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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..

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Curse of the Bat Manager

The normally sleepy Northumbrian kingdom has been rudely woken from its slumber by a smelly Great Scandal (size 13 in your Cat's estimation) that has rocked it to the core and back to sleep again.
It all started with a colourful character - an immense woman of Levantine extraction called Candida the Bat Manager, who'd been released into the Northumbrian community on indefinite leave. Wearing sumptuous flowing robes of many layers and more hues than those which had graced Joseph's coat - and a colour-coordinated turban to match - Candida turned many noses, but few eyes or hearts. To compensate for this however, she devised a Great Plan to Do Good and make some money. So in the interests of the poor children of the realm, she set up a mendicant society to Make Their Lives Better, and begged money from the public.

Because of her unconventional appearance, she soon came to the attention of the hip, cool and trendy elements of the Northumbrian elite, and with the Beeby See stooge Alum of Botney as her advocate, they formed an alliance for the sake of the poor little children, and persistently pestered the Government for taxpayers' pennies. Not wishing to appear mean and curmudgeonly, the Government agreed to throw a significant number of Holy Groats in its direction. Frequently.

This of course was a good thing, and Candida wasted no time in adding to the ranks of helpers other aspiring hip, cool and trendy adherents who could also swell the payroll and further the Great Work. After all, it was now funded by a bottomless well of governmental benevolence, and was perpetually bound to generate free money.
Sadly, things started to unravel, and stories began to emerge of poor children being invited by the mendicant society's leaders to magic mushroom-fuelled parties and ting. The poor children were still, er, poor.

What first caught the eye of some sharp-eyed government lackey was that the sum of a hundred million Holy Groats, which had passed from the Northumbrian Government to Candida the Bat Manager, Alum Botney and the staff of the aforesaid society and had mysteriously disappeared. Without a trace. Consequently, the Powers Above were alerted and so Bat Manager and Botney were summoned to the Star Chamber Court to answer to a team of enthusiastic politicos, who were keen to appear to be doing something, and taking an interest in the missing cash. The Bat Manager was unrepentantly bullish, boorish and barmy. Her outfit was even more outrageous, with golden threads and diamonds. No one yet knows what happened to the missing cash.

This story is by no means over yet, and is likely to be an ongoing embarrassment to the hopeless Government, and to the hapless Beeby See, who is distancing herself from the feckless and reckless Botney. Stay tuned, people! Your Cat is on the case!

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Crowbane Supremacy

Since I last posted, the foetid winds of Redistributionism have been continuing to proceed from the anus of the Northumbrian Kingdom. Last week saw the Redistributionist Faction's Annual Unfortunates' Outing And Picnic, and the faithful assembled to hear their new taskmasters, and to imbibe their words of wisdom. The highlight of the week was the appearance of their new and unlikely new chieftain, Crowbane the Druid, who, like some demented Moses offered them a hallucinogenic vision of their new promised destination – a land flowing with free magic mushrooms and biscuit, where the goddess Equality could be served unhindered, with the worshippers in this bizarre Jerusalem waited on by an underclass of slaves captured from the Tree Faction.

These visions are by no means the first of this kind to be offered to the Redistributionist faithful; each previous Leader has also offered similar promises and held his audience in raptured, open-gobbed silence. Tondvig the Blur held out similar prospects, and at the start of his tenure showed some modest promise of achieving his dream – until he started to tell the Kingdom porky pies about the Levantine despot Sadman, who, according to the Blur's reliable report, had catapults capable of sending fireballs to Northumbria. This little fabrication fooled the entire Kingdom into a pointless war and sounded the death-knell for Tondvig's reign, which he deftly handed over to Guffmund the Brown, a cheery psychopath who endeared himself to the Northumbrians by his bellowing voice and easy-going manner. After Guffo's tenure of the Sacred Office, the reigns went to Edweird the Milliner, who similarly offered sweet dreams of paradise, but who was socially awkward and inept to the point where he couldn't eat a hedgehog pie without looking strange. His nasal speeches included detailed weather reports, and those seated in the front row were suitably provided with towels.

And now the mantle falls on a flatulent ancient druid priest with no previous experience of political office, who hitherto has quietly conducted his cultic business in the shadows. His aged appearance and shabby robes and beard have elevated him to the status of a sadhu in the eyes of his followers, and his shambling presence has excited not only the soothsayers but also members of the Northumbrian public, who have paid their Holy Groats to join the Faction in dozens and place garlands of flowers around his picture. And the entire Faction has fallen into the illusion that their Great Leader can bring them to their sought-after place of power in the Prime Seat of the Witangemot. It's all so very sad.

Indeed, they're so energised by their newly-fed illusions that many of them have descended on the venue for the Tree Faction's Annual Unfortunates' Outing And Picnic, and, purportedly in protest at the cuts in public sinecures, arboreal sculptures, diversity co-ordinators, pigeon psychologists and benefits, are giving the younger delegates the benefit of their salivatory and urinary opinions. This will certainly endear the Redistributionists to the hearts of the Northumbrian electorate. Crowbane is really going places. In a downward direction, that is...