Snow creates a nation of cakemakers


Well, it’s all but gone from these parts, but there was a lot of snow around here. The result has been some major first world problems like the shortage of eggs and flour. Yes in the local supermarket there is a distinct lack of eggs and self-raising flour. Almost as if the answer to “the Beast from the East” as the newspapers would have us call our latest spate of bad weather, with roads blocked by snow drifts and people literally in a spin in their cars, was to head for the nearest supermarket and buy every available egg and bag of flour. Victoria Sponges would be the salvation of all of us in the moment of crisis.

Let’s bake!

18. Chaaaaaaaaaaaarge! Also: Peeeeeeaowww!! Sping!!! Sklunk!!!! 


Although Scary Mary didn’t know it, there is a bed and breakfast in Scarborough called The Mayfair Hotel. It’s in Trafalgar Square near the cricket ground and, at that exact moment, there was a cat being sick in the garden while a seagull was dropping a little present on the landlady’s hat as she trod on a hairy caterpillar on her garden path as she stepped out to go shopping for a packet of ‘Toad’ brand washing powder.

It is hardly surprising therefore that Scary Mary should end up sitting on the roof of the said Mayfair Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, RAC and AA, No Vacancies. She looked around and saw, over to the south west of her, what at first she thought was a swarm of bees. When she realised it was a swarm of arrows, she quickly did her cloud spell, whizzed over to the battlefield and immediately muttered a few more choice magic words.

The arrows did a synchronised loop-the-loop one and a half times, and sped whence they came. None of the Nosepipe archers was killed but every single one of them was fixed to the ground by an arrow which went completely through his right boot, between his toes, and deep into the ground.

Scary Mary thought this was terribly funny and nearly fell out of her cloud laughing. King Nicky Tams and Tracy had the sun in their eyes and couldn’t see the tiny little black splodge in the sky. They thought they might have heard an oh-so-familiar dirty laugh, but no, it wasn’t possible.

The Ang Gonnasec soldiers were much encouraged by the way things had turned out and, with totally unheard-of bravery and impulsiveness, drew their swords and shouted “Chaaaaarge!”. Down the hillside they ran, cheering and singing “One King Canoe. There’s only one King Canoe-hoo. One King Canoe-hoo, there’s only one King Canoe-hoo.”

The Nosepipe archers were all bending over trying to pull their arrows out of the ground and so were in no fit state to receive a lot of cold steel. Scary Mary, wiping the tears of laughter from her eyes, did a spell of Doggy Poo. The Ang Gonnaseckians stopped charging and began wiping the sides of their pink plastic sandals on the grass. Most did this with one hand on another’s shoulder for support, and almost all actually turned around to do it, leaving them with their backs to the Nosepipians.

Nickytams arrow555

Tracy rapped out some orders, sharpish.

“Archerrrrrrrs……kneel! Air pistoleeeeeers….forward! Opeeeen….tins! Extraaaaaact…..slugs! Load! Aim! FIRE!”

The Ang Gonnaseckians felt red-hot and very unpleasant sensations in their fleshy parts. They leapt in the air, put their hands on their hot spots and, forgetting the dog poo, ran and ran and kept on running. So that was it. Battle over.

Queen Scary Mary had to have another little laugh at the thought of her nitwit of a son being a conquering king, and then she slipped away on her cloud for a bit of a holiday. She needed it, she thought, after the jail and the magic.

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?