An extract from The Duke of Edinburgh’s biography of Twatersley Fromage OBE

Rice University, Houston. September 12, 1962: Raising the stakes in the competition between Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States for supremacy in spaceflight capability President John F Kennedy gives a speech, broadcast worldwide stating unequivocally that the US will get a manned flight to the moon before the Soviets do.  At the Foreign Office in London two senior members of staff and their ‘secretary come dogsbody’ are tuned into the Home Service on the radio listening intently to what the President has to say.

“I say Carruthers that’s a hell of a good wheeze Kennedy has got there”

“Has he by Jove…although I must confess Twattersley personally I didn’t think he sounded bronchial at all…indeed I thought his voice was crystal clear throughout the whole speech.”

“No you fool…a good wheeze as in going to the moon. What a bloody sound idea…tell you what do you fancy having a stab at it with me…you know for Queen and country and all that…let’s beat the Yanks and the Ruskies to it…would you be up for that?”

“The moon you say…can’t quite place it.  Do you mean The Half Moon pub on the Mile End Road, or perhaps The Blue Moon in Peckham although quite why the Americans would want to fly chaps to either venue is beyond me…I mean they are both ‘spit and sawdust’ places fit only for plebs and ruffians.”

“God give me strength…did you not listen to a word the President spoke…he means the bloody moon in the sky.”

“Oh I understand now…it’s an awful long way away though and where will we take lunch…I mean I can’t do without my lunchtime snifter.”

“Shouldn’t worry about that old chap. I am certain there will be a club like ours on Pall Mall up there that no doubt stocks your much favoured Talisker.”

“Well then Twattersley if they have Talisker…indeed any worthwhile single malt then yes I am up for it. Do we have a spaceship though?”

“Not presently yet I think I can knock one out from the stuff I have in my shed…you’ll see for I am quite handy at constructing things.”

“Can I come with you Mr Fromage Sir?”

“You Tiffany! A gal on the moon…never heard the like of it. What do you think Carruthers…should we let Tiffs travel with us?”

“Well…um…err…um…I suppose so, so long as she doesn’t drive…you know, women drivers and all that.”

“Job done then Tiffs…you’ll be travelling with us but not as a pilot because you’re a gal.”

With that, and following a long lunch Twattersley Fromage returned home to his estate in the Shires and built a spaceship out of several wicker laundry baskets, a propeller from a German Messerschmitt he had shot down in the war and a dozen or so heavy duty elasticated braces he had inherited from his late uncle Porky Fromage with which to power the propeller. Just two hours on and the spaceship was complete and ready for lift off! He duly informed Carruthers and Tiffany to attend his gaff early on Saturday morning for take-off advising Tiffany to make up a picnic hamper for the journey as that was what gals do best.

“Ah Tiffs and Carruthers glad to see you both made it…plus the weather is set fair for travelling to the moon…my goodness how jealous the Septic’s will be when we beat them to it. Right no time like the present…Tiffs you climb aboard and you Carruthers can assist in the winding up of the braces to optimum tension.”

“Where’s the loo?”

“Crumbs Tiff’s I forgot about that…I think we’ll manage though for we can take a leak or indeed a number two over the side of the craft…no problem!”

“I can’t…girls can’t have an idle pee over the side like you chaps can.”

“Well it’s that or you can’t travel with us.”

“Promise you won’t look?”

“Tiffany, Tiffany, Tiffany we are English gentleman so you can take it as read we won’t look…never heard the like of it…anyway what’s in the picnic hamper?”

“Well then that’s OK Twat…as we are not in the office may I call you Twat.”

“Of course you can my dear.”

“Well Twat I have packed cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, a flask of Earl Grey, some Whitstable oysters and, as Carruthers requested, a selection of single malts including…see I didn’t forget…a bottle of Talisker.”

It took the collective efforts of Twattersley and Carruthers only a couple of minutes to wind up the elasticated motor and the trio took off and found themselves in the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere in no time.

“I say Carruthers it’s a tad chilly up here…should have brought my thermals with me. Still never mind I’ll just have to make do with Tiff’s fur coat as needs must when the Devil drives and all that.  Be a dear and lend me your coat Tiffs.”

“Twat I’m cold enough already and if I have to give you my coat I’ll likely freeze…and you said you were a gentleman!”

“True…I suppose I’ll just have to suffer then…what’s that you say Carruthers?”

“Look Twattersley we’re very nearly there!”

“Gadzooks so we are…just in time for lunch! Right then you two brace yourselves for landing.”

Albeit a little bumpy the laundry basket fashioned spaceship landed safely on the moon.

“Well this is a disappointment I must say Carruthers…this moon place looks more akin to a Moscow suburb than the exotic destination I envisaged…boring…it’s just rocks and craters and not a living soul in sight.”

“Certainly is…why on God’s earth would anyone want to come here…I’ve seen more life in a tramps vest…what’s your take Tiffs?”

“Personally I am astounded at the sheer beauty of it all and the view back at planet earth is to die for…I think I shall take a couple of snaps with my Brownie 127 for posterity.”

“Well I say bugger this for a game of soldiers I’m all for going straight back home…if we don’t tarry we should make it back in time to catch the last race at Ascot after which we can then retire to the champagne bar…a much better plan methinks…agreed Tiffs and Carruthers?” 

“Agreed with pleasure.”

“Agreed with reluctance…you chaps are such philistines when it comes to the beauty of space you know.”

“Right then Tiffs stand aside while Carruthers and I wind up the elastic motor for the return journey.”

“Not so fierce with the winding process Twattersley I think the bloody elastic can’t take much more pressure.”

What followed was a resounding crack as Porky’s braces snapped.

“Bollocks Carruthers we’re stuck on this Godforsaken lump of rock for an eternity I think…what to do…what to do…got it!  Tiffs we need elastic urgently and whilst I’m no expert in such matters if my memory serves me well don’t gals knickers have elastic waistbands…they do don’t they Carruthers?”

“Haven’t got a blind clue Twattersley…you know I don’t think I’ve ever seen gals knickers in my life…not even those of my wife Deidre.”

“How am I not surprised to hear that Carruthers…anyhow back to the issue at hand…Tiffs we need your knickers otherwise we’ll never make it back to Blighty.”

“Fuck off…say we face a crash landing and have to make use of the parachutes in the supplies basket. If you think I’m going to float down to terra firma without knickers and my skirt blowing up about my neck in the wind you’ve another think coming.”

“Oh Tiffs dear Tiffs you know we ‘won’t look’ if the worst happens and we have to bail out.  Come on Tiffs be a good gal and save the mission…I shall make sure President Kennedy hears all about you when I tell him we got here before his lot…you’ll get plaudits and everything!”

“OK then…just this once.”

With that Twattersley constructs a new engine using Tiffany’s knicker elastic. Good fortune smiles and the British ‘conquering of the moon’ team touch down in Twattersley’s back garden none the worse for their travels and travails.


“Yes Tiffs what is it?”

“Shouldn’t we have planted a Union Jack on the moon…you know like the Johnny Foreigners do when they get to The South Pole.”

“Bollocks I forgot…still you’ve got the snaps you took with your camera…they should authenticate the mission.”

However, and unbeknownst to Twattersley, the American President had got wind of the British moon quest and as soon as our chums had alighted their craft a number of armed CIA agents, indifferent to protestations made off with not just the ship (such as it was) but also Tiffany’s Brownie 127. As such the Yanks effectively airbrushed the first ever moon landing from the history books. It was thus with the Apollo 11 mission on the 20th July 1969 (some seven years on from Twattersley’s successful landing) that the US made claim that they got there first!  In his own words Twattersley has been quoted as saying, ‘I left for Ascot races that afternoon a broken man.”

And finally the first words uttered on the moon’s surface were not those of Neil Armstrong saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” but in truth were Twattersley’s when uttering, “Well this is a disappointment I must say.”



  1. Reblogged this on mikesteeden and commented:

    2 hours ago WP told me the post I wrote for this blog was ‘posted’! Yet again I discover that at best it has been partially posted…I’m guessing from a straw poll about 10% of those following me might have received it. I blog for the fun of it and presently there is little fun in mucking about checking to see what this curse is all about!

      1. I count you as one of my favourite blogs by the way…have done for a good while now. Do you get all these ‘when and if’ a post actually gets posted issues I do? Also – although thankfully not this week but the two previous weeks – every time I opened an original post on ‘blogs I follow’ a little white box dropped down at the top of the screen saying, ‘Woman Hater’. My son checked it out for me and it wasn’t a virus as such as it only came up on WP nothing else! Most strange and more than a little worrying I can tell you!

  2. I knew it! Great post. Thanks for shining light on the truth of the Kennedy coverup around this. The bastard! WTF happened with your elections? Looks like you folks have been bitten by the evil Republican bug that currently threatens my country. May the Force protect you from the conservative bile about to pour over you all. Ugh!

    1. The election…I went out immediately after the result and booked a holiday in France to get away from it all. I am amazed at just how fucking thick and self-centred the British public can be!

      1. I had a feeling you’d done something like that. My feelings are the same on the American public. I’ve gotten to where I’m more angry at the voters than the idiots the vote into office.

    1. It is always worth applying satire to the view posh British chaps see ‘womankind’…Twattersley and Carruthers – being posh – are typical yet I rather like Tiffany. I must one day reblog her trilogy when she was an agent in WW2 France for that was one of my favourite pieces of writing.

  3. Shocking Mike..do you know WordPress tried to airbrush your post from the stratosphere. Carruthers should NOT be surprised. I am sure it was cos you obvi know the truth!

      1. The swines! I read abso as asbo first of all by the way! Regardless WP did it to me again with a bit a verse I posted…it only went ‘live’ when I clicked the reblog thing a couple of hours after I posted the original! This blogging should be a bit of fun and not the pain in the arse it’s fast becoming!

    1. What is up? is it your settings? Every so often I don’t get any blog mail and then it dawns on me that somehow my settings have been changed without me going anywhere near them.

      1. I don’t think it’s my settings…when I post like the LOMM piece this morning and WP say ‘you’ve just scheduled a post’ all I have to do is wait ten minutes or so and it appears. It’s when WP say ‘you’ve just posted..’ that they don’t appear. I shall keep on trying and see what happens…having a brain-dead day today so might just see if WP will let me post part one of my Tiffany tales from a while ago…they went largely unnoticed then so I’ll see what happens…I’ve been feeling odd ever since The Arsenal lost on Monday night and Shirley inadvertently scoffed all the sag aloo I made thinking I didn’t want it!

    1. Those were the last words of the captain of the Titanic when he let his wife have a go at the wheel! It’s true that! Seriously over here chaps are more than a little sexist about gals driving!

      1. Aye! When my car broke down one night, I called the tow company. When the guys came, first thing I was asked was if I had petrol in it!!!

      2. A true story from the English press was of a young lady with a new car popping into the local garage to check her tyre pressures. She made a point of asking the chaps if they stocked the correct air!

  4. Damn Yankees–er—I expect Grandfather and his toadies in the GOP were complicit, once again. On behalf of all over-achieving Americans, please accept apologies for your swiped herstory. I know I’ve been FAR BEHIND with my bloggery, but I can’t believe i’ve missed out on Tiffany and her exploits these past few busy weeks. That’ll teach me. Brilliant stuff.

  5. This is another one that when I read the other day when I wasn’t supposed to be reading, I almost lost my job by laughing aloud when I was supposed to be focused on something else. (Shhh!) You’re hot this month, Sir Mike! I’ve sure missed you and Shirl!

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