HIGHGATE CEMETERY - TELLING TALES
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Posted: Jan 20, 2010 10:33:45 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

The team have switched sides and vacated the pink hut. Earlier today, the colonnade was a hive of activity as Jessica and tribe swept through. The trolls are dispersed across the forecourt preventing any of us from entering the West side of the cemetery.

The Big Cheese is, yet again, in the upper office with his binoculars and constantly using his mobile phone. He appeared to be talking to Dad’s Army, who have yet to show their faces around the place. At one stage, I clearly heard him ask if one of them could get a helicopter to circle overhead and report the goings on.

He strained his neck as Sophie Parrot, Kelly Wortnold and the gardening girls scuttled through like a pack of beetles. The Cheese called out, but it was clear they were ignoring him. Julia Pool belted through on her moped followed by Billy Washaby at a doddery pace.

I heard Rupert inside the photocopier wailing like a banshee. I asked Edward to get Felicity to pull him out. “Wish I could Nigel, but she’s off with Jessica’s mob as well”. So there you have it, the place is in utter uproar.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Jan 21, 2010 10:05:11 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

I can barely breathe, as I write to describe how Jessica has just played her Ace. Some weeks ago she went to see the play ‘Calendar Girls’ and returned raving about it. Little did anyone think she would do her own version to bolster the coffers of FoHC.

I am sitting at my desk looking at a mock-up copy of the calendar and am in awe that it is going to print this weekend. It will go on sale from Monday, making it the fastest publication we have ever produced and the only one in quite some time.

I flicked the first page to look at Ms January and found Sophie Parrot entwined in ivy with a smouldering smile as she set about it with a pair of secateurs. February is Julia Poole riding her scooter at top speed down White Eagle Hill. She waves, as her long blond hair covers her in a haze.

I was startled at March, as Billy Washaby stands in a pair of waders in the cemetery pond. He is fishing for newts, holding his jam jar and net in just the right place, so not to reveal too much.

April greeted me with the gardening girls, Clover Sentwisle, May Gaston and Rose Sedgewick, sitting in a bed of daffodils with golden smiles. This was opposite to May with a pasty looking Mitsy Clamglove and Lanky Trotter locked in an embrace like Auguste Rodin’s ‘The Kiss’. The photo is taken beneath the arches of the colonnade.

June is Kelly Wortnold sitting astride the marble lion and peeking between his mane, whilst a woolly-leaf bougainvillea climbs about the scene. Felicity makes July, sitting in the driving seat of Herbie Froghorn’s white Rolls Royce monument. He always had a soft spot for old Felicity.

August is Eveline Withering swinging from the trees like Jane looking for Tarzan. The greenery partially covers, whilst a cheery face greets all.

September is Cheryl Tula, who is partially covered by the gravestone of Roslyn Lambshank, the infamous jam maker. Lambshank’s monument is a vast jam jar and Cheryl is seen with a basket of blackberries picked from the cemetery’s wealth of brambles.

Sebastian Morrow graces October behind a black umbrella and a sombre expression.

November is Valentina sitting in a stone chair beneath a sandstone canopy. She gives a wry smile whilst looking over her shoulder with her cat draped about her like a muffler.

The finale is December with Jessica posing as Britannia sitting with her helmet (WW2 Bletchley air raid tin hat), shield (old dustbin lid) and spear (broom handle). The backdrop is the gate of the Egyptian Avenue with her faithful trolls about her feet like her empire.

I’m about speechless.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Jan 21, 2010 1:02:43 pm
Julia Poole



Hello Nigel,

I certainly didn't pose for Jessica's horrible, offensive Calendar. I've put the matter in the hands of my lawyer, Mr Xavier Roche for immediate litigation.

Julia

Posted: Jan 21, 2010 1:20:14 pm
Xavier Roche



I act for Miss Julia Poole in the matter of the tawdry publication known as The Calendar.

On my client's instructions, I have taken legal action which has resulted in the immediate withdrawal of the February page from the squalid Calendar and in all probability the withdrawal of several other pages as well if not the entire publication.

Action for damages is also pending.

My client instructs me to inform all whom it may concern that the photograph for the February page is a libelous fake. My client did not pose for any such photograph which is in fact the result of trick photography whereby her face was superimposed on another's body. The photograph of my client's face was, for its part, taken unbeknownst to her and thus constitutes an invasion of privacy. Its use was without her permission or indeed knowledge. 

My client is particularly distraught that this furtive photograph was taken in the cemetery which she visits only to mourn. She is entitled to grieve there privately and peacefully without being secretly spied on and filmed by officially-sanctioned paparazzi-style photographers with salacious intent. She is also appalled and extremely distressed that the cemetery, a place for mourning, is presented by the Calendar as a Theme Park for lurid amusement where those addicted to flashing flesh and lewd posing can freely cavort.

Yours,

Xavier Roche

Posted: Jan 21, 2010 3:00:34 pm
Manager Nigel



How exciting, I will pass the correspondence to Jessica, as she's a technophobe.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Jan 22, 2010 10:42:46 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

I was greeted by pandemonium this morning as I walked into the office. The place was heaving with Dad’s Army which, as you know, is an extremely rare sight. They are all bleating about the calendar and “How dare they take photos without our say so”.

Great albatross flapping motions were filling the office, as they have been worked into a lather by Xavier Roche with a bar of soap. Jessica was unavailable for comment yesterday, so Xavier tracked down all of Dad’s Army for us.

As the pace was hotting up, Mitsy Clamglove was ducking and diving the action as she pushed the tea urn about the place. Dad’s Army were yelling at one another about excommunicating all of the calendar people from the FoHC and stopping the printing.

At that moment, the office door flew open with a flash of the lights. Jessica, Sophie Parrot and Kelly Wortnold stood together and I would not call them ‘the three graces’ either. Dad’s Army recoiled at the site of the threesome.

Jessica spoke first, “Looking for us?”. There was a pause and a shuffling of feet and then Kelly spoke. “You can try to ban and excommunicate us, but the volunteers won’t put up with your antics any more.”

The Big Cheese spluttered out the words “Julia Poole”, before Jessica interjected, “Robert Fanshaw was our photographer; I have talked with him and smoothed things over with Julia. We are looking for a new February”. In the quiet, you could hear Rupert say,” I wish they’d asked me as I would have dropped my kit for them”. Next minute, Sophie Parrot was on a desk yelling to Dad’s Army to scram, Kelly to warm up the photocopier and Rupert to get his kit off. Jessica yelled across the din, “That’s right Parrot, give him a newsletter to hide behind”.

How about that for diplomacy?

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Jan 24, 2010 1:06:16 pm
Julia Poole



Jessica is again making things up. She has not "smoothed things" with me. I don't even talk to her.

It's time you guys stopped believing or repeating her c**p.

Julia

Posted: Jan 24, 2010 1:15:33 pm
Julia Poole



Omigod! I was too upset and disgusted to get past February when I first read your blog about the Calendar. But I've just had another look and got to November. Omigod, this is so horrible. My darling twin. Omigod, I know it's the weekend but I'm going  to call Mr Roche straightaway. Omigod, the horror.

Julia


Posted: Jan 24, 2010 1:53:54 pm
Xavier Roche



I am instructed by my client Miss Julia Poole to inform you as follows:

The Calendar's November page shows my client's deceased  twin sister, Miss Valentina Poole, in a vulgar Page 3 pose. I am assured that Miss Valentina Poole did not, in her short life, pose for such a picture. The November page is thus not only fake photography but it knowingly and cynically besmirches the memory of a young and innocent lady. It is a chilling piece of depravity and prurience.

On my client's instruction, an injunction has been taken out to stop publication of the Calendar and also for attempts to procure and peddle pornography.  Pending resolution in the courts of these and related matters and settlement of substantial claims for costs, a lien  has been placed on Mrs Bates' property. Action is also being taken against Mrs Bates' Co-Directors.

Yours,

Xavier Roche

Posted: Jan 24, 2010 2:01:10 pm
Xavier Roche



I am instructed by my client Dr Robert Fanshaw to say that Mrs Jessica Bates' claim that he was the photographer for the Calendar is an outrageous and malicious lie. He is issuing proceedings.

Yours,

Xavier Roche

Posted: Jan 24, 2010 6:24:06 pm
Mrs J Bates MBE



Pull yourself together, Julia. It's not your sister on the calendar; it's your mother. As for that Robert Fanshawe. After all I've done for him. He needn't think I'll be making him a trustee after this. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some important legal matters to attend to.

Jessica Bates
Jessica

Posted: Jan 25, 2010 10:45:10 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

The place was thronging before 9am as Jessica organised the press conference for the public release of the cemetery calendar. She has had a bit of a tense weekend, as there were some legal issues to do with publication. The result was a couple of pages being pulled and substitutes found. 

A row of trestle tables had been set up in the colonnade with numerous chairs behind them. The Press were gathered in front of the table with the Mr, Ms and Mrs Calendar pages sitting before them (with their clothes on). Jessica started the proceedings by ringing a little bell and called them all to order. “My dears thank you all for coming to this very special press conference.  Not only are we to talk about our very exceptional calendar, but to present to you the candidates for the next trustees to the board”.

The Big Cheese had been hanging around the upper office window, like an orang-utan. His eyes bulging out as he listened in utter shock to Jessica telling of how Dad’s Army would all be retiring at the next election. In between the clicking of camera’s someone asked, “So why the change Jessica?”. Jessica continued with a smile and a wink to all, “We have tried Dad’s Army, now we’re moving on to the Land Army. I used to be a Land Girl you know”.

“So Jessica, will you also be helping to run the General Election, this May, as well as the FoHC’s?” A stifled cough, as Jessica adjusts herself. “I can’t comment on that at this time”. Another reporter stepped forward “Jessica, is there any truth in reports that your calendar is purely a political stunt?”. “Excuse me, young man, any more comments like that and you’ll be spending sometime in a mausoleum”. 

Jessica stood up, “Thank you all for coming today to learn of our wonderful publishing achievement to raise funds to maintain this great garden of mine. Molly will be waiting at the gate with a green collection pot. You will be able to pay to get out and do not forget to complete a ‘Gift Aid’ form.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Jan 26, 2010 10:39:37 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

There really is nothing quite like a tussle in the middle of the office. The Big Cheese threw the grenade this morning. “So what are your little comrades up to today, going to torch a few post-boxes?”. Jessica elevated her eyes and responded, “Yes, yours is the first on my list”.

With a brisk flick of her gloves, she picked up some envelopes and started to scream orders. “Mitsy, have the trolls loaded the bus with calendars and have the rest of the crew arrived?”. “Yep, working on it Jessica”. As Jessica marched out of the office door, she looked back. “Big Cheese, perhaps you can make yourself useful and get Rupert out of the photocopier”.

The battle bus stood on the forecourt of the cemetery offices, a converted Bedford ambulance that started life in 1963. The rear interior now has rows of armchairs and big old fluffy couches nailed to its floor.

Jessica piled the calendars, trolls, Land Army and the tea urn in the back. She revved up the engine, ground the gears and reversed back. The bus slid down Swains’ Lane, before rocketing forward, leaving all those in the back piled against the rear window as flies splattered across a windscreen. 

Day one of the on the road election campaign.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Jan 27, 2010 10:38:48 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Rupert was squealing like a pig inside the photocopier earlier this morning. Mitsy Clamglove and Thomas were standing round the shuddering piece of equipment, tossing a coin as to who would free him. I heard Thomas say, “Ha you lost, you pull him out”. “Thanks Tommy, this calls for some serious retrieval equipment. Now where is my handbag?”. 

Mitsy donned a pair of rubber gloves and went to work. Thomas asked why she had them in her bag and was she looking for a footballer? “Like I’d find one round here and if I did, he’d be dead”. At that moment Jessica bussled in and spotted Thomas, “Ah, good, I need someone to load the bus with calendars, as they are going like hotcakes”. Thomas tried to dodge her, but Jessica was too quick. She grabbed him by his ear and dragged him out.

For once I was actually glad to see her, as I had every belief that the conversation would degenerate to gutter level very quickly.  Someone would have been suing someone for inappropriate behaviour. It’s bad enough when the guides complain about being spied on.

Day two of the on the road election campaign.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Jan 28, 2010 10:38:12 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Jessica sat in the outer office talking on the phone about last night’s board meeting. She was obviously niggled about how it went, as there was a lot of clicking of the tongue and tapping of the fingers on the desk.

“They have no appreciation of the work I do and the money I save FoHC”. Apparently Dad’s Army dissed her calendar and said they thought it was a waste of ink. “How any of them can comment about my publication skills when they can’t even put a newsletter together”. “They employ an outside agency to deliver the post to the village, utter nonsense”. She continued to chat on the phone and berate their very existence.

Jessica certainly appeared rattled and was more annoyed that they have not taken her cue and said they will retire this April. “I have all my ducks in a row and I will lead, but they are not taking the hint”. “I have never met such opposition, but I will survive”.

The telephone call was very quickly curtailed as Edward and Felicity walked into the office. “Hello Jessica, everything well?”, asked Edward. “Challenging” said Jessica and walked out. Edward looked at me and rolled his eyes.

It is only day three of the on the road election campaign and tempers are beginning to fray.


Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Jan 29, 2010 10:59:59 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Earlier today I had the company of Dad’s Army and the Big Cheese pacing about the outer office. They were in deep discussion about Jessica and her preparations for the pending election or, as Porky put it, “Preparations for War”.

The Big Cheese picked up on this point and said, “The old girl has really got the hump with us and is determined to shift us”. Porky chipped in again, “Yes, and make us pay for our rebellions”. Louie Noddle leaned forward, “Can we make a run for it?”. “No chance, Noddle, as she has all the exits covered by her pets, the trolls”, said Slipshod.

The Big Cheese continued, “The elections are not until April, but she is already out canvassing in her bus and is determined to have her ducks in a row”. Slipshod, piped up, “Can we try and work with the volunteers? They have the real power, not that we have ever told them that”. “Good thinking Slipshod, I know a renowned spin-doctor who is looking for work at the moment. We’ll call a volunteers meeting and see if they nibble” said Porky. Noddle spluttered, “It is a shame that we did not work the event last night in the chapel. There were about sixty people there”.

Sophie Parrot poked her head round the door, “Run my pretty’s, Jessica is looking for you”.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Feb 01, 2010 10:18:52 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

I am sitting at my desk and hearing regular gunshots. This noise is something I have become accustomed to over the years. Jessica has always been fond of a spot of clay pigeon shooting and seems to be back in the mood.

Jessica’s favourite spot for this sport is on the roof of the Terrace Catacombs. One of her faithful trolls loads the trap with clay pigeons and awaits the command. “Release” Jessica screams as clay discs fly and are shot into oblivion.

Today I heard that she had the trolls out beating about the undergrowth. Apparently Dad’s Army were somewhere in the cemetery and being used as moving targets. Robert Fanshaw is at the top of her hit list for last week’s behaviour and will pay for his actions.

The office door banged open and Jessica stood there with a couple dead pheasants under her arm. “Rupert dear, hold these, I’m off to the Farmers Market and I need to load up on calendars”. Jessica continued, “Last week I nearly got Sophie Parrot married off to a farmer. Shame she didn’t agree, I would like to be rid of her”.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Feb 02, 2010 10:19:59 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Sophie Parrot was in the office first thing, still chaffing about Jessica’s effort to get her married off to a farmer. “I am quite capable of getting myself married off, thank you very much. I would like to know what I can do to flower the relationship between Jessica and the Reverend Farmfresh”.

Rupert and Mitsy Clamglove looked on, like a pair of scandalised schoolchildren, as Sophie went off to talk with Edward. Whilst Rupert muttered, “I am sure that Jessica will love that spot of match making”. Mitsy grinned and said, “She told me the other day that she was off men after the Dad’s Army experience”. “She’ll be sticking with the trolls then”, said Rupert.

The office banter was interrupted by Jessica sweeping through like a Duchess. “Ah Mrs Parrot, I need you to autograph a few calendars as I have sold the last of them”. “Hello Mrs T, of course I’ll sign a few and you must get the pen out as well”.

The pair busied themselves in a flurry of activity. Sophie asked if Jessica had sent one to the Reverend Farmfresh. “Oh what a good idea Mrs P, I will”. “Perhaps he may propose?” said Sophie, feeling for a reaction. Jessica looked coy, “He already has my dear”. The office fell silent as Rupert piped up, “Marriage?”.

“No you silly boy. I’m restanding for the board. I’m married to the cemetery”.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Feb 03, 2010 10:33:15 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Jessica was in the office again this morning and I was privy to a very private phone call. “Oh my dear Farmfresh, I do appreciate you proposing me and your sterling support. I think it is going to be a rough couple of months, but I will ride the storm to the end”.

“Yes, I know they have tried to finish me off, but I am back in the saddle and things will revert to the way I like them”. Jessica twitched nervously as she continued her phone conversation. “All those standing for the board must submit their nominations by Monday 15 February and I do hope there are no challengers. Democracy is not needed in this cemetery as my leadership is supreme”.

The door to the office swung opened and Slipshod strode in. He heard a hissing noise, spun around, and froze at the sight of Jessica sitting in a chair behind him. He made a break for it and Jessica loaded her rifle and started after him. Gunshots spewed out as I saw them sprint across the Colonnade and into the undergrowth. The next hour and a quarter I heard pot-shots booming out from across the cemetery.

Yes a new reign of terror has started, Jessica is back.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Feb 04, 2010 10:13:18 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

The place was quiet as I entered this morning and started to organise my day. The staff filed in with various levels of enthusiasm and the banter started. Things came to a screaming halt as Jessica barged into the office, “There is far too much happiness in this place and I need to make some phone calls”.

As the morning continued, so did the tutting and clucking from Jessica’s area of the office. Needless to say everyone was as pleased to see her back as a winter cold. The ructions started when Thomas came in, “Ello Mrs T, I see your Battle Bus has got a flat, several actually”. Jessica’s eyebrows gave a new dimension to her forehead, as she let out a gasp.

Jessica swelled like a bullfrog, “What hoodlum has done this? Trying to besmirch my campaign and undermine the work that is afoot”. “It’s probably some of the local kids messing about”, said Thomas, who was clearly enjoying the warmed atmosphere.

Jessica paced the office, cracking her knuckles. “There is only one thing for it. The trolls will have to guard it”. “Ha, that ain’t gonna do much good”, said Thomas, who by now was doing a very bad job of hiding a broad grin. “There have been two of them kipping on the fluffy couches in the back all night”.

The morning passed with light amusement as Jessica was observed tearing a strip off the two trolls caught slacking in their duty.


Nigel
Manager Nigel

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