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Monday, 8 April 2019

Murphy's Lore

Number fifteen of the regular column from local writer and story-teller, George Murphy.

Murphy’s Lore 15

Demon dog woman

A black dog was barking ferociously and leaping up at a frightened, female jogger. The dog’s owner was a 70 something, stick waving Glaswegian - aka Demon Dog Woman - the terror of the hamlet, who was making Demon Dog ever more demented by loudly lambasting Jogging Woman.

Jogging Woman shouted back, ‘Just get it off me, you stupid woman!’ But when she tried to move on, Demon Dog leapt up and bit her on her thigh.

Jogging Woman cried out and hobbled on, clutching her leg. We hurried after her to ask if she was alright, but Demon Dog Woman caught up, waving her stick whilst holding snarling Demon Dog by his collar.

"Ach! He didnae bite yer! Yer the height o’ shite wi your greetin!"

Jogging Woman disproved this by pulling her tracksuit trousers down, revealing a wound on her thigh that was a neat dog bite shape and was seeping blood.

We bumped into Jogging Woman again after her lap round the woods and told her she must go for stitches, an anti-tetanus jab and she should also report the incident. I said, ‘Next time that dog might attack a child.’

A few days later a policeman came to ours and took a statement. We told him Demon Dog Woman lived on the terrace above us. When he went up to the house, expecting to take her statement, Demon Dog attacked him.

Butter up award

Puzzle Poets

This week, my toast landed sunny side up thanks to mischievious shop owner, artist, hatter and poet, ‘H’ (aka Heather). H and I were talent spotted at Cafe Kava Open Mic and will perform as a double entendring double act, delivering witty ditties between the musical turns, at Todmorden Folk Festival in May.

I bumped into H again at Puzzle Poets in Sowerby Bridge, where I lent her my wig - which I must admit looks better on Heather than on me.

What’s in a name?

Debs Newbold was the first performer at Shaggy Dog Storytellers after the 2015 Boxing Day flood. She did a magnificent bawdy evening at the White Lion (Stubbing Wharf being shut for 6 months) and during the interval she popped into the Ladies and asked women if they had pet names for their private parts and invited them to share these with her audience.

A few months later I saw a jovial woman from that audience approaching me in the park and, although I desperately tried to remember her name, I could only recall that she was the lass that possessed a ‘hairy purse’ and, not just that - according to her feller - ‘a little man in a boat’.

I’d have felt more guilt about forgetting her name, if she hadn’t shouted out to me as she sailed past, ‘Hiya! I’ve booked you for a gig this September, Rod.’

Fiery Jack

March, 2012: we were half way through our first Rod and George Show at Kirkheaton library. The place was packed, partly because a councillor had brought residents from the local care home. During the break, Rod and his wife Pam suggested I might need to drop my bawdy tale (about the misapplication of embrocation) from part two, in deference to the age of the audience. Instead, I opened the second half by announcing that Rod had told me that locals in Kirkheaton absolutely loved risqué material and against my better judgment I’d agreed to spice up proceedings…

‘Here’s a bawdy tale entitled ‘Fiery Jack’, ‘bout a deep heat treatment for pains in joints and back. But as every careful customer understands, after each application be sure to …’

Before I could finish, the care home residents as one bellowed:


Secret gardens

It’s amazing where you can go if you have a clipboard.

I once had the job of assessing the teaching prowess of crafts people such as tech wizards, cake decorators, plumbers, bricklayers, electricians, hairdressers and beauticians. There had been a government diktat that all these experts had to gain a paper qualification to prove they knew how to pass on their skills to apprentices.

As you can imagine, this work led me into strange new realms. One evening, armed only with a clip board, I entered a beauty salon, not realising I was about to discover a secret inner sanctum of Woman’s World, a place previously unknown to man.

The Salon was set up like a hospital ward, with two long rows of beds with the privacy curtains pulled back. Trainee students, skilled in the required trilling vocalisation, dressed in matching uniforms, sat beside each bed, whilst I sat on a raised dais looking magisterially down on proceedings as the tea-time clients arrived. I was nonchalantly writing down the date when I was belatedly distracted by a conversation at the reception desk.

'And what treatments do you require today, Madam?’

‘Nails, please - fingers and toes - oh, and I’d like a Brazilian.'

Now, I have occasionally been accused of naivety, but even I knew this wasn't a request for some nail buffing followed by a quick visit from Ronaldinho. And when I looked up I couldn’t help noticing that the customers, an ethnic miix of white and Anglo Asian Bradfordian women, had partially disrobed and were lolling with careless abandon on their beds - each one naked from belly button down. I raised my red clipboard till it partly covered the inflamed vermillion of my cheeks.

At this point, Sandra, the petite middle aged trainer and subject of my Observation, breezed up and handed me her list of criteria, announcing, matter of factly, 'Right George, do you want to check those points as we go round supervising the trainees?’

She was about to set off on her tour, giving her students handy tips on how to prune over luxuriant lady gardens and perhaps thinking I might chip in with useful observations (‘Mmm, I’d say that one’s more Landing Strip than Brazilian’). When, to her great dismay, I made my excuses, picked up my clipboard and scooted - picking up pace as I zoomed past the elderly, open mouthed Asian caretaker in the foyer.

Witness protection

We were called as witnesses to Her Majesty v Demon Dog Woman - if her Maj bothers with magistrate’s courts that is. We each took a day off work, but due to more urgent cases, we were sent home again and told to come back at a later date. When we duly took another day off, the outcome was that the magistrate let the poor, elderly, dog loving lady off with an ‘Official Warning’.

The trial of Demon Dog Woman was over in twenty minutes, but living in the same village meant the fierce Scotswoman abused me for years afterwards. From that moment on I became her ‘Spuduhate’. I was once sitting at a picnic table in the woods, dozily admiring the bluebells when I felt a hefty thwack across my shoulders. Demon Dog Woman marched past shouting, ‘Mind yourself, Muffy!’ … role playing she had accidentally caught me whilst innocently swishing her stick around to ward off midges.

Men down under

Dave Jackson, a childhood friend, has told me about two of his pals (call them Ted and Arnold) who went to a ‘walk in clinic’ for their vasectomies, after which they could hardly walk out again, but they found a clever solution which enabled them to drive home. All of which inspired me - having also suffered for the cause - to include them in my brand new monologue about vasectomies…

from A delicate operation

Now their wives had said it wor only a snip,
It couldn’t compare to birth pains.
But with chafing around their testicular bits
They walked like a pair of John Waynes.

They searched t’ car park in bandy legged motion,
But no sign of Ted’s car could they see -
Until they recalled he’d parked half a mile off,
To avoid paying t’ car parking fee.

Ted’s vehicle wor a sports car from Ebay
A right pile of junk no mistake.
He said, ‘Arnold, we can still spread us legs out -
Put your foot over here on to t’ brake.

Then to minimise scrotal agitation,
They angled t’ seats till almost flat down.
An’ it’s still maintained on some websites
That a driverless car drove through town.

If you would like to send a message about this piece or suggest ideas, email George Murphy


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