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Saturday, 29 November 2008

Moon Gibbon Victorious?

What a horrible night for Saluting the Moon. The first glimpse of the crescent moon was completely invisible in the fog; the orange glow from Milton Keynes created a kind of miasma over the whole village. It was so cold that even the Fertility Beaker Folk called off their scheduled dances on Aspley Heath, and joined us in the Dining Room for mulled Irn Bru and cheese toasties.
And then we heard the screams from the Orchard. It turned out that the Church of the Order of the Moon Gibbon had convinced themselves that the fog was the direct result of the work of the Moon Gibbon, and that the Moon would be blotted out forever. By the time we got out there, they were laying on the ground hyperventilating and had to be restored by a series of brisk slaps to the face.
I just pray that we get a clear night some time soon...

Friday, 28 November 2008

Firm but fair

Needless to say, the so-called do-gooders and bleeding hearts have been complaining about the way we have dealt with Drayton Parslow's latest attempt at muck-raking.

Drayton was previously asking awkward questions about the takeover and running-down of Mrs Whimsey's Doily Shops. Going round writing "The Archdruid is a bad businesswoman" on the sheds around the Community was not the most constructive way to deal with this issue. However the "cease and desist" notice seemed to have the desired effect.

But Drayton was not satisfied. Now he has started to muse about the legality of the (remarkably cheap) Kosovan and Congolese gardeners that we are using in the Community mushroom farm and alpaca ranch. This sort of behaviour can only destabilise a happy community. So Drayton spent a few hours, at the request of Hnaef and myself, discussing a better way of moving the debate forward. Like stopping talking about it.
It has been pointed out that Drayton's little chat with us co-incided with the attention of the community being drawn in another direction, with the unfortunate incident of Young Keith running amok in the refectory during lunch. I can only emphasise that this was a total co-incidence. We would have beaten Drayton up - sorry, had our discussions with him - either way.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

MFI

Contrary to the rumours that have been running around the community, I should emphasise we have absolutely no plans to take over MFI.
We are a group of post-christendom pre-Celtic druids and hippies, spending all our time lighting tealights and meditating on pebbles, and with absolutely no commercial sense or experience in the furniture market. So it is true we could probably have come up with a better business plan than the existing management of the company achieved. However we've still got our hands full with the issues arising from winding-up the doily shops and the new alpaca venture.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Authentic Beaker Sweaters

I am pleased to announce the establishment of the Husborne Crawley Alpaca Flock. Hopefully within a year or two we will have enough alpacas bred to start to produce a serious number of Beaker Sweaters. We are planning to sell them through the currently-empty chain of shops that used to sell Mrs Whimsy's Doilies before we were so sadly forced to put them into administration.
But while we wait for the alpaca breeding programme to come on-line, don't despair! You can already buy sweaters, in an authentic Beaker pattern, in authentic acrylic in a range of authentic Beaker colours (brown, beige, or khaki).

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Buffalo Soldiers

We note that some of our Beaker People have taken advice from a spiritual leader in the South-West and built an authentic North American First Nations' prayer tent in the style of a teepee in the South Pasture. Well done on this piece of practicality combined with spirituality. Also, thanks to those who laid on those fantastic steaks for the festival to celebrate the Nativity of Mickey Mouse.
However... I've had a call from Whipsnade. Apparently one of their Bison is missing, and they thought of us. Anyone got anything to tell me?

Labyrinth

Quick note of thanks to those who built the Labyrinth in the Upper Field. Thanks a lot, it's a lovely addition to the grounds, a chance for a truly prayerful time which provides both phyiscal and spiritual connections.
However - not so grateful to whoever it was that put the Minotaur in there. Please could you remove it immediately?

Naming Ceremonies

Just to confirm a few rules on Naming Conventions.

We realise that, as the prophet Bertie Wooster put it, some fairly rough work has been carried out at the font - with children particularly these days given names such as Aston Martin, Key-fob, Branston and Gloria Mundi.

The Beaker Naming Ceremony offers the opportunity to take on your true name, and one reflecting your concern for nature or some aspect of your personality. However it is important that new Beaker People put some thought into their Beaker Names before they attend Moot for approval of their Beaker Names. Ensuring that the names meet some essential standards will prevent unneccessary time spent trying to think of new ones. Therefore please bear the following in mind:

Generally, names must be genuinely Beaker-ish - or at least sound like they might be. So Birdwitt, Ggrelthrop, Argle, Keith and Eileen are all acceptably Beakerish names. Turns out that Hnaef is Anglo-Saxon, but it's a bit late to change it now.
It is acceptable for people to adopt the names of small villages in the South Midlands that sound like they might be real people. This reflects our concern for a living concern with the landscape, rooted in the deep history of this land. Who knows - names such as Drayton Parslow, Marston Trussell and Burton Dasset may even go back to Beaker times. Note however that this only applies to small settlements. So Warwick, Dudley and Chester, for example, are all out - not least because they are geographically inappropriate. Luton, likewise, is totally unacceptable.
Names that are Druidic are acceptable because, as we know, the Druids were originally Beaker People. This gives us issues with names relating to the Arthurian cycle. On pragmatic grounds, we were prepared to accept Morgana, as there are so few villages with feminine-sounding names. On the other hand, we decided that Merlin was out - consider it our protest against that programme on BBC1 on Saturdays. Mind you, we'd still advise keeping your eye on Morgana. You don't pick a name like that for nothing.

Note that people have also already tried the following names, which have all been rejected as insufficiently authentic, or just plain stupid: Gandalf, Ijsselmeer, Ikhnaton, Itsacon, Tesco, Uncle Bulgaria, Dumbledore, Ragwort.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Karaoke

I have to confess, when I instituded the Karaoke sessions in an attempt to convert a few Introverts to Extraverts, I hadn't realised the way that the snowball I had rolled downhill would turn into an avalanche.
Brelgert, for instance - we thought he was so butch. His habit of wandering around the garden in a checked shirt, cutting down trees, gave us a certain impression of his personality. And yet his rendition of "I will Survive" left us all wondering. Certainly Mrs Brelgert was less than impressed.
And Grelwart. It was bad enough that he claimed to be performing a rendition of "Smack my Bitch up". But we've a horrible feeling that what he was actually singing was "Smack my Bishop". I mean, which would be worse? Our ecumenical relationships could be awfully strained.
And as for Hnaef. Generally so restrained, so English, so inclined to impose his liberal, tolerant views on everyone whether they like it not. So where did the obsession with "Psycho Killer" come from? And why did we have to hear it so many times?
However, we have to look on the bright side. There's no doubt that the Beaker Folk are considerably more extravert than they were even last week. Thanks to the rock-breaking, the foundations of the Moot House are well on the way and everyone is generally looking more toned. Here's to some dedicated whittling this coming week.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Myers Briggs

As the community will be aware, I've been becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of progress in raising the new Moot Hall (the old one having burnt down after the Night of a Thousand Tea Lights alt.worship disaster. Hence I took the liberty to have you all tested for your personality types this afternoon at the Myers Briggs workshop.
Much in line with my expectations, it turns out that, to a Beaker Person, you're all INFP. So this explains why so little construction has taken place. You've all been wandering about considering how you relate to the task 0f building a Moot Hall - wondering what it must feel like to actually be a length of willow - trying to understand you place in the sheer mootiness of it all - while a great pile of badly-whittled sticks has lain around on the grass where a Moot Hall should be appearing.
Well, winter's going to be here soon and I'm sick to death of having to host a bunch of hippy new-age wannabes in my Dining Room for want of a better "space"(or "room" as we used to call them...) So I'm taking some drastic action.
To encourage a few I's to turn into P's, I'm introducing compulsory Karaoke. The landlord of the White Horse was not encouraging when I suggested we should hold it there every night, so instead it will take place in the Apple Shed. Yes I know it's full of apples, but you should all have thought of that before you started skipping around thinking the stars are God's daisy chain and that shooting stars are dying fairies.
And to get some Judging and Thinking behaviour going on around here, I'm introducing a daily mental maths exercise instead of the Pouring out of Beakers ceremony. And a rock-breaking time instead of Filling Up of Beakers (because if we're scrapping Pouring out of Beakers, let's face it, Filling up of Beakers is going to get a bit messy).

So enough with the rich inner lives already. We're gonna whip some druids into line here and get the Moot House built

Friday, 14 November 2008

Hunter's Moon


It was, as always, with a certain trepidation that we set out onto the patch of grass over by the little pointy hut (does anyone know what that's for?) to celebrate the Hunter's Moon (or, according to Hnaef, "Hunters' Moon").

For we know Husborne Crawley to be an eerie, slightly on-the-edge, thin place. And it is said locally that, of a Hunter's Moon, the form of Herne the Hunter, having lost his way in Windsor, is to be seen looking for his lost wolves or whatever it is he does. Or maybe one can see the sight of Edith Weston, cruelly burnt as a witch by the 2nd Duke. Or it could be the sound of the Gabriel Hounds, as they hunt for lost souls over Aspley Heath. Though let's face it, they'd be better heading off for Milton Keynes, or maybe hovering over the lost souls in the traffic jams on the M1.


So as we made our observations of the moon, it was with no little surprise that we heard the howling coming ever closer, through the cool of the night, under that Hunter's Moon.


It was even littler surprise that we discovered it was Young Keith and his mate Drayton Parslow, heading back from an evening at the White Horse.


Somehow the world is a little less scary, a little less mysterious - and yet a little less interesting.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Liturgy of the Berlin Wall

During the first part of the service, a giant wall may be built, of bricks, breeze blocks, or as it may be pebbles or (if there are children present) Duplo blocks. Frankly, Lego is a bit small for this.

Archdruid: Brothers, sisters, and siblings of unspecified gender, we gather together to remember the 19th anniversary of the coming down of the Berlin wall.
All: Ooh, is it 19 years already? Seems like yesterday.

We
spend a moment wondering where the last 19 years have gone.

Archdruid: We remember all the walls in our own life we have built - between ourselves our God, between ourselves and others - even within our own minds, between aspects of our own personalities.

Another moment is spent as we try to imagine building a wall between aspects of our own personalities, and wondering what the Archdruid is on this morning.

Archdruid: We remember those in our lives that have caused us to build these walls. All those teachers who wouldn't leave them kids alone, the parents maybe lost in unexplained wild-animal mysteries over on Aspley Heath, the forces of authority. And we say together:

All: All in all, you're just another brick in the wall.

Archdruid: OK, I know what you're all waiting for. Let's get on with it.
All: Tear down the Wall! Tear down the Wall!

The Arch-Assistant to the Arch-druid will hand out safety goggles, gloves, and sledge hammers. Or, as it may be for Duplo, blow-torches.

After the Tearing Down of the Wall, this hymn may be sung:

All: All alone, or in twos,
The ones who really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall.
Some hand in hand
And some gathered together in bands.
The bleeding hearts and artists
Make their stand.

And when they've given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it's not easy
Banging your heart against some mad b*gger's wall.


Saturday, 8 November 2008

A lesson in economics

Our "buy an acorn" promotion to help with the fundraising for the new Trilithon was rather compromised after Drayton Parslow came up with his own scheme. Selling acorns at 50% of the list price distorted the market. And even that came apart after other people realised they could simply go and pick up their own acorns for free.
We have realised that the problem is a simple one of supply and demand. And since it is an economic problem, there is an economic solution.
We have therefore engaged on a thorough sweep of the Husborne Crawley, Aspley Guise and Woburn Sands area - with raiding parties into Ridgmont, using the wonderful new bypass - and collected every acorn that was to be seen. We were aided in this by Carlos, our friend from the Altimira Folk of Asturias, who was able to adopt some technology generally used by his compatriots to hoover up all the fish in the North Atlantic. We have now built a giant bonfire of acorns (and a few unfortunate woodland creatures that fell foul of the indiscrimate nature of the acorn collector) and have spent all night burning the lot.

So hurry to buy your genuine druidic acorns while the limited stocks last! Only £5 each, and every penny goes towards the Great Trilithon appeal. After we've paid for the acorn collector.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Self Supporting Druid

After consultation, I'm pleased to announce that Hnaef has a new classification for his role.

As you all know, Hnaef performs the role of Arch-Assistant to the Archdruid without payment, combining this with the "day job" of running an archery school for people with no thumbs. We wish to recognise this in future by referring to him as a "Self-Supporting Druid" (SSD). The old name, "Not a Proper Druid like Eileen" (NAPDLE), will no longer be used for people with this status. This recognises that Hnaef is indeed a proper druid, even when dressed in his instructor's uniform and covered in arrow marks.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Indoor Fireworks and Religious Tolerance

There have been rumblings of complaint about the banning of Guy Fawkes celebrations from the community. Let me explain.
Firstly, Bonfire Night is simply a degenerate version of the original, Hallowe'en (or Samhain* as the Celts knew it)**
Secondly, it's a celebration of religious intolerance. Although dressed up as a celebration of the saving of the incontinent and dubiously-bearded James I (&VI of Scotland, of course), the clue is in the burning of the Guy. Poor Guido is the scapegoat of the 17th Century, and an encouragement to the persecution of Catholics. Since the Beaker Folk are a tolerant and egalitarian people, we cannot accept this attitude. Guy Fawkes is therefore abolished, at least in our little corner of Husborne Crawley.
It has come to my knowledge that some Beaker People snuck off to the fireworks at Turvey last Saturday. Clearly we cannot tolerate dissent in this area, so they have been confined to the Doily Shed for the duration. There's nothing I hate more than the celebration of intolerance of other opinions.
* Some claim that Samhain should be pronounced "Sawin".
** In which case, why don't they spell it properly?

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Tuesday's programme

To celebrate the US Presidential Election, we are celebrating the 28th anniversary of the election of Ronald Reagan.

8 am - Quick nap

10 am - Being slightly uncertain where we are (NB this could equally apply to Dan Quail or, indeed, Dubya)

noon - One for the Gipper

2 pm - Star Wars

4 pm - Re-enactment of the invasion of Grenada (at the duck pond)

8 pm - Last Tango with Maggie

10 pm - Bedtime for Bonzo

Dress code - implausibly orange hair dye.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Beaker Fundraising

I'm excited to announce the first fundraising schemes for the new Trilithon. First up, you can buy an acorn for £1 and, as part of our environmental commitment, plant it in the grounds. Not too close to the Great House, please. It may take 100 years, but they'll ruin the view, and my family have been here a long time, and the English aristocracy take the long view.

Secondly, you can sponsor a small part of the building of the new Moot House. Most people would go for sponsoring a brick, but as we're rebuilding in traditional Beaker wattle-and-daub, we needed a new twist. So for just £5, Hnaef will wittle your name onto a birch twig, which will be incorporated into the new building. Just imagine - you could be immortalised as a benefactor for oooh... anything up to three or four years.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Samhain

Was it just me that found last night's celebrations a little... well, disappointing?

It was with great regret that we had to start the procession from the Great House rather than the Moot Hall, the Moot Hall having burnt down during last week's Festival of Creative Worship. However, it was still a moving site as the green hi-viz of the Festal Druids glowed in the shimmers of moonlight that we could see through the mist. Arfur turned up wearing the wrong colour hi-viz, but then what do you expect? The procession through the Orchard was sufficiently impressive - but the shock came as we rounded the Doily Shed to find - no Duckhenge. Our magnificent trilithon, bought at the cost of so many ducks as the creosote leached off into the pond last year, has gone. The Samhain Rites were nothing like so magnificent without a henge monument.

Investigation has shed light on the incident. Burton and Drayton have admitted they chopped Duckhenge up when they ran out of firewood during the Saluting the Moon ceremony. In olden days, anyone chopping up and burning a sacred monument would have been hanged from the nearest trilithon. Ironically, even if this were still allowed, the nearest trilithon is in any case now a pile of ashes. Burton and Drayton have now erected a giant thermometer outside the community visible from the Aspley road, and the "Great Trilithon Appeal" is now officially open.

Meanwhile, due to the shortened ritual, it would appear Young Keith and his friends went off to the White Horse for a couple prior to some fairly foolish trick-or-treating. I don't know who got those Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross masks, but they've terrified poor old Mr Garcia down Crow Lane.