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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Unwedding Ceremony

Or: the order for the blessing of the relationship of a couple whose marriage cannot yet be blessed on account of the divorce has been unfortunately delayed.

Archdruid: We come together together today to join together.... er, to accept as a fait accompli the fact that this man and this woman (or as it may be this man and this man, etc) have joined themselves together, before the legal ceremony of joining them together, on account of one of them is still legally joined to somebody else so we can't.  Or something.
Living out of wedlock is an estate that we'll just have to accept on this occasion.  We don't like it, but let's face it, it's an imperfect world.  
Second marriages are an estate ordained of the Government and tolerated by the Church, for the giving of second chances and providing an environment in which several people's children may be nurtured.  And frankly we'll all be feeling a lot more comfortable when we get them as far as the second marriage.
M and N are about to continue in their state of unwed cohabitation.  They have already given consent to one another, and in token of this we'll just move on swiftly.

Archdruid Now does anyone have any reason why this man and this woman should not be joining themselves together in holy out-of-wedlock?

Traditionalist: (from the back): How about because it's still adultery?

Archdruid: Oooh.  Hadn't thought of that.  I don't think we are in any place to pass judgement.  Who among us could throw the first stone?

Traditionalist: Hang on - I'll nip off and get one... 

Archdruid: Who giveth this woman?

P (First Husband): I will, just as soon as the decree absolute comes through.  It'll be my pleasure.

Archdruid: N, do you take M  to be your unlawfully appointed other half, to complain he's still down the boozer, point out that the eldest kid that causes all the trouble is his, and complain that R, his former wife, still has way too much control over him and gets too much money for the youngest one?

N: I do.

Archdruid: M, will you take N to be your equally unofficial "partner", do your best to drink the money that P  sends her for their kids, and do your best to avoid being finally roped into official marriage, as long as ye both shall live?

M: I will.

Archdruid: Q, despite being the child of neither M nor N, yet you unaccountably live in their house.  How do you explain it?

Q: Dunno. Did I get left over somewhere?

Archdruid: OK. I now pronounce you... man and somebody else's wife.  
You may kiss... well, whoever...

Outbreak of the traditional punch-up.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Wicca Man

So we forgot the Wicker Man, easy to do with all the excitement at Solstice.  I mean, it's easy to miss, is a 90 foot man made out of pallets, lurking in the garden.  And with a solstice New moon, it was even darker than normal.  So it was nice to let it go off this evening.  And what a sight.  The passing resemblance to Andy Murray was a nice touch as well,  although the way the first set went we were starting to think that there was something in sympathetic magic after all.
OK, the traffic jam on the M1 as the smoke drifted across Junction 13 was an unforseen side-effect.  And the appearance of the Fire Brigade was as unexpected as it was unneccessary.  On the whole I think it was a great celebration of the Summer Solstice.  Even if it was a week late.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Jackson Tributes

Sad news today.  The Druidic Council had planned to hold a celebration of Michael Jackson's life, but Archdruid Eileen slipped while trying to moonwalk and twisted her ankle.  She says they're not holding the service until the entire Druidic Procession can moonwalk up to the Worship Focus.

An odd occurrence today.  While walking to the White Horse for a lunchtime snifter, I found a glove laying in School Lane.  Just the one glove, quite a lacy one - perhaps the sort of thing one of Hnaef's posh friends might wear to events at the Abbey.  Being always happy to help one's fellow humans, I picked the glove up and draped it over the branch of a tree, where it could be seen.
Leaving the White Horse a few hours later, I was surprised to find twelve bunches of flowers had been lain around the tree, together with a number of poetic tributes such as "Keep on Rockin, Robin".  I wonder what it could all mean?

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Husborne Crawley FM

All the news and comment on Radio Husborne Crawley...............

Middle Aged Man from another Country dies, no suspicious circumstances

Middle Aged Man - the pressure he knew - by someone who never met him

Photos of Middle-Aged Man when he was young and black

Middle-Aged Man - was it a hamburger? Those spooky co-incidences with his Father in Law's death

Middle Aged Man - was it drugs?

Middle Aged Man's Sister - those shocking pictures

"The Middle Aged Man from another Country I knew" - interview with someone you don't know

Peter and Jordan - the latest - they're still apart

Your texts: "I'm heart broken because a man I didn't know from another country has died. What do I have to live for?" - Syd in Ampthill


Labour party admits they will have to cut spending
Swine Flu - more than 4,000 cases in UK



Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Midsummer Night's Doom

St John's Eve!  A traditional olde English time to be rampaging round the English countryside, engaging in traditional olde English pursuits.
In days gone by, on St John's Eve, olde English people of a certain age would sit around in the church hatch waiting to see whose ghosts were going into the church - and which would come out.  Which would lead to a certain thoughtfulness of a St John's Day for some.  Meanwhile the unmarried young people of the village, hamlet or other rural settlement would tear out into the woods in a ritual that has been faithfully reproduced by our own Beaker Fertility Folk since time immemorial, or at least 2004.  

This year's festivities will be slightly dampened by the sad loss of Private Sponge from Dad's Army.  His passing will be mourned by all those whose role in life it is to hang around at the back looking like a spare part and wishing we were one of the lead players.  Or most of us, in other words.  In honour of Private Sponge's passing, we would like to include a liturgy incorporating his catchphrase, but we're not sure he actually had one.

Anyone going out after 10pm, please ensure you wear hi-viz.  The late-night traffic on the Woburn road seems to increasingly dangerous these days and walking back along it from the White Horse is never sensible.  As my old dad used to say, before he so tragically succumbed to that incident with the baler, "do you think that's wise?"

Saturday, 20 June 2009

LIturgy for the Solstice Sunrise, 2009

Beaker People, resplendent in their special midsummer pink hi-viz, stumble out across the car park to the Solar Hillock.

Archdruid: We stand here as the dawn glow gathers, waiting for the rising Sun.

All: Can you get a move on?  We want to go back to bed.

Archdruid: That's really down to the Sun, not me...

All: Whatever.  On with the spiel, Eileen.

Archdruid: We stand here at the fulcrum of the year.  The heart of the Summer, enjoying its warmth....

Voice from Back (which may be German, or possibly, South African...): Get a grip, Archdruid, it's freezing!

Archdruid: We stand here freezing in the heart of Summer.  We bless the sun for its light-giving rays.

All: Wherever it is.  

Archdruid: It will be up in its own time. We are not the ones to dictate to the heavenly objects above us.

Burton: Isn't it peeking out behind that cloud over there?

Archdruid: Oh yeah. Well, looks like it's been risen a while. Shall we sing the song?

All: If we must.

Beaker People sing "Here comes the Sun", with Young Keith totally fouling up the clever guitar bit after "it's alright".

Snorkmaiden washes her face in the dew, while all the relatively sane Beaker Folk head off to bed.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn appears through the early-morning mist, realises he's hopelessly late, and heads off towards Aspley Guise.

The Beaker Collection

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With a hi-viz fleece under your hi-viz bomber jacket, you will be warm and visible in all weather conditions and phases of the moon.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Solstitial Suspense

It's still two sleeps until the Solstice, so can I request that you all calm down? 
Especially those planning to stay up all night.  It's the shortest night of the year, but even so you need your beauty sleep.
The Solstice Watch this year will take place in the Watching Field.  We can stand on that little hillock again.  But please don't do that same rotten pun as last year - it took weeks for Burton's bruises to fade. 
The Wicker Man is now forty foot high and towering over the landscape.  Who would have thought that Young Keith could have found such a good supply of pallets?  And thank you to those dedicated souls who have spent the last week splitting the pallets into really thin strips.  I'm sure you will think the splinters are worth it.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Depressive Poets' Society

I wouldn't like anyone to think I'm distancing myself from Hnaef's new scheme.  Goodness knows we're thoroughly in favour of anyone coming up with alternative ways to express spirituality.  And poetry enlightens the soul in a way little else does, while offering alternative views of God and Humanity.  So poetry, qua poetry, I'm all in favour of.
But Hnaef's come up with this latest idea that reading depressing poetry, by the less cheerful poets, will unleash the Right Hemispheres of our brain, putting us in touch with out primeval  Self.  Sounds like pure eyewash to me, but as I say we respect creative views, no matter how barmy.
So today's programme included readings from Thomas Hardy, John Clare, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and  Baldrick.
The vast majority of the Beaker People are now hiding under the tables in the Refectory, sobbing helplessly.  Some of the stronger of us have settled into watching the whole first four series of "Friends" in the hope that will give them some comfort.  Young Keith and his pals are off down the White Horse, but I don't think they're turning to drink so much as turned a long time ago.
Tomorrow's reading of "The Wasteland" is cancelled.  Turns out June is the cruellest month.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Beaker Brother

I'm pleased to announce that after weeks of viewing video auditions, interviews and psychological profiling, we've decided upon the 10 people who will go in the Beaker Brother house.  We've chosen the most aggressive, the most self-regarding and biggest wannabes.  We're not going to be putting any cameras in the Beaker Brother house, and we're not going to be doing any evictions.  We're just gonna leave the doors locked until we're in danger of them being listed as Missing Persons.

Which Wicker is Wych?

No! No! No!

Some of you have totally misunderstood about the wicker man.

It was lovely to meet Lemonbalm today. He is a gentle and charming man, albeit somewhat bemused. I'm not totally sure whether that's his normal state, or whether it was the result of five of you grabbing him in the Stones and Shells stall in CMK shopping centre and dragging him here in the back of a Transit Van.
Lemonbalm is into Wicca. That's Wicca as in a largely made-up combination of misunderstood folklore, pseudo-feminism, vague spiritual longings and wishful thinking. He's not a Wicker man. I realise that this may have confused the post-literate among you but I hope the large stick with which Hnaef is currently laying about the persons of several community members may help with their understanding.
Lemonbalm tells me he got into Wicca in the hope that he might meet some women. I advised him that if he wants to join a religious movement where he'll be outnumbered 10:1 by women he might be best off joining the Methodists.
Now can somebody please take him back? He keeps offering to make people love potions, and the community is starting to stink of amaretto and fennel.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Wicker Man

The ancient Celts would build a giant wicker man at the solstice, and burn within it sacrifices of prisoners, chickens, Edward Woodward and anyone else they could lay their hands on.  Worth considering next time someone suggests a Celtic revival.
However we quite like the wicker man idea.  Maybe with something a little more friendly to sacrifice - baked potatoes perhaps, which we could eat afterwards?  And some marshmallows might be nice.  Please can everyone pitch in. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

In the bunker

I'm pleased to announce that I am up and feeling better.  The neck strain has released itself now, and I am feeling well enough to use the JCB that you may have noticed aound the grounds.
In answer to the many questions I have seen people mouthing as I dig away, I am digging a "dark space".  This is a place in which one can commune with the Earth without the distraction of the sun, the elements, the animals and the people who wander around the community insisting on trying out new spiritual experiences when they should be banging the holes out of doilies to contribute to community funds.
It is not a bunker.  I would like to make that clear.  And the recent purchase of the Community cat, "Blondie", is just a co-incidence.
Now I must away to direct my tank regiments.  The Hazel Blears division seems to have become stranded in the Ardennes and I need them in Silesia urgently.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A slight ailment

Beaker Folk have been asking where the Archdruid is today.  Please rest assured that she's not suffering from anything too serious.
But the recent reshuffle and her constant fear that someone is out to stab her in the back has been aggravated by her recent addiction to playing online Diplomacy.  With the result that she has spent so much time looking over her shoulder that she has cricked her neck. The resultant trapped nerve has meant that whenever she tries to smile she looks like she is gurning.
The doctor has recommended that she have a lie down in a dark room.  For about a week.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Druidic Reshuffle

I'm pleased to announce the reshuffle of the Druidic team.  As you know, we have a fantastic and talented team of lesser druids, who unfortunately have a habit of resigning and blaming me for it.  But in this planned and carefully calculated reshuffle, without a hint of panic or short-termism, I am pleased to announce the following:

Hnaef, formerly Executive Assistant to the Archdruid, is now First High Lord of the Holly Bush and President of the Most Holy Gorsedd.  His duties remain unchanged, as do the contents of that photo album he occasionally allows me to glimpse.

Drayton Parslow is an oily troublemaker and back-stabbing thief, toe-rag and all-round bully boy. In order to ensure his loyalty I am pleased to announce his promotion to the role of Nuncio to the Stewartby Guinea Pig People, Inter-Faith Facilitator and Second High Lord of the Holly Bush.

Burton Dassett was formerly Treasurer.  In view of his incompetence, strange demeanour and eyebrows, I am going to demote him to Treasurer.

Simplon Tunnel was previously Education Druid.  He had been hoping to be Treasurer, and has all the skills for the job - devious, aggressive, a bloke.  However in view of Burton's demotion to this role, Simplon's just gonna have to stick to showing people how to identify mistletoe and foretell the future from the insides of a Tesco's Oven Ready Chicken.

Cybil Squirrel's role as Keeper of the Entrails was to have been taken over by Dogbreth. Unfortunately Dogbreth resigned from this role even as I was announcing it.  Thus saving me from sacking him, as I had planned to do all along.  I am glad to announce that the new Keeper of the  Entrails is some bloke who arrived to clean the windows while I was planning the reshuffle. We'll annouce his name once we've caught up with his van.

I hope you can see that the new Gorsedd is completely different from the old one, refreshed rejuvenated and in no way filled by placemen, passing strangers, and retired Welsh people.  I look forward to this Gorsedd of None of the Talents being changed again when I next have a long-planned emergency reshuffle.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Big old yellow moon

A beautiful full moon, like a nice round yellow cheese, peeking in and out of the clouds - reflecting off the dozens of broken Enya CDs that lie around where Young Keith's Mini Metro ground them into pieces.  The multiple reflections of the moon, shattered and splintered into a thousand shards, are maybe reflections of our personalities - split into pieces, and yet between them revealing a deep and mysterious whole.  
The Beaker Folk are spending the evening flicking Enya CDs like frisbies up into the sky, watching the moon glittering off them as they fall to earth.  It's pointless and three or four people have sustained some nasty injuries, but it's still better than watching the BNP racking up 9% of the vote.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

"I twitter like a sparrow" (Isa 38:14, JB)

Thanks to our friends from the University of Unlikely Research we have found what appears to be a trace of Tweets from the 10th to 6th centuries BC carved into a Judean rock.  Further proof that the ancient world had technology of which we know little.

Amos is very angry.  

Isaiah is suddenly aware of his shortcomings.  

Jeremiah  It's dark and damp here in the well.

Jonah @ Jeremiah  You think you've got problems?  

2Isaiah Comfort, comfort my people.  

Isaiah @ 2Isaiah So just who exactly are you?  

Joel  has a bit of a locust problem.    

Jeremiah  It's really, really dark and uncomfortable.  I didn't really want to be a prophet....  

Amos @ Jeremiah  I'm not even a prophet.  Just a fig keeper.  

Malachi call that a sacrifical lamb?  

Daniel  Bored with vegetables now.  Can I have some nice chicken soup?

Jonah has a generally bad feeling about what's coming up.  

Obadiah  Finished my book!  68 chapters!  That's going to show Isaiah!

Hosea  You'll never believe what she's gone and done now. My mum told me I was making a mistake.

Elisha  Getting concerned about my hair-loss problem.

3Isaiah Heaven is my home, and earth is my footstool.  
 
Isaiah @ 3Isaiah  Are you having a laugh or what?  

Joel  has a really bad locust problem.    

StillSmallVoice  @Elijah     What are you doing here?

Angel  @Abram     You're going to have a baby.

Sarai @Angel  lol!    

Ezekiel  has been doing a lot of measuring.    

Obadiah Just found out about the word limit.  Need some heavy editing...    

Habbakuk @Obadiah Word limit? I've written 85 chapters lol!

Joel  really does wish somebody would invent "Raid".    

Baruch Feeling a bit left out.    

Daniel  think it's the all-vegetable diet.  I keep having these really weird dreams.    

Ezekiel  has been doing a lot of measuring.    

Amos is still very angry.  



Enya Meets the East Riding Yeomanry

A sad and surprising end to the Enyathon. I had naturally assumed that the playing of Enya's music at loud volume would continue until everyone had lost interest or was so thoroughly chilled that they forgot to change the CD.

Instead, there was an awful mix-up with the D-Day re-enactment. This year Young Keith chose to recreate the landing of the East Riding Yeomanry on Sword Beach. You may be aware that the East Riding Yeomanry, part of the Armoured Division, had a penchant for the more unconventional forms of armoured transport. Which may explain why Young Keith went for waterproofing an old Mini Metro to serve as a tank. Unfortunately, what with it being about the only Metro still in existence, and given that model's propensity to rust, he only got halfway across the duckpond before it started to fill with water. Shoving it into First, he got enough purchase to rev up and out of the pond, at the side where the Enyathon was entering its 112th glorious hour. The Metro went through the PA and crashed into the Enya-ettes, who fled screaming. There is no mention in the annals of D-Day of a group of fifty-year-old women dressed in tie-dyed kaftans running around in a panic, so in this respect I fell that Young Keith may have lacked authenticity. The Community's collection of Enya CDs has been totally trashed, but since it turns out that just about everyone seems to have their own, this is not necessarily a disaster.
Next year Keith is threatening to re-enact the fall of Caen. He tells me for this he will need "a medium-sized town with plentiful surface water". I just hope Bedford knows what's going to hit it.

The Principle of Entitlement

I've never been a great one for New Labour, which consists entirely, it seems, of Celts. We Beaker People have memories that go back a long way.
However one cannot help but admire Gordon Brown's new technique of ennobling people he wants to appoint as ministers. Now there appear to be more ministers in the Lords than in the Commons. Not one of them we have voted for. All he has to do now is appoint himself Lord Gordon of Kirkcaldy, and he will himself be immune to election (even more so than he is now), and presumably will be able to rule indefinitely. Much like my own position in the Beaker Folk...

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Election Fever

So I realise that many of you were quite surprised this morning, to find out when you queued up at the Husborne Crawley polling booth that you were unable to vote. The explanation is quite simple. I filled in postal votes for you all.
I felt it was my democratic duty to ensure that you all voted for the right candidate. There were two options to achieve this aim - one to give you all an in-depth training in who I consider the right candidate is, together with an exhaustive breakdown of the aims, strengths and weaknesses of the different parties. The other was simply to go through all your postal ballots, putting ticks against those candidates to whom I am related.
I think you can see that this was carried out with the best intentions of saving you the effort of thinking, always important in a community of this kind. Now get out there and enjoy the Enyathon - in its second day and still soothing.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

"You was a good man, and did good things" (the Woodlanders) - The Nativity of Thomas Hardy (OM)

What kind of day was today for Hardy's birthday? Brilliant sunshine, blue skies, birds singing, warmth and delight and even the odd bluebell left over. The only sense of the kind of doom and foreboding was in the Top Field, where we could see Moonbeam and her mates setting up the PA for tomorrow's Enyathon. Goodness knows that that's going to be like, but we reckon loud but ethereal may well just about describe it.

The festive Wandering Around in Smocks went as well as ever, and the Beaker Fertility Folk enjoyed the re-enactment of the St John's Eve scene from The Woodlanders, consisting as it did of legging it off into the woods at the first opportunity. Not really that different than any other day for the Fertility Folk when you think of it.

While needless to say the Beaker Quire, complete with fiddle, banjo and authentic bass flugelhorn, were quite happy to spend the day getting hammered on cider in the traditional way. Unfortunately it did cause a few of them to speak their minds when the Mummers came round, and after a frank exchange of words a few teeth were lost. On the bright side they stopped singing for a while as they received treatment, but the singing of "The Foggy Foggy Dew" doesn't half suffer from that lisp the singers seem to have developed since the fracas."

As the light now slips away in these days nigh unto the solstice, we see the shadowy shape of the Ooser, as he heads off down School Lane to frighten any passing yokels. It almost makes you wish you lived in Dorset. Till you remember the house prices.

God Bless, Tommy H. And we hope you were wrong about the whole God thing. For your own sake if nothing else...

NB - speaking of the Solstice, the "Build Your Own Stonehenge" kit was delivered this morning. Can all Beaker Folk please assemble in the car park tomorrow morning to help us put it up. Even as we speak Hnaef is out in the Orchard checking the location of True North, but using a map of Abyssynia isn't going to be much help to him in my opinion.

Festival of Pebbles

To celebrate our day trip to Hunstanton we thought it would be nice to conclude the day with a celebration of pebbles.
Each of you were asked to collect one pebble from the beach.  At the appropriate time in the service this evening, you are to bring your pebble to the Wishing Chair, present it to the Executive Assistan Archdruid with Special Responsibility for Pebbles (Peter Mandelson - will he ever stop picking up these titles?) and receive the following benison:
If you have collected a piece of Carr Stone, a brand new, shiny, vanilla-scented tea light for you to use to illuminate our gathering.
For a lump of flint, you will receive the Holy Water poured over the stone as it lies in your hands, symbolising the blessings of the sea.
For a worn down piece of brick, a whack round the head with a lump of driftwood.
For a piece of sea glass, you will be condemned to walk around the Community boundaries for 24 hours and a minute, wearing a Jeremy Clarkson mask, for not knowing the difference between glass and pebbles.
At the end of the celebration, we will pour a light mortar mixture over the stones, setting them into a physical representation of our community.  Except the brick.  We'll chuck that outside - it's just rubbish, after all.