Mrs Proudie
Meditation and Reflection

The Great Wall of Calais: "At last, somebody is doing something!"

Goodness! I was watching a slug leave its trail of slime across the garden path this morning and thought to myself, ‘Poor Mr. Vaz, has his brilliant career lead to ignominy and shame, to be hounded by the gutter press and sensationalist media? Have we no heart, no compassion for a man now ruined?’

The answer, of course, is ‘No, we haven’t.’

I stamped on the slug.

Squish.

But I digress. My Lord the Bishop was called to a tip-top meeting at Lambeth, where the Archbishop wanted to sound out the entire bench on the vexed question of ‘unaccompanied children’ currently languishing in the hands of the French. Imagine the filth and squalor, the endless garlic and Edith Piaf blasting over the airwaves day and night! My Lord had no opinion on the matter until I told him what it should be. His Grace, however, was of the view that government has a moral responsibility to do something, like bringing the children across the Channel immediately. I’m not so sure government should be dabbling in morality – life, after all, is nasty, brutish and short – and preaching morality is the rightful metier of the clergy (and Mr. Blair), so of course I understand the Archbishop’s argument. But I am of the old-fashioned opinion that children are the responsibility of the parents. If these parents abandoned their offspring, they need to be prosecuted for child abuse and the children handed over to relatives in their home countries, failing that, orphanages. (Many an Englishwoman – of a certain class – has found herself in the Clink for leaving her children behind whilst taking a holiday on the Costa Brava). I know, I know… you are thinking what a softy I am. Well, I could have suggested apprenticeships down coal mines and up chimneys, but Christian compassion rules my heart.

The Archdeacon is very excited to discover there will soon be a Great Wall of Calais, built at tax-payers’ expense to keep the unwashed hordes away from these shores. I pointed out the planned edifice is only going to be half a mile long, which means Johnny Foreigner can easily nip round the sides, but as usual he didn’t listen to a mere woman.

“At last, somebody is doing something!” he cried as we took a stroll around the cloister. “We should follow the government’s example and build one around Barchester.”

I fear he has been well and truly Trumped.

My French correspondent, the Comtesse de la Plume de Matante, informs me that several suspicious gas canisters were found in a vehicle parked close to Notre Dame. Thank goodness the jolly gendarmes nipped the dastardly plot in the bud – if indeed is was such a plot. Blowing up cathedrals is simply bad form, but it reminded us, here in bucolic Barchester, of the need to be vigilant. With Mustafa Fatwah’s Curry emporium only a street or so away from the Cathedral Close, precautions are imperative – his vindaloo is remarkably explosive.

At Signora Neroni’s afternoon salon this week the chief topic of conversation was the imminent closure of both Houses of Parliament for repairs and refurbishment and the relocation of MPs and Lords to alternative accommodation. This generated much mirth, and an instant party game.

“Where would you put the politicians, Mrs Proudie?” asked the simpering Signora.

“Rockall,” I replied firmly.

The Signora then put the same question to Mr. Slope.

“I’d put the House of Commons in Brighton. So much more convenient for all-nighters…” he snorted.

“Oh Mr. Slope, you are a one!” giggled La Neroni.

We have known this for quite some time.

This refurbishment is going to make Lord Irvine’s wallpaper a mere bagatelle. Funny how they can find money for interior design and not for pensions. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is no doubt wetting himself at the thought of creating feature walls, shag carpets and MDF wot-nots, all in the best possible taste.

Gracious me, look at the time! I will have to dash, there is much to be done. I have tracts to deliver and brasses to buff. The Archdeacon is waiting to take me up the Triforium, so I must get a move on. Adieu dear hearts until next time.

  • CliveM

    Despite all the unsettling changes on this site, we still have Mrs Proudie in her rightful place on a Friday. Suddenly all is again alright with the world.

    • dannybhoy

      And she works better than slug pellets.

      • William Lewis

        She hasn’t lost her saltiness.

  • Uncle Brian

    I trust you were careful to scrape the mess off your shoe afterwards, Mrs P. You wouldn’t want to bring something like that into your own home, even post mortem.

  • Orwell Ian

    Remember the great wall by Maginot. Keep the hun at bay it would. Jolly unsporting of them to go round it. The Great Wall of Calais thus reminds me of the quote that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Never mind, we don’t need to backfill the Chunnel and mine the Channel to fend off the invaders. Demoralisation is the answer. Demolish all hope of employment and benefit entitlement and they will soon disperse to the next best soft touch.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Is it me, or do our civil servants / politicians need a refresher course in basic geometry? A straight line is not an effective shape for containing a group of people, just as a circle is not a good configuration for a firing squad. I suspect the residents in the jungle will be highly amused at this attempt to keep them away from our shores.

    • Anton

      I doubt the Channel Tunnel will be around for much longer. It’s a pretty obvious target for the usual enemy.

      • Orwell Ian

        If the usual enemy you’re thinking of is the same usual enemy I’m thinking of then they would be shooting themselves in both feet.

        • Anton

          The economic damage would be huge and they want that.

      • dannybhoy

        Fill it, and ban moles.
        Especially Frenchies…

  • dannybhoy

    I stamped on the slug.

    Squish.

    Even in the gentlest of females there lieth a streak of ruthlessness.
    Ever had a ‘Dear John’ letter….

    To compare Mr Vaz to a slug is rather unfair on the slug don’t you think? After all, your slug has no choice on whether to slime or not…

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      “Let they who use not slug pellets cast the first stone,” St. Titchmarsh, Chapter 10 v34

      • dannybhoy

        Never heard of ‘im..

        Perhaps, “Over my shoulder goes one slug!”

        with the delightful Jesse Matthews…

        • chefofsinners

          It’s all in the chemistry section of the bible, the Apothyca.

      • sarky

        I hear our Lady of dimmock has a couple of boulders he could borrow.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Don’t trouble yourself over Mr Vaz, Mrs Proudie. I suspect one day we will see him leaving his sticky trail across the floor of the House Of Lords, reincarnated as Lord Fondleman of Grope or some such alias. Still, he will feel at home amongst all those other invertebrates.

  • carl jacobs

    Poor slug. Was his tragic end really nothing other than a metaphor of human vanity and corruption? There he was in the garden … doing slug things … when suddenly – “Squish!”

    Is there no mercy? Is there no compassion?

    • chefofsinners

      Let us remember that we are the salt of the earth, Carl. It is our calling to desiccate those who are Vazzels of dishonour.
      Since we are also the light of the world, we rejoice to see the magnifying glass of the media focus the sunshine of truth into the fetid crevazzes of this sordid slobberer.
      Let our lithping thtammering tongueth thay “lock him up and throw away the Keith!”

    • Grouchy Jack

      There wont be tomorrow ….

  • David

    Ah His Grace has been transubstantiated – hallelujah !
    And followed by another extremely witty article, a veritable triumph of word-play, from our honourable lady Mrs Proudie, for which I give my thanks.
    Squashing slugs eh. ? That’s very spontaneous, but a tad too messy even by my standards. Thinning out our local abundance of pigeons is more my game – from a proper distance of course ! One well aimed shot does it very cleanly.

    • Orwell Ian

      I think His Grace has escaped from transubstantiation and now ascended to cyber-heaven. The blog is being powered by a Cloud according to some of the odd messages I’m getting.

      • chefofsinners

        What will we do if it’s a sunny day?

  • Anton

    It is said that the Palace of Westminster will have to be vacated for six years while the restoration takes place. (In the 17th century an earlier version was vacated for two decades before a Restoration…) Plans are afoot for Parliament to sit elsewhere in London. But I have a better plan, in view of the mess that Parliament has made of this country in recent years: that MPs take a 6-year holiday.

  • Eustace

    It appears that Mrs Proudie is a real Christian.

    She judges when she has been commanded not to judge.

    She metes out punishment with all the righteous indignation of God in direct contravention of his command to turn the other cheek.

    And she hates her neighbour and makes constant disparaging comments about him.

    She is indeed that most abject of all beings: the hypocrite who cries “Lord! Lord!” while condemning everybody’s transgressions except her own.

    • Anton

      Well you are certainly a real atheist: fallen, and in denial of it.

      • dannybhoy

        Or inSeine.

    • dannybhoy

      Perhaps you’re jealous of the affection in which Mrs Proudie is held here Eustace.
      We English are a strange breed. Or a rare breed, as Noel Coward declared.
      We value those who make us laugh by sending up the ecclesiastical establishment, and fondly remember the Raj..
      We accept that sometimes there is a sailing close to the wind, but Mrs Proudie is reminiscent of that famous British humour and resolve in the face of adversity..
      You have literary talent, but Mrs Proudie has style…

      • Eustace

        Mrs Proudie is like most manifestations of British culture: derivative, self-congratulatory and relying on the relics of a past long since dead to create a pastiche of bygone glory.

        There is little humour in her witterings and what style there is has been shamelessly plagiarised from writers much more talented than she. And much more in phase with the era in which they lived.

        Seeking refuge in a time when Britain was an imperial power won’t save you now. Indeed it merely serves to highlight your lack of connection with the times in which you live.

        Of course Mrs Proudie is popular here. She panders to your desire to flee into the past. Nostalgia is the last refuge of the impotent. See yourselves for who you really are, and weep.

        • dannybhoy

          Rubbish Eustace. Like every nation we hark back to our roots. We don’t long for a return to snobbery and entitlement, but it is a part of our past, just as it is of France.

        • Grouchy Jack

          Dickhead …..

          • The Explorer

            That’s a serious insult to dicks!

        • Inspector General

          “I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said ‘Eustace’. ‘E U S T A C E Eustace, darling’

          “Then what”

          “I asked her what she wanted”

          “Which was…”

          “To help get us to England so we can wreck the place, she said”

          “How did you react to that?”

          “I beat her and robbed her. Look one of her rings, with a finger still in it…”

    • Grouchy Jack

      Dickhead …

      • Eustace

        Forgot you’re supposed to be blocking me, eh?

        D’oh!

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    The electronic transubstantiation is little short of a modern miracle!

    • chefofsinners

      Whereas the eucharistic transubstantiation is little short of an ancient mythical.

  • Inspector General

    Good day to you, Mrs Proudie.

    The Inspector finds himself busy of late, demanding of the Foreign Office that they top the intended wall with broken glass embedded in cement. Should the blighters get past that, then a second bare wire fence, with a line running from the nearby channel tunnel overhead electrics (a 25,000 Volt Supply) should finish off even the most intrepid. The possibility of them tunnelling under the wall cannot be ruled out, and will need state-of-the-art seismic probes inserted next to the thing. They can detect a kitten burying its muck 200 yards away, apparently….

    Just to make doubly sure. A third barrier will be an area of ground guarded by dangerous dogs (and cats and rabbits, etc) seized from the urban peasantry in the God forsaken towns and cities of England, and from the travelling community. One suggests we keen their appetite for intruders by feeding them next to nothing…

    The Inspector has lost some canisters of gas. They were samples supplied by the Barchester Chemical Weapons Manufactory (which as you know, rents glebe land from the cathedral). He’d just popped into Notre Dame to pray and remind God that most of the human race needs getting rid of as they are beyond hope, and would He please send another plague, like He used to. (And one not just confined to promiscuous gays and intravenous drug addicts this time!) When your man returned to his vehicle, said canisters were missing…taken by EU roaming thieves probably. One wishes he was around (at a greatly safe distance) when they prized the tops off…Consequently the Inspector did not bother to inform Les Clouseaux, but dispatched a telegram boy to La Rue Morgue, presumably the place in Paris where the deserving mysteriously dead end up.

    Toodle pip, dear lady!

  • The Explorer

    Walls to keep aliens out, and walls to keep citizens in both say much about the desirability of a given society.

  • Anton

    There’s only a little slug left in my bottle of malt whisky…

    • Orwell Ian

      Well at least it will die happy.

  • chefofsinners

    Do slugs go to heaven?

    • Inspector General

      Nice dogs do. Only nice ones, mind…

      • chefofsinners

        What if it had just eaten a slug? Would the slug go then?

        • Inspector General

          Yes. If that was the case, then yes. It would.

          • chefofsinners

            Thank you, Inspector. You have been a real help to a confused and searching soul. Have you met my friend Eustace?

          • Inspector General

            39 bishops who abstained during the gay marriage fiasco WON’T be going to heaven. Does that help too?

          • chefofsinners

            What if they had just eaten a dog?

          • Inspector General

            One dog or 39 dogs?

          • chefofsinners

            One dog and 39 slugs.

          • Inspector General

            In all seriousness, the 39 deserted Jesus and the faith when they were needed. They can be expected to suffer similar on their earthly demise.

          • dannybhoy

            It would have no choice. No matter how loudly it protested from the depths of the dog’s intestines…

  • carl jacobs

    Well … Except for all that Romanism stuff.

    • CliveM

      Carl Jacobs, he also speak truth!

  • chefofsinners

    ATTENTION ALL REGULAR COMMUNICANTS
    You may have noticed some recent changes to this blog.
    Over recent weeks your contributions and comments have been assessed in order to gain a measure of your intelligence. Those who have reached the required standard will now see the title ‘Archbishop Grammar’ at the top of this page. Your fine minds will receive particular attention and be honed for leadership positions in the kingdom of heaven.
    If you continue to see the title ‘Archbishop Cranmer’, never mind, but you are a bit thick. You will learn to clean toilets in the heavenly Jerusalem.
    You might still gain entry to Archbishop Grammar If you are:
    a) from a poor background and
    b) can explain the meaning and correct the grammar of the following sentence: ‘The witness of events where the people gather’

    • Uncle Brian

      It isn’t a sentence.

      • chefofsinners

        Right answer. Congratulations. Now, so long as you are poverty stricken and can afford the uniform and travel costs from your slum to the leafy suburb where the school is located and don’t mind leaving your friends behind and being bullied when you get there and being bullied when you get home…
        You may proceed to Archbishop Grammar.

        • dannybhoy

          ‘Swot face.’
          I like it.

    • Inspector General

      Twas a two pronged attack on the English by the Marxist Labour party. First, flood the country with immigrants who would always vote Labour, or so they thought. Second, destroy the country’s elite by failing to educate the brightest and up and coming to their potential. Labour would have gone on to destroy the public school system too, but that would have been a bridge too far they thought, and they wouldn’t have managed it. The whole plot could have gone down the pan. That bastard Crosland didn’t die soon enough. Just after his birth would have been ideal…

      • Royinsouthwest

        What was it that Margaret Thatcher said about how a grammar school education enabled her to compete with privileged public school types such as Tony Benn and Shirley Williams?

    • What do you take to remain regular, Chef?

      • chefofsinners

        There is a fig tree in my garden which I both tend and prune. At this time of year it beareth excellent fruit, though it be rooted in stony ground.

    • It should read:

      The witness of events: telling stories where people gather; interrogating politicians talking about morality and bishops talking about politics.

    • dannybhoy

      or “Where the people gather to witness events and misunderstand them..”

  • Pubcrawler

    I notice a Thomas Cranmer came something of a cropper in the 2.40 at Chester yesterday (Friday) afternoon. It that what His Grace has been up to during the transformation?

  • bluedog

    ‘This generated much mirth, and an instant party game.’

    Heavens. Not Twister as nature intended with Slope, Neroni and the Archdeacon. That might generate more than mere mirth if the selfies escape captivity.

  • Royinsouthwest

    I’d be careful stamping on slugs Mrs Proudie. They can be very slippery. You wouldn’t want to go flying and end up in hospital!

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Here is Psalm 58:8a in yer actual Hebrew:

    Let them be as a snail which melteth and passeth away;
    כְּמוֹ שַׁבְּלוּל, תֶּמֶס יַהֲלֹךְ; kemo shablul temes yahalohk;

    I thought of this a long time ago after seeing a snail dried up on a stone in the midday sun. But does not the same sun shine on us all?

    • chefofsinners

      It would seem that Mr Vaz has misread the Proverb thus:
      ‘Go to the deviant thou sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise.”

  • The Explorer

    Those who hate the Israeli Wall and the proposed Mexican Wall also hate the idea of the Calais Wall. People should be free to live where they choose. Actually, those who say this don’t have that freedom themselves. True, they are free to live in Britain, but where in Britain they can live is constrained by where they can find employment and, if they are home owners, by the kind of property they can afford.

    Following Rousseau (whether consciously or otherwise), they see walls as something unnatural. But all those with whom I have argued find nothing strange about sleeping within walls at night, or about creating a protective wall for their possessions by closing and locking the front door when they go out. They have a mental wall, to protect them from right-wing ideas.

    Through history, people have found it an entirely natural impulse to live behind protective walls. Castles, fortified farms and manor houses, walled cities (at one time, all cities were walled), Hadrian’s Wall, the Great Wall of China…

  • len

    I am much in favour of walls, got four of them , seven if you count the garden…