Tuesday, 7 April 2009


No time was wasted in making me earn my keep at Pettigrew's Circus. I was barely back in the land of the living when I was marched down to join the other monkeys in what was, I have to admit, a rather generously sized cage. They had even put some branches in it so that we would have something to climb around on to stop us getting bored. Hah! They were obviously not aware of my notoriously low boredom threshold. I suppose it comes of being rather more intelligent than the average monkey or the average human being for that matter. (No offense!) Still, it was better than anything that meddling French charity had to offer.

I quickly gathered that I was to be part of a group of simian performers rejoicing in the title of Bobo's Bavarian chimps and what is more, I was to be, as they say in show business circles, the "fall guy". So, not only was I going to have to endure the humiliation of having to wear a Tyrolean hat, complete with peacock feather, and, of course Lederhosen, but it looked as if I was going to be getting my backside kicked regularly, both literally and metaphorically, by a group of creatures who, as it was to turn out, bore me no good will whatsoever.

They were a grim lot those other three. The first thing they did was to accuse me of being an illegal immigrant and stealing British jobs. The cheek of it. At least I was captured in what used to be a part of the British Empire, which is more than you can say of any of them.

Chico was the oldest of them and the self appointed leader. He had great broad shoulders and was obviously adept at using them to barge his way through life. Pedro was his lieutenant. A bit of a sycophant really. Whatever Chico said or did was all right with Pedro.

Then there was Candy. What can I say about poor Candy. She was definitely a "glass half empty" type of monkey. When she wasn't moaning incessantly about her lot in life or imagining that Chico and Pedro were laughing at her behind her back she was throwing dirty looks in my direction which I found a little strange since I had not been there long enough to offend her. I was later to find out that she was one of those little monkeys who need to feel offended by someone. It gives a perverse sense of order to their life.

No, she was not exactly my favourite "monkey girl" and I can safely say that, as far as my emotional state that night was concerned, I would have felt more comfortable with my bonce wedged between a tiger's jaw. I did try to get some sleep, but YOU try sleeping with one eye open

Then, out of the blue, my "guardian angel", yes, Stromboli, came to my rescue. He showed up early the next morning and, seeing me curled in splendid isolation on one side of the cage while the "Three Stooges" were huddled up on the other, he immediately worked out what was going on and took pity on me.

It was quickly arranged that I would bunk up with him in his rather spacious trailer. Surprisingly, the arrangement worked well and without any awkwardness. The only drawback being that if I was caught short in the middle of the night I had to go out into the cold to relieve myself but that proved to be a very small price to pay for his friendship and the education he was about to give me.

NEXT TIME: Stromboli (Renaissance Man). My Education.

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