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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Desolation of the Kingdom

These are truly momentous days - at least, that is to say, for human beings in the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria. It is truly said that a cat can look at a king; this Cat is looking at this kingdom with horror, disbelief and biscuit. It is a realm that has been caught in the grip of turbulence, petulance and flatulence.

As I do my daily rounds through my own territory and inspect its furthest boundaries, I can't help but observe the scene laid out before me. I see a realm caught up in the throes of self-destruction following that Fatal Event which overturned everything that had hitherto been comfortable and familiar to the members of the human population.

And now I see (and smell) the heaps of corpses by the roadside and small clusters of the walking wounded, propping each other up like bookends and staggering their weary and painful way to Heaven knows where. There are legions of carrion crows taking gleeful advantage of the stinking feast set before them. There isolated individuals wandering about, shaking their heads in disbelief.

And then there are the recriminations. And the anger - oh, my word! Dagwald Caedmeron - the Princpal Dancer of the Tree Faction and the head of King Alhrith's government - has tendered his resignation so that he can purportedly spend more time on his own pig farm instead of managing the swine of his own faction. Therefore the Tree Faction is in a state of disarray, while the Redistributionist Faction - also deepy affected by the Event - is busy fighting its own internal civil wars. Two thousand members of Crowbane's Round Table have already left his side to devise (in whispering groups) plots for his downfall and the selection and subsequent coronation of a new arisocrat to rule over them. This could take some time, and many other lives are certain to be lost. The Liberationists no longer exist - except in the fading imaginations of a few people. This is a Kingdom that has become deeply damaged, decimated, dogeared and divided.

Wade Rune and his mighty men should never have conceded those two goals to the Island Vikings...

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Crowbane, the Jutes and assorted Catastrophes

Please forgive my silence over that last few weeks: I've been busy with cat business, and simply haven't had either the time nor the inclination to immerse myself in the affairs of human politics. The lure of mouse and the tussle with tooth and claw against rivals have been too strong for me to resist.

Nevertheless, I've observed that things have been terribly busy in the Northumbrian scene; Crowbane has achieved some astonishing victories over the deadly foes of common sense, decency and reason, and has managed to unite his faction in a deadly internecine civil war, and has transformed the Redistributionist Faction into an anti-Jute club, while conveying to the Northumbrian masses that he loves the Jutes as much as the next man. (Those tribes from Jutland who've settled in the Southern realms have been a universal scapegoat, falsely accused of every crime and misdemeanour under the sun, and many Redistributionists would like them to be pleasantly annihilated.)

Even so, the main cause for your Cat's amusement has been the torrent of threats proceeding from soothsayers and politicos - should the Northumbrian realm decide to secede from the Holy Roman Empire, which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire. Such are the vested interests of  certain politicos, we can be sure that all of the plagues of Egypt as well as an epidemic of ingrowing toenails as well as the Mumbles will befall the Kingdom if the people decide to extract themselves from the Empire's tender stranglehold. Moreover, the birds will cease to buzz and the bees will stop singing.

What is more likely, however, is that certain soothsayers and politicos will lose an income, and find themselves on an expenses-free lifestyle. That would never do...

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

At the Red Sea Shore

Since my recent and protracted adventures in the undiscovered land of Ultima Thule, I've had time to recover from the experience and to find out what's been happening in the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria.

A lot has happened, and the universal excitement has increased to boiling point. I sought out my friend Feaxede the Fox, who was curled up under a hedge, fast asleep. After some gentle persuasion and a nip on his ear, he woke up, and once he'd established from me what day, year and month it was, he gave me a rundown of the recent events in the Kingdom.

It appears that Dagwald Caedmeron - the Principal Dancer and Chocolate Teapot of the Tree Faction - has promised the Kingdom a Great Count to determine whether or not the Northumbrian people want to remain as a vassal state in the Holy Roman Empire (which is as holy as pig droppings, as Roman as Valhalla, and whose resemblance to an empire is - to say the least - tenuous). This has arisen following a series of disasters that have befallen the feckless Empire, the most recent and ongoing being the influx of entire nations, fleeing war and pestilence in the Orient and hammering at the doors, loudly demanding food and shelter in their fancied destinations. This has understandably caused no little concern in this part of the Evil Intergalactic Federation, and the prospect of hordes of Bactrians, Persians, Arabs, Berbers, Ethiopians, Vegans and Vegetarians flooding into the marketplaces, coughing in strange languages, dressing in bedsheets and introducing new barbaric customs and homeopathy has filled the average Northumbrian with fear, dread and foreboding, and the perception is that the Northumbrian Anglo-Saxon culture is under siege. So then, any opportunity to escape the clutches of the Empire would at least free the Realm from the strictures of Holy Roman Empire laws, which are currently being generated at a rate of fifteen thousand per second. The Northumbrians consequently feel that the very act of drawing breath will imminently become illegal and under the punishment of death.

Naturally, Caedmeron and his fellow politicos are largely in favour of remaining in the Empire, since it guarantees them comfortable incomes and inestimable glory. However, not all politicos are as enthusiastic about remaining in chains; many have vocally pledged themselves to an independent Northumbria, and even some Redistributionists have made similar noises.

The Moses to lead the people through the Red Sea is Beoris the Blond, the charismatic and bumbling rival to the affections of the Tree Faction, and Caedmeron's nemesis.

However, he will only lead them through the waters so that he can do a U-turn and lead them all back again. Moses didn't do that...

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Ultima Thule-ishness

You won't believe what I'm about to tell you, but if you really want to know why I haven't posted anything for weeks, you have no alternative but to accept my wild explanation. And it IS an explanation - not some lame "dog ate my homework" excuse. Here goes.

In January I was conducting my usual early morning tour of my territory in the environs of Streonaeshalh, looking for mice and defending my borders from feline invaders. During my quayside patrol, I noticed a foreign ship moored. To cut a long story short, I was catnapped by Barbary pirates to keep the on-board rodent population down. After several weeks of sailing on tumultuous seas, we embarked at the as yet undiscovered country of Ultima Thule, where I had the liberty to wander about. I soon found that the people there were getting inordinately excited about the forthcoming selection of a new Chieftain to replace Bugrake O'Barmy, who was being retired to the ribbon-cutting duties to which he will doubtless be better suited. The new focus of excitement was a strange character called Ronald the Toot - a florid and fat individual, who, I gather, is as rich as Croesus. (He made his fortune by being an altogether nice person and by being beneficent to all his competitors.) Ronald the Tailwind is certainly generating excitement among the Ultima Thule people, who, I perceive, are renowned for their discernment in the choice of leaders, and who assiduously study the political implications of every word that drips from their hyperactive gobs.

Ronald the Backdraught is an interesting character. He wears a golden hamster on his head to cultivate the vague impression that he still possesses a head of hair; his speeches to the enraptured mob are full of stirring rhetoric, allegory and exaggerations, peppered with mendacity. He offers a vision of a restored and great Ultima Thule, but I wondered if it might not be a good idea for the place to be discovered and recognised by the rest of the world first? But I am just a mere cat: what would I know?

In his speeches, Ronald the Trouser Sigh has also shown magnanimous contempt for his running mates, along with an impressive ignorance of whichever subject he addresses. I discovered that there are several months more of Ronald the Botty Burp's ravings before the public declare their ultimate choice for either him or a crooked harridan by the name of Silvery Flipturn. It's all so terribly exciting... What was I telling you about?

When this is all over, I can predict that Ultima Thule has a great future behind it, and it will remain undiscovered.

After several weeks, the pirates loaded supplies into the ship, and I didn't need any persuasion to get back on board and return to familiar shores.

Over this last few weeks I've really missed Caedmon and my home. And Crowbane,  Caedmeron et alia seem positively normal by comparison with the toxic drivel I've been hearing...

Monday, 4 January 2016

Wizardry at Work

Your Cat wandered down to try and find out about this sinister cult that has developed from the dry and discarded chrysalis of the Redistributionist Faction, since there appears to be a plethora of rumours going around about its constantly changing shape and nature.
The soothsayers are far too busy telling the Northumbrians conflicting accounts about the new phenomenon that's wiggling, puking and filling its nappies with gifts of brown benevolence; some welcome the new creature as a gift from the gods, while others decry it as some hideous chimera - a cross between a dragon and a sponge pudding. Whatever this newly reinvented Redistributionist Faction really is, it's certainly a bizarre departure from its predecessor, which - as we all remember with fondness - was previously led by the harmless and gawkish Edweird the Milliner. Its new shining star Crowbane however is shifty, dark and mysterious, which, to be sure, are the requisite qualities for a grey-bearded Druidic high priest.
All I've managed to glean so far is that he's forming a Faction based upon his own shifty, dark and mysterious moods, habits and attitudes, and those from the ancien régime are slowly being strangled, and their bodies dragged away at the dead of night on the back of carts, and disposed of in some strange exotic and esoteric ritual. I also know that a change is expected in his shadowy coterie, and that further corpses are soon to be added to the list of the mysteriously disappeared. The soothsayers - who ought to be in the know - confidently told us that announcement was due earlier today. In view of this, I went with a spring in my step (and a set of sharpened claws) to discover what the outcome of the changes. To my great surprise, I saw on arrival at the Redistributionist temple that there was already a throng of soothsayers already assembled, waiting with bated breath and jaws in a cavernous flycatching mode. I happened to meet my good friend Feaxede the Fox, who was as interested as I was to find out what was going to develop.
Inevitably, the announcement came from an anonymously robed lackey: the Great Announcement will be made at the stroke of midnight. I'll be listening out for the squeaking of axles in the dark hours...

Friday, 1 January 2016

Northumbrian New Year Greetings

Hello, all! I'm sorry that I didn't post anything over Christmas, but Caedmon took me with him to visit his friends Bede and Cuthbert up in Jarrow, so I was out of my usual surroundings for a while. Nevertheless, while he, Cuthbert and Bede were busy waxing theological and lyrical, I was able to attend a special Mouse Conference which had been arranged by the local cats, who for the most part extended to me the customary feline courtesies. I only had to shred the ears of a couple of loutish individualists, who'd foolishly attempted to evict me from the premises for being a stranger. They say that time's a great healer, so they'll survive. Life is for learning, although some young bucks have yet to reach that sober conclusion...

The conference was a useful forum for exchanging ideas and recipes to enable us to hone our rodent hunting and improve our culinary skills. I was able to meet some interesting moggies and excellent hunters, so it was a stimulating way to pass the time away from home. The mouse vol-au-vents were out of this world...

However, my temporary exile isolated me from my vulpine friend Feaxede, so I missed out on the perpetually fevered slobbering of the soothsayers. Since my return I've seen my pal, and he's told me all that's happened over this last couple of weeks. It took all of fifteen milliseconds. I now feel so enormously relieved to be in the know...

What will this New Year hold for the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria? Will Crowbane succeed in converting the Redistributionist Faction into a cult disguised as a kindergarten debating class, solely reserved for his cloned acolytes? Will they have an extended playtime? Will Dagwald Caedmeron - the Grand Poobah of the Tree Faction and government - return from the flooded wastelands with an olive branch in his beak? Will any of his promises to relieve the plight of the waterlogged and the homeless pass into the realms of reality? Why do I ask such pointless questions? - you don't know any more than I do. All that remains is for me to wish you a Happy New Year.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Story So Far - Part 59

The lovely kingdom of Northumbria is in a state of calamity, chaos and biscuit. The Redistributionists have selected as their new champion Crowbane, the enigmatic bearded druid high priest, who with his entourage of hangers on, coathangers, pigs and chickens has established a reign of terror over their bewitched and benighted faction.

Meanwhile, Dagwald Caedmeron - the Primary Princess of the Tree Faction and Supreme Chieftain of the Kingdom is busy playing guessing games with the satraps of the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor does it quack like an empire). He's pretending that he's deadly serious about withdrawing the Kingdom from the  clutches of the malevolent Intergalactic Federation, and is hastily visiting various foreign chieftains in an attempt to persuade them to see things his way. No - seriously. No kidding. But most Northumbrians know that he's only trying to fool them into believing that he's serious. Seriously. The steaks are high, and the fish is off.

Will Crowbane win the hearts and minds of Northumbrian populace -  and the ultimate prize of the seat of the Kingdom Commode? Will they see through the magic mushroom fuelled rhetoric and discover what his real agenda is - if there is one? How many beans make five?

Will Caedmeron find his long lost principles? Where the dickens did he last put them? Did he even have them in the first place?
Stay tuned, people. The Cat has all the answers..