Biggles in the Woods

Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 11 Feb 2015, 18:41

There was a resounding crack, but the referee adjudged both conkers undamaged so the bout continued.

Increasingly rude and partisan comments were shouted by the crowd. Biggles perceived that, as interpreted by the Little Scutchings in the Mud inhabitants, conkers was not a gentleman's game. Aunt Sempronia appeared less concerned with the language than he, himself, which did surprise him somewhat, given that he'd served through two World Wars.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 11 Feb 2015, 19:00

But then he remembered Aunt Sempronia's outburst earlier in the week upon hearing of the contents of Featheringby-hough's letter from his solicitor and he shrugged. Aunt Sempronia could curse fluently in three languages and had lived through three wars, which was one more than him. It wasn't surprising that she remained indifferent.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 11 Feb 2015, 19:16

A groan went up from part of the crowd. Eli's last blow had cracked his opponent's conker clean off its string. Eli cackled. One -nil.

'He usually gets deep into the Tournament,' Aunt Sempronia said as she applauded. 'Never a finalist, though. I couldn't get decent odds on him this year. The bookmaker thought this might be the year he did get all the way. That was before the bookmaker found out about you. He's been trying to lay off all morning.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 11 Feb 2015, 20:48

A sudden unwelcome thought crept into Biggles' mind."You haven't..um.. had a little flutter yourself?"
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 11 Feb 2015, 21:27

'What do you take me for?' Aunt Sempronia said virtuously and rather unconvincingly.

'Can it be traced to you?' Algy asked.

Aunt Sempronia looked hurt. 'Of course not. I used completely trustworthy proxies.'
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 11 Feb 2015, 21:34

Biggles looked at Algy desperately. If he thought Aunt Sempronia had only bet pin money he would have been highly amused. But there was something about her demeanour that made him need to know the extent of her 'little flutter.' Or maybe not!
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 11 Feb 2015, 21:42

A howl went up from the crowd. Eli was through to the next round. Another couple took their places. He'd deal with Aunt Sempronia's gambling debts later. He wondered how Algy could look so unconcerned when it was so nearly his turn.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 11 Feb 2015, 21:52

The subsequent battle proved to be varied. One bout lasted for less than a minute, whilst another took ten. Biggles wondered why no one objected and demand that winning conkers be examined. He rapidly realised however that everyone (with the possible exception of Eli) viewed these early bouts as the warm-up to the main event. Only when a Featheringby-hough or a Montgomery stepped up would they begin to take the tournament seriously.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 11 Feb 2015, 23:40

And then it was time. Algy's name was called and he stepped up to the mark in a cacophony of cat calls and cheers. He grinned cheerfully at his opponent, a youngish man he didn't know, and swung his conker.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby tiffinata » 13 Feb 2015, 23:25

The conkers connected. Both simultaneously shattered.
The judges were in a quandary. That had never happened before. They examined both and discovered a tiny charge of explosive had been drilled inot both.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 14 Feb 2015, 00:13

After some discussion, it was decided that the judges would send squirrels for new conkers, and string them themselves before issuing them to Algy and his opponent.

'How did that happen?' hissed Biggles to Aunt Sempronia.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 14 Feb 2015, 00:56

"Oh, dear," she wrung her handkerchief between her fingers."Er..." Under Biggles' scrutiny Aunt Sempronia admitted to doctoring the opposition's conkers. Little Ginger, the squirrel, must have taken one in the last stages of the conker sorting and put it in her basket.
Biggles sighed and asked if there were likely to be any more surprises.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 14 Feb 2015, 01:00

'Oh no,' said Aunt Sempronia, crossing her fingers behind her back.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 14 Feb 2015, 01:06

Biggles wasn't fooled, but short of using torture, he knew Aunt Sempronia wasn't going to confess. He turned to watch Algy's second swing.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 14 Feb 2015, 01:15

And his third swing, and his fourth. Eventually, after three hard fought battles, Algy went through, winning two out of the three.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 14 Feb 2015, 01:27

Aunt Sempronia was elated. The crowd went wild and cheered or booed according to loyalties.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 14 Feb 2015, 12:11

The crowd were quieter for the next couple of matches, but then Featheringby-Hough's name was called and the tension ratcheted up.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 16 Feb 2015, 19:58

Featheringby-hough stepped up to the platform amidst loud cheers from a group in the corner which Biggles had no difficulty in recognizing as being comprised of Featheringby-hough estate workers. He watched carefully. Featheringby-hough was swinging his conker negligently but there was something in its swing which bothered Biggles.
He waited until it was clear Featheringby-hough was going to play this particular conker and called out. "Hold there. Foul!"
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 16 Feb 2015, 20:38

The judges examined the conker. Much of its interior had been hollowed out and filled with lead. Featheringby-Hough complained his conkers had been tampered with without his knowledge; the judges sent for more conkers and strung them for him. The contest started.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 16 Feb 2015, 21:03

The first two swings went to Algy. He began to swing his third conker. Featheringby-hough began to sweat and began to cough. Algy grinned but lowered his conker and waited. Suddenly from somewhere at the back of the crowd a missile flew through the air and Algy went down, pole-axed.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby tiffinata » 16 Feb 2015, 22:03

The crowd went wild- and not in a positive way.
There were cries of 'foul'. Suggestions were made as to what they could do to the assailant. From there it was a short step to what they could do to the Featheringby-hough family, should they be involved in this.
The Featheringby-hough family denied any responsibility.

Soon the Montgomery supporters were brawling with the Featheringby-hough supporters.
"Let's get Algy out of this quickly," Biggles snapped. "Honestly it's worse than that time ours and Wilk's squadrons met those boys from Bomber Command."
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 16 Feb 2015, 23:03

Aunt Sempronia was no use. She was so anxious about Algy that she got in the way and Biggles had left her with Bertie and Ginger in the beer tent with a stiff brandy. Algy came to in the doctor's surgery, a lump the size of an egg on his forehead. He wasn't suffering from concussion but obviously couldn't continue.

"Your turn, old boy," he grinned wanely. "Give it everything you've got."
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 17 Feb 2015, 00:25

There were fewer people around when Biggles stepped up onto the platform. A number of the more enthusiastic supporters of the two factions had retired, either to the beer tent or back home for a cup of tea, and the people remaining were those that understood that this was about more than winning a village tournament. A hush settled over the remains of the crowd as runners were sent to find all the referees, judges and remaining interested parties.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 17 Feb 2015, 00:36

Word had got around that 'that second Montgomery bloke' was up on the stage and the contest was on again. There was a further delay as the gates to the B&B were jammed with spectators and the referees had to either fight their way through or waIt their turn. The two constables on duty were wishing their sergeant would return pronto as one or two enterprising people climbed the walls.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 17 Feb 2015, 00:46

Biggles's lips stretched into a mirthless smile as he saw a perturbed Featheringby-Hough returning from the Castle, shouting for the Rules.Vociferous arguments were starting up as everybody expressed an opinion as to what should happen next.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 17 Feb 2015, 00:58

The rules were pored over. Biggles' credentials were fetched and checked and double-checked. Biggles waited patiently, wondering if Featheringby-hough would spot the clause to sub-section 2 Rule 13 which stated that in the unlikely event of a break in play for whatever reason no longer than two hours should be allowed to elapse before the two contenders resumed play. Failure to resume would result in the contest being won by default by the other side. He looked at his watch. Two minutes to go.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 17 Feb 2015, 01:07

Sadly for Biggles, representatives of the Featheringby-Houghs were also cogniscent of this rule, and with only a few seconds to go, Featheringby -Hough joined Biggles on the platform and the referees thrust the appropriate conkers into their hands, Biggles having had the foresight to bring Algy's with him.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 17 Feb 2015, 01:11

This time they tossed to see who should go first. Featheringby-hough won and he lined up his conkers, leaning back and squinting through one eye. He let it go. Thwack! Biggles' eyes watered. The conker had caught him on the finger holding the string. It was a wild shot, but too far out to be accidental for a man of Featheringby-hough's standard. Biggles cast about in his mind for an elusive clause which might be called into play.
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Kismet » 17 Feb 2015, 01:16

Biggles's eyes watered, and he breathed through the pain. Taking his time, he lined up his shot, and thwack, hit his own leg as Featheringby-Hough whipped his conker out of the way.
'Major Bigglesworth' said Von Stalhein coldly, 'there are times when I seriously wonder if you were created by the devil just to annoy me.'
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Re: Biggles in the Woods

Postby Fairblue » 17 Feb 2015, 01:20

Biggles' eyes narrowed. So he wanted to play it that way, did he? Featheringby-hough's tactics seemed familiar. Memories of fourtH-form conker matches came to his mind. Well, two could play at that game.
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