Mrs Proudie
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Christmas greetings: “the inclusion of annual newsletters an innovation too far”

Goodness! Just in case a dynamite-laden hansom cab comes crashing through the wrought iron railings around the cathedral and attempts to blow up our Christmas Nativity scene, we have set the old gentlemen from Hiram’s Hospital on guard duty, commanded by Constable Knapweed of Barchester City Constabulary. Well, these are ever-darkening times, and one never knows what dastardly acts are being planned by those who wish us ill. The Nativity figures have been carved by Mr. Bunce, and I must say they look splendid. The animals look particularly realistic, and Mr. Slope has gone into raptures over Mr. Bunce’s ass. It would be a tragedy if they were all turned to matchsticks because of the genocidal tendency of the religion-that-must-not-be named, and I don’t mean the Methodists. But let us not dwell upon the perpetually irate – let us deck our halls with boughs of holly, hang up the mistletoe and whip up the eggnog, for unto us a child is born. Well, not unto me, admittedly, for those days are long gone, but you all know to whom I refer. Rejoice, I say… Rejoice!

What a great invention the penny post is – we should all thank Mr. Rowland Hill for his splendid idea, thus bringing people closer together at this festive time. Every surface in The Palace is covered in Christmas cards, though I do find the inclusion of annual newsletters an innovation too far. Why is it folk feel they have to announce every holiday and trip to London as if it were akin to the Second Coming? It is all so immodest. As for signing cards with the name of one’s pet dog, cat or goldfish, words fail me.

We played a most delightful parlour game at Mary Bold’s tea party yesterday afternoon. Everyone sat round in a circle and took turns to name a recognised criminal mastermind who has never been called to account. Miss Bold started off with the Hildabeast and I then followed with Madame Lagarde, after which the company named the Obamessiah, Mr. Blair, Mr. Cameldung and several Rothschilds, until Mr. Slope brought everything to a halt when he mentioned a certain Australian newspaper mogul. Walls have ears, of course, but oh, the larks! Prison, it must be said, is only for the little people, though occasionally a minor player is thrown to the wolves to give the appearance of doing something. One thinks of Mr. Harris tying his kangaroo down, an odd pastime but his own, which certainly upset the RSPCA, and whatever happened to his two little boys? Lashings of Earl Grey and several mince pies rounded off the gathering perfectly. Mr. Slope made the pies himself, having won prizes at school for exceptional mincing.

Our brief sojourn in Bologna earlier this year introduced the Bishop and me to the delights of pizza. One understands this dish is very popular in Washington circles at the moment, with President O’Barmey spending thousands of dollars on pizzas for all his staff, sending out to somewhere in Chicago rather than patronising a more convenient pizzeria. The things these politicians get up to. All that pizza must make for sticky fingers!

We are hosting a rather special Christmas Day luncheon at The Palace and our guests include Bishop Fontwater of Barnstaple, Bishop Hever of St Ogg’s and the Bishop of Tatchester. Everything has to be just so. Mrs. Gibletts (our cook) has dusted off Mrs. Beeton’s ‘Household Management’, and Mr. Slope is in charge of making sure everything goes swimmingly (he has a tick list. I have often thought of him as a tick). I have ordered a variety of game, though Mrs. Gibletts is by no means a pheasant plucker, so we shall draw upon the expertise of Mr. Coxcomb of Home Farm, whose horny hands are no stranger to birds of all shapes and sizes. The dining room is festooned with greenery and the Christmas tree in the corner truly sparkles with fairy candles. We had thought of inviting Mrs. Dismay and her colleagues from Brussels, but I fear they would only turn their back on her and we can’t have that (apart from which, Herr Druncker would have drained our cellars in record time. If you have ever wondered where the European Wine Lake went, look no further).

Well now, dear friends, you can see how busy we are, and I daresay you are, too. Alas I must say adieu for this week, as I have a tract to write on the evils of sprouts and have promised to join the ladies’ choir of Barchester on their carol singing round robin. So, as the Evacuation of Time splatters over the Commode of Destiny and the Wassailers of Hope-over-Experience warble to the Crowd-scattering Juggernaut of Jihad, I bid you goodnight.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    “So, as the Evacuation of Time splatters over the Commode of Destiny ” Oh dear, sounds like those sprouts have already worked their evil Mrs Proudie. Very wise too not to invite Mr Drunkers to the Christmas dinner: he is a connoisseur of wine made from sour grapes and is definitely not a pheasant plucker.

    A Very Merry Christmas to you Mrs P, also to our venerable blog host and all his communicants

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Ah yes, one has to be careful when compiling a guest list! Merry Christmas dear Politically!

  • Old Nick

    I have often wondered, Mrs. P., if you were related to Samantha the Scorer. Your daughter perhaps ?
    In any case, a very Merry Christmas to you.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Alas no, my daughters are Augusta and Griselda…no Samantha! Merry Christmas!

  • bluedog

    ‘Everyone sat round in a circle and took turns to name a recognised criminal mastermind who has never been called to account.’

    Not for nothing is it said there is a fine line between Pentonville and the House of Lords, Mrs P.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Indeed there is, dear Bluedog…Merry Christmas!

      • bluedog

        Thank you Mrs P, and a very Merry Christmas to all communicants. Your post is a light amongst the darkness, and sometimes Fridays can’t come soon enough!

  • Dreadnaught

    Thank you MrsP – A glittering gem of a post in a time of dreadful foul doing abroad. To you and all here I wish a peaceful Christmas.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Merry Christmas, dear Dreadnaught!

  • Superb Mrs P thank you and a Merry Christmas.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Thank you dear Marie, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • len

    Obarmy is reputed to be delivering these pizza’s personally.Been taking the pizza for some time now.
    A merry Christmas Mrs Proudie , and to all who frequent H G `s Blog.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Merry Christmas len, may your toppings be ever cheesy!

  • Anton

    One hopes you are appreciating the Christmas cards of your time, Mrs Proudie… mice riding lobsters, dead robins, boiled children, dogs with guns and murderous frogs!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-34988154

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I particularly like the sepoy-eating tigers sent from India… (no offence to sepoys)…Merry Christmas Anton

      • Anton

        These cards deserve reprinting.

  • David

    Many thanks indeed Mrs Proudie for another excellent piece.

    To Mrs Proudie, His Grace, this blogs writers and the whole assorted assembly of commentators of all persuasions, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Many thanks dear David, may your days be merry and bright…

  • IanCad

    Glorious Stuff! Mrs. P. May the deposit of your bowels never be fully evacuated.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      And if they are, dear Ian, I will post them to you. Merry Christmas1

      • IrishNeanderthal

        For something more savoury, in Egypt, when one wishes to congratulate one’s host, one says “Sufra Dayma” which means “may your table continue.”

        It was from a column of that name that I first learned the word spatchcock, referring to poultry or game that has been prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone. I think it would be quite appropriate to those spineless vertebrates who occupy positions of power and influence in this country.

        Spatchcock chicken roast – Al-Ahram Weekly

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Merry Christmas dear Irish…I like your suggestion at the end.

        • Anton

          I prefer DH Lawrence’s insult describing them rather as invertebrates:

          …the blasted, jelly-boned swines, the slimy, the belly-wriggling invertebrates, the miserable sodding rotters, the flaming sods, the snivelling, dribbling, dithering palsied pulse-less lot that make up England today (letter of 3rd July 1912 to Edward Garnett).

          His opinion notwithstanding, we won a world war not long after…

  • CliveM

    You’ve made Christmas a little merrier Mrs Proudie, have a good one.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      The sherry helps, dear Clive. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  • Anton

    I beg to differ from your headline, Mrs Proudie! The only point of Christmas cards is to tell those people whom you don’t see on a regular basis what you have been up to. Perhaps you are unaware that Sir Henry Cole, who invented them (an acquaintance of yours?) also played a key role in updating the postal service and introducing the Penny Black stamp…

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Ah dear Anton, differ away! It always makes for the most entertaining dinner party. May the celestial cherub of merriment alight upon your brow and break wind.

      • Anton

        And also with you!

  • chefofsinners

    Tidings of comfort and joy, dear lady. The Anis horribilis has been neutralised in Milan. This must what Prince Charles meant by religious persecution: a Muslim can’t even wander the Italian streets without the police shooting him. Anis’ obituary will now be added to the wall of honour at King’s College London in order to increase diversity, along with a song to celebrate his achievements: “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.” (previously “to Carey me home” but edited for the progressive era).

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Ah yes, dear chef, I caught that bit of news. ‘Ask not for whom the bell tolls,’ said John Donne (and of course they don’t in York at the moment) but in the case of this fellow, one has to say good riddance.

      • Anton

        “Send not to know for whom the bell tolls”, actually!

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Once again you cut me to the quick…

          • Anton

            “Ask not what you can do for your country; it tolls for thee”; or have I had too much sherry?

          • chefofsinners

            Ask not what you can do for Linus. It trolls for thee.

          • chefofsinners

            Send not to know for whom the ancient yuletide carol trolls…

  • dannybhoy

    Some absolute gems here Mrs Proudie, you have excelled yourself..
    “Well, not unto me, admittedly, for those days are long gone, but you all know to whom I refer. Rejoice, I say… Rejoice!”

    “The Nativity figures have been carved by Mr. Bunce, and I must say they
    look splendid. The animals look particularly realistic, and Mr. Slope
    has gone into raptures over Mr. Bunce’s ass.

    “Prison, it must be said, is only for the little people, though
    occasionally a minor player is thrown to the wolves to give the
    appearance of doing something.”

    “Mr. Slope made the pies himself, having won prizes at school for exceptional mincing.”
    “(apart from which, Herr Druncker would have drained our cellars in record time. If you have ever wondered where the European Wine Lake went, look no further).”

    “Alas I must say adieu for this week, as I have a tract to write on the evils of sprouts..”
    Absolutely brilliant and done with the lightest of touches..
    Happy Christmas Mrs Proudie!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Thank you so much, dear danny…and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  • Inspector General

    An Inspector extends season’s greetings to you, Mrs Proudie.

    Christmas this year will be an exceptional occasion for him. There is enough left of his annual allowance of £20 to provide meat on his table for the 25th. To be eaten under his single candle, whilst wearing his black Christmas hat and bobble. What’s more, he hears that such will be the clemency of the weather, it will be most unlikely that ice will form on the inside of his windows, precluding him from spending the rest of the day huddled in bed beneath threadbare blankets. Instead, he will be able to minister to those beer swilling obese idlers covered in tattoos and constantly fingering mobile devices in the nearby council sink estate who have truly nothing. Informing them all that they are hell bound, hopefully. Those wretches whose only active entertainment is arguing with each other in the street. Why God has been so beneficial to the Inspector and not to the desperate who regularly drive to the Food Bank must remain a mystery to all of us…

    Let us be thankful for our lot madam, meagre though it be, for it would be riches to many…

    • dannybhoy

      And God Bless Us, everyone!

      • Inspector General

        You especially, Tiny Danny. May God grant you another year…and indeed all of us….

        • dannybhoy

          Thanks Inspector, for your contributions this year. May God bless you and keep you.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Ah dear Inspector, and will the Ghosts of Christmases past. present and future be visiting this year as usual? Please don’t relent and treat Tiny Tim Farron to any turkey, just let him fade away….

      • Inspector General

        Yes they will be Mrs P. Reminding a fellow of something or other, never did work it work. Can the Inspector interest you and your husband in a slice of stuffed lower colon, per chance…

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          I fear not…

          • Inspector General

            One can’t blame you, Mrs P. You’d need a sense of adventure to tackle such a dish. It doesn’t help that there are different interpretations of the recipe. One calls for the colon to be laid length-ways. The anus and rectum are removed and the residual tube slit longways. To be washed thoroughly. This to remove all traces of faecal matter. On the other hand, the ‘Diversity Menu’ has it that the thing be stuffed with sausage meat as it is. This supposed guarantees a fullness of earthy flavour, and an intensity of delight that only the initiated can appreciate.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Do try to get out more, there’s a poppet

  • chefofsinners

    Sprouts are the least of the abominations to come out of Brussels, dear lady. There are many other ways to fill your digestive tract:
    You might warn your readers of the dangers of Turkey. A fattened bird with odd fleshy bits dangling from its face, Mrs Merkel still seems keen to welcome the Turks into Germany. While Mr Slope is sure to want stuffing, the rest of us can read a dark future in the giblets.
    Fine whines. Traditionally produced by France, the Scots are now creating world class whines of their own. Full bodied with acidic notes, Nicola Sturgeon certainly needs to stick a cork in it.
    And the gravy. The European gravy train franchise has been won by Southern. Services over Christmas and the new year will be cancelled due to the drivers not being arsed.

    • Inspector General

      Apparently, stuffed lower colon will be available at Kings College this Christmas. Bon appetite…

      • Anton

        But tomorrow it’s over to a more illustrious Kings College for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          The form and appearance have not changed, but many of those singing will have washed their cassocks in cultural Marxism…however, let is not dwell on that.

          • Anton

            Yes and No… quietly things have changed so that it is no longer necessary to be a member of King’s College Cambridge in order to be a member of its choir. You just need to be able to turn up on demand, fit a vocal slot where they need somebody, and sing very well. Persons who are alert might notice a small change to the wording on the front of CDs…

          • betteroffoutofit

            Yes, I’m desolate to agree that it’s changed, and not for the better. Far too much euro in it, for starters.

            “Happy Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour’s Birthday” to His Grace, our gracious Mrs. Proudie, and to all Communicants here.

          • Inspector General

            Starters? At Kings College they do a very good cream of bone soup. Can one put you down for a helping?

          • betteroffoutofit

            Mmmm. If it’s like my old Ma’s soup — you bet. In the Marie la bonne category, as it were 🙂

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            And unto you, dear betteroffoutofit….

        • Pubcrawler

          Hmm, all a bit anodyne and twee for me.

          You’re not in the queue, are you?

          • Anton

            No, although the opportunity also to zip to that vegan cafe brandishing a new fiver is tempting…

            I only did the Kings Carol Service once, and it took three years from my decision to do so before I got the right weather for extended outdoor queuing (wearing a considerable proportion of my ski kit). I was up early enough that morn to make the choir side of the organ, though.

            I occasionally turn up for the Ash Wednesday afternoon communion when Allegri’s Miserere is sung (albeit in English; not that you can tell which language the high note is in).

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      It reads like a shopping list of abominations!

      • chefofsinners

        Even the carrots are looking glazed. Time to cut to the cheese.
        May the peas of God, which passeth all understanding, be your portion this Christmastide.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Your Grace

    I’ve been permitted to go home.

    I wish you, my fellow posters and Mrs Proudie (good to meet you at the ‘New Normal’ conference) a merry Christmas.

    I would urge my fellow posters to read the ‘Tyrannicide Brief’.

    The next battle is over ‘the Rule of Law’.

    • not a machine

      I shall look forward to that , but before you do consider “where it resides” I have a feeling the cultural Marxists have made an error , which they may not be able to deny , and that may be part of your thinking .

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      A Merry Christmas to you too, dear Chaucer…

  • not a machine

    Mrs Giblett the cook ….I wonder if Mr Stoker fetches the coal …. Ah well a good and entertaining piece enjoyed the last line ,have a Good Christmas Mrs Proudie , may the corset of destiny keep all your wild parts in order..
    We have the 12 days of Christmas ahead ,I don’t know whether to keep comments up ,personally have a few theological questions to mull through,and hope that Christmas has its understanding for all. My interest at the moment is why the Christian way has been downgraded ,I think I have the how and am rather disappointed by the cultural Marxists ,but will see if my question can coax them out for an answer ,which will be fun , well for me anyway …..but of course the main thing is for people to have a good Christmas in their own meeting , no one can calculate the outcome of Gods love ….pretty sure of that .

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Have a lovely, festive and reflective Christmas, dear Not a Machine…

      • chefofsinners

        I think Notamachine might be ,a …. ,machine…. ,

        • not a machine

          That would be akin to suggesting you might be a chef
          Had a slight chortle just listened to radio piece by Mr Jacobson as ever a linguistic delight then he got to end to bit ,I flinched slightly , yes they did free barrabas ,but at least one account suggests direct coercion from others among the crowd who didn’t really like Jesus .night night

  • Pubcrawler

    At last the humbug that seems to have infested the solemn season of Advent is all but over, soon the amateur tinsel drinkers will no longer be plaguing the pubs and pissing off the year-round loyal patrons with their crass antics and ghastly jumpers, and shortly we can celebrate properly the Feast which we have been anticipating.

    So, a happy and holy Nativity (or Hanukkah, for those of that persuasion) to all when it comes: our host, contributors and erudite communicants, who have provided much food for thought and spiritual rumination, not to mention occasional exasperation, and of course amusement (whether intentional or not), over the last calendar year.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      And a very Happy Christmas to you and yours, dear Pubcrawler…

  • Mike Stallard

    Mr Cameldung!
    The Hildabeast!
    I love it!
    Merry Christmas!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Merry Christmas dear Mike, may you be surrounded by glitter and goodwill