Uncle Schreinder

Once upon a time when pigs were swine and monkeys chewed tobacco and little boys wore feathers in their hats to see which way the wind blew there was a puppet clown. His name was Uncle Schreinder. He lived on a chest of drawers in Jonty's flat.

Uncle Schreinder had mad yellow wool for hair, two black crosses for eyes, big thick black eyebrows, a long pink mouth, a red nose and wore a costume which was blue on one side and white the other. His white hands and face contrasted strongly with all of this.

Uncle Schreinder spoke in a loud high-pitched voice and tended to replace the letter “r” with something approaching the letter “v”. 

He worked as a Mathematics teacher at the local school.

He can scream and cry more loudly than anyone you’ve ever met – and frequently does.

One morning Uncle Schreinder was getting himself ready for school when there came a terrible noise from next door – the Georges (who were both Biology teachers) were arguing again.

“Get and eat your Common Sense! You haven’t eaten any of those Frosties! You sit there and eat your Coco Pops!” Mrs. George was shouting at her husband.

Mr. George was adamant that he needed to go to school; his wife was equally adamant that he couldn’t go unless he’d eaten a serious quantity of cereal.


“You do,” countered Mrs. George.

 The two fell briefly into that sort of hysterical laughter that arises from a tense situation. They pulled themselves back together again and resumed arguing.

Uncle Schreinder turned up outside the door in time to see Mr. George trying to drive away and Mrs. George hauling him back in with a lasso so that he could eat more Safeway Cornflakes.

“AUGHWGHAGAHAGHAGHAGHAWAGHAGHAUAGHA!” screamed Uncle Schreinder. “Arguing over bveakfast ceveal! AUGHWAGHGHAGHA!”

His neighbours quickly re-entered their own flat to continue their argument.

Uncle Schreinder peered through the Georges’ window. He’d never noticed it before: the walls were absolutely covered with breakfast cereal fronts each contained within its own expensive gilt frame.

“Wasting their money like that! AUGHAUGHAWAGHAGHAGHWAGHAA!” wailed the mad Maths teacher before getting himself ready for school. On his way past the Georges he could hear the inevitable sound of them being sick. He knew what this meant: more work for him at school. It happened every time. 

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It was a very unusual office. Sure it had filing cabinets and chalk and other paraphernalia that you’d expect a Headmaster's office to have… but would you really expect a cheese board with every cheese in the world represented? No? How about a grand piano? Or an early-20th-century nightcap? Well, the Headmaster at Uncle Schreinder’s school had all of these things.

Uncle Schreinder went in for his morning briefing.

“I’ve had a ’phone call from the Georges,” said the Headmaster. “I’m sorry to say they’ve eaten too many Frosties and too much Special K and too many Coco Pops and they’ve made themselves rather ill so I’m afraid” – and at this point he put some Ardrahan Irish hard cheese in his ears – “you’re going to have to do all their lessons from them and work through lunch.”


“I thought you might see it like that,” said the Headmaster as he opened the door to whoever it was who’d just knocked. (I hadn’t told you that anyone had just knocked but they had.)

It was Hulaf, a very smart-looking mouse. He taught music at the school.

“Good news, Hulaf,” said the Headmaster. “You’ve got three more weeks’ leave.”

 He quickly added some Gorgonzola into his ears before the mouse could run over to the grand piano, put the nightcap on and start playing and singing a composition he’d created on the spot.

“I’ve got lots of leave,” went the song. “I’ve got lots of leave. I’ve got lots of leave and you’ve got none at all – A HE HEY!” and he pointed to Uncle Schreinder at the end of his performance piece.

“AUGHAWAGHAUGHAWAGHAGHHWGHA! You’ve got lots of leave! AUGHAGHWGAUGHAGHAUGHAGWA! I’ve got none at all! AUGHAGHWA! Nothing! Nothing! Not one bloody day! Not one bloody day!”

The mathematical clown was kept going with the thought that he’d be marrying Bunny Form soon.

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To Uncle Schreinder’s delight the Georges announced that they were moving out that night and that the Scotts (another husband-and-wife team from school) would be moving in.

Uncle Schreinder was looking forward to quieter mornings without those noisy Georges. How wrong he was…

The next morning Uncle Schreinder was having breakfast when all of a sudden he heard a tanoy and Jonty's flat shook slightly as if a train were travelling underneath his property. Uncle Schreinder went hurtling out to investigate.

“What have ye prepared me for ma breakfast, woman?” asked Mr. Scott, who was a very old-fashioned sort of man. “I hope ye’ve got me some tattie scones and baked beans. I could do with…” He stopped in his tracks. “Railway lines,” was all he managed to stammer at the sight which greeted him. For his living room had had its front and back knocked out during the night and the Eastbourne and Hastings line had been diverted through it and a station erected there. It said, “Mr. Scott’s Living Room Central – Thank you for travelling Network South East.”

“Surprise! Happy birthday!” said Mrs. Scott.

“Railway lines!” repeated Mr. Scott.

“I got the wirkers to be awfu quiet while ye were asleep,” she said. “Now ye willna hae tae traik oot when ye want tae gae tae school – just run doun the stair and awa’ ye gae!”

“Mr. Scott’s Living Room Central – this is Mr. Scott’s Living Room Central,” droned the tanoy. “Stand well away from the edge of Platform 2 – the following train will not stop at this station.”

“AUGHWGHAUAGHAGHAGHAUAGHAGHWWAWAGHA!” yelled Uncle Schreinder at the shocking sight. “A bloody tvain station – that’s all I need! AUGHAAGHAGHAUAGAHAUAGHAWAA! There’ll be goods tvains going thvough all night and keeping me awake! AUGHAWAGHA!”

But one thought kept him going – his forthcoming marriage to Bunny Form.

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The day had arrived. Uncle Schreinder was getting himself ready to meet the rabbit of his dreams.

Kiki arrived.

“What do you want, you little squirt?” asked Uncle Schreinder.

“Ee’ve brought you a little widding prisint,” smiled Kiki.

“Well GIVE IT HERE,” snapped Uncle Schreinder snatching it out of the purple teddy’s paw. “And DON’T sit on my lovely chairs – I’ll get you some Radio Times – you can sit on those.”

Kiki sat on the Radio Times while Uncle Schreinder impatiently ripped off the silver paper to get at his present. It was a dog turd that Kiki had hired from the local poop scoop man. It was an old one as it got hired out quite frequently for these sorts of gags and it had old fag ends on it.


“Hee hee hee hee hee – Kiki’s lawfing!” giggled Kiki.

Shortly after Kiki had been ejected Bear arrived.

“Hayo, Uncle Schreinders,” he said.

“What do you want, fatso? I’m getting mavvied to Bunny Form in a minute. I don’t want to be bothered with the likes of you!”

“I comes to tell you that Bunny Forms gets here on the ’bus an’ it ain’t real goods what she be just a little bit lates.” 

“I HATE it when people are late!”

“Maybe Bunny Form doesn’t gets marrieds to yous?” suggested Bear helpfully.

Uncle Schreinder swore at Bear and marched off to the church. The location wasn’t where he’d expected but he didn’t bother to check his surroundings when he arrived: Bunny Form’s vicar was there. That was good enough.

There were lots of long pauses and false starts as there were apparent sightings of the bride only to find it was a cat or a flock of birds or something.

The vicar decided to proceed anyway.

“Would you all stand, please? Sir, would you take Bunny Form to be your lawful wedded wife?”

“Well, not if she can’t get here on time,” complained Uncle Schreinder.

“Would you bloody well answer the question?” snapped the vicar. “Would you take her to be your lawful wedded wife?”

“In a minute,” said Uncle Schreinder slowly, “if she’s not here I shall be angvy. Is there any sign of her?”

“No, there’s not,” said the vicar.

“Has anyone seen her?”

“No, they’ve not.”


He stopped. There was a rumbling sound. Uncle Schreinder turned to see a Harrier Jump Jet trying to get in. For the first time he examined his surroundings. If this were a church where were the stained-glass windows with images of Emu on them? Where were the hymn books?

“Blimey – we’re in an aircvaft hangar! We’d better get out!” stated Uncle Schreinder rationally.

A thought struck him.

“Just a minute – there was no wedding, was there? It was all a joke!”

“Yeah – it be real funnys, it do,” chuckled Bear.

“Hee hee hee hee hee! Kiki’s lawfing!” giggled Kiki.

Bunny Form emerged from behind the aviation fuel display board where she’d been hiding and nudged the vicar. She and her vicar laughed and laughed about the fake wedding.

And can you guess how Uncle Schreinder reacted to that?

That’s right:


Then they all went to Mill Hill Broadway station and did some train-spotting while Uncle Schreinder drank his way happily through the case of real ale that Bunny Form had got him to make up for the joke wedding and to thank him for being such a good sport about it.

The End

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