Sunday 29 June 2008

Beaker Songbook

I am pleased to announce the publication of the new Beaker Songbook '08-09. 496 songs in the traditional Beaker style, which we will be singing at all major lunar and solar celebrations for the next twelve months, starting on Lammas Day this year. Which gives you all a month to learn the songs. The good news is that the CD box set "Hnaef sings the Beaker Songbook" is now also available, price £28, in the Beaker Mall.

Now I know what you are thinking. You're thinking "this is just like one of those cod-traditional Celtic songbooks they're always publishing, full of bad poetry and corny social concern. If I ever hear "Brother, Sister, let me serve you" again I'm going up to Iona with a bulldozer". And I can understand that attitude. But don't forget that this is Beaker worship. An authentic tradition - two thousand years older than the so-called "Celtic" civilisation (of which we have no historical record in Great Britain). Indeed, Hnaef assures me that he translated every single song out of the original Beaker tongue, from a scroll that he acquired from "some bloke in Woburn Sands". Unfortunately the scroll has since been lost, destroyed in the Records Shed Blaze that so inconveniently also lost last year's VAT receipts.

So rush down to purchase this last record of authentic Beaker Folk culture from the Beaker Mall. £22 or, with "Junior Beaker Praise" by Dug Hourly, a mere £30.

Saturday 28 June 2008

Goodbye to Granlich

It is with regret that I have to inform you that Granlich has left the community. I stress that this was of his own accord.

Granlich had asked for a "short chat" in which he informed me that he has found some spiritual meaning in the rituals of the Stewartby Hamster Worshippers. Obviously, we are an open and democratic community, and one that values diversity and supports its members in their search for meaning in life.

I therefore declare Granlich to be an un-person. He has been removed from the premises and dumped in the middle of the Ridgmont by-pass: it is, after all, in the right direction for Stewartby.

Hnaef has finished collecting Granlich's belongings into a cardboard box. At the New Moon, we will ceremonially dump them into Willen Lake.

Tuesday 24 June 2008

The Decline and Fall of Burton Dasset

We are all feeling very sorry for poor Burton. It would appear that he totally overdid it in his exertions while celebrating the Solstice, and is still laying in a cold sweat and yelling deliriously about green boxes and the Furzton Duckman.

It should be commonly known that currently Burton is unable to achieve full Initiate status within our Beaker community, due to his remarkable tardiness in signing off our annual reports. Apparently he is still having trouble understanding that we have genuinely lost the receipts connected with last year's expenses. Until such time as he declares himself satisfied, we will be unable to confirm his status as a full Beaker Person (and therefore no longer eligiblwe to be our external examiner). In the meantime, and once he's recovered from his state of exhaustion, I guess there's nothing for it. He'll have to keep banging the holes out of doilies.

Sunday 22 June 2008

Community Matters

I'm afraid that Burton has been prescribed a few days of bed rest in a darkened room. We found him last night on the roof of the Moot Hut, raving that red ants, daleks and Janet Street-Porter were conspiring to get him (he seemed most concerned about Janet Street-Porter). We of course offer Burton our prayers, and advise him to stay away from stimulants in future.

On related news, now that the Solstice is over, can I mention that the nights are now drawing in.

Soon be Christmas...

Saturday 21 June 2008

Summer Solstice

Reading my last posting I notice that I seem to have become rather tired. This continued throughout Friday. At one point I had to be awoken, having fallen asleep on the doily machine. I was covered in lint.
I dragged myself to the Lighting of the Solstice Flame. I had snatched a few minutes' sleep during the evening, broken by the sounds of Young Keith and his pals singing traditional Turkish songs on the way back from watching the Euro 08 game at Cranfield Club. But I was still feeling seriously disoriented.
Clearly feeling rather sorry for me, Eileen pulled out of her pocket a small clay pipe, ready-primed with Archdruid's Special Old Strong Herbal Mix. Lighting it from a convenient tealight, I only took one puff and I felt myself instantly refreshed. Not only could I continue with the Solstice Flame service, I became amazed by the reflections on the Feast Day White Hi-Viz vests that the Archdruid had equipped us with. The patterns of the tealights, the feel of the rain, the clouds sweeping overhead, reflected in the overglow ofMilton Keynes - I felt so part of it all. I could fall with the rain, sweep with the clouds - even feel a strange desire to join the nightlife of Fenny Stratford...
I discovered subsequently that I really did not want to go to sleep at all before the Sunrise event itself. To while away the three hours, I found myself running rapidly up and down the Ridgmont Bypass, marvelling at the texture of the road. Come 4 am, I was still going strong. In fact, even now 17 hours after sunrise, I'm still awake. However, the tiredness is coming over me now. Maybe I'll just have a quick nap...

Friday 20 June 2008

Blue Moon

Sadly Wednesday night's moonrise was a damp squib. The skies over Husborne Crawley were heavy and overcast, and a light drizzle fell as we stood waiting for Hnaef's electronic Druidic Moon and Sun rise Forecasting Clock, Eclipse Predictor and Personal Organiser to beep to indicate the precise moment of moonrise.

We stood there for a few hours, gradually getting colder, until Hnaef realised it had stopped. At this point we pushed him off the platform and headed into the Great Hall.

Last night, by contrest, was a beutaiful event. The moon looked like a giant Pringle as it rose over Aspley Heath. But, to be honest - it was a bit samey? I mean, the precise point and time of moonrise may change from day to day and season to season, but - do we really care? I was going to ask the Archdruid if she ever felt like this, but my new friend Drayton Parslow suggested it might be best to let it drop. Besides, last night was the last Moon Watchnight of the Lunar Month.

This morning's early strat - 3.30 am - was a bit of a shock, particularly since Moanwatch had only finished a couple of hours earlier. However, we stood and watched the Solsticial Sun as it rose. Due to the timing issues that the Archdruid has mentioned previously, we're going to have to do it all again tomorrow morning. Not to mention lighting the Solstice Flame at one minute to 1am first.

I was hopping to get a bit of slepe today, to be honest, but as it turns out I've been assigned to Doily Duty again. Just another 6 hours of banging the holes out of doilies, and then it'll be time for "Emptying out of Beakers".

Feleing quiet tried nwo, actullay. I've notced once or twice I've mdea hte odd spilling mistake. But not too many, I hape.

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Full Moon

The Solstice Moonrise last night was truly exciting. The red of the just-set sun seemed to bring the moon itself to a glowing red early on, shining through the broken clouds. Again, a moment of real spiritual tranquility and restfullness.

This was broken to some extent, admittedly, by the sounds of Young Keith and his companions seranading the moon on trombone, euphonium and bagpipes. However, with the ASBO now firmly in place I look forward to a more serene experience tonight. If only the weather doesn't break.

Tuesday 17 June 2008

First Lunar Watchnight

Last night's start to the Solstice Week was rather moving. We clustered onto the Astral Platform, which has been built to enable us to watch lunar and solar events from the Orchard without trees, houses and small hills getting in the way. We watched the moon rise, blinking dimly while behind us the setting sun was still strong. A few people unfortunately were crowded out and fell from the Astral Platform, and their shrieks of pain did tend to distract from a spiritual moment. But overall, a very deep and significant event.

Monday 16 June 2008

Countdown to the Solstice

From the Archdruid Eileen

As the mornings become ever lighter, our thoughts turn naturally to the Solstice and all things pertaining to it.

Since the solstice is technically at 1 minute to midnight, GMT on Friday 20th (which is 1 minute to 1 am, BST* on Saturday 21st), we will celebrate it on Friday and Saturday morning. You can't have too much of a good thing - especially when it's getting up at 3am and standing, freezing cold and often soaking wet, in a field overlooking the Amazon warehouse. We will gather at the pond in the old stone pit on Mill Road as usual. We believe that Mill Road may well be an ancient ley, as it points straight towards the rising sun on the Solstice. Please can Beaker Folk not stand in the middle of the road this year - being unable to see oncoming vehicles because your eyes are blinded by the rising sun is not a way to celebrate the solstice. The good news is that the nearly-full moon will be low in the sky behind us. Let's just hope it's not cloudy...

The Solstice Light will be lit at 1 minute to 1am on Saturday (BST). All Beakers are expected to attend. This year Hnaef promises that the Solstice Light will be a standard beeswax candle and not, as las year, a pan full of paraffin and iron filings. I don't know what he thought he was playing at, but I really don't want to see burns like that on a Beaker Person again. It took poor Argold weeks to recover.

Also note that due to the full moon this week, we will be witnessing moonrise starting at 8pm tonight, 9pm Tuesday, 10pm Wednesday, 10.30pm Thursday and 11pm Friday.

It's going to be a long week...

*BST is "Beaker Summer Time". Archaeological experiments at Stonehenge have proved conclusively that the Beaker People of the 1st millennium BC had adopted the concept of daylight saving three thousand years before the UK Government came up with the idea. There is no proof that, as has often been claimed, this was brought in so Beaker Folk who had been up late into the night arguing about whether Women Druids were allowed could grab an extra hour in bed.