Thursday 27 August 2009

Climbing the Greasy Druid

This was another of Hnaef's suggestion.  I've no idea why he thinks this is a good idea, and I'm asking you all to refuse Hnaef's requests for assistance.  Certainly I refused to get involved.

Monday 24 August 2009

The electric frogs

I've had an offer from Bertrand for him to supply us with his Amazing Electric Frogs stall for the fete.  I'm really not convinced.  The idea is, you may remember, based on the old game where you try to get a metal hook all the way round a wire maze without it touching the wire - if you touch a wire the buzzer goes off.
I know that Bertrand thinks that including live frogs in the circuit adds an amusing and yet back-to-nature feel to this game.  And people tell me that the frogs do seem to enjoy the suspense, and don't really suffer - indeed, they sing out quite pleasantly as the charge goes through them.  But I don't think that a community with such a bad record for guinea pig deaths as we have suffered should be involved in anything that could be construed as animal cruelty.  So we're going to pass on this one.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Summer Fete

Can all Beaker People please be prepared to be pro-active and inspirational with regards to the Summer Fete? With the current economic climate drying up our voluntary donations, no matter how much Hnaef threatens, we need some stunning ideas. Last year's "Pin the rosette on the baldie" was maybe an example of what we won't want this time round, as that was a really painful experience for poor Droog. But on the bright side, it raised a lot of money.

Ritual for the start of the fourth day at the Oval

An oval space marked out by blocks of sandstone-covered reinforced concrete, in the shape of trilithons.  At either end stand three tall stones placed side-by-side then painted white, apparently to improve visibility of what is happening in the middle.

Through the swirling dawn mists step fifteen white-clad figures, the two leaders wearing white coats to indicate some kind of authority.  They arrange themselves in various ritual positions around the space, each place - "1st slip"; "cover-point"; "just round the corner" having a mystical name.  A number of the participants have white war-paint displayed on their lips, noses and foreheads.

The ritual red orb is  passed to a man who is referred to for the purposes of the ceremony as "Fred".  He runs towards the middle of the space.  As he nears the centre, he hurls the orb at what we now see to be five pieces of ash - three long, two short - arranged into the shape of three adjacent standing stones complete with their lintels.  The ball is caught by a short man in a white floppy hat, and returned to "Fred".  This continues until the lintel arrangement is hit by the orb, at which time the fallen pieces of ash are ceremonially burnt in the middle of the field.

The Archdruid explains that this ritual is a reminder of the cruel destruction of the Beaker megalithic culture by the Celts with their nasty iron-based culture.  The red orb represents the Sun - the god of the Celts.  The white face-paint and white clothes represent the moon.  The "Fred" is the hero who will one day defeat the aggressors, and mark the end of centuries of humiliation by a newer, more aggressive race that has rejected beakers in favour of drinking from vessels made of metal - known as "tinnies" in their uncouth language.  

They walk from the field, past a man with even more war paint and bleached blond hair who appears to be reading a particularly saucy text.  This time, he has played no part in the event.  This seems to be regarded as a good thing.

Saturday 22 August 2009

Oval Day

Once again, in an attempt to influence the test match, we will be adopting an oval policy.
All things served at breakfast were, you may notice, oval.
We used special beakers with an oval cross-section, rather than the normal round one, for Pouring Out of Beakers this morning.  And we will be doing the same until stumps on Monday or when someone wins the test, whichever comes first.
We have re-mapped the standing stone circle into the shape of an oval, and aligned as best as we can with the one in South London.  You may think that spending all night with a mini-crane and digger, moving lumps of sandstone around is a bit obsessive, but if it was good enough for the original druids then it's good enough for us.
By remapping our symbolic landscape in this way we hope we can align with the spiritual energy on the pitch.  It's all going splendidly so far... 

Monday 17 August 2009

Swine Flu Precautions Continued

We have had certain mutterings that, now the initial wave of cases is receding, perhaps we should loosen the Swine Flu precautions - especially with respect to the Hand of Friendship within the ceremony of Pouring Out of Beakers.  With respect, I think not.
The Hand of Friendship has over the years become more informal, more - let me say - friendly.  And not always appropriate.  The Hand of Friendship became the Hug of Friendship.  OK, nothing to worry about there - although the ceremony took a little longer.  From here to the Quick Peck on the Cheek of Friendship was but a short step.  
If only we had stopped there.  But oh, no.  Next we had the Kissing Both Cheeks of Friendship - and by this summer we were straying into the Big Wet Kiss of Friendshipm, and some people were flirting - which is almost definitely the right word - with the Snog of Friendship.
It was time to stop, and this disease has given us the perfect opportunity to go back to First Base, as it were.  So until the pandemic has been declared over by all competent authorities (i.e. not the Government) - we are back to the Wave of Friendship, or the Slight Smile of Friendship.  With everyone remaining respectfully, and hygienically, in their places.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Looking for a new Husborne Crawley

The ritual for Perseids Meteor Watching was certainly well-attended last night.  I hope that wasn't entirely down to Young Keith combining it with a Pimms Party.  But it was lovely to see so many over a four-hour spell around midnight.  But a little advice on decorum before tonight's second day of watching
The Perseid Meteors.
Consider - the comet Swift-Tuttle was an original habitant of the Solar System.  Billions of years old, this wanderer sees the awesome stretches of loneliness beyond Pluto.  Silently it sheds its dust as it wanders past the sun.  After a thousand years of floating with a cloud of its brothers and sisters, a speck of dust hits the Earth's orbit at 100,000 miles per hour.  After four billion years of cold, there is one moment of extreme heat as the meteorite burns up.  And somewhere below, in Husborne Crawley, some smug get with a knowledge of Kirsty MacColl songs shouts out "it's only a satellite!"
Let's get this straight.  It's wrong to wish on space hardware.  But these are genuine, awesome, transcendent moments of divine awareness and revelation.  So, in the words of the Prophet Kirsty herself, I wish you'd care.  The correct liturgical response to seeing a shooting star is "Aaaaaaaah!" 

Sunday 9 August 2009

Rain Dance

In a desperate attempt to save the Ashes, there will be a Rain Dance in the Orchard after lunch. I've no idea whether the rain dance of the ancient Queltixkumbls people is able to have an effect at a range of 150 miles, but perhaps if we all look north?

Thursday 6 August 2009

Dry Stone Labyrinth

One of those days when "synergy" is just a kind of flaky, ironic concept.

Two separate workshops - Luna's Labyrinth Encounter and Hnaef's High Speed Dry Stonewalling.  One a form of mystical return to ancient wisdom, the other getting us in touch with an ancient rural craft while feeling the grain of the ancient sandstone, lain down over ages uncountable.  What could possible go wrong?

Suffice it to say that Luna is still trapped in there.  And which sandstone isn't the world's hardest stone, it's still capable of holding water in.  Let's just hope she can swim.

Wednesday 5 August 2009


36 hours I spent off ill.  36 hours.  And what do I find?  The whole place rent with schism.
At the last count we had the following sects suddenly appeared:

Anti Pebbles / Pro Tea-lights
Pro Pebbles / Anti Tea-lights
Anti Pebbles / Anti Tea-lights
Pro Pebbles / Pro Tea-lights

Anti Tea-lights but only if they're lavender scented

Anti Pebbles / Pro Harriet Harman

Anti Women Archdruids
Anti Men Archdruids
Anti Gay Women Archdruids
Anti all Archdruids

Pro Gay Handfasting
Anti Gay Handfasting
Anti Anyone Handfasting

Pro Jilted John (we think this may have crept in by mistake)
Anti Lager / Pro Harriet Harman for Archdruid
New Labour (we think someone may be really demented)

Pro Tea-lights / Anti Harriet Harman / Pro Swine Flu

And so on.  And so on.  Internet blood has been spilt as Pro-Jilted John Beaker Folk have proven why Harriet Harman is the Evil One incarnate.  And vice-versa.

At the last count there were 135 different positions being taken, each with its own dedicated website, and each showing an impeccable logic as to why the position being taken was right and all others wrong.  

Which is a considerable number more divisions than we actually have Beaker People.  

And so far nobody has made a stand for the position "We're all in this together in this broken world.  Let's show some decency and charity".

So clearly there's no danger of that happening.  I'm off to get my cricket bat.  You'd all better watch out.

Saturday 1 August 2009


The traditional feast day of "Hlaef-Mass", as Hnaef is liable to call it when in Olde English mode.
In the days of old, this was a celebration of the first wheat harvest of the year.  Everybody would bring a newly-baked loaf of bread to church, and the vicar's wife (post-reformation - it would be "concubine" before) - would be making bread-and-butter pudding for the next six months.

To mark this important cross-quarter day we all brought a different kind of bread to the different Occasions today.  Croissants for this morning's Pouring Out of Beakers (although we only just prevented Drayton from throwing them in the Pit of Cursing, where the beakers are broken in line with our swine flu policy).
Then bagels at Chanting.  That was nice, although they'd have been better with a bit of cream cheese.
Baguettes at Mid-Day Breathing.
White sliced at the three o'clock prayers for the rain to stop in Birmingham.
Brown wholemeal, with the bits in, provided by Agnus at Evenchant.
And oatmeal rolls, with even more bits in, at tonight's edition of "A Bard at Bedtime".

You know, I've kind of had enough bread now.  In fact, I can barely move.  Bread is now officially removed from the Beaker menu until Michaelmas at the earliest.