Saturday, 25 July 2015

Doc Barbara has sartorial difficulties

   Doc Barbara likes to present a decent and plausible appearance in order to draw support for her many good causes but she has a tough time with her clothes. Her arms are shortening with age and her legs are the wrong length - indeed she sometimes wonders if they are the same length. Also her garments have magnetic appeal for items of food: blobs of melted chocolate (she is partial to crumbly truffles) or brightly coloured chutney frequently appear on her blouses to the dismay of all.

  Recently, her daughter cooked a delicious family dinner of roasted lamb chops with tomatoes and potatoes but, when being served, one of the chops flew off the tray and commenced a trajectory towards the other guests. Quick as the proverbial brown fox lauded in typing training, Doc Barbara interposed herself between the meat and its recipient, causing the lamb to land centrally on her tummy and thighs, leaving translucent greasy patches.

   Nothing daunted, she rushed to the bathroom, applied a handy bar of patented stain-removal soap and, muttering: "Out dratted spot" (as Doc Barbara never swears) successfully obliterated the marks, despite the fact that they now resembled a map of the United Kingdom and she is a devoted patriot. We fear we have no photographs as our trainee cameraman arrived too late and could not take a picture of something that had vanished.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Doc Barbara's Bad Hair Day

   As we have frequently noted, Doc Barbara has no problem with avoiding the Deadly Sin of Pride in the form of personal vanity, any more than she has with Sloth or Envy. Greed manifested as gluttony is more difficult for her as she does love a buttered Welsh cake and she confesses to Wrath over certain issues dear to her heart. Few or no opportunities present themselves for Lechery and she would not avail herself of them in any case.

   Yet, recently, close friends have suggested that she needs to take more care of her appearance to encourage others to join her causes, since we live in an age of image and presentation. After examining her hair (see below) she tried various preparations with enticing claims, bought at cut-price from local shops (she does admit to Avarice though prefers to call it frugality). She soon exhausted her own patience and cleansed her hands with anti-biotic gel, absently-mindedly running her fingers through her locks afterwards. Result: super sexy, beachy, gamine, endearingly tousled - and guaranteed sterile.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Doc Barbara's Jumbo Enterprise

   Devoted followers of Doc Barbara's exploits - and they are numerous and varied in both background and predilections - have asked what has happened to her intention to knit all the characters in British history. We are pleased to report that progress is being made although her direction has changed slightly. Having learned to cast on, she commenced what appeared to be a simple challenge: Harald Hardrada's beard. 

   Starting with three stitches, she seemed to acquire more and more until the result closely resembled the trunk of an elephant. Never daunted by minor set-backs, Doc Barbara simply changed her plan and incorporated into it Hannibal's ventures as an example of a military pincer movement common to many successful battles. We caution all our readers to remain patient as the enterprise may take a little while to come to full fruition.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Doc Barbara's Whatsit

        As her devoted followers in this newspaper know and as those who pass her in the street soon come to realise, Doc Barbara is not vain about her own personal appearance but is always sympathetic to the foibles of others. She has frequently heard women ask each other: "Does my bottom look fat in this?" and noted that the friend always answers negatively. Also she has learned that such people buy expensive devices like electronic bracelets to check on their daily health, number of steps taken and general amplitude and has come to feel that this situation must be remedied. Appreciating that perpetual motion is the key and that one should never be seated during the day, she is in the middle of inventing a gadget which will encourage this.
       The process is yet to be completed but the item will consist of a drawing pin attached to a low-slung ribbon worn round the hips with the pin at the rear so that the wearer is alerted when s/he attempts a sedentary posture. This widget, to be named the Fatbotsitnot, will be given away free but users are invited to make a donation to her current favourite charity: The Society for the Increase of frog Numbers. (Those who observe the lower case 'f' will recall that amongst Doc Barbara's few faults is slight xenophobia). We do not have a photograph of the Fatbotsitnot as yet but our cub reporter (who will keep using his initiative despite our warnings) has provided us with an image of one swan demanding of another: "Does my backside look big like this?"

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Vital Clue to Disappearance of Frogs

   A few weeks ago Doc Barbara called upon the investigative expertise of the W.U.G. (Women's Undomesticated Group) to help solve the problem of her frogless pond. She had hoped to enlist Alpha Male Pin-Up Mr Froggie to inspire others to return and perform their Springtime duties of procreation but this exclusive photograph shows why this may not be possible for some time.

   Doc Barbara believes that her ally had realised that the pond needed a sloping plank of wood to help his fellow amphibians climb out and had gone to a carpentry workshop to create a suitable exit strategy. Here, on a cutting edge piece of equipment, our hero sustained the injury which has prevented amorous endeavours and which may prove to be an impediment until next season as a clean incision can take longer to heal. Our thoughts go out to this brave creature to sustain him in his hour of need.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Doc Barbara Gets the Bird

   Although Doc Barbara wishes to harmonise with all living creatures, with a special preference for the lower invertebrates, she has not yet managed to love the call of the wood pigeon, finding it, if she were to be totally honest within herself, monotonous and unimaginative. 

   A believer in making small adjustments wherever her talents seem relevant, she has decided to re-educate this creature and teach it to vary its song with a theme at the start, a different melody in the middle and a return to the original adorned with flourishes at the end, in the general format of a Handelian da capo aria. Here, we are delighted to report, is a photograph of the bird emerging for its first lesson, head to one side and clearly keen to commence.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Doc Barbara redresses the balance

   Doc Barbara embraces the globe metaphorically speaking but she also feels strongly about her local connections. This can prove difficult when living in Monmouthshire which is on the borders of England and Wales but, as her devoted followers know, she loves a new challenge. Whenever in London she stands erect before an iconic monument such as Nelson's Column and sings the Welsh National Anthem: Mae hen wlad fy nhadau ..." loudly and clearly to the astonishment of passers-by. We do not claim that she has perfect pitch but, if she cannot do bel canto, she can belto.

   Last week she visited Cardiff Bay to perform her vital mission in reverse by singing Rule Britannia outside the Millennium Centre:

   All those who heard were visibly impressed as could be seen from their increased speed of march as they adapted to her rhythms. The sole flaw in the whole experience occurred when she waited several hours for a bus home beneath this canopy before realising that it was not a terminus but the Welsh National assembly.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Important Clue to Frog Absence?

   Although Doc Barbara has entrusted the mystery of her pond's vanished frogs to the W.U.G., she continues to keep a keen and relentless eye open for solutions, since her curiosity never diminishes. When, on one of her many fearless expeditions to a neighbouring town, she observed this man, she became instantly suspicious.

    He seemed to her to have climbed a pedestal bearing a Drone with the specific intention of spying on local waters to detect the presence of amphibians. She toyed with the notion of reporting the matter to the police but decided instead to give The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece the full inside story in the hope that members of the public would assist in the search for the perpetrator of the injury to alpha male Froggie. Where would we be without her exploits to excite the fervour of our readers?
("In a lot more newsagents!" - The Brynbuga Beagle.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Further Information on Lack of Frogs

   For two years, Doc Barbara has been concerned about the disappearance of frogs from her pond and even went so far as to hire a male model pin-up to encourage erotic amphibian activity. As you can see from this photo of a frogless pool, she has been unsuccessful, though the goldfish at the back looks suspiciously fat and well fed after a long winter.

   However, some progress has been made in tracking down the cause of the problem and a sighting of our alpha individual with his leg bandaged, obviously by an adoring female, has suggested to our heroine that he could be indisposed for a while. How the injury was caused remains cloaked in mystery but members of the local W.U.G. (Women's Undomesticated Group), long famed for their detective abilities, have offered to investigate. Meanwhile all we wish is that Froggie gets back on his feet and performs with zeal and gusto.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Doc Barbara calms election fever

   We are all keen to follow the election preliminaries but Doc Barbara, determined as always to uphold her civic duties, is  resolved on adding her bit. Aware that politicians might be travelling around the country stirring up apathy whilst voters agonise over their choice, she has manufactured a machine that will deduce the personality of anyone using it and advise them on which way to cast their vote.

   She will  park herself, her machine and her assistant in Trafalgar Square and will accost passers by at random. Her helper was carefully selected so that he does not resemble any of the leaders but, now that he is in place, Doc Barbara fears that he has a look of them all when viewed from different angles.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Proof positive of Doc Barbara's knitting preparations

   Readers of this paper : "The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece" will be aware of the (sometimes) amicable rivalry between us and our sister rag: "The Brynbuga Beagle." This warfare ranges from the jocular to the jugular and is at its most hostile over the topic of Doc Barbara, the dastardly "Beagle" claiming that no editor should concern him/herself with the doings of this unusual person for whom they have many and varied insults.  At times they go as far as to insinuate that her exploits are fiction, a charge that we repudiate vehemently.

  In particular, they have queried her project of knitting all the characters in British history just as the Welsh grandmother, Denise Salway, has done with personalities from Wolf Hall. Below is a photograph of our heroine with the multicoloured wool she has bought for her endeavour and we have every intention of keeping you informed as she stitches her way through the centuries.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Google instructs Doc Barbara

   When logging in to her new Chromebook this morning, Doc Barbara learned that today is International Day of Happiness. Always one to add a little uplift to everyone's joy she intends to go out into her native town and dance through the streets chanting: "Singin' in the rain." The optimum time for this will be during the eclipse when spirits might troubled and so we may not be able to provide photographs of this remarkable double event. Despite her willingness to conform, Doc Barbara does wonder if, in some parts of the world, others will feel in the mood.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Doc Barbara looks to the skies

   Followers of our regular Doc Barbara column in The Monmouthshire Mouthpiece - and they are both numerous and devoted - will know that she endeavours to uphold time-honoured British values in her daily life: courage, enterprise, stiff upper lip and regular tooth-flossing (although she finds the last two difficult to achieve simultaneously). Yet she is also keen to keep abreast of the latest technology and has recently purchased a Chromebook, attracted to the idea that is does not carry viruses, since she is apt to suffer from a sore throat come the winter.

   Learning that material is stored on a cloud, she felt that this device is ideal for normal weather in her native land but this morning, on waking to the clear sky pictured above, she worried that the record of her exploits would be lost. A friendly local builder offered to have a look for her and reassured her that all is well, but our gallant lady continues to be anxious and will only rest content when normal gloom is restored. "Put on your new coat," advised one of her admirers, "every silver lining has a cloud."

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Doc Barbara is needled

   Many of her loyal followers will have noticed that Doc Barbara's exploits have been suspended recently. This is because she was engaged in painting "Paradise Lost" but, now that this epic venture is complete, she has a new enterprise. Having read of the success of Welsh grandmother, Denise Salway, in knitting dolls portraying characters in Wolf Hall she has decided to emulate her and produce figures from all British history. Having bought knitting needles in all sizes and several tons of top quality wool, she is ready to start. Tonight her daughter will teach her how to cast on.