Weekly Photo challenge: Bridge

As I went past the playmobil mansion this morning, Mrs Playmo appeared at the window and waved an impatient claw at me.

“Oy, MM, there’s a photo challenge, and Mr Playmo and I want to take part!” she gabbled. I put my eye to the window of her mansion and peered in.  The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge page beamed out of her computer screen.

“You remember our visit to London? When Mr P and I went off to visit on our own? With our picnic?” (I did. They got totally drunk, and Mr P took lots of inappropriate photos of his wife pole-dancing at the top of Big Ben.)

She sighed nostalgically and took a gulp of rosé before clicking her mouse and stabbing a claw at her collection of photos. “Can you upload this one for me please? A talent scout might be out there somewhere”.

So here we have it: A toy box take on the theme of bridges. With special thanks to Corentin W, the architect of the Lego bridge.

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Attempted Murder.

On yesterday’s walk, Mrs Playmo was showing serious signs of mental imbalance. I told her, and she rightfully retorted, “Well, that’s rich coming from someone who shares her time between singing out of tune and talking to a Playmobil, setting it up in compromising photo shoots and even telling the world about it!” She had a point.

As we turned a corner, she began to cackle with laughter and pointed a claw at the tree on her left. ‘Look! Murder!” I looked at her blankly. She sighed, then stopped and laughed again, uncontrollably this time. Her arm shook as she pointed right, at another tree.

“ATTEMPTED MURDER!” She squawked raucously before rolling on the floor, helpless with laughter. I looked more closely, and finally understood. Here are the photos for you – a virtual packet of Midget Gems to anyone who gets her joke.

The tree on the left... "MURDER"

The tree on the left… “MURDER”

The tree on the right: "attempted murder".

The tree on the right: “attempted murder”.

Little did I realize how well-timed her joke would prove to be. Mrs Playmo was drunk – so drunk that if you cracked a match whilst she was exhaling, you’d get free sunburn.

“That damned Eric,” she babbled, taking huge gulps of rosé from her hip flask. I stared at her. “I thought you like him? Giving him the eye over your Chupa Chups, and all that…”

Mrs Playmo leveled with me and sighed, blasting wine fumes into my unwilling nostrils.

“You don’t get it, do you? That ratbag was blackmailing me. It was a trap! Shacklebottom ratted on me to the police, and good old Eric decided to get to know her better. You know the old line: Wanna come round to my place and check out my truncheon?”

She shook her head sadly.  “I should have seen it coming. Boy, I’m a low-wattage lightbulb at times”. She stopped to fish her knickers out from between her buttocks then set out again, stamping her feet glumly in the mud.

“Shacklebutt and Eric devised a plan together. I should have known – she always puts evil twists in the church pantomime. Eric had to get to know me better, seduce me if he could, and get some incriminating evidence to blackmail me. Then they’d share the cash and run away together. Poor Marcel… The woman’s a goddam man-eater… Anyway, that’s how Eric ended up at the Cabbage Patch Pole Dance Dive with a camera, wig and glasses a few Fridays ago.”

I stared at her, incredulous. “What, you mean you’ve been unfaithful to Mr Playmo?” I gasped. Mrs P burst into tears. “Noooooooo!” She sobbed. “I couldn’t! I love him too much!”

Wiping her nose on my sleeve, she added “…. and I like handbags, rosé and Tupperware parties. That’s life. Had to finance it somehow.”

“Where were you off to on that Friday night?” I insisted, staring into her bloodshot eyes.

“I was delivering the cash to Eric,” she said calmly. “It was either that or he put the photos inside Mr Playmo’s bible for maximum impact at mass on Sunday.”

We walked for a while, feet squelching in the mud. “Is it all over now?” I ventured. “I mean, you gave Eric the money, and he gave you the photos. That’s it, right?”

The look Mrs Playmo gave me could have shrivelled Rocco Siffredi’s appendage to the size of a peanut. “As if!” She snapped. The evil runt went to see Mr Playmo and told him about our meeting, how nice he found me, and how much he enjoyed my pole dancing. Poor Mr P….” Tears began to stream down her cheeks.

“Mr Playmo sent me a text message asking me to meet him at the beach and to chose my weapon well. He brought a Chupa Chups, and said he’d heard it was good to sweeten bad guys up, but he didn’t want to hit me with it. When I got home, I found the incriminating picture of me on the bed, with a rose and a letter saying he needed a break, and was going away for a few days…. That was on Sunday – I haven’t seen him since….”

She dissolved into tears, and blew her nose so hard I was surprised she didn’t turn inside out.

“I’ve got it all sorted now, anyway. At least, I’ve got Eric sorted. I’d like to give you the photo for today’s blog post – I got Marcel to take the picture. He helped me – just two little slow punctures, and poor old Eric needed a mechanic. There’s only one in the village who will go out to the country lanes… and that’s Marcel. Shucks. Life sucks.”

She passed me this photo.

Putting out the fire....

Putting out the fire….

I stared at Mrs Playmo. “No. You didn’t…. clock him on the head with a fire extinguisher, did you?”

“No, much better,” she said, breezily taking a swig from her hip flask. “I had an opportunity to extinguish that “flame of passion” he’d talked about when I first met him. Amazing bad luck, really, the ambulance man said so too. He really shouldn’t have smoked his cigarette so close to that petrol leak on the ground… Now stop gawping at me like that. Close your mouth please – looks like an open sewer in there. Let’s go home and see if Mr Playmo’s back.”

I did as I as told, and as we walked as I considered sending her story to Quentin Tarantino for his next film scenario.

 

 

 

Catching up….

Mrs Playmo and I are very sorry for the resounding silence. We have no excuse for not having posted, except for very bad organisation skills (please note that Mrs P and I are in this together, even if she can only type by jumping up and down on the keyboard).

We are still going strong, moving our respective rumps and taking pictures, but we haven’t had time to upload and describe our antics of late. There have also been a few days when it was so windy that Mrs Playmo either refused to come out of my photo bag, or couldn’t stand up for the photo because she got blown over all the time. I tried to convince her that everyone had already seen her knickers anyway, but to no avail.

So here is a resumé of her intrepid adventures to get you up to date. Grab the popcorn and dim the lights, folks …

Mrs Playmo particularly enjoyed the Museum in Nîmes, and insisted on posing as an alligator hunter in the hope of being spotted in time for the casting of the next Crocodile Dundee film.

Mrs Playmo particularly enjoyed the Museum in Nîmes, and insisted on posing as an alligator hunter in the hope of being spotted in time for the casting of the next Crocodile Dundee film.

Amelia Shufflebottom's daughter made a brave bid to avenge her mother, but was caught red-handed as she tried to do a runner with Mrs Playmo's carpet bag.

Amelia Shacklebottom’s daughter made a brave bid to avenge her mother, but was caught red-handed as she tried to do a runner with Mrs Playmo’s carpet-bag.

Mrs Playmo always pushes in and forces he musical choices on me. She has a distinct preference for Tom Jones, and leaps around the vineyards yelling "What's new pussycat".

Mrs Playmo always pushes in and forces her musical choices on me. She has a distinct preference for Tom Jones, and leaps around the vineyards yelling “What’s new pussy cat”.

Unbeknown to Mrs Playmo, Prince Charming had survived her New Year's Eve plot to get rid of him. In her drunken stupor, she had forgotten to remove the champagne bucket she had jammed onto his head before burying him in the sand. Luckily, she had followed Mrs Sensible's Wet Wooden Spoon Self-Defence course in a hidden location in Italy.

Unbeknown to Mrs Playmo, Prince Charming had survived her sinister New Year’s Eve plot to get rid of him. In her drunken stupor, she had forgotten to remove the champagne bucket she had jammed on his head before burying him in the sand. Luckily, she had followed Mrs Sensible’s Wet Wooden Spoon Self-Defence course in a hidden training camp run by a black sheep in Italy. He was soon heading off to the horizon as fast as his horse could take him.

Ok, during the interval, here’s the advertising: for more about Mrs Sensible, check out PN’s blog at http://englishmaninitaly.org

Now, dim lights…. Andra, stop wriggling. And Gypsy, that’s my popcorn.

It was cold that day.... Mrs Playmo checking in the cave for any signs of a bear who could spare her a bit of fur to make a coat.

It was cold that day…. Mrs Playmo checking in the cave for any signs of a bear who could spare her a bit of fur to make a coat.

Mrs Playmo thought she could pass this one off as her tight-rope walking on the Eiffel tower. I admit that it was a dangerous exploit given the gusts of wind, she would have fallen into the local irrigation canal.

Mrs Playmo thought she could pass this one off as intrepid tight-rope walking on the Eiffel tower. I do admit that it was a dangerous exploit, though:  given the gusts of wind, she could have fallen into the local irrigation canal.

My two-year-old nephew fell in love with Bigfoot's old bulldozer and carted it around everywhere with him. They got on like a house on fire - like him, Mrs P never misses an opportunity to dig up a bit of dirt.

My two-year-old nephew fell in love with Bigfoot’s old bulldozer and carted it around everywhere with him. They got on like a house on fire – like him, Mrs P never misses an opportunity to dig up a bit of dirt.

An inconclusive attempt at harpooning whales in Aigues-Mortes.

An inconclusive attempt at harpooning whales in Aigues-Mortes.

Mr Playmo had sent a crypted message to Mrs Playmo: "Meet you on the beach. Choose your weapon carefully". When he turned up with a lollipop and said something about sweetening up baddies before hitting them over the head, a bell rang in Mrs P's mind. A danger bell.

Mr Playmo had sent a cryptic message to Mrs Playmo: “Meet you on the beach. Choose your weapon carefully”. When he turned up with a lollipop and said something about sweetening up baddies before hitting them over the head, a danger bell rang in Mrs P’s mind. Had Eric spilled the beans?

After a very heated argument with Mr Playmo on the beach, Mrs P insisted that she wanted to visit the torture chamber museum in Carcassonne to get a few ideas. I told her that her cooking was ample punishment for her husband.

After a very heated argument with Mr Playmo on the beach, Mrs P insisted that she wanted to visit the torture chamber museum in Carcassonne to get a few ideas. I told her that her cooking was ample punishment for her husband. She didn’t get her own way, but she did get the satisfaction of seeing me get laughed at by the builders working on the house opposite when I took this photo.

There you go, folks. Back to normal tomorrow for the last two days of the challenge….

Day 10: Roxanne.

Rooooxanne, you don't have to put on that red light....

Rooooxanne, you don’t have to put on that red light….

Mrs Playmo and I have been literally run off our feet over the last three days. Our apologies for not having posted earlier – Mrs P said I should lie, but I won’t. We’ve walked, and we’ve worked, and we haven’t drunk a drop of alcohol. Or rather, I haven’t. Mrs Playmo is taunting me with her bottle of rosé every night, but I’m still going strong. So here is day ten, with our apologies for a lateness most French people attribute to the SNCF.

On day ten, Bigfoot was back at the ranch. So was my workload. So by the time I’d got to the end of my working day, the sun had set and our usual stomp through the vineyards necessitated a miner’s helmet equipped with lamps. I decided to drag Smelly Dog and Mrs Playmo out for a new itinerary – along the road. Bigfoot elegantly offered to accompany me in case I met any tall, dark, handsome strangers / Kalachnikov-toting loons along the way. Within ten minutes, he was asking me to slow down and enquiring just how long this walk would be, and I couldn’t help feeling a tad smug.

That feeling didn’t last long -Smelly Dog is scared of the dark and hates walking along the street. She dragged us at top speed around the route and only slowed down when she recognized the final stretch home. This made for a top-speed power walk that quickly had Bigfoot and I completely bushed.

And what about Mrs Playmo in all this, you ask? The answer is, we left without her. Not because we didn’t want her company, but because she had disappeared. We checked below the sofa having accused the cat of using her for mouse-chasing training, to no avail. Zilch.

Half-way around our circuit, Bigfoot stopped and pointed to a small figure stood in the lamplight. She was clutching her new handbag, and pretended not to see us as a car stopped beside her. Mrs Playmo quickly opened the door and got into the passenger seat, leaving Bigfoot and I astounded.

“Mum, I don’t think she’s told you the entire story.” Bigfoot grinned and started singing “Roxanne”.  “It’s Friday night and your protégée is hanging around in a red dress under a street light? Sorry, but this looks decidedly dodgy for a blogpost about something as innocent as Playmobils.”

She has remained silent about the event ever since. We hope that it was her taxi for her pole-dancing slot at the local dive, but we can’t be sure….

If you are wondering what this is all about, check out “The Great Outdoor Playmo Challenge”.

Day Six: Feeling Small

"As a tear rolled down Mrs Playmo's cheek, I realized that she  was a romantic at heart."

“As a tear rolled down Mrs Playmo’s cheek, I realized that she was a romantic at heart.”

We were late leaving the house yesterday, and the sun was setting as we hit midpoint in our daily walk. The colour of the sky slowly built up from apricot, to salmon, to vibrant orange and pink tones, and Mrs Playmo scaled the nearest tree and settled on a branch to  admire the view.

The black silhouettes of the motionless trees contrasted starkly with the breathtaking hues behind them. Mountains cut a soft line across the tableau. The birds had stopped chirping. Then Mrs Playmo’s voice cut through the silence:

“I’m a Playmo, and you’re a human. But we are both tiny compared to all that, aren’t we?” She extended a claw to show the spectacular sunset. “Sunsets make me want to cry. I will never see the same sunset twice; each is unique. Just like us. And like us, this one will only live once. How long will I remember it? Maybe until another one, bigger and better, comes along, dethroning this one. Such a waste. And one day, without knowing it, I will see my last sunset. This is the last sunset for somebody, somewhere. That makes me so sad.”

Smelly dog wriggled impatiently at my side, but I was fascinated. There was more inside that hollow Playmo head than I had imagined.

She wriggled down the trunk, dragged her dress back down to her knees, and wiped her nose on Smelly Dog’s fur. “Right, let’s go. Don’t want to be bumping into Marcel in the dark, now, do we?”

A Compromising Photo of a Compromising Photo

"It was with immense satisfaction that Mrs Playmo immortalized the proof of Amanda Shacklebottom's infidelity. Finally she had a means to get her hands on the pink and cream Versace handbag she had coveted for so long."

“It was with immense satisfaction that Mrs Playmo immortalized the proof of Amanda Shacklebottom’s infidelity. Finally she had a means to get her hands on the pink and cream Versace handbag she had coveted for so long.”

Yesterday Mrs Playmo and I decided to bite the bulllet, and stepped out for a five kilometer hike. On our journey, Mrs Playmo heard mumbling behind the rocks and beckoned to me. Creeping up through the bushes, we spotted two inhabitants of Playmo Street doing their best to hold hands as they watched the waters of the Hérault river tumble past their feet.

“Wait for me here!” Mrs Playmo hissed. “Nobody believed me when I said that Amanda Shacklebottom wasn’t as chaste as her name implies!” She pointed a manicured claw at the couple, sitting on a blanket on the rocky shore. The man was fast discovering that offering flowers to a woman on a bent knee is only something that happens in films in Playmobilia.

“It’s Marcel, the village garage mechanic!” Mrs Playmo gabbled, her eyes wide with incredulity.  “I don’t understand what she sees in him. For lack of a better word, the man’s a complete tool.”

She rummaged in her lurid green handbag and pulled out her camera. Then she was off, creeping up behind them to immortalise the moment on her camera. She returned through the grasses and hauled herself to her feet. “At last. A means of persuasion. See that cream and pink Versace handbag? I’ve been after it for months.”

I made a mental note to confiscate her camera in case she knows any human journalists on the local rag. I am starting to discover the darker side to Mrs Playmo. Under the presentable red dress and string of pearls lies an extortionist and a contortionist. And it’s only day three of the challenge …

If you are new around here and don’t have a clue what this is all about, please read “The Great Outdoor Playmo Challenge”. Yes, I am crazy, and yes, I’m happy this way. 

A letter from Mrs Playmobil to her Creator.

Reposted following a WordPress technical problem that suspended my blog….

Dear Sir,

The Playmobil mammas are at the ends of their tethers, and have asked me to write to you in the hope of changing things before it’s too late. I am writing to request certain modifications in your designs, in the hope of changing the depressing future currently facing the Playmobilia population. Far from being the politically correct environment described on the packet, the situation here is dire.

Our lives are limited by your somewhat narrow view of the woman’s role in society – we Playmobil girls have had enough of career possibilities that are limited to the medical care of small children and animals, cooking dinner and being princesses. What do you think we are, Miss World candidates? The playmo-mammas that recently escaped from the airport pack were most disgruntled that they were air hostesses rather than pilots. Oh, and they’d like to point out the hygiene issues of using four cups and one bottle of drink to serve an entire flight worth of passengers.

Femal frustration is at an all-time high in Playmobilia. Note disproportionately huge beer mug.

Yes, we are concerned by the limited scope you attribute to women: Why aren’t there any female bank robbers? Why can’t we be road workers sporting builders’ bums, too? Ok, we understand that for ethical reasons you cannot have pole dancers in Playmobilia. But why are we always the assistant on the box, and not the surgeon? The straight-laced, submissive female role you force on us with each new collection gets us down, and the rare times you give us something fun to do, the clothing is totally inadequate. The pirate girl down the road had to give up her sailing career when she snagged her laced top and fell flat on her face when boarding a ship. She would like to point out that you lose all credibility as a baddy when your boobs have escaped from your feminine but impractical top…. Likewise, the cowgirl ended up in hospital after attempting to  leap on her horse dressed in your choice of slip-on heeled shoes and an ankle length, wrap-around skirt.

Add to this unsatisfactory professional equation children that mysteriously stop growing at the age of ten, and we have a serious crisis. Where are the Playmobil teenagers who can babysit for the siblings so that Playmo mamma can slip into something feminine, clip on a new hairstyle and go out for a night on the tiles? Incidentally, although a choice between princess dresses, sensible housewife pinnies and Woodstock dungarees/Birkenstock sandals is all very well and good, we’d quite like to be able to slip into a mini skirt or a sheath dress slit up to the thigh for evenings out with our empty-headed husbands. Please?

Our neighbour Mrs Jones singing "Don't cry for me, Playmobilia".

The families who adopt us are another bone of contention. Our house was recently used to play out the arrival of Godzilla in Playmobilia, the well-known Michael Jackson balcony scene and an admirable, tear-jerking rendition of “Don’t cry for me, Playmobilia” by our neighbour, Mrs Jones. It can be dramatic being a Playmobil parent: the cat abducts my children from the house and shoots them across the floor with his paws until they end up under the couch, and the neighbours down the road now have to wait till Christmas to replace their toddler, who was hoovered up by the cleaning lady.

Jenny attempted to iron out her differences with her drunken husband.
Jenny attempted to iron out her differences with her drunken husband.

Please understand that our husbands systematically drink too much due to the barrel-sized beer mugs you kindly provided in the box. THis can result in disputes such as the one pictured above. My own airhead spends his evening drunkenly laughing in front of the blank screen of the computer terminal (our host family did not buy us a TV), leaving me to deal with the children and the laundry (see below).

An example of maternal martyrdom in Playmobilia.
An example of maternal martyrdom in Playmobilia.

I would also like to draw your attention to your accessories, which need reviewing to respect the notion of scale. My husband had a fire at his office and couldn’t put it out, as the fire extinguisher was as big as him. Without mentioning my friend Patricia, who fell into the street when she leaned out of the window to call the cat holding one of your oversized coffee cups.

Although it is very kind of you to provide us with dining utensils, it is not much use to us as we cannot reach our mouths. You were proud to give us mobile hands, but forgot that elbows are an essential part of the equation. Likewise, the absence of knees makes it impossible for us to board a plane out of Playmobilia unaided.

One last request, Mr Conceptor: can we please have more neighbours with more varied ethnic origins? 99% of the neighbours are white middle class. My Asian neighbour is rather put out that the first Asian Playmobil was only designed in 1996, and was a karateka rather than a doctor or a dentist. There is also a samurai neighbour, and a collector American Indian family lives down the road. But they really are thin on the ground compared to the real human world that surrounds us, and they have a distinct feeling that they represent clichés rather than reality. Try going to Tesco’s wearing a full feathered headdress, and you’ll understand.

We hope that you understand our position, and that you will do your best to adjust the contents of future boxes to make Playmobilia a better place – both for us and the children we play with.

Yours,

Mrs Playmobil (on behalf of Playmo Mammas United).