Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Sharp Dressed Neckmann

I've decided on my costume for our New Year's Eve Fancy Dress Party!

Initially I had thought of going as Prankman Cheng, but it would have been too complicated for Nexi to sew at such short notice. Who could I be? I was getting my neck in a bit of a twist about it, so I started singing to cheer myself up. As I began one of my favourite songs, 'Sharp Dressed Man', there I had it! I'll be 'Sharp Dressed Neckmann' - in true ZZ Top attire!

Nexi threw up her hands in mock despair when I told her, and said I'd be better calling myself 'Zzzz Up Top'. However, she promised to get my costume together - just a beard, hat and dark glasses really. I'm borrowing one of Neko's guitars, (as long as I promise not to play it ...)

How on earth am I going to eat my sprouts and New Year Pudding with this on?

I've been watching a film of the song, so I get all the actions right. I love the bit where they both kind of bend their knees in synchronisation.

This is going to be fantastic - I so love this track! Hey, everybody ... does Raph rock?!!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Sport, sport, marvellous sport, permits a giraffe some sobriety ..

I have no interest in sport whatsoever. Oh, but how grateful I am to benefit from a sibling-squabble-free environment, thanks to marvellous sport!

Nukkle has taken his nephew and Necky Becky to the football match in Raffsburgh. Littl' Nicky is at the Gleeful & Greedy Restaurant with his auntie and uncle, where they are holding their annual 'Bounciest Custard' competition.

Nexi and her boyfriend Neko have gone ice skating.

What a haven of peace and tranquillity for Maureen and me! Maureen is at her beautiful carved desk by the window, writing with her antique quill pen. I am at the kitchen table typing on my necktop.

We've had a wonderful family time over the last few days, but isn't it lovely to get a bit of peace!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Season's Greetings to all our Friends!

Warmest Season's Greetings to all our Friends!

Special Good Wishes to all my wonderful new bloggy friends - those who are Google subscribers and also all my other readers. May you have a wonderful Christmas and much happy blogging henceforth!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

La Vie En Rose

Maureen and I were listening to the legendary Edith Piaf yesterday evening. Dancing together to 'La Vie En Rose', I felt a huge 'Thank You' to Maureen welling up in my heart.

2008 has been a momentous year for me; escaping from accountancy, moving house and setting up the new business. Through it all Maureen has been there, encouraging, affirming, keeping my feet on the ground, steering me away from my wilder ideas, and above all being with me.

In all the hurly-burly of business, balance sheets and trying to make ends meet, it is easy to overlook the unmeasurable support of one's loved ones. It may be your partner, a family member or a special friend.

Who has helped you most on the path of your dreams this year? Give them a special token of your appreciation today ...

A little 'Vie En Rose' goes a long way!

(Special Christmas message from I.S. to I.P)

Monday, 22 December 2008

Not all Giraffes like Sprouts!

One of the things about blogging that is so fascinating is reading about your wonderful human traditions and customs. I am learning that sprouts are a very important item on the menu in winter and part of your festivities.

Here in Giraffe World sprouts play a large part in our staple diet - all year round. We have developed many different varieties to stagger growth throughout the seasons. Not only do we find them delicious, they also provide most of our eco-friendly energy supply - AFF Gas.

I was so pleased today to discover an exciting new recipe for Sprout Soup on one of my favourite blogs - you can find it on Melrose Musings. It sounds exquisite, and I shall inform Girth of the recipe this evening. It will be on our tables forthwith!

However, not all of us will partake. Necky Becky has steadfastly refused sprouts all her young life! She prefers to eat chocolate.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Girth and Cake

Here at Necky Knoll House the words 'Girth' and 'cake' are synonymous, and they've both just arrived on our doorstep.

Allow me to introduce our own celebrity chef and his glamorous partner, Nektareeni, (who happens to be my sister).

Together they run the Gleeful & Greedy Restaurant in the village, and what a popular eating place it is!

Passionate about cooking, (and Nektareeni!), Girth loves to try out his new recipes over here. His booming voice fills the entire house as he mutters and chortles over his creations. "Foooood, get it down your necks everybody!"

Later this evening we'll be dining on Spicy Parsneck Soup, followed by Nektareeni's Hotlipped Hotpot. Our dessert will be Gleeful & Greedy Custard Pudding. All are cherished recipes of Girth's, tried and tested here and famous throughout Knollshire!

For now, we're going to start on the cake ...

Friday, 19 December 2008

Posting instead of posting ...

The last couple of days have been so busy, I haven't had time to post until now! Maureen and I have been writing all our cards to make sure we get them sent off on time.

Our toddler son Littl' Nicky accompanied us to the village very early this morning. It was rather foggy, but we had no trouble spotting the post-box!

As we made our way home, the mist dispersed, and the winter sun shone majestically from behind the clouds. We walked the rest of the way in a silent yet exuberant reverie. We love our world.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Anagrams and Alter Egos

Hail O Wordsmith of Middenshire!

I received today such splendid anagrams of my name from the above gentleman. They are listed here as he wrote them:

Graph McKennan

Ken McPhragann

Prankman Cheng

The rather mysterious;

N. Phanckmanger

and a law enforcement officer;

PC Hank Germann.

What wonderful times I would have with these characters as alter egos! As Graph McKennan I would be a cult comic artist. I'd run a successful haulage company as Ken McPhragann's Wagons. The rather mysterious N. Phanckmanger would be a rich banker, and as PC Hank Germann I'd be able to read people's thoughts.

But best of all I'd like to be Prankman Cheng! What a transformation for mild-mannered me ...

Thank you!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Aptenodytes Giraffa

I haven't told you about our Giraffe World Tours outing on Sunday, have I?

We had decided, by popular demand, to have a mid-winter trip to see the penguin colonies. After picking up our tourists at the village green, we headed seaward and along the coast to the mountains. There is a route through the peaks via Narrowneck Pass which is kept clear of snow by the mountain dwellers, and there was just room for our bus.

Once over the other side, we gasped at the immense and awe-inspiring landscape which stretched before us. Folds and hollows, peaks and crevasses of snow and ice in spectral colours of astounding beauty.

I parked the bus at the bottom of a gentle slope so we could all stretch our legs. Looking back, Necky Becky and her neckshund Hals were the only moving forms in this silent scene.

It was too cold to walk very far, so we settled back into our snug seats on the bus to continue on our quest for penguins. The rare long-necked penguin, (Aptenodytes giraffa), can only be found in this region and it is a fortunate visitor who gets a glimpse of these affable creatures.

Our luck was in!

There at the edge of the snow-field a small group of the penguins came waddling past. As we slowed down, they turned their heads from side to side and looked almost as if they were nodding a giraffe greeting!

We did not stop, for fear of disturbing them. I felt quite moved, and pondered on the inter-connectedness of everything as I drove our bus homeward. I wonder if there are penguins on other planets?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Our Daughter has the Nex Factor!

The Gleeful & Greedy Restaurant was packed on Saturday evening for the local final of the Nex Factor. It seemed as though every giraffe in the county was there to hear the finalists sing.

To cut a long story short, our family song and my sister Nektareeni's song didn't make the top three. The winner of the competition was an outstanding young singer, Nexandra.

However, there was a surprise in store for us ... Our middle child Necky Becky was awarded a special prize! When she gave her neck-bending rendering of 'Be Who You Wanna Be!' backed by local band The Stiffnex, she totally won the audience and judges over. She was way too young to enter, but had jumped up on stage last week anyway. Everyone said she had more neck than anyone, and it was decided to award her the accolade of 'The Neckiest Factor!'

You can listen to her song here: 'Be Who You Wanna Be!'

(NB: Necky Becky has just pointed out that her long-term ambition is to be a gardener, not a pop-star - but she doesn't see why that should stop her from singing if she wants to).

Friday, 12 December 2008

The Glorious Giraffeness of Everything!

I'm not getting different glasses!

After a week of my daughter Nexi neckling at me to get some 'cool' frames, and arguing about which of the photos she'd taken of me was best, I was feeling a little nexasperated.

I turned to Maureen.

"What should I do?" I sighed.

"Nothing!" replied Maureen. "You are who you are. All the years I've known you, you've looked like Raph G. Neckmann. Don't change!"

Oh, the joy of being true to one's self and the glorious giraffeness of everything!

Yesterday one of my pans of chutney boiled over. (I admit, I was distracted by blogging, and when I was about to clear up the mess, I got dragged away to practise our song for tomorrow). What a wonderful surprise I had today, to discover the spillage on the AFF Gas cooker had set into the most beautiful giraffe-pattern!

I feel at one with the universe!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Best Food Grows On Trees!

Ambling around the blogosphere earlier today I came across a delicious-sounding recipe at Willow Manor. (I hope I've managed to put a link to it - we're quite new to the Interneck here in Neckelchester, and I've only just worked out how to enable Comments!) The recipe is called Blackstreet's Cabbage Roll Casserole, and I've asked Girth to try it out at the Gleeful & Greedy Restaurant, (without the meat in it of course, as we giraffes are vegetarian).

I've posted the picture of a willow tree to say 'thank you' to Willow for such a beautiful, varied and interesting blog.

The image shows one of the wild giraffes of Giraffe World. They like to browse among the trees by the streams, and also up on the knolls and mountains.

Below is a reproduction from an ancient tapestry in Raffsburgh Castle. It depicts two of our elegant ancestors eating scones and jam in a lovely summer garden surrounded by fruit trees.

Although we're now nearing mid-winter I've been warm and cosy in our kitchen engaged in one of my favourite seasonal activities - making chutney! I'm certainly no cook, as my family will verify, but my chutneys and jams are renowned throughout Knollshire!

One way of judging a good Giraffe World chutney is to look at the shapes made by the evaporate under the lid. You should be able to see very definite giraffe-pattern markings - can you spot them in the photograph?

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Giraffe Glasses

My daughter Nexi told me that I need to change my glasses. She says my half-moon spectacles make me look more like her grandfather than her dad. (Apparently she formed this opinion during the Nex Factor singing competition at the weekend). I am commanded to get some more up-to-date glasses to wear when we perform our family song at next Saturday's final!

I decided to discreetly visit a few opticians in Raffsburgh to try on some frames. On my own ...

No chance! The family guessed my quest and insisted on coming along, 'to advise'. Nexi brought a camera and photographed me in a variety of frames. 'So we can all make a sensible decision at home!' said she.

Here I am in bespectacled splendour!

'The Executive'

'The Artist'

'The Singer-songwriter'

'The Astronomer'
Which will it be?

Sunday, 7 December 2008

The Nex Factor comes to Neckelchester Village

We had a really exciting evening yesterday!

A couple of weeks ago Necky Becky had picked up a leaflet advertising a singing competition to be held in the village. The competition is called 'The Nex Factor', and lots of our friends are entering. Of course, we all wanted to join in!

After much debate, we put together several entries, and spent vast amounts of time rehearsing. I had a great number called 'Raph's Rap', which seemed to cause embarrassment and cringing among the family whenever I 'sang' it. My sister entered 'They call me Nektareeni', which she often performs in her restaurant. Necky Becky insisted on screeching 'Be Who You Wanna Be!', to the horror of her sister. Our final entry was our family song, 'With Our Necks Entwined'. We had written this to celebrate moving to Necky Knoll House and launching our new business.

The Village Hall was packed last night for the first round. All the giraffes of Neckelchester and Raffsburgh must have wanted to stick their necks out and sing! After a long evening of music, merriment and intense competition, the judges made their decisions as to which contestants will be going through to next week's final ...

Three of our acts are going through! (Unfortunately my rap number was not chosen). Twenty songs will be performed again next week at The Gleeful & Greedy Restaurant. Of these, one will be selected to win:

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Knitting Neckwarmers in a Neckonomic Downturn

We giraffes feel the cold. The more neck you have, the longer the scarf you need! I'd been grumbling about the dearth of winter neck-attire in the village shops, when our enterprising elder daughter Nexi came up with the idea of knitting our own - and selling the surplus ...

I'm a great believer that when there is a downturn in the neckonomy a bit of flexibility keeps your head above water. With this in mind, and without thinking too much, I said "Great idea!" to Nexi.

Several hours later, my enthusiasm and our bank balance had diminished and my neck was aching from heaving dozens of boxes of knitting wool up the front steps. Necky Becky had voiced her shrill disapproval all the way round the village, but her sister had her own way. Soon the whole family, (and several friends), were resolutely knitting.

Maureen started me off on a simple chunky scarf, while she worked on a very distinguished-looking pinstriped creation to go with my business suit. Nexi was showing off with some circular needles, designing a whole range of stylish neckwarmers. She even managed to persuade Nukkle to stop knitting with his drumsticks!

When we had picked out the neck-wear we wanted to keep for our own use, (and the ones with too many dropped stitches - ie mine), we took the rest to be sold in Nektareeni's Fashions.

Nexi's neckwarmers have been a big hit! Maureen tells me we're in profit already and we've got a long list of orders. She also gently informed me that most of the scarves I knitted have been returned.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Rambling Again!

Over half a year has passed since I last wrote my Ramblings, and what a nextraordinary year it has been! I can hardly even begin to describe everything that has taken place. Suffice to say we have settled in uproariously at Necky Knoll House, had a fun-filled start to our Giraffe World Tours business and to top it all, experienced a most fantastic and unexpected adventure!
My sister Nektareeni suggested that Maureen should write a book about it all. I'll just keep on rambling about our neccentrically normal everyday lives ...