Goodness! Having been shown, by a dear friend and fellow communicant, that there might be an alternative, progressive way of interpreting my missives from Barchester (gasp!), I have decided this week to sprinkle my offering with some unambiguous nature notes, inspired by Gilbert White’s frequent forays into the shrubbery – the man was an expert with his dibber. How one yearns for the softer days of spring, when a myriad of woodland flowers brightens many a morning walk, and longer shadows stretch out across the tussocks by late afternoon. It is then that I take myself off, through the rose garden to the Summer House, seeking solitude and reflection, George Herbert clasped in both hands and Samuel Smiles dangling on my chatelaine. In those private moments, I am indeed a lone, lawn creature.
My Lord did not attend the gathering of his episcopal brethren for the declaration on marriage, as he was busy laying the foundation stone for the new ‘Bishop Proudie’s Home for Fallen Women and Transgendered Whatevers’ in Silverbridge. To be fair, he was reluctant to accept the honour of patronage, but I nudged him into it: one must keep up with the times. So good to hear their lordships have rediscovered the Bible, even if few of them can bear to quote it. The Jupiter has gone completely apoplectic, so clearly it was the right decision.
One is always bemused by the Bolshevik Broadcasting Company’s assertion that it speaks for the people. It doesn’t – it simply speaks for some of the people all of the time. No surprise then, to read of Miss Kuenssberg’s epic rudeness when given the opportunity to question President Trumpelstiltskin the other day. A glance from that young lady would turn milk sour. Within the London Quinoa Belt Bubble where egos are stroked by an interchangeable cast of Imogens and Zacks, there is no doubt that many minds think as one, but there is another Britain beyond, as Miss Gaskell pointed out (and the referendum amply demonstrated).
Back to nature for a moment. Did you know the Palace gardens were laid out in the eighteenth century by Lazarus “Incapability” Beige, a pale imitation of his master and somewhat handicapped – some would say inspired – by his incarceration in Barchester Bedlam, but lauded now for his love of crazy paving and ornamental baroque ziggurats (a style subsequently much copied by town planners in every corner of the land). His ‘Bishops’ Walk’ is a notable feature; a lengthy gravel promenade lined with marble statues of Barchester’s episcopal denizens, such as the medieval epicure Piers Gavescon (no, not that one; our chap only licked the plate) and the first Reformation prelate, Marmaduke Lightfire, known in the town as Old Faggotheaver. No doubt in due time, my Lord’s statue will join the serried ranks, eyes heavenward, the pedestal inscribed: ‘Rest in Peace: Until I Come.’ Our under-gardener, Trenchfoot, keeps the whole place neat and tidy, is cultivating new blooms, and is always happy to show me something wonderful in the Potting Shed.
I wish someone could explain to me why those marching under banners blazoned with ‘Love not Hate’ set fire to vehicles, break shop windows and viciously attack the President’s 10-year-old son? As for the incendiary shenanigans at Berkeley, it seems the Left has finally shown themselves to be beyond the pale. I mentioned this to the Archdeacon.
“Madame,” he replied, swilling his brandy several times around the glass before continuing. “At various times in history Europe, and indeed the world, has been convulsed by collective madness. One thinks of the Black Death, which caused the death of untold millions; then revolution, which overturned the natural order and… led to the death untold thousands. Now we see the emergence of Snowflake-ism, the emotional, irrational belief in zombiesque moral superiority and ‘Never mind the Love, feel the width of the cudgel’. As St. Thomas Aquinas said, ‘There are some funny buggers about.’”
There are indeed.
At this point, Mr. Slope came in through the French windows with a bunch of winter pansies. So kind.
“I have been sowing seeds in the wildflower border in preparation for a splendid summer show,” he explained, beaming. “Firstly, I had to pull out the Sticky Willy and two minutes later I came across a Shaggy Soldier – imagine my surprise!”
As long as I have poppies, Persian Jewels and cowslips, I don’t care.
Now that President Trump has abolished Climate Change, we can look forward to mild winters and lovely warm summers. I rather fancy Stinking Billy in the courtyard, but each to their own.
Well now, my dears, as Mr. Slope would say, I’ve left the big one until the end! No, nothing to do with the marrows growing in the hothouse. Image the joy and delight sweeping through The Palace on Thursday night at the news from Westminster. The Prime Minister, no longer Mrs. Dismay but Mrs. Maythywillbedone, is empowered to go forward with Brexit. By all accounts, Comrade Corbyn had a terrible time of it, with many in his party defying the whips – and some whips defying the whip too! He came across as not waving but drowning; a man out of his depth in a puddle. I shall not say a puddle of what, but dandelions have a similar aroma.
So, having meandered through a garden of earthly delights, pointing out vistas and choice specimens, a fragrance here and a bramble there, it’s time to take off the gardening gloves and glide towards Evensong. As the delicate trellis work of social justice is battered by the trumpeting winds of Uncle Sam, and the moles of common sense undermine the gazebo of rampant ideology, ‘tis time to light a votive candle to St. Bonny of Titchmarsh and bid you all adieu.