Ahoy, Mr Key!, writes Dr Ruth Pastry, Thank you so much for affording us readers a glimpse of the inner workings of Hooting Yard in your piece on that Olympics logo. Brief as it was, I was fascinated by the reference to the editorial conclave, and to the fact that the bloated janitor remains an unreconstructed Blunkettite. The real reason I am writing, however, is because I am desperate to find out what Mrs Gubbins was knitting. Can you tell me?
Well, Ruth, yes I can! A few weeks ago, the octogenarian crone was approached by a charity working with the filthy and destitute denizens of that cluster of hovels out Pointy Town way. As you may know, these ill-starred wretches are even lower than the lowest of the low, wallowing in a dank pit of turpitude and lacking even the most basic sanitation. Other charitable organisations shun them because, you know, there are limits. Anyway, Mrs Gubbins was asked to knit something for them, and she wisely decided to bring a little joy to their hearts â€“ if they actually have beating human hearts â€“ by making for them a life-size knitted puppet of Ugo, hero of a series of exciting Bulgarian folk tales.
We have published a number of Ugo stories here at Hooting Yard, so this would be an opportune time to pluck them from the Archive and present all six here afresh, some three years after they originally appeared:
Ugo Goofs Off
Ugo lived in Plovdiv. In the fog, Ugo goofed off. “There you go, Ugo, goofing off again,” said Ugo’s ma. It was foggy. Ugo stepped in some goo. He got it on his boots. “Ma, I’ve got goo on my boots,” said Ugo. Ugo’s ma gave him a rag to wipe the goo off his boots. She had a drawer of gewgaws. Gewgaws and rags. Ugo’s ma was blind, so when Ugo goofed off and got goo on his boots, she opened the drawer of gewgaws and rags and rummaged, feeling for a rag rather than a gewgaw, for if she gave Ugo a gewgaw he wouldn’t get the goo off his boots, but with a rag he would. Ugo sat in the porch after goofing off and wiped the goo off his boots with a rag. In the fog. In Plovdiv.
Ugoâ€™s Pal Ulf
In Plovdiv, Ugo had a pal called Ulf. Ulf had the plague. “Look at my bubo, Ugo,” said Ulf. “Oooh!” said Ugo when he saw the bubo. Ugo had the flu. His ma made him a tincture for his flu but there was not much she could do about Ulf’s bubo. In the Plovdiv lazaretto, Ulf mooched about in a foul mood. Ugo and Ugo’s ma brought food for Ulf. “Have some pancakes, Ulf,” said Ugo. Ulf gobbled a pancake. “Far be it from me to poo-poo you, Ulf,” said Ugo’s ma, “But you should put the pancake on your bubo, like a poultice.” “Oh,” said Ulf. He did as bid, and soon his bubo was gone. But Ugo still had the flu, so his ma was thrown for a loop. She could cure the plague but not the flu, and did not know what else she could do. For the time being. In the lazaretto in Plovdiv.
In the old town of Plovdiv, Ugo plopped his pod onto a stool. Ugo’s ma said, “Ugo, why are you using a pod instead of a jar?” Ugo’s ma was blind, but she knew that the plop of Ugo’s pod was different to the plop of his jar. “Oh, ma,” said Ugo, “My jar is in the shed.” Ugo’s ma bashed Ugo on the head. “Never leave your jar in the shed, Ugo,” she said, “When you do I will bash you on the head, as I just did.” Ugo said, “Sorry, ma. My pal Ulf put my jar in the shed.” “Ah,” said Ugo’s ma. On Thursday last. In a hovel. In the old town of Plovdiv.
Ugoâ€™s New Hooter
Back in Plovdiv, Ugo won a hooter as a booby prize. Ugo tooted his hooter in his blind ma’s ear. “Ooh, Ugo,” said Ugo’s ma, “That hooter makes a din!” “It’s a hooter, ma. I won it as a booby prize,” said Ugo. “And what did your pal Ulf win, Ugo?” asked Ugo’s ma, shelling peas as she spoke. “Ulf won a toy wolf, ma,” said Ugo, “It’s as noisy as my booby prize hooter, because when you press your thumb on its tum, the toy wolf that Ulf won roars.” Ugo tooted his hooter again and ran off to find Ulf. On a very wet Tuesday. Near the old fort. In Plovdiv.
Ugo Turns Blue
It was Saint Hector’s Day in the old town of Plovdiv. Ugo’s hood got snagged on a tack and he turned blue, or, as Carl Sagan used to say, blooow. “Oooo” said Ugo’s pal Ulf, “Ugo, you look all blue.” “Ack” said Ugo. “I’ll go and fetch your blind ma, Ugo, to see what she can do,” said Ulf, though he could have pulled Ugo’s hood off the tack on which it was snagged. But Ulf had been sniffing glue. Ulf found Ugo’s ma sitting on a stool. “Ugo’s ma,” said Ulf, “Ugo has turned blue. His hood is snagged on a tack.” Ugo’s ma was chewing a chew, but she jumped off her stool and ran to Ugo, who was indeed very blue. Ugo’s ma spat out her chew, and it landed in a pot of glue. It was the glue Ugo’s pal Ulf had been sniffing. Ugo’s ma unsnagged Ugo’s hood from the tack. “Ack” said Ugo. “Ooo, Ugo’s ma, I knew you would know what to do,” said Ulf. Ugo’s ma clouted Ulf on the head with a spoon, and confiscated his glue. Ugo went off to find his shoes. It was time for mass. At Saint Hector’s Cathedral. On the Left Bank. In Plovdiv.
Ugo Goes Loopy
One morning in Plovdiv, Ugo went loopy. He put on his shoes and went out to the yard and made a noise like a shrew. Thinking there was a shrew in her yard, Ugo’s blind ma tooted her hooter to alert the Plovdiv Shrew Patrol. But Ugo started to sound like a goose. “Ooo,” said Ugo’s ma, “What am I to do? A shrew and a goose!” Then Ugo began to moo, like a cow. “Wow!” said Ugo’s pal Ulf, who came tumbling into the yard dressed up like a moose, for Ulf was loopy too. “Is that you, Ugo’s pal Ulf?” asked Ugo’s ma. “Woo woo woo,” said Ulf. “Ulf, there is a shrew and a goose and a cow in my yard,” said Ugo’s ma. “No, Ugo’s ma,” said Ulf, “It’s only Ugo being loopy.” “Ah,” said Ugo’s ma. She packed Ugo and Ugo’s pal Ulf off to school. On a tram. In Plovdiv.
Much as it pains me to say it, bravo Mrs Gubbins. I have first-hand knowledge of the warm, comforting glow that a lovingly crafted literary figure can bring. Eric The Mute-blind Love Monkey and I are very close, and I would encourage other readers to take up their needles (or pins, or glue gun) and discover the pleasure of spending time with a fictional hero.
Ms Cradledew is almost certainly referring to one of the millions of magnetic mute blind love monkeys waiting to be hatched on a far distant planet in the story “Far Far Away”. You’ll find this in the Archive (September 2006, I think) and it also appears in the imminent Hooting Yard paperback “Unpeakable Desolation Pouring Down From The Stars”, which is due out any day now.
I’d exhibit a picture of my close friend Mr Sock Monkey but.. I never seem to see anybody I have introduced him to ever again…
(Mr Sock Monkey has asked me to point out that he didn’t kill them…)