Friday, 30 November 2012

Boris Johnson agog at Doc Barbara's heroism


 "Let us all shout Hip Hip Hooray together!"

   Here we see Boris Johnson, honoured Mayor of London, open-mouthed with amazement at hearing of some of Doc Barbara's fabulous exploits. He has only just been made aware of her adventures in the capital: her near arrest on the Olympic Park in April 2012; her friends' contribution to the Olympic security crisis when the W.U.G. (Women's Undomesticated Group) took over this key role and her patriotic attendance in the cold on the Millenium Bridge at the Jubilee River Pageant.

   When he realised that she had also met Prince Charles for a biscuit-dunking competition and that David Cameron had spoken out concerning her symbolic representation of the Big Society, he asked for this photograph to be taken to show his admiration of her doings, particularly on his home patch. He also hopes to introduce her methods of boosting frog libido to increase the amphibian population in ponds all over London. This image clearly states: "Hurrah for Doc Barbara and her example to us all."

All these fascinating articles - and more - from back issues of "The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece" may be read on this website
Thanks to Steve Dave for photograph

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


   Our regular readers (who increase daily by geometric progression) and who follow Doc Barbara's activities with avid interest, will recall that she used a sex-symbol model to encourage the reluctant frogs in her garden to mate. They were moved by the photo which showed that, after a night on duty, the pin-up creature was completely exhausted (see June issue).

   Here we show an unexpected result: Froggie seems to have found an inamorata of his own and has clearly taken pity on the bandaged ankle of the beloved. However, he seems to be taking the ethic of courtly love a little too far by playing himself the distant and unobtainable role usually attributable to the lady.  Doc Barbara informs us that she will discuss the matter with him before the Spring and we all hope that this latest development will improve the worrying situation in her pond.
   By the Editor of The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece

Reporter from the Brynbuga Beagle: I just can't wait!!! This is a matter of utmost amphibian importance. Does the beauteous lady have a foot missing? How does she hop? An easy conquest I'd say.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


   Doc Barbara, being of a retiring and patriotic nature, rarely goes abroad but, when she does, she carries the example of British Womanhood with her: brave, stiff-upper-lipped and looking for opportunities to help.

   On a recent trip to Paris she observed what was clearly a  massive stolen diamond projecting from the ground and unnoticed by casual passers-by, except for one man in a white jacket raising the alarm. Not one to remain silent when danger looms, she spoke loudly and emphatically in her ultra-correct French (remembered accurately from school) to three nearby gendarmes. They promptly investigated by the simple expedient of turning to look; she was then able to reassure those around her that all was now well.

  Modern architecture is a challenge to us all.

   Comment by the reporter of the rival paper to The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece:
Someone ought to confiscate this woman's passport or what will happen to the entente cordiale? Brynbuga

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Doc Barbara is resolutely set against allowing undue adulation amongst her many fans but, recently, one of the leading members of the W.U.G.(Women's Undomesticated Group) opined that, if she tried, our local heroine could levitate from a special pod erected for that purpose.  In the true spirit of the legend of King Canute, Doc Barbara agreed to undergo the experiment, with the aim of proving that she does not have supernormal powers, "I never bite off more bullets than I can chew," she stated enigmatically to our cub reporter. Yet afterwards the pod was mysteriously empty.

Someone else was observed waiting for her to descend..



Saturday, 1 September 2012


   Doc Barbara is a strong proponent of law and order even though she has been accused by her few detractors of spreading the reverse. On a recent visit to a market town, she observed a person, archaically dressed, with a wild-eyed look and a sword in hand. Clearly this individual was about to break the window of a nearby greengrocer and so Doc Barbara nobly and featly sprang to the rescue.

   Holding his or her arm - it was not immediately apparent which - she spoke firmly yet soothingly and led him/her to a place of greater safety. There she sent for a flagon of local water, told many funny yet uplifting stories and reassured passers-by: "It was just a sheep in knight's clothing."

   Editor's comment: How is our small town to live up to the stirring example of Doc Barbara?  Not only do we revere her heroic deeds but also her turn of phrase which adds poetry and further inspiration to the event.

   Note by the reporter of The Brynbuga Beagle: I assume Doc Barbara is the one on the right.

Saturday, 11 August 2012


   Doc Barbara applauds with both hands the idea of maintaining the spirit of the Games once they are over. She therefore decided to choose one activity with which to inspire others but (being of a solitary, retiring and frugal nature) she deemed equestrian, sailing and other team sports inappropriate.

 After practising gymnastics on a sandy beach with ball and hoop, clad in a minimal leotard and drawing gasps and comments from the assembled crowd, she felt humbled by their response but also wary of causing competition to the young girl from nearby Pontypool whose talents she did not wish to challenge. She therefore decided on swimming and firstly mounted a cliff in her half-price bargain shortie wet-suit to find a suitable diving spot:

before essaying to cartwheel into the sea along the shingle; "There's more than one way to skin a sausage roll," she called enigmatically over her shoulder as she hit the briny.

   Note from the Editor of "The Pontypool Pontificator": our gymnast is, of course, quaking in her spray-on pumps but does this photo of Doc Barbara's empty trainers mean that the dear old dab has finally met her Water-loo? or merely popped off to the latter?

   (PS from reporter: "We have removed the photo of the trainers as it was causing alarm and grief.)

Monday, 23 July 2012

Olympics Security: W.U.G Offers Emergency Help

   The Women's Undomesticated Group (W.U.G.) deeply resents the insinuations that Doc Barbara had anything to do with this present deplorable outcome.  [This reference concerns the last-minute panic over security at the Games].

   We are preparing to back our role model by offering our assistance at the Olympic Park, which we now know to be at Stratford without the upon-Avon appendage. We discovered that on our lengthy and misguided outing to the birthplace of the Bard.

   We are well trained because we conduct out bicycle basket sales with the utmosr care and we now propose to purchase Sherlock Holmes deer-stalkers, capes and magnifying glasses for the purpose. By mingling with the crowds so accoutred, we will add a truly British celebratory note to this mundane though vital work.

   This artist's impression shows how we will look, the arrow pointing to where make-up is most needed.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Olympics Security and Doc Barbara: Note by the Correspondent on The Brynbuga Beagle

   It is all very well for The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece to deny any involvement on the part of Doc Barbara in the present security scandal at the Olympics (see "Doc Barbara Nearly Arrested" in the April archive) but I have interviewed one of the guards who accosted her on that fateful day. "We were completely taken aback," he claimed, "as she waved her brolly vehemently  and talked vociferously about challenges coming from man-made environments and the assonance of the term 'helter-skelter', so that me and my mates decided to pack it in, after consulting our dictionaries - although we do speak fluent English and have been tested on it. I have advised all our members of the O.O.P.S (Olympic Only Park Security) to resign, since, if that is what we get from an Englishwoman, what can we expect from all these foreigners? - although we have also been screened for xenophobia."

  My opinion, as experienced reporter for our superior local paper and television spectator, is that Mr Buckles (or is it Bubbles - or Bobbles?) must also have tangled with Doc Barbara as he seems bereft of speech and sense as are most people who encounter her. Clearly there have been more terrifying experiences in his life than facing an official enquiry.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Editor's Note on Olympic Security

There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that the present worrying state of security for the Olympics is due to the earlier scare as Doc Barbara attempted to climb what she believed was a helter-skelter. Some detractors have opined that the security staff who tried to arrest her were so traumatised by their encounter with our indomitable and formidable heroine that they withdrew from duty and encouraged others to do the same. The full account may be read in our archive: "Doc Barbara Nearly Arrested" where her innocence is proved and the ambiguous photograph published.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Doc Barbara Achieves New Heights

   The many admirers of Doc Barbara are aware that she is always on the look-out for challenges, however unlikely the environment.  On a recent trip to London's South Bank to see a production of Antigone (which she applauded throughout, so full was she of enthusiasm for the performances and so aware that the silence of the rest of the audience must have been discouraging for the actors) she found the territory offered ubiquitous opportunities for climbing.

  "I was thrilled," she admitted, "as usually such structures are for children only and we adults need exercise and excitement also. It is commendable that the authorities have taken this into account when developing the site." This newspaper is proud to have obtained an exclusive photograph (above) of her embarking on the first ascent and a second (below) of her being helped by a comrade later, having stripped for the ladderless escalade and lost considerable weight through her previous exertions. What indomitable spirit! What enterprise! How our town should exult!

   Note from the reporter of The Brynbuga Beagle: I do not wish to cast aspersions on the veracity of the photographs in The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece but, on the second, she does seem a trifle too insubstantial and one hand of the assistant is surely at the wrong angle for supporting another person.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Latest scoop: photo of pin-up frog afterwards

   Editor's note: we are now in possession of a photograph which shows Doc Barbara's model frog, the one she used to heighten libido in those in her pond, after the encouragement session. The creature does seem exhausted but is still wearing a patriotic shoulder (?) band and maintains in repose a certain erotic appeal, we assume; not being amphibians ourselves it is difficult to be certain but the curvaceousness, doe eye(s), slender legs and pouting lips are much in evidence.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Doc Barbara encourages frogs to mate

   Here we see our indomitable heroine holding a sex symbol frog at dead of night to stimulate the reluctant frogs in her pond to mate as Nature intended. The flags are to encourage a sense of patriotism and British zeal in her underactive amphibians.


   From the letters page of  "The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece":

   We, of the W.U.G. (Women's Undomesticated Group), would like to know how exactly Doc Barbara encourages her frogs to mate.  We held a meeting to discuss the question of the disappearing tadpole  and the evident decline in frog libido: many members came up with highly imaginative suggestions, none of which seemed practical. If Doc Barbara will advise us, we will prepare for next Spring as we always anticipate matters. If wellies, waders, sou'westers or landing nets are required we will hold a series of  bicycle basket sales (we do not approve of cars) to provide the money. The frogs of Britain can count on us!

   Editor's reply: We have published a photograph of Doc Barbara (above) at her task of  raising F.M.A (Frog Mating Awareness) in the rain.  She is holding a wooden model frog of accepted sexually attractive appearance (for frogs) to inspire them and is wearing Union flags to symbolise their patriotic duty. In the background, unseen, are E.A.Ts (Expert Amphibian Trainers) who are watching out for creatures avoiding Doc Barbara's ministrations.

   Note from the reporter from "The Brynbuga Beagle" The photo looks strangely familiar to me. I will offer the old girl some aphrodisiacal water from my pond. My frogs are at it constantly in March: there must be something about her that puts them off the whole idea.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Editor's second note

   Doc Barbara informs us that this is not she in the photograph but someone else also asking what he does when not on the Queen's barge.

The Herald on the train

Doc Barbara loves the unexpected - and the herald?

Jubilee River Pageant


   As we know, Doc Barbara is modest and lowly but does occasionally find herself in high places. Seated on a camping chair covered with bunting on the Millennium Bridge, she waited for five hours in cold wind and rain, lifting the spirits of those around her by whistling Handel's Water Music. Despite polite (well, mostly polite) suggestions that she should not trouble herself, she persisted, waving her super de luxe flag with one hand and eating sausage rolls with the other. Cheering wildly and held by the belt from behind by an onlooker, she leaned over and gave the Queen her special wave.

   She loved the bells, the flotilla, the Dunkirk boats, everything about it and ended by interviewing a herald in detail on the train home about what he did when he was not in his ceremonial gear. He seemed delighted despite a long icy day on the Queen's barge. Doc Barbara is known for her amazing stamina when all around are tiring.

   Ed's note: We dispute the suggestion that Doc Barbara is tone deaf. Also we know that she can whistle and eat flaky pastry simultaneously: she is happy to prove it on demand though challengers are advised to wear protective gear to comply with Health and Safety Regulations.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Prince Charles meets Doc Barbara

   Doc Barbara asked to meet Prince Charles who, as we all know, made a recent triumphant appearance on television as a weather forecaster. After she had witnessed his charismatic professionalism, she challenged him to a biscuit-dunking competition as a sequel. Both would be equipped with their own personal mugs filled with Doc Barbara's favourite Earl Grey: he would immerse a Duchy of Cornwall biscuit therein and she her Rich Tea (each in his/her own mug, of course.) An impartial judge with a stop-watch would measure which lasted the longer without disintegrating (the biscuits not the contestants.)

   As Prince of Wales, he declared himself honoured to accept and visit idyllic Monmouthshire, birthplace of Henry V, for this historic occasion. However, they both became so involved in animated discussions about frogs (see below) that they ate their entire packets in one go without dunking. "Oh dear!" said HRH wistfully, "Mummy may be disappointed that I have been naughty and consumed the main treat for her Jubilee tea, but I have so enjoyed my Royal Self this afternoon." The contest was declared a draw and a further one arranged for an indefinite date in the future.

Editor's note. Well, that really takes the biscuit!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A young frog on one of Doc Barbara's new circular tea bags.

Doc Barbara worried about frogs

   It has come to our attention that Doc Barbara, concerned for wildlife as always, is deeply troubled about the lack of frogs in her pond this year: "Normally there is a mass of spawn followed, according to Mother Nature's eternal decree, by tadpoles and froglets, but this year my pond is barren," she reports.  "I have done everything, given them tasty morsels to eat and sometimes sat by the pond all night under my umbrella to support them in multiplying.  But to no avail. 

   Finally, I asked a neighbour to give me two frogs of, I hope, different genders.  I placed them in turn on one of my new circular tea bags to give them a soft springboard into the pond. After all, I learned so much from my attendance at the World Diving Cup Finals.  It was a crisis and, at such a crucial moment, I believe in decisiveness: I always bite the bull by the horns."

   Editor's note:  Here we have another of Doc Barbara's felicitous mixing of aphorisms for dramatic effect but I have one query. Is it just me or is there a problem of scale on the photograph?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

David Cameron on Doc Barbara

Guest editorial by David Cameron as dictated to our cub reporter:

   When I first conceived my concept of the Big Society, I had no conception that I would find anyone who defined it as well as does Doc Barbara.   In fact, I am greatly relieved that she has defined it as I was having some difficulty defining it myself, particularly when asked.   Doc Barbara is Big in every way except where she is Small: Big Ideas, Big Achievements, Big Courage, Big Feet - sorry, Big Feats.  Where was I?  Ah - yes - stuck for ideas, that's where I was.  That is where I always am.  But - it is important to carry on even when stuck and that is what Doc Barbara represents: "Never stuck up, always stuck in" - and carrying on.   She does carry on - and how!  I approve of that and urge her as I have always urged you all, continue to urge you and will always urge you to: Carry on Doctor.

   Editor's note: Humph

Friday, 27 April 2012

What is it? A small prize will be offered for an accurate answer.

Doc Barbara nearly arrested!

   This reticent lady rarely tells us of her most intriguing adventures until long after the time, which can make life difficult for a newspaper. As we all know, she is a devoted grandmother and, some weeks ago, took her grandson to see the Women's Synchronised Diving World Cup Final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park.  "I chose this event because I know nothing about diving and cannot tell a pike from any other kind of fish," she explained, "but I can see if two people hit the water together."

   After this illustrious competition she spotted a helter-skelter outside, some distance away, and asked her grandson if he would like a slide on it followed by a triple ice-cream with assorted syrups and toppings.  We are offering a small prize for anyone who guesses at his answer (multiple choice - just 'Yes, please' or 'No, thank you' will do.)  The courageous pair set out with Doc Barbara ruminating learnedly on the expression 'helter-skelter': "English is particularly rich in these," she observed, "think of 'easy-peasy', 'even stevens' and 'hugger-mugger', the last appearing in Hamlet, of course."

   Her grandson's attention seemed to be focussed elsewhere and there will be another small prize for the most imaginative hunch as to what he was thinking.  But ... as they started to climb the structure with determination and panache, four burly security officers appeared as if by magic and seized them. There is a happy ending as she soon convinced them that her intentions were entirely innocent. We think it is her wholesome, cheerful face, so reminiscent of a hockey-playing sixth-former despite her age, that carries her through life. We have yet to know what the boy made of this incident but he did enjoy his ice-cream.

Editor's note:
   Our sceptical colleague down the corridor had some very unpleasant remarks to make on this report. Putting down his cigar and taking his legs off the desk, (he models himself on Walter Matthau in "The Front Page" - somewhat hubristic as he works for "The Brynbuga Beagle") he told us in a nastily opinionated tone: "The object at Stratford is an eminent sculpture by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmore and is called the ArcelorMittel Orbit. It has cost a fortune and is a modern classic." He is such a know-all!

Dear Editor,
   We, the members of the Brynbuga W.U.G (Women's Undomesticated Group), wish to state our horror at the tone and content of our local reporter on "The Brynbuga Beagle".  He cannot be correct that the object in the photograph has such an outlandish, unpronounceable and trumped-up name as "ArcelorMittel Orbit".  We are so certain that Doc Barbara (whose character and doings are an inspiration to us all) is right and that it is a helter-skelter that we have hired a coach to take us all on an expedition on Saturday next to test her belief. We will form an orderly crocodile outside the structure and, armed with our small, individual Yoga mats, prepare to slide in formation down the helix.

   The luxury charabanc will depart from W.U.G Hall at 5 a.m. on the dot and will arrive at Stratford-upon-Avon at approximately 9 a.m. (It is characteristic of our unpatriotic renegade that he omitted the last part of the place name, thus removing the recognisable reference to our renowned Bard, and referred to the Olympic Venue as merely Stratford. Will all participants please bring their W.U.G rugs, flasks and sandwiches as it could be a very long day.

Monday, 23 April 2012

A New Leaf

   After one of her manifestations of derring-do Doc Barbara likes to refresh herself with Earl Grey made in a pot acquired from the late lamented Woolworth's. Until recently she has used square tea bags but has now become convinced that the new design circular ones are infinitely more effective. "I have experimented over several months," she told our chief reporter, as he enjoyed sharing this simple. patriotic British indulgence, "and done many an algorithm. I now feel that the old ones are out-of-date, 'square' as we used to say and no longer my cup of tea."

   Editor's note:
I could not trust this vital assignment to our cub reporter who would have been overwhelmed at the very idea of sharing a repast with Doc Barbara. I also knew that we would need to capture her highly individual use of idioms, here revealing the true depth of two common sayings. What a woman! But was the tea-pot in the photo really from Woolworth's? It looks more like Ikea to me, though Doc Barbara never knowingly buys foreign goods.

Friday, 20 April 2012

A Dramatic Change of Direction

   As our regular readers are aware, Doc Barbara is a highly respected Top Reviewer on the Amazon website but few have noticed her new preoccupation. She explained to our reporter: "Yes, it is something of an existential leap from bun tins to Hamlet but I have done it before. I used to comment on French grammars under the pen-name Adult French Learner but came to feel that pseudonym lacked soul and was not entirely appropriate for a piece on kitchen scales. Now, as Doc Barbara, I am analysing Classics of English Literature".

   We had previously sent our cub reporter out onto the street to gauge public reaction: 99 per cent were delighted but one was sceptical: "I am, of course, fascinated by Jane Austen but what am I to do now? I would never dream of buying a halogen heater without first consulting Doc Barbara." We asked our local celebrity what she thought of this. "There is not an exponential difference between identifying the fatal flaw in a tragic hero such Othello and the fatal flaw in an omelette pan," she opined. "Both require dedicated research and perspicacity of mind.

  We think it was this omelette reference that triggered one of her sudden imaginative flashes of mixed metaphor: "I know from personal experience that you CAN teach an old dog to break eggs. Or should that be 'suck'?" she enquired jauntily as she left our office without a backward glance.

Editor's note to A Dramatic Change of Direction

   Unfortunately we share an office with a sister journal "The Brynbuga Beagle" on the staff of which is a cynical observer of our reportage. He scorned our suggestion that Doc Barbara mingles well-known sayings for imaginative effect, claiming that she is simply getting them wrong. This was a delicate matter to broach but we phoned her with the query. "My melanges are entirely deliberate," she replied. "Obviously I do know that the correct quotation is: 'You can't make an omelette without learning new tricks'." The dispute continues to rage.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Editor's note to From Paddington Station to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memoral Fountain

   The editor of "The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece" wishes to apologise for any confusion resulting from the photograph attached to the article on Doc Barbara's walk: Paddington Station to the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fountain. The picture does not represent the Memorial which is a ground-level, beautifully soothing water feature. He is making every effort to ascertain if the figure up the tree is, in fact, Doc Barbara or one of her grandchildren. If it is revealed to be our intrepid heroine, it emphasises her virtuosity and how right this newspaper is to follow her exploits and inspire its readers with her achievements.

From Paddington Station to the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fountain: our grandmother's epic adventure.

"The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece" April 18th 2012
   It has come to the attention of our chief reporter that Doc Barbara has just returned from one of her regular visits to London to see her family. Having arranged to meet them at the Memorial Fountain to the late regretted Princess Diana, she contacted Transport for London and was advised to go to Oxford Circus by tube and thence to Lancaster Gate.

   But our heroine is made of sterner stuff and set off with backpack, Ordnance Survey map and compass by foot, taking care to keep the sparkling Serpentine to her left (east) and the rolling green sward of Kensington Gardens to the right (west). Striding on in her usual indomitable manner she found the correct OS co-ordinates and met up with everyone at this tranquil water feature, consumed an enormous picnic and then played an energetic game hurling a whistling plastic toy and laughing gaily as she missed catches: "The more the merrier," she explained.

  When asked later in interview if the hike had proved too strenuous, she replied in that self-deprecating tone which characterises her speech after an amazing venture: "Oh, no. It was just a walk in the park."

Sunday, 15 April 2012

A Grandmother's Meteoric Rise to Fame

From "The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece" February 2012
   Those who have been following the progress of Doc Barbara up Amazon's Top Reviewer list will be amazed by her sudden leap from 2034 to her present position of 1377 in just over ten days. This is despite failing to convince the site manager of the power of "trolls" or campaign voters posting negative votes for personal reasons.   She received 14 positive votes out of 14 for her eloquent yet detailed review of  Muddyfox waterproof trousers though her inspired and cogent comments on her Prestige baking tray have not yet attracted admirers. 
   When/if she arrives in the top 1000 she will receive an award though she is not sure what this will be.  "I do it for the satisfaction and to help others," she has been quoted as saying. This is in addition to the packet of peanuts she won in last night's impromptu quiz at her local pub when she beat all comers and the landlord  (ho! ho!) by 4 clear points scoring 34 correct answers in all.  Those who say she is becoming 1) obsessed with numbers and 2) too big for her boots are far from the truth: she remains modest and unassuming just like her 5* medium-size roasting tin.