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Talking Ballcocks

Part seven of our gentle series of scientific discussions continues with ‘Talking Ballcocks’, this week Reginald and Harold discuss the wind giving properties of pickle based items.

The scene opens with a gentle river flowing through idyllic countryside, our two gentlemen drift aimlessly in a small wooden boat. We join them admist a conversation that had been going on for some time.

‘…and with that it blew out the upper floor windows and singed her eyelashes!’

‘Good god Reginald that would make a stuffed bird laugh, all that from a pickled onion you say?’

‘Indeed, she started off nanty narking and before I knew it she’d popped one in, mad as hops I say. She never really recovered and her eyes never did uncross.’

‘My, what a tale, and these are the pickled onions are they?’

‘I’d handle them very carefully Harold, they are pickled in Dr Canes Ptang Yang Kipperbang Pickling Peculiar, a very potent brew heavy with sulphur. The label tells you to have one onion a day divided into four equal portions to be taken at rise, midday, afternoon tea and supper to keep you regular. It’s very strict about the dosage and you can see why Mrs Dangle took it so badly, she did choose a particularly large one though. Pity, it still looks like she’s ridden a horse.’

‘What’s in the other jar? It looks like a jar full of eyes.’

‘Ahh, this Harold is what I wanted to show you. It’s a delicacy eaten by the lower classes but I’ll warn you now, the smell is odious to say the least. They call it pickled eggs, lord knows how they stomach such stuff, personally I find it offensive to my sauce-box. I bought it from a ruffian in a drinking establishment who had had this jar handed down to him as an heirloom, apparently it’s quite common for the pickled eggs to go from generation to generation only being eaten on New Years Eve to help with the celebrations for they create the most fearsome erutications of intestinal gas on earth, the Barking Mumper or Pant Ripper as it’s more commonly known. It causes great merriment amongst the common, it’s also blamed for the explosions in coal mines so there is a ban on taking them down there in your lunch. Indeed they have special canaries trained to sniff them out.’

‘And you want me to try one?’

‘Yes, I can’t bare the thought of it myself but in the interests of science one of us must try it. I know you are a fellow to try anything once after your last experience with that funnel and castor oil. By the way has the leaking stopped yet?’

‘Only just as long as I clench.’

‘Here, smell them now the lids off.’

‘My god, that could drop a horse! I hope they taste better than they smell, it reminds me of the time I stood too close to that elephants behind and it took my hat off and parted my hair.’

‘Here, I have pulled one out for you, pop it in like a good fellow and let’s see what happens.’

‘Nom, nom, doesn’t taste, nom, too, nom, bad. Egg you say? It tastes a little rubbery but not bad at all.’



‘Anything now?’

‘No, hang on, I can feel something’



‘Was that it? A poot? It’s supposed to be an absolute Krakatoa of a chuff and all we get is a mouse trumpet! The cad has sold me a dud, I shall return and challenge him to the fisticuffs club.’

‘Here, try another.’

‘Nom, nom, nom. Mmm, these are quite nice. Here we go! Pooot!’

‘Another bally poot! I knew he was a lushington, the drunken mumper.’

‘Let me have the jar, I’ll finish them off, nom, nom, nom. Hang on, what’s this? There’s a label on the bottom.’

‘Hand it here, let me read it. Hmm, it’s badly written but I think I can make it out. It says ‘beware of second wind’ what on earth could that mean?’

‘Oh no. OH NO!’

‘What is it Harold? Do you know what it means?’

‘Know what it means! It means that the real action starts on the second Poot, I have done two eggs and two poots, I have a double whammy coming!’

‘Quad whammy Harold, you have eaten two more!’

‘Pooot! Pooot! Bugger!’

The resulting explosion could be heard ten miles away, Harold’s legs were found in York and his hat in London. Reginald was left completely hairless with a permanent look of surprise and was found clutching a piece of fabric from Harold’s jacket sat bolt upright in half a boat that had landed in Cambridge. Such was the power of the blast that pickled onions from the other jar were found embedded in tree trunks around the area. A smell of rotting cabbage hung in the air across the centre of the country for much of the week, sunsets had taken on a strange hue that drew many a comment and moves were taken by parliament to ban further egg based heirlooms, a practice that continues to this day.

Next episode Reginald finds a replacement for Harold, experiments with hallucinating drugs and meets a talking dog called Colin who writes poetry.


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