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...

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Rise of the Crowbane Cult

It's all over. The Kingdom of Northumbria may now take a well-deserved rest from the endless witterings of the soothsayers - especially Beeby See and her psychotic side-kick Guardy-Ann, who, along with Delimell the Wailer and the Windy Pedant have occupied months of their time hitherto in speculating about the prospective Dearest Leader of the Redistributionist Faction. Deary me.

Since my last posting the momentous die has been cast, and by some inexplicable esoteric fluke, the bearded druid priest Crowbane has won the supreme seat of earthly power, or, at least, within the Redistributionist world of the lovely Kingdom. Since his appointment amid the customary ceremonial solemnities, the Crowbane has wasted no time in establishing his hold over the reins, and consequently there's been a rapid exorcism of the previous demons, followed by the replacement of spirits seven times more malevolent than the ones deposed. A cult has thus been well and truly established, with Crowbane as the arch-druid, and a coterie of likeminded pagan priests and priestesses as his admiring entourage. My master Caedmon refers to them as the synagogue of Satan, and not without good reason; pagan groves have been re-established, and stone circles have been pressed into service by dog-breath bongo players, yogurt weavers and professional soap and employment dodgers. It's all so very sad.

Dagwald Caedmeron - the Banana Superior of the Tree Faction - has similarly wasted no time in responding to these awe-inspiring events, and the machinery of Tree Faction propaganda has been swiftly wheeled into action. They've been decrying the Crowbane as a threat to the safety and security of the Northumbrian Realm - particularly in view of his past courtship of and betrothal to the various Edda-quoting Viking blood cults, as well as his predeliction for whispering sweet nothings into the shell-like lugs of those whose idea of friendship is to ritually dismember Anglo-Saxons on an industrial scale.

The average Northumbrian is at a loss to understand why this sinister power has so suddenly erupted like a boil on the buttock politic; fishermen, farmers, labourers and tradesmen shake their heads in stunned disbelief at these unfolding events. But boils - although painful for a season - have a habit of erupting like volcanoes, scattering their unpleasant contents and falling into dormancy. Your Cat expects this to happen sooner or later. I just don't want to be around when it all goes pop...

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Crowbane Legend

Since my last posting, a significant momentum has accumulated in favour of the future king of the Redistributionist Faction known as Crowbane, the aged and bearded druid priest who - according to popular folklore - hails from a small settlement in Frankish Gaul called Sibannac, which is renowned for its idiosyncratic residents, who in their unique custom stand around in stoned circles.

Despite the fact that he hasn't yet been enthroned, the soothsayers are excitedly predicting his incumbency with a blasé certainty saturated with smugness. It's almost as if they're deliberately aiding the prophecy's fulfillment.

Amid the scare stories being peddled by the Tree Faction and its faithful drones, an alternative narrative is starting to emerge; tales of his courageous exploits with the chieftains of various Viking enemies of the Northumbrian Kingdom, and stories of his adoption of obscure and deeply unpopular causes like the dismantling of the Northumbrian Kingdom and the banishment of King Alhfrith to the nether regions.

He's also expressed his undying support for the Northumbrian Herbalist Service, and particularly for the cultivation of new strains of plants and of course, magic mushrooms. Such enterprises are of great importance to bizarre and eccentric druids, as their auguries from the mangled deliberations of their muses depend solely upon these organic substances. Very important!

One of his more controversial aspirations is to turn the realm into a glorified vegetarian pigfarm, and to remove iron and various other metals from the land in favour of pieces of wood, twine and stone. Such ambitions have already earned him a great deal of admiration from the yogurt weaving communities and climate doom merchants, who, for the sake of the gentle polar bears and the allegedly receding Arctic ice, would also like to see the use of fire forbidden during the winter months.

Despite these often conflicting reports, the soothsayers are already smacking their voluminous chops and anticipating what Crowbane will do when he gains the coveted seat of power. Naturally, they're assuming that his leadership of the Redistributionists will be but a mere step away from the wielding of absolute authority over whatever is to remain of the Kingdom. As if it's already a done deal.

As far as Crowbane is concerned, this destiny is certain. Cometh the hour, cometh the druid. Your Cat is quite convinced that it is certain. In Crowbane's addled head, that is...