Coccium Quips Volume 2
Thanks to those who have expressed an interest in my musings, I aim to please; but before I continue with the story about my dad’s false gnashers, can I respond to a comment received regarding Volume 1.
I can’t let pass the comments of a doubting Thomas who has poured scorn on my scoop on Coccium pies, oh ye of little faith. Can
I tell you that not only is there a remarkable array of pastry filled delicacies available in this neighbourhood to tantalise any taste bud, but there is also recognition of this town as the International pie capital via an annual world championship pie eating competition, with an A list red carpet class international entry list. Last year the competition received world-wide press and television interest following a publicity following apublicity event, surely you saw it on the tele? One of Cocciums finest gastronomic Desperate Dan, smoking son of a gun size concoction was loaded into a rocket and projected into a low earth orbit (LEO) at a height of 2,000km. You can easily sight this orbiting comfort food if you point your opera binoculars towards the western horizon. It can be seen orbiting around mother earth around 11 times a day – and is now confirmed in the Old Speckled Hen book of records as the first pie-nic in history.
Pie (nic) in the sky
This meat and potato beauty, which incorporated a secret recipe of the best local beef and spuds, was specifically designed with a crimped aero dynamic finish to withstand the gravitational forces of take-off. The technophobes amongst you may be interested to know that it is fitted with a communication B6563 type transponder, and is also coated with a special black tripe derivative (NASA are interested in the formula for use on the next moon shuttle) so that when it eventual falls back to earth it won’t be burned to a frazzle. Still doubting me? Well, when you get up one morning and find an oversized meat and potato pie has fallen from a great height and splatted across your car bonnet, you’ll wish you had taken more notice!
Stop the press, I’m just starting to receive a really worrying news item via my tickertape machine.  The information trickling through the wires concerns a forced labour camp which appears to have been set up within spitting distance of Coccium Towers. I’m not able to properly verify this at the moment, but I have received some pre lockdown photographic evidence. This story is being imparted to me by one of my grasses, sorry my West of Pennines News Editor, let’s call him William Wilberforce as he doesn’t want the taxman to know about his moonlighting. He is alleging that an Allied Mason is complicit in this shady operation and that female forced labour is being used in a logging camp sited somewhere in the woodlands of the northwest frontier, shameful if true! (Pre-lockdown evidential photograph shown below with victims face redacted to protect the innocent).
Talking of trekking in wooded environments reminds me of my younger days when my ‘summer holiday’ was a week camping in Dean Wood along with my dad and some friends. All the camping equipment being loaded on our bikes and wheeled many miles to our destination, where we spent a week free from the cares of the world. We cavorted around the shady glens and leafy nooks, with wall to wall sunshine trying to penetrate through the canopy to create a dappled shadow along the tracks and trails. It’s fair to say that we were oblivious to the pay to play organised entertainment which existed in those capitalist enterprises dressed up as wonderlands.
It cost us nothing to dam the babbling brook meandering and gurgling through the vale. We didn’t have to pay to clamber up and lash a rope around an outstretched limb of an old grizzled oak (that cast frightening silhouettes and shadows at night when we left the tent to spend a penny). It was free to play Tarzan, swinging on the rope and dropping into the temporary pool to a big splash and plenty of laughter, innocent fun on a stick. In the evening we huddled around a glowing and sparking campfire, casting its warmth and light on the assembled eager weather beaten faces, we feasted like monarchs on greenfly infested lobscouse and raspberry jam butties and sang, how does it go Paul? Oh yes, Gin Ganguly……… - happy days or what?
Sorry, my mind wondered a little then (as it’s prone to do these days), anyway back to the plot and the dastardly deeds of forced labour.  I’m lead to believe that this outrageous behaviour is causing real mental and physical hardship to these ladies. Some are said to be afflicted with broken and scratched nails, and visits to the hairdresser and shops is strictly out of bounds. Oh the cad, this is worse than Chinese torture for these poor women. We need to expose this villain and liberatethe oppressed from their bondage, there’s nothing to lose but the chains. Drat, the word has got out quickly, and I need to put on record that I’m now being harassed by some senior Masons who have realised that I’m on top of the story. They know the perpetrator and are pleading with me not to go to print. I’ve checked the book of constitutions and I’m sure that I’m on solid ground, my only worry is regulation 24 (you may need to have a look the AMD constitutions to appreciate the point), and does this give the perpetrator a damned.” The truth must overcome in the end!
“Does Reg 24
Excuse this Tyranny?”
Goodness, this is like the bus service, no sign of activity then two come at once. I’m receiving another interesting germ of a story which still needs thoroughly checking; but I have an insider who should be able to confirm this heart rendering story of pain and anguish. The news up to now suggests that one of our beloved Brethren, my insider advises that he could possibly be a very deprived farmer, had developed a distinct left side lean when walking. The problem was causing him considerable distress and he even resorted to consulting a local cobbler to see if he could find a solution (the same cobbler who regularly mends the local Lairds shoes – he has an advert in his shop window “Cobblers to the Gentry”). The cobbler added a full inch and a half to the poor farmer’s left shoe sole and heel in an attempt to even up his gait (farmer’s gait?). This didn’t work unfortunately because the heel was put under too much stress and kept snapping off.
Which reminds me of a hod-carrier I used to work with when I was serving my time in construction. He kept us going with bricks and mortar (not much mechanical aid in those days and health and safety hadn’t been invented). The thing was that he walked with a limp as a result of an accident during his time in the RAF, and he came to work in his full uniform complete with beret set at a jaunty angle on his head, his cap badge highly polished and gleaning in the sunshine. Because of his predicament we had to adjust the ladder he used to climb up to each scaffold stage. We did this by staggering the rungs so that they were at a different pitch to the normal settings. By doing this we were able to synchronise the rung position to match his limp. It worked very well and we had no more accidents after we engineered this solution. Out of interest, he always brought his very intelligent sheep dog along for company (it rounded us up when the whistle sounded for break), and you’ve probably guessed that it also had a limp, and kept good military timing with its master (even up the ladder – I tell you no lies). Its name was spitfire and, limp or no limp, was really energetic. Its tail spun like a propeller when happy, and it always fired on all cylinders.
Sorry, I digress so back to our poor deprived farmer. He went to see specialist after specialist about his affliction, and after a great deal of testing and discussions with his doctors, my insider suggests that he found that the problem was identified as a very painful condition identified in the trade by the latin term “bloatedus walletitis”. After all the time and efforts to find a solution, the cure diagnosed was simply to buy a second wallet to be carried on his right side, and so even up the weight distribution of the cash he normally carries on his left. Perhaps another solution might have been use of a money belt, but I’m not sure that this would work well when wearing a morning suit, complete with masonic braces (especially in an airport security zone!). Eureka, I’ve just been given an update - the 2 wallet solution proved an instant cure and once again he is an upright and upstanding person in the community - ‘take up thy bed and walk – Alleluia I’m cured.’ If anybody can further verify this story it would be appreciated – name of the afflicted Brother would help so that we can arrange for a Charity Steward to give him a call, he must be in need, poor lad.
Brotherly Love, Relief
and Charity
Right, back to the story of my dreaded encounter with my dad’s false teeth. Oh drat, I’ve just been put on notice by my editor that my text limit has been reached again, sorry you’ll just have to bear with me again ‘till next time. Don’t blame me, the editor is a skinflint, but all will be revealed in due course…...I promise
Keep sending me the gossip and I’ll try to do it justice.
By the way another idea has come to me, if you have a very simple and easy to prepare comfort snack for these trying times please send me the recipe and pictures and I’ll try to include in a future edition.
‘Till then keep smiling
Article Courtesy of the  Coccium (Starry) Knight