The Abominable Gove and the Piece of Cod which passeth all understanding

Unlike Mary Kingsley, I have never had the slightest desire to spread the word of the Lord in Africa. Too many insects for my liking, not to mention all the nasty diseases which lurk there. My interest in the Dark Continent is confined to reading about the adventures of Dr. Livingstone in the ‘Travel’ section of The Jupiter (which is usually to be found after the time-share opportunities in Khartoum and the ‘Lifestyle’ colour supplement, this week featuring ‘At Home with Cora Pearl’). However, it seems that Africa is coming to us here in Europe. Soon we will be able to experience the joys of the tsetse fly in Tunbridge Wells and tribal drums at Evensong (though I do believe York Minster has stolen a march in that regard). How have we survived our dull and dreary lives without all this colour, diversity and enrichment one may ask? Why bother with Mozart when one can stamp one’s foot along with Bongo Maffin and his Soweto-songsters? At least the Italians have decided enough is enough and are attempting to turn back the tide, but, like King Canute’s courtiers, perhaps they will discover the tide is not for turning.

Speaking of percussion, one gets the distinct impression that the drums of war are beginning to sound across the Atlantic, where patience with the hermit kingdom of North Korea is wearing thin. This should concern us all. I have spoken to my Lord the Bishop on this subject and he agrees we need to take precautions. We have advised the old gentlemen of Hiram’s Hospital to wear extra-thick woollen long-johns to protect them from radiation, and Mr. Harding is teaching the choir to sing ‘Hang out the Washing on the Pyonyang-Line’ to boost morale. Mr. Slope, as honorary chaplain to the Queen’s Own Mounted Diversity Corps based at Silverbridge, has been doing all he can to stiffen their resolve. Barchester is willing, Barset is ready!

Should the Montgolfier go up, I fear it would do no good for us to enlist the support of Sweden’s army, which declares it exists to protect equality and LGBTQWERTY rights. It seems a strange mission statement, but then I have long given up trying to understand what passes for sanity in Scandinavia.

It may surprise you to learn that the Archdeacon is a devotee of Izaak Walton, and spends much of his leisure time at Plumstead dangling his rod in the water. The news that the Abominable Gove is cutting a post-Brexit deal with the Danes, allowing them unfettered access to our fishing grounds post-Brexit, has not been received well.

“Confound the fellow!” roared the Archdeacon when I came across him adjusting his tackle by the river bank, “What game is this blackguard playing? Does he know nothing about Danegeld? This slimy goggle-eyed spank-my-bottom-with-a-halibut politician has betrayed our stout-hearted fisherfolk with his wheeler-dealer fooled-the-masses-yet-again undermining of Brexit. We should throw him stark naked into a crowd of Whitby fish-gutters with ‘I sold you out’ tattooed on his forehead and watch the show. Does anybody in the May government retain an ounce of honour or a pinch of integrity?”

“That, Archdeacon, is the Piece of Cod which passeth all understanding!”

(Please don’t groan too loudly).

At Signora Neroni’s afternoon tea party the other day I had an interesting conversation with two refugees from Mrs. Merkel’s dystopia. Tired of being told there is no such thing as German culture and that ‘Old’ Germans should assimilate with the new vibrant ‘Germans’ and embrace their colourful ‘Teutonic’ customs like female genital mutilation, honour killings and halal food, they have crossed the Channel hoping their Anglo-Saxon cousins will grant sanctuary. I must say Mrs. Merkel and her myrmidons have created quite a cesspit out of the country which gave us Goethe and Schiller. My new acquaintances are both music teachers: in lessons they were forbidden to teach anything about the musical heritage of Germany, no teaching of scales and certainly no folk songs. Instead, the curriculum was changed to accommodate percussion, in particular African drums.

“And do people complain about this cultural suicide?” I ask in all innocence.

“No,” they said, “If you do, they call you racist, so people say nothing.”

Utter collective madness.

What is needed there is a latter-day Martin Luther prepared to nail Mrs. Merkel to the church door at Wittenberg. Perhaps we should send the Archdeacon.

Well my dear friends, I fear I must sign off for this week. I have to take my dear pussy to the veterinary as he has damaged his leg and may need surgery. As time’s winged chariot zooms into the parking space of destiny and the septic tank of irrelevance overflows with the malodorous thoughts of Chairman Corbyn, I bid you adieu.