Goodness! Whenever in the kitchen making jelly my thoughts turn naturally to Archbishop Welby, who wobbles about on so many issues. I am knitting him a new backbone and will be finished ere long, when I shall entrust it to the penny post. It cannot be easy navigating between smells and bells traditionalists on the one hand and rampant iconoclastic progressives on the other – rather like performing the Lobster Quadrille blindfolded with one leg tied to an anvil and the other limping from gout. His Easter message was, as usual, all things to all men – the piece of codswallop which passeth all understanding – but the dear man means well, even if he looks like an upper-branch resident of The Faraway Tree.
It is good to know our bishops have principles, and if you don’t like them, they have others.
Yes, my dears, I have returned! A couple of weeks sailing up and down the fjords of Norway have restored my vim and vigour, though if I ever see another plate of seafood again I shall expire! My Lord the Bishop and I greatly enjoyed lashings of reindeer stew, so please don’t expect a call from Rudolf next Christmas.
I do hope I was missed.
So, to business…
Comrade Corbynov continues to demonstrate his unfitness for any office other than filing clerk (3rd grade) in the Pravda Archive Siberian Branch, yet many still seem to like him, particularly in North Korea. Now he has celebrated Passover with The Anti-Hasidic Jewish Self-flagellating Socialist Co-operative for the Eradication of Israel (London Branch) it’s clear there is no radical group on earth that he is not prepared to cultivate. (For those who believe Comrade C. is the devil’s spawn, let me assure you there is no known genetic connection linking him to Mr. Blair, though Ancestry.com is working on it). However, I don’t think he has fallen head-over-heels in love with ISIS (not even he would stoop so low), and despite thinking his judgment is flawed on so many popular fronts, I make no comment whatsoever about his Abbottesque proclivities, for I am a sworn advocate of ‘Holy Humour’, as regulars will know, and this is a family-orientated epistle.
Our little Cathedral Close community was united this weekend for the annual egg-rolling festival at Mountcurry Major, which, as you know, is next to Mountcurry Parva, two delightful Barsetshire villages which share a parish church, dedicated to St. Legova, patron saint of jogging. There was much excitement all round when my saffron-painted egg hit a small stone on the way down the hill and flew up into the air, landing upon my Lord the Bishop’s bald pate.
“The yolks on you, my Lord,” quipped Mr. Slope.
Holy Humour… do you see?
The Archdeacon tells me a noxious substance was discovered in Barchester whilst we were away, resulting in two people being found slumped on a park bench near Mustafa Fatwah’s ‘Opiates R Uz Perfumery and Kalashnikov Trade-in Emporium’.
“First Salisbury and now us!” he exclaimed, “Is nowhere safe these days?”
No indeed, for has not Saracen Khan (Police be upon him) proclaimed that people living in cities must get used to terrorism, or something like that? If only the Mayor of London would re-read his job description and stop sand-dancing across the world stage there might be fewer drive-by shootings or back-alley stabbings.
Of course, Inspector Cuffem and the Barchester Boys in Blue were on the case immediately, fresh from their Home Office Transgender Awareness Training and ‘How to crochet a truncheon’ workshop. It turned out the unfortunate slumpees were two old gentlemen from Hiram’s Hospital having a late afternoon nap, and the noxious substance was simply Mr. Bunce’s bread poultice which had gone a bit stale and was attracting flies. The Archdeacon, who happened to be passing, was able to identify and wake the gentlemen and gently propel them back to their lodgings with the tip of his clerical boot.
“The Inspector was all for blaming the Russians,” chortled the Archdeacon, “But I managed to put him right – alas, not before he had voiced his suspicions to Tom Towers who was also passing, and so the story appeared in the following morning’s Jupiter. That scurrilous Toynbee-esque penny dreadful is not to grace the floorboards of a night-soil shifter’s dumpster.”
“Then why do you buy it, Archdeacon?” I replied.
“Know thine enemy, dear lady, know thine enemy!”
Changing the subject, I don’t think the Archdeacon’s idea that universities should establish ‘No-oxygen spaces’ for leftwing students will catch on.
Parliamentary affairs are always of interest; after all, the Duke of Omnium is a great friend, and the Pallisers have represented Barchester at Westminster for many generations. Obscurity has always been their watchword, and how wise it is not to stick one’s head above the parapet. Some parliamentarians, however, like to stir up the hornet’s nest. I see the fragrant Naz Shah MP – she who told the Rotherham abuse victims to ‘shut up’ for the sake of diversity – has been in the news again, praising the not-quite-cold-in-her-coffin Winnie Mandela for her benign and inspirational leadership as ‘Mother of the Nation’. Perhaps she plans to attend the obsequies wearing something appropriate to the occasion. A necklace would go down well, don’t you think?
One hopes Winnie will find a special nook in Hell, though Pope Francis thinks there’s no such place. He clearly has not been to Telford.
Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Sir Abraham Haphazzard informs me that Ms. Saunders (aka the Rapefinder General) is stepping down as Director of the Criminal Protection Service. I trust we can look forward to a restoration of the ancient Common Law principle of ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’ as a result, and perhaps, if we are doubly lucky, the jury system might come back into fashion. Best not hold our collective breath, for conservative principles are not much favoured by Mrs. Dismay’s government, infused as it is with go-ahead progressivism. The damage done by Blair, Brown, Straw, Harman, Rudd and the myrmidons of Common Purpose is deeply entrenched, and it will take determination to put things right. I’m not sure that determination is there. Ms. Saunders is a progressive and is now progressing towards a cushy sinecure and a monstrous pension fund. A peerage can only be moments away. A suitable title might be Baroness Malpractice of Malfeasance. Or Lady Lockmenup.
I have penned a topical poem…
They seek him here, they seek him there,
That Citizen Khan gets everywhere…
Alas not in London, where things are not well,
The city’s become a diversity-hell.
Lord Tennyson thinks I show promise.
Lastly, spare a thought for the poor Christian family slaughtered by Pakistani Islamists after Easter Sunday. These knife-wielding murderous barbarians are no different from the Thugees of old and should be dealt with in the same way. I know that does not sound very Christian, but I am not a great fan of murderous martyrdom and see no merit in observing the silence of the lambs.
Perhaps I should finish with some ‘Holy Humour’?
Well, I think that’s enough for now, my dears. It is good to be back amongst friends.