Children: Rhymes with Cauldron

Six minutes and thirty seven seconds into the fifth episode of the fourth series of Monty Python 

(The one without John Cleese) 

Michael Palin (in drag) talking to Mr Neutron (over tea) talks of “two lovely chauldren”. 


Not children. 

And, in that moment, in the affected pronunciation of that word, 

Is conjured an entire world, already there in the Palin drag twin-set and pearls, 

But somehow never clearer than it is when heard. 

And I know that world. 

It’s the world of D’Eath for Death 

And Bouquet for Bucket 

And – this one is true – Boz-ham for Bosham. 

It’s a world where the mundane and the ugly is beautified through mispronunciation. 

Where women like Palin (for this character is so very real) 

Talk of other people’s chauldren 

For fear of what might happen 

If they pronounced it properly. 

Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Red Fez. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains frustratingly as unproduced as it was the last time he updated this biography. So here it is, line by line (we’re going to be here a while): “What happened to your lovely new uniform, then?” “My robes met with a slight accident, if you must know. In the members’ entrance.” “Ouch. Nasty.”

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