Tuesday 30 September 2008

Michaelmas Moonwatch

I can now declare the Moonwatch over. The ceremony of Saluting the Moon will be held this evening, whether we can see it or not.

Thanks to the Worship Team for the special Michaelmas celebrations last night. A real alt.worship feel, with Hnaef dressing up as a Michaelmas daisy to sing "Supper's Ready" as a tribute to Peter Gabriel. Nice to see that the Dragon Slaying dance has come on well since April, with fewer burns and only the odd sword wound to deal with. But I think Burton chucking Young Keith out of the tree to symbolise the fall of the Serpent from heaven was a bit rough, especially as he landed in the duck pond. Still, as the book says, it was certainly "woe to thee" to assorted parts of the community as he crawled out covered in smelly mud and went in search of Burton to take his awful revenge. I think Burton reckoned his time was pretty short last night...

Sunday 28 September 2008

Waiting for the Moon

This month's "Waiting for the Moon" will commence at sunrise tonight, and continue until we see it again in a few days' time (or until we know it's new again if it's cloudy). Now you don't have to stay up for all three days of waiting so whoever bought that pallet of Red Bull, please take it back. But it is important that at least three people are watching at all times, and that the Eternal Flame is kept alight throughout. It went out last month, and how embarrassing is that? So keep the charcoal going on, please, kiddies...

Thursday 25 September 2008

The Market

Contrary to complaints you may have heard in other places, I would like to reassure Beaker Folk that the Market is not some bear-pit of bankrobbers, fly-tippers and bear-baiters. Obviously greed is not a good thing, and it is wrong that people's lives are made worse by the short-term actions of speculators who are happy to take the upside while expecting the Government to bail them out when things go wrong.

On the other hand, we made an absolute fortune over the last months thanks to the demise of Mrs Whimsey's Doily Shops Ltd. You may remember that we took Mrs Whimsey's over at a knock down price, on the grounds that we could keep this traditional and much-loved British industry in action, and incorporated it into our own doily production supply chain - thus achieving what I believe is referred to as "vertical integration". We then carried out a sale-and-leaseback of the shops to a separate limited property company, then watched and grinned as the value of the land crashed and the property company went bust. The property company had borrowed the money from Abbey, but fortunately since it was held at arms-length by an offshore holding company, the bank can whistle.

But being good stewards, we were not simply going to bury this money as in the parable of the talents. Oh no. We put it to good use taking short positions on HBOS. We're absolutely rolling in it now, and we can use a small portion of the money to pick up the chain of now-disused doily shops for a song.

Sunday 21 September 2008

Equinox Eve

Preparations for the Equinox are now well under way for the Beaker Folk. The traditional Blackberry and Apple pie, over fourteen feet in diameter and six deep, is baking in the interior of the giant Pie Mound just beyond the orchard. (Please can people not jump up and down on the top of the Pie Mound? People got awfully scalded after they fell through last year). However Hnaef could do with some help with the baking - he's been stoking for the last three days and now is now both shattered and short of firewood.

Note that the Solstice is 13.04 tomorrow afternoon British Summer Time. So you all get a lay-in. However starting at 11 am, the proceedings will be as follows:

Donning of the hi-viz (pink, from the Solstice to Samhain, with steel toe-capped books for Oblates and Assistant Archdruids)

Lighting of the Autumn fire

Ceremonial processing of the druids (clockwise around the bonfire - mind the sparks, those hi-viz vests were a job lot, and aren't guaranteed fireproof)

Scattering of the maple leaves (Hnaef to organise finding some maple trees)

Racing around the orchard trying to get away from the burning maple leaves

Collective cry of "nights are definitely drawing in. Starting to feel a bit nippy in the evenings...

Buglers and Tabla Drum players perform the ritual hymn ("March of the Druids")

To celebrate the sheer equinoctialness of it all, Burton will then perform a liturgical tightrope walk along a rope strung across the duck pond. He's feeling a bit nervous at the minute, so please can you all stop sneaking up behind him and shouting "splash"!

The service will conclude in utter chaos, as is traditional, and the handing out of portions of apple and blackberry pie that, if last year's is anything to go by, will either be freezing cold or burnt to a crisp.

Tonight's anthem at Howling at the Moon will be "Last Day of Summer" (K MacColl)

Monday 15 September 2008

Full Moon

Please note that in honour of James Fenimore Cooper's birthday, for the ceremony of Howling at the Moon tonight the haircuts are Mohican.

Hnaef has kindly offered to cut everyone's hair into the appropriate style, and set himself up in the Woodshed with a pair of electric clippers and a manic grin. Small pieces of tissue paper will be handed out to put on any nicks.

Please note that we had a misprint in the recent newsletter when it said that I had been on pilgrimage at Lourdes. I'd actually gone to Lords, for South Africa game.

Friday 12 September 2008

Nativity of Ian Holm

Today's programme is in honour of the actor Ian Holm, famous as Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings.

6 am Anthem - "A Elbereth Gilthoniel"

8 am Recovery of the Silmarils

10 am Pipeweed Break

11 am Second Breakfast

12 noon Dwarf throwing

2 pm The annual Barrel-riding ritual. Gather at the Three Fysshes, Turvey, for the great Throwing in the Ouse.

4 pm Resuscitations

6 pm Dragon-slaying

8 pm Barn Dance - with music by Sauron and the Balrogs

12 midnight Departure to the Gray Havens

Thursday 11 September 2008

The-o The-o The-o

Thanks to Young Keith managing to wire a particularly dodgy-looking box of electronic tricks into a dustbin lid on the stables roof, the Beaker Folk eventually managed to enjoy a free view of the England match this evening, albeit in black and white. And it was quite surprising to see how heavily it was snowing in Zagreb. Obviously what Keith did was technically illegal, but let's face it putting the game on Setanta and not making it available to the English Public, even as highlights, should be illegal even if it's not*.
However the raucous chanting afterwards was definitely unseemly. Especially that rather lewd one about Mr Tito.

* The author of this Blog would like to stress that using home-made equipment to access Setanta is strictly illegal, immoral and probably quite stupid, if you fall off the stables roof, as Young Keith managed to do. The Archdruid's suggestion that it is in any way morally acceptable is as wrong as her beard is long. Not that she has a facial hair problem. Or at least, not that you'd dare mention it to her...

Monday 8 September 2008

Cerne Abbas - a warning

So we all got up this morning to be greeted by the sight of the Cerne Abbas giant, drawn in all his glory across the tennis court in whitewash.

Old Miss Tims got quite a shock, and has had to be revived with a large brandy. And Mrs Lane has started to look at her Brian in quite a disappointed way.

The appearance of any more "chalk figures" will be treated severely. It's just a shame there's never an auto de fé available when you need one.

Thursday 4 September 2008

Horse and Hounds

Yet another hill figure cut into the grass.  This time the Uffington White Horse.  Great.  And to make matters worse, it would appear that some Beaker Folk chose to pretend to be members of the Vale of the White Horse hunt.  Glad to see that the Hunting with Hounds act wasn't broken.  On the other hand, dressing Burton up in a fox costume and chasing him around the village on mountain bikes while armed with brooms wasn't exactly friendly, was it?

Tuesday 2 September 2008

White Lion

Thanks to whoever cut the replica of the Whipsnade White Lion into the turf of the croquet lawn, today's Croquet Tournament is cancelled. And it's not even prehistoric (the White Lion that is - some of the croquet players are).