Meditation and Reflection

Mrs Proudie: Sudden Jihadist Syndrome, Sultan Erdoğan, and nasty pieces of work


Goodness! The sun has had his hat on this week and Barchester has been baking hot: we have had to hose down the old gentlemen at Hiram’s Hospital several times – such fun to see them splashing about! As for oneself, the black bombazine has been laid aside in favour of light muslin, but the stays, like the poor, are always with us!

There’s not been much gossiped about in the salons this week. The madness in Nice last Friday shocked us to the core, and one wonders for how much longer people will tolerate the sight of dead children lying on the side of the road. What amazes me is the fuss made by the press when photographs of the little drowned refugee boy on the beach were published, and yet for those killed in France it is all candles, teddy bears and ‘please don’t go on about it’ or #JeSuisNice. The Archdeacon declared he was not going to take the waters at Bad Krautlingen-am-Gastarbeiter this summer in case a mad axe-man boarded the locomotive and attempted to give him a tonsure. A wise decision, but even in the peaceful Alpes-Maritime one is not safe from Sudden Jihadist Syndrome (SJS), especially if one is scantily dressed. The longer and hotter the summer becomes, the more spontaneous outbreaks of this crack-pot ideology can be expected. One shall stay in Barsetshire and drink in its many beautiful vistas and ancient charms.

The Jupiter reports on the ‘Fall of the Eagle’, the challenges to Comrade Corbynsk (for indeed there are many; most of them sartorial) and Mrs. Dismay’s first week in office. I must say, going off to tell the Germans she has no intention of triggering Article 50 until next year when she hasn’t bothered to tell the rest of us first was a bit rich. One wonders if she will be visiting some of those alternative cabarets in Berlin that Mr. Slope was telling us about. Perhaps not, but she wears the right sort of shoes.

Dr. Vesey Stanhope, out and about on his travels again, has had the misfortune to be stuck in Constantinople when the coup d’état was staged – staged being the operative word. His telegram indicated he was quite safe, but crowds of excited Musselmen have been attacking Christian churches as part of their fun and games and he was almost caught when visiting St. Burkha of the Foolish Dhimmis (as we now know, this falls under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Bishop of Europe). Having the presence of mind to dive under the ample skirts of Mrs Stanhope (whose bonnet was heavily veiled), they managed to sidle off without incident. The view from Barchester is that, whilst Sultan Erdogan is obviously a nasty piece of work, his methods of removing the opposition might profitably be engaged here with anti-Brexit agitators and Common Purpose plotters. Just a thought…

The Cathedral was honoured on Tuesday by a visit from the United States Ambassador, Hiram N. Fireham III, and his lovely wife Peggy-Sue. The Bishop and I gave them lunch – bacon and beans, a Western delicacy one understands – then a guided tour. But it soon became obvious that their knowledge and understanding of English history was negligible. After reassuring Mrs. Fireham that King Henry VI did not have eight wives and that ‘Piers Gavescon’ was something you took to prevent vomiting after watching Mr. Pugh-Morgan’s execrable magic-lantern shows, I asked if she was a Clintonite or a Trumper.

“I’m no Trumper,” she replied, aghast at the very idea.

One thought it best not to comment, but I will not be serving Western cuisine again for some time.
This afternoon I am taking the barouche to Hogglestock to give Mrs. Quiverful a copy of Marie Stopes’ latest instruction manual. One fears the horse has bolted, but one does what one can. Until next week my dears, keep eating the hobnobs… Farewell!