by Rotten Rich Smibernoll
This week we follow the travels of Frank and Nesta Trough with their young son, Horse, and their daughter Little Fanny. Every day Frank sends us his report on the family's progress through the slums of Britain in a sedan chair. Perhaps I should explain that the family are in the sedan chair - not the reports, which are sent by a system of boy scouts dotted around the countryside. These scouts are housed in dog-kennels and holes in the ground. When the report is handed to the first boy scout, he runs as fast as his dear little legs will carry him to the next and so on until it arrives at our offices. Unfortunately, last Friday, one of the Scouts broke a leg. The vet was called in, but alas too late - somebody had already shot the poor thing and put him out of his misery. Well, let's face it, there's not much else one can do. Needless to say, the Owners, Mr. Baden Pole and Ms. Wigwam Shorts, were informed straight away and have already been compensated with a weekend in a Dagenham doss-house for two.
Now back to our fearless, footless, facile and feeble-minded family, the Troughs. By the way, did you know that a trough is a long, narrow depression - that about sums up Frank to a T. So deep in the heart of Salford we find our intrepid wanderers picnicking in a recently gutted two-up two-down cess pit. According to Nesta the building of terraced cess pits was prohibited by an act of Parliament in 1907. Thank you, Nesta.
Before arriving in Salford, the Troughs had some rather interesting experiences in Gateshead. Young Horse was seduced by a 43-year old, one-legged seamstress named Smith. Then Little Fanny was leapt upon and spirited away by three lads out for a lark. She was found seven hours later by a blind Presbyterian lay preacher who happened to be taking his dog, Lobotomy, for a walk when he heard the muffled cries of "help! help! bonk!" coming from a disused, thermo-nuclear underwear storage shed. Little Fanny later explained that the three lads held her against her will whilst reciting 'the Ancient Mariner' in close harmonies - with Lord Boothby's 1968 speech on drunken driving as descant.
Well, that's about it from the Trough's travels for this time. In the next edition Frank and Nesta forego the frantic touring holiday to sample a relaxed trip across France by pogo stick. Along the way, the Troughs stop off at historic Blancmange to visit the local Chinese laundry. Nesta picks up one or two ideas about French cuisine and tries out some of the exciting things she can now do with frogs. Frank suffers a prolonged bout of diarrhoea. The Trough children, meanwhile, participate in an educational interchange with two French schoolchildren. Surprisingly, the gritty little French youngsters survive nearly ten days with the Trough kids. The inquest will be held next week.