An extract from the autobiography of Twattersley Fromage MBE
When precariously perched within a bivouac upon a lake of melting ice as I was I really should not have let my mind dwell upon the authenticity (or otherwise) of the Queen of Sheba’s alleged cloven foot. Yet when one has been marooned thus over the long, dark and ever so bitter winter months with food stocks perilously low and skeletal wolves circling outside along with starving polar bears in abundance as far as the eye could see, a certain delirium takes hold.
It first dawned upon me that spring may have at last sprung when, upon waking just the day previous my arse was soaking wet as was the trusty old sleeping back that had seen me through many an adventure over the years. Initially I took the view my bladder must have given up the ghost whilst I was in the land of nod yet it was only as I stood to gather my senses and a quizzical grey seal’s head popped up from nowhere to have a look about the place that the enormity of my plight struck home. Suddenly it was clear as day that I had parked up upon what I had supposed a mere Artic plain yet in reality was no such thing in part or at all! Finding I had made camp on a fucking lake was all I needed; moreover I realized then and there I was down to my last tin of lentils and devoid of even a sheet of medicated Izal high gloss lavatory paper.
With all the mental and physical strength I could muster I told myself that I really must fashion an escape – after all I had a loving family back in Blighty depending upon my safe return with an epic tale to knock out into a best seller that should, as it had always done post previous expeditions, replenish our dwindling fortunes. Then there was my mistress to consider. Should I return a failure, a mere jibber who couldn’t even lay claim to being the inaugural claimant of the Her Majesty’s All-comers North Pole Dancing Chalice then the lovely, sweet and ever so sexy Svetlana likely would have nothing further to do with me.
I determined that should I head back south then all was lost; that it was better to meet my maker than face derision back in London – even worse I couldn’t countenance the ignominy of getting black balled out of the club.
As any Englishman would know there was only one thing for it and that thing was, as ‘Fanny’ Kemble, an actress whose company I had once enjoyed the pleasure of had penned, ‘Fail not for sorrow, falter not for sin, but onward, upward, till the goal ye win.’ Hopefully Svetlana didn’t count as a ‘sin’!
In short there was nothing else for it but to emulate Sister Ethel, an apprentice nun I also once had the ‘pleasure’ of in my teenage years who when The Thames at Henley froze over would for the sake of it always take the precaution of cartwheeling over the frozen river rather than risk her body weight cracking the ice and putting her very being at risk. Thankfully having learned the technique from Sister Ethel (who always seemed to relish it so very much when I caught up with her) served me well as I was lakeside in an instant easily outpacing bears and wolves alike. A quick jog and I was as good as at the pole itself, yet in the near distance I was at odds to note a silhouette in what looked to be near naked female form swivelling about on a rod of sorts. Surely not…it couldn’t be…it was….bollocks, yes it was none other than my Svetlana pole dancing away like a good’un!
Upon spotting my arrival she simply carried on with her gyrations yet did deign to acknowledge me with the nod of one a tad puffed.
“Svetlana my dear just what do you think you’re playing at? Talk about stealing a chaps thunder!”
“Oh Twattersley you fool…you’ve been on the missing list for what seems like an age. Indeed I understand your own family have had you certified deceased and put your estate through probate, sold up and moved to the Antipodes. For my part I thought if you didn’t or couldn’t claim the Chalice as your own I might just as well claim it for my homeland of Romania – besides I can pole dance better than you, as Prince Vlad has pointed out already.”
“Prince Vlad! Who is this Prince Vlad when he’s at home?”
“A very wealthy prince as it happens Twattersley…indeed you can meet him shortly as his helicopter should arrive any minute thus corroborating my claim to the prize and the fame and fortune that accompanies it…tell you what we’ll give you a lift out of here in the copter…it’s the very least I can do now that I have a new lover.”
“What you and this prince chappie are an item?”
“We certainly are Twattersley.”
Double bollocks! I got a lift home from the North Pole a broke and broken man.