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17. And that would have been that. 

Our latest episode of Nicky Tams the King of Nosepipe
as told by Gordon Thorburn and illustrated by myself



And that would have been that. 

Except for a fountain pen that didn’t work.


The Battle of Scarborough could so easily have ended with that first strike. What chance, after all, did a busload of weedy and demoralised pink shell-suit types have, against 500 deadly Nosepipian arrows?

Meanwhile, back in the dungeon of the Nosepipe Royal Palace, Queen Scary Mary was writing her memoirs and her pen was playing up. The ink supply wasn’t getting consistently to the little steel knib at the end. No matter what she wrote, the result was a dotted blotted line.

In a burst of temper she threw the pen across the room, sending a spell after it which turned it into a bluebottle with one wing which dived, spinning, into a spider’s web. The spider came out, bit the bluebottle and settled down to dinner. That was the end of Scary Mary’s pen but, for no reason at all, a thought flitted across her mind which was to change the course of history.

Quickly she searched through her memoirs for a spell she had once used to win a game of ‘Monopoly’ against her late husband, King Nicky Tams the Muscular. In this game she had kept on drawing the card which says ‘Go to Jail. Go directly to Jail, do not pass Go, do not collect £200’, but she never seemed to have the ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card when she needed it. So, she had thought up a spell, escaped from the Jail square, put hotels on Mayfair and Park Lane and won the game.

“We’ll try it now,” she said to herself, smoothing the page of her memoirs.

They had given her a ‘Monopoly’ board to play with in her dungeon, so she put it on the floor and put her favourite playing piece, the boot, on the Jail square.

Queen Scary Mary, ever mindful of her public responsibilities, then took her curlers out, brushed her hair and changed from her nylon quilted housecoat with the forget-me-nots into her black going-out mini-dress, and from her blue mule slippers with the white pom-poms into her thigh-length black leather boots.

Gathering all her magical strength she stood on the ‘Monopoly’ board, held her breath, and thought the spell at full whack.

Pall Mall, Vine Street, Old Kent Road,

Cat sick, bird muck, powdered toad.

Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square,

Caterpillar’s juice and hair.

King’s Cross Station, Water Co,

I’m in Jail and he’s on Go.

My hotel’s on Mayfair blue,

How I want to land on YOU!

Where did that come from?


This was one of a series of posts I did some years ago where I amended the same drawing for each post, creating a different idea each time. I had the thought that it was a good idea but, like all these things that I seem to do, it petered out after a while. I quite like this one given our present weather here in the UK.

It’s my son’s birthday today, he was born on the 29th February, so Happy Birthday Joe! Just started his own coffee bar and seems to be a natural at an understated humour on his Facebook postings about the place. He’s there in Sheffield battling freezing conditions and keeping the Yorkshire people warm with his brilliant coffee. Take a trip to see him, either for real, or on-line right here:  Joe’spresso

Daughter is off to California tomorrow, where the weather might be described as balmy, and the people eccentric. Or is it the other way around?