Prof Mugumbo of the famed Tipton Geographical Society has recently secured funding to explore the
Dudley canal in an effort to find its ultimate source. The name of the benefactor is unknown but is speculated to be a local businessman who owns a chain of fast food outlets, enigmatically called: 'Mr Khan's Fast Food Outlet and Road Kill Museum'. Conjecture is rife, but it is unlikely that we will ever unearth the identity of this mysterious philanthropist. The Prof (for it is he) has put together a prestigious scientific team consisting of eminent geologists, ethnologists, cartographers and Mr Khan of: ‘Mr Khan’s Salmonella and Dog Free Kebab Emporium'. The team will be ably assisted by coolies and porters recruited from the hardy hill folk inhabiting the rugged hinterland between Tipton and Smethwick West.
Here is the Prof, in his own words: “We intend to traverse the upper reaches of the
Dudley canal by narrow boat. Upon reaching Tipton junction we will continue south by south-west through uncharted territory never before glimpsed by civilised man".
Here be Gypos
“The region is suspected to be inhabited by a rude barbarian people known in folklore as: ‘Filthythievinggypobastards’. To ensure a safe passage we intend to barter with these primitive people with baubles, shiny things and assorted scrap metal".
|Artist's impression of a mythical 'Gypo'|
In addition to finding the headwaters of the canal, it is hoped that the expedition will ultimately find the fabled city of
Birmingham. A city lost in time and imagination. A city where the streets are reputed to be paved in dog shit and dog ends. This legendary city was alluded to in an 18th-century chronicle by a direct ancestor of Mr Khan; Bubba Khan. Bubba Khan was believed to have lived in this wondrous city of 'Steaming Piles' and allegedly owned: 'Mr Khan's Kebab and Black Death Emporium'. Here is the relevant passage describing the eternal mythical city of Birmingham. It is but, a vision in a dream. A fragment.
Birmingham did Mr Khan
A tasty kebab house decree:
Where Tiddles the tasty cat, ran
Through alleys chased by Khan
Down to an abattoir.
So twice did Tiddles become ground
With spice and seasoning were girdled round;
And there were bright and sautéing grills,
Where blossomed salad and pitta bread;
And here were falafel ancient as the hills,
Enfolding runny spots of greasery.
Not everyone is convinced. Mr Kim Eat Chow of the fine Korean eatery: 'The Poodle Noodle' had this to say: "This but a cheap gimmick by Mr Khan to publicise his kebab franchise, innit. Everyone knows that
Birmingham does not exist and endures only as a metaphor for sumptuous living and debauchery. And another thing, Mr Khan's kebabs are pale imitations devoid of canine meaty goodness. Here at the 'Poodle Noodle', we serve our portions in both miniature and standard sizes and we even throw in a free dog collar".
Later that day......
The expedition suffered an inglorious end before it started as the exalted expedition party missed the 12.45pm bus to
Dudley canal. The Prof was unbowed and remained steadfast in his mission: "We remain resolute and unwavering in our determination to locate the mysterious source of the Dudley canal and will make another attempt next year after we have acquired an up to date bus timetable".
To be continued.........