Tubby’s Forest Frolic

The battle of the wedding fairs leads to trouble for Periwinkle’s chums

Twistleton-Penge dropped by. He is so full of entrepreneurial va-va-voom following his discussion with Fields of Gold – our consultancy – that I reckon he might burst. He says he has been inspired by business advice from me and the boys on getting his ancestral pile, Squirrelton Hall, to generate much needed coins of the realm. Upshot? Wedding Fair on Wednesday. Twistleton-Penge’s daughter, Daphne, is the event manager. Daphne is broad of thigh and dowdier than Tubby’s niece, Freda the Frump, who was expelled from her convent school for being too straight-laced.

Only Tuesday and by golly is this turning out to be a busy week! Tubby popped in for breakfast. Said that if the Twistleton-Penge’s could have a wedding fair so could he (you can’t keep anything secret for long around here). He’s going to promote rustic weddings in the woods round at his place on exactly the same day. Tubby has organised a mini-bus of hairdressers, photographers and caterers to set up stalls in the woods for prospective buyers. Mark my words, it’ll end in tears.

The postmistress informs me that Daphne Twistleton-Penge has dug out her riding boots from the stables with the intention of greeting all visitors on horseback on the day at the main gate.

Tubby has placed adverts in the local press for a number of al fresco wedding styles: Posh names like the ‘Rusticana’, the ‘Raggle-Taggle Gypsy’, and the ‘Pastoral’. But he has gone over the score with the branding at the bargain basement end of the market: The ‘Redneck’, the ‘Hillbilly’ and the ‘Shotgun’. Seems, to me anyway, they all come down to the same thing really – getting married in the woods.

The weather man predicts a dry day tomorrow with highs of 15-17 degrees.

An unexpected phone call from Ms Meadow Flowers, regarding arrangements for Woodstock II, meant I could attend neither Tubby’s nor Twistleton-Penge’s events. Note to self: Get updates from both parties tomorrow.

Police combing Tubby’s woods since daybreak looking for three missing couples. Not surprising really – the forest on Tubby’s estate is so vast that no one would be surprised if the descendants of Robin Hood and his Merry Men were discovered in there somewhere, still splitting the green wood and whacking each other with quarterstaffs.

Good news: While combing the woods for the missing couples police saved a bit of overtime by simultaneously combing the woods for Daphne Twistleton-Penge whose horse got squirrelly when the first guests’ car backfired and bolted in the direction of Tubby’s spread.

Bad news: The ink on the wrist stamp used by Tubby’s officials as a pass for visitors turned out to be indelible. Solicitors’ have been calling Tubby all day to warn of pending law suits from young couples who will have to spend the rest of their lives with ‘Tubby’s Forest Frolic’ emblazoned on the back of their hands.

A gaggle of local veterinary surgeons has been bussed in to dislodge deer ticks off Tubby’s guests’ legs. Tubby is warned that the solicitors threatening litigation for the indelible ink intend to join forces with the solicitors threatening to sue over the potential for their clients to develop Lyme’s disease, in a class action likely to quadruple Tubby’s liability.

Tubby’s accountant discovered today that the VISA terminals Tubby rented to take deposits for venue bookings worked only sporadically in the woods. This resulted in transfers being either part financed only, not financed at all, or even double charged.

Tubby also told me that iPads intended to allow PayPal payments couldn’t find a signal and some guests ended up sitting in their cars in the car park playing Angry Birds. Which was handy really since it turned out the weatherman lied and a thunderstorm of biblical proportions washed out what remained of the day.

Good news: A police search party found all three couples, soaking wet and huddled together to the leeward side of a fallen tree, crying. Bad news: Two of the business cards Tubby collected in a networking frenzy turned out to have been from drug dealers. A third came from a Ms Whiplash. The inspector wanted to know how long these had been in Tubby’s possession – were they given to him on the day? Or had he had these in his wallet long before that, for personal consumption?

There’s still no sign of Daphne, though her horse came home on its own yesterday.

Given the ineffectiveness of the VISA terminals, the surprise weather bomb and the fact that over 50 per cent of visitors never left the car park, Tubby’s accountant estimates profits for the day ranging from a possible loss of £50,000 to a profit of 86 pence. It’ll take a year to square the books, Tubby says.

Good news: According to Twistleton-Penge’s butler, a postcard from Ms Daphne Penge reached Squirrelton Hall this morning postmarked ‘Gretna Green’. Turns out the horse had not bolted at all. Rather she rode all night to reach Gretna where she met her secret lover, Cecil, a man far more Albert Steptoe than Heathcliff. Her elopement was a bit of a shock to the old war horse himself, but as he confessed on the phone, “It’s one less mouth to feed in these troubling post-Brexit times.”

Tubby still helping police with their inquiries.

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