Tuesday, 25 December 2012

How to be the perfect Christmas guest

 As you know, every Christmas I hold my Grand Christmas Party. I open my home to one and all – “mi casa es su casa”, as they say.

Putting on the year's most anticipated feast is a feat of superelephant endeavour.

The invitation even extends to the Badfort Crowd, as part of our annual Christmas truce.

There's a delicate art to being the perfect holiday guest.

However, judging from the day’s events, it is clear that some people need advice on the etiquette of being a Christmas houseguest.

1) Should you find yourself as a bona-fide houseguest for the day take a moment to revel in your good fortune. Your only job is to turn up and be fed. I always provide a veritable feast, unparalleled in the whole of Homeward. Unlike Mig, my cook, you don't have to be up at 5am peeling spuds. He is a veritable artiste in the renowned technique of roasting them with a blowtorch. Therefore, it would seem somewhat unkindly to moan about the fact you prefer them parboiled in Black Tom.

2) What to bring? If you insist on bringing food make sure that it is something that everyone might enjoy. A crate of oily Scob Fish is unlikely to enhance a culinary repast – especially if you insist on scoffing them all yourself as a between courses snack !

It is true that everyone enjoys Whooshmeat with apple and sage stuffing – but, if you insist on bringing it to my party, here's a handy tip: check the best-before date. That way, it avoids half my guests ending up in the infirmary on the big day.

3) Alcohol – A drop of port is always welcome at Christmas, but a barrel of Black Tom? If you insist on bringing such a lethal intoxicant have the good grace not to guzzle it down as if it were lemonade and insist on singing a chorus of “Uncle, the Fat Tyrant”

4) Warn your host well in advance (months, not minutes) of any genuine food allergies. For the record, an aversion to Brussels sprouts is not a medical condition. Don’t also then claim that “capitalist pachyderms” bring you out in rash whenever they “vainly boast about their pathetic achievements”.

5) You need to learn the huge importance of pacing. Have a bit of everything, but don't gorge yourself on the Stingo Steak. No one likes a guest who can't handle their pudding or has to loosen their sackcloth robe halfway through lunch. Also, while we are on the subject of said sackcloth garments – would it have been so difficult to wear clean ones? Don’t shovel your food. Don’t wipe your hands on other people. Have your share but not everyone else’s. Don’t make body noises e.g. belching. Try not to be "heads down" as if at the trough. No "taking" food off someone else's plate

6) Don’t cackle, screech and guffaw during my Christmas broadcast.

7) Don’t offer to do the washing up if Hitmouse is incapable of seeing grease and encrusted food on the back of plates. Also, don’t stick all my silverware in a large sack and claim that you need to take it home to give it a really good polish. Especially, if it is later discovered in the local pawnbroker and I have to pay out an exceedingly large amount of money to redeem it.

8) Having forked out for crackers at more than £20 a pop, I don’t take kindly to being peppered with ballistic plastic thingymajiggies fired from illicit catapults which, given Christmas Day is supposed to be a truce day, should have been handed in before you passed my threshold!

9) If offered leftovers to take home, accept them with grace – don’t say “Thanks, Lardy – we know you like to play the big philanthropist but it’s the least you owe us for turning up to another of your boring parties!”

I am sure that, unlike the Badfort Crowd, you need none of this advice.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Train Trouble

One on my favourite songs, at this time of year, is the rendition of 'Rockin' around the Christmas Tree' by Kim Wilde and Mel Smith.

It certainly gets one in the Christmas spirit!

Unfortunately, it has been known for people to somewhat over indulge in spirit of an alcoholic nature during the festive season and I am very much afraid that Miss Wilde has been led astray by the Badfort Crowd.

I thought it a rather excellent idea to hire the services of the young lady to entertain the dwarfs during their long journeys on my switchback railway to from from my mines.

A little Christmas divertissement, if you will.

Once again, the Badfort Crowd are doing their best to traduce Christmas.

Sadly, they plied the poor girl with copious amounts of Black Tom and it rather went to her head.

The poor dwarfs did not know where to look as she belted out some rather inebriated versions of her hits.

I suppose one has to accept a little raucous behaviour at Christmas but am somewhat saddened to see this nightingale, so long a paragon of virtue, slip from grace.

The End is Nigh

Well, as we now know the world did not come to and end at 11.11 GMT, as prophesied by the ancient Mayan civilisation.

I predict that a number of badgers will be furious.

The Badfort Crowd took it upon themselves to promote awareness of the approach of the coming apocalypse - claiming Badfort to be the only spot on Earth expected to survive a coming global Doomsday.

They promised that anyone who sought shelter would be treated to copious kegs of Black Tom and portions of Scobfish pie - then at the appointed hour they would all be allowed to enter the rocket that had been prepared and be able to leave the planet when the world ended.

I have been keeping an eye on proceedings. I spotted the Badfort Crowd, early this morning, filling a large hole with a substantial amount of gelignite. There shortly followed a large explosion.

The ground shook, and a large numbers of badgers, seeing it as a portent and in fear of their lives, ran for shelter in Badfort.

They were soon inebriated on Black Tom.

Whilst the badgers toasted the kindness of Beaver Hateman, I kept an eye on the comings and goings of the Badfort Crowd through my binoculars.

Suffice to say, it did not take me long to spot Hateman and his cronies carrying xmas presents, flat screen televisions and other household objects, in procession from the now deserted burrows.

I fear that a number of badgers will now have a rather miserable Christmas due to their gullibility.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

A Front Page Apology

Under the new voluntary code of conduct I have instigated for my newspapers, I have agreed to publish a front page apology to Mister Beaver Hateman.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Front Page

I must admit I was somewhat shocked that the Bank of England has appointed a Canadian as it's new Governor.

When I discovered the Brits, who are pretty insular bunch, were prepared to appoint a foreigner I had assumed that, with my vast economic experience, they were hoping to lure me to take the position.

Having just been appointed as the Director General of the Badgertown Broadcasting Corporation it would have meant juggling my workload - but my Wednesday afternoons are pretty free so I could probably have fitted it in. However, I note that Mr Carney and Mr Osbourne were old Moose hunting buddies when he worked for Gold in Sacks - so perhaps my trunk just did not fit?

I love Opera !

So, my first decision as Director General of the BBC is to clear the airwaves over Christmas for my new, self-penned, musical extravaganza "Hold the Front Page" !

This colourful tale of the machinations of modern journalism will shake the intellectual and spiritual landscape of Badgertown and Homeward.

It concerns the evil lies written about a generous entrepreneur and philanthropist by a seedy anarchist reporter. The reporter even bug his phones to try and find dirt on him. The reporters seedy antics are revealed by diligent journalists working for the entrepreneur's own newspaper.

However, a foolish judge then insists that all the newspapers have to come under statutory regulation.

The story then follows the great entrepreneur as he excitingly and skillfully lobbies for the only logical solution - statutory regulation for bad newspapers and voluntary regulation for good newspapers.

There will also, of course, be a strong Christmas element as the bad(fort) newspaper attempts to expose Santa as a serial chimney intruder.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

BBC appoints Me as new director general

Yet another burden has been thrust upon me.

Days after being appointed the Police Commissioner for Badgertown, the Badgertown Broadcasting Corporation begged me to take over as their Director General.

The £450,000 per year remuneration is, of course, a mere bagatelle to an elephant of my wealth.

I shall probably spend it on charitable causes - perhaps a drinking fountain for the badgers?

I could not refuse, Auntie Beeb has been going through particularly difficult times - and if they feel that I am the elephant for the job, then I must step up to the plate.

The King of the Badgers, writing to BBC staff on Thursday to announce the appointment, said that Uncle of Homeward, was "the right person to lead the BBC out of its current crisis and help rebuild public trust in the organisation"

They were clearly thinking of my experience in fighting for journalistic truth during my many libel actions against the Badfort News.

As I said then "If it falls to me to start a fight to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism in our fair Homeward with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of Uncle fair play, so be it."

The BBC will have my staunch leadership to depend on !

Monday, 19 November 2012

Democracy in action !

I had fears, after the bicycle incident in September, that my chances of being elected as Police Commissioner for Badgertown had been scuppered.

However, it would appear that the great Badgertown public instead interpreted the altercation as proof that I will be a watchdog with teeth!

Exactly - I have already reduced the tea and doughnut breaks, indulged in by many of the forces constables, from ten to two a day!

I must admit, I was somewhat surprised at the small turnout for the election and the number of spoilt ballot papers:

In fact, the ballot count was a short-lived affair.

"Right!" said the returning officer "That's ten spoilt papers, no votes for Noddy Ninety and one for Uncle !"

The Old-Monkey winked at me.

I may not have a mandate but I can always rely on having a monkeydate.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Another Bicycle Incident !

I have been far too busy with matters of state to pen any missives in the interwebnet !

However, I felt I must refute the libellous claims made by the Badfort News in regard to an incident that took place, last week, when I was visiting the King of the Badgers.

It is claimed that, as I was cycling out of the Palace Gate, a policeman attempted to make me ride through the pedestrian gates.

I am purported to have shouted "Best you learn your bloomin' place, you don't run this bloomin' government, you bloomin pleb!" and then knocked his cap off.

Utter nonsense!

I know the PC Brock very well. He is a keen gardener.

What I actually said was:

"Bet you yearn for blooming plants !"

Then, on seeing that he was directing me to the pedestrian gate, I shouted "I won't ruin this blooming Govermint" as I assumed he wished me to avoid the Govermint tree he had planted by the main entrance as decoration.

I stuck out my hand to indicate a left turn and accidently knocked his cap off, and therefore shouted "Oh your tumbling plibe!" 

Which everyone knows is the nickname that I use for the hats of the constabulary.

I have donated a large number of bedding plants to the police house garden and P.C. Brock has apologised to me. Apparently, he has a hearing problem and had forgotten to wear his hearing aid that day.

That is an end of the matter.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Olympic Closing Ceremony

Well, I must say, I think the Homeward Olympics went very well!

The Closing Ceremony was splendid!

First of all we gave out the medals to the Marathon winners. An event that was not without controversy.

Lennie Leoprad was expected to do well - but, although he is without doubt the fastest animal on the planet, leopards do not really have the staying power for a marathon.

Homeward's hopes were on Brass the Dog. He is part Husky. We had been feeding him up with 10,000 calories a day, knowing that sled dogs are capable of around 15 mph for up to six hours at a time!

A lot of people put money on Agnes Antelope to win (well one would, knowing her stamina) but she flounced off in a huff before the finish - accusing the Little Lion of salivating over her.

Everyone had underestimated Claudius the Camel. An essential part of running long distance is keeping hydrated - no problem for a camel!

It looked like a clear win for Claudius, when, right from the back, Hitmouse sprinted forward at the last minute!

Compared to other animals, humans have a high energy cost of running and can only manage about 13 miles an hour. So no one expected such a performance from one of Badfort's smallest competitors.

Sadly, I have to report that he was disqualified. His performance was not unaided. It transpired, after tests had been carried out, that he had taken Gleamhound's Sleepeeze  - a patent relaxant aid for a good night's sleep. This explained why he was so full of beans, as Gleamhound's products all have the reverse affect to that intended.

As always, we sang the Olympic anthem:

Olympian flame immortal
Whose beacon lights our way
Emblaze our hearts with the fires of hope
On this momentous day

As now we come across the world
To share these Games of old
Let all the mammals of every land
In brotherhood unfold

As Homeward had won the majority of medals, everyone kindly sang "Glorious Uncle" as well. Which was nice.

The only dubious part of the celebrations was the decision of the King of the Badgers to include some of the popular hits of the last 50 years. Sadly, this meant that we had to endure a reunion of Beaver Hateman's punk band singing 'Anarchy in Homeward'

The extinguishing of the Olympic  Flame was somewhat abrupt and unceremonial, as well.

Beaver Hateman poured a bucket of water over it and said "Right, that's over for another four years ! - we'll have a proper do at Badfort, then!'

Well, I suppose it is their turn - but mark my words, it will be an absolute disaster!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Curious dwarf

More exciting Olympic news soon - in the meantime, one of my dwarfs, mining on Mars, came across a curious object this morning.

It was not there yesterday.

It may have been lost or stolen and then dumped.

If you recognise it, let me know and we will see if we can sort out getting it back to you.

If not claimed within 7 days we will have to take it to the vehicle pound - because it is cluttering the place up.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Olympic Medals Table

I am very pleased, so far, with the performance of the Homeward team in the Homeward Olympics!

Badgertown has, of course, done very well in all the digging competitions. The Badfort entrant had hardly started digging his hole before having to take a break and swig some Black Tom. The Badger from Badgertown had already finished his giant hole!

Despite Ira Smoothy's determined efforts on behalf of the Homeward Team it came as no surprise when he was beaten by a dolphin from Sunset Beach.

There was some puzzlement when The Badfort Crowd won the diving contests - until it was discovered that they had doped the cranes of Monkey-and Engine-Room Wood and were therefore disqualified.

One cannot begrudge the Badfort Crowd their win at Archery, however, as they are known to be quite lethal with a crossbow. Hitmouse is expected to do very well in the skewer throwing contest too - providing he recovers from an unfortunate arrow, fired by The Old Monkey, that went astray.

The Badfort Crowd also did well in the Judo - Jellytussle having a substantial weight advantage.

One must also admit that the Badfort Crowd were very impressive in the Dressage competition. It was amazing how the Hateman brothers managed to get the Wooden-legged Donkey and Giddy Goat to perform so beautifully.

I was very pleased with my own performance in the cycling events - despite the Badfort Crowd's attempts to put me off my game.

The artistic events have also gone well, I received a Gold for my musical composition "Traction Engines of Fire" and Benskin won a gold for the best copperplate writing.

Cowgill also was awarded the Gold for architectural and engineering excellence. Here he is, being presented with his medal by the King of the Badgers.

I have to say I was somewhat aggrieved that the Badfort Crowd beat us in the Painting competition.

I felt that Jellytussle deliberately put Waldovenison Smeare off his stroke by his violent daubing actions and his voluble declaration "This is an abstract painting, and worth many thousands of pounds! You can't do abstracts, Smeare. You're old-fashioned!"

Smeare was completely overcome and had a fainting fit. He had to lie down on a couch, and was unable to finish his artwork. Jellytussle's awful daubing, entitled "Sunset over Badfort", was awarded the Gold!

Monday, 30 July 2012

EARLY ENDEAVOURS Can pay dividends later in life

Here is another free extract from my new book - Like an Elephant where you can discover the secrets they won’t teach you at business school.

I love receiving questions like this one from Texas.

Q: My twelve-year-old has often tried to launch little businesses, but he becomes frustrated when he fails. He tried making and selling records with a sophisticated purchase-tax fraud. He also set up a airline, but Mom and Dad were his only customers.

I want him to continue to pursue his ideas, but I don’t know how to help him succeed. Any suggestions?
– Debbie Aardvark, USA

A: First of all, your son shouldn’t be disheartened – with all his restless activity, he is off to a good start. Indeed, he has achieved the first step, which is just to turn up and try. And he is showing good instincts. One of my golden rules for any of the business we decide to launch is that they should make csutomers think we are enhancing their lives. His airline service certainly passes the test  even if it is a bit of a gas guzzler!

Tell him not to be discouraged. Any good entrepreneur must take risks when starting new ventures, and most enterprises do not work the first time around. Now he needs to take the second step, which is to learn from his mistakes and ensure he doesn’t repeat them next time.

My own initial schoolboy attempts at setting up businesses were remarkably similar to your son’s. As a teenager I tried my hand at all kinds of ventures, hoping to earn money. Two stand out, but sadly because of the suddenness of their demise.

When I was thirteen years old, I tried to grow bananas in the jungle near our home. I thought the trees would grow quickly and soon be ready for harvest. As you know my roots are humble, but I found time, despite having to work for my parents, to dutifully plant four hundred seedlings, then I went back to boarding school and waited for my fortune to grow.

I had worked out that when the trees grew to six feet tall,I could sell them for £2 each, generating £800 in profit from our initial £5 in seed capital (sorry, I couldn’t resist it!). But when I returned home that summer, we found that the local monkeys had feasted on the bananas and my plans were ruined.

My next venture involved breeding parrots, as I knew that they bred quickly; also, unlike the bananas, they could talk.

I calculated how much they would cost to buy, what their food cost and how much I could sell them for, then persuaded my father to build a huge aviary. The birds multiplied rapidly, and soon everyone in the village had at least two. It was very noisy, some the birds had been trained in the economic phiolosphy of Milton Friedman and some in that of John Maynard Keynes causing untold arguments amongst them.

I returned to school after the summer holidays, leaving my long-suffering parents with the task of tending to my rapidly expanding inventory of birds. One day I received a letter from my mother saying that, tragically, wolves had somehow got into the cage and eaten all my birds: I was heartbroken.

It was many years later that Mum confessed to having been so fed up with cleaning out the enormous cage that she had deliberately left the door open. It was nothing short of murder, and no doubt you now understand my harsh, poverty stricken upbringing.

Those stories may be awful and cruel now, but, looking back, it’s clear I did learn a lot from those experiences.

When I started up a Student magazine at age fifteen, I was much better versed in which pitfalls to look out for. Neither bananas nor parrots were ever a problem for the magazine! We stuck strictly to covering the best restaurants to wreck on drunken sprees - not that I, of course, took part - but it was a popular pastime for our readership.

So it is important that your son keep trying. He is on the right track with the airline business. It is a service many people want and should be happy to pay an extortionate amount for!

Together, the two of you should take a second look at a few key factors and see if a tweak or two might kick-start Mitchell’s Airline Services:

1. Is the pricing right?
Are you charging too much? What do other airlines charge? If you are unsure what to charge, you might try the radical early approach: take out the toilets and tell them you will knock 20% off if they cross their legs. You never know – you may end up making more money than you expected.

2. Is the equipment up to date?
Maybe you need to invest in a better aeroplane. I started off with a decrepit old biplane but it kept crashing and people would demand their money back.

 3. Do some research to find your most likely customers. Anyone without money is a waste of time. Divide the plane in half and cram as many dwarfs into the back as you can. Put a few swanky seats in the front and charge all the oligarchs etc a fortune.

4. Can you broaden the services you offer?
Mobile phones, banking, broadband, banking - basically any old rubbish you can think of. I find that people will buy anything that has my name on it because they want to be like me.

5. Offer to donate some of your proceeds to charity
This makes you seem like a really kind philanthropist - in combination with being an entrepreneur this makes you a Philanthropreneur which is quite meaningless but gives everyone a nice glow when signing up for your services.

Finally, don’t forget to look for some element of fun to sell your services. I found that suggestive adverts with provocatively dressed stewardesses worked for me!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympics Opening Ceremony

I should be very angry.

Naive of me, I know, to put Beaver Hateman in charge of the opening ceremony.

I should have been suspicious when he said that "we are really going to show the reality of the Great Empire of Uncle!"

It started well enough, the giant representation of Homeward, with it's many towers, within the stadium.

There were all the traditional landmarks of Homeward - fountains, water chutes, walls of sweets and ponds of treacle.

Citizens of Homeward rode around on the switchback railways, with Noddy Ninety driving the engine, and played spigots on the facsimile of Sunset Beach.

It was all very pleasant and bucolic until, as Will Shudder was reading a (admittedly long) poem extolling the beauties of Homeward, Beaver Hateman walked on a poured a bucket coal on him. "That's enough of that boring rubbish!" he declared.

The arena then transformed into a vision of industrial exploitation!

Hundreds of dwarfs, with picks and shovels, were depicted labouring down my gold mines.

Mrs Moonray (the owner of the Blowpipe Laundry), and her daughter Lucy, were shown toiling over their washing chores.

Customers of Gleamhound, were shown doubled up in pain having taking a dose of his Stomach Joy (as you know he produces range of medicines and potions which have the unusual property of working backwards).

A puppet representation of myself then came on to collect the rents from the many dwarfs who live in my towers!

The whole drama put the worst spin possible on life at Homeward!

Next were Beaver and the Badfort Crowd, breaking (with apparent ease!) into my 'Treasury'!

I, and my followers, of course, discover this felonious act and a fight ensues around the whole arena!

I must admit, I did get some gratification from the way the puppet version of myself gave them a very realistic kicking up!

As is usual, after a big fight with the Badfort Crowd, there followed a huge feast. The performance artistes  partook of a magnificent meal, well up to my traditional Christmas Day event. Juba Jellies, giant hams, Turkish Delight and Whooshmeat burgers were handed out amongst the audience.

The lighting of the giant cauldron did not go without a hitch. This task had been given to Wizard Blenkinsop - after all, it was he who built Homeward. Unfortunately, he insisted on doing this using a spell - rather than put the torch in the cauldron he claimed he could transmute the fire into it.

This resulted in a section of the stadium bursting into flames. Luckily, those seated in that area had run down onto the stage to indulge in the feast. It took A.B.Fox sometime to douse the flames.

In the end, with the cauldron now burnt out, The Badfort Crowd had to improvise a new one out of an old Black Tom barrel. The King of the Badgers opened the games,  Noddy Ninety sang a rousing ditty and the evening ended with an amazing display of fireworks !

As I said, I should be furious over the events depicted in this tableu of life at Homeward - but in an odd way, I have to admit, they did rather capture the spirit of the place!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic torch relay ends at Moat!

What a glorious day!

The Olympic torch has completed the final leg of its journey around Homeward sailing triumphantly around the moat, that surrounds my vast domain, on board my majestic barge.

 Even Beaver Hateman, enthusiastically embracing his role as Head od Security, did his bit to make sure the flame did not wither. If, somewhat, officiously.

Support for the torchbearers has been immense with over 13 million people lining the streets across Homeward to cheer them on.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to each and every person or animal for giving the Olympic Flame such a magnificent welcome and celebrating the best of Homeward with us.

You may spot some famous personalities from Homeward in these images below:

The last torchbearer of the day was my faithful servant, The Old Monkey, who bore it aloft whilst running across a carefully selected bunch of loyal dwarfs.

He carried the flame to my Treasury, where it will remain out of public view until the opening ceremony begins.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Olympic Mascots - Goldilock and Alphaville

Many of you have spotted the Olympic mascots, Goldilock and Alphaville, that have been popping up all over Homeward.

But what do they signify? you have asked.

Well, Goldilock is a representation of my Treasury. In the associated (fictional) storyline, a giant key is put in him and, as it turns, gold coins spew forth from his trunk. After all, it is all those gold coins from my Treasury that are paying for this extravaganza!

Alphaville represents the seething metroplis that is Homeward - encompassed within the girth of its elephant protector!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Olympic Opening Ceremony Plans !

The weather is glorious again and I am very excited about the plans for the Opening Ceremony of the Homeward Olympics !

There is to be a giant representation of Homeward, with it's many towers, within the stadium!

Unfortunately, because the Badfort Crowd are sponsoring the opening, I have had to agree to their ramshackle abode being represented too.

Otherwise, the whole event sounds splendid!

There will be a model of Butterskin Mute's farm with horses, chickens, sheep and his giant pumpkins!

While the show will open with a rural pastoral vision, it is will evolve to take on a more urban hue as Homeward is revealed in it's full glory! 

Many of Homewards great traditions will be represented - there will be a game of spigots being played on a facsimile of Sunset Beach. Water will cascade down the model of Watercress Tower as a troupe of badgers frolick in the spray!

Real ghosts will circle and fly around the Haunted Tower, and the mysterious owl of Owl Springs will pop up and down to give the audience a once-in-a-lifetime view of it!

A representation of the 'moat' of Homeward will dominate the arena with boats floating around it and down to Monkey-and-Engine-Room Wood.

I must say, Hateman, despite my misgivings in putting him in charge of the event, has really risen to the occasion - underlining that it was not a musical show, but a narrative set to music.

Hateman has already revealed that the three-hour opening ceremony would be titled Towers of Wonder. "Yep, we are really going to show the reality of the Great Empire of Uncle!" he said.


Monday, 23 July 2012

Bracing ourselves for Olympics

After weeks of glorious summer sunshine, here at Homeward, the weather has taken a turn for the worse - just as the Olympics is about to start!

This, on top of all the fracas over the King of the Badgers appointing Hateman's Grunge Four (Beaver, Hitmouse. Hootman and Jellytussle) Security to police the games!

It comes as no surprise that the Badfort Crowd have been failing to turn up for work.

With Beaver only paying then a farthing a week they were bound to be more interested in working at the recently opened Treacle Quarry - 6d a day and all the treacle you can eat!

The King of the Badgers has had to bring in the Badgertown police and army to assist.

Here is a photo of them helping G4S in the arrest of a dissident caught eating contraband chips, wearing dubious trainers and looking suspiciously miserable.

There has also been some criticism over my use of twitter.

Gleamhound has twitted  "I hope Uncle doesn't really use Twitter, like all celebrities trying to lord it over us and prove how brilliant they are."

Let me make it clear - I only use twitter to provide important information on issues that affect the lives of Homeward citizens.

Here is a film I have twitted to make our citizens aware of the dangers of anthropomorphic machines.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Business Philosophy - 5 quick questions

Here's another free extract from my new book, Like an Elephant, where you can discover the secrets they won’t teach you at business school:

I thought it would be helpful to answer a few more of the interesting questions I am asked on my travels.

1. What is the best advice you ever got?

Three gems come to mind. First, an enduring one from my mother who always taught me never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing. The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures rather than putting that energy into another project always amazes me. Did I worry that everyone hated Uncle Rail and Uncle Cola. No I did not!

My mother also told me not to openly criticise other people. Far better to do it behind their backs.

In the 1980s Wizard Blenkinsop gave me a great piece of advice on setting up my own vast domain. He told me two key things: ‘It's no use mumbling. It's no use grumbling. Life just isn't fair. There's no easy days. There's no easy ways. Just get out there and do it!’ He also wisely said: ‘Make sure you appear on the front page and not the back pages.’ I’ve followed that advice ever since. I’ve been very visible and that is why I am the greatest entrepreneur and philanthropist in the world ! The headline successes over the years have sustained my invincibility.

2. And the worst advice?

I’d never embarrass the person who gave it by revealing that, but you know who they are, HRH! Look, advice comes in many forms. I believe in never asking anybody because feedback is so annoying. Opinions always vary. I listen to people who agree with me and ignore those that don't. It is that simple. For goodness sake, if I listened to the Badfort Crowd's accusations of my empire being fuelled by my incessant self-glorification and ferocious publicity campaigns, I would have got nowhere.

3. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs on how best to start?

To remember that it is impossible to run a business without taking risks. I would not own the vast domain of Homeward today if I had not taken risks along the way.

You really do have to believe in what you are doing. Devote yourself to it 100 per cent and be prepared to take a few hits along the way. If you go into something expecting it to fail, nine times out of ten it will.

Above all, remember the importance of good citizenship. That keeps your customers in their place and grateful for it. One of my favourite sayings (which happens, I believe, to be one of my own!) sums this up: ‘Remember, be an upstanding citizen, pay your rent on time and you will always have a friend in Uncle.'

You should also have faith in extraordinary individuals and back them. Many years ago I saw the potential in a rather pitiable monkey -to date, The Old Monkey had proved to be the best servant an elephant could wish for!

4. In your career you’ve had lots of successes, but you have failed in some businesses. What have you learned from those?

You have to learn very quickly that there’s no such thing as a total failure. When I was tricked, by the Badfort Crowd, into paying a million pounds for gold ingots that turned out to be gilt lead, I paid them in pig iron melted into a solid immovable mass in front of Badfort!

Looking back on Homeward’s history, my ability to adapt quickly to changes has helped mitigate reverses.

Similarly I have nearly killed myself battling, those anarchists, the Badfort Crowd. But through a combination of luck and planning, I am still here.

5. Do you have any regrets?


And, finally, I am often asked: are you a man of habits?

Well, yes, there are a few, I am very partial to cocoa and bananas. I guess, however, being a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist could be described as a pretty big habit!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Olympic Trials

As you know, because the IOC is such a specist organisation and will not allow animals to take part in their Olympics, we hold our own Olympics here at Homeward and Badgertown.

However, putting the King of the Badgers in charge of organising the event has proved to be something of a trial.

He has upset the dwarfs, who live in my many towers, by insisting on placing missiles on top of Lost Clinkers and other tall structures.

"What in, heavens name, do we need these giant missiles for!" I demanded.

"Well," said the Badger King "You never know, we might need to shoot down a rogue Badfort plane!"

"But, they are taking part in the Games!, you fool!" I bellowed.

So, unbelievably, The King of the Badgers then decided to put the Badfort Crowd in charge of security!

"Well," he declared "Better to have your enemies inside the tent..." 

"Humph!" I interrupted "I get the picture."

"Anyway, theirs was the cheapest bid!" he muttered.

What a shambles! A few goats, pigs and beavers in a cart!

 Then there has been the whole fracas over the food being sold at the venues.

The sponsors are harshly enforcing a ban on anybody eating non-sponsorship chips.

Professor Gandleweaver is furious, understandably. Gandleweaver runs the Fishing Frying Academy and has a number of students running fish and chip bars at the venues. He is not allowed to sell his chips on their own, without fish.

He has got into even more trouble over his Olympic Special menu - five interlocking fried Conger eel dyed in the colours of the Olympic rings.

The IOC have complained about this "derogatory" use of their symbol.

Luckily, as I made clear to them, they have no jurisdiction over my domain!