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The thing about hot air balloons is, you must have a steady hand and a steady mind; Chutney Gamble was a stranger to both, they’d never even come close to passing in the street.

He was a pot-bellied, pug-faced, Toby jug of a man, whose eyes never quite seemed to focus on the person he was addressing, as though someone far more interesting and worthy of his spittle ridden rants stood just behind them, a foot or so higher than their head, to the left, or right of their shoulders, depending on his mood, which was ever-changing; unlike his long johns, which were mottled with every possible shade of shite this side of the equator, and had an aroma so forceful in nature, it practically needed its own seat on the bus – which it often acquired too, as no one in the world wished to sit next to Chutney Gamble.

His insistence on looking heavenward gave him a pious air that was at odds with his language, and was as foul a vernacular as one might ever come across – if one happened to be an unlucky sod, that is. Sometimes, as he perambulated along the road, his legs would appear to move like the tentacles of a giant squid, minus the grace, whilst simultaneously each arm seemed to be feeling the air for purchase on some just out of reach, invisible bannister. This was a chosen form of traversing, for Chutney felt one should make their mark in this world by being noticed, (mind you, he also sometimes thought he was a giant squid).

This strange gait, along with a bright red beard the size of a well-fed wombat, one which lightly skimmed his concave chest, was complemented by what can only be described as an acrobatic frown that travelled across his lengthy forehead with vigour, rippling from one side to the other every few seconds. All in all he made for a fearsome apparition of an afternoon, and many of the elderly ladies in the area where Chutney resided, had become considerably swifter on their toes since first he landed, two years prior in the village of Godarn, their home, some two years previous to the date of this yarn.

At Chutney’s side could always be found his sidekick – Pasty McGinty. No one ever knew the actual inner workings of the two, the nature of their relationship, be it familial, friend, sauce- based or foe. And this was in part due to Chutney’s insistence on going cross-eyed, sticking his fingers into his huge, hairy ears and singing “Any Old Iron” whenever the subject was broached; though also in part due to the fact that Pasty was said to be mute, there are those who dispute this claim, saying they’ve heard a great deal in the way of incredibly filthy language muttered quietly from her tightly puckered mouth, the same usually occurring during one of Chutney’s lengthy rants about important matters such as the poor quality of current day shoelaces, and his intense love of pickled walnuts.

They made an arresting sight when promenading of a spring morning; he, a sight for the sorest of eyes, she, a face like a bag full of boiled butter beans, with small raisin-like eyes, as though her pupils had been jabbed deep into risen bread dough, all topped with a mop of hair as pure as the driven muck cart.

I first made their acquaintance on the twentieth of May in the Year of the Spatula, and twas from that very date that our curious adventures in the sky began.


More anon…

(This transmission may be added to at some point…or not. That, is up to Dr Pratt, (not esme, so don’t be giving her any grief)).


For those of you who are new to the Cloud, please read the following information at this link – Simulcast Fragments. – Thank you – esme