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.