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It has been ages since I have spoken to 001 Claude Pheasant, so it was nice to hear from him again.  It seems his cousin Sir Sideney (with two e’s) Effington has moved into the area and bought the Hall near Farmer Johns.  Boy he sounds such a show off, Claude said he wears a silver suit, calls everybody ‘old boy’ even shouting ‘what oh’ when he sees someone.  I heard a large sigh on the phone, poor old Claude.

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I have to admit I didn’t know Claude was so well-connected. It seems his father has an older brother who inherited the title, estate and money.   Whilst Claude’s father went into the Civil Service and did very well (no wonder Claude got the job).  Anyway what is upsetting 001 is the fact that Sideney is trying to get Claude to build a new home “grand as befits the family”.  Poor old Claude  he really likes his home at Farmer Johns “what do I do Mike” he asked.  “Lady Effington is a real pain she keeps taking me out to lunch and the wife gets really  feathery about it. I’m so fed up, I mean have you seen that old hen? she has more bald spots than FJ, at least he’s funny, what am I going to do?” He sounded so down not his usual cheeky self, this was serious.

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I had to think this was not an easy situation. I asked what FJ thought about Sideney.  There was a small cauky chuckle “if Sideney gets too much he starts eyeing up the pots and sharpening his knife”. Even I had to laugh at that.

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“Do you know what else he has done? he’s employed a painter, not a decorator, but an actual painter like Gaughan, to decorate the Hall. As if that’s bad enough the artist is a FOX!!!  I can’t see this ending well. We have never seen this character with a brush in his hand let alone paint smeared”  Whilst we were talking I got this mental picture of Sir Sideney in the House of Lords dressed in his robes with his cornett squiffy on his head sitting amongst the other peasants, it was hard for me not to laugh.  Still by the time we said goodby an idea had come to 001 and he was a happier chappier.  I am not sure what he has in mind but can’t wait to hear what happened.

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

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The last time I spoke to Claude he was sitting on his fence and very worried about Farmer John who, it seems, had gone missing. At first Claude had not paid much attention to this as he was busy being a daddy. But as the days passed, Mrs Farmer John was getting very worried indeed and Claude liked her, she kept Farmer John in check.  So one morning when she seemed particularly upset he came to a decision, he would find Farmer John and bring him home.

Now this was easier said than done especially as Claude had no idea where he had gone to. So he decided to contact his friend Bruce Gull in case he had any ideas or perhaps knew where the missing farmer was.  However, he discovered that Bruce had also gone missing and this was  a very big blow to Claude.  But he was determined to find Farmer John so he flew off to the air strip to see if he could find any clues. On his arrival there he was in for a small shock. The hangar was now occupied by the Royal Canadian Goose Squadron (R.C.G.S. for short).  The Air Commode there was called Stuffing or Chestnut for short. Anyway he listened to Claude while he told the story of Farmer John, made a couple of phone calls then said he would do all he could to help.  He had around three squadrons at his disposal, with one of them on a training exercise over at Langston Harbour, if Claude would give him a couple of minuets he would call up the S.B.S. and get them to ferry him in on one of their ribs.  Then they hit a snag, there was no spare flight available so Claude would have to fly himself to Selsea Bill where he would be picked up and taken to the exercise ground.

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Well this was not the first time Claude had had to fly himself around, so donning goggles and helmet he took off for the short journey to Selsea Bill.  When he got there he found a strange-looking man waiting for him, he was wearing a hood type woolen hat and covered in dark clothing plus he had a large boat they called a rib full of other men dressed like that. There being no seat just hand holds Claude took a deep breath and climbed aboard. Then the engines were started and with a roar they were off.  As the boat bumped and bounced along poor Claude was thrown all over the place but eventually they arrived in Langston harbour and started to look for the R.C.G.S.  Whilst doing this Claude asked what ‘S.B.S.’ stood for ‘Special Boat Squadron’ came the reply more like ‘Silly Born Sailors’ Claude thought but as he could not swim he never said so out loud.

They eventually found the squadron and left Claude there whilst they went off trying to look mean.  ‘Right young man have to get you to the C.O.’ the Flight Sergent said,  ‘he’s called Goose Grease’  ‘Oh why’s that?’ Claude asked then regretted it ‘because he can slip in and out of trouble, especially if the army’s Territorial Fox tanks are around’.  Claude was introduced to a young goose in a fine shiny black and grey uniform, who greeted him cheerfully.  “Well now what have we here? an ’00’ agent eh?’  he beamed ‘yes that’s correct’ Claude said looking at this goose with a slight mistrust on his face.  “I’m trying to find Farmer John and I need air assistance to do so’.   ‘Well I can do better than that, I can tell you where he is.’ Goose Grease said.  “Every year I take my squadron to Salisbury Plain where we practice maneuvers and landings.  This year we were chased off by a Hawker Hunter outfit, seems we had gotten to near some secret maneuvers, very secret not even told their families. According to Bunny and Badger thats what Farmer John is doing with the Territorial Army and Commando 42. Territorial Fox tank division and the Hawker Hunters mob are all out there as well so it’s a big thing, and you want to go in?. He shook his head as he said this, “Claude you must be mad, but I’ll get you in then you are on your own”.   Claude thanked him then went to get some lunch.

Around 4.30 that afternoon a strange-looking creature arrived at the camp.  He was rather skinny, lots of hair with a lethal looking tail. As he walked through the camp to the officers tent the air crews moved out of his way, silently watching him.  He reached the tent walked in dropped his kit on the floor and asked for a beer.  Everyone stood there looking on, and it was then that Claude entered.  “God what a pong” he said holding his nose “Don’t you ever wash round here?”  The man put down his beer and turned slowly to face Claude “I’ll…” he stopped short “By all that’s good double o’ one at last, someone sensible is here” this last statement was made with a big smile on his face. “Easil Weasil is that you?” Claude gasped as he looked at the very dirty very tired looking S.A.S. man. “What are you doing here?”  “Same as you my friend, looking for Farmer John and Bruce Gull”  Claude was suddenly serious “They are in danger aren’t they!”  Easil nodded and hung his head.   Without saying more Claude turned and headed for the CO’s tent. “I want the fastest Goose who can fly low and get me to Salisbury Plain asap  I will be ready in 1 hour” “Better make it a two-seater”  Claude turned to see Easil standing in the entrance “I’ll be ready to go just got to wash and change my clothes” so saying he turned and headed for the sea.

An hour later saw them high above the downs heading for Salisbury. Their pilot climbed higher to be out of the Hawker Hunter’s range this gave them a good view of the country.  Easil had told Claude that Farmer John and Bruce were in danger from Puffin Billy because they had stopped him from stealing the bombs.  When at last they saw the exercise ground Claude realised it would be harder to get to his friends than he first thought, Commando 42 were not a pretty bunch.  They had landed on the edge of the exercise ground and were watching their plane flying away when they heard a rustle in the hedge turning round they came face to face with the biggest rabbit and badger Claude had ever seen. Easil was relieved, “Billy, Growler, so good to see you what news my friends?”  It seemed that the T.A. along with Farmer John and Bruce had been sent to the other side of the wood to act as the attacking group, thus taking them away from the main body of the army so exposing them to Puffin Billie’s attack.  Puffin had  laid traps in the area where the T.A. would be crossing the next afternoon there were even booby trapps.  So it was decided that Billy, Growler and Easil would go to their aid whilst Claude would tackle Commando 42 and the dreaded Sergent Major Chris.

They said their goodbyes and he watched them melt away into the woods, then taking a deep breath he headed towards the camp. As he approached he was challenged then taken to the guard tent where he faced a rather mean looking Sergent Major, who grabbed him by the neck saying “well well well look here lads, dinner sh…” that was as far as he got, the next thing he knew he was on his back with a wing at his throat and a mean looking pheasant on his chest.  “My name is Pheasant, Double-O-One Claude Pheasant! and you are?”  The Sergent Major looked stunned, he had been stuffed by a pheasant and a talking one at that, not to mention he was a secret agent.  “Sergent Major Chris sir” he stammered. ” Well Sergent Major if you don’t mind I have a little problem and I need your help, so do we talk or fight?”  Before Sergent Chris could reply the tent flap opened and in walked a troop of scruffy, dirty looking men, “Well Chris I see you’ve met our Claude then, we’ll just clean up, rearm then discuss our next move, ok Claude”  “you say so Bertie” “Ok then let Chris up he gets a bit narked if he stays like that for too long” the man chuckled. Claude let Chris get up. Chris looked at him rather bemused.” I have heard of you but never believed it till now you want to join the brigade? anyone who can put me on the ground is more than welcome.” Chris held out his hand and shook Claude’s wing.

Well what do we do now Claude wondered. ‘Big’ Chris cleared a space on the table so that Claude could see the map, after a short study Claude realised that things did not look too good for Farmer John and Bruce.  What they needed was 1) a plan to catch these baddies and 2) some desperately need information, in other words Easil and his squad, where were they? Claude wondered.

Actually Easil along with his squad were busy creeping carefully along damp hedge rows covered in stinging nettles and ditches filled with cold water, disabling the booby traps they found.  This was not an easy task as the traps were well hidden, but they had a secret weapon of their own, Digger Mole.  It was Digger’s job to check the  tunnels then when he found a stick or something sharp in the ground he would carefully pop his head up and mark the spot with a flag so that Easil would know what to check out. In this way Easil’s squad were able to clear a path through some very nasty traps, disabling trip wires designed to trip the humans or fire missiles into the air thus endangering Bruce and his boys. By the time they reached Farmer Johns camp they were tired, wet and covered in dirt. Easil and his squad crept up to the biggest tent where there was a light on. After skirting it to make sure there were no enemy around he pulled back the flap and entered.

Bruce, Farmer John and three mean looking T.A. officers were in the middle of forming their plans.  “What’s all this?” said a surprised T.A. officer.   “Easil what you doing here mate?” Bruce was now concerned.  If Easil and his boys were out at this time of night then something was up, Easil liked his home comforts.  “There’s big trouble out there Bruce. I’ve just got through a load of traps that Puffin Billy had set for you lot. No questions just now what we need is a hot cuppa and a bath THEN, I’ll fill you all in on whats going on. Oh and they have recruited Steevburn Seagull”   Dumping their gear Easil and his squad headed for the wash tent leaving some puzzled humans behind, Steevburn Seagull, what did he want here?

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When at last Easil returned he explained the traps he had found and how they were dismantled but more worrying was the fact that Steevburn Seagull had taken some chicks hostage just in case things went wrong. “This is a job for Claude” Farmer John said “Can we get him over here?” A message was sent to HQ and a little later Claude flew in. Easil told him about the hostages “Where are they being held Easil?” “There is an old barn just at the edge of the wood and he has them in there.”  Claude thought for a moment turned to Easil saying “I’ll take care of Seagull you just get the chicks away.”  “right I wont argue with that” Easil said.  They finished their drinks and knowing that Farmer John and Bruce were now safe headed towards the barn.  They arrived to find it empty except for a ferret guarding a hole in the wall. After knocking him out they squeezed into the barn and found the chicks huddled in a corner.  Easil had begun to usher them out through the hole when he heard a deep evil chuckle Seagull had arrived.

Claude told Easil to get the chicks away whilst he dealt with Steevburn.   Claude walked into the middle of the barn facing Steevburn Seagull the biggest seagull he had ever seen.  “Well who have we here?” sneered Seagull”  Pheasant 001 Claude Pheasant”  Claude answered.  “Ohh am I supposed to be scared?” Seagull said  “Considering I am bigger than you it will not take me long to dispatch you then I think a nice dinner of chicks will make my day.”   Claude said nothing, he kept his eye on Steevburn waiting for his move.  When it came it was sudden and hard. Claude flew across the barn hit the wall and slid to the ground.  For a second or two he sat there then slowly got to his feet. “Ok Seagull if that’s the way you want it its fine by me.”  As he said this Claude jumped into the air aimed his feet at Seagull and flew across the barn.  Seagull saw this coming and dodged hitting out with a wing as Claude passed him. But Claude was quick, he landed and turned crouching low waiting for Seagulls next move.  They circled each other waving their wings looking for an opening. Seagull made a few darting movements looking for an opening, but Claude gave him none, so he got a little closer and dipping on one leg kicked out with the other. Seeing what he was doing Claude grabbed the leg and the fight was on. Backwards and forwards they flew each getting a strike in feathers flying all over the place, suddenly Claude hit Seagull and for a moment he was stunned.  Claude seized his chance, he jumped on Steevburn and started plucking at his feathers. When Easil arrived with some of the SBS he found a rather unhappy beat up Steevburn Seagull trying hard to cover himself with his wings.  “You ok Claude?”  “Yes thanks Easil a little bruised but ok.” Claude said.

Well the story went round the wood and hedgerows making Claude a real hero.  Then to top it all Sergent Chris arrived and made Claude a honnery member of Commando 42 with his own beret.  It was a very happy pheasant that went home that day. And Farmer John? Well he gave Claude a hero’s welcome home even Mrs Farmer John was pleased to see him.  Well done Claude!

© Michael Douglas Bosc

p.s.  You will not find a photo of Easil as for security reasons his face cannot be seen.

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 It is strange how things change in life. One minuet I am being eyed up by Farmer John for the cooking pot the next I have an agent and a life in films seems on the cards. Then I get a publicist and coach then BANG! I find Farmer John has been nattering to his pals about me wanting to be in a Bond film only to find out that one of them is a ‘Government Man’. Next thing I know I am taken to a ‘Special Unit’ place where I have been training and working ever since, boy am I pooped.

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Mind you I life is not too bad. I mean every secret agent has girls, and as you can see I have two. The next thing I know Farmer John is my ‘contact’ and passes messages between Duck E (the boss of the agency) and myself.  However, there was one condition I had to marry the girls. MARRY THE GIRLS!!!!! why? James Bond didn’t marry… oops yes he did. So I got married and it was after that I actually met  Duck E. nice bloke really, bit quackers but nice. Mind you I am not sure things are strictly above board, one of my girls called Duck E daddy, well I think she did, she said no, but I could have sworn…..

There are some very strange goings on out there in the spy world. Last week I was hooked up with this flighty piece, couldn’t speak a word of Peasant, but she was plump in all the right places, really tasty if you know what I mean. Now it seems some Frenchies were smuggling pheasants across the channel and she was the inside bird.

These illegals were causing havoc with the shooting set, they were teaching the other pheasants to duck and dive when they flew, not supposed to do that. So off we went on a train thingy under the water to France where we were turned loose and told to ‘sort ‘em out’. We spent a few days posing as illegal pheasants trying to get into Britain saying we had plenty of corn and were finally contacted by a greasy looking turkey called Mon sure Gobbledygook. He said that to get us into Britain it would cost us a sack of corn, we tried to haggle but it was either a sack or no trip. So we paid the sack of corn and the next we knew we were inside a big lorry which was then packed off to a place called Dover. When we arrived and were far enough from the port not to be seen by the police, the lorry stopped and the back was opened so we were able to get out. As soon as I could I called Duck E, said we had the case cracked. When the assignment was over I took my partner to meet Farmer John he did not like her, said all she was fit for was the cooking pot, never saw her after that.

oo-0-oo

Anyway, I had plenty of things to keep me busy for a while. Then one morning I was having breakfast when my old friend Bruce Gull of the flying services came to see me. It seems someone was trying to put the R.S.F.S. out of service.  He was not sure if it was Puffin Billy or Petrel Head but someone had infiltrated the base and tried to steal some equipment. It had him really worried if either of those two got their hands on the spares they could be dive bombing people all round the coast, and he already had enough trouble with Chip Butty and the Gull Gang.  Well what could I do? Bruce had been helpful to me before so I went to see Farmer John – he knows about these things – and asked his advice. But he just wanted to shoot them but I did not want any bodies around, to messy.

I kept on at him after all his wages – 1 bottle of Famous Grouse and some fish eggs a week – very strange wages I thought, he would have been better off with corn like me. Anyway, we hatched a plot. The H.Q. of the R.S.F.S. is at Tangmere so Farmer John and I decided to keep watch and when the robbers turned up we would nab them. Not wanting to give the game away, he would be on his tractor and plough the field in the middle of the old runways whilst I went to the hanger where the stores were, find a large box and hide myself behind it.

So one afternoon after we had a tip from Bob Ferret, we put the plan into action. Farmer John got his tractor going and I slipped into the hanger and hid. I had not been in there long before I heard a noise and peeking round the corner of the box, I saw the hangar door open and a puffin waddle in followed by two hard looking rats riding in a small cart pulled by a scrawny looking fox. They headed towards the far side of the hanger where the kestrel bombs were stored and started to load their cart.

Now we had agreed that Farmer John would wait for my signal then drive his tractor up and catch the baddies in the act. I had to sound a horn by jumping on it. I had managed to sneak past the baddies and get outside then I jumped up and down on the horn. I forgot the first rule of 001’ship ‘keep your eye on the enemy’. I was so busy watching Farmer John heading my way with his tractor that I was taken by surprise when the hanger door opened and out dashed the fox cart with the puffin and rats onboard I had to jump out of the way, a near miss and no mistake.

Well, I have never seen Farmer John drive so fast, with a great shout of ‘Tally Ho’ he was off after those rouges and the last I saw of him was a cloud of dust as he disappeared out of the airfield in full pursuit of the villains. When he returned a little later with the bombs and the cart – he’s given that to me for my personal transport – he looked flushed and happy. He took the bombs back into the hanger and I stayed on guard until Bruce Gull came back.

Later that afternoon Farmer John returned to collect me, he had to lift me on to the tractor as Bruce and I had been celebrating our successful foiling of Puffin Billy’s raid. So it was late on that summers evening when we headed home, me dreaming of the events and Farmer John softly singing to himself. But I am not sure his helping me was a good thing, you see he went off one morning and we have not seen him since. I think he has got a little taste for my line of work and Mrs Farmer John is very worried, but I will look after her, well as long as she feeds me……

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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I recently had a conversation with Farmer John regarding 001 Claude Pheasant.  It seems that acting in a James Bond film has seriously gone to Claude’s head, he has got himself a bit of a ‘bird’ problem & Farmer John wondered if I could offer some advice.

It appears that one morning Farmer John answered his door to find a worried Claude furtively glancing over his shoulder. Farmer John noticed at once how Claude seemed to have lost a bit of weight. So he asked Claude what the matter was and Claude said women!

He had been showing some hens the pictures that make up his portfolio and they just swooned.  Well of course he took full advantage of the situation and now regrets doing so.  It seems the ‘ladies’ won’t leave Claude alone and it is costing him a fortune in seed as they expect to be taken to be best restaurants just like other ‘bond’ girls.  Well as Farmer John said what could he do? Ummm  tricky situation.

Whilst Claude was telling his woes to Farmer John the ‘ladies’ in question turned up and sat on the fence preening themselves whilst they waited for 001 Claude. It seems they think Claude actually is a special agent, obviously did too good a job.

Poor Claude Farmer John really felt sorry for him so he asked the ladies their names.  The lady on the left (partially hidden) is called Hot Hanna Pheasant (HH Pheasant her family have a place in Arundel)  whilst the lady listening to Farmer John is called Lady Upforit Pheasant (LU Pheasant her father makes porcelain items).  Farmer John & I both had to admit the ladies are both well-rounded and rather tasty.

Well the only advice I could offer was to take a leafy out of Stanly’s activities. Claude should take up contracts then he could afford as many meals as his ladies could eat.  That did the trick, 001 Claude found a contract taking out a couple of woodies who were running riot in the salad garden. The result a large dish of seed in the ‘Under Stool’ restaurant as often as he wants.

With the hope the Bond films will contact Claude.

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I had heard about Claude from a friend of mine in the UK.  He told me that Claude has been going around telling everyone he has a bit part in the next James Bond movie, a really far thinking guy.  When I asked if this was true his Lordship (my friend and Claude’s agent) said not exactly. Claude wanted a bit part in the film, well Claude being a nice guy I decided to interview him and find out what makes him cauk….

This is Claude

I must explain a few points first. As you can see Claude is neither slim or fast, but he is exceedingly agile, either that or Farmer John is a really bad shot, Claude says he could not hit a barn door at 50 paces.  Having seen Farmer John and Claude in action I am not so sure.  Claude also has a female friend who is ‘in the business’ and a couple of ‘ard nut’ relatives, and this has given him a hankering for adventure.  Any way I flew over for a day with Claude to get his story and see him in training with Farmer John.
MDB:  Well Claude I hear you would like a bit part in the next James Bond movie.
CP:
Yes Michael. I am very good at ducking and weaving Farmer John trains me at least twice a week, but I really think my forte is as an undercover pheasant.   You know, I could fly in and perch near windows and things listen to conversations, get the info. I am very photogenic you know.
MDB:  But wouldn’t you be scared of being shot at  Claude? I know Farmer John is tutoring you how does he do it Claude?

Claude being embarrassed

CP:
Well I sit here on the fence he stands back there with his gun and aims for that outline on the barn door.  You can see the holes in the door where he has missed,  well out of my way.  Now and again a bit of shot will whistle past me but he’s such a rotten shot sometimes I don’t even have to move, it can be embarrassing.
On the barn door is an outline of a big fat pheasant…
MDB:   Why is that outline on the door Claude?

Claude in training

CP:
Well I sit on the fence here and he fires at the shape on the door then I move a long a bit and he fires again but sometimes he can’t even hit the barn door and nearly gets me.  But it is kind of him to help me so I mustn’t complain.
MDB:  I understand you have a friend who is an undercover agent Claude.
CP: Yes she’s called Dawn Eider, she’s one of the Sussex Eider-Downs.
MDB: Does she give you any tips or advice about how to be an agent?
CP:
Yes she does but it’s not really helpful to me. Shes a female and I’m a male and I only like females, which makes some of her advice unhelpful. She seems to do a lot of her work in bed, and she can make me a bit hot, but that’s her undercover work.
MDB:  So have you done any acting before?

Claude showing his feet off

CP:
Oh yes. I was the original model for the whisky advert, you know the one that uses a grouse.  Well before they found Gregory McPeck they needed a prototype to see if the strutting and everything worked.  So my agent (his Lordship) suggested me, I was the one who came up with the footwork.  Doing quite well untill some idiot decided that ‘Famous Pheasant’ didn’t sound quite right and any way being a Scottish whisky they should have a Scottish bird and brand name.  So  his Lordship suggested McPeck (he was his agent as well) and that was that.  Mind you I have noticed that there is a new guy on there now,  Duke McEllington they call him, plays the piano he’s a jazz pianist from the USA, I really like his music.
MDB:
Do you have any other friends or relatives who are, shall we say, in that line of work?
CP:
Well there’s my Uncle  Emery Board,  he’s a really rough character.  Won’t stand any messing from anyone or thing. He even shortened my Aunts nails one day because she kept him awake scratching.   He’s taught me how to look mean.
Then there’s my cousin  Buster Crab. He sounds tough, but the other week he had a break in and Uncle Emery says he’s got shell-shock.
MDB:    What about your agent my friend his Lordship, has he been able to find you any work this year?

Claude being a Gossip

CP:
Well, he did have this offer from someone called Cordon Ramsey. He wanted a pheasant for one of his cooking programmes, but I had heard about how he shouts and said no way, he can go shout at another peasant.  But there is a chance I may be in a tv serial.  Perhaps I shouldn’t say anything, but his Lordship has been approached by this director who is looking for a kungphoo pheasant to appear in a series with a werewolf, vampire and a ghost.  Don’t mind the first two but not so sure about the ghost, they’re spooky.
MDB: Well thank you for your time Claude and allowing me to interview you.  I have enjoyed meeting you and hope you get your bit part.  I think Farmer John is ready for some more target practice take care Claude.
I would like to thank my friend his Lordship for allowing me to interview Claude.  Also Farmer John who let me watch a practice session.
However, I did notice the outline on the barn door and the position Claude sits in when ‘practice’ is going on are getting closer together.   Keep swerving Claude.

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