Rogue One and Two


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The Labour Party members are all but extinct; the Old Country is in

turmoil and there is a dark threat hanging over us all, remarked

Brassie, as she read The Daily Mail in Costamuchamoulah must-

seen cafe.

Sounds like the plot of the new Lucasfilm, commented Carrie.

A band of Resistance Fighters unite for a daring mission to

inflict independence.  They want to avoid imperial

entanglements…  Brassie looked up.  You’re right.  All we

need now is the return of Only-Wan Kebabi, the slimline version

of the original mentor, or Only-Wan Cannelloni as he is known in

some parts of ethnically diverse Glasgow.

The parts with the Art Deco ice cream parlours?  Carrie asked.

You got it!  Then the locals would indubitably realise that the gods

were not coming to save them.

Brassie thought for a moment.  Hmmm…the  erstwhile leader never

used to answer the questions.  In some subcultures, ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’

means: ‘Your question doesn’t make sense.’  In Salmond’s case, it was his

answers that were the problem.

One thing that you learn in politics is that the Clone Troops usually

turn on their Jedi generals, observed Carrie.

We can only hope, agreed Brassie.  Mind you, I think the new leader

is more like Princess Leia.

How so?

Well, Leia was an accomplished senator during the civil war and

a proponent of The Rebel Alliance and was instrumental in the

creation of a New Republic.

I see what you mean.  She was a bit of a tomboy, but then she

got a makeover.  In the same way, it seems that the wee battler

has been called : ‘Swanky Kranky’ now.

Wasn’t Leia a bit of a prankster?  I don’t know if Nicola has a

sense of humour.

Yes, Leia destroyed the budget for the following year, Brassie

grimaced.  But at least she did disapprove of expensive parties

being held while the poor were suffering in Galashiels…I mean,

The Galaxy. She did attend receptions for offworld personnel,


Some critics felt threatened by her, but others viewed her as

being pathetically idealistic, Carrie recalled.

Yes, she was nicknamed ‘Madam Senator’ or ‘Little Miss

Inalienable Rights.’

How very similar!  Didn’t she want to find a new location for the

Rebel Base?

Brassie had a brainwave.  You know, I don’t see why the SNP

don’t go on that Mars Mission, on a one-way ticket, with the

likes of Sarah Brightman.  It’s a Red Planet, so they should feel

quite at home there.  They could confine their Thrawn Crisis to

their own planet.


‘Thrawn’: what does that mean, Carrie enquired.

Oh, it’s a Scots word which means ‘twisted’.

Anyway, The First Minister would probably seize the stone

so she could have the right to address The Council- a bit like

Ralph and Jack with the conch in ‘Lord of the Flies’.

She probably already has The Stone of Scone.  Some say it was her

lot who originally nicked it.  Affected by The Dark Side, she will probably

become Queen of the Empire.

Well, they could stuff themselves with all the Mars Bars they wished,

quipped Carrie. Deep-fried, or otherwise.  Or they could just go to Isis

Headquarters instead.

I think you mean ISS- The International Space Station, Brassie corrected

her.  It’s a common mistake.

A rearward view of the International Space Station backdropped by the limb of the Earth. In view are the station's four large, gold-coloured solar array wings, two on either side of the station, mounted to a central truss structure. Further along the truss are six large, white radiators, three next to each pair of arrays. In between the solar arrays and radiators is a cluster of pressurised modules arranged in an elongated T shape, also attached to the truss. A set of blue solar arrays are mounted to the module at the aft end of the cluster.

Whatever.  Carrie was a little embarrassed by her faux pas.  But The

First Minister could do her Battle Meditation there and utilise her Jedi

skills of diverting the miasma of debating fog.  One must admit that she

sees things clearly and rarely misses a target with her blaster.

Oh, she is good at some things, conceded Brassie.  Messianic things.

That’s why she could share Leia’s nickname: Mal’arg’osh.


‘Daughter of the Saviour.’

What happened to Princess Leia at the end of the saga?

She died, was resurrected, but then re-located thousands of years

back in time.  A similar retrospective transportation might be fitting

for the Braveheart squad.  They love anachronism.

And what will be the final word on the one who groomed Sturgeon for office?

Brassie thought for a moment.  Let me quote Yoda:

‘Lost a planet, Master Obi-Wan Kenobi has.  How embarrassing.’



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Large wicker laundry hamper/basket

John Boothroyd-Smythe was winding up his mother

as usual.

It was the Easter break and he was supposed to be

revising.  However, the state of his bedroom was not

conducive to serious study, his parent felt.

She threatened to dock his allowance if he didn’t put

his dirty clothing into the laundry bin, but he just shrugged

and muttered, Whatever.

Your name isn’t Hodor, by any chance? she remonstrated.

Not a flicker.

You know- that character in Game of Thrones.  The one who

only utters a single word.

John grunted and did not avert his gaze from his computer


Laocoon and His Sons.jpg

Oh, I give up! Gisela expostulated, depositing his underwear

and sundry soiled garments on the floor.  Some socks entwined

themselves into a tangled series of knots that would have given

Laocoon a tourniquet or two.  Why do you have to be so



Later, in Costamuchamoulah must-seen cafe, Gisela was sharing

her woes with a vaguely interested acquaintance.

Brassica had twin boys in the same class as John.  She tried to

overlook the painful fact that he had bullied her precious sons-

Castor and Pollux, causing withdrawn behaviour on their part.

Eventually she had involved Mr Milford-Haven, who had been

unable to address the issue.

It was only when he had passed the case on to Mr Augustus

Snodbury, The Senior Master, that the name-calling (‘Bastard

and Bollocks’ or ‘Custard and Pillock’) had stopped.

Maybe it was because Mr Snodbury took to abbreviating

Boothroyd-Smythe’s surname to ‘B-S’ and wrote the bully boy’s

forename initial in Latin form, as a capital ‘I‘, thus rendering the

whole I B-S, which everyone, including all the Masters, knew stood for

Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Some felt this was a trifle cruel, but Snod said that the child had the

same miserable effect on one and all and that he personally required

a probiotic Actimel from the Staffroom fridge before he could face the

bete noire on a Monday, period one.

So, Mrs Willoughby found the effort of appearing sympathetic

somewhat challenging.  She endeavoured to adjust her facial

expression when Gisela complained:

He basically only utters a single word at any one time.  Sometimes I

worry that he might have Expressive Aphasia.

What’s that?  queried Brassie, suddenly wondering if it was contagious

as her boys exhibited something very similar.

It’s a neurological condition, explained Gisela.  There can be a lesion in

the part of the brain that controls speech.

But John spoke quite fluently until Year Five, didn’t he? commented


Um, yes, but he did receive a blow to the head during a rugby

match recently.  Apparently this condition can be initiated by trauma.

Brassie was worried now.   At the time she and Cosmo had

congratulated Castor for tackling the bully and bringing him down.

She stared into the fern motif in the chocolate powder of her Mocha.

Gisela was in her stride now.  He doesn’t reply when I call his name.

Oh, my two are just the same, but their father calls it Selective Hearing

and he is just as bad.  She unfolded her tablet and Googled Expressive…

What did you call it again?

Aphasia, supplied Gisela.

Oh, I think there is a girl in Tiger-Lily’s class called that.  Hang on…It says

that those who have been diagnosed with it cannot form syntactically

complex sentences.

You see!  interrupted Gisela.  That’s what John is like.

No, soothed Brassie.  I’d say that everyone is on a spectrum.  Hodor

Syndrome would be at one extreme and individuals probably reveal

varying degrees of the tendency.  That gushy woman we had to wait

behind at the Parents’ Evening probably exhibited the other extreme.

We can all communicate telegraphically.  I mean, I bumped my head

badly and nearly concussed myself when I was transfixed by a dress

in the window of ‘A La Mode’.  I walked straight into a Heritage lamp

post.  Cosmo says I’ve never been the same.  But, I wouldn’t think

John is morphing into Kristian Nairns, aka Hodor, just yet.

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I did drop him on his head once when he was a baby, confessed

Gisela in a whisper, which was nevertheless overheard and instantly

processed by The Suttonford Grapevine.

Most mothers have done that, absolved Brassie.  I suppose that’s

why most husbands are men of few words.  She felt like The Vicar of

Dibley, only slimmer.  Should she prescribe some penance?

But don’t girls get dropped too? asked Gisela with disarming logic.

They seem to be more robust cranially-speaking, said Brassie.

Maybe it is an evolutionary adaptation to inure them to survival

after being dumped in later life.

The minute she had tactlessly uttered this, she regretted it,

given Gisela’s recent divorce.  Have another Pastel-de-nata, she

distracted.  Go on.  You deserve it.


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Portuguese custard tart, after Jamie Oliver.

I think it is a Lisa Faulkener recipe, actually, clarified the barista,

removing their used plates.

Tanto faz! Gisela brightened.

Manuel Waiter.jpg

Que? said Brassie, attempting a quizzical Manuel impression.

Whatever, Gisela laughed and sank her veneers into one of the

seriously moreish roundels.

The Scottish Play


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Mrs Connolly, the housekeeper, was chopping some root vegetables

for a hearty broth.

This’ll stick tae yer ribs, she promised.

I was thinking a salad might have been more appropriate in this

clement weather, suggested Diana.

Never cast a cloot till May is oot.  There could be snow yet, Mrs

Syylk.  Aye, we could have a blizzard before the elections.

And how will you vote? Mrs C, asked Diana.  Who impressed

you in the televised debate?

Well, the wee lassie certainly wiped the flair wi’ the lot o’

them, she opined.  But jist because she could handle

hersel’ in the verbal, it disnae follow that she’s no’ speakin’

a load o’ sh…Sugar!

Mrs Connolly!  Please.  I get your drift and I must say that

I do agree with you regarding the policies she endorses.  As

for UKIP…

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Pardon me, Mrs S, but Ah canna abide that Lavage mannie.

Farage, corrected Diana.  Lavage is a type of gastric


Mair like gastric irritation, Mrs C riposted.  Ah huv tae take

an Omeprazole efter hearing ony o’ his drivel.  Och, don’t

get me started!

Diana didn’t think she had.

Tell me aboot yer night oot wi’ Mr Syylk. She attempted to

change the subject.  All this havering jist gets me doon.

We went to see a production of Macbeth at the local school.

You should call it The Scottish Play, warned Mrs C.  She

stirred the broth as if she was First Witch: All hail McSturgeon

that shall be queen hereafter! she cackled, revealing her very

sound Scottish Senior Secondary education from The Sixties.

Diana laughed: Salmond still lives.  Why does she dress in

borrowed robes? Treason’s capital…[will] overthrow him. 

Is execution done on Miliband?

Nothing in his party would become him like the leaving of it,

quipped Mrs C.

But seriously, everyone was saying ‘What bloody woman is

that? after the debate continued Diana.  She unseamed them-

all the knaves, all the chaps; and made as if to fix their heads

upon her battlements, screeching: ‘Ay, in the catalogue ye go

for men!’

Aye, and the ither females were jist her chamberlains.  All were

too weak when faced wi’ the Braveheart lass.  She dares do all that

may become a man and some of they wumman politicians look as if

they are halfway there..  Aah, I feel faint at the thought. Don’t get

me a sturgeon, though.  After a dramatic pause, she probed: Whit

aboot that big jessie, Cameron?

He’s too busy echoing the lines: We will establish our estate upon

Boris, Theresa or George, I fear.

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So, she’s tae get away wi’ pouring her sweet milk of apparent

concord into hell and causing uproar to the universal peace,

confounding all unity on earth and…

…instigating yet another bloody referendum! shrieked Diana.

Oh, Scotland, Scotland.  Fit to govern?  Even Alex has banished

himself. Mind you, we have scotch’d that snake, but no’ killed it.

O, my breast… (here she pounded her poitrine with the wooden

spoon) …Thy hope ends here.

Diana was becoming over-enthusiastic.  She stood up on her

kitchen chair.  Yes, and then Miliband says, It looks like rain


But it always looks like rain here, Mrs S.

Suspend your disbelief as Nicola has instructed you, prompted

Diana.  Let’s fast-forward to the banquet scene.

Scone? Mrs C wrinked her brow.

No, I’m not hungry, Diana said.  Oh, I see what you mean-

No, she’s already crowned herself.

Ah hope there’ll no be ony ghosts, Mrs C wavered.

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We’ve had the spectre of Blair already, but everyone pretended

he was invisible, Diana assured her. Now, like Mrs Thatcher…

God rest her soul! Mrs C bowed her head.

…The First Minister is already adopting the Royal ‘we’.

Ourself will mingle with society? queried Mrs C.

Precisely.  Then she says to herself:’Be bloody, bold and

resolute and laugh to scorn/ The power of men.

We’re into Act 4 now, nodded Mrs C., keeping her eye on the


Diana, still standing on the chair, surveyed the landscape from

her kitchen window: Scotland has not foisons enough to fill her


Nor oil reserves, added Mrs C.

Diana nearly fell off the chair as there was a sudden sound of

applause.  It was Murgatroyd, who had returned early from an


Oh, but how will we end it? Diana was disappointed to be


Can I have the epilogue? asked her husband.  You know, the last

word that I rarely have the pleasure to express.

Go ahead, replied Diana and Mrs C sat down and mopped her brow

with the tea towel.

Murgatroyd took a deep breath and intoned:

This murderous shaft that’s shot

Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way

Is to avoid the aim.

Ah take it that ye’ll no’ be votin’ SNP then , Mr Syylk? observed

Mrs C.

You have hit the nail upon the head as usual Mrs C.  Now,

is there a bowl of broth for a hungry man?

And Mrs C reverted to her housekeeping duties and forsook

her thespian tendencies- for the moment.

Nae bother, sir.


The Forgiveness Window


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I thought I’d re-blog the original poem on Forgiveness that led to all

the subsequent musings on Judas Iscariot…

You know, Candia, I like the idea of forgiveness.  Even the vandals that

committed that terrible act of desecration in Steep Church are merely

re-enacting a type of evil behaviour like that of poor old Judas, but there

is a wonderful tradition of felix culpa, isn’t there?

Yes, Brassie.  The sadness of destruction reminded me of another

Whistler window- a 13th pane which was rejected by the villagers of

Moreton.  It is now in the County Museum in Dorset.*  It struck me

very powerfully some years ago as I considered the whole theological

debate as to the ultimate salvation of the betrayer.

(Judas tree)

Whistler himself had written to The Independent in 1994, from Watlington

in Oxfordshire, after experiencing the rejection of his offer of this 13th pane.

It would only have been visible from the inside of the church.  It showed

Judas being pulled into Heaven by the rope around his neck.  Some people

are as resistant as that to salvation, I suppose.  Anyway, he commented

that three minutes of agonising strangulation was not to be compared to

the extended suffering of crucifixion.

You wouldn’t have a poem on that, would you, Candia?

Well, actually, yes, I do, as a matter of fact:

The Forgiveness Window

(Engraved for Morton Church, by L. Whistler.  *Now, hopefully

received into Moreton Church, after having been stored in The

Dorchester Museum for years.)

This was to have been a thirteenth blind pane,

seen only from the outside of the church:

replacement for its bombshell-slivered glass.

Judas, the betrayer, hangs from a tree.

His grasp relaxes and thirty pieces

of silver metamorphose into a









of flowers.

Discernment can come from outside the Church.

Inside some, coin-lidded, opt for cataracts.

Most see through glass darkly; few face to face.

The Judas Tree


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It’s that time of year when we remember Judas…

A re-blog:

Ever since I wrote my poem called ‘The Forgiveness Window’ (in my Poetry

section), inspired by glass windows in Moreton Church, by Laurence

Whistler, I have been meditating on Judas Iscariot and the question of

forgiveness. This poem has been some time on my back burner, but I gave

birth to it this morning.

The Judas Tree

(George Macdonald: When a man begins to loathe himself he begins to be saved.)

Those plumb-like seed pods cannot mask the corpse.

The sagging branch touches the earth. Strange fruit

suspended from a limb: a pendulum

measuring a moment of treachery.

At each bloom’s heart is a crown of thorns.

From the scarified trunk blood beads burst forth-

a rosary protecting its blush of shame.


Cybore had a premonition:

she dreamt her son would ruin Issachar.

She and her husband, Ruben, cast him off-

Moses-like, adrift, in a pitched basket.

He then washed up on Scariot, whose Queen,

childless, lonely, feigned a pregnancy,

taking the outcast child to her own breast.

Anxiety dispelled, she then conceived

her own son, Jacobus, whom Judas loathed.

Supplanted, he destroyed, as Cain did; fled

to Pilate’s service in Jerusalem.

Then, asked to fetch his master some ripe fruit,

he argued with the owner of the land

and slew him with a rock. Haceldama-

The Field of Blood- is his, with the man’s wife,

who promptly tells him of his parricide.

Now he is Sicarius: ‘assassin.’

He follows Jesus, seeking redemption,

yet dips his fingers in the common purse

and, angry that three hundred silver coins

spent on some precious ointment should be poured

on the Messiah’s feet, he takes umbrage;

betrays his Master for a tenth of that-

the price one paid to liberate a slave.

Since bowels of mercy he had none, he spilled

his innards from that tree, so that his soul’s

quietus should not defile the lips

that had kissed God. He died not on the earth;

nor in the heavens (where men and angels range),

but dangled in the air, devils’ plaything.

Jesus harrowed Hell to plant His tree;

to cut down Judas and to set him free.

Look! Now we see the pods have seeds in them

and, though deciduous, those leaves return,

heart-shaped, assuring us of sins forgiven.

Its branches lifted up, like hands in prayer,

surrounded by an intense cloud of nard,

the Redbud props a ladder to the stars

and even men like Judas can aspire

to Paradise, via The Tree of Life.

Blood-geld bought the Gentile burial plot-

the first Garden of Rest, that Potter’s Field.

(Sanhedrin-laundered guilt’s slick charity.)

But the Potter makes new vessels from shards,

firing up His kiln from the Joshua trees.


Easter 1996


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We have just had an eclipse, but here is a re-blog of a poem

I wrote 19 years ago:


That week we ventured outside at midnight,

when a shadow gradually snuffed the moon,

till the reddened orb, deprived of its light,

stared like the Baptist’s eyeball. In high noon

we think the spotted sphere no longer there.

All the primitive tribes rise to my mind,

who must have viewed such an eclipse, despair

weighing stricken hearts. How they must have signed

to each other when they became aware

of its reappearance. So a small group

watched the waning of their Son as darkness

covered the earth, but they were to recoup

The Light of the World. This Easter I bless

the God of Heaven for resurrection,

looking to the sky for inspiration

through my cataract eyes. So inspection

of the new moon tends to celebration.

Astrological symbols directed

men to the babe. Lunar allegory,

which by most people would be rejected,

confirms for me the Good Friday story.

Most of the time I look through the wrong end

of the telescope; get a false picture;

let the neon town lights obscure my Friend;

forget he’s an omnipresent fixture.

He who controls the weather, cycles, tides,

is sometimes indiscernible through cloud;

never disappears, though he sometimes hides:

rises like Lazarus minus his shroud.

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Good Friday: Miracle at Much Marcle


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Miracle in Much Marcle

Another Easter poem, re-blogged

Image result for Blanche mortimer

It’s Good Friday: we are driving eastwards

through drifted fields, where ewes have lost their lambs.

Arriving early at the church, its latch

gives mercifully and so we enter,

stumbling into a chancel of pure light.

Attention is diverted to others

who lie in a petrified majesty:

a metaphysical conceit in stone.

Where is the wimpled beauty, tight-buttoned

sleeve?  We want to gaze on serene eyelids.

We’d like to witness Jairus’ daughter

miraculously wake before the end

of Time. This childless spouse, unknown daughter,

took to sleep, shutting out her father’s death

at Tyburn; his treachery with a queen;

his complicity in vile regicide.

Unprepared for absence’s disclosure,

we’re disappointed- not as disciples

who found a luminescent gardener.

There’s no grave mole-catcher to interview.

She has risen; there has been a Rapture.

We see that her heraldic tomb has gone

in the twinkling of an eye and no cloth,

no folded linen’s there- just vacancy,

where Blanche, her sins as white as snowy wool,

blank as a virgin, slept in innocence.

We read she has gone for restoration;

but surmise transfiguration took place

almost a millennium ago.

Centuries have tolled through her long fingers,

each bead once a prayer for deliverance:

for ours; not hers, that having been achieved.

All Saints, Steep Good Friday


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All Saints, Steep

Another re-blog as it is the same season…

Brassie and I set out one sunny afternoon last week,

to savour the fresh air and to visit Steep Church with its

memorial windows to Edward Thomas, the poet.

Imagine our shock at finding one of the exquisite little panes

shattered by vandals-apparently some time ago.

It made me return to my online file and I managed to find

a poem written about these works of art several Springs


Let me share it with you:


It is steep, but we find it after all

with memorial tablet on the wall,

listing old choirboys – Cranstone, Applebee,

whose treble piping trills continually

in shrill birdsong. Death’s head kneelers proclaim

memento mori. We don’t forget name,

or words from the believer whose etched glass

invites us to see less darkly, to pass

through the pain, through the pane, beyond the moss

of an Easter garden, with central cross,

till our gaze follows glaze to Downs and sky,

clouded momentarily by the sigh

of some Hampshire widow, for whom the coat

on washing line; the unsmoked pipe denote

an absent man and yet a spirit nigh,

the daffodils bugling in Reveille.

Palm Sunday in Salisbury


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A re-blog as it is timely:

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I can’t believe that it’s nearly Easter, shivered Carrie.

Quick! let’s go in and bag a table, I said.

Costamuchamoulah cafe was still doing a brisk trade, even on this

grey day.  Amazingly, the smokers were still prepared to sit outside.

We have the routine down to a fine art now: one gets into the queue while

the other nabs a table, much as the disciples snatched a colt.

Yes, Easter’s early this year, I commented, watching a child stuff its face with

a Creme Egg in advance of the Christian calendar.  It’s amazing how such

diminutive creatures can incorporate a whole orb of sickly chocolate fondant

into such a tiny aperture.


I bet they don’t know what Simnel cakes represent, I mused aloud.

What do they stand for? queried Carrie.  Then, seeing my expression, she

added, I’m sure I once knew.

That’s what I say during University Challenge, I replied.

Then I sipped my Mocha, getting a chocolate powder moustache.  You know,

it’s Palm Sunday tomorrow.  Are you going to go to a service? 

Try persuading that lot to get out of bed, she sighed. They used to like to see

the donkey coming into the church, though.  Sometimes they were convinced

that The Dean, giving his dramatised reading, was Pontius Pilate and it scared


Yes, we used to go to Salisbury for the service.  That was when Ted Heath

lived in The Close. In fact.. have a poem about it, she smiled.

How did you know?


Polythene wraps New Sarum like an egg.

The sky above The Close is Constable’s.

Cream-robed clergy congregate in cloisters,

bespectacled, brandishing dried gray palms,

under a spire as tall as Babel’s own,

while new choristers mouth All glory, laud

and honour.. without comprehending laud.

The tallest lad hopes that his voice won’t crack.

Girl choristers have not been asked to sing today.

Some miniature Yasser Arafats

in tea-towels and trainers coax an ass

from a spreading cedar into the nave,

where all present pray for its continence.

True blue glass provides a continuo.

Ted Heath’s Jaguar, also blue, is parked

on a reserved space outside Arundells.

What if one should loose its handbrake

and say, The Lord has need of thee this day?

Meanwhile we make intercession for all

unemployed, under and over-employed,

while carefully noting the advertised

champagne breakfast on our service schedule.

Dom Perignon: a foretaste of glory.

The Jobseekers can sip Living Water.

Coffee will be served in the Chapter House

among the exhumed coffin chalices,

patens. The bookshop is doing business

in postcards of Julian of Norwich:

All manner of thing shall be well. Mammon

hasn’t felt stings from His whip of cords-yet.

The head which indicates the Bishop’s stall

has a triple face of circumspection.

The Dean and his ordained wife wear the same

as they stand on repro medieval tiles,

trying not to worry about their lunch.

In the cloisters a chill wind chafes faces.

A chair is overturned, but no tables.

Although we have received the sign of peace,

our palm crosses seem ineffectual.

We stick one on Ted’s windscreen, just in case

his residential permit cuts no ice

with the flaming Being at the Close gate,

who curiously doesn’t wear a badge,

but bears authority from Old Sarum.

He tends to let the backpackers pass through,

like Christians, still bearing their large burdens,

or as camels accessing a needle.

But Tory Faithful have to wait in queues,

backs turned to the Celestial City,

while Peter checks their National Trust cards

and the very stones cry, Glory! Glory!

Caviar to the Generals (not!)


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Murgatroyd was becoming really excited about the huge pond he had

excavated at the side of the pele tower.  He had wanted to farm carp,

but changed his mind when he spotted a care leaflet online which advised

on the care of sturgeon.

Historically, they were discarded as a nuisance, he informed Diana,

but now they are prized for their economic potential.

Do they thrive in cold regions? asked Diana.

Think Russia, replied Murgatroyd.  They are hardy- especially the

snub-nosed ones.  Acipenser brevirostrum.  Once they are about three

feet, their growth rate slows down.  Mind you, some of them are on

the Red List of Threatened Species.

Biologically they are similar to sharks.  They forage on decaying

salmon parts.  Basically they are cannibals.  The Dwarf species eats

invertebrates for breakfast.

Hell, no, joked Diana.  The invertebrates claim to be able to look after


Ed Miliband 2.jpg

They outgrow their habitat very quickly, continued Murgatroyd and

like to be big fish in a small pond. They throw their weight around as

if they were starlets!

Diana took the downloaded article from the table and studied it briefly.

Sterlets, actually, she corrected him.  Just as in the film industry, parasites

are probably attracted to them.  Maybe you should think carefully before

committing to such ruthless predators.  They might look cutesy at the

beginning, but they would be difficult to re-home when they outgrow their

surroundings.  They can become bogged down too and then can’t reverse

out of a bad dead end situation.  Reverse paddling isn’t one of their skills,


Like boasting that Scotland could survive on its oil! laughed Murgatroyd.

Nicola Sturgeon 2.jpg

Oh look!  The Pallid Sturgeon has small eyes, a big head and is paler than

other varieties.  It says here that keeping any of them is akin to trying to

tame reef sharks.  Some are armoured and can only be handled by gauntlets.

Which they have a habit of throwing down, added Murgatroyd, thoroughly

getting into the pre-election spirit.

It says here that one should never hug or squeeze a sturgeon, Diana

summarised. It tells you to expect the unexpected and advises that the

leader should be cut to improve the well-being of the others.  They have

survived for aeons owing to their strong sense of smell.  They can detect

rotten salmon stink bait from vast distances.  They are broadcast

spawners too.

You know, I think I might stick to koi carp after all, Murgatroyd sighed.

Better the devil you know…

Six koi.jpg


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