Friday, 31 March 2023

Undertakers to Wear Hi-Viz

In yet another slap in the face to the freedom of the British people, more EU law has been smuggled into Britain under cover of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The "Undertakers (PPE)" regulation will be implemented from 1 July 2023. This stipulates that two traditional roles of undertakers at funerals must be undertaken - as it were - while wearing fully functional hi-viz outfits.

"It makes sense when you think about it," said a pencil-necked pen-pusher at Milton Keynes City Council. "The Funeral Director has to spend a period of time walking at a dignified pace in front of the hearse, on the way to the church, cemetery, and/or crematorium. And you wouldn't expect a traffic police officer to do this while dressed in a sober morning suit. So the European regulation demands that Funeral Directors wear hi viz at all times that they are on or near the road. We don't want a rash of quietly and respectably dressed undertakers ending up under the wheels of their own hearses. Ideally they'd wear hi-viz top hats, but let's be honest that's just getting silly."

A young female funeral director in a hi viz jacket, with that slightly orc-like look you get from Craiyon
EU-approved Funeral Director Outfit
But the rules don't stop there. They continue when the hearse has arrived at its destination.

The coffin has to be carried by a team of pall bearers, and potentially rolled on an item of Material Handling Equipment (the little trolley with sticking-out arms). And the grave-digger may be using a mechanical device in the graveyard. Therefore at all times that there is physical handling of the coffin, trestles, or photograph of the late loved ones, the pall bearers must also wear personal protective equipment. This will include hi viz suits, steel toe-capped boots, and safety gloves.

Hi viz pall bearers carrying orange coffin in a Craiyon-generated kind of way
The dayglo future of pall-bearing

The Conservative European Research Group are so angry they are eating their own Axminster carpets with rage.  Mark Francois, Official Brexit Weeble, said "This is pure sausage-munching woke-ism. We will never be free from the jackboots of The Hague until British undertakers are free to conduct funerals wearing Union Jack waistcoats and Viking horned helmets on their heads. Just like I did when I fought in two World Wars to free us from Belgium."

The Government has promised to bring in emergency regulation. But, if it is held up by Labour do-gooders in the Lords, and lefty liberal lawyers, Funeral Directors may be facing £1,000 fines just for dressing in a appropriately respectful way for work. Even in the midst of life, we are subject to the dead hand of Brussels.

Friday, 24 March 2023

The Unbearable Heaviness of Bryan

Many people don’t appreciate the fine details of the planning we have to do before our “occasional” services.

Tomorrow's being a really good example.

We've been doing some really careful calculations. And we reckon it’s going to take six men to carry Bryan into the Moot House. It’s been worrying me as the badgers have been tunnelling, and the ground may have been weakened.

In future I’m going to suggest people organise their stag do's further in advance of the wedding. Erin’s livid.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

If the Woman at the Well met Nicodemus


(John 3, John 4)


 ...before they both met Jesus - what would they say to each other?

A straightforward nothing at all? Are they so far apart - in race, in ethical purity, in riches, in education - would they have nothing to say?

Would the woman be wanting to beg from Nicodemus? If she had ventured into Jerusalem and spoke to him in the street - would he assume she was selling herself? Would he call the guards, or draw himself away, - or try and haggle for a price? 


....  after they both met Jesus - what then?

Would Nicodemus fall down, seeing that this woman had so much more insight than he did? 

Would he tell her how he went to Jesus in the darkness, and she tell him how Jesus came to her in bright daylight?

Would she recognize their shared experience - they both took Jesus literally, and then he made them  both see more deeply: opened up God's love to them, told them about the flow of the Spirit and what it could mean for both of them. Would she tell Nicodemus how Jesus had opened her eyes that the Messiah had come for Samaritan and Jew and for the whole world? Would Nicodemus tell her that Jesus had come because God had so loved the world?

Would Nicodemus tell her that she must be born again? And would she laugh and say - what do you think has just happened? Can't you see it in my face, in my life? Look at the villagers - knowing Messiah has come - how about your Sanhedrin? Have they been changed like we have?

Would Nicodemus tell her about his fear of the authorities? How to keep his position he had to guard his tongue? How he was trying to live for Jesus - but how hard it was? How he had to accommodate his worldly status and his new spiritual life? And would she tell him how simple it was for her? And would they both rejoice in their new freedom, their new insights, the new way they saw the world now Messiah was here?

Or would nothing have changed?


If the Woman at the Well met Nicodemus - what do you think?

Thursday, 23 February 2023

Liturgy in Memory of John "Motty" Motson

Burton Dasset: Welcome to Husborne Crawley on this gloomy evening. And this is the 745th time that we have commemorated the death of a celebrity.

Hnaef: And by assisting at this service I have just marked up the most appearances as assistant at a Beaker Folk commemoration.

Burton Dasset: Overtaking Charlii, who has sadly suffered a hamstring strain at the Ash Wednesday meeting.

Hnaef: And the altar party procession is keeping to a strict 4-3-2-1, with the tea light bearers just behind the lead druid, and Young Keith in the holding position.

Burton: He's holding a copy of "The Wee Worship Book", by the Iona Community.

Hnaef: But the acolytes will be keen to overlap wherever possible.

Burton: And we've had word through of why Archdruid Eileen won't be leading the line today.

Hnaef: She's in her office, weeping and hugging a sheepskin coat.

Burton: So am I. But I'm playing through the pain.

Hnaef: Cortisone Injection?

Burton: Didn't I see them supporting Hawkwind in 1984?

Hnaef: But the final whistle has blown. And once again it's a win for time.

Burton: Yes. Time has overcome again. Will it ever stop rolling like a stream?

Hnaef: Well, it's got Real Madrid in the next round. So let's see.

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

The Hans Anitiser Worshippers

Sorry I've not been blogging lately. It's all been tricky. We intercepted a communication that fell through a wormhole in time and space from the 29th century, and it's taken all the Moot House computing power for a month to translate it. Still, here's what we have. I have no idea what it means.


Much effort has been put into understanding the nature of 21st Century religion. We knew that at special times of the year - notably early December - people would make pilgrimages to religious locations called "Shoppincentres." But after roughly 2020, these gatherings fell out of use.

Their place seems to have been taken by smaller, older buildings that were - as far as we can decipher what is known of their language - known as "churches". These churches had presumably been the home of an older religion, which returned as the Shoppincentre cult lost influence. However, their artefacts radically changed at the time of the Shoppincentre decline.

This sign was put up outside a Lincolnshire church in 2020, and remained in situ for 400 years. We believe "IN ABEYANCE" may have something to do with the heating system.

A "wayside pulpit", with a sign saying that services are "in abeyance during Covid 19"

Churches contained many types of written memorial. Some were carved into stone. While others, perhaps those that were meant to last longer, were written on paper and then encased in plastic. Here is an example of a plastic-preserved memorial - what we call a "laminate". The laminate below, for instance, we believe may have been prayers to a god of doorways.

Two laminated A4 sheets full of instructions on how to wear masks, sit apart, use hand gel, etc

Readers will be aware that the people of the 21st to 24th centuries transferred all their written records to electronic data storage. As a result of the Great Polar Reversal, these were all lost, and with them our ability to understand the language they spoke. We know that previously they had often put their trust in a deity, "Googletranslate", whose worshippers could understand all languages: but not very well.

Sometimes the pictures on the laminates are enough. We cannot decipher the words here, but it is clear that the worshippers practised strict sexual segregation.

A "keep apart" CCT poster with a man and a woman with a two-headed arrow meant to represent 2 metres

The most common ritual objects in churches, over a 400 year period, were small votive containers. Chemical analysis has revealed that they contained alcohol, and they were often equipped with the ability to spray that alcohol. Our conclusion therefore is that they were used for pouring libations on to the altar, or on to the thresholds of the church - as they were found most often around those two areas.

Hand sanitiser promising to kill 99.9% of all bottles
We belive "99.9" refers to the purity required of worshippers to approach the altar.

A libation sprayer that was apparently intended to be fixed to a wall. Possibly at the holiest point in the church?

Again, we have no definitive knowledge of their language, but folk memory seems to recall a god called "Hans Anitiser". Possibly a German god, whose worship spread alongside the use of the libation sprayers. Were the laminated prayers to Hans Anitister? If so, we can conclude that the god was best addressed in multiple colours and Comic Sans font.

Finally - what are we to make of the Ritual Tape?

There are rolls of Ritual Tape in churches all over the former United Kingdom. What were they for? And why are they always hidden in cupboards? 

We can assume the Ritual Tape was used to mark off sacred from less sacred areas. But why did it fall out of use? And, when it did - why is it so often to be found with more "laminates", these only showing red crosses or green tick shapes?

There is still much mystery about the beliefs of the Hans Anitiser people. Perhaps we will never know it all.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Anna the Prophet


Quick timeline. Let's assume Anna is 84 years of age when she sees Jesus. It's a slightly tricky passage in the Greek apparently. But we'll go with that.

Jesus was born roughly 6 BC.

So Anna was born in about 90 BC. Due to the weird Roman way of counting backwards. Thank you, Sellar and Yeatman.

Around the time that Anna was a toddler, there was a Jewish Civil War which ended with the King and High Priest, Alexander Jannaeus, having 800 Jewish rebels, mostly Pharisees, crucified - having executed their wives and children first. 

When she was in her 20s, the Roman general, Pompey, took the city of Jerusalem. 12,000 Jews died defending the city - was Anna's husband one of them?

When she was in her 30s, another Roman general, Crassus, took all the treasure out of the temple.

When she was in her 40s, a man called Julius Caesar became Roman dictator.

When she was around 50, Herod became the "King of the Jews".

When she was around  70, Herod started rebuilding the temple that had itself been rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah

When she was 84 - and the Temple was still a building site - Jesus, the Christ, came to the Temple that had been built to hold his name.

And she had been waiting, alongside Simeon, for that moment. Through all those terrible times.

And when Anna - the prophet - saw Jesus, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When anyone claims on the basis of Scripture that women can't preach, can't teach - bear in mind that Anna, in the presence of the One whose Spirit inspired that Scripture - told everyone that was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem about that holy one. 

All who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Men, women, and children.

Anna, the prophet. Who preached the Good News to everyone that was looking for it.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said that Joel's prophecy was being fulfilled:"Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy." 

Which would not have come as a surprise to Anna, the prophet. Who told everyone that was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem about Jesus.

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do the job God's called you to. Anna wasn't too old. Anna wasn't too female. She waited her whole life to see God's Son. Waited her whole life to share the good news. And she did.

And so I have no compunction in reproducing a bit of Beaker Gold from a few years ago: "A Song for Anna". 

All the years I have waited
Each day here
As the round of slaughtered beasts
has filled the air
with the smell of blood and flesh.
I have seen nations fall
Emperors rise - not dreaming that their realms will end
their statues will be broken,
their names erased.

Now, there in Simeon's arms - the still point
The axis on which the universe turns.
Ancient of Days, yet six weeks old.
Time for us now, Simeon
Dawn has come
We've waited through some dark nights
We've seen the light,
we can find our way home.

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Sabbath Sickness Blues

It was nice to see Dorney in the chip shop in Woburn Sands earlier.
Most of us haven't seen Dorney since March 2020. He has apparently been terribly ill, and is therefore still very scared of catching Covid.
So I was very pleased to see him, and asked when we might see him at the Moot House again.
However, turns out it's only partial good news and he's still ill and very scared of Covid on Sundays.
We pray for Dorney's continued recovery, to the point where he's well seven days a week.

Friday, 13 January 2023

Funeral of a Beaker Person who died Suddenly

Quite a fraught and unnecessary experience at this morning's funeral service for Brandriff.

The Anti-Vax coalition turned up to say his sudden death was down to his recently having had a fifth Covid jab.

While the Aspley Guise branch of the Westboro Baptists came along to say his death was God's punishment for his openly gay lifestyle.

Anyway, the two demonstrations got into a massive punch-up outside the Crem, as they each tried to impose their explanations on the other bunch of weirdos. Apparently there's  bit of a crossover between the two groups. At least that's the only explanation I can find for why one of them was punching himself in the face.

Still, not what we needed when we were just wanting to say goodbye to Brandriff. Who died, aged 104, after crashing his Tesla into the chicken coop, while trying to do donuts around the Moot House. He leaves his widow Cassandra, eight children, and twenty-seven grandchildren. Our thoughts are with them all.

Cassandra invites us all to a commemorative dinner in the Hall tonight. The main course will be Chicken Brandriff. Which is like Coronation Chicken, only flatter.

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Commemoration of 50 Years of "Last of the Summer Wine"


Now half of a century's gone
Since those old Yorkshire chaps came on
They walked the dales, drank Tetley's ales
And dreamed of summer wine.

The bath-tub of time has flown
Down cobbled streets they made their own
They had a laff*in Ivy's Caff
And drained their summer wine.
The memories of the Seventies
Sepia in tone
Of smoke-smeared walls,old dance halls
Now they're all gone.
Those times now seem oh so far
And Holmfirth's got a cocktail bar.
They drink Porn Star Martinis now
Instead of summer wine.

Archdruid: 'Ow do, lads.

All: And lasses.

Clegg: And those that identify neither as lads nor lasses.

Archdruid: Fair do's. T'world's changed.

Blamire: Aye, t'days are gone when you could call a.....

Clegg: Not now, Cyril. We've got past all that.

Compo: Yer'll 'ave ter excuse Cyril. His Mum brought him up as an uptight little...

Clegg: Yer can't say that, either.

Nora Batty: Eey, he's lewd and obscene. 

Compo: Aye. But I can't grab you any more, Mrs Batty.

Archdruid: Not since the restraining order.

All: Aye, times 'ave changed.

Compo: What am I doing in church? I don't want to go to church.


Hymn: All Things Bright and Beautiful


The chasing of Ferrets

Reading: "Consider the Lilies of the Field"  (and the Josephines, the Penelopes, etc)

Howard: I think we've really cracked it this time, Marina.

Marina: In a spoof church service in a closed-down Wesleyan Reformed Chapel? Surrounded by the spirits of former barmpots?

Howard: Who's gonna suspect us here? 

Pearl: Howard! 

Howard and Marina may climb under the pew, while Mr Wainwright and Mrs Partridge, Librarians, take their places.

Mrs Partridge: Ooh, I don't think we should be doing this here, Mr Wainwright.

Mr Wainwright: Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the people, Mrs Partridge. But we're here to remember a time when we couldn't organise our love lives through our phones. And lovers called each other by their surnames.

Mrs Partridge: Oooh Mr Wainwright! Have you deleted that Librarian's Dating App?

Mr Wainwright: "Bindr"? Yes, all it ever did was match me with Miss Davenport.

Miss Davenport: I thought he would sweep me away to paradise. And all we ever got to was a disused quarry in Finkle Street.

Hymn: Jerusalem

Foggy: Ah, makes you proud to be English. We'd sing "Jerusalem" in our little slit tents, making tea out of the shoelaces of dead Japanese corporals.

Seymour: We used to sing it at the Utterthwaite Academy. The sound of those little shivering voices, carrying on the frosty air...

Clegg: But those dark, satanic mills have gone now. Turned into car parks, executive apartments, and retail shopping opportunities.

Truly: So many pubs gone as well. Instead of a well-earned pint after a walk, you have to bring your own sports nutrition drink.

Billy Hardcastle: And you lot all gone with them, leaving the hills Robin Hood roamed to the sheep and property speculators.

Glenda: Barry, how come you're in your 70s now and still never made it as an exective?

Barry: I need a sharper suit.

Wesley: What's wrong with overalls?

Edie: Wesleeeey....

Wesley: Why are so talkin' so posh?

Edie: So the vicah can understend meh.

Crusher: Why've I got to wear this frock, Aunt Ivy?

Ivy: It's not a frock. It's a surplice. Now sing the last hymn.

Hymn: Abide With Me

Compo Simmonite will play the Last Post while Wally Batty releases a ceremonal pigeon.

Which will deposit its droppings onto Nora's washing.


Compo (scruffy old bloke, woolly hat) plays bugle while Truly (smart in pin stripe) and Cleggy (downtrodden suit and WW2 medals) stand to attention.

After the service you are invited to Syd's tea at the caff.
It will be terrible.


Last of the Summer Wine: 4/1/1973 - 29/8/2010. Killed by the BBC.

 * Yes, I know, sorry