Mrs Proudie
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Caliphate Confectioners refuse to make a cake with the slogan ‘Support the Eastward Position’

Goodness! With the goings-on in Vienna very much in mind, my Lord the Bishop has, on my advice, banned the cathedral choirboys from using the Barchester Municipal Baths for the foreseeable future. With so much Levantine flotsam and jetsam floating about one cannot be sure where a breaststroke may lead, or what may crawl out of the shallows. It’s enough to give one butterflies. Most disturbing of all is the bizarre reasoning of the Austrian judiciary, who have elevated bestial urges above common sense and the rights of the child. I have consulted Sir Abraham Haphazzard on this matter and he has agreed to promote a ‘Removal of Gonads (Halal Compliant) Bill’ in the Commons next week, so that our own swimming pools may be havens of tranquility.

We are, however, in the middle of our own legal wrangle, thanks to Mr. Slope. On Saturday morning he went into Mustafa Fatwah’s Caliphate Confectioners and Bombe Surprise Emporium and ordered a Victoria sponge with the words ‘Support the Eastward Position’ inscribed on top in fondant icing. Mr. Fatwah declined the order, and chased poor Mr. S. down the High Street waving his scimitar and issuing death threats. Luckily the Postern Gate was wide open and so our unfortunate chaplain made his escape. He has referred the case to the Court of Arches, claiming discrimination, so we await the verdict with bated breath. Meanwhile Mr. Fatwah has approached The Jupiter with his version of the story, claiming Mr. Slope made improper suggestions that offended his masculinity. The Jupiter is well-known for its anti-clericalism, so Mr. Slope is getting a very rough ride. He seems to enjoy it though.

Countess de Courcy tells me she has invited the Prime Minister, Mrs. Dismay, to a weekend house-party at Courcy Castle. The poor premier has a stalker, it seems. For days now, a demented tartan-clad figure has been hovering around Number 10, peering in through the letter box, licking windows and demanding to be let in. Not so much a crank as a Krankie, whining and whinging how life is so unfair to those north of the Tweed. No good throwing money at the woman in the hope she will go away, she simply wants it all. No wonder Mrs. Dismay bolted. At least Courcy Castle has a drawbridge to keep undesirables at bay. Anyone know when the Grouch Season starts?

Great excitement in Barchester today as news of the War Office’s decision to deploy the East Barset Yeomanry (Sanitary Unit) to the Russian border is announced. I would have thought we taught Ivan a lesson or two in the Crimea, but it seems things are hotting up over there. I’m sure the twelve stout fellows who make up the ‘Brave Barseters’ will do their duty and strike fear into the Cossacks. We understand they will be joined by the 3rd Wessex Community Organiser Battalion and the South Riding Mounted Diversity Enforcers. I suggested to Mr. Slope that he might accompany the troops as their chaplain, but he wasn’t keen to trail his pike through the snowy wastes. Huzzah!

My daughters and I set up our usual Thursday morning soup kitchen on Ragamuffin Lane and were busy dishing out the Mulligatawny when we were accosted by a pasty-looking down and out with a high forehead and dazed expression.

“Pssst…Missus,” he whispered, “wanna buy me memoirs?”

“Why Mama,” said Augusta, “’tis the former Prime Minister, Cast-out Dave…”

“That may be so, my dear,” I responded, “but we don’t want to be encouraging hawkers of penny dreadfuls, do we?’

Thrusting a tin mug of soup into the poor fellow’s chapped fingers, I urged him to move along, but he was determined to linger a while longer. He gave me a pleading look.

“If nobody buys my book it will be remaindered,” he mumbled.

“That was always your position, sir,” I replied, “and look where it has brought you!”

With that he shuffled off into obscurity. A shiver went down my spine. It was like having an encounter with the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Until next week, dear friends…

  • len

    There will of course be no prosecution for Mustafa Fatwah’s scimitar wielding in a public place as it was deemed ‘a religious act’ in keeping with Islamic practices . Nothing to see here move along now.

    • Inspector General

      Indeed, that man. Waving a scimitar around in public is now an established British value. Or something like it, so they say…

  • Orwell Ian

    Prepare for another encounter with a ghostly apparition Mrs P.
    That scoundrel and malcontent Blair has just escaped from his retirement home with intent to mobilise a militia of Remaniac Redoubtables to overturn what he calls the catastrophe of Brexit. The fellow needs to be consigned to the asylum and put on rehab for his regime change addiction.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-tony-blair-second-eu-referendum-vote-article-50-latest-a7384411.html

    • Politically__Incorrect

      The guy, like many of his fellow parliamentarians, just doesn’t get it. Unlike them, we, the general public who voted to leave, love our country.

    • bluedog

      Indeed. One could be forgiven for thinking that Blair is suffering from the political equivalent of PTSD. Of course, if he really wants to make his mark again in the Parliament, Blair should tap Corbachev on the shoulder and ask for a safe seat. No problems with that, eh?

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I hear it was the sort of retirement home where rooms are padded and jackets with long arms tied behind are mandatory…

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Indeed, dear Orwell Fan…’tis said Blair is now stalking Whitechapel, but I think it is just a ripping yarn…

      • Redrose82

        One has to have a measure of sympathy for the man, His dream of becoming EU President in tatters unless he can somehow rekindle the admiration in which he was once held by many and turn brexit into breentry. He could always take up residence in France and apply for citizenship there of course but maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part.

  • bluedog

    Glory be, Mrs P, one is shocked to hear that Call me Dave is now living in reduced circumstances, but clever of your daughter to recognise him. When one heard of the latest Italian earthquake one thought that he might have been out jogging in the early morning while trying to work off the paunch that seemed to creep up on him in his final days in office. But no, it seems that a villa in Umbria is outside the family budget and he has ‘travelled’ to Barset seeking alms. Perhaps something has gone terribly wrong in Panama.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Augusta is a sharp one and no mistake – she instantly saw through the tattered clothes and grime. My fear is that another ex-premier, now let loose from his institution and advocating a second referendum, might move in as well.

      • bluedog

        Like mother, like daughter, it would appear.

        One detects something of a pattern and offers a cautious suggestion. It is truly said that a gentleman doesn’t read other people’s mail and one has no desire to put the Lord Bishop in a compromising position, Eastern or otherwise. However if it were to transpire that dear Slope was using the episcopal internet server to access facebook, and if the record showed that he was a ‘friend’ of the Lord Fondlebum, one could conclude that things had reached a pretty pass. These fiendish plots always depend upon an eminence grise, a puppeteer pulling the strings of the impressionable, and one thinks one knows where to look. A post-democratic society is being mooted in certain circles, and we can’t have that, can we.

  • Shadrach Fire

    I was feeling alittle opposite of up untill I perchanced upon Mrs Proudies latest missell and now I am on top of the world. I was unaware of the Vienna affair but from a scance reading I am not sure I want to know. Another brilliant offering Mrs P.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Always pleased to offer an ‘up-perk’ dear Shadrach…

  • Dominic Stockford

    I have myself entered into discussion and debate with the encouragers of the Book of Common Prayer. They seem very keen on the need for all to adopt the Northside position, regarding the Lord’s Supper. Though I must point out that they have not yet chased me down the street or drummed me out of the brownies, their insistence on taking this position leaves me in somewhat of a quandary. Given the angle that my church has been built, if I were to stand on the Northside during the Lord’s Supper I would then have my back to the people, which is surely not what they want? These geographic insistences do cause such trouble, don’t they?

  • IrishNeanderthal

    I wonder if Mr Mustafa Fatwah is related to this chap?

    MUSTAFA’ lu vucumprà

    “Vu cumprà?” means “will you buy?” in Southern Italian, and so it has become a nickname for anyone who looks like those chaps who have come over from the Middle East and North Africa and are always trying to sell you something.

    • Pubcrawler

      Whoever he is related to, he’d better not go to this chap for legal advice:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37798201

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Looks like ‘voluntary contributions’ at this fellow’s mosque are going to shoot up…

  • IanCad

    Wise counsel Mrs. P. Leave Ivan alone. All these two bit NATO latecomers are going to get us into a shooting match with better men than us.

    There is hope in the USA. A straw in the wind for a Trump victory?

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/27/oregon-militia-standoff-bundy-brothers-not-guilty-trial

    This in green, lefty Oregon. Oh Happy Day!!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Indeed, dear Ian. Ivan is a fearsome beast when poked with a stick. As for Mr. T., I wonder if, like here, voters refuse to divulge which candidate they are supporting, or say the opposite to throw the pundits off the scent? Trump has been vilified so much that maybe folk don’t want to admit being a supporter, but will do so on the day. Who knows?

  • Dreadnaught

    Aposite that you chose to reflect on military matters Dear Trout. Today on Parliament Green, A rally in support of Sgt A Blackman was held in an attempt to have the man, a hero of this Realm currently languishing at HM pleasure for dispatching a fatally wounded Talib in Afghan. Needless to say there was no coverage of this on the national news outlets. You may indeed be familiar with young Kipling’s take on how we treat our serving military when home on leave or post discharge from their service on behalf of our Country.
    Some things never change. I crave you inulgence to permit me to offer following by said scribbler:

    Tommy
    I WENT into a public ‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
    The publican ‘e up an’ sez, ” We serve no red-coats here.”
    The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
    O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, go away ” ;
    But it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play.

    I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
    They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
    They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
    But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, wait outside “;
    But it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide
    The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
    O it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide.

    Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap.
    An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
    Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
    Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul? ”
    But it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes ” when the drums begin to roll
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes, ” when the drums begin to roll.

    We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
    But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
    An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
    Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
    While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be’ind,”
    But it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind
    There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
    O it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind.

    You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
    We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
    Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
    The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! ”
    But it’s ” Saviour of ‘is country ” when the guns begin to shoot;
    An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
    An ‘Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!

    Please support the campaign to release Marine A – http://www.justiceformarinea.com/

    • dannybhoy

      Can’t find the petition..

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I have already signed the petition and am a fervent supporter of Royal Marine Sergeant Blackman’s cause. To imprison this man is a national disgrace.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        as for ‘ Dear Trout…’

        • Dreadnaught

          Bravo Dear Lady Bravo. Please dont ‘rise’ to the bait ’twas but a term of affection I assure you. x

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I thought it was but couldn’t resist…

    • Kipling, one of our greatest poets, frozen out of the public sphere by the liberal left zealots who run the academy.

    • HedgehogFive

      During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, there were many who appeared on British television who seemed to overlook that the IRA had declared war on Britain, but expected the British government to behave towards them according to peacetime rules.

      I called such people “pussy-wussies”, but came close to being accused (in jest, one hopes) of “hate speech” by a certain cat-lover.

  • Inspector General

    Good day to you, Mrs Proudie

    It came as rather a surprise to the Inspector to learn that the UK is officially at war with Russia, and that President Putin is the new Hitler. As you can imagine, this startling development caused the Inspectorate to examine exactly how this dreadful misunderstanding came about.

    He did not have to look far…

    It appears that Big Gay declared war on them the year before last. Crimes against humanity had been committed, you see. He won’t let men marry each other, even after Elton John is supposed to have asked him to, and he was somewhat beastly to the gentle types that comprise the group ‘Pussy Riot’. Now, the UK and Big Gay have a mutual assistance pact, and an attack on one is an attack on the other. So there you have it.

    You might be aware that two Russians of lavender are currently in town, guests of Barchester Queer Space – Ivan Anusovitch and his close friend Pyotr ‘Patsy’ Prolapski. Tonight, they’ll be demonstrating in front of our impressionable and idiot young exactly what they’ve been getting up to lately in Moscow. Hence you have to be over 18 to attend. They’ll also be opening and reading out their latest HIV test results – fingers crossed fellas, what!

    Oh yes, live music by ever popular gay house band ‘Reduced Lifespan’.

    One remains, your obedient Inspector, dear heart…

  • chefofsinners

    Well, well.
    Could you, Mrs Proudie, ice your buns with the legend ‘Donald Luck for President’?

  • Phil R

    That, was brilliant.

  • Brilliant Mrs Proudie, simply brilliant.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    How about this for a refusal?

    Yasmin alibhai-brown @y_alibhai

    Last night, West Hampstead station, on my way to the Grunwick Strike event. Black cab driver doesn’t let me in:’Not taking foreigners today’
    10:31 AM – 19 Oct 2016

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Ah yes, the strident Alibaba-Brown…but soft, what is this? Another strike at Grunwick? Isn’t that where the Winter of Discontent began?

    • Anton

      Black cab driver??

      • IrishNeanderthal

        Not too surprising. Many years ago, someone told of a court case where a very dark man had assaulted an Oxfam or similar charity collector on the tube, with words like “I’m not going to give money to your little foreign friends so they can come here and murder us!”

        The judge was very lenient towards him, which caused the following defendant much surprise when he himself was dealt a hefty fine for leaving his car for days without payment in the Gatwick Airport car park.

        = = = = = = =

        That I understand to be fact. Now to imagination, in the form of a cartoon of around 1961 when the SNP were demonstrating outside Parliament. The scene, a platform in Westminster Tube Station, with a group of kilted Scotties (two with bagpipes) waving their Scottish flags.

        They are confronted by a West Indian porter who tells them:

        “Why don’t you go back where you come from?”

  • bluedog

    Mrs P, thinking further about the gallant lads of the Barsetshire Expeditionary Force to the Baltic states, one wonders about their nursing support. One can understand that you yourself would be a pillar of the Barset branch of the British Red Cross, but what of its companion order, the British Red Crescent, where one suspects the Begum Fatwah would be a tower of strength? Is there sisterly inclusiveness between these two organisations? Are there shared designs and colour schemes for balaclavas, mittens and heavy woollen socks? Where, as a matter of interest, is the HQ of the British Red Crescent? Karachi? Tower Hamlets? Riyadh? It seems important to get the answers, should you be able to provide them.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I believe a Miss Nightingale is organising a nursing contingent, having given up her job on late night radio. As for the Red Crescent, fie…I have no knowledge.

  • weirdvisions

    I am but newly arrived to your marvellous chronicles. You have an instant convert, Madam. I look forward to your next outing.

  • dannybhoy

    Mrs Proudie,
    I fear I am all behind..
    with the goings on in Barchester. Beautifully and wittily written as usual.
    I read the best bits out to my wife, and forward the worst bits to my brother in law..
    A recent convert,

  • DWMF

    I’m rather a fan of the Eastwood position.

    “D’ya feel lucky, punk?”

    **BOOM**