Thursday, 11 October 2012

Food-fight Service

I reckon we've just about cleared up the mess now.

It is a fundamental human need to share a meal. It's the thing that distinguishes us from the animals. Apart from jackals and hyenas, obviously. So I really thought last night's "Roast Dinner Service" was a great idea. Everybody sat in the Moot House together, in a big open circle rather than the serried ranks of the Great House dining room. And after I authorised Burton to loosen the purse-strings, Bernie had promised to cook something that wasn't recovered from the hard shoulder of the M1.

So we were sat there, the low-alcohol wine-effect grape juice was flowing, and I was eating something that looked like it might well have once lived on a farm rather than skipped across the motorway - I mean, wallaby? How did he get a wallaby the other week? As Bertie Wooster would put it, reason and soul flowed. And then we moved into the "creative" part of the ceremony. Each was to bring a song, a juggling act, or a favourite reading.

And then the Yorkshire pudding landed on Marston's head. I suspect that Young Keith flung it. Marston had, at that very point, just reached a particularly rural and evocative place in whatever drivel from Wordsworth he was reading out loud. He'd been conjuring up the very essense of rustic yokels viewing the sukebind in the stolid hedgerow, or some such. And it being one of those giant yorkshire puddings, it just sat there on top of his head like a hat - gravy dripping down his neck.

It is fair  to say that Marston's a man of hasty responses. He has a habit of acting first and not thinking later. So it was the Young Keith's area of the table received a handful of Brussels sprouts in return. Since the majority of those sat there were innocent, they returned fire with a volley of parsnips - again impacting on a bunch of people who'd just been sitting there, admiring one of those pictures that look like an old woman or a young girl, depending on how you look at them. Burton, meanwhile, had been trying to work out a "magic eye" - until somebody pointed out it was just the pattern on the carpet.

It is true that in war, the innocent suffer. Edith Weston, the right side of her face smeared with horse-radish source, declared she would turn the other cheek. Somebody threw a pork chop at it. Dreadful, dreadful. Everybody know's it's horseradish source with beef.

So as the Moot House dissolved into a blizzard of mashed potato, I stuck Thomas Hardy's Collected Poems up the archdruidical blouse for protection, and headed for the exit. This morning's reading will be "Better enough with love, than a banquet with a bunch of idiots."

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