Professor Humperdink III

Easy Reading

Add to Google

28.7.09

Missing Marseilles

.
.
Lost, befuddled and slaveringly behind schedule but, drifting downward, we are excited to see Marseilles beneath us. Everyone loves Marseilles and, to celebrate, I open barrels of Vintage Cragganmore, Bowmore, Glenfarclas and Balmenach Private Reserve, then, offering toast after toast to the glorious French culture, and looking forward to having a wonderful time in the most romantic city in the world, we prepare to land in the Old Port.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we find that we cannot land, as the garrulous Marseillais generate a city-wide column of hot air, which bears us away, eventually depositing us over Nalut. This is irritating and I explain to the passengers that Nalut does not have any world renowned French restaurants so, although we will not be able to enjoy top class French cuisine, as we had expected, I will be able to provide a dinner of scorpions stewed in Vintage Miltonduff Private Reserve, followed by camel spider crunch, with Humperdink Dip, made with squashed Mucus Humperdinka, a previously unknown fly that I recently identified, suspended in Vintage Strathisla Special Reserve; a delightful, protein-rich dip, created by Juan, in honour of aunt Humperdink, the greatest desert traveller of all. Some English people do not like eating scorpions, dead or alive, but all the passengers are enthusiastic about desert fare. They explain that they all regularly commute on English trains and, compared to the filthy muck served in the buffet car, stewed scorpion and crunchy spider is an attractive meal.

However, before we can sit down and enjoy all this, we have to land safely. I explain to the passengers that the best way to land safely is to jump out before we crash and, as it looks like we are about to crash, yelling with excitement and screaming “Geronimo”, we leap out of the balloon and tumble down to the welcoming sands, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

27.7.09

Following Clouds


.
Following clouds proves to be a useless navigation method and now, buffoonishly behind schedule, miles in the air and caught in an updraft, I don’t know where we are. I warn the passengers that we might land in enemy territory and receive an unfriendly reception. The passengers are unconcerned; in fact, they fill the makeshift flasks I made out of spare balloon fabric with the Vintage Linkwood, Interleven, Ardmore and Clynelish Private Reserve, which I keep for such occasions, and offer toast after toast to all receptionists, however unfriendly.

Because landing behind enemy lines in a brightly coloured balloon is rarely advisable, I am surprised at their jollity, until they explain that they are seasoned commuters, and using English public transport is like being attacked by idiots, so they always expect a foul reception. This is excellent news as it means that I do not have to worry about the passengers. To celebrate, I open a barrel of Juan’s Special Reserve and cheering and singing ‘For he’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ at the top of our voices, we swing through the cloud-draped sky, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

24.7.09

Hurrying up

.
.
Scandalously behind schedule, with evening drawing in, exasperated by England’s incredibly slow and uncomfortable public transport system, I commandeer a balloon. This will speed the journey up considerably. To celebrate, I break open a barrel of the Macallan, followed by barrels of Vintage Strathisla, Cardhu and Strathisla Special Reserve. After offering toast after toast to a successful flight, we launch into the evening sky and, yelling with excitement and screaming with fear, we ride the dark wind, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

22.7.09

Missing the West End


.
Haveringly behind schedule; missed the West End completely. Joining the commuters on their way to work, I found the London public transport system to be suitable only for cattle. To cheer all the passengers up, I open barrels of Vintage Tullibardine, Auchentoshan, Miltonduff and Glendullan Private Reserve. This does cheer everyone up, including the driver. After offering toast after toast to all commuters, everyone agrees that being treated like urban sheep is disgusting and we all need a day at the seaside. I give the driver a few diamonds, for his trouble, and distribute handfuls of gems to the passengers, to make up for lost wages then, cheering and singing and shouting with excitement, we head to Brighton, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

19.7.09

Approaching the West End


.
Stop off in Kensington to see my old philosopher and clockmaker friend, Gurk MacGregor. I find him standing inside one of his clocks. Gurk tells me that he helping his nephew, Dirk, from Buchanhavan. I tell Gurk that, the last time I saw Dirk, he had made a time altering machine, that didn’t work. Gurk says that Dirk’s machine doesn’t work because it is meant to be linked to a pendulum, but Angus, the scientist in charge of the pendulum, has been chosen for a role in the Buchanhaven Play, and this has distracted him from the project. I tell Gurk that Angus will be performing as Mrs Mouse in the play and remind him that Angus is spending a lot of time studying the behaviour of mice as, in their own generations, Angus’s father and grandfather both acted the part, to great acclaim, so family honour is at stake.

I ask Gurk how he is helping Dirk and he explains that he thinks it will be possible to make up for lost time if the time that is lost can be found and, he adds, as he has already found the time to find the time, he is very optimistic. I have no idea what he is talking about, but then I remember; philosophy is the result of thinking too much; too much thinking overheats the brain, and, without coolant or lubrication, the mind-juice starts to bubble and comes out of the mouth as hot air, then the brain explodes.

To prevent this happening to Gurk, I quickly open a barrel of chilled Vintage Macduff Special Reserve, a superb coolant and brain lubricant I always keep for such occasions and, although I am bleatingly behind schedule, we find the time to offer toast after toast to all timekeepers. Then, wishing my friend the best of luck, and leaving him a barrel of Vintage Glen Scotia, to keep him lubricated, I stagger on to the West End, as fast as I possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

18.7.09

To the West End



.
.
Arrive in England feverishly behind schedule; make a quick stop to catch up with my old friends, the Battersea Morris Men. It is a always a wonder to me that England, who produces such excellent soldiers, also excels in traditional dances wherein fully grown men jump around waving handkerchiefs, with bells tied to their ankles. After the dance, I share out a barrel of Juan’s Special Reserve and we exchange gossip. Most of the dancers are on leave from the trenches but, they tell me with great pride, they haven’t been ignoring the war effort entirely as they have been training combat cows in such techniques as how to crawl under electrified wire. When the training is complete, they will be sent to assist the Munatafiq donkey division (Secret Intelligence unit no. 9).

I am surprised that we are thinking of using bovine soldiers but, it turns out, because they are cows, there are no real expectations of the herd successfully working behind enemy lines but, rather, the plan is that they are to be used as a decoy and, while the herd attracts attention, which it will, the donkey division will tunnel their way under the front line and emerge, unnoticed, to carry out reconnaissance work in Berlin. This is a wonderful plan and I wish everyone the best of luck, especially the cows, then, explaining that I have to go, as I am meant to be meeting Juan and Mahalath, I leave the Morris Men a barrel of Vintage Duff’s Defiance, which will keep them leaping for days, and rush back to the West End, as fast as I possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

15.7.09

Leaving Nesle

.
.

.
Drop off in Nesle to help the 28th Battalion. The constant shelling is irritating but, after the stuffiness of London society, the fresh air and activity definitely blows the cobwebs away. However, because there have been a lot of fatalities, everyone is miserable and worried, so I make sure barrels of Juan’s Special Reserve are distributed amongst the troops, to cheer them up. This works very well and, even under heavy bombardment, we have a wonderful party that continues until the morning, at which point we have to leave the cheery comfort of the trenches and run into machine-gun fire.

British troops sometimes sustain casualties because, when faced with overwhelming forces and impossible odds, rather than screaming and running away, they stay and fight. However, the soldiers have never experienced Juan’s Special Reserve before and, seeing that they are hopelessly befuddled and nursing terrible hangovers, it is obvious that they are going to be useless, so I decide to lead them away from danger. Unfortunately, British soldiers do not recognize the command ‘Retreat’ so, when the order comes to go over the top, I lead the troops, screaming, “Advance to the rear!” After charging along for a mile or two we are in safe territory and, except for a few cuts and bruises, nobody has been hurt.

Relaxing in the sun, everyone seems surprised, and pleased, to be out of range of the enemy’s guns, although young Private Gurney staggers up to me, shouting that we will be hung for desertion in the face of the enemy. Gurney is as crazy as a hatful of earwigs and I have to reassure him that I take full responsibility. Nonetheless, Gurney reminds me, although we are all alive and well, we have probably lost the battle, as we weren’t there. I think I have done a good job and I am delighted to have helped save soldier’s lives, but I know some senior people will be irritated at the collapse of the front line, and there will be a long, drawn-out enquiry. As I am injuriously behind schedule, I don’t have time for this sort of thing and, although it has been a lot of fun in the Somme, and I would have liked to see more of Nesle, I wish my troops the best of luck, leave them the remaining barrels of Juan’s Special Reserve, to keep them cheerful, and head back to London, as fast as I possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

13.7.09

To Nesle


.

.
.
.
.
It is always a lot of fun in London and, to celebrate being back in the city, we share out barrels of Vintage Glen Spey, Interleven, Lochnagar and Scapa Special Reserve, and offer toast after toast to all Londoners. Afterwards, Juan and Mahalath are desperate to go on the town, so we arrange to meet later and I go to my club to see aunt Humperdink.

Surprisingly, the club appears to be deserted; however, I do bump into Fred and Dona, the miserable, strange, couple who are always hanging about, pathetically trying to get an audience with aunt. They have a convoluted problem which they insist on telling everyone they meet, but they explain it incredibly slowly, including everything about who said what to who, and who promised who what, and why one thing didn’t happen, when it should have happened, and how another thing did happen, where it shouldn’t have happened, and it seems Fred and Dona had a country, but they lost it. Or possibly, they don’t have a country, and want one. Whatever the case, their problem is so complicated and boring that it is impossible to listen to without going into a trance.

I keep myself awake by drinking flasks of Vintage Caol lla, Glen Moray, Talisker and Linkwood which, washed down with Knockando Special Reserve, revives me enough to make sympathetic noises and wish Fred and Dona the best of luck. They say that they are very hopeful; as aunt Humperdink’s under secretary’s deputy assistant’s junior assistant’s secretary’s temporary assistant told them that aunt might find the time to see them within in the next six months. I assure them that it will be definitely worth the wait. They ask me to wait with them, as they want to tell me some more about their problem, but I explain that I am tortuously behind schedule and, leaving them a case of Vintage Auchroisk Founders Reserve, to cheer them up, I blunder around the empty club until, falling through a door, I find myself back on the street.

I urgently need to find aunt Humperdink but, after listening to Fred and Dona telling me their dreary story for days on end, I also need some action. Remembering that you can always get some action in the Somme, I immediately join my squadron and fly to Nesle, as fast as I possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

8.7.09

Arriving in London

.
.
On the way to London, we all agree that having some rest and recuperation has done us the world of good. To celebrate, we open barrels of Vintage Tullibardine, Auchentoshan, Brackla and Balmenach Private Reserve and drink toast after toast to the well-being of everyone we see. As we see a lot of people, we arrive in London horribly twisted and slurdishly behind schedule.

Fortunately, as we have to travel incognito, aunt Humperdink’s experimental vehicle is disguised to look like an average car and we merge, unnoticed, into the traffic. Unfortunately, the whisky fumes emanating from the vehicle attract unwanted attention.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

3.7.09

Alexandra, in Aberfeldy

.
.
Arriving at aunt Humperdink’s Aberfeldy residence, Juan and Mahalath tend to the horses and I go in to look for aunt. Alexandra, who, mysteriously, has arrived here before us, meets me in the hall. The first thing she asks is if Juan is with me. Fearing the wrath of elderly relatives, I have to keep Juan and Alexandra as far apart from each other as possible. I also want to keep Mahalath away from Alexandra, so I lie, and tell Alexandra that Juan hasn’t arrived yet. Alexandra looks disappointed, I cheer her up with a bottle of Vintage Duff’s Defiance Special Reserve and she tells me that there’s a change in plans and, now, we are to meet aunt Humperdink in London.

I ask Alexandra how she got here so quickly and she tells me that she uses aunt’s experimental vehicles, which, when they don’t blow up, are very fast. To avoid a complicated situation, I explain that we are petrifyingly behind schedule and, when Juan does arrive, we will have to leave immediately. Alexandra is very understanding, says that she will catch us up in London, and, graciously, offers me one of aunt’s experimental vehicles.

For a second, I weigh the likelihood and possible consequences of the vehicle exploding against the chance, and probable result, of Juan or Mahalath coming into contact with Alexandra and, as the latter instance is a far more fearsome proposal than the former, I accept her offer, thank her, apologise for having to leave so quickly, kiss her fingers in farewell, then her hand, then her wrist, but when I start nibbling her arm, she bids me adieu, in no uncertain terms, and I run for the door, as fast as I possibly can

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

2.7.09

Return to Castle Drear

.
.
Leaving Juan and Mahalath in The Wee Dram, I return to Castle Drear, to collect the horses. In the castle, I am surprised to meet Maggie and Mary again. They tell me that aunt Humperdink has asked them to go to Aberfeldy, for a meeting. I tell them that I am going to Aberfeldy as well, together with Mahalath and Juan. Maggie spits and says, “That crazed creature should be put down.” For a moment, I assume that Maggie is referring to Jetsam, Mary’s insane dog, but I realise, as the self-appointed guardian of the family’s reputation, Maggie is talking about Juan.

I tell Maggie and Mary that, with Mahalath keeping a close eye on Juan, he is behaving very well. Maggie sniffs, in her disdainful, haughty, manner and Mary says that she doubts that Mahalath can control Juan. Personally, I think these muddled old bats should mind their own business, but I make reassuring noises and, wishing them an easy journey to Aberfeldy, I rejoin Juan and Mahalath, as fast as I possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary

1.7.09

Avoiding Drear Castle

.
.
Tediously, we are behind schedule; however, to rest the horses, we stop off at Drear Castle, uncle Gregor’s private club, in Dull. Looking at the place, I remind Juan that the last time we visited, we were bored mindless, and so, to fortify ourselves before visiting the castle, we leave the horses and head for The Wee Dram, in Camserney, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary