Have a wonderful, roast-chestnut and marshmallow Christmas with lashings of eggnog, stilton and sprouts

A very festive ‘Goodness!’ to you all!

Well, I must say The Palace is looking rather splendid, the decorations this year being a riot of green, gold and red. Mr. Slope has been put to good use making paper-chains (a better use for his tongue than some of his sermons, believe me), and I have put the finishing touches to the Christmas Crib in the main courtyard, ready to add the various figures at the appropriate times. I had thought of making it a ‘living tableau’ this year but could not persuade the Old Gentleman of Hiram’s Hospital to dress up, despite the promise of new thermals.

Speaking of sermons, I read in The Jupiter that the Rev’d Mr. Aitken has been preaching to the mandarins and underlings of the Foreign Office (see Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15). It is heartening to know that such grand pooh-bahs of diplomacy would take time off from kow-towing to Brussels to sing ‘Little Donkey’. Was Mr. Aitken listened to? Was he heard? One wonders. Some may criticise the reverend gentlemen for failing to mention God, but if God is present in all things could we not assume His presence in the words and thoughts expressed, not to mention the deed itself? Was the chaplain not simply bringing light unto the genderphiles? I understand Mr. Aitken favours a certain shade of clerical blue. This is a mistake: an Anglican clergyman with bottom would wear black. I shall write to him at once offering Mr. Slope’s services for an ecclesiastical make-over: there’s no one more qualified to take a cleric in hand than Mr. Slope.

“When is a stupid woman not a stupid woman?” asked the Archdeacon as we settled ourselves on the misericords in the 13th-century chapel of St. Soubry and All Demons in readiness for the Advent Service. It is a good question, bringing to mind the story of the Foolish Virgins: five virgins were prepared for the wedding and five were not, the foolish ones being the latter. Having had two years or more to get ready for Brexit, the Prime Disaster only gave the go-ahead to plan for a ‘No-deal’ this week. In this context, Comrade Corbynov’s ungallant mutterings have a smidgeon of justification, though, of course, he is no one to talk. The hoo-hah his words caused provided the perfect smoke-screen to cover the ominous news that Mrs. Dismay has signed us up for the UN Migration Compact – so much for repeated Tory promises to cut back on immigration. Come to think of it, so much for Tory promises full stop.

Politically, the nation is adrift between Scylla and Charybdis.

The Magic Comrade has other worries, however. One of his MPs, the dusky Fiona Onasanya (of the Shropshire Onasanyas) was found guilty of perverting the course of justice; something to do with telling porkies, her brother and a speeding barouche. She compares her ‘ordeal’ to the trial of Christ before Pilate, though I was not aware Our Lord could drive. Feeling no shame (for such is the socialist way), Ms. Onasanya declared she will not resign her seat, proving not all cling-ons are to be found on board the USS Enterprise.

I’m not exactly sure what a drone is – I don’t think it has much to do with bees – but I understand they have been causing all sorts of bother. Having one’s travel plans disrupted is most vexing and tiresome, and delays make for angry customers. However, these days we must all be on the alert for anarchists and terrorists, so whoever has been launching these machines is due for a sound spanking. Surely our combined security services can get to the crux of the matter – if they just leave off hunting down those dastardly hurty-wordsmiths on the t’interweb for five minutes.

I found Signora Neroni is some agitation when I called on Friday morning. She had just read the horrifying report of the murder of two Scandinavian girls in Morocco at the hands of a gang of bestial savages.

“Why do these young women go to such dangerous, misogynistic countries in the first place? Do they think they are invulnerable?” said the Signora, dapping her eyes with a cambric square.

“Ah, the young,” I replied. “They see the world quite differently, you know. Schools teach that all cultures are equal, that kindness and decency conquers-all, that silk purses can be made out of sow’s ear, that boys can be girls if they wish and vice-versa, and that all shall have prizes.”

“How does that prepare them for the real world out there?” asked the Signora.

“It doesn’t, but it makes them feel good about themselves,” I said, matter-of-factly.

“But these girls were raped and beheaded,” said the Signora, in some degree of anguish.

“So I understand, and it is truly terrible. But the same fluffy unicorn mentality runs like a septic sewer through most of Western Europe, poisoning minds and denying reality. Governments, whose prime duty is to protect their citizens and promote their well-being, have thrown reason out of the window, opened up their borders and welcomed the seventh century into the present. The peoples of Europe didn’t ask for this, they didn’t vote for this, but the powers-that-be have engineered it nevertheless.”

“Where will it all end?” wailed the Signora.

“Read your Bible, dear, read your Bible.”

Now, I have news. The translation of my Lord the Bishop to the Anglican see of Strelsau in Ruritania is ‘off’, but an offer of the bishopric of Debra Dowa in Azania, Africa, which has become vacant, has been accepted, and so we shall be saying goodbye to Barchester in the New Year. My next missive will indeed be the last – but oh, what fun we have had!

So, as The Miller’s Tale of Neverendum is peddled once again by the fellow-travellers of globalisation and the Canterbury pilgrims of Remain proclaim the Gospel of Social Justice from the pulpit of Doublespeak, I bid you adieu until next week. Have a wonderful, roast-chestnut and marshmallow Christmas with lashings of eggnog, stilton and sprouts. Everyone should have a decent goose, don’t you think? Oh, and don’t forget God… He had a lot to do with the reason we’re here, don’t you know.

Of course you do…

Merry Christmas!