Aug 16, 2011

Magpie Tales#78

Redecoration work at Willow Manor inspires bloggers this week, thanks to Tess's picture

  MacWinterbottom, first name Toulouse, lang syne had nursed ambitions to be a painter, but circumstance, not the least of which was Mrs.MacWinterbottom, persisted in thwarting him. Ah, yes! The winterbottom of his discontent, Mrs.MacWinterbottom, (neé Spring) first name Autumn, whose insistent "If you've nothing to do, why don't you mow the lawn." (Aliter - hoover the stairs, load the washing machine, defrost the freezer, tote that barge, lift that bale . . ) She had stentorian tones that made her Old Man shiver. Getting a little drunk was beyond her pale.
   MacWinterbottom had everything except nothing to do. He had a calico smock with paint stains. He had a black beret that flopped. He had a properly shaped pallette with paint stains and holes in all the right places. He had an intense, artistic look about him. Often he could be seen with his outstretched arm straight before him and his thumb pointing up as artists do. He had canvasses, tubes of oil and acrylic and drums of tempera. He had a fine bouquet of brushes in many sizes standing in a pot of turpentine. He had an easel. He had a studio. But he also had Mrs.MacWinterbottom who asked how was she was expected to clean a room chock full of all this MacWinterbottomish crap, and if he thought he was a painter, where were all the pictures?  In retaliation he poked out his tongue at her behind her back. Or dreamed of going to live in Tahiti. He even had a little song along the lines "I'll swan off to Tahiti. That's where Gaugin's went," with add-ons about Constables flagging down speeding Hay Wains, and Edward Hopper the One-Legged Yankee Doodler.
   "I could have been hung in the Royal Academy," he told Mrs. MacWinterbottom, "I could have been a contender."
  "You should have been," she replied. "From a lampost. Preferably upside down like that Italian painter Mussolini. Or was it Hitler? Didn't Hitler want to be a painter? Maybe you should get some books about painting. Books might help. Try Amazon."

  Amazon offered several such, including:-

which MacWinterbottom bought and, not being a Dummy, began reading at Chapter 1. "First, choose an artistic name"
Whoever heard of an artist called MacWinterbottom!  I mean, Get A Life, man. Your name's a turn-off for a start.  Go to our Name-A-Nartist website and choose from the drop-down menu!  
   The MacWinterbottom's broadband rumbled into action, bringing forth:-  Albertolli, Boticelli, Caravaggio, Degas, Escher, Folinsbee . . . Vettriano, Wankie, Yamamoto, Zuccarelli and others too numerous or unheard of to mention. It even included Winterbottom, but not MacWinterbottom.
   Guess which name he chose before moving on to Chapter 2. "How to Sharpen Your Pencils."
   You're right!  Within a month the art world acclaimed a new kid on the block, M.Toulouse L*****c, and the rest is history, despite rivals who said the whole thing was a low trick.  (Low trick, L*****c, geddit?)

Gloss:  "lang syne" - auld Scots for "long since"
            "went"        - Scots past-participle of verb "to go" i.e He's went to ra fitba.
            "ra"            - Glaswegian for "the"
            "fitba"        - "football"



  1. How do you do it? I smiled all the way through this little story. What an imagination...

  2. I have the most artistic of names, come to think of it, but Ada and Cad are welcome to the painting bit, thanks - I'm liable to loose the plot with a pot of paint...But I always keep my pencil sharp... :)
    Now I must away to the library to read your recommendation, in case it may bring out my hidden talents...

  3. Top form again. I loved the play on words.

  4. There are so many great lines in your Magpie, I had to stop counting!!!

  5. This sort of thing really shouldn't be encouraged. What if we'd all fancy ourselves painters? Who'd bathe the baby then, I'd like to know.

    btw - I understand you understand these abbreviations - your comment was pathetic. " hugz! " If than doesn't get me out from under the duvet I don't know what will.

  6. I just had to check on Wiki that there actually is/was a nartist called "Wankie" What a life he must have had! I echo Helen above. and the line I'd vote for is "the winterbottom of his discontent" Also liked the disguised reference to Marlon Brando. But I thought he wanted to be a boxer, not a painter?
    (BTW - Thanks for taking the trouble to count my adverbs, Doctor. You're pretty sparing with them yourself.)

  7. James Thurber is applauding from his
    resting roost, and Walter Mitty lives!
    This piece was fun, yet bang on in
    terms of being resistant to letting go
    of our dreams, our fantasies. As Zorba
    said, "A man needs a little madness;
    otherwise he will never cut the rope
    and be free."

  8. One-legged doodlers and's all here! Loved the wordplay.

    Now, if I could just think of an artistic name...

  9. I had great pleasure in reading this. Many smiles and giggles. Thank you :)

  10. Loved it up and down, right and left...haha!
    Dr FTSE you have a very imaginative mind and I always come back here to read your blogs again and again for the sheer pleasure of it!

  11. Well I got "cries" as word verification for my above comment...Funny, isn't it?

  12. Oh my! Very silly, indeed! Edward Hopper, the one legged Yankee Doodler almost made me do a spit-take with my coffee (I will now be forewarned not to have a mouthfull of coffee whilst reading your stories!) The winterbottom of his discontent is so clever-did you name the character just to use that? Thank you for the morning laughfest!

  13. Bloggers. . thank you for these kind comments.
    Lolamouse - "Winterbottom" was the name of a character in a novel I have just finished reading, "I Do Not Come To You By Chance" about Nigerian419 scams, and I sort of borrowed it. I don't know where the "winterbottom of his discontent" came from. Certainly not from Richard III.

  14. Very clever, good doctor.

    We are planning on visiting Paris next year and we have selected a hotel which is said to be the townhouse where Toulouse-Lautrec once lived. I hope to be inspired.

    Perhaps I should also read Chapter 2. I fear my Number Twos are not sharp enough.

  15. I started laughing at MacWinterbottom!

  16. Your work is reminiscent of Monty Python, and I am of age to appreciate that style of humor. Very funny story...

  17. Hey! Hey! What a fabulous write! Our should I say:

    "rat wis a guid giggle ye went an gave us aw!"


Thank you for stopping by. To make life easier for you I have turned off the new indecipherable and time-wasting verification words. Would you care to "feedback" to Blogger and complain about them, like I did?