Thousands of venerable, even ancient jokes lie festering in every corner of an English house. The language seems to connive with the typically British sense of humour. Every weekend I dig up some hoary old tales that have kept people chortling for centuries.
A smartly turned-out gorilla went into a fashionable Haymarket bar, sat on a stool by the oaken bar and said to a slightly frightened barman, “Double whisky please, Grant, small jug of tapwater.” The barman hurried off to deal with this, looking over his shoulder at the gorilla, which was making itself comfortable and lighting a cigar. The barman returned with a small tray on which stood the gorilla’s. The barman watched, fascinated, as the gorilla tipped a little water from the jug into the amber liquid, sipped at the glass, smacked his lips, and drank it all down at one go. Drawing luxuriously at his cigar, the gorilla pronounced, “another double Grant’s, small jug of water please,” and the waiter, bemused, went off. When he came back with the order he watched as the gorilla did his stuff with the water and Scotch, drank it down at one gulp as before. “How much?” he asked. “Two double whiskies and water sir, six pounds and seventy pence please.” The gorilla’s eyebrows raised, then he put a very large hand into his waistcoat pocket and produced a ten pound note, which he gave to the barman. This individual cleared his throat, took the money, and said, “I hope you will excuse me for saying so sir, but we don’t have gorillas dressed like you, smoking a cigar, and ordering double whiskies and water, if you see what I mean, sir.” The gorilla examined the burning end of his smoke and replied, “At these prices I’m not surprised!”
A London gent drove deep into the West countryside looking for a village where an old school friend was getting married that day. The country became more and rustic, hedgerows falling absurdly over the lanes, tall trees shading the sun everywhere, lambs frolicking in the meadows etc. The gent could not find the village, which had a silly name anyway. After a fruitless hour, he spotted a country yokel digging something up in a field, near a gate. The gent stopped the motor, opening the window, attracting the yokel’s attention with a wave. Over to the gate he strolled, and leant on the top bar, gazing at the natty city gent’s spotless cuffs. “Excuse me, my man,” said the gent, “please, do you know where Little Chattle-on-the-Stickleback is?” The yokel nodded, said “Yarss,” and went back to his turnips.
A young burglar broke in to a very large country house at dead of night. He had done his research, and knew the owners were away and the servants had the night off. He couldn’t find a light switch in the grand hall he entered, so he switched on his torch. Chaps in armour stood around, and ancestors stared disapprovingly from huge portraits. Silence reigned, until a harsh voice caused the young man to jump out of his skin. It said, “Jesus is watching you!” The burglar waited until his heart had resumed its normal beat, though the hand that held the torch was trembling a bit. Then he saw the parrot in a cage. “Ah!” breathed the burglar, “it’s only a parrot thank Gawd, just a parrot!” The bird remained silent. The house was very still. “And you talking about Jesus!” said the young man. “Yes and no,” said the parrot conversationally; then it spread out a wing and pointed to the darkest corner of the great room. The burglar could just make out a pair of shining eyes above an open mouth armed with white teeth the size of gravestones. “Jesus is the Rottweiler,” explained the parrot.