Goodness! There we were at breakfast, heads stuck in the Sundays (and me fiddling with my soldiers) when my Lord the Bishop exploded. “Just look at this!” he exclaimed, thrusting The Jupiter forwards and scowling like he’d just been translated to Llandaff. It seems our former Prime Minister and aspiring Saviour of the Universe, Mr. Anthony Blair, not only amassed a multi-million-pound fortune but also, with the connivance of the Treasury, set up a secret trust fund to manage it. Ah well, taxes are for little people are they not, and Mr. Blair has a political dynasty to provide for, so they probably decided to cut him some slack: the Pallisers, de Courcys and Greshams must, in time, make way for the Blairs, Kinnocks and Straws, thus ensuring the country remains in the hands of the great and the good for the next 300 years. I believe it’s called social mobility. I understand Mr. Blair gets paid handsomely for his speeches: if only my Lord’s sermons attracted backhanders from Globalist Wahhabi Bilderbergers he too might have a secret trust. Alas and alack, even on a bishop’s stipend, we cannot afford to be socialists.
Whilst shopping along the High Street the other day, I was hailed by the butcher and asked if I’d listened to Draper Osborne’s predictions on leaving the HRE (Holy Roman Empire). “It’s going to cost each and every one of us £4,300 if we go,” said Mr. Giblets, mopping a fevered brow as he arranged his sweetmeats in the window (he’s up before the Bench next week). “Stuff and nonsense!” I replied. “Project Fear is the love-child of desperate men! All this proves is that Mr. Osborne is a bigger purveyor of pork pies than your good self, Mr. Giblets.” But it made me think. So far the ‘Leave’ campaign has lacked vim and vigour. I do believe they need someone like Archdeacon Grantly to buck their ideas up. I will write to that nice Mr. Farage immediately and suggest it.
Earthquakes in Japan, floods in Houston, Texas and a fire-tornado in Canada… is the Good Lord trying to tell us something? One might respond to that question with the proverbial, ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’ but I’m not so sure he is. Thank goodness here in Blighty we have lovely Tomasz Schafernaker sorting the weather out for us – there’s always a warm front down south when he’s about.
One sad note: The Jupiter reported the death of comedienne Victoria Wood on Wednesday, aged only 62. One used to turn on the electric magic lantern and chuckle away as she sang ‘The Ballad of Barry and Freda’. The Grim Reaper is certainly gathering them in this year.
Thursday saw Barchester erupt in patriotic fervour marking the Dear Queen’s 90th Birthday. Bunting was strung from the Cathedral Gate House (he complained a lot but the promise of an extra hobnob on returning to Hiram’s Hospital stopped his nonsense immediately), the children at Dr. Wortle’s School (soon to be an academy) were given a half-day holiday and my Lord the Bishop preached a stirring valedictory wishing Her Majesty another 90 glorious years – a trifle optimistic but… consider the alternative and his wife. Towards the end of the afternoon, Mr. Slope re-enacted Lady Godiva’s entry into Coventry for no good reason as far as I could see (not that I was looking), but it raised a cheer – amongst other things. Unable to hire a trusty nag, Slope improvised by throwing a blanket over two choristers and getting them to bend over and neigh. I have notified Social Services, rest assured.
One must dash. It is my turn to man the Cathedral Close Food Bank for Poor Unfortunates. I shall of course be dispensing lettuce with a gladsome mind and the piece of cod which passeth all understanding. Do drop by.