Sunday, 25 May 2008

Down the Doily Mines

It is wonderful how, as we become more familiar with the People Called Beaker, we are continually enlightened as to the wonders of this Rule of Life. I was yesterday initiated into one of the Beaker mysteries.

As is fairly well known, our Beaker outlets (such as the World of Woad, Woburn, the London Luton Airport Beakorium, Madame Eileen's waxworks in the Marylebone Road and the newly-opened EuroBeaker in Paris) do a roaring trade in authentic Beaker doilies. Doilies are a quintessentially Beaker object, their roundness and whiteness an echo of the beauty of the full moon.

Yesterday morning, with a solemn and reverent air, Hnaef drew we three novitiates to one side, and explained that we had so far enjoyed the Beaker environment in a state of leisure. Now we had to learn the other side of the Beaker Coin (of which, of course, no such thing existed - the original Beaker Folk living in a state of Edenic, pre-currency bliss, each meeting the others' needs, and never having their Advance Corporation Tax stolen).

Hnaef then led us to the Pressing Shed. Never before had we been allowed over the red-and-white tape that separates the Pressing Shed from the Orchard - even though we had oftentimes seen the more experienced Beakers heading down the path towards it after the Pouring-out of Beakers ceremony, and heard the groans of spiritual enlightenment and whacks of endeavour from within. Inside the Pressing Shed, we were shown a large stack of square blank sheets of genuine wholemeal doily paper; a doily press; and the doily-whacking machine. And for the rest of the day we three new Beaker Folk enjoyed the spiritual enliftment that can only be attained through brain-numbing manual work.

First Orville would select the next stack of doily blanks. She would arrange them on the press-plate. Then Gruntrothrix would slam down the doily-press, cutting through the paper as easily as a knife through formica. He would then pass them to me, and I would bang the holes out of the doilies - whacking handfuls of them against the whacking-bar, while the vacuum device sucked the resulting lint out into the recycling bag. To be honest after a while your wrist starts to hurt, but Young Keith came round every hour with flagons of traditional Beaker Cider to dull the pain and increase the spiritual intensity.

A truly wonderful experience of traditional Beaker Life. Unfortunately I have been coughing up lint all night - but Hnaef assures me that after a month or two my lungs will be used to it.

1 comment :

  1. soo good to read that the Beaker traditions are being passed to another generation.


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