svetlana 4

An extract from the diaries of Twattersley Fromage MBE – History Explained!

How could I have known at the time, drunk as a skunk as I then was that my brief encounter with Svetlana’s headboard would leave its permanent mark upon the history of the infernal bickering’s twixt royal sovereigns? Best I begin at the beginning methinks.

The lamps were, as Sir Edward Grey so famously put it ‘going out all over Europe’, for it was August 1914 and war with the Hun had been declared. In the immediate wake of this, I Twattersley Fromage, counterintelligence operative of some renown within espionage circles had been, at the behest of none other than Asquith himself, summoned before the head of Military Intelligence, Section 5 (MI5 to the plebs). Prior to the meet I had been informally advised that the purpose of my attendance was with regard to a matter of the gravest national importance.

And thus it was on the fateful summers morning I made my way to SW1 with the spring of national pride in my step as I truly thought I was to be assigned a task both integral to and vital to the war effort.  Imagine my shock then when I discovered the undertaking I was beset was seemingly little to do with the war whatsoever! Oh no, for it was the case that even as the war kicked off we, at the very nucleus of the glorious Empire were running low on supplies of toilet paper. Indeed it transpired that The King himself had run out of his favoured Scott Tissue brand and rather than resort to using the Manchester Guardian newspaper – frankly the King could not stand his subject’s from the frozen north, moreover he doubted their hygiene and was ever so worried that a Lancastrian may have been in direct contact with more than just the front page – had resorted to using the plainly inadequate skin of the red squirrel when cleaning after defecation.

I was advised that the Germans must never discover our deficiency in this regard as it would leave us open to ridicule. Yet therein lay the problem for the only source of an equivalent soft tissue fit for a monarch was a small factory in the newly formed country of Albania – the self-same factory where The Kaiser sourced his own loo paper. Furthermore my lords and masters imparted the knowledge that they had heard on the grapevine even that centre of regal outlet was under threat of running dry. In short we had a bit of a to-do on our hands.

Having been provided a false identity my mission then was to procure a sufficiency of the old lavatorial smear proof stuff to last the King for the duration of hostilities no less!

Having journeyed uneventfully across Europe by rail I eventually arrived at Durrës Rail Station just a stone’s throw from the Boge Papyrus Emporium, a venture still run by its founder one Luan Boge with the able assistance of his reportedly lovely daughter Svetlana.

First things first though! A swift sharpener at a local bar was in order I decided. Albeit a dingy little hovel the barman was a friendly enough chap who listened intently as I gave him my cover story, namely that I was an American entrepreneur on a visit to purchase lavatory paper for a tribe of Native Americans who now struggled to find leaves since being relocated in a forest of conifers. However as we were chatting I overheard he who was to be my competitor in my quest, none other than Gotthold Offpaperstein a cunning German agent I had crossed paths with in the past. He had not noticed me yet as I overheard him chatting away to the effect that he was on the self-same mission as I, save that his quest was on behalf of The Kaiser himself!

As I pondered whether or not to head straight for the factory and dangle hard currency before the owner in the form of the desirable US Dollar I spotted a stunninglybeautiful girl arrive and in an instant Gotthold got hold of her and the pair were locked in an embrace of familiarity.

“Gotthold, my farter vonts to ‘ave ‘old of your bone in return for zer consignment.”

Fortunately I was well aware that ‘bone’ was Yankee slang for spondoollies otherwise I’d have marked her pater down as a dirty old rascal! So this was the much praised Svetlana then – bit of a corker in my book!  Plainly I had to thwart this transaction and secure said consignment for The King. So, still unnoticed I waited until Gotthold released himself from Svetlana’s clutches saying he was popping back to his hotel to freshen up and that he’d meet her at her place a little later with the money and make the exchange.

Thinking on my feet I took the view that, as night was approaching I would make use of the twilight and tail Svetlana home, wait outside her place until Gotthold arrived, then knock him orf his perch. Subsequently I would relieve him of his money and the stock of toilet tissue he proposed to buy so as to claim it for The Crown.

Although somewhat distracted by the delightful wiggle of Svetlana’s perfect posterior in front of me she eventually arrived at her little stone cottage aside the loo paper factory. For my part I lingered covertly behind a hedge in her front garden that afforded me a fine view of both the front door and moreover her now floodlit bathroom.  It certainly helped pass away the waiting time as, without even drawing the curtains shut, Svetlana stripped orf whilst running a hot bath! Fortunately for me the temperature outside was now close to freezing thus dampening the ardour that otherwise would have afflicted me – mind she was quite the loveliest creature I had ever seen! I know full well a gentleman shouldn’t ‘look’ yet to my eternal discredit I really couldn’t help myself.

As such it was almost a relief to hear Gotthold’s steel toe caps pounding away on the cobblestones thus announcing his pending arrival. He opened the garden gate and was making his way to the door when I took him from behind – I find there is no better feeling in the spying game than taking a Jerry from behind. Once dispatched, I dragged him into the hedgerow and swapped my clothes for his having first purloined both the cash he was carrying and his identity papers. For all intents and purposes I was now Gotthold Offpaperstein. We were about the same height and build plus I spoke perfect German and was confident I could pull it orf on meeting Svetlana in person.

The front door had been left ajar so I breezed in to find Svetlana looking ravishing, dressed only in a thin silk dressing gown. It was plain she suspected nothing untoward as she proffered a peck on my cheek and invited me up to her bed chamber saying, ‘I believe in pleasure before zee business.’ Crikey I thought to myself my luck was in.  What’s more the girl had a drinks cabinet in her room – champagne on ice and a variety of vodkas fit for a Czar. Plainly I got tore in and regrettably was the worse for drink by the time Svetlana whipped orf her gown and lay provocatively upon her four-poster. Me? Well with the old motto, ‘In for a penny in for a pound’ in mind I began to whip orf my own garments ready for some action yet being now pissed at a rat stumbled upon trying to climb out of my trousers only to fall forward and knock myself out cold as the old noggin smashed into the solid oak headboard of the bed. ‘Bollocks’ in hindsight!

Whatever, when I came round sometime later my now fully dressed, bored and tired looking hostess idly pointed out that she had counted the cash and all was in order. Furthermore, the shipment of toilet paper was packed up in Thornycroft Type J lorry (stroke of luck that was) out the front ready for me to drive back to Berlin in! Clearly I could not tell the girl that London was my true destination as she still thought me to be her Germanic chum! Albeit with a significant hangover there remained a stirring in my loins so I chanced my luck and asked her if she was up for a swifty before my departure. Her reply? ‘You ‘ad your chance Gotthold and were left vanting like an irksome Ingleashman’ – with a German slant of course. Twice bollocks!

I left Albania, mission accomplished, yet in the circumstances a broken man.

Postscript: Back home in Blighty the King was as pleased as punch to be able to wipe his bum in his preferred manner for the foreseeable yet my tale is not without one further twist. You see The Kaiser had got wind of the shenanigans in Albania and additionally had heard on the grapevine about The King being forced to use red squirrel skin when having a number two. He, The Kaiser that is, had sent agents working under cover over to England with instructions that all the red squirrels of the land be slaughtered and their skins taken back to Germany for without the Albanian tissue he had nothing with which to ‘wipe’.  And thus it is that, even to this day there are no more red squirrels inhabiting the English mainland. Not a lot of people know that!


  1. Hilarious, Mike. I do like a story which gets to the bottom of things. Great to see dear ol’ Twaterley Fromage – not to mention the Siren Svetlana! – drivelling once more! Power to his – er, elbow!

    1. I really ought to send you my Carruthers & Chum skits and thus get the narrative spot on whenever Svetlana makes her appearances! I listened intently to a young Croatian girl (I was hoping she’d be called Svetlana yet she wasn’t) we met in a cafe this morning yet still fail to commit her broken, yet flowing English to paper! Bollocks!

  2. you should be properly dubbed “royal historian” – we have red squirrels aplenty – if I can manage to catch a few, I’ll send them along – who knows when the next tissue crisis might arise

    1. Odd you still have red ones! Legend has it that the American grey squirrel being the larger of the two took over the key feeding areas of the red leaving us with only small offshore island populations plus a few in Scotland – Scotland being so very cold the grey’s thought better of moving there!

      1. the red are indeed a bit smaller – and much noisier – but we have both red and gray in large numbers – watch them every day from my windows – the reds seem happier in the heights while the grays enjoy the low grounds

    1. True – she’s a troublesome girl at the best of times. I have this very day though been dragged around the post Christmas sales seeking out curtains for the new place risking life and limb in the close company of many mad, aggressive female with only a bargain in mind. Trampled on I was…trampled!

      1. True yet she just showed me one set of velvet curtains (a rather fetching black and silver looking fit for a Parisian brothel) that were sold off at just £25 when they started life at £159! When I said, ‘I can’t think why’ she got the raving hump with me and stormed off in a huff no less. What did I say wrong?

      2. With my passion for matters culinary the missus got me a multiple function food slicer as one of my Christmas presents. When I noted that Jack the Ripper would have loved to own such a thing she got in a huff about that also although she did rather take to the patent black DM boots I got her – think that balanced everything out!

      3. You know, I did once write a poem about a man who gave his wife frying pans and a knife for her birthday and she ends up killing him with them. Best not to tell your wife about that one! The boots can speak for themselves!

  3. First of all… I misread the sentence “In short we had a bit of a to-do on our hands.” I thought you said “In short we had a bit of a DOO-DOO on our hands.”! Second of all…. At least your king did the paperwork himself and didn’t have a royal wiper to come in and clean up for him! If that had been you, Svetlana may have never invited you to her bed in the first place. 😉

    Awesome story! Great to see you back! 😀

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