Sunday 20 February 2022

Neil Oliver's Libertarian Road Trip

It's an odd thing. Once upon a time, Neil Oliver was famous for going round Britain on a boat like a watery, druidic Michael Portillo. Or maybe an unfunny Michael Palin. But now he's joined up with the ranks of  the never-quite-made it, to become a random shouty libertarian alongside Piers Corbyn, Right Said Fred, and Laurence "Sidekick to a Sidekick Who Never Got His Own Show" Fox.

We follow Neil as he embarks on his libertarian Road Trip.

Driving down the A43. Comes across the sign, "Kettering welcomes careful drivers."

Drives into a lamp-post.

NO: Don't you tell me what to do, Kettering!

On a barge going down the Nene at Northampton. Comes across a sign, "beware of weir".

Ends up clinging to a pallet, as boat is ripped to pieces.

NO: I demand my rights to float to Wellingborough on pieces of watery debris! I am the "Coast" Guy!

On the Grand Union Canal. Signs say "no fishing - overheard lines"

NO: I think I know best what to do with my own fishing rod.

Spends 3 weeks glowing in the dark

A visit to Woburn Abbey. Sign says "Lion Enclosure: do not get out of your vehicle."

NO: Did Magna Carter not give me the right to walk where I like? I defy your liberal cotton-wool mollycoddling.

Series ends 

"Brian Cox in the 25th Century"

BC: Hello! And welcome to Brian Cox in the 25th Century! Where, thanks to my eternal youth, I'm still pointing at the sky and saying things like "a million million million stars" while being really enthusiastic! And today I'm joined by Neil Oliver, who by the modern technology of PCR-Plus we've resurrected from just a hair out of his beard, which was preserved in the National Museum of Secular Relics next to Frankie Howerd's wig. Neil - it's good to see you again.

NO: Brian! Last thing I saw was a load of teeth... and now it's you. Where are we?

BC: We're on the edge of the Event Horizon of the black hole at the centre of our universe! And whatever we do, we mustn't go over that line over there...

NO: I suppose that's another thing the Government is trying to control us with. Well, we'll see about that... oooh... my legs are like spaghetti... 

Friday 18 February 2022

Beating The Evil Out With Sticks

The Beaker Folk have been getting increasingly concerned that we will no longer be allowed to beat the evil out of people with sticks. 

Beating the evil out with sticks has always been a part of Beaker Culture. Going back 5,000 years, whenever we needed to get evil out of someone we would beat them with sticks.

And we would never beat people with sticks if they didn't want it. All the people being beaten with sticks have made it clear that it is exactly the sort of thing you need to get the evil out.

There is a strong body of evidence that beating people with sticks works. And even when it doesn't, it's the fault of the beatees. Not the beaters. They are doing the best job they can with the tools available to them*.

So we demand our ancient rights to beat people with sticks to drive the evil out.

Beating people with sticks to drive the evil out. You know it makes sense.

* sticks

Saturday 12 February 2022

The Downing Street Lockdown Get-Together Questionnaire

1. What is your name?

a. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel

b. Boris

c. Bozza

d. My lawyer has advised me not to answer this.

2. What event were you at, on the night in question?

a. A party

b. A business meeting, where we drank a couple of bottles of wine each, as normal in 10 Downing Street when working on major policies

c. A business meeting, where we drank 2 pints of champagne each, because that's what Winston Churchill would have done

d. Without Dom here, I have no intellectual faculties to answer this question. 

3. Is Downing Street a unique combination of home and workplace?

a. Yes, obviously

b. Apart from vicarages, of course

c. And people who work from home

d. How dare they work from home? They should be getting into central London and buying wine from Tesco Metro.

4. Which of these is the largest measure of wine?

a. A magnum

b. A Methuselah

c. A Belshazzar

d. A suitcase

5.  Did you maintain social distance at all times?

a. Yes

b. No

c. Sometimes

d. Does "tongues" count as social distancing?

6. Who do you blame for the party?

a. Remainers

b. Remainers

c. Remainers

d. Don't you mean "whom"? 

7. Is there anything you would like to add?

a. Phwarr! Union Jacks! Boost for Bolton! 

b. Carrie doesn't live here anymore

c. I'm the PM and Jacob knows where you live

d. What happened to Cressida?


In the candle-lit house-within-a-house of God
Where the squelch of pilgrims' sandals echoes on the tile
Tucked away from the Disney-Catholic of Patten's dreams of pageant
Her own face just an urchin's, she holds her child.

Smeared with the smoke of candles, and a mother's pain.
"My heart was pierced, and is pierced, and will be pierced again."

Monday 7 February 2022

Introducing the Druid for Dromedaries


I'm intrigued by the (hopefully just) kite-flying news that the Church of England is considering lining some of its bishops up as full-time spokesbishops, rather than mostly being in the current pastoral arrangement.

Especially as I've just finished the line-up of druidic posts as part of my own restructuring programme, as set out in the pamphlet, Beakerism Beyond Brexit.

Obviously, I'm not considering a Druid for Brexit. Ridiculous idea, as we know that Brexit is done. Complete. A massive success. And we will never need to mention it again.

So instead, here's the new generation of speciality druids for the New Normal.

  • Druid for Transport
  • Druid for Oak Groves
  • Druid for Clickbait
  • Druid for Mistletoe
  • Druid for Liaison betwen the Druid for Oak Groves and the Druid for Mistletoe
  • Druid for Dromedaries
  • Druid for Camels with Plural Humps whose Species Name We can't Remember
  • Druid for People Called Ken
  • Druid for Data
  • Druids for Gin
  • Druid for Gyms
  • Druid for Volunteering to Read "Archbishop Cranmer's" Blog
  • Druid for Entity Relationship Diagrams
  • Druid for Big Business  
  • Druid for SMEs
  • Druid for Health and Public Swimming Pools
  • Druid for Diplomacy
  • Druid for Risk
  • Druid for Dorset
  • Druid for Post-It Notes
  • Druid for Improved Standards in Tent Design
  • Druidfor Writing Articles Countering Peter Hitchens
  • Druid for Standing on street corners saying "Camembert" like Wallis from Wallis and Gromit
  • Druid for Bacon
  • Druid for Snow
  • Druid for Cartoons
  • Druid for Scuba-Diving
  • Druid for Social Media, but not Tik-Tok cos that's never gonna catch on
  • Druid for The Archers
  • Druid for Snacks

Saturday 5 February 2022

The Red Kite Chronicles - BTL responses

I was watching the red kites swirling over Top Meadow earlier. Amazing, beautiful birds with that haunting whistle for a call.

You know, I often think that the red kite could be the Beaker Folk equivalent of the Celtic "Wild Goose". Free, beautiful, graceful, signifying the "otherness" of a God that can be both of our world, and yet out of our reach. When we watch a red kite circling beyond our reach - always just out of the shot of a decent photo, as often proven by the Karen Lewis Wildlife Photography Facebook Group - are we not brought out of ourselves?

What sights can the red kite see, we wonder? How must the world look to one that, in its stillness, can yet see the smallness of human beings? What thoughts must pass through the mind of that creature that sees the map of the landscape drawn out below them?

Townmouse 18:53 

They are lovely birds. But be careful! One took a sandwich out of my hands in Marlow. I'm not going back to Marlow.

Roddyrick 18:54 

People think they're harmless. But I heard about one taking the toupee of an old chap's head in Swindon. He was scared to go out after that.

Jeremiah 18:55 

I heard they can break a swan's arm with one blow of their necks.

VaxIsDeath32323 18:56 

Bill Gates has programmed them to spread the so-called "Omicron" virus in their droppings so he can put micro-transmitters in your arm. Which will then attract more kites. Spreading more Omicron. Until we reach the Omega point where there are more kites than people, and then they will take over. Wake up, sheeple!

ArnoldSame 18:58 

I took my Pekinese, Mr Whoozy, out for a walk and one was hovering overhead. It obviously thought Mr Whoozy would make a tasty morsel. They are natural-born killers.

Random Ralph 18:59 

I went for a walk in the countryside and they were circling over, waiting to pick my bones clean if I died of sunstroke. I was so scared of them I walked into a hedge and had to be rescued by the local dogging society. This is all Nick Clegg's fault. And the kites. That's their evil plan.

VaxIsDeath32323 19:02 

@Random Ralph - just beware of dogging societies. I was a member for several years and now I daren't look the vicar in the eye.

Roundsmith 19:05 

I heard about red kites in the East End. They form gangs and steal cars. If you find secret chalk markings outside your house, it was probably a kite. My nan used to know the Krays and she said there was no red kites in the East End back then. Reggie would eat them in a white bread sandwich. With jellied eels, of course. He was a gentleman.

Chavsopolitan 19:06 

Saw six kites fly away carrying a sheep between them. This is why if you see a sheep on its own, you should always take it home and hide it in the garage. I've got several of them but now I'm living in fear of the Young Farmers' Society. And I've run out of lawn to feed them.

FluffyBun 19:08 

I notice since red kites have been back in the countryside, the number of Curly Wurly bars in circulation has reduced. Coincidence? I think not. 

EUSSR Mafia 19:12 

@Jeremiah These "red" kites are a commie / woke / EU plot. Back when I was a kid we had red white and blue, patriotic kites. They would never attack Her Majesty's swans.

Lord Heh Heh 19:17 

I remember back when red kites assisted the Nazis to invade Belgium. Never trusted them since.

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Lament for the Filling-in of Statistics for Mission


Graphs for different mission stats. Attendance steady decline, with a massive fall in 2020. Baptisms and Weddings down to zero in 2020/1. Funerals steady and then shoot up in 2021 and 2020

My heart sinks within me 

and my mind reels at my situation.

For I am filling in a website full of mission statistics

when the world outside is utterly changed.

How can I compare 2021 with 2019?

Or even with 2020?

How can I explain the difference in numbers?

How can I tell the diocese why my heart sinks at my failings

Apart from remembering those that are still scared

those that have lost the habit

and those that are dead.


Is a BCP Communion a Fresh Expression?

What are "young people"?


I weep as I recall those days when I would fill in the stats

Knowing that the church was - to be frank - a quarter full

And rejoicing in the annual Messy Church

Though at the time I thought it was slightly paltry

- in retrospect, what a time to be alive!


But now I enter "Zero" in many columns 

and wonder whether singing carols at the pub is a Fresh Expression

or an evening service.


I wonder how many people watch online 

And whether it equals those that the post "reached" 

Or those that "engaged"

Or those that got to the end

Knowing that in Facebook worship

There is no end.


But this I remember

As I submit my form

The mercies of the Lord are everlasting

That soon men and women will be marrying as in the days of Noah

(but not men and men, or women and women, for that would cause a Schism)

that baptisms will rise up like spring flowers

even like the flowers in the gardens of Babylon

and that though death may not be at an end

at least the weekly funerals might be.

Tuesday 1 February 2022

Nativity of Norman Clegg (Peter Sallis) 1921

Hymn: On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At

Archdruid: 'Ow do.

All: 'Ow do to you too.

Archdruid: It'll be dark by nightfall.

All: Can we push the old bloke down a hill in a bath tub now?

Archdruid: We've got to have some whimsical musings on life first.

All: What's that we hear on the wind?

Archdruid: The sound of little creatures eating other creatures.

All: That's not whimsical.

Archdruid: OK - can we have the incompetent driver to do his incompetent driving display?

All: He drove into the gate.

Archdruid: What about the bloke sitting in a giant wheel, driven on lots of little wheels?

All: Landed in the river.

Archdruid: The three old blokes on bikes joined together for no obvious reason?

All: Flew over the wall.

Archdruid: The old bloke in a boat?

All: Sank.

Archdruid: The shifty-looking bloke with a nervous twitch?

All: Cycled off with the peroxide blonde.

Archdruid: OK. Push the old bloke down the hill in a bathtub.

Old Bloke: Noraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Archdruid: And so let us commend Norman Clegg, I mean Peter Sallis, to the Old Yorkshire gods: Sam and Earnshaw.

All: 'Ow do, Sam! 'Ow do, Earnshaw!

Archdruid: It'll be dark by nightfall.

All: And also with you.

Hymn: Compo has Gone and Lost His Wellies