Saturday 30 May 2009

Beaker Jobs for Beaker People

We are most concerned by the leaflet put out by a political party campaigning in the European elections.
First of all, anyone with experience in the building industry would have to be concerned that the builders in this photo may well scratch their hands on a nasty rough brick, or struggle to lift a standard-sized lintel.  Who knows, they might even be allergic to cement, builders' sand or brick dust.  One can already say that, without any of them wearing safety gloves, none of them is equipped for serious handling of heavy building materials.  Indeed, one of them appears to be wearing a Mickey Mouse watch.
And let's be honest, the one on the right is not going to go far, trying to climb scaffold, is he?
While the one on the left appears to have his hard hat on back to front.  Indeed, the general impression is that these are the finalists in an audition for a Village People tribute band.
In summary - are these real builders?  Look at their lilywhite hands.  We doubt it.
let's take the photo as it is.  The hi-viz, worn so gleefully on men who are clearly not builders, can only tell us one thing - they are clearly Beaker Folk.  This gives the message of this political party an even more dubious impact.  For if they want to repatriate from these shores everyone who is not a Beaker Person, who will be left?  Not the Celts, who so cruelly displaced the Beaker Folk to Cornwall, Ireland and Husborne Crawley.  Not the Romans, who demonstrated the prototypical Italian approach to conflict by putting all gears in reverse in their 5th century scarper to their underfloor-heated homes.  Not the Johnny-Come-Lately Anglo-Saxons, Norse or Normans - hardly been here two millenia.  No, it will just be Hnaef, Young Keith, Drayton, Burton, and a group of namby-pamby builders.  I've seen the future and it doesn't work.  Or, at any rate, it doesn't lay bricks.

Friday 29 May 2009

Friday's Programme

We put it to the vote which event to celebrate today - the options being Norgay and Hillary climbing Everest (we prefer not to say "conquering" - has imperialist, militaristic overtones) and Charles II's return from exile as king of England, Scotland, Ireland and (he claimed) France.  Needles to say the Fertility Folk voted for Charley Boy, while the rest went for Everest.  So in the interests of community harmony, we went for both.

8am - Clambering up mountain of cardboard boxes representing Everest

10 am - Liniments and Embrocations

12 noon - The wearing of wigs, frilly sleeves and lots of lace (NB - several folk of the Community were confused with hard-line Forward in Faith members.  We think they'll all back from Benediction now, but we'll have a full Community count at 8pm to make sure).

2 pm - Recreating of climbing Nell Gwynne (optional activity for the Fertility Folk).

4 pm - Sending of telegram to the Queen

6 pm - Recreation of the exhumation of Cromwell and Ireton (using a couple of tailor's dummies we picked up cheap at the Officers' Club closing-down sale).  Followed by dragging the dummies around the village behind a 4x4 until Young Keith's uncle the policeman stops us.

8 pm - The beheading of the tailors' dummies and their ceremonial burning on the cardboard Everest, will bring together the twin threads of today's activities and bring the formal part of the day to an end. 

Thursday 28 May 2009

Save The MPs

After the success of BUGFAW we weren't expecting to start a new charity so soon, but in the circumstances we felt we had no choice.  So we are starting our new movement, STaMP (Save The MPs).
All over the country, a group of people incapable of living in the modern world are being asked to come to terms with living without the financial support to which they are accustomed.  Mostly they are incapable of doing any kind of normal "work", having no experience of business or management and certainly no chance of doing any manual work or customer service.   Cushioned from making any decisions by a massive Labour majority, Europe, the Civil Service and an over-mighty executive, they have spent their time up to now deciding which of their sixteen sets of sheets to put on their beds, what colour to paint the front rooms of their "second homes" and shuffling through lobbies guided by their minders, or "whips".
Now they have to fend for themselves.  With no discernible useful skills, dumped onto a competitive labour market with only £30,000 of parachute payments, they suffer the indignity and terror of wondering whether they will be Esther Rantzen's next target.

Just 95p will buy a sacked Home Secretary a bathplug.
£1,600 will buy a gothic floating mansion for a bunch of ducks.
£30,000 will build an extension for their unemployed siblings.
£20,000 will cure dry rot in a completely different part of the country.
A couple of quid will buy them a road map of the country so they can find out where their constituencies are supposed to be and maybe buy houses there. 
£300,000 will buy a second home and the trees to plant around the boundaries of the garden.

Can you help?  The good news is that, even if they are admitting they got it wrong now, they don't need our help until next year, when they step down in their own good time.  Unless HMRC gets there first. 

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Holy Well

Now I know I said that the Moot House had to be precisely where it was because it was on the intersection of two ley lines - one the "Woburn Ley" from the lion enclosure to Cranfield Airport, the other the "Icknieldley" from Ivinghoe Beacon to Walsingham. I know we resolved precisely where it should be using a plumb line, dowsing rods and a 1974 Ordnance Survey map of Bedford.
But. This week's events have caused me to revisit those decisions. The sudden transformation of the Moot House into a forty-foot wide circular pond has massively increased donations and visits from pilgrims coming to see the miraculous "holy well". Well-dressing looks like being one of the most popular and cost-effective forms of fund raising (and spiritual activity, with deep traditional roots, needless to say) that we have ever initiated. Good grief, the faithful are already throwing money in. Feldred swears blind she saw a Naiad yesterday, and it's these little details that count. If the Moot House was already on a ley intersection, then surely the Holy Well of Husborne Crawley is the crowning glory of the ley.
Digging for the new Moot House, aligned between the Holy Well and the Great Trilithon in the car park, will commence at 8am Thursday. I hope the cries of "oh no not again" will be drowned out by the spontaneous enthusiasm of people keen to create another spot of holiness and reflection in this sacred landscape.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Rain stopped play

Thanks to ongoing sunburn problems I'm pleased to say that I missed out on last night's culminating New Moon ceremonies.  The people at the Watching Post got absolutely drenched last night.  Turns out that it had also been re-thatched with Twiglets.  There seems no chance of them seeing the first glint of the New Moon for weeks at this rate.  Still, what would a religion be without rules?  They're just going to have to stay out there.
Interesting developments on the Moot House front.  In accordance with tradition, the Moot House is dug four feet below the level of the surrounding land, allowing us to rise up - as from the dead - to greet the rising sun, and to descend to the depths with it as it sinks.  However with all this rain it and the lack of a roof it is now full of rainwater.  It is therefore with a heavy heart that I once again announce that all Moot House-based ceremonies will take place in the Dining Hall of the Great House.  In the meantime the Moot House is being used by six frustrated male mallards and a bunch of over-enthusiastic anabaptists.  I wouldn't go too close -you could end up unexpectedly falling into a new religion.

Sunday 24 May 2009

New Moon

In the current state of the New Moon it is a delight to observe the stars, especially on a night such as tonight when the sky is utterly clear.  
I'm afraid Eggwyn is in a bit of a state.  She looked up at the stars, pondered the vast distances between them and considered the emptiness of space.  She looked at herself - just a tiny, short-lived, apparently random collection of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, clinging to a dying rock.  And she felt a bit down.  Then she remembered that she works for RBS and got positively hysterical.
In any case, feel free to go out there and marvel at the magic of the universe, the glimmer of the stars and the glow from the M1.  Bear in mind that the dew's falling like a ton of bricks under these clear skies.  I've a lovely range of hi-viz waterproof jackets you can go out in (only £9.99 each).

Personally I'll be staying in this evening.  In honour of Wesley Day we had a three-hour singing and preaching session at lunchtime in the orchard (it was only one song, but the original of "And can it be" is pretty well three hours long on its own).  At the end I felt strangely warmed, but it turned out that this was due to sunburn and now I can barely move without losing layers of skin.  I tried various herbal remedies - camomile, lavendar, tea tree, lemon balm - but frankly they're all rubbish.  Looks like it's back to the calomine lotion.

Saturday 23 May 2009

The World's Biggest Tealight

Full marks to Young Keith this time. 
As part of his penance for the Moot House roof, he spent all day yesterday searching out every half-lit tealight that has been discarded round the premises in the last year or so.  You may remember that last time we managed to melt them down to create a life-size replica of Anthea Turner.
On this occasion Keith actually collected enough to make one giant tealight, which by an odd coincidence is the size and shape of the interior of a Land Rover Freelander.  We lit it last night and as of this morning it's still burning well.  Keith put a whole bucket of essential oils in molten wax, and apparently even the people in the traffic jam at Junction 13 are feeling a whole lot calmer as a result.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Wind Chimes

"Can we have some wind chimes, Archdruid?" they asked me.  Why of course, I replied.  What could be more chiming than a little aeolian auditory alliteration, I thought.  The gentle tinkle of wind chimes as the spirit moves them, the silent movement of the breeze which blows where it will turned into a music to soothe the wounded spirit and feed the hunger of love.  Play on, said I.
I suspect that it was Young Keith's intention to make up for the fiasco of the Twiglet wattle and daub.  Maybe that was why he decided to go for it in a big way.  But using scaffold poles as wind chimes was possibly a bit much.  I mean, I didn't want a crane parked in the Community car park.  It's occupying a load of space that we need for parking 4x4s.  On the other hand, you can hear their soothing tones from Woburn .

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Melting Moot

It was rather a shock this morning at the Sunrise Awakening.  Gathering in the Moot House to huddle for warmth around a tea light before we started, we were surprised to feel the rain falling on our heads.  
Close investigation revealed the awful truth.  Parts of the roof appeared to have melted away.  Now, wattle and daub is a traditional and ancient building material.  We never dreamed it could disappear.  But after a brief investigation, a confession was forthcoming from Young Keith.  We all know his uncle, the police officer, without whom far fewer Beaker People would be at liberty than is currently the case.  But it was from his cousin, the Cash and Carry operator, that we purchased the wattle.  Not that we realised at the time that he was a Cash and Carry operator.  No, Young Keith had told us he was a builders' merchant.  There was no way, in the dark of late autumn, racing to roof the Moot House before the snows came, that we could have noticed that our wattle was in fact Twiglets.  OK, a few of us commented on the yeasty smell, but we put it down to an easterly wind carrying the scent of Charles Wells across from Bedford.
Young Keith will be spending the next few months walking around the community with a clown face on, and wearing a pointed hat.  This is not to punish him by humiliation - no, we Beaker Folk believe in education.  This is to teach him not to do it again.
Now we have to work out what to do with the roof.  Anyone got any wicker?

Monday 18 May 2009

Anniversary of Helen Sharman going into space

Since we couldn't think of anything else to celebrate today, but were feeling in deadly need of cheering up after the Eurovision Song Contest, we thought we'd celebrate the 18th anniversary of Helen Sharman being the first English person (we shun "British", as it has echoes of the hated Celts) into space.
The little gadget that Hnaef put together was supposed to be capable of launching people three or four feet into the air, so they could fall gently onto the big pile of hi-viz we laid down.  After three or four people had been launched for their short flight, I felt it was safe for my archdruidic flight. However. Whether through malice or accident, I could not say.  But the "extra strong" setting seems to have been applied when I sat in the Launch Arm Chair.  Ending up halfway down the Meadow, with the chair still attached to my rear end, was remarkably painful.
I am typing today's missive with a pencil that I am holding between my teeth.  Apparently no bones are broken, just a large degree of bruising.  Apparently the compost heap I landed in helped to break my fall.  I hope to be up and about some time tomorrow.

Saturday 16 May 2009

More on expenses

Thanks to Drayton Parslow, yet more information has been dragged into the public domain that can only disturb those of uncertain faith and ready cheque books.
Drayton has been asking how I can have claimed expenses for the payment of the mortgage on the Great House, pointing out that my family has lived here since the seventeenth century. I would like to point out that the mortgage was not to pay for the house itself, but rather it has been paying for the building of the Moot House. All that wattle and daub didn't cut itself down and dig itself out of the bed of the brook. We had to pay the finest traditional Beaker craftspeople in the country to carry out this important and sacred act. Likewise, the planting of the new Avenue. Those cedars aren't cheap to import , but without them our ritual pathways would not be complete.
Rumours that I'm planning to completely re-landscape the grounds of the Great House, then liquidate the Beaker Folk and retire in comfort, are completely untrue. As is the suggestion that the Sensory Deprivation Tank I claimed for on expenses was in any way a selfish indulgence. Rather it is where I dream dreams and see visions for the future of our Community.

As is apparently necessary in these hysterical times, I would like to point out that I am in no way guilty of any wrongdoing. Everything I paid for and claimed from Community funds was within the rules. It is the System that has failed. I am sorry.
I hope this is all now at an end.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Expenses update

There has been a certain amount of disquiet over the expense claims which Drayton Parslow has discovered, photocopied and posted on telegraph poles all over Husborne Crawley.  My claims for a helicopter flight to the Druidic Gorsedd on Environmental Sustainability at Glastonbury, and Hnaef's elocution lessons, have all been subject to scrutiny.

We had every right to claim these expenses, which are all in the rules that Hnaef and I drew up when we first realised there were people gullible enough to give their trust and money to this community.  However we are aware that it may look like we have our snouts down and are troughing till it hurts.  Therefore we are happy to repay the sum of £576.56, which is the full amount that Drayton has managed to pin  on us.  I hope this matter is now at an end.

Monday 11 May 2009

Waning Moon

I hate it when the weather's good at full moon.  Obviously, it's just an encouragement to the Fertility Folk to head into the woods, but then they're equally as likely to do that at any other phase of the moon and in any weather conditions.
No, it's all the rest. All these long evenings are encouraging our Folk to sit around outside the White Horse late into the night, chewing over theological conundrums such as the liminal nature of the Self-Supporting Druid, whether Swine Flu is a divine punishment for Simon Cowell, and whether Liverpool will ever win the Premier League until they adopt the 4-4-2 formation.  Whatever that is.
If such Beaker People were quiet, I'd probably quietly overlook it.  Trouble is, they wander back late at night, singing bawdy folk songs and attempting, badly, to play the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer.  Which is not, let's face it, a traditional Beaker instrument.
So steps need to be taken.  As of tomorrow morning, we are introducing a new service of Sunrise Observance.  I expect to see you all down the Orchard at 5am tomorrow, clad in green hi-vis and with garlands in your hair*.  Then we'll see who can last the pace.

* Garlands available at the 24-hour Beakerama, £7.50.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Charitable Endeavours

Here at the Husborne Crawley Beaker People, we realised that we spend quite a lot of our time focussing on self-fulfilment and self-satisfaction.  Some might call us selfish, or self-centered.  We realise that it is time to engage with the needs of the world around us.
To this end, we have founded a new charitable enterprise.  We call it BUGFAW. Realising that there are many sufferers from mild depression in the Husborne Crawley area, we are dedicated to going round to their houses and telling them "Buck up and go for a walk!"  We would like to report that this radical approach to mental health was showing exciting results.  However the opposite is currently the case.  Mostly people slam the door in our volunteers' faces, while on one occasion things turned violent.  Other people might think their methodology is lacking under this lack of success.  However we are aware that the government thinks this kind of exciting, cutting-edge and above all low-cost approach is worth persevering with.  So we're gonna keep at it, even if we have to shout through their letter-boxes.  Let the grants roll in!