Monday, 31 December 2007

New Year's Eve - a warning

OK, we've got through the Yule festivities without anything really stupid happening. No animals disappeared from the Safari Park, no roadkill for Christmas dinner, nobody frostbitten on Aspley Heath - although to be honest that's probably down to the mild weather rather than any sort of common sense on the behalf of the current flock of Beaker Folk.

As far as we're aware, the first Beaker Folk celebrated New Year at All Hallows - or possibly 1 February - or 25 March - or possibly Christmast. It all depends what spurious point you're trying to make about paganism pre-dating Christian festivals.

In any case - what I'm trying to explain is, 31 Dec - 1 Jan is a totally arbitrary distinction. It has no real meaning. It's just the change between two dates.

Let's hit the mead!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Activities for December 23

Full Moon, and the 43rd anniversary of the departure of Dr Beeching from the railways



6am - grumbling about what time it is



6.30am - donning of anoraks



7am - words of thanksgiving that the Bedford-Bletchley line is still running



8am - breathless excitement at the possible forthcoming reopening of the Oxford line


8.30am - cursing the memory of Dr Beeching


9am - doffing of anoraks



11am - martins



12am - nuns



2pm - terse



4pm - socks

6pm -10pm - migrations

11pm - barking at the moon

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Solstice

Overall, unimpressed with the behaviour at Solstice.

Many Beaker Folk chose to opt out of the shortest day of the year, claiming they had Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is of course a serious condition for those who suffer it. However I suspect that most of those huddling under their duvets and shuddering at the sight of daylight had simply spent more time in the White Horse than was strictly necessary.

Most Beaker Folk eventually made Sunset on the 21st. The Act of Darkness Fear seemed to be treated in quite a post-modern fashion - the comment "Well, it's not the end of the world, is it?" was seriously inappropriate in the context of the Beaker tradition that, at Solstice, only prayers and (vegetarian, non-violent) sacrifice will save the world from darkness.

The evening Community Solstice Party was likewise somewhat spoilt. We had invited the Aspley Guise Lady's Bright Hour for a celebration of Yule Cheer. Young Keith's rendition of "The Best of The Prodigy" was not warmly received. However it is fair to say that "Firestarter" was at least appropriate to our later bonfire celebrations.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Beaker Bling

Having fought a short and clearly unsuccessful campaign against the outbreak of festive Bling in Advent, we have decided that it's better to join 'em if you can't beat em. Putting that 30 ft illuminated polar bear in the Ancient Oak must have taken some doing. As my niece Alysia would say, "nuff respec". (I really must persuade her to move out of Houghton Regis - or "the Hood", as she insists on calling it).

Therefore, in the potting shed, you can now find a range of exciting and traditional Beaker festive ware.....

Weatherproof tea-light holders in the shape of Mother Christmas....... £4.

Please note that in line with our environmental credentials, parrafin wax-based tea-lights are forbidden in the Community. They are produced from a non-sustainable resource, and they release dangerous benzenoid chemicals when burnt. Tallow tea-lights are very suitable for outside use, but a bit smelly for the Moot House. They are also unsuitable for vegetarians. Beeswax tea-lights are also available in the potting shed, at the very reasonable rate of £5 for a dozen. These are unsuitable for vegans, but then what isn't? For vegans, an alternative to parrafin , tallow or beeswax tea-lights is stumbling around in the dark. With all the carrots you must be eating, you'll probably manage.

Dancing snowpeople that sing Christmas carols in eight indigenous Malian languages.... £6

Inflatable Druids with flashing sickels and mistletoe..... £20

Life-size polystyrene Stonhenges - ideal for those Solstice celebrations - £250

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Santa

It is generally recognised that, although he was later identified with Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas/Yule/Winter is based upon a pre-Christian (and therefore probably Beaker) fertility god. Therefore the character we now know as "Santa" should in no way be dissed (as my niece Alysia said the other week).
Therefore - could whoever inflated that twelve-foot Santa please remove it from the roof of the cow shed. Also I'm pretty sure that tapping the power supply straight from the mains like that is bothi dangerous and illegal.
This outbreak of festive bling must stop. It's tacky, it's tasteless, it's burning up the planet - and it's not even December yet.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Bling

Message from the Archdruid

I notice that somebody has hung LED icicles from the eaves of the thatch.

Can they please take them down immediately? Firstly it's ages till Christmas, secondly I don't want a repeat of last year.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Spiritual Growth through Physical Labour

Notice to all Beaker Novitiates (i.e. everyone apart from the Archdruid)

It is a Beaker principle that communal labour is part of the path towards enlightenment - hence the mighty Silbury Hill, the stones of Avebury and the Five Knolls of Dunstable.
Therefore today's path to enlightenment is to include:
a) Dredging the Duck Pond (and removing the remnants of Duckhenge - I always said the re-enactment of Drake's raid on Cadiz was a bad idea)
b) Digging the Druidic Garlic Path, ready for the sowing of garlic (a traditional Beaker flavouring)
c) Pruning of the Druidic Apple trees - except the Mistletoe Bough.

Keep at it - I'll be meditating in the coal cellar with the Herbal Mead.

Archdruid Eileen

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Rise and Fall of Bernie

I now discover the explanation for all the new Beaker Folk. While I was incarcerated in the cellar, Bernie has turned my house and gardens into a Beaker Piligrimage centre. Through intensive advertising on the Internet and Chiltern Radio and in "Tea Light and Pebble" magazine, he has built up quite a clientele. He has also, with the aid of a spade and a few square yards of pond liner, created a "Holy Well" in the orchard - highly out of place in an area of sandy soil.

My first inclination was to fill in the well, turf out these spiritual nomads and return the place to being simply my peaceful home again. However, just before carting Bernie off to the Bedford Nick on charges of false imprisonment and fraud, Young Keith pointed out how much money the new Community is raking in.

Maybe I'll stick with it for a while...

Friday, 23 November 2007

Spiritual Awakening

It's been a while since the last records of life in Husborne Crawley. To a certain extent this omission is down to myself.

In mid-October, Bernie suggested I investigate the contents of the coal cellar. He said he thought there might be a certain amount of flooding down there. However, once I had ventured down the first step, I felt a firm shove in the small of the back, and heard the sound of the bolt being pushed into place.

After a moment of panic, I remembered my self-powering torch (always useful in East Anglia - climbing fire escapes is so difficult in pitch darkness). Shedding light on the situation revealed a long-forgotten stash of "Archdruid's Comfort" - a particularly potent batch of herbal mead that we laid down in the late 90s, back when the bees were in mid-season form and Daddy was still growing the lavendar and thyme borders.

Since this was the only available sustenance, I tried a few swigs. I'd forgotten the spiritual depth that could be revealed by an Old English beverage like herbal mead. To be honest, the subsequent month has passed in a bit of a blur. However this morning Young Keith, dressed in his best Beds Constabulary outfit, broke down the door and released me. At first the light was quite painful on the eyes, but after accustoming myself to the sensation I realised that the garden was full of Beaker Folk, taking part in the traditional feast of not realising it was Thanksgiving yesterday. The pumpkin throwing ceremony was particularly moving, although the "lynching of the Yank" may not have been totally suitable.

I'm not sure where all these Beaker Folk came from, but certainly it's nice to have them around the place. Particularly on the second Full Moon before Christmas - or, as the Extreeme Naturist Beaker Folk call it, the "shivering moon".

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Bernie branches out

I'm not sure if Bernie is technically as solitary as he claims.

Last night he claimed he was going on a "late night pilgrimage", and took the spare key with him. Around midnight I heard voices outside - taking Daddy's old shotgun, I looked out of the front door to see Bernie and shadowy forms, whose voices suggested they may have been Young Keith, Marston Moretaine, and Hnaef. As far as I can make out, they were saluting the moon. The chanting appeared slurred, but I think it may have been "Linger-land, Linger-Land, Linger-Land" - perhaps a reference to the life of the Land ebbing away into the autumn time?

They seemed to close their ceremony with the old spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" - appropriate for a service of compline, I thought - although the noises I heard shortly afterwards may well have been primal screams.

This morning there were mysterious piles of sawdust on the croquet lawn, and Bernie appears to have had a very severe headache and an aversion to loud noises all day. I hope that he doesn't suffer from migraines.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Food, Glorious Food

I'm starting to wonder whether this agreement with Bernie was such a good idea.

Sure, he is diligent in his role as food-gatherer. He is also a marvellous cook. He produces cheap, nutritious food in line with the Beaker tradition of environmental sustainability. And it tastes good. But when he said he was foraging on the sides of the roads, I thought he meant gathering nature's autumnal bounty of nuts and berries.

And you know, there's something deeply troubling about eating road-kill. Although it's kind and brave of him to run backwards and forwards across the M1, collecting dead animals (thankfully he now wears a hi-vis vest). And it's even more dangerous doing it at Junction 13, where there's cars coming in all directions.

On the bright side, the venison stew last night was delicious. He won't tell me what we're having for lunch, but the thing hanging in the larder looks disturbingly like a badger...

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

A visitor

Just after lunchtime prayers in the (La Tene style) I heard a knock at the door. Someone calling themself Bernie. He was wondering if he could join the Beaker Folk. When I explained that the Folk have been dispersed, and I am now an anchorite in the Beaker Tradition, he asked if he could be one of them.
So I explained to him that the point of being an anchorite lies in solitariness - that Mother Julian spent her life in a cell the bigness of a hazelnut - and he asked if he could be an anchorite in the garden shed.
It seemed reasonable, so we went down to the shed - only to discover that a couple of the Hermits of Suspicion were still there. I asked whether they had room for one more, but they just looked a bit wary. In the event, Bernie is now installed in the old cowshed in the Orchard. I have agreed he can join me in the Great Hall for meals, provided he looks after the vegetables. To be honest, however, while an organic and sustainable lifestyle is of course right, I think I may need to head for Tesco's at Kingston. Swede every day for a fortnight can get a bit wearing. Mind you, it makes being solitary a blessing.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Tidying up

I thought it was time to clear out the room that had been used by the "Creative Worship" group for planning creative worship. In Daddy's day it used to be his study, and every wall was covered in bookshelves and filing cabinets.

Mostly the filing cabinets seemed to be full of stones. After a while trying to shift them by hand I realised the job was going to take months. So in the end I brought in a bit of help (a couple of builders and a mini-digger) and now I have a spendidly gravelled drive!

The shells I found in the coal shed have also been useful in creating a decorative mulch for the front (and back) flower beds. But I'm not sure what to do with the remaining 15 cubic metres.

As for the tealights, I've melted most of them down and been able to create a life-size model of Anthea Turner. I'll be using it as a garden light during the autumn months.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Dedication's what you need

According to Archimandrite Simon, an anchorite should be named after the church to which he or she is attached. The nearest church being St James - but Archdruid James.... doesn't really have a ring to it. I wonder if the vicar would consider re-dedicating it to St Eileen? Of course, we would have to find a St Eileen first...

Friday, 7 September 2007

No No Smoking

I have spent the morning scraping "No Smoking" signs off various walls around the house.

The smoking ban was a particularly tricky point with local environmental officers, who couldn't work out whether the house - and particularly the Moot Hall - was strictly a residential, business or public property. In the end they decided to ban smoking anyway.

It is a great pleasure to be able to have a pipeful of "Archdruid's Special Blend" inside - particularly now the evenings are starting to get cooler. When I argued that they were acceptable within the house as they contained only herbal ingredients, they went away but send the drug squad round instead.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Archdruid Anchorite


The old Moot House seems strangely empty now.




In the end, it was inevitable that the cafe-bar would have to go. After all - when asked if they could bring a glass of tapwater for a customer, young Kevin replied "What else do you want - the Moon on a stick?" Well, that kind of disrespect to the Moon could not be tolerated.




OK, driving the entire staff and customers out into the dark of the Husborne Crawley night may have seemed rather hasty. Especially when it was pouring with rain and many people did not have time to grab their coats. And yes, it made the Woburn Advertiser. And yes, when they came back the next day there were wolves roaming the Community grounds. But the people at the Safari Park were very gracious about it, and understood why I had needed to "borrow" them.



But now at least I have peace to pursue my dream of the true Christian religion, expressed through reverence of Creation. Without drunkards wandering back from the White Horse late at night, installing power stations in the Orchard, or filling the duck-pond with railway sleepers.




I wonder where the ducks went...



Monday, 30 July 2007

Full Moon Specials du jour

Flan
Quiche
Pizza (cheese and cheese)
Boiled eggs (viewed from above - but not brown)

all served on nice big round white plates.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

The Secularists' Menu

Tomorrow's menu (it being fish on Friday) - from the Beaker Secularists


There is no Cod.

Nor do we accept the existence of any Sole.

Nor shellfish - we don't want anyone claiming to be Prawn-again.

Plenty of Carp-ing - about the amount of religion in the media

Why are all the women so koi about meeting up with us?

No chance of anyone coming round to our Plaice.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Vegetarian Option

Message from Maitre d'Hote Drayton

There have been complains that the traditional Beaker Folk vegetarian option yesterday was a little meagre in portions.

Well it would be, wouldn't it? Beaker Folk weren't vegetarian. So basically what you had was the main course, less the meat. Or, given the state of the vegetable patch after the rain, three new potatoes each.

On a brighter note, we're looking forward to an exiting meal of Auroch - well, OK, bison - just as soon as we can work out how to get it over the fence at Whipsnade Zoo.

Monday, 16 July 2007

"Archdruids" Cafe-Bar, Husborne Crawley

Today's special cocktail is a "Solstice Sunrise"

2 shots of Pernod (or Absinthe, Pastis or any other anise-type drink)
1 pint of cider
1 shot of orange juice.

Enjoy a Solstice Sunrise as a perfect aperitif before trying Hnaef's Dish du Jour: Guinea Pig stuffed with basil, and baked in a clay pot.

Archdruid Eileen says, "I love you - you're my best mate, you are."

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Major redevelopment

Last night's "Filling up of Beakers" was sabotaged by someone with a chunk of sodium, causing considerable alarm when the bottom blew off the beaker.

Archdruid Eileen was not happy. The Community has been ejected from the house, and is currently sleeping under polythene sheeting on Aspley Heath.

There is a rumour that this blog may be redeveloped as a continental-style cafe-bar.

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

A post-christendom Worship Paradigm


The cyber-coenobitic religious community for the 21st century - and now with added tealights!
Where creation is respected; where the divine is encountered; where trees are sung to. Where no bunny goes un-hugged. Where Druids worship in the oak groves of Aspley Heath. Where mistletoe is cut with a gold-covered stainless steel sickle (pure gold is just too soft....) Where even thick places are thin. Just five miles from Milton Keynes, handy for the Midland Mainline (change at Bedford), the Bedford-Bletchley Line and M1 Junction 13. Or, for the more affluent eco-tourist, there's Cranfield Aerodrome.

More traditional than Celtic Christianity (like that's hard...); more Arran Sweaters than the Highlands and Islands; more facial hair than a convention of Dubliners fans (and that's just the Archdruid).
The origins of our community came out of discontent with the spurious nature of modern-day "Celtic Christianity". A movement that thinks the best way of recreating the environment in which hairy monks sailed across wild oceans, conducted three-hour services in Latin and were martyred for their faith when they weren't being flogged by the abbot for minor indisciplines - is for people to sing along to dreamy choruses while accompanied by badly-played guitars and flutes.
Looking for a more authentic spiritual experience led us to the Beaker Folk. Consider what we know about the Beaker Folk:

  • They were earlier than the Celts, so they must have been even more exotic and spiritual.


  • They built Stonehenge.


  • So they must have had druids.


  • And the use of stones in worship. (We tend towards pebbles rather than 20 ton sarsen blocks. Easier to move).


  • We like the word "folk". Makes you feel all comfy and arran-sweaterish.


  • They probably had tea lights


  • They were peaceful and gentle - except when massacring their neighbours to steal their wives and sheep.


  • Even better - we don't really know very much about them at all. So anything we imagine they did - must be right.