Professor Humperdink III

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29.3.09

Kites

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After crashing, Juan asks if Ropkind meant that his aircraft was as easy to fly as a common kite, the bird, known for its wonderful flying, or the a kite, the bit of cloth that children drape over a few sticks, following impossible to understand instructions, such as ‘strut in position’ which is unnatural, then all the kite does is spin out of control, crash upside down, and break into bits.  I tell him that kites aren’t just for children and such luminaries as Guglielmo Marconi, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Bell were all keen kite designers, and that it was Alexander, in fact, who discovered that a circular shaped kite isn’t stable. 

Juan says this information is abut as interesting as a heap of numbles and, to cheer himself up, breaks open barrels of Vintage Tullibardine, Glendronach, Bunnahabhainn, and Craigellachie Private Reserve.  Now, lost, befuddled, and nugatiously behind schedule, we blow up our bagpipes and, blasting out ‘Bonnie Dundee’ and ‘Farewell to Aberfeldy’ we lollop around in erratic circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

27.3.09

New barrels

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Knuffishly behind schedule.  With a variety of people, and an anaconda, waiting for us to rescue them, our first priority is to replenish our dwindling supplies of Vintage Aberlour, Mortlach, Tomintoul, and Bruichladdich Special Reserve.  Kwa and Folu very kindly weave us baskets, for the malt, but, finding they leak; Jim and Donald, from Hartlepool, quickly knock together some sturdier barrels.  To celebrate the new barrels, Juan shares out noggins of his Special Reserve and we offer toast after toast to basket weavers, and salute all hoopers everywhere. 

To hasten our journey, we borrow an aeroplane from Ropkind Scharf.  I ask Ropkind if his aircraft is complicated to fly. Glancing at my sketch of Mahalath, flying a kite, Ropkind says his aeroplane is as easy to fly as a kite, and about as strong.  To celebrate, we break open barrels of Vintage Lagavulin, Glenrothes, Longmorn and Glen Elgin Special Reserve then, singing wild Tzigani songs and dancing wild Tzigani dances, clapping and cheering and yelling, bonkers with excitement, Juan tests the strength of the wings as we fly around in crazed, sorybantic circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

26.3.09

Sara and friends



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Juan complains that I deciphered the Humperdink code incorrectly, which is why we are in Sudan, rather than Perth.  However, after meeting Sara, he stops complaining and, after meeting her friends, Nina and Yana, he reminds me that Sudanese women are the most beautiful women in the world and that we should stay and meet them all.  This is a wonderful idea, but I point out that we have to rescue Jock and Mahalath in Humperdinkestine, as well as the recruits that I abandoned in the Desert of Angad, who are probably in a bad condition.  Juan adds that we also have to find a cart and rescue Sally, his anaconda, that we are running short of Vintage Tamdhu, Glenmorangie, Cardhu and Strathisla Special Reserve, and, dwalingly behind schedule, we are unlikely to make opening time in the Cheeky Monkey, in Aberfeldy. 

We quickly overcome our disappointment by admiring stunningly attractive women.  Cheering up, and admitting that I might have translated the Humperdink code correctly, Juan breaks opens barrels of Vintage Glencadam, Oban, Glenfiddich and Aberfeldy Private Reserve, to celebrate.  Now, swinging the ladies in wild Pictish reels, singing ‘My Heart is Sair for the Spittal of Glenshee’ offering toast after toast to the health and happiness of all the women of Sudan, brawling and clapping and shouting with excitement, we gyrate on the spot, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

Ragan and Gandi

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Inviting us to their rare breed sanctuary, George and Sabra tell us that dragons need protecting, as knights and saints slay them on sight.  We thank them for their invitation, but explain that we are daggishly behind schedule, and lost.  Juan shares out flasks of Vintage Caol lla, Oban, Pulteney, Benrinnes and Laphroaig Private Reserve and, to healthy doses of The Macallan, we offer toast after toast to George, Sabra and the health and happiness of dragons, dragonesses, and friends of dragons, everywhere. 

Sabra gives us a message from aunt Humperdink.  Aunt insists on writing in the Humperdink code.  I decipher the message to read that we should head for the Highlands, re-stock on fine vintage malt, and find a party.  To celebrate, Juan breaks open a barrel of his Special Reserve then,  saluting farewell to George, Sabra and the dragon; looking forward to Highland women who, Juan claims, are the most beautiful women in the world, and Highland single malt, the best malt on Earth,  and Highland hangovers, the most challenging hangovers on the planet, we blow up our bagpipes and, playing The Birks of Aberfeldy and The Muckhart Pool Mermaid as loudly as we can, we march forwards and backwards and from side to side then, collapsing, we crawl toward the Highlands, as fast as we possibly can.

Just as Juan says that, if we are quick, we will catch opening time at the Cheeky Monkey, in Aberfeldy, we are surprised to bump into Ragan and Gandi, two of our top Dogon agents, and realise that, rather than being in the Scottish Highlands, we are actually in the Bandiagara Highlands.  This is irritating.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

24.3.09

George and Sabra

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Because our experimental engine suddenly blew up, we spend a few days cutting ourselves out from the tangled wreckage and rescuing supplies of single malt from the shattered tanks.  This is a very irritating delay and, lost and parlously behind schedule, we quickly refresh ourselves with what remains of the Vintage Tomatin, Glen Scotia, Miltonduff, Bruichladdich and Strathisla Special Reserve, then stagger to the nearest town to get directions. 

Reaching a township, we are delighted to bump into our old friends, George and Sabra, with a surprisingly odd-looking horse.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary 

19.3.09

Bash testing

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We realise that, because we are daffishly behind schedule, to smash all the machinery, just using hammers, will take too long.  Juan points out that a quick way to demolish machinery is to hit it with heavy weights, so, after refreshing ourselves with Vintage Glendronach, Tamdhu and Interleven Private Reserve, we rush around the ship, swinging heavy weights and testing out bashing machines, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

17.3.09

Plan B


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If we can’t find an expert in experimental engines, who can stop our engine sensibly, our plan B is to smash everything that looks like an engine and as, to stop it falling into unfriendly hands, the engine is disguised; to smash everything that doesn’t look like an engine as well.  I say that it is a pity, to pound valuable equipment into pieces, however, as Juan points out, it will also be a lot of fun. 

To celebrate, we drink flasks of Vintage Laphroaig, Knockdhu and Balmenach Private Reserve, and offer toast after toast to all the beautiful Parisian women we are desperate to meet.  Now, brawling wildly about the most efficient swing, the strongest helves and best hammerheads to use for smashing machinery; hurling hammers at each other; whooping with excitement and singing Le Boudin at the top of our voices; befuddled, lost and larrikenishly behind schedule, we lurch from side to side, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

16.3.09

To Paris

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We need to stop the engine, however, The Dumpling has an experimental engine and we don’t know what it looks like.  Juan suggests that we smash everything that looks vaguely like an engine, but I say that will probably do more harm than good, and a better idea would be to get expert help. 

Gullishly behind schedule and urgently needing a plan of action, after drinking a few flasks of Vintage Auchroisk, Glendullan and Braes of Glenlivet, to clear our heads, I suggest that, before smashing everything in sight, we head for Paris, use the Eiffel Tower as an aerial, and broadcast an emergency request for experimental engine experts.  Juan agrees with me and adds that, as the Parisian women are the most beautiful women in the world, going to Paris is always a good idea.  To celebrate our new plan, we raise our flasks of Vintage Speyburn Private Reserve and, singing La Marseillaise at the top of our voices, we stumble around in circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

13.3.09

To the engine room

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Juan complains that he can’t land the aircraft while we’re travelling backwards, in circles, at high speed.  I ask him why not, as that is how he normally lands.  He reminds me that we have to collect Jock and Mahalath, and Mahalath only travels first class, which, although The Dumpling is a first class airship, it won’t be first class if he lands in the usual fashion.  I agree that Mahalath won’t like being offered a flight in a smashed up heap of twisted junk, and after fortifying ourselves with Vintage Glenordie, Bunnahabhainn, Rosebank and Scapa Special Reserve, we head into the bowels of the ship, to find someone who can help.  After stumbling around for a while, we are delighted to come across out old friends, Tim, Horace and Alan, from Buchanhaven. 

Juan, sharing out some Vintage Duff’s Defiance, says that he thought the captain and crew had abandoned the aircraft, as the engine was too dangerous.  Tim says that they volunteered to stay behind, to try to keep the engine under control.  Juan tells them that it’s out of control now, and that we are flying in circles, and stuck in reverse gear.  Tim says that we are probably flying around in circles because the ship’s wheel is stuck, and he returns to the flight cabin with us, and looks at the ship’s wheel though a device that, through which, he says, he can see a wonderful array of lights.  We ask him what that means, but he says that he doesn’t know, as it’s an experimental device, and he will have to study it for a long time before he can tell us what it does.  Juan gives Tim a cask of Vintage Macduff, for his trouble, and asks him to keep looking.  I point out to Juan that we are grabblingly behind schedule and suggest that, if the engine controls aren’t guaranteed to work, we should use a more reliable method to stop the engine.  We immediately grab hammers and, shouting with excitement and singing ‘General Ludd’s Triumph’ at the top of our voices, we head for the engine room, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary
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12.3.09

Leaving Jock


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Hurtling around in circles, we soon find ourselves back over Humperdinkestine.  Jock declares that he is fed up with bouncing around in a skulk airship that we can’t fly, and says that it would be quicker and easier, if he walks to Humperdinkem and rescues Mahalath by himself.  This is true, so, after sharing a cask of Juan’s Special Reserve, and drinking toast after toast to the success of Jock’s mission, the next time we plunge toward the ground, Jock, screaming the Black Watch war cry, leaps out of the window.  Turning in the air so that his bagpipes cushion his landing, Jock lands safely, with a tremendous screech.  Juan says that Jock will probably take a day or two to rescue Mahalath so we should spend the time wisely and have a night on the town.  This is a wonderful idea and, cheering and shouting with excitement, we wobble around the Humperdinkestinian sky, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary
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11.3.09

Leaving Humperdinkem

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Jock, infuriated by Juan’s obvious inability to fly the airship, gets him in an arm lock and tries to throw him out of a window.  While they brawl, I cling on to the wheel and, spotting Mahalath’s emergency smoke signal ahead, I try to steer towards it. 

Escaping from the arm lock by smashing a bottle of Vintage Lagavulin over Jock’s head, Juan, looking out of the window, says that there don’t seem to be any guards and it seems to be a simple matter of landing, grabbing Mahalath, and leaving.  Jock, wildly throwing punches, says that, once he’s on the ground, he’s not getting back into this stupid machine.  I tell him that that won’t be a problem as, after landing, the airship will probably be a mangled wreck.

Unfortunately, before hitting the ground, trying to engage the landing gear, I accidently put the airship into reverse gear instead.  Suddenly flying backwards over Humperdinkem, we wrestle with the wheel and slam levers backwards and forwards, but nothing works and, the next time we look out of the window, Humperdinkem is out of sight and we are skimming along a cliff, staring at two Gannets, one of whom, startled to see us, falls off its perch in surprise.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

Over Humperdinkem

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Leaping out from behind a rock, to borrow the passing stranger’s donkey, Jock gets his sleeve caught in branch.  Ripping himself free, his elbow makes crunching contact with Juan’s chin, knocking him backwards, Juan grabs me, to stop himself falling; this knocks me off balance, I grab Jock, and we all fall in a heap.  Disentangling ourselves and looking up, we are delighted to see our old friends, Ropkind Scharf and Delia, cantering towards us. 

Ropkind tells us that he has been in Humperdinkestine, studying Ancient Humperdinkarian script.  Heading back to Europe, he volunteered to take Delia to join Neddy, normally attached to the Munatafiq donkey division (Secret Intelligence unit no. 9), but who has been seconded to the elite Donkey Reconnaissance Group.  Dusting ourselves down, and sharing out Vintage Fettercairn, Dalwhinnie and Braes of Glenlivet, we explain that we are prodigiously behind schedule, lost, running low on single malt and, as we have to rescue Mahalath, a highly trained war donkey is just what we need.

Ropkind offers to lend us Delia but suggests that it would be quicker and easier, if we had an airship.  I say that an airship would be useful.  Jock, who hates flying, says that, as a lone piper is worth a thousand tanks, a single war donkey is worth a hundred airships.  Juan says that, as we are rescuing Mahalath, we should do so in style, or she’ll just complain, and if Jock doesn’t like it, he can shove it. 

Hitting Jock, who is throttling Juan, on the back of the head with a flask full of Vintage Knockdhu, puts him to sleep, and I tell Ropkind that we definitely could do with an airship.  He says that he thought so and tells us that, although he doesn’t have one in the area, we could try flying The Dumpling, one of aunt Humperdink’s skulk ships.  He explains that the scientists on board have installed a new engine but that the captain and crew, realizing just how dangerous the contraption was, abandoned the ship.  

Juan says that he is a wonderful pilot and that flying The Dumpling will be easy.  I point out that, although Juan is deluded and, in fact, he is the worst pilot in the history of manned flight, we have no choice but to use the airship.  Jock wakes up and starts yelling that he isn’t going on an airship because it’s unnatural for, if it were natural, he shouts, we would have been born with wings.  I say that penguins have wings, and they can’t fly.  Jock yells that that’s not the point.  Juan knocks him out with a flask of Vintage Aberfeldy Private Reserve and we drag him behind us as we stumble after Ropkind and Delia, who lead us to one of aunt Humperdink’s secret hangars, where we find The Dumpling. 

After boarding the airship, I wake Jock up by pouring Juan’s wake-up mixture into his mouth.  Jock wakes up and reels around, clutching his throat and shouting that he has been kidnapped and that giant, spotted spiders are attacking him.  I knock him out again and tell Juan that his wake-up mixture is too potent.  Juan says it got that way after he filtered it through a succession of camels. 

After drinking toast after toast to Ropkind and Delia, and wishing them a safe journey, Juan lurches to the wheel and yells for someone to turn the engine on.  We spend a long time crashing between the floor and the ceiling and bouncing off the walls.  Eventually I comment that to keep going backwards, sideways, up and down isn’t going to get us anywhere.  However, I add, as the way out is immediately ahead of us, going forwards would be ideal.  Juan shouts that he is just getting the hang of the gears, when someone put the engine on, and we shoot out of out of the cave and hurtle into sunlit air.

Between struggling with the wheel and kicking random levers, we offer toast after toast to a successful flight and, singing ‘Wi’ a Hundred Pipers‘, and ‘My Kidneys Exploded in Inverness’; we twist through the sky trying to find Mahalath, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

10.3.09

Donkey borrowing


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Ficotically behind schedule; we decide to borrow a donkey.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

8.3.09

Jock collapses


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Following the River Humperdinkan upstream to Mount Humperdink. Jock, who has been acting strangely, suddenly sits down, vomits, holds his head in his hands, rocks backwards and forwards and says that he can’t go any further and that we should carry on without him.  Juan asks what the problem is and Jock moans that it’s the whisky.  For a Company Sergeant Major of the Black Watch to be adversely affected by single malt is unheard of and, very concerned, we quickly check Jock’s hip flasks for impurities.  After tasting fifteen or sixteen flasks, Juan discovers that Jock has mixed up the corks from the Vintage Dalwhinnie and Craigellachie flasks, mixing a small amount of the malts together.  Although the idea of mixing fine single malts is enough to make a Highlander eat his bonnet with despair, in this instance, the superb flavour the of Dalwhinnie does not detract from the wonderful taste of the Craigellachie and the beautiful bouquet of the Craigellachie actually enhances the rich fragrance of the Dalwhinnie.  However, in any instance, the malts retain their life-enhancing qualities and Jock's sickness remains a mystery. 

Jock struggles to his feet, turns an unpleasant feuillimortic colour, spins around, and, mumbling ‘Tobermory Reserve’ collapses again.  I check Jock’s Vintage Tobermory flasks to find that, strangely, they are untouched.  I hold the flasks up, questioningly, and Jock nods and groans.  Juan suddenly remembers that Jock has given up Vintage Tobermory for Lent.  This explains the problem.  As all Highlanders know, the only way to clear the head in the morning and affront the day with healthy confidence, is with Juan’s pick-me-up, which consists of three parts Glen Keith single grain Special Reserve, two parts Vintage Macduff, one part Vintage Tobermory and a haggis. Jock, leaving out the Tobermory, reduced the effectiveness of the cure.  Juan quickly blends two parts Braes of Glenlivet with three parts Vintage Laphroaig, one part Tamdhu Reserve, nineteen cockroaches and a sweaty sock.  This alternative pick-me-up, which Juan recommends for use between battles, has Jock back on his feet in minutes.

Sillily delayed and ludificationally behind schedule, we  share Juan’s pick-me-up between us, to be on the safe side, then, swaying to the sound of the river dancing; singing and bawling with excitement, we stumble upstream, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

6.3.09

Paste for Unbea

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Still lost; decide to head for Mount Humperdink, to get a good view of the land.

Worried about the schedule, I mention that I don’t have the time to get to the Solomon Islands, to pick up some of Seena and Tele’s coral paste, for Unbea.  Juan says that, although it won’t be as good as Tele and Seena’s paste, we can make paste from Silicicalcareous rocks and single malt. 

Quickly squeezing some of our bagpipe seasoning onto the ground, and igniting the vile, highly flammable, goo by banging flints together, we create very satisfying explosions that reduce the rocks to dust which, mixed with Vintage Balmenach, to give it an attractive aroma, makes an excellent paste, with a wonderful taste.  The only drawback is that the silicated dust has makes us cough, sneeze, and wheeze so much that, when we try to celebrate the making of Unbea’s new paste, we collapse, breathless, after the sixteenth Highland reel.  Juan, between gasps, points out that we are pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosisishly behind schedule, but that trying to rescue Mahalath, in this condition, is a waste of time.  Jock and I agree, and, to flush our systems of the poisonous silicon, we open a barrel of Juan’s Special Medicinal Reserve, which he keeps for such occasions.  Now, flushed, we stumble through the wrecked town, and, singing and shouting with excitement, we stagger on to Mount Humperdink, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

4.3.09

Wall demolition

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We talk about climbing the town walls but, as Juan says, tripping over his feet and falling down a hole, horizontal movement is difficult enough, vertical movement should be avoided, Jock, blundering into a cactus, agrees.  I say that, after drinking Juan’s Special Reserve, Jehoshaphat could leap extremely high, in fact, I add, we couldn’t keep him down.  Juan says that Jehoshaphat always landed on his head and, as we are on a secret mission, arriving in town, headfirst, from a great height, will attract unwanted attention. 

Jock thinks that, if we play our bagpipes loudly enough, the walls will crumble, I am not sure about this, as we don’t want to destroy perfectly good walls.  But, as Juan points out, we aren’t archaeologists, we are fustilugishly behind schedule, and Mahalath needs rescuing in the near, rather than far, future.  Stopping only long enough to refresh ourselves with Vintage Highland Park, Tamnavulin, Craigellachie, and Glen Moray Private Reserve, one of Jock Black‘s favourites, we march erratically around the town, bouncing off the walls, playing Lilliburlero; for, as we have ruined many parties, wakes, and wedding receptions with dreadful renditions of this song, we expect it will damage the walls.  Fortunately, all the inhabitants seem to have left the city as the mindlessly repeated screeching of the hateful chorus ‘Lilliburlero bullen a la.  Lilliburlero, Lilliburlero, bullen a la’ splinters the stone, collapses the wall and everything else, and reduces the town to ruins. 

Jock, looking around, says that they probably don’t have any single malt available, so, pausing only long enough to open a cask of Juan’s Special Reserve we offer toast after toast to the health and happiness of everyone who once lived in this heap, and hope that they prove more resilient than their city.  Now, singing, shouting, and brawling with excitement, we stumble around in frenzied, shatterpated circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

Walled out

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Irritatingly delayed by chasms and suchlike, and deeply concerned about my rapidly diminishing Vintage Tomatin, Rosebank, Glen Scotia and Dailuaine, I am delighted to stumble across a town where I can replenish my supplies.  Unfortunately, I find that the place has been walled off, and I can’t get in. 

Knowing that, to protect their women, towns fortify themselves when they know Juan is in the area, sniffing the wind, I detect the mephitic stench of sweaty camel, and then I am overcome by the full-bodied, ripe, fruity, malty, odour emitted by a Highlander in heat.  Turning into the nidorous breeze, I see Juan, standing beside Almaz, Mahmud’s evil smelling camel.  Juan points to someone and I recognize our old friend, Jock Black, Company Sergeant Major of the Black Watch

I tell Juan that I thought he was leading my students out of the desert.  But Juan says aunt Humperdink sent him to guide Jock to Humperdinkestine, to help rescue Mahalath.  I ask Juan about the students and he says that, when he found them, they couldn’t walk very far as they weren’t eating very much, in fact, he adds, they were starving.  I say that I’m not surprised, considering they haven’t received any desert survival lessons, and they are in the middle of a desert.  Since abandoning my students in the arid wasteland of the Unknown Region, it had crossed my mind that they might not be eating well.  However, Juan is a wonderful cook and I am relieved when he tells me that he stopped with the students long enough to cook scorpion stew, simmered in Vintage Glenmorangie, lizard’s brain and single grain Mortlach soup, camel spider crunch with Tomatin Reserve dip, and raw snake eyes, steeped in Scapa Private Reserve.  He says that, for some reason, despite being hungry, the students didn’t eat anything.  More importantly, however, I am concerned that the young agents have enough to drink, but Juan says that they although they are low on Vintage Bladnoch, Pulteney, Glendullan and Tullibardine, he left them barrels of Glen Spey, Aultmore, Balvenie and Brackla, to make up for it.  This is reassuring.

After leaving the students, Juan shouts, over a sudden, thunderous display of dromedarian flatulence, aunt Humperdink told him to come with Jock, to help rescue Mahalath.  I wait until Almaz finishes producing methane but, as soon as the gas runs out at one end, it comes out of the other; yelling over a series of loud, repulsively malodorous belches, I tell Juan and Jock that I urgently need to replenish my malt, but I couldn’t get over the wall of the local town, and that we should ditch the camel.

We all agree that to attempt a rescue without adequate supplies would be foolhardy, I shoo Almaz away, and, as he gallops back to Mahmud, his explosive wind emissions echoing from the ancient walls, breaking the silence of the land, we sit down, open flasks of Juan’s Special Reserve and offer toast after toast to the success of our mission, then, reminding each other that we should rescue Mahalath quickly, rather than slowly, and that we are lost, bosky and fustilarianistically behind schedule, we link arms and, shouting, cheering and singing the Song of the Fighting Haggis and the Lass of Ardbeg at the top of our voices, we march around in unsteady, flustered circles, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary