Written by Erskin Quint
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Monday, 25 July 2011

image for Thought For The Day, With Frankie Howerd Listen. No. Pandemonium, it was. I was speaking on the wrong subject. I should have been talking about glove-making.

Oh no, don't. Ooh. Hold on, oh don't. Ooh, everything's in the wrong place tonight. I don't know where to put meself. Have you got the same trouble, Missus? Yes, you have, I can tell.

Don't laugh, oh no. Don't. Poor soul. What a shame.

When they asked me to do this piece, I must admit, it was all very daunting. It's very intellectual, this "thought for the day" business. Very highbrow. I tell you what, it was bitter out this morning, ooh it was. It was bitter, wasn't it Missus? Oh yes. Bitter it was. Anyway, I thought, "this is all a bit highbrow", all this. Whatever shall I do? How can I get through it? Ooh, bitter it was. Yes, Missus, that's right.

Ooh it was bitter out. So I thought, whatever shall I write about? Because - ooh it was bitter, bitter it was - well, you see, I'm not used to all this, you know. All this thinking, all this depth, this gravitas.

Gravitas, Missus. Yes. Ooh. Ah. Ooh, nothing's in its right place tonight, is it Missus? Wriggle, dear. Wriggle. Don't sit there in agony. There's nothing worse.

So I took up my pen, took up the quill, I did. I sallied forth. I sallied forth, Missus. You know what I mean. Oh no. Don't. Don't mock now. Poor soul.

Anyway, Ladies and Gentlemen. Ladies and...ooh. Ah. That's the last time I do the Dashing White Sergeant, I can tell you. Oh no. Don't. Naughty naughty. Don't mock Francis. Oh no. They're making mock of Francis. Naughty, naughty.

So I started writing. I was sitting there, at my escritoire. Leaning over my escritoire I was. Bent, I was. Bent double, with my quill in my hand. Look, shut your face, you're no better than you should be.

I had the electric fire on. Well, it was bitter out. Bitter it was. Ooh it was bitter. But you see, it's no laughing matter, all this writing. This thinking. Thinking, Missus, yes.

And, well, the thing was, I just couldn't find the inspiration. Well. Ooh. No. Ah. Ooh, I've had a terrible week. No, I have. Listen, no, don't. Terrible it's been. I don't know whether I'm coming or going, or whether I've been and come back. Oh no, listen. No. Ah.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, no. Ooh. I should have broken these trousers in before tonight, I can tell you. I shall have to move into bigger premises. Premises, Missus, yes. Oh no, don't, poor soul. No.

But ooh, I'm glad you asked. I thought I'd watch the telly, watch a bit of TV. I was in search of inspiration. But what was on? What did Francis discover? A documentary about a man eating tiger. Well, I thought, I'm not watching a man
eating a tiger, so I switched it off. The rubbish they foist upon us. Foist, Missus, yes. That which they foisteth upon us, oh yes. Ah, no. Listen.

But ooh, no. Don't. Listen, no. Ah, yes, that's it. The postman came. There was this letter, from my agent. He's a funny man. The postman, not my agent. Oh no. He's not funny. He's got a dual personality, you see. Dual personality. He keeps slapping me in the face and trying to shoot me. Oh no, ah. That's right.

But ah, listen, no. Listen, let me speak. Let Francis speak unto you, dear brethren. No. Ah. Yes. Oh dear, loosen something Missus, loosen something. Poor soul.

But the postman, you see, well, he must have been frozen, cos it was bitter out it was. It was bitter out, ladies and gentlemen. But ah. No. I'm glad you asked. The letter. Yes. No, ah. No, listen. The letter. Well, it was my agent. Well, the long and the short of it - the long and the short of it, Missus, yes - well, he was telling me to go to Hull. Hull, Missus.

Hull Womens Institute, I went to. Ooh, no. Ah. No, don't. It was bitter up there, oh no. No. Don't make mock. Titter ye not, ooh no. Titter ye not, Missus. Listen. No. The Lord Mayor of Hull was a Liberal, you know. Liberal. Are you Liberal, Missus? Oh yes, I've heard all about you.

But ooh, no. Ah. Don't. Don't make mock. Make mock not of poor Francis. There I was, you see, at the Womens Institute. I spoke for two hours. Two hours. It was pandemonium. Pandemonium, it was, Missus. Ooh, no. Don't.

No. Ah. Yes. Ooh, no, don't. Listen. No. Pandemonium, it was. I was speaking on the wrong subject. I should have been talking about glove-making. Wriggle, Missus. Loosen something. Come up for air, as the actress said to the bishop. No, don't. Poor soul.

But you see, there I was, hunched. Hunched over my blank page. Inspiration it cometh not, I thought. Oh no. And then I thought, what a shame it is about the News of the World. Oh yes, what a shame. Oh no, yes. Ah. Listen. It's a terrible shame about the News of the World, I thought. Not that I ever bought it, you see, of course. Oh no. I used to get it off her across the landing. I used to get it off her over the landing every Monday.

Now, look. No. Don't. The newspaper, Missus, I used to get the newspaper off her, after she'd finished with it. Oh shut your face. The riff raff we get in here.

No. Ah. Yes. No, listen. Listen ye. Listeth unto ye to Francis. Mocketh not. Titter not. Nay, nay and thrice nay. I used to get the News of the World off her across the landing, you see. I thought, what am I going to do now? I shall have to start buying firelighters.

Ah. You see. Yes. Here it is. Satire. Now they're coming thick and fast. What do you mean, "about time?" Well, ah. No. Don't. Yes. Listen.

Well, by this time I'd nearly got 1000 words, and. Ah. Yes. That was it. That David Cameron. He's a peculiar man, isn't he? Strange man. Ah, no. This Chipping Norton set. No, not Chipping Sodbury, Missus. No. Don't.

Chipping Norton set. Well, I thought, I remember once I gave a lecture there. This is all very apropos, isn't it? Eh? Lecturing? Very apropos? Apropos, Missus. What do you mean, it's under the bed? You can't take her anywhere.

But ah, no. Yes. Listen. Well, this lecture. I spoke at a Pudding Factory, you see. Ah yes. No. Listen. Pudding Factory. I spoke to all the young ladies in the club there. What? Oh no. Don't. No. Listen. Ah.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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