When almost all the newspapers carry big pictures of the next Dr Who who won’t be seen in action until next year it can only mean one thing –the summer silly season is upon us. So, cue a silly story...
Imagine if you will a sun-baked parade ground of the second regiment of the Foreign Legion at Side Bel Something-or-other.
Three wretched Legionaires are up for a flogging for an horrific offence involving two bricks, a stirrup pump and Le Capitain’s favourite stud camel.
Not many non-Legionaires will know that under the Code Napoleon, naughty Legionaires are given the choice of a reasonable protective covering to stop the whip falling on naked flesh. Sorry if you did know, but it bears repeating as it is central to the story.
The first victim, a failed Italian operatic tenor, was dragged forward. He nominated a piece of wet leather but he still bellowed like he was dying on stage at La Scala as the punishment was carried out.
What a daffodil like him was doing in the Foreign Legion is a mystery.
Next up was a big, blonde German, a veteran of the blitzkrieg. He was asked to name his protection. ‘Gott in Himmel’ he snarled contemptuously. ‘We Charmens can take our punishment like a mans. Stick your protection up your arras.’
He took the lash on his bare back, whistling Deutschland Uber Alles as the blows fell.
Last man up was an Lancastrian. He was an ex-Waring and Gillow upholsterer who had joined the Legion in order to feather his nest.
‘Ha ha, Anglais cochon’, hissed le Capitain, still deeply chagrined at he painful indignities inflicted on his favourite camel. ‘Nom votre covering protectif.’
‘Mais oui, mon capitaine’, said the Lancastrian. ‘Can I have that big daft German pillock?
Listen, there’s even more... A man entered a cinema with his guide dog.
It sat next to him and seemed to be enjoying the film. It growled at the villain, wagged his tail madly at the funny bits and occasionally yelped with excitement. The manager saw the man in the foyer afterwards and congratulated him on having such a remarkable dog. ‘His reaction amazed me too,’ said the man. ‘He really hated the book...’