Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Cecil McGreggor - Man of Keys

Cecil was not born like you or I, and certainly not like you. He was the result of many hard years pained labours, the ultimate weapon, the ultimate solution. Cecil lead a normal life, but only as a cover. Like Clark Kent, but way less obvious that he was really the super-individual that everyone knew but politely ignored the obvious truth about. By day he was a key cutter. Whenever someone approached him, hey pretending to be cutting 10 keys simultaneously. Little did the onlookers realise, the weren't in his hands, they were his hands!

Cecil was born with 10 keys. One replacing each of his fingers. The use of the 10 keys were unknown to him, and the original plan of why someone would be genetically engineered to resemble a Caretaker's belt was known only to 1 man. The Great Marmaduke Sisemblade. T.G Marmaduke was a millionaire loner, who spent his fortune on creating things that only he could understand. Self drying raisins, Reusable eye-drops, edible sails. Cecil was his final creation, but Cecil was never told why he had keys for fingers, he just understood that it was all for the greater good (except for his left thumbkey, which he found out after about a month would unlock the front gates of the estate. Which was quite handy, because the gate stayed locked all the time, and it was a real nuisance to forget that particular key as it meant a 4 minute walk around to the hole in the garden wall which could be climbed over using a milk pail). But Cecil knew in his heart that the other 9 keys had far greater purposes, and he determined to determine what they were.

After spending 3 years working in the locksmiths, where he would spend every spare moment fingering keyholes, he realised that he could not just try every keyhole, but that there must be a quicker way.
"But there is" came a kitcheny voice from under a half-soled shoe "the winter man, he knows, he will tells".
"Don't you mean 'tell'".
"Yes." And with that grammatical deplurilisation, Cecil, picked up the half-soled shoe and its over verb-plurelicese of an owner and walked out the shop.
"I'm off to lunch now!" Cecil cried, forgetting that he didn't work with anyone, and wandered off down the busy shopper-packed road.

"You're very trusty" said the voice from the semi-boot.
"That's because your a very trustworthy individual."
"And howing did you known that?"
"I saw you completing a tax return form the other week. You couldn't remember whether to round your non returnable outgoings up or down, so you rounded up. That's very trustworthy".
"You saw that? Well, thankings."
"So where are we going?" asked Cecil.
"What did you meaning?" enquired Booty.
"Well where am I taking you? Where is this 'Winter man'?"
"YOU MEAN WE'VE NOT ARE IN SHOP NO MORE?!!" squealed Booty in shock.
"Well no, I need to go and see this Winter man so I can find out about my kefingers"
Slowly a small shape appeared through the darkness of the holey shoe. A golden eye appeared, like a copper coin glinting in a wishing well. "Brighting light?"
"So which way Booty?"
"Um.....through there." Said booty, directionlessly.
"What, the parked Volvo 440's boot?"

So Cecil climbed in to the back of the estate, and sat there, under some old jackets, and rather overly read, worn copies of Nuts magazines.

"Now we are waited."

And so they did.....

Monday, 5 November 2007

The history of cork.

Cork is something that we are all endowed with possessing, whether it be for our recently scrapped bathroom scales, preserving our favourite wines, or embellishing garage doors. It has come to be an everyday occurrence that no-one is willing to stop for and think something along the lines of "Thank William G. Goldberg for this great invention".

And why would we? After all there was never anyone called William G. Goldberg, or not at least one who deserves cork-gratitude.

Cork was actually invented by the Romans, primarily as a mistake when they were actually trying to produce other things. Modern cork bears little resemblance to Roman cork (or Crokarium). Instead of the dark, bubbly matting, roman cork was infact made out of horse hair. Horse hair was known for its strength and attractive swatch of colourings. The tertiary reason for its ingrained attractivity was its apparent inability to be melted. Many roman warriors believed that the finest swords could be made by smelting horse hair.

This small time myth was made in to a big time legend, when roman leader at the time Chebreum Milnatxx stated that great riches would come from the man "qui preiumaauex gaudy horsey" (who span metal from horsey hair).

And so the chase was on. Many methods were tried. From simple iron smelting fires, to lava lamps, through to trying to pressurise them by putting them in an overinflated pouch of leather that was full of rocks and rolling them off roof tops. Though these ended with the rather serendipitous inventions of alloys, lava lamps and rolley-roofey, none of them could melt horse hair.

Until one day, when a horse was found frozen to death in the Alps. In an attempt to save it, it was set on fire. Sadly these heroic attempts failed. But what it did do was to turn the horse's lovely tail in to a puddle of pure guadyhorseyx. It seemed that in the haste to get rich, everyone had all made the same assumption, that all horse hair is the same. So when it came to cutting off a sample of hair, they all took it from the mane. We all know these days that main hair has no melting point, so they could never use it, but tail hair can be melted.

Once they had finished eating, the family ran the now cooled puddle down to the village elder. He looked at its weird colour and said "non quadus vivi logunberries" (it is without a use!). But as he stood up, his bare feet touched the frozen ground and he lept on to the roman cork. "Brashxlikeken! novi- fiesta!" he exclaimed, for his feet, though wet, were now gripped by this relatively warm material. It wasn't much use in the battle field, but roman cork was used up until the 1920's to line mountain paths, and bathroom scales.