite Monty Python Toby Jug, fashioned into a faithful facsimile of Terry Jones’ best grin. Now it was time for the honey. And that’s when disaster struck. I took Judy's favourite honey drizzler from the drawer and dipped it into a new jar of organic honey (a gift from a friend). I then gave the drizzler a twist and withdrew it sharply. It emerged handle only. The end had come detached and had sank in the depths of finest honey ever transmitted by the bottoms of Felicity Kendal’s bumble bees.

But you know that I’m not the sort of man to wail about a honey drizzler failing. If nothing else, I am a man of action. I immediately went upstairs and dressed myself for my workshop. Then I took the damaged honey drizzler into the shed intending to repair it.

Now, I have one of the best outfitted workshops in North London and it’s in that shed where I’ve made many of the inventions that have made my name in the world of science and technology. It’s there that I built Paul Merton’s pogo stick, added the rockets to Clarkson’s rocket car. It was there that I invented yeast free yeast and gave birth to the iCod, the world’s first genetically altered flat fish. Yet after my initial inspection of the drizzer, I knew that I’d need expert help. This was no ordinary break but wood that had been heavily fatigued by years of constant drizzling. I reached for the phone and the number of the only man I can call on in these emergencies.

Three rings later and there was a noise like an armed riot in a Columbian kindergarten followed by a familiar voice. ‘Ah, ’tis I, Fry, on my iPhone, though I fear my Nokia noise cancelling headset will struggle to overcome the ambient sounds of my location.’

‘Where on earth are you?’ I asked. ‘Sounds like you’re on a war front.’

‘A war front, indeed, Dicky. I am currently doing a bit of Christmas shopping. I’m in Hameley’s toy store where I am in the process of scoping out a BattleTech War Mage with World Destructor Kneecaps and Nipple Mounted Lasers.’

‘Cut the dorktalk, Stephen,’ I snapped. ‘Listen, it’s about this honey drizzler you bought me for Christmas seven years ago. I don’t know what reviews you read before buying it but the ruddy thing has already broken.’

‘I hope you’re not asking me for the receipt,’ mumbled the Great Man. ‘I fear that I keep them for only six years before I destroy them.’

‘Stuff the receipt. I want your help repairing it.’

Stephen chuckled. ‘But I honestly don’t see what I can do...’

‘It’s a spiral fracture,’ I said.

He fell silent, no doubt overcome by the manatee episode and his own spiral injury. ‘I’ll be there in half an hour,’ he said.

I opened my door nearly an hour later and ducked as nipple mounted lasers took aim.

‘You’re late,’ I said.

‘I know,’ said Fry. ‘It was a long line to the tills and I lacked the triple A batteries to power my nipples.’

‘So you bought it then?’ I said, nodding towards the robot.

‘Oh, tush. Indeed: gripes. How could I not buy such a sweet little droid? There will be much fun to be had over Christmas programming this to annihilate many a C list celebrity. But enough about my plans to destroy the talentless portion of our world. Show me the drizzer!’

I led Stephen to the shed and we began the long process of repairing the handle. The spiral fracture meant that we had to be careful as we applied wood glue and set the whole thing up in clamps. When it was time for Stephen to leave, he was exhausted and he had taxied off before he’d remembered the Battlemech Droid he’d left in the hall. Naturally, when I tried to ring him, his iPhone battery must have gone dead. Unable to reach him, I realised that I couldn’t leave his droid in the hall. Judy has few rules but I knew that she’d take poorly to the World Destrouctor Kneecaps.

I carried the droid to the shed where I made room for it behind my prototype for a Kranky firing Cannon. And that’s when I discovered the hole. It wasn’t a big hole but it was a significant breech in a shed that contains so many state secrets. The corner of the shed was now missing a good six inch circle of wood. I kneeled down and peered into the hole and found that I could see right through to the Corbetts’ side of the fence. If I’d known the layout of their garden, I might not have reached my hand into the hole, nor grabbed so tightly onto the first thing I felt.

At first, I thought it might have been one of Mrs. Corbett’s old stoles. Then I thought I’d put my hand into a crate of costumes from Ronnie’s cross-dressing days on the Two Ronnies. I thought perhaps that it might even have been the famous fur coat that he wore when he sang that song about the farmer judging the Women’s Institute’s sponge pudding competition. The whole thing was really a vulgar euphemism for something else and the thought of holding onto that coat encouraged me to try to pull it through the hole.

‘I hardly expect it to bite me,,’ I explained to Judy. ‘How was I to know that I’d put my hand into the cage where Ronnie keeps his prize ferret?’

Judy looked at me with a renewed look of love in her eyes. ‘If only you’d told me about Stephen’s robot earlier,’ she said. ‘All this would have made complete sense.’

‘So I’m forgiven?’ I asked.

‘Of course you’re forgiven,’ said Judy, wiping the trickle of blood from my cheek where the ferret had nearly taken out my eye. ‘Unlike the time you battered John Cleese’s lemur, this time you had good reason to attack that rodent. If only I had known, Richard, I might even have helped you beat it unconscious.’

The smile came easily to my lips. ‘Jude,’ I replied, ‘it’s thoughtfulness like that which has made you such a much loved public figure, a veritable mother to our nation.’


Welsh Girl said...

next time, beat the ferret up with the honey drizzler. They hate them and will flee to the next county at the sign of a working one.....

Dick Madeley said...

Oh, Welsh Girl, I think you're mocking my predicament and Judy's drizzler! If only you could see how this was a drama of domestic angst played out against the backdrop of Ronnie Corbett's treatment of his ferret. I don't think there's anything to laugh about and the very idea of a ferret being afraid of a honey drizzler is absurd.

Barbara said...

You've go to remember ferrets are extremely OCD. If it goes wayward again just show it something out of order or in the wrong place, it will be distracted long enough to grab a shovel.

Dick Madeley said...

'grab a shovel'

And I'm the one accused of using excessive force. Besides, it would be hard to get a swing with a shovel, which would require two hands to wield it. The ferret would have moved away. I would much rather hold the ferret down with one hand and then smack it over the head with one of Judy's trowels.

Of course, all this is hypothetical. I'd never do any real harm to Ronnie's ferret. Oh no.

Anonymous said...

It is like the wikipedia random page here - I now know what a honey drizzler is... and a ferret...but I would never have had Fry down as an expert in wood....what a fool I am!

James Higham said...

Nipple mounted lasers - you're back in fine form, Richard.

percy stilton said...

I am surprised that a woman of the world, such as Judy, would be surprised to catch you "strangling the ferrett" in the shed,Dick.
Is'nt that what sheds are made for..and men are made of?...oh ...and honey drizzlers too.
You reallyare too much Dick!

Anonymous said...

Hey! I LOVE ferrets! I did a google saerch for ferrets and found you ferret abusers! Ferrets only bite when untrained, abused, or scared. Ferrets are alot less likely to bite someone than a dog or cat!