By Ceri Shaw, 2022-07-14
The young apprentices at Hoovers in Merthyr Tydfil looked on in awe.
They had heard the phrase, ‘necessity was the Mother of all invention’ and this was in fact the ultimate Mother.
Sat in the now empty Pentrebach Factory, that had once employed thousands of local people, was a brand new car- the like of which the World had never seen before.
If the Sinclair C5 Electric trike produced in the 1980’s was to be the saviour of Hoovers- then this new invention was bound to clean up.
It was the brainchild of local man Ian Venter, who had used the discarded scrap parts of old washing machines, tumble driers and vacuum cleaners to create the ultimate ‘Hoovercar’.
The apprentices could not believe their teenage eyes- it was like something from an episode of Futurama.
A vehicle that could hover above ground – just like the vehicle driven by Luke Skywalker on the planet Tatooine in the first Star Wars film – it really was a ‘New Hope’.
A new hope alright to employment in the small but historic, South Wales Valley Town that had been in recession for over two hundred years.
“I don’t believe it!” said local lad Vic Meldrew.
“There is something in the Air!’ expressed open-mouthed Aled Jones Junior- singing out in his dulcet Valley tones.
The car was not surprisingly made up of metal from white goods and had two vacuum hosepipes as the exhaust to filter out the gases.
To limit the effect on the environment, the patent holder, Ian Venter had it linked to a tank of Lenor, which gave it a softness and a freshness that people just couldn’t ignore.
It had a twin tub engine, which was fuelled by a new secret biofuel which Ian Venter didn’t want revealed to the World, unless he was to mysteriously Die Son.
“Does it really float of its own accord?” asked Vic- doubting even more than his mate Thomas standing next to him.
Ian produced to the apprentice a skipping hoop acquired from the local Afon Taf school.
Just like a magician’s assistant, he passed the hoop over the car to show that it was not being held up by invisible wires attached to the Factory ceiling.
“Unbelievable!” said Chris Kamara Junior.
“There is a lot less Bovver with a Hoover!” said Ian proud of his creation.
“When are you going to reveal it to the general public?” asked Thomas sceptically.
“I plan on a big publicity splash soon and seek to recreate the original bet between Ironmaster Crawshay and Richard Trevethick but this time have a sponsored race with an Tesla electric car retracing the original route from the Tramroad at Penydarren to Abercynon- but using the existing road network- I will of course stick to the Taff Trail- so it is a Musk Win for me!” Ian continued.
“Sounds great!” the wide-eyed teenagers felt like they were witnessing an important event in human history.
A vehicle that was not only eco-friendly but might offer one or two of the acne brigade a chance to impress teenage Scandinavian green Viking warrior Greta Thunberg.
“How did you come across the formula for your bio-fuel?” asked Victor.
“My Grandfather was a soldier in the British Army that liberated Berlin in 1945- he came across a famous German Physicist, Otto Von Jizzmark, who had unfortunately just taken a cyanide capsule rather be taken alive by the Red Army- in his laboratory coat pocket was a series of algebraic equations that Gramps had not seen before and which the dead scientist had been testing on a metal bell which apparently floated in the air unsupported- only the Nazi Swastika symbols could he recognise- but when he came home he gave it to Grandmother who kept it safe- it had weird alien spray writing on it too!” continued Ian.
“Do you think it has extra-terrestial origins?” questioned Victor further.
“Either that or my Grandfather found the original ‘Banksy’… Ian replied.
“But first, I need a volunteer pilot to test drive the car!”
All three teenagers shouted ‘Me’ at once.
None of them had full driving licences but both Chris and Vic both had passed their theory driving tests on Glebeland Street and held provisional licences.
Chris had the advantage though, as he was much lighter than Vic and had driven his Father’s milk float around Galon Uchaf on more than one occasion- as his Father needed someone to ride shotgun.
Not to just sit on the front passenger’s seat but also to ward off ‘the Humphries’ or milk thieves that lived near the Frontier Town’s Wild West Trading Post.
The ‘last straw’ for him was watching the Humphries ‘cream’ off all his weekly profits by pinching his ‘white goods and cheeses’ from the back whilst distracting him at the front of the vehicle.
He had got one of them back by reversing over his head whilst he ‘supposedly’ reached under the milk float for his football.
It didn’t kill the young soccer thief but it was very ‘Messi’ and his new triangular shaped head had earned him the nickname ‘Dairy Lee’ locally.
Chris didn’t know it at that juncture but being appointed the first ever test pilot of the Hoover Car would secure his place in history and of course the Guinness Book of Records.
Ian lowered the car to the ground and switched the engine off.
Chris moved quicker than an England Football Fan without a Euro 2020 ticket at Wembley.
As he clambered aboard, Chris was reminded that unlike Princess Diana, he must wear his seatbelt.
Chris looked at the series of dials on the dashboard.
There were red buttons, green ones and amber ones too- but was more scary than the ‘Squid Games’.
“Whatever you don’t press that button with the ‘Red Arrows logo’- or the one emblazoned with the faded words ‘Spin Cycle’….as it turns the car upside-down’ and is only to be used on an official fly past above the Queen of England!”
“Press the circular one to start the engine!” instructed Ian.
“The one marked ‘Up’ is what you press very slowly…if you press it too hard you would shoot up like a Harrier Jump Jet and will be crushed by the asbestos ceiling tiles!” the creator explained.
Chris did as he was told and raised the car three feet up off the factory floor.
All he could manage to utter was the word ‘cool’.
He hovered there suspended in mid-air like a fart in a vacuum.
Whereas he was in fact a fart in a different kind of vacuum.
His pals looked jealously on at the chosen one.
“What is its top speed? Shouted Chris from mid-air of the designer.
“Don’t know yet!” Ian replied.. but I have the ideal test track on the former Hoover’s cricket pitch..I should be able to discover its ‘run rate’ then easily!” he continued.
Schrodinger’s Chris was encouraged to return to Earth and landed like an expert.
“When is the test scheduled for?” he asked excitedly.
“Saturday, so be there promptly for 7am, I don’t want too many of the HGV lorry drivers to see my invention as they should all be stuck in Dover post-Brexit by then!” Ian declared laughing.
The students went home each fantasising about joining the Mile High Club with the young Thunberg for ‘Swede Dreams’.
When Saturday came, Chris was dressed to impress his Teacher.
Dressed in a Second World War jump suit obtained from the Army & Navy Stores bearing the word ‘Stig’ written in Sharpie Black pen on the top he stood with his Uncle’s Helmet ‘borrowed’ from his Vespa Scooter.
In his eyes he felt he was wearing ‘Top Gear’, whereas in fact to all and sundry he looked like a complete pillock, as he ambled down Pentrebach Road past the long red-brick building.
Ian was waiting for him as he entered the ‘Field of Dreams’.
As a child Chris had not been breast-fed but raised on Formula One and felt that this race was his destiny.
His shot to be the new Lewis Hamilton and move all his assets and domicile to Switzerland- where he would live the good life in the land of milk and honey surviving on Milka bars & Toblerones to keep his big race energy up between Groupies.
Chris climbed into the cockpit feeling just like Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder or Steve McQueen in Le Mans.
He was familiar with the controls and upon the lowering of the chequered flag by Ian, he set off in a clockwise circular direction around the field.
His trusty steed handled like a dream.
He felt cocksure with the arrogance that comes with youth that he could beat any mortal in a fair race.
Even a Tesla.
The Morning of the promotional race came around and Chris was sat in his prototype whilst he had learned that his rival was Malcolm Campbell Junior, Junior, from Pendine Sands Carmathenshire- a very religious driver who had christened his Tesla ‘Sunbeam’ in the hope of getting approval from his big boss upstairs.
As everyone knows Jesus loves a Sunbeam.
He genuflected before putting on his helmet, clutching the steering wheel theatrically and revving his silent engine, just like Marcel Marceau would have done.
Chris started to get nervous- looking at the model of Trevithick’s Engine in Pontmorlais he said a silent prayer of his own but given his green credentials to the Greek Earth Goddess Gaia.
The race was on.
Whilst the Tesla sped away silently like a chapel fart, it soon becoming entrenched in Merthyr Town Centre’s demonic one-way traffic system which must have designed by Chris Rea.
Malcolm Campbell didn’t like having to stop at the Pontmorlais ‘Circus’ zebra crossing as high above his head was the red-and yellow brick former Young Man’s Christian Association building once listed now just listing and looking like it could collapse at any moment.
Even the pigeons that roosted there would confirm that it was no longer ‘fun to stay at the YMCA’.
On the other hand, being much narrower and more flexible, the Hoovercar could use all the escape lanes known only to local taxi drivers and car thieves to get ahead as it sped down the Tramroad behind the Red House, Old Town Hall, whilst the Tesla was still log-jammed at the top of Town.
As it sped along, Chris suddenly realised what the environmental benefits the Hoovercar could bring to South Wales.
As it went along it sucked up all the discarded fly-tipped plastic bottles and containers and used them to burn away the air miles.
It was a real shame that Erin Brockovich wasn’t present, as the plastic fumes from the twin tub exhaust filtered upwards and started the fill the hole in the ozone layer as it solidified.
Used discarded syringes were no trouble for the Hoovercar, in fact they gave Chris’ vehicle an ‘injection’ of pace and left the Sunbeam ‘Chasing the Dragon-Park Silver Machine’
Sweeping and cleaning as it went, it would have saved the Council a fortune in street cleansing- if only they hadn’t stopped street cleansing due to austerity measures five years before.
Flying across the junction markings without stopping, just like the average Audi driver, Chris sailed on passed the temporary car park at Tesco that has been up for over two decades.
Using the pavements and side alleys he flew on without impediment as he made much swifter progress than the conventional cars gridlocked and frustrated by streets and lanes designed for horses and carts.
Being faithful to the route taken a few centuries back in Victorian Times, he was cheered on by a time-travelling member of the Conservative Party replete in Top Hat, tails and pin stripe trousers all laid out for the Right Honourable Member for Somerset North by his Nanny that Morning.
He made good time whilst his race rival was trapped in the Wacky Races behind the Merthyr Tydfil version of Penelope Pitstop, busy putting on her make-up in the rear-view mirror.
Sounding his steering wheel horn, Campbell received a dirty look that would have put Medusa the Gorgon to shame.
Chris had now reached the Rhydycar zebra crossing and floated across the road, narrowly dodging myopic pensioners who only passed their tests when accompanied by a leading man with a white flag and cyclists from the Taff Trail who refuse to dismount or slow down.
Complete cycle paths the lot of them.
As he passed over the River Taff, he admired the number of migratory supermarket trollies caught up in the torrent, that hadn’t yet reached the Merthyr salvage yards in Penygarnddu.
Now on the Taff Trail behind the Rhydycar Leisure & Swimming Pool which sadly had built too small to host Olympic Competition, he began to become worried that he would run low on fuel but fortunately there was plenty of nitrogen and methane available thanks to irresponsible dog owners in the form of discarded dog-shit.
Chris had once thought that dogs were dumb animals but realised that he had never ever witnessed a dog stepping in human shit.
His machine, originally modelled on the Sinclair Trike, had a top speed of 20mph and floating above the tarmac he didn’t need to worry about lumps or bumps unlike the Tesla, who had to negotiate the surface roads with less tarmac than the ones in Kiev during the Russian Invasion.
Malcolm Campbell loved a challenge but driving on these Valley roads left him shaking more than Billy Connolly coming back from a wanking contest.
Unfortunately, his progress was also hampered by the knock- on effect of roadworks on the A465(T), the A4060 slip road, the A4102 at Jackson’s Bridge in Georgetown and the A470 (T).
He couldn’t understand why all works were scheduled for the same date- especially on the day of the exhibition race.
The effect was total gridlock on streets designed for horses and carts with only fools and horses driving them.
Even the speed camera van had given up the ghost – there would be no soft motorist targets with cars moving less than 10MPH.
Malcolm Campbell was however, very competitive and even more resourceful.
As new laws had been brought in banning the use of handheld mobile phone devices in moving vehicles- he realised that there was still a loophole in the law, sat in his log-jammed car he googled the sound of an ambulance siren and set his phone to the loudest noise setting.
He knew in a lawless Town like Merthyr Tydfil it was no good calling up a Police Siren, as it was an everyday sound and no-one would voluntarily pullover to assist the Cuntstabulary in the lawful execution of their duty.
He would now drive like he did on Gran Turismo, forcing vehicles off the road in a fraudulent ‘Dai- version’
Using this technique, he soon reached the ‘A470’ at the Trago Mills roundabout glancing up at the grey towers of Merthyr’s version of Cinderella’s Palace.
He was now able to start making ground on the Hoovercar, which was now speeding down the Taff Trail, passed Upper Abercanaid- with hums and arias, as it nodded in the direction of its birth place and the land of its Father.
The Hoovercar was now low on fuel as a local charity ‘Bags under your Ayes’ had been busy clearing the illegally dumped plastic containers, beer cans and soft drink cans tipped merrily down the side of the embankments of the Taff Trail by a local publican enraged at the cost of commercial waste collection by the Local Authority.
The Gethin Woods now looked like it was sponsored by Pepsi to the Max and of course Red Bull.
The Charity collection organised by a group of local politicians to assist with a donation to the MP’s ‘Commoners’ bar at Westminster.
After all, the cost of living crisis meant that the price of alcohol had risen, together with sharp fuel cost rises and with a mere 15% increase on their salaries some MP’s were struggling to heat their stables effectively.
The Hoovercar began to chug and splutter like Boris Johnson at the dispatch box, as the rubbish began to run out.
Chris scanned the immediate location and suddenly struck gold as a local fly by night removal company had tipped a load of unwanted items previously destined for the Antiques Roadshow which had been looted years ago from Cyfarthfa Castle archives.
A signed first edition copy of Charles Darwin’s book the Origin of the Species – previously thought to be a study on the finches of the Galapagos Islands- but was actually about the building of the houses in the Gurnos and the Council policy about bringing up the standard of the poorest by rehousing gypsies and battered wives amongst the managers of the Imperial Chemical Institute (ICI) and their Stepford Wives.
Next came, Lord Nelson’s telescope and eyepatch last used in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.
Then to boost the fuel was fed the handwritten missing ending for Charles Dickens’ the Mystery of Edwin Drood together with the ostrich feather used to pen the same.
Dozens of stuffed animals-a taxidermists’ nightmare- ‘stuffed’ into the fuel tank as the Hoovercar regained the initiative on the Tesla.
The Taff Trail ended and the two vehicles came side to side on the Cynon Valley Road as the Mountain Ash Dash intensified.
Who would cross the finish line first?
Rounding the bend serving the Mountain Ash Rugby Club the rivals suddenly realised that there were pedestrians in the road ahead.
Joe Rassic-Park had a chip on his shoulder.
His Mother had in the 1960’s, whilst pregnant, taken a drug to ease her morning sickness and as a result he had been born with two tiny arms but oversized hands.
He looked like a cross between Kenny Everett character Brother Lee Love and a tyrannosaurus rex.
Today, he had a chip on his shoulder principally because that was the only way he could eat his food.
The environmentalist and green campaigner had tried to make a difference all his life raging against Big Pharma and the Multi-National Corporations that were destroying our Planet with their plastic pollution, car fumes and engineered wars.
This is why at the age of Sixty, he had joined the protest group Insulate Britain to become a cool cat.
Money was no longer of any concern to him following his early retirement – as he had just discovered that his occupational pension pot was empty after being looted by the Trustees, and who were now based in the Cayman Islands- so angry that he had just decided his moral crusade was justified for the next generations of children that regional and National Governments were failing.
Despite having a small amount of money, he was in fact insolvent.
Stuck to the tarmac road by his face, he refused to move as he lay right eyelid glued to the road surface of the A4059 Mountain Ash Road.
If only inventor Percy Shaw could see the alternative cat’s eye stuck in the middle of the highway.
Little did Joe realise that today like suffragette Emily Davison, he would literally die for his cause.
The glass of water perched next to him to ease his dehydration began to ripple.
Something big was coming his way- he couldn’t hear it but he could sense it.
Since the introduction of electric vehicles and their silent running, pensioner deaths had trebled.
The Government’s master plan of Covid Herd immunity had saved the Non-Dom Chancellor of the Exchequer at Westminster a fortune in pension pay- outs so much so he could afford tax cuts for the Times Newspaper ‘Richi’ List.
It was now onto the next phase of the cull of the surplus population, the roll-out of fully driverless cars and smart (no- hard shoulder) motorways.
The planned reduction of the number of cars on our roads by lethal but legal means.
Malcolm Campbell’s silent machine of death had already left a trail of dead hedgehogs in its wake.
The poor creatures had merely stepped out from their Chris Packham Springwatch nature-built apartments to meet with their friends for a short time but instead ended up visiting their ‘flat’ mates.
Now it was the turn of the ‘Swampy’ pensioner to fill the potholes.
The Tesla ploughed into the OAP shocking him than a monkey in a test laboratory experiment.
Never mind being tasered by the Met Police- being Tesla’d was much worse.
Chris in the Hoovercar just floated over the human roadblock and crossed the winning line to the sound of a loud cheer from his sponsor- Ian Ventor.
In triumph however, Chris made one fatal mistake.
Glancing back over his shoulder and giving his rival the bird, being a youngster he took his other hand off the wheel for a mobile phone selfie to upload to Instagram and just like 1970’s T-Rex frontman, Mark Bolan ploughed straight into a Mountain Ash tree the village was named after.
That too was to be his biggest ‘hit’.
His car burst into a ball of flame at the edge of the Taff Trail.
To the horror of Ian Ventor, the plastic prototype melted quicker than a Kardashian standing too close to an open fire.
Chris had become a Trail blazer indeed.
By Philip evans, 2021-03-10
“What time is he coming?” questioned retired nurse, Hannah Philatic.
“For the third time this Morning… 11.00 am!” replied her Partner-in-Crime, Joe Boxer.
“ I am the one that suffered multiple blows to my head not you!” he said hands shaking violently.
“Sorry, but it’s this Long-Covid…it’s a bugger with your memory!” said Hannah.
“ And I am nervous too!” she continued.
Hannah checked the letter headed by a green Westminster Portcullis.
“I never thought that I would get to meet the Health Secretary, Mr Handjob, in person!” she squealed excitedly.
“It’s not Hand-job -It’s HanCOCK !” scolded Joe “And don’t call him that for F***’s sake or he will definitely stop our funding!”
Following his retirement from the ring, due to the early onset of Parkinson’s disease, Joe and his business partner, Delroy Boyd from the house clearance business, they had turned into a pair of entrepreneurs.
Movers AND shakers if you like.
Their latest venture had been to turn the former Green Boxing Hall at Eighth Avenue into a vaccination centre for the local population on the Galon Uchaf Estate.
It was known locally as Jabber the Hut.
The Secretary of State for Health was so impressed with their reported performance levels in administering the vaccine shots that he wanted to see the place for himself.
Wales was ahead of England yet again and not just in terms of Six Nations Rugby and he wanted to understand why.
It was also an opportunity to turn yet another traditional Labour heartland into a Tory Blue voting area.
After all, Merthyr Tydfil had voted on a majority basis for Brexit – principally because they believed the Conservative lie that they would be able to stop immigration.
If there was one thing the residents of the Estate did not want, it was Foreigners coming over here and taking THEIR benefits.
Considering there were only a thousand residents within Motability scooter battery distance, they had done very well in their returns to the Department of Health.
Especially as there was only 500 people actually living on the Estate.
To ensure they were AL L inoculated within a week was extremely impressive and worthy of praise from Central Government.
After all, large swathes of the Country were misled into believing that the vaccine was made up from a combination of dead baby stem cells, Bill Gates Spunk, Arsenic and a tracking device.
Certain sections of the great unwashed didn’t believe that there was in fact an invisible germ that was killing them just because they were all obese.
Besides who wanted to live to the age of 35 anyway?
These people didn’t want any microchips, unless of course they were from McCain that is.
Nor did they want anyone checking on their every movement, whilst they were on Facebook or their Mobile Phone.
How else could they moonlight as a window cleaner, painter, hairdresser or nail beautician otherwise?
Their employee-Hannah was a large lady indeed.
Like most ex-nurses that had actually survived the pandemic, she was grossly overweight.
Her arse was so big that you could balance a cup of coffee on it without her knowing.
In contrast, Joe being an ex-pugilist was built like a split-pin.
His body was his temple and his claim to fame was that he had once had a part as body double for World Champion Merthyr boxer Johnny Owen – in the film ‘Snitches get Stitches’.
Both Joe and Delroy had been forced to live by their wits.
Dodging and weaving in the Business World just as they had in the ring.
It was strange how close the two former boxing rivals had become after retiring from taking low blows, and had both come up with joint ventures that had kept them one step ahead of the local rent collector.
After throwing in the towel, they had become designers of men’s underwear- and marketed a brand of men’s underpants that stretched automatically as they bent over.
It was named after a ‘left/right combination’ of famous people.
A Labour politician and a millionaire boxer.
It was goodbye to Builder’s cleavage when you owned a pair of ‘Wedgie Benn’s’.
Facebook had afforded them the business opportunity their parents and grandparents never had.
But the pair never rested on their laurels.
They were always looking to their next big venture and they realised that the time was right, just like everyone in the Government to cash in on the Tax-Payer during the pandemic.
They saw it as a way of getting some tax money back from Central Government -even if they hadn’t actually paid any themselves.
It was surprising what a bout of hysteria in the media could do to drum up business.
They had tried their hand at creating PPE out of old boxing head guards and gloves, but found that no-one in the local Queen Camilla hospital wanted to go into work looking like Muhammed Ali.
Not even Doctor Muhammed Ali.
The next best thing was to create their own supply of vaccine to the Third World – or Galon Uchaf- as it was known locally.
They had an insider in the hospital- a friend of Hannah, who was happy to smuggle a phial of the experimental Oxford Vaccine out and a Sixth- Former in the local Penydre School with a C at O Level in Chemistry to create their own knock-off version.
They could then undercut the competition by reducing manufacturing costs and jump the waiting list by purchasing directly from the pair under their Company name of Jabber the Hut Limited.
The advert on Facebook for their product boasted of a special ‘Happy Hour’ deal.
They had even added their own ingredients to help fight off the different variations of the germ that had developed in the former United Kingdom.
The Government recommended that a person be given a first shot of the vaccine which could provide up to 75% cover for six months and a further jab within twelve weeks to bring up immunity to 93%.
With the Jabber the Hut vaccine- which contained coffee and diet-coke and crystal meth- two shots was never enough.
Some people just coming back for more as they had become addicted.
Now in Galon Uchaf money had gone by the wayside.
They had reintroduced the barter system, as it didn’t affect their state benefits.
There was no Universal Credit level cut-off when it came to the number of chickens that you kept in the garden.
Outside the hut, queues were starting to form- all two metres apart that had been spray painted onto the pavement like a Premiership referee marking a wall from goal.
The fear of the Kent variant, meant that long queues just like that of the HGV lorry drivers near Dover were forming all the way down First Avenue.
A black limousine, now missing one of its wheel trims, arrived at the Hut and out stepped a weasel looking man surrounded by more bodyguards than Maria Carey.
He was ushered into the Hut to meet the owners but obviously to avoid shaking their hands.
‘Good Morning….said Hancock swiftly changing into a white lab coat for the photo opportunity before adopting the Tory Power stance which made him look a politician desperate to hold onto his deposit.
“Welcome Matt!” said Joe hands already shaking but not making contact.
Hannah curtsied and the sound of ripping of material could be heard in the street.
“I always wanted crotchless panties Mr Cock…!” she blurted out without thinking.
The glare from both Joe Boxer and Delroy Boyd was worse than the face-off at the Nigel Benn and Cwis Eubank fight.
Hancock then point up at the Price Tariff Board and enquired if it was a joke designed to raise spirits.
He read aloud:
‘One shot of Astra Zenaca for £3.00 or two for a Pfizer’.
He was surprised to also see a list of vegetables underneath and their vale on the Galon Uchaf equivalent of the FTSE index.
He then enquired as to where the vaccine was stored as it had to be below minus 80 and minus 60 degrees.
Joe opened the door and proudly displayed his storage area.
It was a former ice-cream van marked on the side as ‘Crony-Bell’.
“If you are a good boy you can have a ‘Moonshot Rocket Ice’ with it in exchange for one turnip- thanks to you we have lots of lolly!!!!” said Anna trying to be helpful.
“What about people who do not possess green fingers?” chuckled the Health Secretary.
“Then we have a watered-down version of Astra Zenaca for them…in Wales -we call it the ‘Poor Dab’!” replied Del.
“We do however warn them that there are some potential side effects- such as not being able to ever work again but strangely enough most people in this area are happy to accept such a risk!” interjected Joe.
“Who administers the vaccine?” asked Hancock.
Hannah stepped forward wearing a pair of Alan Titchmarsh gardening gloves and a phantom of the opera mask autographed by Michael Crawford covering her eyes only.
“Me!” she said proudly.
“I used to be a nurse and I had the pleasure of training under my good friends Baroness Munchausen Beverley Allitt and Dr Harold Shipman in Manchester!” Hannah continued.
“So that is how you got on the approved supply list….a Baroness!....of course!” said Hancock.
“Of course, I only put this gear on not to frighten the kids, as I tell they that I am really the ‘Masked Syringer’ off the Saturday Night Show of the same name!” continued Hannah.
“Although a lot of them already know how to find a vein, lots of them have seen their parents chasing the Welsh Dragon!” she continued in a matter of fact fashion.
“That was why we set up this Gym in the first place…interrupted Joe Boxer…to teach the females in the families how to dodge punches in the ring….otherwise it would be a bloodbath in this pandemic!”
“ A regular Quentin Quarantino!” if you like!” interrupted Del pleased at his comedic ad lib.
“Do people REALLY live like this in the 21 st Century?” asked Hancock of one of his aids horrified at the prospect.
“Never been to Merthyr before then Butt have u?” said an elderly woman sticking her head around the door.
“Who the Hell are you?” asked one of the Bodyguards from Serco.
“Mrs Paula Grady!” fired back the resident.
“Who wants to know?” she spat back with all the viciousness of a cat in the middle of a cat fight.
“Her Majesty’s Health Secretary” came the reply.
“Look…replied Paula….I queued up overnight to make sure that I was first in line for the jab…to give you an idea of what it was like - imagine the queue for Wimbledon or outside Harrods on Black Friday before Christmas….except with more Police sirens and Fire Fighters being pelted with stones!”
“Or in Merthyr the queue for the Dole Office!” she continued.
“Please let her in Officer….she has been outside since 5am in sub-zero temperatures…she will be our first guinea pig of the day!” said Hannah.
Joe tried to distract the Health Secretary from that comment.
“Before we inject them with the vaccine…we try to put the patient at ease by asking a few simple questions!” Joe said showing his authority.
“Name?” asked Joe shaking whilst holding the clipboard giving the appearance of the former football scores vidiprinter.
“Paula Grady!” replied the elderly woman.
“Address?” asked Joe.
“53 Thirteenth Avenue!” she replied.
Joe raised an eyebrow suspiciously as the Avenue count only went up to Twelve.
“Age?” Joe questioned further.
“Eighty years of age!” replied the old crone.
“Date of Birth!” he continued left eyebrow raised higher than Everton manager, Carlo Ancelotti.
“01/04/1991…sorry I meant 1941!” said Paula.
Joe reached across and snatched at the elderly woman’s beard sharply.
It revealed a much younger woman in her early thirties.
“Well Mrs Doubtfire…where do you think this is?..... America?” he said booting the woman up the arse out through the door of the hut.
“I thought it was suspicious….no-one has all their OWN teeth at that age on this Estate!” said Joe triumphantly.
“When can I have my vaccine? Because I am in category Ten!” moaned Paula (whose real name was Dani La Rue).
“Come back after Meghan Markle gets accepted back into the Royal Family with open arms!” said Joe.
“Come back any sooner and you will get a different jab!” shouted Delroy, as the attempted fraudster slunk down the street.
“So near…. so Spar!” Paula moaned shaking her head to the next imposter in the queue.
“I think we have seen enough!” said Hancock signalling to his lackies.
“What about our licence….will it be renewed?” asked Joe nervously.
“Can you make a donation to the Conservative Party?” asked the Health Secretary.
“Will a sack of turnips, some prizes from Castle Bingo and a chicken do?” asked Hannah.
“ I think we already have enough vegetables in the Cabinet already!” came the reply.
By Philip evans, 2021-03-05
“ When shall we three meet again?” asked Daniel Druff dramatically.
The remaining two members of his drama group at Merthyr Tydfil Technical College stared back from their online Zoom meeting and shrugged their shoulders.
“I think it best if the ‘Read Brigade’ meet in person to discuss our proposal, in order that no third party can infiltrate our Group or stop our plan…agreed?” continued Daniel.
His fellow Brigade members of Grant Aide and Douglas Deep nodded their approval from their respective bedroom laptop computers.
“5.00 am at the statue?” he suggested.
Daniel was the ringleader of a plot to get even with society over the issue of the unfair treatment of Black & Asian people caused by the British Empire and all it stood for.
His lecturers (when he saw them on the Merthyr Tydfil equivalent of the Open University) called him Danny Boy.
Post-Brexit English Nationalism was on the rise and like everything in this World this was the check and balance.
Danny Boy was the antidote to fascism.
He wanted to push back.
Daniel was so incensed after watching the 1970’s Alex Halley mini-series ‘Roots’, that he felt that he should make his stand with his Bristol brethren, who had demolished slave trader and capitalist Edward Colston’s statue and thrown it into the harbour.
Daniel wanted to do the same with other forms of slavery- just like the 19 th Century English Ironmasters, Crawshay, Guest & Homphfrey had done to Dowlais, Cefn Coed & Merthyr Tydfil but couldn’t find any statues to tear down of these evil tyrants.
The ‘Read Brigade’ decided that they would have to make do with the former Coal Mine- Owner Eddie Thomas statue in Georgetown- on the justification basis that he was always surrounded by people with black faces which were beneath him.
They felt that miners should be included in the definition of BAME- Black and Mineral Extracts- after all the history books showed that the members of the NUM had taken ‘Rodney King-style-beatings’ from the Police at Orgreave Colliery and other places around Great Britain in 1984.
There was no doubt that Daniel Druff had rebellion in his blood.
His family had descended from Irish immigrant ancestry that had come to Merthyr to work in the Ironworks after the terrible Potato Famine that had hit Ireland.
He was fed up of decades of Tory Rule and was particularly incensed, as the current Government had taken away his one chance of going abroad by removing the Erasmus Programme Post-Brexit.
No longer could he or his fellow students have the freedom to roam Europe or have roaming data but the inept handling of the coronavirus issue by the same Eton Mess, had meant that a visit to the European Continent was now out of the question for the foreseeable future.
He was determined to follow in the footsteps of the Chartists, who had met at the nearby Cambrian Arms Public House (currently closed in its modern- day form of the Lantern) and raise his own ‘Read Flag’ of defiance to the powers that be.
5am was a little early but if he wanted his disciples to be ‘Woke’ then this the appropriate time.
Besides, they would get a march on the Police at that time in the Morning, who were probably dozing in their vehicles on night shift.
Z ZZ- Cars most likely.
The call sign of the Read Brigade was that of an owl.
They really did give ‘two hoots’ to make sure their subversive agenda was met.
They had all agreed to dress the same.
Balaclava Road black ski-mask and khaki camouflage coats with tracksuit bottoms for warming their hands down the front- in true Gurnos tradition.
They wanted to give the appearance of Irish Terrorists but not too fashion trendy-they didn’t want the Sun newspaper to refer to them as the ‘New Look’ IRA.
Daniel was first on the scene and had brought with him the tools for the job.
His neighbour’s van had a sticker on it saying that no tools were left overnight in this van.
Daniel had made sure this statement was true by pinching them.
If there was one thing young Daniel had taken from his schooling at Penydre High School, it was his ability to break into vehicles.
He had a jack-hammer, sledgehammer (once registered to one Peter Gabriel) and a series of guy ropes.
He stood next to the tall figure of Eddie Thomas former boxing promotor, mine-owner and former Mayor of the Town.
He stood hands out as if sparring in the air.
Daniel was determined that this stand would make a show that the underclass of Merthyr Tydfil had risen again, once more against their puppet masters in Westminster and Cardiff.
They no longer spoke for him.
Talk and debate never got anywhere- it was time for direct action.
Grant was second to arrive and hooted loudly before he emerged from the thick bushes on Avenue De Clichy, left to go wild after the initial landscaping budget had run-out.
That was the way with Merthyr.
Nothing was ever maintained the way it should be.
Always cutting corners and opting for cheap rather than quality.
Grant had his own hidden agenda.
He wasn’t as committed to the cause of his fellow students as Daniel was.
His plan was to achieve notoriety and achieve a career path of his own.
Reality Show influencer.
Strictly Come Dancing.
I’m a Celebrity get me out of here.
Welcome Break Magazine Cover model.
Retire to Emmerdale.
Unlike Norwich Union- Grant really wanted to make a drama out of a crisis.
With that, forgetting to hoot came Doug Deep.
But then again there was little need -as you could hear him coming from a mile away, after all it is difficult to silent pushing five stolen Iceland trollies.
“ It’s no wonder Peter Andre is ripped….pushing this bloody lot uphill from Town!” he said gasping for breath like an asthmatic smoker with one lung.
“That Long- Covid really takes it out of you!” he rasped noisily.
“What’s that Gibberish written on the front handlebar?” asked Grant.
“Bee Gee language of course from the Isle of Man!” replied Danny Boy pulling their legs.
Grant and Doug looked blank.
“Welsh…c’mon boys it’s your Mother tongue!” said Daniel.
“What does it say then?” asked Doug.
“I have been trying to read what it says while I was pushing them!” he continued.
“May contain horsemeat!” stuttered Daniel trying to convert it into English for the pair of numbskulls.
“That’s not horsemeat!” proffered Grant as he pointed into the final ‘fifth columnist’ trolley.
“What the F*** is that!?” asked Danny.
“It’s my Jamiriqui hat for the start of the Friday, Bloody Friday rebellion….I bought it on e-bay for £5.00….only cost me £40.00 in postage too….bargain…!” replied Doug.
“Besides, you told me that you wanted us to get on national television and what better way than wearing a Red Indian Buffalo Hat?” Doug replied.
“Didn’t you think we would lose the support of the vegetablists?” said Danny wisely.
“Most of Merthyr is now vegan after seeing the looks on the faces of the sheep and cattle being transported up the Slip Road to Cowsvitz in Pengarnddu!” agreed Grant.
“Any way, no time to lose, the sun is coming up and we need to separate the statue from the Plinth of Wales before the Cunstabulary release what we are doing !” ordered Danny.
As he unloaded the jack-hammer, Grant – the electronics wizard- began to patch the power supply into the adjoining traffic lights shorting them out.
Just like the film Ocean’s Eleven, another Danny had a masterplan to help their cause by creating mayhem with the traffic in Avenue De Clichy which would prove even worse than the existing confusing road layout.
Ocean’s Eleven had nothing on River’s Three.
As Doug Deep dug deep, it came as a shock to the three would be rebels that the ground around the statue was so soft it took minimal effort for the statue to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Merthyr equivalent- the mining subsidence hit Edwardsville Swimming Baths where the shallow end was now 45 feet deep.
“Stop!” warned Danny, as the statue began to list at a 3.99 degree angle.
Both of the others ran into position to support the statue and were shocked to see how light it actually was.
“It’s hollow!” declared Danny surprised- noticing a tracing crack around the neck of the former Mayor- where his goldie looking chain would have been.
“A bit like Nigel Farage’s life is after achieving Brexit!” he continued.
“Bring the trollies around to the front!” ordered Danny, just like a foreman of the Council watching others toil away filling the potholes in the road with fairy dust.
Grant manoeuvred the Iceland metal carts with a mind of their own under the structure and lowered the statue onto them to take the weight.
“Take the knee!” shouted Danny back straining under the weight.
Doug immediately dropped to the floor like a Pre-Match Premiership footballer.
“No….you dopey bastard…HIS knee!” screamed Danny to avoid a sucker punch from the Welsh Muhammed Ali.
There was no cheer like the fall of Saddam Hussain in Baghdad, just a few grunts that would turn into full-blown hernias in 20 years time for the foot soldiers of the Read Brigade.
Now controlling one Iceland Trolley with a wonky wheel is hard enough, but attempting to guide five of them downhill on a slope towards the Civic Centre is a Herculean task best left to Greek hero of the Underworld Sisyphus.
The runaway train of carts began to pick up pace with the incline and like most drivers in Merthyr refused to stop at the junction with Avenue De Clichy.
There was a massive ‘wind rush’ as the students flew pass the Council Offices and out onto the Fire Station Bridge without stopping, mounting the pavement and finally only coming to a halt when it bashed into at the metal bridge railings- leaving the statue teetering like the van in the 1968 Italian Job film over the edge of the parapet.
“Oi…what are you bunch of teenage delinquents up to?” shouted local Official, Hectorz House, who appeared to be cleaning peanut butter off the outside of the windows of his office attached to what looked like a bungee chord.
“I may be suspended but I am not having that….Not In My Back Yard!” he screamed at the trio.
The volatile situation was bad enough as the three students had to use all their puny muscles to keep the statue from going over too early.
They wanted maximum publicity and the arrival of local ITV news correspondent, Hanna Barbara to film the event.
She had received a tip-off to be at the bridge at 5.15am for some excitement which would go far beyond the usual local news stories such as a goat being born in Vaynor with the face of Jesus Christ.
As she arrived the bridge, the Mexican stand-off with Hectorz and the Fire Brigade, just like the River Taff was in full flow.
“What are your demands?” asked Hanna pointing a microphone in the face of Doug, still partly covered in goatshit.
Doug just smiled weakly, as the cannabis from Amsterdam he had smoked early that morning to give him Dutch courage kicked in, as he tried in vain to hold onto the feet of the deceased boxer.
The Fire Brigade had already worked out a plan to defuse the situation and Fireman Sam ‘Sparkes’ Toomey was busy twirling a lasso around his head.
Its purpose to ‘rope a dope’ if he had too.
Hectorz House too was closing in on the students from the other side of the road.
“That’s close enough!” warned Danny, reaching into his pocket with one hand and producing a neatly typed list in Gaelic Font.
“The demands of the Read Brigade are as follows:
One : the immediate demolition of all statues of slave traders and Ironmasters in Wales.
Two: A declaration that Winston Churchill and Tony Blair be deemed War Criminals.
Three: That all student loans be wiped and replaced by Student Grants – except for those doing a degree in David Beckham Studies.
Four : The release of all political prisoners currently held on Gogglebox.
“ It is Merthyr Council Policy not to negotiate with Terrorists or Blackmailers!” replied Hectorz.
The crowd suddenly gasped as the Official had used the B word in public.
A Note was immediately added to his extensive Personnel File by a member of the Council CIA (Council Interview Associate).
“Now if you drop that Statue into the River Taff you will never get that job at the Guardian Newspaper as a Fifth Columnist and will be in big shit!” Hectorz continued.
“ I will see to it that you lot get more F’s on your college report than if it was marked by Gordon Ramsey!” hectored Hectorz.
The flooded River had turned black from the overflow of 58 unsafe spoil tips that still blight the Unitary Authority Land.
It was also receiving raw sewage from the Morlais Brook outlet , with turds now racing the squadron of plastic bottles dumped on the steep side of Abermorlais Tip.
Daniel was not an easy one to imidate.
He decided to fight fire with fire.
“Very soon we won’t be the only ones!”- he said pointing the boxer in the direction of Cardiff Bay.
As he did so, the top of the Boxing Promoter suddenly fell off into the raging River below.
Miraculously, just like a miracle of Fatima, the gathered crowd watched as Eddie Thomas face did a reverse Michael Jackson and turned from white into black.
Some began genuflecting.
Then even more miraculously for Merthyr, a series of Ten Pounds Notes began shooting out of the head of the statue like a broken cash machine.
“Well, I’ll be blowed!” said Hectorz, trying to hold onto his trousers- as the Monica Lewinsky career following female assistants from the Council surrounded the Dreamboat.
“I think you have discovered the fabled Reddy Money from the Atlanta Match in 1987!” he continued.
“Quick Fireman Sam….jump in and retrieve the monies we could plug the Gap in the Council Budget with that lot!”
The three students in a pre-determined plan all smiled at the ITV Camera, produced their mobile phones and shouted ‘Selfie!”
As they did so, gravity took effect and the remainder of the headless statue toppled into the fast-flowing Taff waters, before landing upright on a small island- standing there stranded just like Robinson Crusoe.
The Iceland Trollies, one by one, tried to follow the statue into the raging black waters as if drawn in by some ghostly invisible drunken hands on a night out at Koolers.
Just like the three students- they had to be forcibly restrained.
It was just another Black, Black Friday in Merthyr alright.