Fat Paul Fades Away..

‘Got any pies?’ asked Fat Paul, optimistically. ‘I’m starving.’

His prodigious dimensions suggested that starvation was, in fact, far from imminent, yet I rallied to this desperate cry for provisions, searching high and low in the truck’s fridge. I eventually produced a delicious fruit selection.

Fat Paul’s face, a mask of wan discomfort, bore an expression of a child that had expected a shiny new bicycle for Christmas, yet upon waking discovers a paltry piece of coal and a Satsuma under the tree. Scarcely have I seen a face portraying less felicity.

‘A Satsuma?’ he questioned, peevishly. ‘Cor, I – ’ His grimace deepened. I glanced over from the driving seat, wondering why I’d been granted this welcome reprieve from unadulterated jabber.

And I saw that in his haste to remove the peel, a frantic digit had pierced the fruit: a jet of Satsuma juice had evidently struck him squarely in an area above the mouth.

‘This one seems to be a left-eye job,’ he spluttered, in the manner of one who goes in regularly for such insubstantial snacks. He sounded, in short, like the sort of man who consumes nothing more than a non-sugared grapefruit upon waking, a Slimfast shake for luncheon, and a diced plum for supper.

Now, you may ask yourself why I didn’t pile into the nearest motorway service station and bolster the poor, ailing fellow with a steak? Well, driving as we were on the old Greek road from Thessaloniki to the Albanian-infested port of Igoumenitsa, restaurants were rather thin on the ground.

In fact, even the occasional goats wheezing from altitude sickness were becoming few and far between. The road steepened.

‘Fuck a duck!’ exclaimed Fat Paul, his knuckles visibly whitening on the passenger armrest. ‘What’s the next sign going to read? “Sherpas only”?’ At this point, entering another series of switchbacks entirely unsuitable for articulated lorries, I did briefly wonder if I might have played something of a floater.

You know how it is: one drifts off the motorway for a Greek salad and a glass of retsina, and before one can say Mount Everest, things begin to look iffy. Yet an hour later, as crepuscular light tinged the ocean, the island of Corfu hove into view. And clusters of dotted lights signified the welcome sight of Igoumenitsa far beneath us.

‘At least it’s not a pie,’ remonstrated Fat Paul, emphatically, as I caught him stuffing a banana into his gob by way of celebrating a narrow escape in the mountains. ‘Mind you, have you got any biscuits in here? Or half a Snickers bar, perhaps? No, biscuits would be healthier, wouldn’t they? Oatmeal and all that…’

What a topping fellow, eh? Fat, though..

Amphibians, Lunchboxes, Heavy Plant and “Dusky”..

This is what a 'Dusky' looks like

Drum roll please. That human blot Eunuch, his brain like a buzz-saw, has typed up a guest blog. And, perhaps foolishly, I’ve agreed to publish it unabridged. Few people so far have managed such an undertaking  – Dad, Big Don, Wrecker, Namibian and Surfy Steve being notable exceptions – yet the winsome Eunuch has not shied. He has triumphed, he has trumpeted, he has trail-blazed. Without further preamble, then, here is his tour de force. (Do leave the poor old horse a comment – it’ll make his day.)

“All good for Friday pm then Eunuch?” said an ecstatic Barnaby at the prospect of my imminent arrival in Hastings for a long weekend. “Well, I’m afraid Dusky isn’t up to much as she has some kind of tropical disease” oh dear, from what I could gather that involved more than a touch of flatulence – poor thing.

Who is Dusky? well she disappeared into the depths of South America for 9 months, ate witchety grubs, went slightly native and then emerged an Amazonian goddess! Only joking, no really it was a backpacking trip and now she will readily admit (after a glass or two of red) that she has succumbed to the charms of East Sussex and a certain gentleman that has more than a penchant for white holdups….ohhh matron.

From left: Eunuch, Dusky, Lurpak and 'Ranulph'


Talking of ‘Dusky’ this brings me to the topic of the ever expanding repertoire of nicknames that Barnaby has for his cohorts and if you are lucky enough to become one, then you too will acquire a monicker by which you’ll be known – all in the best possible taste of course and out of pure affection. It does make me laugh, so far I know of Fat Paul, Namibian, Boiler, Mystic, Sticky and of course me, Eunuch. One such story that tickled me was of Fat Paul, who incidentally is fat and in Barneys phone book under ‘F’ and not ‘P’. Barnaby and Fat were on tour and fortunate enough to visit the Eiger – the train took the strain and within 5 minutes of reaching the summit or so Fat came over all fatigued and said “oh I’m feeling rather tired, erm think I’m gonna have to have a pie” and who could have blamed him after a 13,025ft climb?



Mountains is something we didn’t climb on this particular weekend although we did take a walk along the clifftops. During our jolly amble I discovered that I’d be meeting the biological creators of Barnaby, yep it was time to meet his parents – who I can assure you are both ‘interesting’ characters. His father is a kind of Ranulph Fiennes crossed with Indiana Jones and mum dispenses strange pills for a living with more than a wild claim to curing you of all your ills, to which I’ll admit I had some….think they are made out of tarantula brains or something similar and no they do not taste like chicken.


As we strolled, Barney extolled the virtues of many a childhood adventure with dad “oh yes we did alot of walking when I was a nipper” although he did mention that these forays into the wild often involved an unplanned water stage and that I should at least bring a pair of waders as it could get more than a little moist.


Fiestas are soooo cool, don't you agree?

Moist was certainly the term I’d use for Barneys cheese and tomato sandwiches which he was preparing with particular aplomb on the day we were off exploring with his father “I can never understand why Dad only gives you half a tomato” he said as he handed me a bag of salted hula hoops…”with me, you at least get a whole one” Little do you know, but these sandwiches represent the pinnacle of culinary achievement for our intrepid blogger “I really must have a pasta dish mastered by the time I am forty – I have made a promise to Dusky and myself” To which I said I’d purchase a pasta machine as a gift, so he could make the main component part himself –  if he really wants to impress his petite amie, bien sur.


As Barnaby heaved the sandwiches into some Tupperware, I recalled another bizarre sighting from the weekend – a man? with long hair plus moss chops dressed in super tight terracotta colour leggings with a quilted jacket and a peculiar hat on his bonce ala president Lincoln style, dishing out leaflets to shocked members of the public. All I have to say is that you could see the wedding vegetables shrink wrapped into this ridiculous outfit, even Dusky saw this chap to which she exclaimed “oh my gosh what an enormous double VPL he has” you get the idea, one for the fashion police I think….perhaps I should have approached him and said “marvellous getup old boy” trouble is I would have been fighting the giggles for a whole fortnight.


WARNING - only wear these if you look like this

Anyway, I’d better toddle off now and leave you lot to it – there will be more from me as I have an excursion planned to Spain and supposedly I am ‘borrowing’ Dusky for that one….so I will have to be on my best behaviour! ho-hum..



‘Onesty and Opera..

I’m being ridiculed. What for? Well, for mentioning that I thought Morgan Freeman was sex on legs in the movie Along Came a Spider. What’s worse, though, is that the man passing judgement is my pal Eunuch, a chap who admits to finding it ergonomically impractical to wear one’s girlfriend’s knickers.

‘You’ll always call me “Eunuch”, won’t you, Barn?” he asks, as he assiduously removes a pepper’s innards in my kitchen. ‘It wouldn’t matter if I brought a 52-seater full of slags down to your place and boned the shit out of the lot of them in your spare room, would it? I could pound away like the London Underground and I’d still be Eunuch.’

Yep. Crass, derogatory talk notwithstanding, he’s absolutely right. But what are the chances? For a start, you can’t park a bus in my street. A trifle unfairly, he adds: “I suppose you want to shag Samuel Jackson as well, do you?’


Why Morgan Freeman?


To get down to brass tacks, is my admission really so risible? I wouldn’t say Morgan is conventionally handsome, but he’s so dominant. I think it’s the way he moves and speaks: grounded, and with those hard, self-assured eyes that twinkle just a little when he’s amused.

Well, that’s quite enough of being in touch with my feminine side – at this rate I’ll be pigeonholed as a gender-bender. Mind you, as you can see, I don’t scrub up too badly with a little lippie and a wig? By Jove, were those heels uncomfortable.

Right, well to restore the balance, I’ll wolf whistle at a few filthy MILFs this evening on my way to a Dress Rehearsal… Ooh, speaking of which – rehearsals, not MILFs – there is an exciting project happening this week:


Surrey Opera

Surrey Opera is presenting the World Première of the rediscovered opera Thelma by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Details – synopsis, a little about Surrey Opera, and a write-up on SC-T in case you’re getting muddled up with that poetic chappie called Taylor-Coleridge – can be found on Surrey Opera’s website.

I, naturally, am playing Principal Trombone in the pit orchestra and would welcome you popping your head over the rail at the end of Act One and asking if I might like a stiff one. Or even a drink.

Book now, either online or by phone. See you Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening this week. Do let me reiterate that this is a World Première, and so it’s no good thinking you might catch it next time around..