Goodness! It is so good to be back enjoying home comforts and the sights, sounds and smells of Barchester (perhaps not quite so much of the latter) after visiting foreign climes. Having been taken up the Limpopo by Mr. Thomas Cook one feels one has seen it all – believe me, some of the natives made sure of it. (Memorandum to self: dispatch three trunks of long johns with extra-large gussets to St. Aloysius Mission, Ugongo, immediately).
But what has one returned to? A nation divided? Gone are the old divisions of Whig and Tory, for now we have Remainers and Leavers, Big Endians and Little Endians, each side hating the other with rekindled venom. Shocking to discover Anglican clergy have been more than un-Christian in their condemnation of Leavers, but witch-hunts are the new national pastime. Barchester on the whole favoured Leave, but Brussels-am-Berlin still had friends here. Signora Neroni, who has tasted more than Chianti during her frequent sojourns on the banks of Lake Como, was vociferous in her support for Mr. Drunker and volunteered to deliver the government leaflets to each and every household in the town. Such a shame the wheel came off her bath chair as she trundled down the High Street, scattering pamphlets to the wind – and who would have thought Mr. Slope so adept with a screwdriver? This afternoon The Jupiter reported Mr. Farage had resigned, joining Mr. Cameldung and the Draper in the dustbin of history. Of course, in Mr. F.’s case, it is an honourable end to a career and, like Cincinnatus, he is returning to The Plough (where I believe they serve decent pint).
The Bishop and I expected the Archdeacon to be elated with the result, but no, he was foaming at the mouth.
“Mark my words, dear lady,” he snorted, “there are vipers and pettyfoggers in the Commonwealth who may seek to overturn the Will of the People! Dark-hearted creatures who are steeped in the ordure of plots and counter-plots seeking only self-promotion and a leg up the greasy pole.”
Having never experienced a leg up a greasy pole, one naturally asked for clarification.
“Why, I refer to that Machiavellian Minx occupying the Home Office! The snooper-trouper, she who makes Lucrezia Borgia seem like Mary Berry.”
Passions are indeed running high. (Memorandum to self: prepare for next encounter with said cleric by keeping a sou’wester and umbrella close to hand.)
But then we learn that nice multi-millionaire Mr. Blair offered to negotiate Brexit terms on our behalf. So kind. After all, he did such a good job as Peace Envoy in the Middle East, didn’t he? Now that Chilcot has delivered we can rest assured Mr. B. is not the evil, blood-sucking re-incarnation of Vlad the Impaler hell-bent on unleashing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on an unsuspecting world that we all thought he was. Most cheering. Mind, I have never seen Cherie and Countess Elizabeth Bathory together in the same room, have you?
Well now dear friends, one must go and finish the unpacking. So far I have discover three refugees hiding in the bishop’s trunks. Nasty. Adieu…