“Be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down by dissipation and drunkenness..”

Goodness! Having now been informed, by a reliable source, that Melania is in fact the wife du jour of the president-elect and not a Balkan kingdom, I understand she is having local difficulties with various couturiers who refuse to supply her with gowns. I am parcelling up some of my old crinolines and the odd bustle ready to post on to her along with the necessary unmentionables. We look about the same size (ahem!). I must say it is very mean spirited of the rag-traderratti, who seem unaware they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces, for Melania is a most wonderful, high-profile clothes horse – a role I myself occupy here in Barchester, albeit with an Evangelical flourish…

Well, the Bourbons managed a comeback in 1814 when the Corsican upstart was relocated to a place in the sun, so why not a Blair Restoration in the here and now? It is as if the political graveyard has opened up, spewing forth the decomposing corpses of yesteryear, none more rotten than he of the rictus smile, cheesy soundbite and things which didn’t get better. Of course, since those heady days when he was appointing Anglican bishops and promising education thrice, he has crossed the Tiber, which probably excludes him from the premiership… or does it? I don’t think Comrade Corbynov need worry unduly. Not about that, anyway.

After considerable discussion, my Lord the Bishop and the Dean and Chapter agreed to mark Red Wednesday after all, and in the most dramatic way possible (there was some quibble when Canon Broadsyde asked if it was to commemorate the Bolshevik Revolution, but the pastoral letter from Lambeth soon put his mind at rest). We hired twenty colourful Montgolfier balloons, which were gathered on the Cathedral lawn at dawn and released above the city like a flock of red birds. I was particularly impressed by the fact that the word ‘Virgin’ was emblazoned on each and every one, thus sending a clear religious message to all and sundry.

Mr. Slope was setting up the Cathedral Crib yesterday in preparation for the festive season. He tells me some of the shepherds needed touching up, which doesn’t surprise me given their age. He was just scattering some straw around the manger and manoeuvring his ass into position when he was accosted by Mustafa Fatwah brandishing his chopper. With one blow, the sturdy mussulman split the wooden stable in two, propelling several angels into the air and giving Joseph the shave of his life. To yells of ‘Blasphemy!’ and ‘Death to the unbelievers!’, Mr. Fatwah proceeded to pursue poor Mr. Slope helter-skelter around the cloisters. The doughty Slope, well-accustomed to being chased by the hirsute, easily outran the screaming fanatic and was able to quickly hide behind the Nollekens tombstone of Sir Roger de Coverley, where he remained until order was restored by Constable Knapweed. It transpires that Mr. Fatwah was working undercover for Woolworths, Dortmund branch. Perhaps we should follow the Swedish example and remove all traces of our Christian heritage and ceremonial lest they inflame the wilder passions of the newcomers. Then again, perhaps not.

Along with the Countess de Courcy and other interested ladies, I attended a showing of the proposed uniform designs for the new Zollverein Army, which Britain will have to stump up for despite giving notice to quit. This prestigious event took place in a marquee set up in the grounds of Gatherum Castle – the duke being Lord Lieutenant of the County. The dress uniform was splendid: Prussian Blue tunics with white epaulettes, red collar and cuffs, knee-length black boots and a helmet with a spike on top. It seemed rather familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I was sitting in the parlour sipping my morning Earl Grey when the Archdeacon burst in waving a copy of the Court Circular.

“Have you seen this, Mrs. Proudie?” he bellowed, causing ripples in my teacup.

“Whatever can be the matter, Archdeacon?” I replied, fearing the worst.

“A royal marriage is in the offing! We must do everything we can to oppose it,” he cried.

“But royal marriages are things to be celebrated, surely?” I said, “They bring the nation together.”

“Not this time,” he spluttered. “Prince Harry is going to marry that Merkel creature, the German Chancellor. If they can’t get us one way they will try another. Not only is this a step too far, it clearly shows the prince has inherited the madness of George III. Have you seen the woman? No oil painting to be sure.”

Calmly, I patted the cushion next to me and invited the Archdeacon to sit awhile. Clearly, the poor man was befuddled. Fortunately, having read the full story in ‘Ally Soper’s Half Holiday’ I was able to put him right.

“Prince Harry is courting a young lady called Markle, not Merkel, and as far as I am aware, no marriage has been mooted. You may rest assured Archdeacon, you are worrying over nothing.”

His relief was palpable, and after the door closed behind him, so was mine.

So much to do, dear friends. This weekend sees the First Sunday in Advent and the bishop is preparing his sermon on St. Luke 21:34-36: ‘Be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down by dissipation and drunkenness…’, which may, I fear, put the mockers on things. The good thing about wearing a hinged bustle is that it hides the decanter. Until next week, dear things, be good.

  • The Explorer

    Fashion designer Sophie Theallet (I’m not well versed in the field, but I’d never heard of her until now) has refused to dress Malania Trump – although she hasn’t been asked to – because of her husband’s views.

    So does that mean – various bakers, florists and photographers notwithstanding – that one DOES have the right to refuse the custom of those with whom one disagrees?

    Interesting times.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Good point.

    • CliveM

      Interestingly here you appear to have the right to refuse the custom of someone because of someone else’s views.

      Now how do we apply this new principle?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Try discussing it with the High Court – I don’t think you’ll find them in agreement. Sadly.

    • Anton

      Does Sophie Theallet not realise how pompous she looks by saying she won’t dress Mrs Trump although she has not been asked to and is not the outstanding candidate to?

      • chefofsinners

        I refuse to dress Melania Trump.

        • Royinsouthwest

          You beat me to it. Great minds think alike! Mind you, if it did not lower the tone of this blog I would be tempted to point out that even those males who support Trump would probably think that the less Melania wears the better!

    • Bernard from Bucks

      Any trader can refuse to trade (a contract) with anyone. It is the reason, that causes the problems.
      As the Art-mistress said to the Bishop. – Just say no.

  • IanCad

    Terrible thought Mrs. P., The House of Windsor- Saxe-Coburg uniting again with the Hun!! Let us be thankful for DNA testing, by means of which a possible incestuous union may be forestalled.

  • David

    Greetings Mrs Proudie on this fine morning !
    Thank you indeed for your excellent missive.
    I read with interest that the sex education held prominently aloft in view of the young of your fine city, urges them to retain their virginity until nuptials beckon. So glad to see that traditional Christian teaching is still upheld, in at least one of the realms’ fine cities. After reading your, as ever, uplifting messages, hope does indeed spring eternal !

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Good Day to you Mrs Proudie.

    The rumours about the “un-dead” are indeed troubling. I assume Burke and Hare are back in business then? Dr Frankenstein seems to have managed to re-invigorate the monster from Sedgley, though the brain transplant has gone badly wrong because the pathetic creature believes he can be a magnet for disaffected voters and not just for flies and maggots. Meanwhile, the doctors assistant Igor Major is trying to lend a hand telling everyone that this is all in the interest of progress. My advice to the residents of Barchester is to march on Dr Frankensteins palace by the Thames with pitch forks and burning torches, and demand they hand the poor creature over so they can put it out of their misery.

  • CliveM

    Mrs Proudie,

    How would the good folks of Barchester survive without you?

    More importantly how would this blog? An oasis of sanity in a bleak world.

  • Inspector General

    Yes, Mrs Proudie. It is desperately disappointing how petty and uncaring the lefties can be if you don’t share their fantasies. It would be awful if Mrs Trump is obliged to attend her husband’s inauguration wearing nothing but bra, pants, and possibly a vest. Well, you don’t want her to shiver on the day, do you, and some vests are very fetching. Just a few…

    The Inspector has spent the week at Barchester Assizes to watch the Diversity Serial Killer have his fifteen minutes. (You know the fellow, met all his victims through the gay dating site Murdr) Only to find that it was the police, and police alone who are the guilty party. No fewer than 17 of Barchester’s finest have been suspended pending investigation, interrogation and torture, the latter of which will be flogging, and open to the public to watch and admire. (Tickets: £8 in advance. Real Ale bar and covered pig roast. Vegetarian option available, probably.)

    Anyway, that’s just about all of Barchester Town’s Police Force, apart from the spotty lad who comes in after school to exercise the dog section, and Mrs Crow who empties the bins and freshens the lavatories. All this because Barchester Human Rights and Equalities Commission have it in their mind that the police knew all along something chilling was happening to the town’s favourite sons and turned a blind eye to it. What sauce! Still, they want answers, even if they are the wrong ones, which is what they usually arrive at…

    Pip! Pip!

    • Dominic Stockford

      Indeed, it does seem that the meejah think that the diversity killer (the third in a couple of weeks if my memory serves me) only succeeded because of the incompetence of our boys in blue. It seems that his predilections and his general evil nature are nothing to do with it. I find it hard to agree.

      • Inspector General

        That will be 4 then, with the Barchester example. He’s going to pay a terrible price for his wickedness. He is to be confined within the walls of the most hellish prison in Britain, the feared ‘Barchester Hilton’ with it’s weekly riots and daily inter prisoner violence, for fifty years. Then, if he’s still alive, he is to be taken to Barchester’s Main Care Home, where it is expected euthanasia will be in place by then, and killed within 48 hours of arrival.

        Such is the monstrousness of the punishment, that his defence team are asking that he be allowed to endure death by hanging just after the start of the coming new year instead as an act of mercy by the state.

  • Oisín mac Fionn

    I am reliably informed that his Royal Squaddieness and the American thespian are only planning to shack up together, not to marry. Not for the time being at least.

    Learning from the mistakes of a father (one of them at least) who backed the wrong horse in the marriage sweepstakes and found himself saddled with a recalcitrant and uncooperative blood mare, Harry has decided to put his filly through her paces before running her in the Grand National.

    His elder brother (give or take half his genome…) did the same, but decided in light of paternal (of this we can be relatively sure) experience that a thoroughbred just wasn’t a safe bet. So he placed all his money on a serviceable but plodding hack who was well and truly broken in before being selected as his everyday mount.

    Poor thing! What she must have suffered starving her peasant stock to the skeletal proportions required of the clothes horse she would be required to become. Only a truly docile creature could have borne it. One clearly saw the expert eye of the family matriarch at work in that transformation. A pity she couldn’t spare the time from her whirlwind schedule of cutting ribbons and waving to give the same advice to her son!

    Still, from our mistakes do we learn, so one assumes Gangan is now paying very close attention to the family stud book and will not permit further weakening of the line by mating any more of her heirs with overbred and skittish hot-bloods.

    So, if the American has passed muster then what are we to expect? Good solid foundation stock that can palliate the Spencer temperament with its unfortunate tendency to shy and bolt is clearly what’s required. But what of those recessive Palomino and Mustang genes that are the bane of New World quarter horses? They can pop up when you least expect it and turn a docile packhorse into a bucking bronco.

    I suspect a breaking-in period even more protracted than Waity Katie’s is being planned. It will of course be conducted well away from the unwelcome glare of publicity. It would never do to let the world’s press see the vigorous – some might even say cruel – training methods favoured by the House of Windsor.

    No, we won’t see much of Ms Markle until they’ve firmly broken her spirit and hobbled her freedom of movement. Only when she’s ready to be led by the nose will they deck her out in taffety and march her down the Abbey aisle. Until then she’s just a polo pony. Good for a hard ride but not much use for dressage. Time will tell if they can break her in.

    Good luck to the poor woman. She’s going to need it.

    • Inspector General

      You, sir, deserve to be horsewhipped, in the Royal Mews…

      • CliveM

        “Reliably informed ” he’s been reading the Sun gossip column again.

      • Oisín mac Fionn

        And how do you know I haven’t been?

        There are guardsmen aplenty hanging about Gangan’s back passage. Not all of them can be expected to see to the various neglected consorts and spoiled younger sisters who litter the place.

        Jump a red velvet rope at one of those interminable receptions the old trout inflicts on anyone her government wants to soften up (by boring them into submission) and go exploring and you never know what you might find.

        • The Explorer

          Did they flagellate you spontaneously, or did you have to pay them for the pleasure?

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            You decide. Whatever I say, you will anyway. That’s how you construct the universe you live in. Reality is irrelevant. All that matters is what you believe.

          • The Explorer

            Reality is not irrelevant. If I want to visit Paris I won’t get there if I believe that Paris is in Papua New Guinea. I have to fall in with the convictions of the airline about the location of Paris, which, in turn, are aligned with the convictions of cartographers.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            There is no jury. A jury consists of twelve individuals who come to a majority or unanimous decision. You have to make your mind up on your own.

            You can choose to believe that I would enjoy being horsewhipped. You can choose to disbelieve it. Or you can choose to reserve judgment while waiting for more data.

            There is only one sensible choice. It’s a pity that believers like you have such a hard time understanding that. If you did, it might help you to realize that airlines and cartographers base their knowledge on proven, observable fact rather than personal belief. If they made decisions like you make them, every time you tried to go Paris, you’d end up in a different place.

          • The Explorer

            “There is only one sensible choice.” No there isn’t. Let’s go back to your original question: “And how do you know I haven’t been?” There are three choices, all sensible. You were not horsewhipped; you were horsewhipped for giving offence; you were horsewhipped because you’re a masochist.

            As for the rest, you are arguing as if one side has proven fact for everything and the other side has personal belief for everything. Not so.

            Consider the following:

            London is bigger than Paris.
            London is better than Paris.

            Oxford is older than Cambridge
            Oxford is better than Cambridge.

            The first statement in each case, whether you are a Christian or an atheist, is resolvable by access to data.

            The second statement in each case, whether you are a Christian or an atheist, is a matter of personal belief.

          • Anton

            Not in my subject it isn’t!

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            The second statement, in each case, is a personal opinion and therefore cannot be properly described as a fact.

            It can be measured, but only against a set of subjective feelings felt by a single individual. London may be better than Paris in your opinion. But that doesn’t mean it is in an objective sense.

            The problem with the religious is that they confuse their subjective feelings, which cannot be proven to be factual, with objective truth, which can be. Your subjective feelings have no meaning or relevance for anyone else. Try to force them on others or make others live by them and you’ll meet resistance. Britain is no longer a Christian nation, but rather a nation in which Christians have to live alongside people who do not share their beliefs and refuse to be constrained by them.

          • The Explorer

            I was speaking impersonally. I happen to prefer Paris to London. Of course each second statement is a personal opinion: that was my point.

            I’m not confusing objective and subjective at all. Bigger: objective. There are three ways of determining the size of a city: population, surface area, or both of these combined. On this basis, and specifying which of the three is being applied, comparison is possible.

            Better: subjective. What criteria, for a start, are being used? And in making this judgement the opinions of the atheist are as subjective as those of the Christian.

            Napoleon was defeated Fact, whether you are atheist or Christian.
            It was a tragedy that Napoleon was defeated: opinion, whether you are atheist or Christian.

            You are arguing that for a Christian the defeat and the tragedy are both opinion, and for an atheist defeat and tragedy are both fact.

            Christian values are for Christians. I don’t believe they should be imposed on others, and I have never tried to do so. By the same token, I don’t want other people’s values imposed on me.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            No, I argue that anything for which concrete evidence exists is fact.

            Napoleon’s defeat is attested to by so much physical evidence and so many independent corroborating eyewitness accounts that its status as fact is unarguable.

            Show me a single account of Christ’s life that can be proven to have been written by an eyewitness, let alone two or more from independent sources that corroborate each other. Show me some physical evidence that he ever existed.

            You can’t because none is known to exist.

            All we know about Christ is written in the dubious gospel accounts authored well after the events they describe are claimed to have happened. Four descriptions of the same popular myth, all produced by sources specifically used and embroidered by the church with a view to consolidating the position of its emerging religion.

            This does NOT constitute independent corroborating evidence.

            Napoleon’s defeat can be established as fact in a way that Christ’s life, death and resurrection quite simply cannot be. The events of Napoleon’s life are facts. The events of Christ’s life are mere stories.

          • The Explorer

            We were not comparing different levels of fact; we were comparing a fact with opinion about a fact. Since you insist on addressing issues that were not raised, and on not addressing those which were, this has become another pointless conversation.

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Isn’t it interesting how all conversations become “pointless” when you realise you’ve painted yourself into a corner?

            One might think that the logical contradictions of your position might make you question your certainties, but every time common sense and logic form an unassailable case against you, you simply deny it and walk away.

            If this is what Christianity does to a man’s intellect, I thank my lucky stars I’ve always been able to see it for what it is.

          • The Explorer

            Another explanation is possible. Ever heard the expression ‘flogging a dead horse’?

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            Yes, Christianity is a dead horse, I agree. But all sorts of necrophagic life-forms still feed on it.

            Think of the role I play here as being very similar to a clove of garlic in a nest of vampires.

            Ever seen The Walking Dead? A better metaphor for Christians would be harder to find than the mindless zombies that wander about that alternate reality seeking to mindlessly rend and destroy.

          • The Explorer

            Agreed, I didn’t specify that your line of argument was the dead horse, but I thought the reference to flogging was a sufficient clue.

            Garlic is supposed to keep vampires away. Are you saying that your presence on this site keeps Christians away?

          • Oisín mac Fionn

            My presence on this site causes Christians to foam at the mouth and hiss in outrage, which is what vampires do when faced with garlic … at least in every vampire film I’ve ever seen.

            Of course the vampires in question are just actors pretending to hate garlic, because vampires don’t exist. But Christians do. And they hiss and spit much more melodramatically than the fictional undead.

          • The Explorer

            Examples of hissing and spitting on this blog, please.

      • The Explorer

        He’d probably enjoy it.

    • Anton

      Given that fertility decline has already set in at her age, I guess they will marry fairly swiftly or not at all. She too will know this – and know that the Royals know – and whether she will put up with being strung along is an open question.

      • bluedog

        Having built a highly successful career for herself, one can scarcely imagine Meghan wishing to surrender every trace of independence, which is what marriage would entail. It’s almost a question of exactly who is stringing whom along.

    • David

      Calm down. I suspect that its just another roll in the hay. She’s of too advanced an age to both endure the ritual induction course and remain reliably fertile. Anyway, who with what I am told is a profitable career, would willingly enter that prison ?

    • chefofsinners

      Another steaming pile of horse shit.

    • The Explorer

      Linus must have been snubbed by royalty at some point, and has never got over it. As we ourselves know, hell hath no fury like a Linus scorned.

    • IanCad

      Got to give it to you, that was pretty funny; hit most of the right spots but missed out on the Maiden Sellers Stakes.

  • bluedog

    The post-democratic resurgence of The Tony leads one inevitably to consider the possible return of The Dave. Politics is becoming increasingly like Hollywood, where all the best plot lines were devised years ago, if not by Shakespeare, by Bernard -Shaw. So now we must endure Blair II, with the confident expectation that once the ink is dry on his non-compete contract, The Dave will re-emerge from rural Oxfordshire to chasten the hapless Mrs May as she wrestles with Article 50. As Farage prepares to depart for the US in a huff, it will be shocking if the Brexit case is destroyed by a Blair-Cameron partnership.

    On the subject of royal nuptials, one wonders which title will be restored and bestowed in the event of the sacrament. One has a few ideas, including a new one with fashionably Balkan connections.

    • Anton

      Blair and Cameron could even get married under the wonderful new legislation the latter brought forward…

  • Has Mrs Proudie undergone an evangelical conversion? The archdeacon not to mention Trollope will be aghast.

  • Bluesman_1

    Splendid ma’am, simply splendid. Ignore those that cavil and caper beneath your petticoats for they are merely over excited and that will soon pass.

  • chefofsinners

    Dear lady, following the triumph of Barchexit, I think you should be appointed as the new ambassador to Melania. You’d do a great job.
    One can only imagine the rapture of the colonials as you bestride their politics like a living Statue of Liberty.
    One sees you in the Oval Office, Farage-esque, reclining against the bust of Churchill with a pint of Earl Grey in one hand and a cheroot in the other.
    The scene shifts… you stand on the steps of the Lincoln memorial proclaiming your crinoline dream to the adoring crowds.
    What is this? Boris Johnson says there is no vacancy? That didn’t stop him plotting to become prime minister.

  • chefofsinners

    One trusts that we have all enjoyed the Donald Trump spoof of the John Lewis Christmas advert?


    • IanCad

      Thanks Chef!! The terminally irrational Adam Gopnik is currently on “Point of View,” I will replay your delightful link until the twerp is finished.

  • michaelkx

    Splendid ma’am just Splendid, you have lighted my day.

  • len

    A marriage between a man and a woman, now that’s something to celebrate nowadays…

  • Dreadnaught

    Freedom of Speech on trial in Netherlands. Geert Wilder’s final submission (in full) to the Court.


    • len

      Freedom of speech, ah yes I remember that.
      I see that footballers are banned by FIFA for honouring our war dead but are wearing rainbow laces to honour our Gays.
      What chance does reason have in anything today?.

      • Dreadnaught

        Its up to us Old Farts to keep on keeping on; we wont be here at all before too long.

        • Anton

          Yes, keep farting long and loud !

          • Dreadnaught

            Likewise I’m sure.

          • len

            LOL. I intending going on forever(living not farting) unless I drop dead in the meantime 😉

    • IanCad

      Just finished it Dred. Thank you for the link.
      He is on solid ground:

      “That has been proven by Brexit.
      That has been proven by the US elections.
      That is about to be proven in Austria and Italy.
      That will be proven next year in France, Germany, and The Netherlands.”

      The wretches who have so misgoverned the Dutch, ourselves and others will not go quietly.

      The seeds of war have been sown.

      Why is HG’s collection plate so pitiful? Come On Guys! Cough Up! Makes me wonder as to whether the honourable, loyal and patriotic members of this blog are really all mouth and no trousers.

      • Dreadnaught

        He is on solid ground: I agree; but have my doubts that the Court wil have the impartiality to deliver justice IC. Always happy to be proved wrong.

  • Ah, what joy it is to read your missives again, Mrs P!