Yesterday was a busy day for Titania Bonham-Smythe and her colleagues at the National Trust gift shop at the base of Glastonbury Tor, following a week that saw the sale of the smallest number of cat muzzles since records began.
“It was obviously a great honour for the tor to feature so prominently in the Olympics opening ceremony in London” explained Titania “but that has caused very low visitor numbers. Now the tor has been re-seated we’ve been overwhelmed with little jobs preparing for the deluge of visitors today”.
The journey back from London along the M4 motorway was not without difficulty for Glastonbury Tor. The rocket transporters used to transport the mountain that were on loan from the aeronautics department of the Mystical University of Glastonbury were never designed to cover such huge distances – normally the furthest they would take their rocket payload would be from the university buildings in the heart of Glastonbury to the launch area on the Summerland Meadows just a few miles away. Something as simple as a puncture in one of the mammoth tyres on the transporter could cause hours of delay, with resulting tailbacks infuriating motorists.
But Bonham-Smythe is confident that visitors will enjoy a fabulous mystical day out at Glastonbury Tor today, unaware of the fervent behind-the-scenes activity; “Patricia Barnyard from the Glastonbury Dogwalker’s Trust has been in to oil the wheels of the dog trolleys, and the gentlemen from the GIPN (the Geneva Institute of Protuberance Nomenclature) have signed off the tor at 190 metres tall, meaning that it continues to qualify for mountain status.”
And probably the best news of all for nature lovers is that now it’s back from London, many Somerset Stranglers have been sighted emerging from their nests on Glastonbury Tor. Although July is traditionally the nesting period for hamsters worries had been building that the trip to London would cause a mass exodus. Fortunately a special grant of 500kg of cotton wool from the Olympic organising committee ensured that the hamsters were safely protected in their nests.
Concern has been mounting over The Wombles’ forthcoming appearance at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival.
But it’s not just Michael Eavis worrying about the weird juxtaposition of Remember You’re A Womble blasting out to festival goers more atuned to Beyoncé and U2.
Following the recent EU warning issued to the French government about their flagrant disregard for wild Alsace hamsters, officials have defiantly stepped in to protect the wild hamsters that roam over Glastonbury Tor – known locally as Somerset Stranglers – they are banning supergroup The Wombles entry to this ancient mountain.
Uther Henge, the chief mystical consultant for the National Trust stationed permanently at their gift shop at Glastonbury Tor offered an explanation:
“The ecosystem on Glastonbury Tor is very delicate. For hundreds of years these delightful but vicious wild hamsters have made their burrows on Glastonbury Tor and it is important that we demonstrate to the European Union our active support of rare species. We really don’t want to get caught up in the French fiasco where they seem to show a heartless disregard for the Great Hamsters of Alsace.”
“Our worry is that The Wombles are renowned for their drug-fuelled rampages. While on stage they are the very image of sobriety and family-friendliness – but the moment they get off stage it’s a different story. Can you imagine what it would be like if they were allowed onto Glastonbury Tor in that state? It’s anyone’s guess what would happen if one of the many Somerset Stranglers, on their daily trek to forage for cotton wool, were to be confronted by a six foot tall wild-eyed rodent, high on drugs and hell-bent on litter-picking – the last thing we want is a pitched battle between Wombles and hamsters. It would be Mods and Rockers all over again.”
Visitors to Glastonbury Tor were disoriented today by the complete absence of hundreds of Keep Off The Grass and Keep Off The Path signs.
Dozens of workers had spent hours overnight removing the old signs in preparation for new multilingual signs that conform to EU regulations. The new signs became necessary when Glastonbury Tor was granted mountain status earlier this year as a result of growing to over 190 metres tall.
European regulations for health and safety on mountains are much more stringent, including the requirement that safety messages must be repeated in French, Swedish and Luxembourgish – the international language of mountaineers.
Fearing some kind of bureaucratic trick, early visitors milled around the nimbleness assessment area at the base of the tor, but as numbers grew some braver visitors started to tentatively attempt to climb the summit.
It was many hours before the first visitor arrived at St. Michael’s Tower, a fact that observers put down to the lack of signs indicating which way to walk. It wasn’t just new visitors who were confused – members of the Glastonbury Pilgrims Union were also unable to decide which way to walk to get to the summit, leading many to question whether their position at the top of the Pilgrims League is really as firm as had been believed.
Chief mystical consultant Uther Henge stationed permanently at the gift shop at Glastonbury Tor spoke on behalf of the National Trust; “We expect everything to be back to normal this week as we begin the major task of restoring the signage on Glastonbury Tor. With more than a thousand signs to go up this is obviously a major task so visitors should expect some disruption. But during this time we have several specially trained staff members on hand to help people find the summit. They will have plenty of copies of our leaflet Which Way Is Up?”
Many people have asked what will happen to the old single-language signs in the hope that they may be sold in the gift shop, but we understand that they are to be reassigned to non-mountainous National Trust properties.
Since February 2011 Uther Henge has been thrilling visitors to St. Michael’s Tower on top of Glastonbury Tor with his lecture Toast, the Tor, Past Present and Future that leads visitors through the historical artefacts on display – a variety of gas and electrical toasters that have been used since 1912, and includes advice on modern toast-making techniques.
But it appears that mothers are reporting that their children are distressed by the section dealing with mystical foodstuffs.
Jenny from Glastonbury said; “The display is very informative. At last I understand why toast is depicted in the Glastonbury coat of arms. And since I learned the Uther Henge Flip I’ve enjoyed evenly browned toast every day. But while I was enjoying the lecture I hadn’t realised my son was looking at the interactive display that explains the mystical qualities of Welsh Rarebit. He hasn’t slept since, and panics every time I go near the grill.”
Uther Henge has promised to remove the Welsh Rarebit display until it can be made more family friendly, explaining; “Really this display was aimed more at people who want to be students in the mystical food science department of the Mystical University of Glastonbury, so it focuses heavily on kitchen safety. The interactive display shows what can happen if you mistakenly include Mozzarella in your cheese mix – it can give your Welsh Rarebit qualities similar to napalm. We now realise that the scenes showing kitchen staff dousing one of their colleagues with fire extinguishers may not be suitable for all audiences.”
Scientists from the aeronautics department of the Mystical University of Glastonbury announced today that a human is unlikely to be launched into space next year on the maiden voyage of the new Astral class rocket. The rocket will launch from the Summerland Meadows in full view of an audience on Glastonbury Tor.
Instead of a human payload, Jeremy, a pig-tailed macaque trained since birth to step in as backup will head the space flight – the opportunity of a lifetime for this proud monkey. Monkeys are very popular on space flights because they respond well in an emergency, and with just a little adjustment can wear clothing that has been designed for humans.
Speaking through a translator, Jeremy was keen to let his audience know how happy he is; “I am very happy… this is a great honour and I am very proud… we have been training a lot… our diet of Kelloggs Fruit ‘n Fibre cereal, fresh fruit and Waitrose vegetarian lasagna has been particularly enjoyable.” These last comments were achieved by pointing to the sponsor logos on his jumpsuit and screaming excitedly.
Although many students at the Mystical University of Glastonbury have been training extensively in the hope of a place in the first UK manned space launch, there are now several sad faces. Chief Rocket Engineer Gordon McStevens explained why the university has made this tough decision; “The Mystical University of Glastonbury has the highest level of fees of any university in England because of the huge cost of the Astral space program. But recently other departments have started to become jealous of our share of the budget. The decision was taken this week to install a new oven in the Food Science department, and the money had to come from somewhere.”
Tarquin Bonham-Smythe, a student who until now was expected to participate on the space flight could not hide his disappointment; “I’m actually studying mystical food science here at the university so I shouldn’t complain, but I was hoping to take a place on the 2012 space launch. Obviously Jeremy is a great guy, very popular with the students and we all wish him the best of luck.”
Sunwatchers on Glastonbury Tor in Somerset were rewarded with the rare supersun phenomena today, only weeks after the recent supermoon. Scientists are wondering if there is a connection.
Glastonbury supersuns occur when the earth passes unusually close to the sun on its elliptical axis. Because the tor is the highest geographical feature in South West England it is the best chance many people have of getting a really good look at the sun.
Uther Henge, the chief mystical consultant for the National Trust stationed permanently at their gift shop at Glastonbury Tor offered visitors some sound words of advice; “The sun came very close today – if felt like you could reach out and touch it. But on this special day visitors need to be very wary. Some people actually started to sunbathe, but luckily we stopped them in time. It’s not just the intense rays from the sun that can cause your skin to wrinkle up and start fizzling, but the heat makes the hamster burrows uncomfortably hot, so you find a lot of the Somerset Stranglers come to the surface, and you know how territorial they are – they become very frisky.”
Henge continued; “Anyone venturing onto the tor on a supersun day should make sure they have plenty of aluminium foil and calamine lotion. If you forget to bring some, or run out, it is available in the gift shop. The next supersun will be in 5 years.”
Officials at the Prison Service are counting their lucky stars today following the discovery of a massive escape tunnel built by inmates at St. Michael’s prison.
The prison that occupied the basement of St. Michael’s Tower was finally closed in January 2011. Had it remained open for just a few more weeks it is likely that most of the eighty prisoners would have escaped.
Officials from the Prison Service were able to take a couple of brave journalists on a guided tour of the tunnel, that runs all the way to the bottom of the tor, follows the path of the nearby A361, branches east under nearby fields, passing under the A37 near Lower Wraxall and finally stops a hundred yards short of Castle Cary train station.
In a statement to the press, Prison Service spokesman Gerald Manquez said; “It seems that prisoners were planning to join their tunnel to the underground pedestrian walkway at Castle Cary train station, where they would then mingle with passengers. But as the tunnel grew ever longer the job of transporting and disposing of the hundreds of tonnes of waste material took its toll on the prisoners. It explains why Glastonbury Tor grew by 30 metres in the last decade. It also explains why the prisoners were so happy when we announced the closure of the prison. They were now able to enjoy a virtual holiday in one of Britain’s less mystical prisons – free of the responsibility of running an industrial scale mining operation.”
Following the mysterious death of Councillor Watkins by being impaled on a realistic scale model of Glastonbury Tor in February, an inquest has reached an open verdict. This has shocked many people, not least Chief Inspector Wilkinson who was convinced of foul play.
The inquest heard details about the events that resulted in Councillor Watkins’ untimely demise, and saw the instruction leaflet that the Chief Inspector believed had been altered to turn the mystical model into an instrument of death.
But in the absence of any other solid evidence, the instructions were not deemed to be sufficient evidence of a crime, and lacking a perpetrator, the police investigation brought forth no useful evidence and fizzled out.
Outside the court Chief Inspector Wilkinson made a statement to the press; “In our work the Glastonbury constabulary regularly have to confront the unpleasant side of life. Only last week we had to deal with a savage attack on some shoppers by a pack of Somerset Stranglers that had made their way onto Glastonbury High Street in search of cotton wool for their nests. But the death of Councillor Watkins has shocked everyone on the force. Forensics tell me that when the scale model of St. Michael’s Tower impaled Councillor Watkins it was travelling at such a speed that they still haven’t found all his teeth. But the thing is, despite the initial clue of the amended instructions, we haven’t been able to gather any other substantive evidence. There was a noticeable closing of ranks in both Town Council A and Town Council B.”
The Chief Inspector continued; “The only good that’s come of this is that we have been able to return the model of Glastonbury Tor to Watkins’ widow and she now has the correct version of the instructions. This means she is unlikely to type in the same deadly combination of dates that cause the model to become dangerous, so she should enjoy many years of enjoyment from it.”
Many visitors to Glastonbury Tor were understandably upset by the arrival of 500 Keep Off The Grass signs in January. But they have been thrown into complete confusion by a new set of signs instructing them to keep off large sections of the path that runs from the National Trust gift shop at the base of the tor to St. Michael’s Tower at the top.
These emergency measures have been put in place because dozens of people visit the tor every year and the pathway that was installed in ancient times by King Arthur and his merry men is showing clear signs of water damage.
Uther Henge, the chief mystical consultant for the National Trust stationed permanently at their gift shop at Glastonbury Tor explained; “This is just a temporary measure because of the recent flooding. We are trying to give it time to dry out. It is quite simple – when visitors walk up the path and encounter one of the banned sections they need to tiptoe along the channel of gravel on the edge that separates the grass from the pathway. Obviously this involves some nimble footwork, but we have trained assistants on hand to prop people up if they look like they are going to stumble. We have also set up a nimbleness assessment area at the gift shop where visitors can practice walking along a narrow channel of gravel to see if they meet the standards required to make a proper ascent. It allows us to weed out anyone who looks like they will cause a problem.”
Speaking on behalf of the Glastonbury Pilgrims Union, Chief Stairmaster Paul Hompkins was keen to bring attention to the challenge that union members are now encountering on their daily barefoot walk from Glastonbury town to the top of the tor; “For many years, union members have taken special measures to avoid eroding the path that leads to the top of Glastonbury Tor, but unfortunately there is a worn channel up the middle that collected a lot of water in the recent flood. This Christmas we began sewing little bags of cement into our trousers and shaking it down our legs to try and fill the holes. So far we have reversed fifty years of wear, but we still have a way to go.”
Hompkins continued; “You can understand that our barefoot ascent of the tor has become very difficult because so much is now confined to the painful gravel channels. Our members have got around this by strapping tennis rackets on their feet. Interestingly this seems to add to the solemnity of their penitent journey.”
Students have been up in arms following the announcement in February that the food science department at the Mystical University of Glastonbury are to drop Welsh Rarebit from the syllabus.
And rumours are spreading that the explanation given by the university for their decision – that Welsh foods were starting to unfairly dominate the syllabus – may not have been the full story.
First year student Tarquin Bonham-Smythe is currently studying mystical toast-based foods at the university and has strong opinions about the changes that are afoot; “When mummy paid my tuition fees she was expecting me to walk away from university with a degree that would land me a job in one of Somerset’s mystical gastropubs. This is now going to be a lot harder. The landlords at these pubs expect you to be able to whip up a Welsh Rarebit the moment you set foot in the door, but the idea that I could learn all I need to know in my own time is ridiculous. I haven’t even learned how to open the Worcestershire sauce bottle yet.”
But Bonham-Smythe’s revelations suddenly took on a darker tone; “You know, I heard the problem was that the University has invested so much in the new space program that there isn’t enough money left from student fees to pay for new grills in the food science department. I think they’re just changing the food syllabus to include mystical foods that can be prepared on a hob, or in a microwave. I even heard that they are introducing some sandwich-based mystical foods, and really, what good will that be for me? Apart from the Levitating Lettuce Bap, most people have never heard of a mystical sandwich, let alone bought one.”