Friday, 26 November 2010

More conversations from the Badger Sett

Guest post by MrLumpyBadger

SCENE: Mr & Mrs Badger watching "Russel Howard's Good News" on BBC3. A very heartwarming 3 minute short is shown concerning "Dogs for the Disabled" featuring a very cute golden retriever, and a ... well, a Disabled.

Disabled Girl (on tv): ... He's my best friend ... I love him ...

Mr Badger: Of course you realise he'll be dead within 12 years.

Mrs Badger: NOOOOOOO! That's AWFUL! You can't say that!


Although ... she'll probably be dead by then too.

Oh why does this woman abuse me so?

So I iz sitting in me buckets, tryings to relaz after a hard dayz droolings, as is any gentleman's right. I hads a couple of complaints. First offs, water iz not deep enough. I likes to drinks my baths, and recentlies, no matterz how fars I put my feets up, still cannot get mouthes under waterz. Alsos, massage I ordered not been delivered. But stills, was trying my best to relaz, despites these irritations.

And then this womans come along (she sez she iz my mothers. I haz som doubts). And she putz this on Lumpies headz. And larfs. And larfs.

Then she gets photo-making-box, to record Lumpies shame and publish to the worldz. No picturz, I sez. Leave me in peas! I deservz privitsy. But she ignorz.

I makes stupid things fall off.

She putz back on.

She iz idiot, I thinkz.

I iz movings out. Soon as I escapes buckets.

Monday, 22 November 2010


Lumpy has been teething for, oh... 15 or 16 years now. The first decade or so wasn't too bad - lots of drooling, a bit of finger chewing, nothing we couldn't handle. Then it started to progress. The whole fist was in the mouth, and then both fists (a trick he learnt from his mother, who had a cabaret act entirely based around this skill in the 1930s), till we began to fear our son would be left with nothing but gnawed-off stumps on the end of his arms. This was accompanied by a veritable deluge of saliva, which could soak though an outfit (and any surrounding furniture or unfortunate bystanders) in about 42 seconds.

Witness my drool and quake, feeble earthlings!

Mmmmmm, tasty fist. Ang ang annnnnng.

And then it actually started bothering him. This generally manifested itself as a steady, low gaaaaaaaaaaaahhhuuuuuugggghhhooohhhhhhhhwaaaaaaaaaagffffff sort of a noise (through the filter of two fists, of course). It wasn't crying exactly, just the registering of a constant grumbling complaint, as if steadily penning shirty letters to the Daily Mail about these immigrant teeth and how they keep coming over here and invading our Great British gums. We bought him every type of teething toy and implement known to man, from Sophie the poncy French giraffe (apparently 9 out of 10 French babies are given one of these. The tenth one gets a wildebeast moulded out of Camembert, the poor little fucker) to a moose with mouthable antlers and various plastic aquatic creatures you can put in the freezer. None elicited much excitment on the part of Lumpy, or seemed to provide much relief. Nope, the double fister was the only thing fit for the job (and yes, I intended that to sound as rude as it did).

And so, as in many situations in the past, we turned to drugs. We took to slathering his chops with liberal amounts of teething gel, which seemed to shut him up for a few minutes at least. Whether this was due to the analgesic relief, or just because it was something that tasted a bit more interesting than bloody breast milk, who can tell. Unfortunately, we now seem to have created a little addict, as every time I let the Calgel tube pass in front of Lumpy's eyes, he starts to flail and grab for it, in desperate, crazed withdrawal. Which is exactly what we dreamed of for our darling son.

And, as I cave in to my (almost) five-month-old junky, and rub the sweet opiate around his mouth, what do I feel poking through those tender gums? Absolutely nothing. After centuries (at least) of grizzling, and drooling, and fist-munching, and a bit more drooling, and then some additional grizzling, there are no teeth in evidence whatsoever. Either they will all just pop out at once overnight, and I will wake to a be-fanged monstrosity in the cot, ready to munch my nipples into bloodied scabs (when Lumpy was about 10 days old I actually dreamt this happened, so am particularly phobic of this occurrence), or it's all a big con, and he will remain a gummy droolbag into his mid-forties.

Better buy some shares in Calgel, either way.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

A spiffing weekend in the country

Last weekend we took a big risk. We tried to recreate our wild, crazy, decadent life BL (Before Lumpy: a time now heavy with myth, rumour, and downright lies), by embarking on a country-house weekend with a gang of merry, young, and (most essentially) unchild-encumbered friends. This is something we did a lot BL - renting a place somewhere as near to the sea as possible, filling it to the eaves with wine and delicious foodstuffs, and proceeding to laze about and talk bollocks from Friday to Sunday, with occasional forays to the pub or into the sea.

From the moment I got that positive test, I'd wondered whether we'd ever get to do this again. In fact, just a couple of weeks after getting up the duff, we went on one of these weekends down to Devon, and it had been a rather difficult few days. We hadn't announced my delicate condition yet, and in order to avoid being instantly found out I had to pretend to quaff vast amounts of alcohol all weekend. For, in my former life, I was such a commited lush that if anyone saw me drinking anything less than 40% proof, they'd immediately smell a rat. And a very pregnant rat at that (which are particularly stinky, let me tell you). We considered going down the 'I'm on antibiotics' route, but there are several doctors in the group, who would undoubtedly have insisted on a full description of my symptoms, the drugs prescribed, and possibly an in-depth physical examination. And so we did an emergency supermarket run, and bought up all of the non-alcoholic wine and beer that we could find. Supermarkets sell alcohol-free alcohol! Who'd have imagined it? And, more to the point, who'd want to drink the bloody stuff?

Because, believe me, it is truly, utterly, foul. It is just wrong in so, so many ways. The red wine, for example, tastes like mouldy ribena, and doesn't even manage to look like wine, instead resembling aenemic gnat's blood. This makes it rather difficult to pass off as real wine, and since the beer is helpfully labeled "ALCOHOL FREE - NO FUN HERE GUARANTEED!" in large flashing letters, I was pretty much stuck with the white 'wine'. Which is a cheeky little number with overtones of urinal and a punchy finish reminiscent of having a live herring forced down your throat.

But all of the wine's failings in terms of taste, smell, and appearance pale into insignificance when you consider its one major flaw.

There's no bloody alcohol in it.

So there was I, trying not to grimace as I sipped at this rancid (pregnant) rat's piss, valiantly pretending that it was actually a crisp young Sauvignon or a tantalizing white Burgundy, while attempting not to vomit everywhere. And however much of the godforsaken stuff I poured down my neck, I did not get even slightly pissed.

What fun that weekend was.

So, as Lumpy's internal invasion progressed, I started to wonder whether we would ever get to enjoy one of these debauched weekends ever again. Who knew what this little wriggly alien would be like, once he'd burst out through my stomach (that's what happens, right? My memory's a bit blurry on the physical dynamics of the whole thing). What if he was one of those non-stop screamy babies? Or what if I went properly barmy afterwards, and couldn't be allowed out in public? What if we became total baby bores, incapable of discussing anything except poo, vomit, lady bits, and placenta lasagne?

All this has happened, of course (except for the screamy baby bit - the Lumpster has remained almost preternaturally cheerful, despite his parents, who are, like, soooo embarrassing).

But then a friend who had been off shooting lions in Africa (or possibly saving babies, one or the other) was due to return, and much feasting and debauchery was required to celebrate her survival. I cunningly jumped in and offered to find a house and arrange the booking, so that people wouldn't be able to arrange something without inviting us. I had a quick search of the interwebs, and almost immediately came across this place. It looked perfect - and was in the absolute middle of nowhere, so no one would be able to escape.

Surprisingly, everyone seemed quite keen to come along with us (ha ha, the fools!), so I booked it up, and sat back to wait for the previously placid Lumpy to transform himself into a snarling, wailing hellbeast, just in time for the weekend away.

And so the weekend arrived. We drove down early on the Friday, following the extraordinary directions with increasing disbelief and mild concern. We drove down a no through road, marked 'Works Traffic Only', and then arrived at a barrier. After some mild arguing between the Badgers, I jumped out and pressed the button. A phone inside the booth began to ring. I looked back at the car, then slid the glass aside and picked up the receiver.

"Yes?" came a disembodied voice.

"Er, we're going to Ower Quay Cottage," I said, glancing nervously at the security cameras, half expecting a platoon of armed guards to come swarming from the surrounding woods and shoot us to death for no good reason.

"OK," said the voice. "Do you know the way?"

"Yes!" I confidently declared, because I am stupid.

We didn't know they way, of course. And proceeded to demonstrate this fact by driving through the barrier, ignoring the turn that we were meant to take, and heading straight into a large car park filled with men in yellow jackets who examined us quizzically. We made a circuit of the car park in a calm, surveying manner, before finally heading down the road we were meant to take. We had to wait at another barrier, which magically opened automatically - no doubt because the disembodied voice was sitting in a watchtower somewhere pointing and laughing at us.

We continued down a long and winding road through a forest, occasionally passing strange industrial apparatus behind high, barbed-wire fences. It started to rain, and I merrily informed Mr Badger that the road we were on would soon become an unmade track. Which it certainly did.

"Well, it'd be a good place for a murder," said Mr Badger cheerfully, as the track suddenly took an eccentric route directly across a field. We had to swerve wildly to avoid potholes and rabbits, and rabbits stuck in potholes, and potholes stuck in rabbits (honestly). I had to get out of the car again, to open a gate, of all things, and then, as the rain became a constant sheet of water, we bumped our way along a final track and up to the house.

We sat in the car for a minute, gazing through the steamed up windscreen at the blurry building ahead of us.

"I think we've come on holiday by mistake," I said, before sending Mr Badger out into the rain to unload the car, while me and Lumpy stayed inside, in the dry, like sensible people.

He eventually returned with an umbrella, and we were persuaded out. And, my god, I fell in love with the place pretty much immediately. And with views like this literally right outside the front door, who can blame me:

This was after the sheeting rain cleared up, but still. Even through that, it was pretty bloody awesome. And it had its own peacock. How cool is that? From now on, I shall demand hot and cold running peacocks wherever I go.

I spent the next couple of hours merrily skipping around the different wings, showing Lumpy around our new house, while Mr Badger looked worried in the background, wondering if he'd need to call in the police to evict us on Monday morning.

By the time the others finally found their way through the wasteland, past the middle of nowhere, and back out the other side, it was pitch black outside, and little Lumpy was already tucked up and snoring in bed. Which was obviously an ideal introduction to the wonders of babies for our child-phobic friends. Much merriment and feasting commenced. The next morning, Lumpy was up bright and early to charm all comers with his bingo smiles and copious amounts of drool.

And so the charm offensive continued. There was barely a squawk of protest all weekend - from Lumpy or anyone else. At naptimes he went immediately to sleep without a murmur, and stayed asleep for a good two hours at a time. He even managed not to puke up over anybody for almost 48 hours. And so the weekend carried on much as such weekends always have - there were long yomps in the countryside, which turned into even longer yomps due to a complete lack of any sense of direction in any of the walkers; creative dinners, involving many roasted beasts, cheeses of various types, and unidentifiable root vegetables; a mere hogshead or two (per person) of booze, supplied by our resident alcy... I mean sommelier to the stars and purveyor of fine wines (JockWino! hunt him down on Twitter and relentlessly follow him!); copious talking of bollocks; and ill-advised swims in the icy, murky waters by the more certifiable of the party (some of whom decided to stay fully dressed, which was probably wise, if somewhat foolish looking).

And through it all, Lumpy was a delight, laughing uproariously at even the lamest of jokes and never hogging the port. He was not the burden we had feared, but a veritable boon. The perfect houseguest, in fact.

By Sunday afternoon, as everybody got ready to head back to the big smoke, even the most loudly anti-baby amongst the group had declared that Lumpy was actually quite cute and they may consider cancelling their sterilisations at some point in the future.

All this has led me to believe that Lumpy is a total show off. Because the minute everyone else had left, and we were alone in the house, he showed his dissatisfaction with the lack of an adoring audience by immediately vomming all over me. Then that night he squawked and squealed and generally grizzled all night long, driving his sleep-deprived and ever-so-slightly hungover parents to near distraction.

So we're moving into Ower Quay permanently, kidnapping all our friends, and forcing them to live with us. It's the only solution, really. And the peacock needs us.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom

We took Lumpy to a firework display, because babies love loud bangs and noisy, thronging crowds better than anything. And if he's going to achieve his ambition of becoming a mad scientist, he's going to have to get used to explosions and lots of screaming. Start 'em early, is what I say.

For this adventure we dressed him as a badger. Of course we did. All the better to increase the trauma and embarrassment of the entire experience:

It may not actually be a badger costume, I admit. It could be a zebra. Or a humbug. With eyes. But let's just say it's a badger, okay? He's the spawn of badgers, and is thus a badger. And doesn't he look pleased about it.

**Pause while Lumpy attempts to wrestle control of the keyboard...

halp!!11!! saaaave me frm thes peple,plllzzzzz... they is crayzees,,.

Sorry about that. Got him chained to the radiator again now. On we go.**

So we trussed little Lumpy up in his badger suit, slung him in his sling, and took him to a muddy field where people were setting things on fire. We ate some hog in a bun, with lashings of crackling (mmmm, delicious crispy pig skin. Can't beat it.) Mr Badger viciously refused to enter Lumpy in the children's fancy dress competition, despite the fact that he would clearly have won. C'mon! It's a baby! Dressed as a zebra badger! What says Halloween better than that? He'd have crapped all over those witches and pumpkins (probably literally).

But no. Mr Badger was more interested in the Beer Tent. Make of that what you will. I'm saying nothing.

And then Mrs Badger spotted the tombola.

Mrs Badger has a bit of history with tombolas. As a child, she was eerily lucky at these thrilling games of chance, with the winning tickets somehow magnetically attracted to her sticky little hands. Tombola organizers would quake at her approach, knowing that she would clear their supply of prizes in one fair swoop, emerging from every roll of the barrel with her arms full of chocolates, perfume, bottles of spirits, and other items entirely suitable for seven-year-old girls.

Mrs Badger may not have played a tombola for several years, but she was sure the luck was still with her. Surely such a gift never departs its possessor. She strode straight up to the stall and laid two pounds upon the table, then picked her six tickets from the barrel.

And, lo! The very first one she opened was a winner. Ha! She looked with pity at the stall holders, and cast her eyes over the selection of prizes. Which would be hers? That fine bottle of malt whiskey, perhaps? The radio-controlled blimp? The diamond necklace? Probably the lot of them! Ah ha ha haaaaaa.

She unfolded the next ticket. Not a winner. Oh well. Then the next, and the next, and the next. No more winners. But never mind. That first one would surely be something truly magnificent. The tombola-winning magic was still with her.

The stall holder took the ticket and went to find the prize. And returned with this:

In case you're not familiar with pointless tat, this is a pair of rose-scented coathangers. Because normal hangers are just not smelly, padded, or floral enough.

Mrs Badger's delight at this wondrous prize is clearly evident in the photo below. Along with Mr Badger's raging alcoholism, and Lumpy's general disapproval of the whole business:

And then there were some fireworks, apparently. But we were too busy exclaiming over the coathangers to notice them.

Speaking of tat, is this not the most disturbing thing you have ever witnessed in your life? It will haunt my dreams forever. Why?? Why, I ask you?

Friday, 5 November 2010

Smear campaign

Somehow I managed to get through the whole process of pregnancy and childbirth without ever having anyone poke around in, or even have much of a look at, my lady bits. As my epic, moo-intensive birth story explains, by the time we got to the hospital things were at such an advanced state that the midwife merely flashed her eyes at my undercarriage before running for her catcher's mitt.

I was pretty pleased with this situation, not being a fan of having strangers (or even fairly close acquaintances, to be honest) rummaging around my nether regions. But a few weeks ago I got a letter from the doctor, telling me that it was time for a smear. Well, hurrah, I thought. I've dropped a baby out of there. How bad can a little speculum be?

So off I skipped to the doctors, ready for a good scraping. My doctor (the same one I scared with my jazzy nappy liners) is rather headmistressish, and frankly quite petrifying. Just the sort of person you want coming at you with various proddy and scrapy things while you're naked from the waist down (and while we're on the subject, why does being naked from the waist down feel so much more naked than actually being completely naked? This surely defies the laws of physics in some way. I must consult Stephen Hawking about this at the first opportunity).

After bumbling about doing something lengthy and incomprehensible on the other side of the curtain while I was lying in my hyper-naked state, the headmistress-doctor finally graced me with her presence, and lost no time cranking my bits open and having a good poke about.

"Hmm," she said after some protracted jabbing. "I can't find your cervix."

"Maybe it's fallen out!" I chirruped, because I like making jokes while people are in between my legs. And, you know, it might have fallen out. Nobody had looked, after all. It could have slipped out when Lumpy bungeed out of there. A lot of stuff did seem fall out around that time, as far as I remember.

The doctor ignored me, and proceeded to insert her entire hand and most of her forearm up my vee-jay-jay.

"There it is!" she proudly declared, after a few minutes tickling my tonsils. And then celebrated her discovery by giving it a good scraping with a sharp and scrapy thing.

"Well, no wonder it was hiding," I would have said, if I hadn't been going "eeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyaaaaa!!! Stopscrapingmycervixwiththatscrapything pleeeeeeeeeeasssssssse!!"

And I only get to do this every three years. Life is just so unfair.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

What Little Girls Really Want

guest post by Mr Badger

In my years of solitude before "getting together* with" Mrs Badger, I was asked to be a Godparent to the newborn child of a good friend from college, who I shall call Dr Plant.

"For goodness sake why me?" I cried in genuine horror that I should be trusted with assisting the emotional well being of a tiny little boy. (Oh how we laugh at that level of commitment now!)

"Because you're single and therefore have disposable income that you can spend on him." came the sensible reply.

So fast-forward 10 years and I, Mrs Badger, and the eponymous Lumpy are round at Dr Plant's house with their 3 children, the eldest of which was having his 12th birthday. He is an earnest little soul, very academic and concerned about wildlife, science and the correct ordering of coloured pencils and legos. His current 'thing' is art, so he was naturally receiving lots of arty stuff like a watercolour set, an easel, paintbrushes etc. His 7 year old little sister, was squirming with unconcealed jealousy at him getting presents, but not at the content of the presents. The conversation with Dr Plant went something like this:

Daisy: "Why is he getting all this arty stuff?"

Dr Plant: "Because he likes art"

Daisy: "But he might not want everything to be arty"

Dr Plant: "What else would he like then?"

Daisy: "He might want a GUN"

* In this case "Getting Together With" means: "Becoming intimately acquainted with the jar of dead wasps that she kept in her so-called-room in the attic". I'm not even joking.

PPS - By the way, the picture is Mrs Badger showing Granddad Badger how to handle a firearm. Shoot that fish! That one, there. BANG!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Stumbling downstairs in my 'day pyjamas' (yes, I get up and put on fresh pyjamas. I'm not a total slob, you know), wrangling Lumpy, who was attempting to fling himself out of my arms in a kamikazee dive for the floor, I clumped over to the French doors and dragged the curtains open, to let in the glory of the grey, dismal day, in all its grey dismality.

And then I trod right in a pile of cat sick. It took me a moment to realize that it was cat sick, as I stood there with it oozing between my toes (I was in bare feet, naturally. Of course I was.). Hmmm, I thought. That feels squishy. And a bit lumpy. But it isn't Lumpy. He's still in my arms (just). I wiggled my foot around to get a better sense of what it was in, and then I looked down. Yes, there it was. Barely digested cat biscuits. Now stuck between my toes and ground nicely into the carpet.

Well, it makes a change from baby sick, I suppose.