mrs proudie
Uncategorized

Cathedral invites local mosque to sing Christmas carols round the crib

Welcome, dear hearts, to my pre-Christmas newsletter! The Market Square is bedecked with boughs of holly, the old gentlemen at Hiram’s Hospital are rubbing their knees together to keep warm, and Mr. Slope is hoisting his ding-dongs merrily on high. The Archdeacon has been stuffing a nice plump bird in the kitchen, a task he looks forward to each year (though why he does it here behind locked doors and not in his own home is anyone’s guess). Mr. Harding’s new anthem, ‘The May Thou gavest, Lord, is bending, her knee to Juncker and all his works’, set to the tune ‘Craven’, will be sung for the first time on Sunday in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Omnium and the entire Palliser clan – such an honour. I must say The Palace is looking quite festive, with garlands of evergreens in the Great Hall and mistletoe everywhere (why miss an opportunity?). We are planning a Christmas Eve Ball – with two daughters to marry off one has to be pro-active (as they say these days). I have my eye on one of the Gresham boys, but that is another story.

By the by, the Omniums invited baking baroness Mary Berry to Gatherum Castle as part of her stately home progress around the country, but she declined, preferring the pork scratchings at Blandings. Each to their own, as the Duchess said to me, but it seems she’ll miss out on the annual banquet for the Queen’s Own Mounted Brexiteers, known as ‘The Old Intransigents’, which takes place in the Agincourt Room, hosted by the regimental colonel, Lord Silverbridge. “The troopers very much wanted to get stuck into Mary’s posset,” confided the Duchess, “but, alas, that is a pleasure denied them.” Perhaps it is for the best.

We received notification from the Lord Chamberlain that Barchester has been chosen as the setting for next year’s Maungy Thursday ceremonies. This is when the Sovereign distributes little leather bags of hard cheese to twelve of the town’s most vociferous Remainers, whilst the choir intones Purcell’s famous motet, ‘Ner ner ne ner ner…’, and the congregation responds, ‘Yah, boo sucks’. This is followed by the sermon, based on Psalm 58:6, ‘Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth…’, preached with gusto by the Archdeacon, with hand-actions and a mallet, no less. I cannot wait.

Only one small ripple of disquiet – Mustafa Fatwah asked if we could possibly ‘tone down the Jesus thing’ and celebrate a few Muslim festivals in the Cathedral, on the grounds that he would like to feel ‘included’. We declined, suggesting instead his local mosque might join us for carols round the crib. This naturally prompted complaints to Barchester Constabulary (Diversity Enforcement Branch) and a stiff letter from Forever Amber. At least this year’s anonymous death threat was decorated with holly and robins, which was a lovely seasonal touch.

I read in The Jupiter (where else!) a certain Herr Shulz of the Holy Remaining Zollverein is proposing the abolition of nation states and supports the formation of a Euro-army – the one Mr. Clegg swore blind was a complete and utter fantasy of the barking, swivel-eyed Leavers, whilst knowing full well what was on the cards. Looks like conscription is back on the menu, which should cause a few snowflake-flurries in the university campuses of Europe when the pfennig drops, but it could well be the plan is to draft lusty young Muslim migrants instead. It was an Ottoman thing, I believe, to have an army of janissaries with no ethnic or cultural ties to the peoples they were ordered to oppress, so that no qualms got in the way of utter ruthlessness. One can hear Mr. Druncker salivating from here…

Speaker of the said Herr Druncker, he seems to wear more medals than the German Kaiser… I cannot for the life of me think of so many Luxembourgeois victories on the field of battle to merit such a display… the man is to chivalry what Sweeney Todd was to flower arranging. Has anyone else noticed there has been no reference to the European wine-lake since he was appointed? Where has it all gone, we ask…

The cathedral stonemasons have been busy transforming the ‘Merkin Lego’ blocks outside the West Door into carved representations of the politicians responsible for the many multi-culti blessings bestowed upon us. It’s our very own Mount Rushmore, though on a smaller scale. We have Mr. Heath emerging from a gentleman’s convenience with a grin on his face (Gothic); Mr. Major and Mrs. Currie working hard at developing Ugandan relations (Perpendicular); Mr. Blair displaying some of his many faces whilst supping with the devil (Romanesque), and ‘Bolter’ Cameron doing the four-minute mile (Escapist). Who knows, in future years, visitors to Barchester will sees these carvings as part of our rich national heritage, like the Cerne Abbas giant. I, however, regard them as nothing less than monuments to folly on a grand scale.

At the parish church of St. Pederast-behind-the-Bike-sheds this week, Mr. Slope chaired a ‘Forum of Reconciliation’, when victims of abuse, be it sexual or physical, were invited to talk about their sufferings and face their abusers. Mr. Slope has not shared the details – quite rightly so – but has assured me he followed the current guidelines to the letter: everything has been written down verbatim ready to send to the appropriate officer. When I asked who the appropriate officer was, he replied, “The furnace man, Lambeth Palace.”

Dominic Grievance, reshuffled former Attorney-General and half-French Tory rebel, has been rattling Mrs. Dismay’s cage over the Brexit negotiations, demanding MPs and Lords get to vote on the final deal. True to form, the Ironic Lady has given in, which more or less means the whole ‘So-long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen goodbye’ has been scuppered. How supposed Conservatives can even contemplate joining forces with Comrade Corbynov’s Bolshevik horde is beyond comprehension, but perhaps they despise and detest the people even more. One senses mounting anger beyond the bubble, not only toward politicians but also towards the system itself. I do not hear the sound of ‘Ça Ira’ just yet, but Mr. Slope assures me he can get his tongue around ‘Lilliburlero’. He is full of surprises.

Well, I have to get ready as my Lord the Bishop is taking me to the Wassail Fair on Ganderpoke Meadows, where all of Barchester assemble to partake of good cheer, roast chestnuts and cinder toffee. There is ice-block carving, ‘Put the Balaclava on the Wildcat’, and Christmas Pudding Hurling to keep us entertained, and a demonstration of ballroom dancing on ice by the Anton du Bec Preservation Society of Bangalore (part of their world tour). Miss Brontë will be giving an educational talk on ‘Conspicuous Consumption’ in the Grand Marquee, and Mr. Dickens will demonstrate how to cheer up your Bleak House with a coat of distemper. So as the bloomers of Brexit are shredded by the fearsome fangs of ravenous Remainers and the assegai of critical journalism is broken by the tilt-hammer of career opportunism, I bid you a fond au revoir and a Merry Christmas. I shall return – if invited – in the New Year, my dears, so until then…

  • michaelkx

    Madam may you have a blessed Christ Mass season, and i will look with the uttermost joy
    for your Missive in the New year.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Blessings to you too dear michaelkx

  • SonoView

    Madam,

    I am much surprised that you make no mention of the pronouncement of the Rector of St. Botolph’s under Gherkin this week. It appears that should the next Bishop of London be, er, “the wrong sort of bishop” then he will excommunicate the City in its entirety.

    Londexit? No, it doesn’t have the same ring.

    • Manfarang

      And no mention of political events in the Easter State either.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        It’s my party and I’ll scribe what I want to….

        • Manfarang

          Well I won’t be bringing a bottle of Norfolk Punch in that case or put any mistletoe above the door

  • Inspector General

    Good day to you, Mrs Proudie
    This year, the Inspector, a patron of Barchester Orphanage, has organised the little ones Christmas day activities. First, two hours in chapel for them to be reminded how lucky they are to be still alive, followed by beans on toast,and an afternoon gathering firewood in the forest.

    • Manfarang

      Beans on toast? Well if the beans are Ayam brand then they will indeed be tasty. I am sure the mention of Ayam will bring back fond memories for Mrs. P.

      • Inspector General

        Halal means cruelly slaughtered, doesn’t it? Does Islam cut their throats and hang them upside down to bleed…

        • Manfarang

          It is what it says on the tin. It means there is no nasty animal fat ingredients. Indeed it has the word vegetarian on it.
          http://www.ayambrand.com.my/baked-beans.html
          I did see some tins with English recipe marked on them.

          • Anton

            Yes, they are nice as part of a Full English Breakfast with bacon and sausages.

          • Manfarang

            Or Yakisoba.

  • Manfarang

    Tis the season for the few to make a getaway from the bleak land where the snow lays round about
    deep and crisp and even (or its blinking cold) to a place of warm sunshine and happy smiling people.
    Well I’m off to Formosa (I bet you can’t find it on the map) Ho Ho Ho.

    • David

      You old time traveller you …

      • Manfarang

        Old for sure.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Formosa Oolong, please bring some back….

      • Manfarang

        Now there is a good suggestion! However my local sellers in Yaowarat (China town) are well stocked.

    • Ray Spring

      Go Strait there.

      • Manfarang

        I am going to the Sun Moon lake.

        • Ray Spring

          I heard good reports of it in HK, but never visited the lake.

    • Intonsus

      aka The Republic of China

  • Dominic Stockford

    Some of us have done things for which we are entitled to wear medals, albeit commemorative ones. I cannot think what Herr Druncker has done to deserve anything, except early retirement.

    • Making the EU wine mountain disappear single handed, creating and implementing the biggest corruption and tax fraud scheme in Luxembourg, spending the most on a flight, wasting the highest amount of tax payers money, and lastly being drunk and disorderly.

      • Anton

        I’d rather have him drunk and disorderly than sober and disorderly.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          I am reminded of a Giles cartoon, from around the time of the introduction of the breathalyzer. A boy is sitting in the back of a car, saying:

          “I’d rather be driven by Uncle Fred when he’s loaded than Auntie Millie on two cups of tea.”

  • David

    Good morning Mrs Proudie. This week’s copious offerings are quite brilliant. My favourite extract is,
    “The May Thou gavest Lord, is bending, her knee to Junker and all his works, set to the tune of Craven”
    Once again, very well done dear Lady.
    I trust all will be well with you and His Lordship on Ganderpoke Meadows.

    • Chefofsinners

      This week I am reminded of the carol “Come thou long expected Carlile report”. Promised for long ages past, the perseverance of the unwise men is at last rewarded. And what do we find? That the Church has kept faith with the founding principle of Christianity, viz: laying on one man the iniquities of us all. And if that person be dead, so much the better.

      But more than this, I feel ’tis time to troll the ancient EUletide carol…

      Go tell it on the butter mountain
      Little Don-key, little Don-key, on the Tusky road, Happy Christmas from Theresa, 50 billion Euros.
      And, to honour the vanity of the French President: O comb, oh comb, Emmanuel.

      Then perhaps nearer to home, due to defence cuts, ‘I saw a ship come sailing in.’ and, to be inclusive, the obligatory LGBTQI carol: We three Queens of Orientation Bizarre.

      • dannybhoy

        If you ever need guidance on capitulation to those you consider your betters, get in touch with our own agony aunt Thereeza…

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Or ‘The Molly at The Ivy’

  • TropicalAnglican

    It may be of interest to some that President Trump has recently received the “Friends of Zion” award, which was commissioned by the late Shimon Peres to honour world leaders who “stand with Israel and the Jewish people”:
    https://www.christianpost.com/news/evangelical-leaders-pray-trump-oval-office-friends-of-zion-award-tony-perkins-mike-pence-james-dobson-209859/

    Interestingly, too, the very first major honour that Trump ever received, as listed in Wikipedia, was the Tree of Life Award from the Jewish National Fund. It was presented to him in 1983 for his contributions to Israel-United States relations.
    He apparently managed to lose the award during the move to Mar-a-Lago, and, true to form, wrote in to ask for a replacement … (Jerusalem Post, Sep 2016).

    Anyway, during the “Friends of Zion” Award presentation ceremony at the Oval Office, an alert pastor espied an unfriendly poisonous spider crawling swiftly up the President’s back and heading towards his neck. I suspect it would probably have got entangled and suffocated in Trump’s mane, but the pastor didn’t wait to find out, and promptly whacked Trump across the back in order to slay the anarchically-minded arachnid:
    https://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-mark-burns-saves-donald-trump-poisonous-spider-bite-oval-office-210151/

    “We’ve got your back, Mr President!”

    • Manfarang

      Well he won’t be getting an Oscar.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Not even for the most villainous villain?

  • dannybhoy

    “How supposed Conservatives can even contemplate joining forces with Comrade Corbynov’s Bolshevik horde is beyond comprehension, but perhaps they despise and detest the people even more.”
    Probably.
    But who cares, the modern equivalent of the tumbrils await those who despise us ‘ordinary folk’.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Mr Mustafa Fatwah seems to be playing a game of ratchetty-ratchetty. You turn the thing one way in order to accommodate him, and when you turn the other way the mechanism slips and there is no movement in your direction.

    But that other lot seem to be even more extreme. At least with Mustafa and friends, they have a fixed position they want us to move towards. With the other lot, if one takes one step towards them, they take one step backwards, and so it is likely to go on and on and on.

    They have a strange logic, too. If a child shows signs of being ‘T’, they want the medical profession to come in full force will techniques chemical and mechanical to force things forward in that direction. On the other hand, if the child appears to be ‘G’, the idea of any medical intervention, even herbs from Dr Culpeper, is met with ferocity.

    And one of their chaps wants prayer that Prince George will turn ‘G’, but they have got most of our parliamentarians to rule out anything intended to help a patient become un-‘G’.

  • not a machine

    As heart warming as the

  • Chefofsinners

    How exactly does Mustafa imagine that the Church of England is going to ‘tone down the Jesus thing’ any further? Set up altars to Satan and sacrifice children on them? Ah, here’s Martin Sewell, saying: “Well, you’ve already accepted divorce and gay vicars. How is this any different?”

  • bluedog

    ‘Miss Brontë will be giving an educational talk on ‘Conspicuous Consumption’ in the Grand Marquee,’ Setting aside any literary allegories, one trusts that her talk will be framed around the virtues of ethical shopping. It’s all very well for the working-class to have abandoned solidarity in the interests of aspiration and the consumer society, but a moral entrapment awaits. The masses cannot be allowed to buy goods made by child labour in the likes of Bangladesh or Madagascar. Closer to home, for those who support the deplorable practice of killing a beautiful sentient fowl (turkey) to eat on Christmas Day, will they ensure that its short life was spent in a free-range environment, and that no hormone based growth-promoting substances or antibiotics were fed to the creature before slaughter? One hesitates to appear as the moral equivalent of Scrooge, but these are matters of the highest importance that seem to be so easily overlooked, don’t they? As we edge towards departure from the EU, one suspects that the sort of safeguards that we could depend on Brussels to provide for turkeys will lapse. Thus reinforcing the case for Remain, as Tony Blair and Father David will no doubt remind us.

  • IanCad

    Felicitations and approbations Mrs. P. I have to wonder if, this time next year “The Old Intransigents” will be less concerned about the ingredients in their Christmas puds and stuffing, the merits of goose over turkey; dim memories of jugged hare, and, really, is the brandy up to snuff? Instead maybe the discussions will revolve around recipes of a different sort – charcoal, saltpetre and sulphur in portions fine, accompanied by the steady sound of steel on stone as rusty swords and pikes and axes are readied – just in case.

  • Manfarang

    I went to a carol service Sunday. Readings from scripture but some women read from some story in which Mary is a feminist. I like the version of the nativity in the Gospel of St. Mark myself.
    I was able to resist temptation so I didn’t eat any mince pies after the service.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      “Easter State”? What are you talking about?

      • Manfarang

        Think Anschluss.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          Ah, now I get it. You’re referring to Osterlik, which was invaded by Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator.

          • Manfarang

            Österlich

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Them Americans jes’ caint pronounce Deutsch.