Buchholz in the South is composed of Unter Kraftwerk, Malaria, Katze-und-Hundheim, Erfrundenplatz and Pfefferberg. Bad Übersetzung, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz, is located on the coast of Erfrundenplatz. Originally a satellite state of the Hungarian Empire, Buchholz has a more Eastern orientation.
ErfundenplatzErfundenplatz, first amongst provinces is the most populous and home to the capital, Bad Übersetzung. There are no exports save hot air and diplomats. Anyone who has met a diplomat will say that’s more than enough.
Major population centre(s): Bad Übersetzung (Capital, pop. 240,000)
Minor population centre(s): Missverstanden (pop. 30,000)
The ducal seat rests in Bad Übersetzung, a city as cosmopolitan* as ever there was within the borders of Saxe-Coburn und Buchholz. This is a claim oft disputed given the limited talents and carefree attitude of Herr Gruber and the ongoing confusion of just where the borders actually are. Since records began (around lunchtime, Tuesday 14th August last year) the city has been the centre of diplomacy, government and lawmaking (all six of them, but it’s a start right?). It also houses the garrison of both the Garde Grenadiers zu Fuss and the Leibgarde Kuirassiers.
* Not really, but were we handsomely paid and the rent man is due tomorrow, never mind the cost of gout medication these days and then there’s the roof tax, the floor tax, the wall tax and well, you get the drift…
|Horst Krapp, dung collector|
and Herzog für einen tag
* They hold a parade every year on Herzog’s Tag. The Herzog himself hasn’t been present for over 50 years but they have no idea the man he sends in his place is not actually him. The national auction for who gets to be Herzog für einen tag or “duke for a day” is always hotly contested, the most recent “Herzog” (a dung collector from Bad Rücklauf) paying six cats, 23 pfnard and a cabbage for the privilege.
Unter KraftwerkRemote, forbidding and dense, and that's just the locals. At least the scenery is pleasant enough.
Major population centre(s): Groß Düffelbag (pop. 72,000)
Minor population centre(s): Mitte von Mirgendwo (pop. 20,000), Olden Grau (pop. 15,000)
When the little known composer Gerhard Klangen-flaut penned the folk song "Packen Sie Ihre Schwierigkeiten in Ihrer alten Düffelbag" he had no idea it would become an international hit, so much so that his home town of Groß Koffer was renamed Groß Düffelbag in his honour. Herr Klangen-flaut is long gone but the annual Volksmusikfeier draws a huge crowd of at least two dozen every year. A further legacy was the setting of a precedent for renaming towns in the province of Unter Kraftwerk purely on a whim.
Mitte von Mirgendwo
This remote town is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. So much so that the local town council decided to avoid confusion and voted to rename the place Mitte von Mirgendwo in 1728. It turned out to be a masterstroke of marketing and ever since holiday makers have flocked in their dozens up the Straße zu Nirgendwo. Almost all of them come back.
Known as the retirement destination of choice in Buchholz, Olden Grau has the oldest population on average of anywhere in the Grand Duchy. It's also the loudest place in Buchholz on account of all the shouting. Previously known as Ole-ar-dung, a local "comedian" rearranged the letters on the sign at the edge of town at some point in the past and the rest is (ancient) history. The Bürgermeister has plans to twin Olden Grau with a town somewhere in Alzheim but always forgets to write.
PfefferburgFamous for its pepper and wig exports, Pfefferburg is frequently confused with Salzburg in Austria.
Major population centre(s): Beiber Haarschnitt (pop. 192,000)
Minor population centre(s): Bad Ist-Gut (pop. 38,000), Bad Oders (pop. 23. Yes, 23. It smells.)
|A page from a mail-order wig catalogue|
Beiber Haarschnitt is the provincial capital of Pfefferburg and home to Markgraf Gunter von Haarschnitt, head of one of the oldest military families of Buchholz. The town is renowned for its wig-making industry, established centuries ago and today exporting bespoke hairpieces to the rulers of Europe. Daily across the courts of Europe men of quality are heard to exclaim “My God sir, what on earth are you wearing ‘pon your head?” to which there can only be one reply “Tis a genuine Beiber Haarschnitt sir. Nothing else would suffice!”
Bad Ist-Gut may well be the most confusing place in Buchholz. The natives debate constantly on the meaning of all things but especially upon the nature of good and evil. Every year since 1629 there has been an annual debating contest held between the solicitors and the innkeepers of the town known simply as “Das große Argument”. To date there has never been a winner as nobody can agree on the rules, never mind the topic of debate.
The village of Bad Oders is famed for its therapeutic but extremely sulphurous hot springs, the aroma of which greets travellers within a five mile radius of this quaint locale. The spring water is used in the manufacture of the region's signature pastry, the Schtinkenpretzel. It is not much eaten outside the province (or indeed, in the province), but is nonetheless widely exported as a form of pest control. One Schtinkenpretzel placed in a kitchen cupboard can drive away rats, cockroaches and tenants for up to 3 years.
MalariaA swampy, unpleasant province, Malaria is best avoided at all costs. The locals don’t like horse jokes but nobody knows why.
Major population centre(s): Behälterbuchse (pop. 96,000)
Minor population centre(s): Eine Pferdstadt (pop. 29,000), Zwei Pferdstädte (pop. 32,000)
The capital of Malaria is situated in the middle of a swamp. Surrounded by marshes, fens and stagnant ponds the city has made numerous attempts to take advantage of its location by promoting itself as a water sports destination, attempts which to date have met with limited success due to the smell. These days there is only one surviving tour operator, Engelbrecht’s Bait and Tackle which in itself should be something of a warning as to the extreme nature of the water sports on offer. On the plus side, the alligator products industry is flourishing, largely on the back of boatloads of locals following Englebrecht’s water-skiing tours as they head off for the day.
Behälterbuchse is also home to the ruling Eidechsenfüße family who have been marrying their own relatives for some ten generations. The current head of the family is Markgraf Burkhardt von Eidechsenfüße, famed locally for his patented thigh high alligator boots. Little do his subjects know that he hasn’t worn shoes for years (or even stockings) due to an unpleasant scaly skin condition affecting his legs and feet. To date the cream he purchases at extraordinary prices from the Ponds Institute has proven ineffective, but at least his feet look years younger.
In the hills North of Behälterbuchse can be found the cart stop of choice for travellers heading to more pleasant places. Given that virtually everywhere is more pleasant and that Eine Pferdstadt is the only cart stop on the entire road does little to recommend it but ensures its survival. Once long ago locals raised herds of superior horses, famed for their strength and endurance. In 1699, however, an itinerant celebrity chef by the name of Horsten Belchenfart passed through bringing with him all manner of equine recipes from The Cassock Lands. Today a single horse remains, largely due to the fact his owner is vegan and prefers Beetroot Surprise.
|Countess Blimp of Manganovia prepares|
to watch a screening on movie night
during a state visit. Smelling salts
were required, as were profuse
apologies by the Bürgermeister...
The only other minor population centre in Malaria is the town of Zwei Pferdstädte. The locals consider themselves twice as fortunate as those of Eine Pferdstadt simply because they have two horses (named Hermann and Hildegard). Unfortunately both are mares and ongoing efforts to breed from the “herd” have proven ineffective for some inexplicable reason. All manner of attempts at animal husbandry have been investigated, ranging from the simple expedient of balancing a carrot between Hildegard’s ears to the more extreme screening of blau movies such as Geboren zum Sattel, Heiß Zu Traben and Gebrochenbakke Berg. Eventually there will be no horses left in Zwei Pferdstädte but at least they have movie night to look forward to.
Katze-und-HundheimThey say there’s feral animal on every street corner in Katze-und-Hundheim. That would certainly explain the noise and the smell. At least the lakeside capital of Bad Rücklauf is a pleasant place to visit. Just don’t drink the water.
Major population centre(s): Bad Rücklauf (pop. 96,000)
Minor population centre(s): Doggschau (pop. 18,000), Kattschau (pop. 40,000)
The lakeside capital of Bad Rücklauf is famous for its healing waters. For centuries all manner of travellers from heads of state to the common dung collector has soaked away their cares, illnesses and bodily effusions in the murky waters of the Seeblähungen. The unfortunate upshot is that drinking water prices are off the scale, most of the population preferring to drink the local tipple made from fermented cat milk and known as Katzenmilchbier.
|Local entrepreneurs Helga and|
Max with their latest catch
On the far side of the Seeblähungen from Bad Rücklauf lies the pleasant waterfront town of Doggschau. The place is plagued by cats and the civil authorities pay local children one boiled sweet per feline carcass before on-selling them to the numerous dog food factories along the lakeshore at a considerable profit. The more expert children can bring down a feral moggy with a single missile, hence the local catchcry "Doggschau is only a stone’s throw away!"
Nestled in the woods of Katze-und-Hundheim is Kattschau, sister town to Doggschau and home of the complimentary pet food industry for creatures of the feline variety. All manner of rodent is collected from the surrounding countryside and carted to the local factories for processing. Given there are no waste by-products and zero pelt trade one can only assume that the pictures on the tins are an accurate representation of what goes into the kattschau from Kattschau.