You may have already read of the audacious expedition of the ladies of the Melton Mowbray Rotary Club, who recently announced their intention to journey to the Himalayas, track down a yeti and give it a makeover.
So far no word has been received as to their progress, but we are presently able to publish an interview that was conducted with the expedition's leader, Mrs Sheryl Stenchtrouser, shortly before their departure...
UNIVERSITY OF THE BLEEDING OBVIOUS: Mrs Stenchtrouser, many thanks for taking the time to speak to us. I'm sure you're very busy with your preparations at the moment. Any last minute hitches or jitters?
MRS STENCHTROUSER: None at all, my dear, none at all. I have an excellent team, you know. We've studied maps and charts for absolutely ages and we've all had a few sessions down at the local leisure centre where they've got a special climbing wall. Some of my ladies can whiz up there in no time, and we've all learned some very interesting knots.
UBO: There has been some criticism of your expedition already, hasn't there? A number of professional climbers have gone on record as saying that you're simply not prepared for the rigors of the Himalayan landscape, and they've suggested -
MRS STENCHTROUSER: Professional climbers! Well really, what kind of profession is that when it's at home? If romping up and down mountains is considered a profession, then frankly my backside might as well be the Albert Hall.
Listen young man, when I was a girl there was no such thing as a professional climber. If you wanted to go up a mountain you just pulled on a stout pair of boots and off you went, and there was none of the fuss about it that there is these days.
Banking, now that's a profession. Or medicine. Or insurance. Real jobs, you see. It's like I said when our Trisha's boy said he wanted to take up pottery. I said it's all very well, Trisha my dear, I said, but we live in the Tupperware age now. You tell him from me, I don't care how much care and attention he puts into his handcrafted ceramic salad bowl - it won't keep his cucumber fresh for up to six weeks at a time.
UBO: Yes, but -
MRS STENCHTROUSER: Well, it won't though, will it? You can't deny it, Tupperware is a positive boon to the modern picnic.
UBO: I'm sure you're right, Mrs Stenchtrouser. But coming back to my point: in spite of all your preparations, there is very real concern that some of your party will not be able to cope with the harsh and often treacherous terrain of the region.
MRS STENCHTROUSER: Ah... You're talking about about Mrs Furness, aren't you?
UBO: Well, I wasn't referring to anyone in particular.
MRS STENCHTROUSER: Well, let me tell you something about Mrs Furness - during her day she was a veritable dynamo, by all accounts. Did you know that before the war she was the North East's Under Fourteens Junior Pole Vault Champion? Oh yes, you wouldn't think it to look at her now, poor dear, but they say at one time you had a hard job to keep her on the ground.
Oh, I know she's knocking on a bit now, but she still has that same indomitable air of determination. Admittedly, she's no good with the knots, what with the arthritis and all, and I'll admit that it's going to be a burden dragging her wheelchair up some of the steeper inclines - but, in her favour, she does make an excellent cup of tea.
And anyway, she's so looking forward to the trip. She hasn't been able to get out much lately, and I simply haven't got the heart to tell her she can't come.
UBO: Nevertheless, you must admit that no one in your party can claim to have any proper mountaineering experience.
MRS STENCHTROUSER: Mrs Samuels once went on a hiking holiday in the Pennines.
UBO: Is that really enough, do you think?
MRS STENCHTROUSER: And Mrs Bennett has a tea towel with a picture of Ben Nevis on it. How difficult can it be? As long as we wrap up warm and watch where we're walking then we can't really go wrong, can we?
And we will be fully prepared: we'll have a thermos flask each, and everyone will be taking a packed lunch. Mrs Woodburne has said that she'll make us some sausage rolls for the trip, so we're going to be spoilt really. Oh, we'll be hot on the heels of the Abominable Snowman in no time.
UBO: Which brings me to my next question. People have been trying to track down the yeti for generations. Few have ever seen it, and fewer still have been able to offer up any evidence. Assuming the creature exists at all, what tactics will you employ to find it?
MRS STENCHTROUSER: Garden parties.
UBO: I... err... I'm sorry? I thought you said 'garden parties'.
MRS STENCHTROUSER: That is precisely what I said. What could possibly be a more civilised way of making someone's acquaintance than through a garden party? The reason that the yeti has never been found by previous expeditions is that they have gone about it the wrong way - chasing around the foothills with traps and ropes and rifles; tracking the creature by its footprints, it's fur or - heaven forbid - it's faeces. That's no way to effect a formal introduction - it's no wonder the poor thing has kept out of the way.
Ask yourself: if you were being followed by people who kept sifting through your ordure, what would you think?
UBO: I really don't -
MRS STENCHTROUSER: Well exactly! You would think you were being followed by a mad person. You would keep well out of the way. And if this lunatic ever came close to discovering you, you would hide behind a tree and make ready to hit him with a rock. And I for one would defend your right to clobber him.
UBO: But garden parties?
MRS STENCHTROUSER: But nothing. Garden parties are the only decent and respectable way of making contact. We shall stage a number of events and send out open invitations, and hope that the Yeti is gracious enough to favour us with his presence.
UBO: I don't actually think that they have gardens in the Himalayas,
MRS STENCHTROUSER: No gardens? Ah, now that's a problem. No gardens, you say? Hmm, it's like Wolverhampton all over again... Well, it's soon remedied! Mrs Williams has a man who comes to trim her herbaceous borders. We'll see if he's free to come along and knock us up a couple of flowerbeds and an ornamental lawn.
UBO: So, when you've finally 'made the acquaintance' of your yeti, you intend to...
MRS STENCHTROUSER: ...To give him a makeover, yes that's right. Well, we've all seen the pictures, haven't we? The artists' impressions and eyewitness drawings that show this great lumbering creature with shaggy fur and bad teeth. You've got to admit, he needs some work, doesn't he?
It was Mrs Pemberton's idea really. She was on the telly once, you know? Oh yes, back in the seventies, it was. She was on Nationwide. They stopped her in the street whilst she was out shopping to ask her about fish prices, or something like that. She got everso excited about it, and when she got home she telephoned all her friends to tell them she was going to be famous.
Well, when she settled down to watch it, she was horrified. She was only on the screen for thirty seconds, but it was thirty seconds that almost destroyed her. She looked a right state - her hair was all awry, her cardigan was crumpled, her lipstick was smudged and the less said about her mascara the better. It sapped her confidence totally, and she wouldn't go out for weeks afterwards.
UBO: Yes, but I don't really see what this has got to do with the -
MRS STENCHTROUSER: With the Abominable Snowman? Well, it's obvious, isn't it. Sooner or later someone is bound to find him, in spite of their dubious methods. And when they do, pictures of him will be beamed all around the world.
Just imagine what a sight he's going to look - with his eyes all bloodshot, his fingernails all dirty and his fur matted with shit, if you'll pardon my French. He's going to be traumatised, poor thing, just like Mrs Pemberton was.
UBO: So you're going to get your yeti ready for the cameras; prepare it for media stardom?
MRS STENCHTROUSER: Exactly! We'll give him a trim, get rid of all those split ends, introduce him to the wonders of dental floss, give him a proper manicure and try to do something about that appalling posture. By the time we've finished with him, the Abominable Snowman won't recognise himself.
UBO: Mrs Stenchtrouser, have you really thought this through? This creature - this yeti - if it actually exists is, to all intents and purposes, a wild animal. It doesn't share your ideals of presentation and personal hygiene. It won't understand what you are trying to do. Don't you think it would be far happier to be left in its natural state?
MRS STENCHTROUSER: Well... we're only trying to help. I'm sure he'll be very grateful. And we're not exactly new to this sort of thing, you know. I mean, look at the Loch Ness Monster - she was only too pleased when we gave her a perm and breast implants.
UBO: Mrs Stenchtrouser, I knew you were going to saying something like that.
MRS STENCHTROUSER: It did have a certain inevitability about it, I'll admit, but as far as punchlines go I've seen far worse. Shall we go and get a cup of tea?
UBO: Fair enough, but you're paying...