Friday 29 September 2023

Rishi Sunak and the Robin Hood Tree

This week's article in "Revering Nature" is from Rishi Sunak

Hello everyone. And I hope you've all noticed how much more competent I am than my predecessors.

My first thought when I heard about the felling of the Sycamore Gap tree was "What a great shame. Such a lovely tree felled for no obvious reason."

A lovely tree in the gap between two hills

But then I said to myself - isn't that what Sadiq Khan or Keir Starmer would say? And don't I need to clutch the motorist-friendly agenda? Where drivers all over Great Britain are free to drive 4x4s at 15mph through city streets where the limit is 70, if only there wasn't too much traffic? A Britain we can all be proud of?

And looking again I realised - now that tree is out of the way, won't that be a great gap through the hills through which to drive transport infrastructure?

Not a railway line, obvioously. Although I'm commited to HS2, of course. And I look forward to when customers can catch replacement Ubers along the complete line of the HS2, between Old Oak Common and somewhere near Aylesbury. Bringing levelling-up very definitely to the north-west. Of Buckinghamshire.

No - a gleaming motorway. Stretching from Newcastle to Carlisle, removing the need to slow down and look at those boring hills we have "oop north", as we Yorkshire folk call it. And no local councils keeping everyone down to 20 mph. You will be able to get across the north of England at any speed you like, and any local authority that tries to control you will be closed down, and put under the control of Nadine Dorries.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

And none of your solar-powered cars - who ever gets enough sun up there? No, the great thing about the new "Sycamore Gap Motorway" is that Newcastle is just in the right place for importing good old-fashioned British petrol. From Norway

The other name for the tree is "The Robin Hood Tree". What a great name. A famous example of someone who stole from everyone, and kept it to himself. And when he died - not a mention of inheritance tax.

The Conservatives. The tarmac industry is safe with us.

Sycamore Gap tree photo: By - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Thursday 28 September 2023

The Root of All Evil

I'd like to apologize to everyone who was disappointed at today's Harvest Lunch for the over 80s. 

Like you, I was anticipating a hearty and tasty meal of meatballs, pickled herrings, potato dumplings all washed down with blackcurrant schnapps.

But it turns out that when Margöt said she was cooking "something Swedish", she meant "something swede-ish".

I hope the turnip soup wasn't too bad.

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Liturgy for Bereft Brexiters


Big picture of Mark Carney, small picture of Camilla Tominey (whose "think" piece it is) with headline: "The political class has betrayed Brexit by turning Britain into a European country"

Brexiter 1: We have been betrayed

All: By the political class

Brexiter 2: We voted to control our own borders

All: And we have allowed others to control them for us

Brexiter 1: We voted for "them" to go home

All: And now the fruit lies unpicked,

Brexiter 2: you can't get a pint,

All: and a different "them" has arrived

Brexiter 1: We voted to reduce environmental red tape

All: And now the beaches are poisoned.

Brexiter 1: Why has this all happened?

All: It is a mystery. It's so bad here, we'd move to Europe, only we voted to stop that.

Brexiter 2: Why is the country so much worse than a few years ago?

All: We search for answers

Brexiter 1: It's because you haven't believed enough!

Rishi Sunak: Brexit is a great success! You just haven't noticed!

Brexiter 2: Closet Remoaner! You have betrayed Brexit!

Brexiter 1: Great Brexit is very cross

Arnold Rimmer from Red Dwarf in gingham outfit with pig tails and "Mr Flibble" the penguin glove puppet
Great Brexit is Very Cross

Brexiter 2: Great Brexit will arise and have his revenge

Brexiter 1: Great Brexit will destroy the doubters

Brexiter 2: Great Brexit will succeed

All: O Great Brexit, we are truly and heartily sorry. We have not believed in your benefits. We have sat around moaning about lazy young people when we could have picked fruit in the fields. We have complained about the prices in 'Spoons when we should have been drinking for Britain. We have failed you. We repent and will believe in Britain. From now on, instead of complaining there are no dentists, we will pull out our own teeth.

Brexiter 2: Go out into the world, and trade!

All: Can we do that on Zoom?

Camilla Tominey screenshot - from the Telegraph

Mr Flibble: From Red Dwarf, the BBC 

Sunday 24 September 2023

Is Twenty Plenty?

This comes from the Daily Mail - so click here if you want, but don't say I didn't warn you.

As part of the Right and Rishi Sunak's latest culture war on the planet, they have obtained the views of Kevin Khan, 52. Who is opposed to the 20mph limit in Wales on the grounds that it already takes him an hour to get to work in Cardiff from Caerphilly.

Due to the traffic.

Doing some quick sums, and noticing from Google Maps that it is 8.1 miles from Caerphilly to Cardiff, I deduce that our Kev is currently getting to work at an average speed of 8.1 miles per hour.

I'm not clear how Kevin thinks that a 20mph speed limit will slow him down here, I'll be honest. Because, blaming his lengthy commute (an ebike would be quicker) on the traffic, and on people not looking when they cross the roads, as he does - what has the speed limit got to do with it? At that average speed, even if the limit in Cardiff were 10 mph, Kevin would still be getting to work in the same time.

But he does look very fetching in his hi vis.

Friday 22 September 2023

Autumn is y-cumen In

For all those who've been claiming since the first of the month that it's autumn, thanks to the inability of meteorologists to program spreadsheets: you only have 12 hours to wait. At 07:50 tomorrow it will in fact be Autumn.

I realise that this is still  too early for some of those of you who also failed to get up for Summer Solstice sunrise. But for you there is also the chance to watch the Occasion on Beaker+1, Beaker+2, and - in 2029 - UK Drama.

Still. Here is tomorrow's order of events.

Introit: Autumngirlsoup (MacColl)

First Reading: John Clare "Autumn" 

Gradual: Last Day of Summer (MacColl)

Second Reading:  Keats "To Autumn"

Young Keith: Do you like Kipling?

All: I don't know. I've never kippled.

Archdruid: No, that's Mr Kipling. Advert from the 80s?

All: The whats?

Closing Hymn: Forever Autumn (Hayward)

Lighting of the Autumnal Fire

Closing-down of the Autumnal Fire by the Pollution Police

Thursday 21 September 2023

Getting in the Bin with Rishi Sunak

I'd like to thank our current prime minister (and 5th worst on record*), Rishi Sunak, for his kind thoughts on letting the planet burn this afternoon.

It's very important to Mr Sunak to cave in to Nigel Farage on this. The whole country is after all playing a second-hand game of culture wars. And Nigel is very much the master with his hand working his little puppet, lest half the Tory party go off to a dreamworld where Brexit would be a success if it were just Brexity-er.

So we're all set to burn the pile of old tyres we'd stacked up on the Lower Field.

But we've also got to get the Rishi Sunak 7 Bins together now.

Naturally, being there's 7 we are able to have rainbow colours. Which are assigned as follows

  • Red: Red Tape
  • Orange: Irish political agreements after "Lord" David Frost has been at them
  • Yellow: Rishi Sunak himself, when being pressured by the right-wing into inventing yet another artificial culture war.
  • Green: Grass clippings
  • Blue: Sawdust
  • Indigo: Discarded 1970s Children shows
  • Violet: Everything else

* Since you ask: 

  1. Liz Truss
  2. Boris Johnson
  3. Theresa May
  4. Neville Chamberlain

Monday 18 September 2023

The Church Decline Rag

A joyful Sunday morning church, a scattering of kids
And a warden came to me and said "this place is on the skids
There was four times this attendance back in 1984
and you've failed to bring the numbers back to where they were before.
This modern language book you use is losing people too -
everybody was much happier with 1662."
But his wife said...
"The Sunday you're remembering was in 1989 
'twas when Old Father Pipkins had announced that he'd resign
and all the village gossips came to hear what he would say
about why Mrs Jones was in the vicarage each day?
The Sunday Mail reporter, hearing nothing, was bereft
so he interviewed the organist, made an excuse, and left."
She went on... 
"And even back in those days, Pipkins used the ASB - 
apart from the Lord's Prayer you wouldn't hear a "thou" or "thee"
and that was when the Hendersons had all their family back
and their children were so many that you'd think they were Von Trapps.
But you're right there was so many there - the place was rather full
Do we understand the reasons why the church has lost its pull?

"So do you know the Johnson clan? That family was so quiet
till the little one got rowdy once - you said it was a riot.
Because he'd pushed a hymn book off the pew right next to you
You turned and stared - and he was scared - let's face it, he was two.
So these days they don't bother - they just get some extra bed."
"They could decide to come along, and leave the kids, instead."

The warden wasn't finished yet - he pointed to the pew
Where Mrs Gray (ex chorister) has sat since '92.
"The music's nothing like it was since we lost a proper choir.
 Your happy-clappy singing hasn't set the world on fire."
His wife said "yes, the choir wouldn't sing Shine Jesus Shine.
 Yet the school kids when they come here think that song is really fine."
"And the choir," she continued, "they all walked out over robes.
because of the obsession of the Reverend Father Strobes
who said they couldn't wear red as we aren't a royal foundation  
(he forgot the  Grant from Peada, of the Middle-Angle nation)
The tenors said that green robes didn't compliment their eyes
and so they left the church that day and worshipped at St Ive's.

"And don't forget the ones who've not come back since 2020.
the ones who say they fear the plague, and claim they're blessed with plenty
by watching Facebook every week - they say they're staying in
though I suspect that they're in 'Spoons, for breakfast and a gin.
And then there are the ones who dare not go out for their fear
but the visitor they do let in - is the young vicar, here."

And so the Warden shuffled out, crestfallen and ashamed
And I felt a certain triumph - for 'twas me that he had blamed
And I went into the Vestry and took out the service book
and entered "twenty-five": and yet I had to have a look
At the year of 1996 when Strobes - so fine and clever
Had writ - it turns out - "twenty-four" - and no doubt blamed the weather.