Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Sabbath Sickness Blues

It was nice to see Dorney in the chip shop in Woburn Sands earlier.
Most of us haven't seen Dorney since March 2020. He has apparently been terribly ill, and is therefore still very scared of catching Covid.
So I was very pleased to see him, and asked when we might see him at the Moot House again.
However, turns out it's only partial good news and he's still ill and very scared of Covid on Sundays.
We pray for Dorney's continued recovery, to the point where he's well seven days a week.

Friday, 13 January 2023

Funeral of a Beaker Person who died Suddenly

Quite a fraught and unnecessary experience at this morning's funeral service for Brandriff.

The Anti-Vax coalition turned up to say his sudden death was down to his recently having had a fifth Covid jab.

While the Aspley Guise branch of the Westboro Baptists came along to say his death was God's punishment for his openly gay lifestyle.

Anyway, the two demonstrations got into a massive punch-up outside the Crem, as they each tried to impose their explanations on the other bunch of weirdos. Apparently there's  bit of a crossover between the two groups. At least that's the only explanation I can find for why one of them was punching himself in the face.

Still, not what we needed when we were just wanting to say goodbye to Brandriff. Who died, aged 104, after crashing his Tesla into the chicken coop, while trying to do donuts around the Moot House. He leaves his widow Cassandra, eight children, and twenty-seven grandchildren. Our thoughts are with them all.

Cassandra invites us all to a commemorative dinner in the Hall tonight. The main course will be Chicken Brandriff. Which is like Coronation Chicken, only flatter.

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Commemoration of 50 Years of "Last of the Summer Wine"


Now half of a century's gone
Since those old Yorkshire chaps came on
They walked the dales, drank Tetley's ales
And dreamed of summer wine.

The bath-tub of time has flown
Down cobbled streets they made their own
They had a laff*in Ivy's Caff
And drained their summer wine.
The memories of the Seventies
Sepia in tone
Of smoke-smeared walls,old dance halls
Now they're all gone.
Those times now seem oh so far
And Holmfirth's got a cocktail bar.
They drink Porn Star Martinis now
Instead of summer wine.

Archdruid: 'Ow do, lads.

All: And lasses.

Clegg: And those that identify neither as lads nor lasses.

Archdruid: Fair do's. T'world's changed.

Blamire: Aye, t'days are gone when you could call a.....

Clegg: Not now, Cyril. We've got past all that.

Compo: Yer'll 'ave ter excuse Cyril. His Mum brought him up as an uptight little...

Clegg: Yer can't say that, either.

Nora Batty: Eey, he's lewd and obscene. 

Compo: Aye. But I can't grab you any more, Mrs Batty.

Archdruid: Not since the restraining order.

All: Aye, times 'ave changed.

Compo: What am I doing in church? I don't want to go to church.


Hymn: All Things Bright and Beautiful


The chasing of Ferrets

Reading: "Consider the Lilies of the Field"  (and the Josephines, the Penelopes, etc)

Howard: I think we've really cracked it this time, Marina.

Marina: In a spoof church service in a closed-down Wesleyan Reformed Chapel? Surrounded by the spirits of former barmpots?

Howard: Who's gonna suspect us here? 

Pearl: Howard! 

Howard and Marina may climb under the pew, while Mr Wainwright and Mrs Partridge, Librarians, take their places.

Mrs Partridge: Ooh, I don't think we should be doing this here, Mr Wainwright.

Mr Wainwright: Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the people, Mrs Partridge. But we're here to remember a time when we couldn't organise our love lives through our phones. And lovers called each other by their surnames.

Mrs Partridge: Oooh Mr Wainwright! Have you deleted that Librarian's Dating App?

Mr Wainwright: "Bindr"? Yes, all it ever did was match me with Miss Davenport.

Miss Davenport: I thought he would sweep me away to paradise. And all we ever got to was a disused quarry in Finkle Street.

Hymn: Jerusalem

Foggy: Ah, makes you proud to be English. We'd sing "Jerusalem" in our little slit tents, making tea out of the shoelaces of dead Japanese corporals.

Seymour: We used to sing it at the Utterthwaite Academy. The sound of those little shivering voices, carrying on the frosty air...

Clegg: But those dark, satanic mills have gone now. Turned into car parks, executive apartments, and retail shopping opportunities.

Truly: So many pubs gone as well. Instead of a well-earned pint after a walk, you have to bring your own sports nutrition drink.

Billy Hardcastle: And you lot all gone with them, leaving the hills Robin Hood roamed to the sheep and property speculators.

Glenda: Barry, how come you're in your 70s now and still never made it as an exective?

Barry: I need a sharper suit.

Wesley: What's wrong with overalls?

Edie: Wesleeeey....

Wesley: Why are so talkin' so posh?

Edie: So the vicah can understend meh.

Crusher: Why've I got to wear this frock, Aunt Ivy?

Ivy: It's not a frock. It's a surplice. Now sing the last hymn.

Hymn: Abide With Me

Compo Simmonite will play the Last Post while Wally Batty releases a ceremonal pigeon.

Which will deposit its droppings onto Nora's washing.


Compo (scruffy old bloke, woolly hat) plays bugle while Truly (smart in pin stripe) and Cleggy (downtrodden suit and WW2 medals) stand to attention.

After the service you are invited to Syd's tea at the caff.
It will be terrible.


Last of the Summer Wine: 4/1/1973 - 29/8/2010. Killed by the BBC.

 * Yes, I know, sorry

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

Lament for the "Thomas Hardy" Tree in Old St Pancras Churchyard

 A forking ash tree, quite upright, with stones around its base


When I was but a sapling in the morn of my life's day

An enterprising architect came down St Pancras way

He'd dreamed he'd draw fine churches, all with neo-Gothic flair

But wound up moving bodies in the smoggy London air.

The folk who hampered progress had to be raised from their sleep

And, reinterred - quite rev'rently - in Finchley's graveyard steep.

And Thomas Hardy, full of Wessex peasant-yeoman whim

And having also quite a share of neo-Gothic grim

He took away the stones which once remembered Cockney dead

And stacked them in a fan shape round my growing form instead.


As time went by I waxed in size and grew around the stones

remembering those poor commuted Midland Railway bones

and Hardy, back in Wessex, grew to his immortal fame

Though poets, being mortal, they all go to death the same

And so one day he came back up to London, loud and brash

But he was quiet - for just like me, he was now wholly ash.

But, mortals, know that death will bring down even mighty trees

Especially when prone to catching ash die-back disease*

No longer will I quiver in this Camden churchyard bare

Nor hiss when west winds whisper hints of Wessex heights so fair.


And so my shady life is o'er - but hearer, know this true

At least I wasn't cut down to make way for HS2.

(The Hardy Tree, 1865-2022)


* I don't think it did, but it's a a nice rhyme.

Saturday, 24 December 2022

Reasons for Not Attending Church (Part 3)

Sun December 18th - Carol Service - too many people - might catch Covid 

Weds December 21st - Christingle - too childish 

Saturday December 24th - Crib Service - don't want to catch Covid before the holidays

Saturday December 24th - Midnight Mass - too late

Saturday January 1st - Benefice Service because everyone's tired - caught Covid in the pub on Christmas Eve.

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Litany of Horror at Being Too Informal in Written Communication

Woe is us!!

For we have used duplicated exclamation marks!!


And our emojis have let us down.... 😕

And we have, constantly, and - sometimes - deliberately - used too much punctuation, in our sentences: which is wrong.

We have broken the rules of informal communication set down by Uffizi gallery director, Eike Schmidt.

Who seems to be another of those people that, if unable to achieve anything of real worth, instead interfere with people's writing style. Like Jacob Rees Mogg, (remember him?) who wanted people to use very impractical and very outdated measuring systems, and Thérèse Coffey.

Who covered up her manifold unachievements in areas that matter by saying people in her department should be positive, be precise, and avoid Oxford commas.

Though, to be honest, WE DON'T CARE?!

These people are dinosaurs. If Eike Schmidt had been around during the Renaissance he'd have tried to ban them reproducing Danté's work using the printing press and demanded everything be written out with quills. If Rees Mogg had been there with King Cnut he'd have sneered at the sea, and threatened to send the waves to Rwanda if they didn't go back out. If Thérèse Coffey had ascended to the throne in the 16th Century it would have been even worse than it was.

Let these little jackasses preen as they want. In 100 years' time, everyone'llAllBeUsingCamelCaseToCommunicate. andNobodyWillCareWhatEikeSchmidtWanted. 😉

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Service of Ceremonial Solstice Sunset

Hymn: Ring out Solstice Bells 

Archdruid: As the sun sets over the woods of Woburn Abbey, let us proclaim our Solstice Lament.

All: Raise your banners high / Don't die, Sun, don't die. 

Archdruid: Ah no, it's gone.

All: Raise your banners high / Goodbye, Sun, goodbye.

Archdruid: At this death of the year, the sun returns to its long rest. / The earth shudders, the flustercock* heads to its nest.

All: It is the end of times. It is the start of times.

Archdruid: Raise your seasonal mistletoe

All: And snog the next person in the row?

Archdruid: No.

All: Thank goodness for that.

Archdruid: Let us take a moment to mark the passing of this solar year. We have travelled round the sun 4.6 billion times.

Burton: That's quite a round number. Shouldn't we have had a bit more of a party?

Archdruid: It's an approximation.

Young Keith: Any chance of a pint?

Archdruid: The ancient Beaker People gathered at their stone circles today. Feasted on their slaughtered pigs and called on the sun to return.

Young Keith: But they probably had a jar of mead?

Archdruid: A beaker, you mean?

Young Keith: Good point.

Archdruid: But not till they'd lit the Wicker Person.

Hymn: It's the End of the World as we Know it

The Beaker Folk may bump into each other in the dark, as they return to the Great House.

* ancient Bedfordshire word for a male pheasant, which I just made up

In the Fields, A-Wokeing


I see that the church of All Saints with Holy Trinity, Loughborough, have caused "fury" by using changed the words to "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen". This is the MSN account of the Mail article - I hope the Mail may get slightly less in the way of pay-per-click if you read it there.

I must say, when you dig in, the fury appears to be confined to the ubiquitously shocked Sam Margrave, and serial tweet-deleter Matthew Firth. So the thought of them fuming away in their front rooms, though amusing, is not unusual.

First up, well done to the Rector, the Awesome Wendy Dalrymple, who made sure the comma was in the right place. The number of times it's implied that the Gentlemen were just sitting around merry, by someone putting the comma after "Ye". I don't normally notice the rest of the lyrics anyway if I'm still in a state of fury over that.

In one way, it's just a shame that the lovely folk of Loughborough chose to use that hymn for these sentiments. Because the actual hymn, regardless of comma, is a pretty-near paraphrase of the narrative of Luke 2 - which is how, by avoiding the wokeist censoring of the Mail's predecessors, the Puritans, it was allowed to be sung in church at all. 

But the Mail is not being as conservative as it might be.

Querying Wikipedia, I notice that this is the oldest version known of the carol: 

Sit yow merry Gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
for Jesus Christ is borne to save or soules from Satan's power
Whenas we runne astray
O tidings of comfort & joy
to save or soules from Satan
When as we runne away
O tidings of comfort & joy 

Where is the outrage that this hymn was changed in the 18th century? Was Mercurius Rusticus up in arms? And also, worst of all... 

That "ye" is wrong. It's a deliberate, and incorrect, use of an archaic nominative pronoun. In Wyclif's translation of Luke 2, we have "do not ye dread"  - but that is using "ye" as the subject. Here in the hymn, "ye" is the object - God is the subject, ie the one originating the verb (isn't God, in a very real sense, always?) and so that "ye" should be "you". Or maybe even "yow", if you're from Walsall or the 16th Century or both.

Honestly. These people strain at gnats and swallow camels.

And wouldn't "God Rest You Merry, Gentlefolk" have been more inclusive?

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

The Last Shepherd

The shepherds left the child's bedside. Out into the darkness the angels had banished, to share the astounding news with anyone that would hear their unlikely story.

Joseph poked the fire with a stick. The darkness closed again around the little scene. Time for some sleep.

And then a scrape at the door. And another man. A young man, smelling of the cold air and the hills. Clutching over his shoulder a still-struggling sheep.

"Am I too late? Is that... is that the King?"

Mary smiled, tired and confused, but relieved, and happy.
"You've just missed your friends."

"I had to let the others go ahead. I'd lost this one."

"Wandered off?"

"Yeah - the others were safe when the angels came. But this one - she'd gone for a stroll. I couldn't just leave her, could I? Listen - he's just a tiny babe now. But when he's a bit bigger - you will tell him I came to see him?"

"Oh yes. I think he'll love to hear about you."