Very disappointed in that new on-line sarong shop. The first order I made was the wrong size. Sent it back, and this time it's the wrong colour.
Just goes to show, two sarongs don't make a right.
Of course, Drayton's blaming me for all this. But I blame Pidge, one of our regular comments providers.
I thought we'd try to get on a little better with Drayton Parslow's congregation of Funambulist Baptists. After all, some of them might be well off, and in search of a less strict form of worship. One involving tea lights and doilies. With a souvenir shop. So I invited them all round for a quiet evening with a bit of a buffet, and a sing-song afterwards. What could be nicer?
Of course I knew about the Baptists' teetotal ways. But I didn't know about Billy and Bertie Jones's rather remarkable dessert addiction. Charlii didn't know about the teetotalism, but she does now how to make a cracking trifle. I knew about the trifle, but not being a great dessert-eater I didn't know about the sherry. Being life-long teetotallers, the Jones brothers don't have a great tolerance of alcohol. But they doo have a rather literalist view on life.
After tea, I suggested that we sing a few choruses, maybe starting with the song Pidge recommended - "When the Spirit of the Lord is Within my Heart, I will dance as David danced". You could say we'd put in place the conditions for the perfect storm.
Two naked Jones brothers dancing around the Dining Room. I tell you, I didn't know where to look for the best. Our evening ended very shortly after that - and Drayton's church has now banned trifle, and dancing. And over-literalism.
Burton's always loved the Psalms. He tells me there's a lovely, double-entry kind of parallelism to their poetry. When he hears a line like:
"Oh Lord, how many are my foes?
How have my enemies rose up against me"
he thinks of the first line as the debit, and the second as the credit. So after every couplet, in Burton's world, everything on the ledger is square.
Of course, some psalms have triplet paralellism. Something like:
"By day the Lord pours out his steadfast love
And at night his love is with me.
A prayer to the God of my life"
does his head in. It makes him all edgy. He tells me he wants to make a line up, just to make it all right. The praise ledgers are all unbalanced on his sheet.
It's not easy being an accountant. But then, it's no bed of roses trying to pastor them, either.
We're remembering Shaker Day today. A kind of semi-monastic community, allowing men and women to join, making money through the unpaid creation of craft objects, and ruled over by a woman with delusions of grandeur. I find them strangely compelling.
Shakers are notable for writing the tune to which another heretic set "Lord of the Dance", for dancing (presumably in the morning, in the stars and the sun), for celibacy, and for making Shaker furniture. One presumes that after all that dancing, with the celibacy rule in place, making furniture must have been a way of releasing some pent-up frustration.
The Shaker movement could not maintain its numbers in the traditional Catholic way, so instead was dependent on adoptions and conversions. Their decline came about when the American state banned religious groups from adopting. Although I reckon the discovery that you didn't need to go without sex to create Shaker-style furniture didn't help their cause. Also there was that schism when Mother Ann Lee's sister, Sara, set up her own cheese-cake-making community.
So today we will celebrate the Shakers by attempting to make some of their furniture. This will raise some much-needed Community funds, I hope. And will also act as a lived-out parable. With all those saws, gimlets and chisels around it should be patently clear that Beaker Folk aren't the smartest tools in the box.
A very unusual session today.
According to Prof Heide Ensiek, every human has a squirrel personality - or "squersonality", and a squirrel spirituality - or "squirituality".
The squersonality types are:
Red: Timid homebodies
Gray: Aggressive go-getters
While the squiritualities are:
Ground-dwellers: Tied to the earth, occupied by earthly things, never looking up.
Tree-dwellers: Happy to loop up - but traditionalist and still needing to cling to the trees.
Flying squirrels: Prepared to let go and see where you land.
Combining the two squersonalities and the three squiritualities gives the six squirrel types. So gray ground-dwellers will agressively defend their patch. While red flying squirrels are prepared to withdraw into the spiritual unknown - the squilderness - to avoid the noise and mundanity.
Prof Ensiek does not claim to be a zoologist.
The practical session dissolved into chaos. People were leaping from trees and smashing into the ground. Burton dug himself a burrow. And Stacey Bushes - who at least has a suitable surname - ended up clinging to a trunk 30 feet up, whimpering.
Next week it's "What kind of Meerkat are you?"
I can't wait.
Anita Mathias is author of "Dreaming beneath the Spires", one of the blogs on the Right Hand Side blog-roll of our own little slice-of-life account here. Or, for those of you on mobile - another blog. One well worth reading.
I was interested in Anita's post "25 Ways to Rapidly Develop Your Blog". Mostly, to be frank, because I've now broken most of the rules on it, as I have removed all traces of analytics from it. I had to. Burton was spending hours every evening watching the Google Analytics Real-time feed. I used to tell him to go out - meet other accountants. But he'd be busy telling me we had two visitors on the site - one from Oregon and one from Kent - and wasn't I excited?
But partly because I found myself wondering, why would I want rapidly to develop my blog? Is it because I want to save souls? If so I might be better closing down the site and sending the Beaker People to march, Flagellant-like, through the streets of Bedfordshire clutching tea lights and preaching the Gospel.
And I have no ads, so that is no reason. Goodness know it's not that I object to the idea of making a few quick from drive-by adverts. It's just I know, from the ads with which Google blesses me when I am posting, that they would all be for homoeopathy, books about the end times, crystals and holidays in Luton. I was amazed, on a solidly conservative Christian blog recently, to read an advert offering to put me in touch with my dead ancestors. And I'd hate to talk to them, to be honest. I reckon they'd still be livid over that hay-baler accident.
And one cannot measure one's worth in page-views and links. What does it profit you if you gain top-spot on EBuzzing, and yet lose your soul? We can chase the cheap buzz of unique visitors and Klout ratings (which site probably can extract your soul) but if we mounted up all our hits at the end of our lives, what could we do with them? We couldn't trade them in like Nectar points for days off in Purgatory. Or, at least, if you can the Pope's keeping very quiet about it. Maybe he's getting the cardinals always to use his loyalty card when they're filling up the Popemobile, and doesn't want anyone to know why?
I notice that Anita is an author, and so I suspect that she can achieve some exposure to her works - in the same way that Eddie advertises the work of Wyclif, among other things - but who would give fourpence for the Beaker Common Prayer? Some of the celebrities in the calender have been all but forgotten now - a bit like the saints in the Anglicans' Common Worship.
And I regret that, since I imposed a stricter anti-spam policy on comments, I've lost one of my regular commentators. At least, I reckon I have. For all I know "Anonymous" was more than one person, who now comment under a variety of logged-in identities.
Perhaps the definition of a successful blog is to make you feel good when you hit the "publish" button? In which case I fail dismally. Hitting that button is, for me, like prodding that weak spot in my soul that fears that someone in any published blog there is a typo or Freudian slip that tells more than a thousand correct words. That is why on average I have Burton proof-read my posts 12 times after publishing, to ensure I have not accidentally revealed my inner soul.
So I shall have to conclude that there is no measure of what makes a successful blog. Unless it is, of a wet Thursday morning, to share my endless introspection with an uninterested world. But if you've got this far, then thank you for your attention. As Stephen Fry used to say under the cover of Donald Trefussis - "If you have been, then please stop."
|The Underground between Euston and St Pancras|
24 hours to 0600 GMT
Degree of lean to the Left: 74%
Overall self-centredness: 14%
Dead Celebrity Accuracy: 4%
Cat Cuteness Ratio: 7%
Percentage of Spambots whose Avatars are ugly Males: 0%
Average checking of Twitter popularity / unfollow / Klout rating nonsense: 27%
Soccage + Pannage: 1.1%
Retweeting of Made-up Stats / Twop Twips / Newsbiscuit stories: 3%
Belief that by RT'ing something worthy you are changing the world: 18%
Displacement from reading / work / praying / real life that should be happening: 47%
Percentage in favour of Same Sex Marriage: 83%
Percentage in favour of Michael Gove: 2%
Deluded Green Beliefs: 17%
Dodgy Medical Advice: 89%
Useful homoeopathy: 6x10**(-23)%
Justin Bieber: 9%
Justin Beiber: 9%
Chuck Norris jokes: 7%
Prayers promised but not said: 4%
A man had two sons, and the younger said to him, "give unto me mine share of the dosh - shame to wait till thou'rt dead."
So he gave him the dosh, and he went unto a far country where he spent it on Krispy Kreme donuts and Stella Artois. And when he had spent all his money, he got a job tending pigs.
So one day looketh he unto the pigs, and saith to himself, "bother this for a game of soldiers". So he goes to his father and saith, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. Now make me one of your servants."
But his father brought him into his house, and called the servants, and killed the fatted calf (which had done no harm to anyone, btw) and there was singing and dancing.
But the elder brother, when he heard, said, "Verily this is what happens when you start messing about with housimng benefit."
And so, once again this morning, my peace was shattered as Drayton Parslow's "Baptibus" headed off to parts unknown beyond Olney and Northampton. It takes its grand circular journey, collecting people whom Drayton has evangelised with the promise of a free trip and biscuits - oh, and the Gospel, of course. Though it's the holes in his exhaust that cause me most grief, at 7am of the typical Sunday.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm as big a fan of pilgrimage as the next medium-sized religious community leader. Or even the next leader of a medium-sized religious community. Walsingham, St Albans, the Rollright Stones, Thomas Hardy's Birthplace, Compo's Grave - I've been to them all. But I don't go to them every week. That would be odd. We go to these places to breath the sacred air; to connect; to buy tacky souvenirs. (Did you know you can get a St Alban drinks coaster? That's always seemed wrong to me, putting your coffee mug on a saint's face like that). Except at the Rollrights, of course. Where the hut keeps disappearing. Not a miracle - more vandalism.
But the point of going these special places is that it's special. We regard them, if we are of that tendency, as "thin". And we envy those whose role it is to mind them.
Whereas taking a long journey every week, to go to a specific congregation because it's the one we like - that seems odd. Sure, if it's one's family church and it's part of the weekly familial visit then I can see that. But is the Gospel so much better proclaimed by Drayton that they'll sit in that rusty death-trap for an hour to hear it? Are there no prophets in Buckingham, that Sid the minibus driver has to go all the way out there on his rounds? Why travel from Luton - which is full of places of worship - all the way out here, because Drayton's brand of Creationism says the world started on a Sunday in August rather than, as some heretics claim, March? I don't get it.
It's not like the evangelicals of the world think these are proper "thin places". They have been known to go specific places to where the Spirit is working. But why would the Holy Spirit decide she's going to act more evidently around one area then anywhere else? Or, given God's sovereignty, why would we make the assumption that, if she did, she'll keep that up when we arrive? Maybe it's us blighting the spiritual atmosphere in the place where we live, and deciding we're going to rock up with hope in our heart and a well-worn version of the NIV might be just the thing required for the Wind to "blow where it will" somewhere completely different.
So I'll be out next Saturday night, helping God to work his wonders right where people live. Or, to put it another way, I'm gonna stick a potato in the exhaust pipe of the Baptibus. I need the peace.
Today we remember that quiet hero of the Second World War, Alan Turing. A man who would often have caught the train between Cambridge and Bletchley on the "Varsity Line". And so, as he would have travelled through Husborne Crawley each time - possibly encountering my great-granfather, heading into Bedford or Bletchley for the Peasant-Hiring - I like to feel that he is a kind of honorary Beaker Person.
My great-grandfather, before that unfortunate accident with the hay-bailer, was apparently a man of what might be called traditional morals. In short, had he known of Turing's sexual preferences, he would have beaten him out of the railway carriage with a horse-whip. Indeed, he always carried a horse-whip with him specifically for this purpose. Family history records the frustration he suffered that, in fifty-five years of train-travel, he never manage to spot a "thorough-going, grade-A, plainly-identified nancy-boy" on whom to express his moral disapproval. But I may be sharing too much family history here.
Maybe Alan Turing was born half a century too early. Were he alive today, with his Cambridge education, quirkiness and fierce, alternative intelligence, he would have been a satirical comedian. Or maybe the country's finest tax accountant. Or he might have been the geeky keyboard-programmer in an 80s pop band.
But his generation helped preserve this country and Europe as a place where we could let tolerance - slowly and unsteadily - take root. We live in a country where gay people are not criminalised, locked away or chemically castrated. Where people of non-European origin are not regarded as second-class.
So maybe he was born at the right time. Maybe we have enough comedians and tax accountants. Maybe if it had not been for Turing and his colleagues, there wouldn't even be comedians and tax accountants in England today.
Thanks, Alan Turing. We hope that there are plenty of problems to solve where you are. And we'll light an artifical-intelligence, computerised tea-light in your honour.
A commentator on this morning's post reminds us that Richard Dawkins is a fan of the King James Version of the Bible. Indeed I believe (though it's only faith - I can't be bothered to find the evidence) that he was a fan of Michael Gove's absurd scheme to put a copy in ever school in the land.
It's good to know that the Good Professor has fallen into our trap, cunningly-laid over 400 years ago. For it is a little-known fact (because so few read it) that the Bible has a secret message coded into it. This code tells those "in the know" that worshipping God is a good idea, and that faith in Jesus will bring you salvation.
Sure, I know everyone who reads the Biblle superficially thinks it's a self-help book, a guide to the End of the World, contains prophecies of the Rise of the Nazis and the story of how Jesus married Mary Magdalene (leaving a heart-broken St John) and settled down in a bungalow in the Dordogne.
Some, of course, think it's just the pinnacle of the English language (along with Shakespeare and Down With Skool) But nevertheless, the code's been there all along. You've just got to know how to find it. One day soon, Prof D, you mark my words...
In other news, Burton Dasset has called to say he's landed safely. In the sort of unlikely co-incidence that suggest there may be an awful pun posted later on, he drifted due north and landed on the northern fringes of Leicestershire. The bad news is that he'll be home soon. While the good news is that the people of Coalville have adopted Beaker-style worship. They've now got the chance to revive their digging skills by raising long barrows over their dead. Nothing, in the end, is lost.
Massive amounts of productivity in the doily sheds, and vastly improved attentiveness at seminars and meditation workshops this evening. The Twitter outage has resulted in a 100% reduction in people tweeting about how other people using social media is putting them off.
It strikes me that Twitter are missing a trick with their Twitter Status site. Surely if they let users leave messages on it? Then maybe reference each other's User IDs? To save over-use of bandwidth they could always restrict messages to 140 characters.
So my only problem now is - how am I going to publicise this post? Myspace?
You can't blame Young Keith too much. He meant well.
Considering how glum I was about the rained-off Solstice, he took inspiration from the inflatable Stonehenge that's doing the rounds and thought he'd create one for our afternoon devotions.
I presume, however, that the one in the news is like a bouncy-castle idea, blown up with a giant hair-dryer. Not filled with helium gas.
Needless to say, it slipped its moorings when Burton had a bounce on it. I've had to apologise to Cranfield aerodrome after a prehistoric monument, complete with terrified Burton, floated across their air space. It's been a rotten Solstice.
|Not an accurate representation of Husborne Crawley this morning|
|Unnecessary Diagram of Policing an Arbitrary Line|
The Beaker People stagger outside, amazed at the unfamiliar yellow object beaming from the sky. Soggy wildlife awakes in the unaccustomed light and wonders.
The swifts exult across the sky. The wodewosen perform their lumbering "dance of the oaken-folk" as, for the first time in these seven years, the female wodewose suspects it may be the mating season.
Elven folk sing their Summer Carol in far-ancient tongues. Their eyes, born of the first light Anthony Eden saw play, are ancient - but their hearts, in this shimmering air, are young once more.
Creeping through the plantation and down to the brook, we see a young figure, sitting still by a pool. We watch, in reverence, as Narcissus is turned to a flower.
All: That'll be that global warming.
You know, sometimes I forget the shocking consequences of believing in evolution (properly, not in a cissy "ascent of Man" kind of way) and also believing in the existence of a Creator.
It means that all those thistles and thorns, the painful births and all the rest of it aren't the vindictive actions of a God who's grumpy that a couple of naturists ate an apple without a licence. Oh no. God's not that arbitrary. God prepared the thistles, thorns and painful births up front. All the chaos and catastrophe - they're not retrospective punishments, they're part of the plan, laid down - to whatever degree - in advance.
I don't know why, but this gives me a deep sense of comfort. It's nice to think there's a purpose - however it works out.
There is a very strange alternative universe.
It's one where the people who join together, on Sunday or during the week, to break bread or read God's word mostly go away at the end of it thinking they've done something pretty worthwhile - both on an eternal and on a finite, local level. Where they try to live out Jesus' example without necessarily thinking that their way of doing it is uniquely right.
Where people visit the sick in their houses. Set up small groups to give company and hope to people in prison. Set up charities to assist the homeless. Give moral and sometimes financial support. Make sure the streets have somebody who cares hanging around on them, of a Friday or Saturday night.
It's a place where, in the great scheme of things, people aren't that fussed by other people's sexuality - as long as it's not lived out too graphically in public, and it's not illegal. Where the vast, vast majority of church leaders are in fact pretty comfortable with their own sexuality as well - and neither to be feared nor pitied. And where some people may think it's new or unusual to have women in leadership - but mostly they figure they'll live wirh it. Where children will be blessed or baptised regardless of their parents' marital status, and people welcomed into the fold in a likewise uncondemnatory manner.
It's a place where mostly nobody cares about your politics - whether you're right or left - as long as you're not wearing a pillar case over your head or planning to nationalise the font. Either way you'll still be expected to put your hand in your pocket, or go knocking on doors, whenever Christian Aid Week comes round.
Over all, it's a place of some great joy, a few niggles, and a lot of good work. It's a strange little place. But of course it must be an alternative universe. Because otherwise, surely we'd have heard about it?
Now I'm not sure whose idea the "Chasing the Wild Goose" Event was. But it wasn't mine, and it's not happening again.
As ever, that presumption that a bunch of hairy Celts hanging onto the edges of Britain somehow knew all about spirituality is the root of the problem. That and the assumption that a Celtic (allegedly) term is somehow deep and meaningful almost by definition - ignoring the historical fact that Celts were best known for going into battle naked and dying their hair blond(e).
So after the other week's dove-related debacle, something like this was always bound to happen.
Canada Geese don't like being rounded up. And they're apt to try and mug you on the off-chance you've got some bread. Oh - and, quite important, this - they get edgy in confined surroundings.
When the decision was made to swtich this morning's gathering from Duckhenge to the Moot House, due to the threatening weather, we shouldn't have been surprised by the way things went. People being chased in circles, geese flying at your throat, feathers flying in all directions - and it was the feathers made it worse, as needless to say Edith Weston turned out to be allergic to them and went into an eruption of sneezing. This further enraged the geese, who promptly mobbed Burton - presumably on the grounds that he's the one looks most like a badger.
Eventually I managed to shut the sluice, and flooded the Moot House. The geese swam off back to the pond, and the whole event calmed down. Next time someone wants a water-fowl-related activity, I suggest we follow the advice of the Good Book. Go down to the pond, and cast our bread on the waters.
Looking up from his ePiscopal app, Hnaef informed me over breakfast this morning that it's the feastday of Joses aka Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement. He rather pointedly points out that Barnabas was known for his generosity, for binding up the broken-hearted and taking pity on the losers. In particular, consider his treatment of John Mark. Paul, an apostle who had a more reasonable attitude to this type of waste of space, wanted to leave him. But Barnabas stuck with him while Paul pushed on, presumably rejoicing from the reduction in drag.
At which point Burton butted in, showing a lack of social skills and theological knowledge that would be astounding if that wouldn't make Burton interesting. Burton stated that if Barnabas had displayed the same level of encouragement that I do, we would today only have three Gospels.
Well, how to start picking the bones out of that? With the concept of "canon", the whole Marcan priority / "Q" theories, or else demanding to know what he meant by saying that I'm not encouraging? So I hit him with the bread-board. Leaving Hnaef to bind up the broken-headed, I came away to my office to work out the new Beaker Encouragement Policy. Which I have outlined below. Let's hear Burton claim I'm not encouraging now.
1. No member of the Community is to say anything derogatory about any other member of the Community. Unless it's justified.
2. All Beaker People to go around giggling and skipping like schoolgirls on a trip to see a pony. Unless they're not feeling that cheerful.
3. The punishment for suggesting we sing "Brother, Sister let me Serve You" to be commuted to life imprisonment without parole.
4. Anyone pointing out another Beaker person's character flaws must preface their criticism with an unrelated piece of praise, and the word "but".
5. All attendees at Moot House occasions to listen to music on their headphones, and tell the Beaker Quire afterwards that "the music was lovely". It may not be quite true but at least it's encouraging.
6. The words "div", "wally" and "idiot" (and all related concepts that I can't even print) to be replaced by the phrase "misunderstood genius". As in "did you see Marston trying to play the bagpipes? What a misunderstood genius."
7. Everyone to greet everyone else with "How can I help you?" And replace "goodbye" with "missing you already".
8. If anyone has been truly, sincerely and unfeignedly encouraging, the encouragee is to drop a Beaker Bead into their encourager's "Barnabas Bucket" in the Moot House - in the manner of the charity giving buckets in Waitrose. At the end of the day, if any beads have been deposited at all, the most encouraging person is recognised by being called "Barney" for the evening
9. All grumbling to be ruthlessly stamped out by the "Barnabas Police" (Hnaef + Young Keith).
10. Archdruid's decison is final. No correspondence will be entered. No purchase necessary.
UCB have apparently been putting out sad tweets regarding a poll that apparently said 80% of Christians think Christian broadcasting. They've been asking what we think about it.
Now, I've racked my brains over this. And the honest truth is that I've no idea what Christian broadcasting - at least in England - is like. I've seen American televangelists, long and merry enough ago now, who would ask you to put your hand on the screen to be healed (while putting your other hand in your pocket). But what is broadcasting this side of the Pond like? I've no idea.
But I've a stereotype in my mind. And maybe that's their problem. The stereotype has cheesily grinning, fresh-faced Christians - like well-scrubbed Simon Mayos - cheerily telling us how great life is, in between playing Matt Redman records and interviewing Delia Smith. And the funny thing is that (a) I'm sure that's just my deluded idea and (b) I quite like Simon Mayo, Matt Redman and Delia Smith. But I still couldn't bring myself to tune into UCB.
In fact, being honest and just between you and me - I've no idea whether UCB hasa radio station, TV channel, both or neither.
I have another sneaking suspicion, which is that if there's a Scottish Christian broadcaster, it's probably Strict Presbyterian Broadcasting - twenty-four hours of stern lectures on sin and guilt every day, followed by an epilogue where they tell us it's actually a sin to own a radio. And it won't be much better in Hell.
The only consolation I have is that if there were an Atheist Channel, it would be even worse. Blokes in anoraks and failed comedians - and even comedians in failed anoraks - telling us there's no point to life, but don't touch that dial as there'll be another bloke in an anorak telling us life is futile after the break. But due to the boring nature of the broadcasting, there won't be any adverts - just some trailers for upcoming futility.
On the whole I think I'll stick to Eastenders. It is also futile, but at least they won't put on cheesy smiles.
I know I broke with convention. I disregarded Rule 37 from the Big Book of Beaker Rules. But I feel I was justified at this morning's naming service.
Merlot Gehenna Cerise is not a suitable set of first names. Whatever his parents may have thought. I'm sure little Bradley will thank me when he's older.
A strange Occasion all round.
You know, we get asked to bless some odd things. Various types of relationships, of course. But also Harley Davidson motorbike, a DVD of "Love Actually", a cricket bat, Thursday, Bruegemann's "Texts Under Negotiation" and Corby, to name but several. But Squonks?
It all came about because "Filling Up of Beakers" had been declared pointless, as the beakers have filled up all on their own in the rain today. So naturally, with time on my hands, I asked if anybody wanted anything blessed. And somebody said - why not the Squonks?
Well, as it turns out, there was one particularly good reason why not the Squonks. Being particularly ugly creatures, they don't understand why anyone would want to bless them. So we explained it was because they were God's creatures, just like the creature with the horns and the tail that Young Keith mysteriously turned up with the other day. But the Squonks assumed there was some nefarious reason why we wanted to bless them. So when I got near them with the Blessing Bowl, they ran away. Naturally we ran after them with the Net of Aspergement, and eventually succeeded in catching them.
But, of course, you all know the problem with catching Squonks.
You feel such a fool, sprinkling blessed water onto a puddle of tears.
There's been a lot of debate regarding the use of what people are calling "Traditional" liturgy. Drayton Parslow has even got involved, coming round to tell me that Independent Baptists reject all tradition, and have been doing so since 1609.
So I thought it was best I laid down some ground rules, to help those organising our daily "Happening" to get the best out of their slot.
Basically, if it sounds old it's probably OK. As long as it doesn't sound like it's part of the English tradition. Unlike other nations and races, whose traditions sound exotic and other, English liturgy all sounds a bit same-y, don't you think?
The ancient Celts and Beaker Folk left nothing in writing. Rather than being a cause for despair, we should see this as a great opportunity to make money. The Beaker Common Prayer -Everything in Threes Supplement being a great example. By endlessly invoking triads (sun/mooon/stars: girl/matron/crone; rose/lily/daffodowndilly; uphill/flat/downhill) we give a sense of great completeness - of coming at things from all angles. The lack of any genuine clue as to what people were like should not dissuade us from trying to get to the essence of their cultures. Instead, lighting a tea light and wearing an ethnic stole will give suitable clues. If in doubt, use a traditional drum.
Anything you don't understand must be deep. So a Syriac Morning Prayer, being in the language Jesus spoke (although after spending so long in England's Green 'n' Pleasant Land he probably had a Somerset burr), gives great depth. Singing songs in Swahili, particularly when dressed in floral prints, is terribly ethnic and therefore rooted in the earth. Though not our earth, obviously. But Book of Common Prayer Evensong, being in 16th Century English, just doesn't mean anything. You might as well dress up as John Major or a Morris Dancer, cycle to Mass through the mist with your maiden uncle and be done with it.
I"m pleased to say that this morning's Pouring Out of Beakers will be in the Easter Island tradition. Lacking the facilities to build those giant statues, we've buried Marston up to his neck in the Orchard. Though there was a moment of panic when we remembered that he should have been feet-down. We will be singing song-settings of the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the ancient Aztec language, and then afterwards, in keeping with tradition, a massive war will break out between those with long ears and those with short.
Ah, I love a bit of tradition. As long as it's someone else's.
Some have been asking why the Beaker Folk paid so little attention earlier this week to the Transit of Venus.
Now, don't get me wrong. It's not that we were unaware. And we are as full of excitement as the next bunch of pseudo-traditionalist tree-huggers over the discovery that when a small rocky object goes in front of a big shiny object, it makes a small dark dot.
But our belief-system says that we should treat these astronomical phenomena with the same awe and respect that our Beaker foremothers would have done (Beaker forefathers, of course, did what they were told).
And that amount of awe and respect was - precisely none at all. Lacking the simplest set of welder's goggles, the ancient Beaker Folk would never have watched it. Clearly they couldn't have used a Camera Obscura as even the words are Latin.
Besides, it was wet and it was cloudy. We'll wait for a decent astronomical event, like the International Space Station going over. Now that would have awed the Ancients.
I note that the EU's come up with some new ideas to stop runs on banks impacting on governments, and therby protect the Eurozone.
It's a bit light on detail, and it's due sometime in or after 2018. Which is a bit like watching a horse bolt, and thinking to yourself that you really must buy a lock for the stable door next week.