Professor Humperdink III

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29.9.07

Seven of Cups, reversed


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Tarot of the Slugs

Finland


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We travel through Finland as fast as we can, stopping only to take part in the Pelkosenniemi kykka championships. Kykka is played by first placing small cylindrical blocks of wood within a square of ground and then catching three reindeer and placing them within the square. The bowler, seated on his partner’s back, then hurls a specially cut stick, his object being to knock them all out with a minimum of throws. Weak players have privileges. I explained that I was out of condition and comparatively weak through an overindulgence of ouzo. Juan apologised and explained that he, too, had been recently weakened, by a variety of beautiful women. The Pelkosenneimian kykka committee were entirely sympathetic and kindly changed the rules for us, so that we played without the reindeer. Tomorrow, Lapland
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Professor Humperdink's Diary

Instrument inspection


Judy, looking at the hole in the back of the mandolin.


Swampy and Andy examining a dowel in the portable harmonium.
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International Toy Orchestra

28.9.07

To Finland






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We were interrogated in Athens by the evzenoi. Although it was difficult to avoid breaking down with laughter at being questioned by men in tights and pompons, they did not uncover our true identities. I explained that I was looking after Juan who, after twenty years praying in a hole, in the desert, was completely bananas. This was evident as Juan, suffering the effects of massive ouzo consumption, was singing unbelievably crude sea shanties and throwing the elite soldiers around in attempts to teach them to dance the hornpipe. We were released. For this consideration, Aunt Humperdink provides the evzenoi regiment with a great deal of skirts, fezzes and pompons, at a significant discount.
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After celebrating our release by drinking barrels of ouzo we travelled in the wrong direction for hundreds of miles. In Mali Robit, the village elders took the opportunity to show Aunt Humperdink their latest fezzes. In Macedonia, Juan picked Helen, the young woman on the right of the photograph, this caused disbelief amongst her colleagues. (Owing to an ouzo-sodden brain, the details elude me). In Istanbul we joined our friends, the Mawlawis, whose chief rite consist of a whirling dance with eyes shut and extended arms, continued until the dancers fall senseless, with whom, to celebrate the arrival of their new fezzes, we danced for hours. Spinning, with our eyes shut, we continually bump into each other and slowly batter ourselves unconscious. It has all been a lot of fun but we are behind schedule and head for Finland as fast as we can.
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Professor Humperdink's Diary

27.9.07

Athens





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We have been warned by headquarters that the Greek authorities are aware of our presence and that we are being hunted by the elite Evzonoi. We travel in secret, disguised as priests of the Christian Orthodox Church. Arrived in Athens and drank an extraordinary amount of ouzo. Hopelessly drunk, Juan, suddenly put his hat on backwards, walked out on to the balcony and sang a filthy song, while banging a gong with a hammer. This alerted the Evzonoi. We were about to escape when they marched around the corner, each one sporting an embroidered jacket, a fez with turquoise tassels, scarlet shoes, a short white skirt and blue pompoms. Helpless with laughter, we are arrested.
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Professor Humperdink's Diary

26.9.07

To Greece


Afina


Desislava and her sisters
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Before leaving Rumania we make a quick visit to Craiova where Afina is doing a wonderful job caring for Aunt Humperdink's vineyards in the area. She takes Juan away. I carry on to Kazanlik where I join Desislava and her sisters in the sheltered valley beneath the Balkan mountains. They insist on picking three hundred pounds of rose blooms which they then convert into one ounce of attar of roses, as a gift for Aunt Humperdink who, by consistently ordering their entire annual crop for her Grasse perfumery, has helped Desislava's family create the largest rose gardens in the world and made Desislava and her family fabulously wealthy. Tomorrow, Greece.
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Professor Humperdink's Diary

25.9.07

Rumania








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We stay in Brezoi for as long as we possibly can but now, terribly behind schedule and rather unwell owing to vast consumption of tzuica, we rush through Rumania stopping only to take part in some dancing, and a minor peasant's uprising.
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Professor Humperdink's Diary

23.9.07

Brezoi


Doctor Juan Džugi Perez
Professor Andrzej Alousis Humperdink III
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Owing to incredible overindulgence of unique, flavoursome and powerful Yugoslavian alcoholic beverages with our Bosnian friends we are, again, terribly ill and behind schedule. Despite being due in Bulgaria, travelling through Rumania, we can not pass up the opportunity to visit our people, who are presently camped outside Brezoi. In so many western countries, in order to maintain our cover, we must present ourselves in the somewhat starched fashions appropriate to the prevailing culture; it is a tremendous relief, therefore, to be able to let our hair down, relax, and spend some time with our beloved Tzigani families.
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Professor Humperdink’s Diaries: The Professor’s selection

21.9.07

Bosnia


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Stopped, briefly, in Bosnia where Aunt Humperdink (on the left of the photograph) spends some time chatting with Jagoda and Jovana, in her Serajevo bazaar. She introduces them to the Zippo; a portable device used to create a flame, invented by her friend George Blaisdell. Because of its ease of handling, durability and pleasing click as the top is opened, Aunt believes the Zippo will be very popular amongst Serbian peasant farmers and become an attractive, useful and lucrative addition to the fruit and vegetables normally sold in her Yugoslavian markets.
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Professor Humperdink's Diary

17.9.07

Rome


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Aunt Humperdink has been recognized by the Italian government as the full, sole and independent supplier of uniforms to the Cittá del Vaticano. At her villa, Castel Gandolfo, two of her brightest young designers, Pantalleone and Saturnino, show off their latest creation.
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Professor Humperdink’s Diary

16.9.07

Italy







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We drank Chianti in Tuscany, Barolo in Piedmont, Lachrymae Christi in Vesuvius, Capri from the Naples district and arrived in Fiesole feeling unwell. Most of the inhabitants of Fiesole are engaged in plaiting straw garments for Aunt Humperdink. Angelica plaits me a new Caraja devil’s costume, for the next time I visit Brazil. Before leaving for Rimini, we visit one of Aunt Humperdink’s quarries in Carrara where Juan works off his hangover by cutting a seventy-ton block of marble and, using one of his Chinese labour teams, has it transported to Delhi where it will be used on Aunt Humperdink’s temple for the Untouchables.
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Professor Humperdink’s Diary

12.9.07

Spain




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We only have a few hours before heading for Italy and spend most of our time in the bull-ring. Although Juan numbers amongst the most adored matadors of the age, he looks upon Spanish bull-fighting with disdain. He finds it laughable that the specially bred Spanish fighting bulls are first baited by mounted picadores with their lances, then by the banderilleros with their darts and finally killed by the sword of an espada. However, the bull so weakened makes bull-fighting a safe, easy pastime and raises a great deal of money, and Juan has several families, and many lovers to support. He sees off a dozen or so bulls before declaring that he too thirsty to continue. We celebrate being in Andalusia by drinking tremendous quantities of wine. Juan’s sister, Jacinta, danced with Aunt Humperdink. We are due in Venice tomorrow and have to rush on. We will be sorry to leave Spain, the dancing, the wine, the beautiful women, and promise to return as soon as we can.
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Professor Humperdink’s Diary

Madeira








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Because of rough seas and a strong head-wind, we took longer than expected in rowing Aunt Humperdink’s floating craft market to Madeira, thus we have only a limited time to explore its noble headlands, deep ravines and snow-covered peaks. As the islanders are somewhat primitive and have yet to invent the wheel, we travel around the island in a wheel-less bullock taxi.
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Before arriving in Spain, we visit São Miguel where Juan lends Neddy to our old friend Jeanette, who will be using him to transport pineapples to the coast, and Aunt Humperdink tests out one of the wooden exercise bikes for which the island is famous.
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Professor Humperdink’s Diary

10.9.07

Portugal


Buying cattle in Andorra


Dancing in Monaco



Candelaria


Aunt Humperdink's market in Oporto

Driving under the influence
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After a brief stop in Andorra, to buy cattle, and Monaco for some dancing and gambling, we arrive in Portugal where Candelaria has been waiting for Juan. She takes him away. I wander around Aunt Humperdink’s market in Oporto where I buy some barrels of the wine made from the grapes grown in her vineyards of Paiz de Vinho on the Douro. Juan catches up with me and, after drinking a lot of excellent port, we load the barrels on oxen carts, unfortunately we are both incredibly drunk and, confused, we immediately steer the beasts into the river.
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Professor Humperdink’s Diary

Web


Professor Humperdink's Gallery

9.9.07

St. Jake of Pasadena

Cowboys don’t really make good candidates for canonization. There were too many temptations in the form of whiskey, loose women, and life on the range. St. Jake was an exception. He originally acquired a reputation for holiness from his habit of saying a prayer over every gunslinger he killed in shootouts, but now is mostly remembered for his pithy sayings:
“The way I figure it, no rootin’ tootin’ redskin’s a gonna get salvation, leastways, not this side of the apocalypse.”
“Old Man J.C. was forever a-sayin’ “Consider the lilies” but I’m a sayin’ to you, “Consider the cows”.
“I opine that God’s grace is there for all, mebbe even rattlers and redskins”.
He is also remembered for converting the entire Black Dog tribe to Christianity, some say at gun point, shortly before they were wiped out by the sixth cavalry, and for running the Chi-Rho Ranch, which sent cattle to stockyards all over the West.
A reader has been kind enough to send us the text of a sermon by St. Jake of Pasadena, in which he explains how he was converted to Christianity. This is a very rare item. Here’s the key part of it.
“One time, me an the boys was a plottin to rob the Third National Bank in Dodge City. We was mighty serious about it too. We even darn well planned the whole operation! Anyways, the Culver City Kid was the driver, and Elmo the Faggot was ridin’ shotgun. Black Bart was to run into the Bank, yellin’ this is a darn hold up, an’ shootin’ all over the place, an I was supposed to hold the sack to put the money inta. Anyways, the night before, I drank a coupla bottles of whiskey to steady ma nerves. I reckon’ I musta dozed of, cos next thing I’m a seein’ is an angel of the Lord. That sure was some sight! Her hat, her gunbelt, her wings, her chaps, they was all a-shimmerin with this uncanny glow, an she a-said to me “Jake, Jake, goest thou not unto the Third National Bank that lieth in Dodge City in the morning, for thine gang of desperados shall be wiped from the face of the earth. Thou hast been warned!” An so I went back t’ sleep, and I guess that was a dang miracle, cos I didn’t wake up till the aft’noon, and next thing I’m a hearin’ that ma boys done the raid without me, and they all got shot, an buried out on Boot Hill, an I learned ma lesson from that. Praise the Lord.”
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Contributed by Dr Rofkind Scharf

8.9.07

Daphne


Daphne, on Arabic pipe
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International Toy Orchestra

7.9.07

Dale and Spike


Dale, on small guitar


Spike, on sound machine
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International Toy Orchestra

6.9.07

To Andorra


Marcel, Gaston and Neddy


Aunt Humperdink's Perfumery


Blancheflour


La grenouille entière
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Before we leave for Andorra, Juan's uncle, Marcel, wanted to deliver some petals to Aunt Humperdink's perfumery in Grasse, unfortunately Gaston, his old dog, wasn't quite strong enough to pull the fully laden cart by himself, so Marcel borrowed Neddy for the journey. While they headed for the Alpes-Maritimes, I visited my old friend, Blancheflour, who lives in one of the rock dwellings on the river Loire. Her home consist of a cavern, the entrance to which is blocked by a wall containing doors and windows, and is very comfortable. Juan caught up with me here and, before we leave for Andorra, Blancheflour very kindly cooks us a large and tasty frog. Frog's legs, enjoyed by all French people, are a superb delicacy but Juan, having a great appetite, prefers to eat the entire creature.
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Professor Humperdink’s Diary

4.9.07

Paris






Spent the evening drinking great quantities of wine. This morning, dreadfully hung over, browsed Aunt Humperdink’s bookstalls along the embankments of the Seine. Picked up a decent copy of Bulfinch’s ‘Age of Fable’, within which one of Elinore Blaisdell’s paintings perfectly illustrates my condition. Although we are expected in Les Roches valley and have to rush on, I manage to spend a short time playing the vielle with my friends Benoit, on the native bagpipe, and Benezet, on the accordion.
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Professor Humperdink’s Diary

3.9.07

Katya


Katya, on ukulele
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International Toy Orchestra

2.9.07

Brittany


Melita

Gaëlle
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In Savoy, under the shadow of Mont Blanc, with Melita and Gaëlle. With Aunt Humperdink's assistance, their skilfully made lace decorated costumes achieve a magnificent price, which has made the area extremely wealthy. Melita takes Juan away. Gaëlle prepares lunch, a delicacy from the Alpine mountain streams, pummelled fresh-water squid.
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Professor Humperdink’s Diary

1.9.07

To France


Aunt Humperdink's market


Gretel, Greta and Grete


Lapwing
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In Luxemburg City with Aunt Humperdink (on the far right of the photograph), inspecting butter and eggs in her market. Grete, Greta and Gretel, three fine young hat designers from Liechtenstein, showed off their latest range, which, utilising Aunt Humperdink’s distribution services, are selling very well in Paris, London, Rome and New York, so well that Liechtenstein now has no national debt and has abolished income tax. Leaving Juan with the girls, I sail on ahead in my sturdy little sloop, Lapwing.
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Professor Humperdink's Diary