Thursday, 16 June 2011
The Mount Of Olives
We've had a lodger staying at the house recently; he's a man from the ancient land of Greece, and his name is Costas. He's travelling around the Northumbrian Kingdom on business, trying to drum up trade for his farm, which grows oranges, grapes and extra virgin olives. They'll never catch on over here... I - along with all other kitties - find the smell of orange peel simply revolting.
Costas is a personable chap, with a fascinating accent which I find difficult to follow, but my master Caedmon seems to understand what he says. Apparently, times are hard, and there there are troubles a-plenty in his homeland, which is yet another provincial backwater in the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire).
If I understand it correctly, the power-crazed Emperor Jose Borracho - Supreme Patriarch, Governor and Pastor of the aforesaid Evil Federation - with the aid of his half-witted henchman Hermit Rumphole, decreed that there should be a Common Currency throughout the reaches of his Empire. This was achieved with a limited measure of success a few years ago to the sound of trumpets and the clunking of wooden champagne tankards, as Westphalian Marks, Frankish Francs, Roman Lyres and Greek Drachmas were traded in for the new Uro. (I'd always been puzzled as to why it's called 'Uro' - it transpires that the hundredth part of this New Currency is called the 'Pee', but most people don't like the idea of smelly liquid waste in their pockets, so they call it a 'Scent' instead - it sums up garlands of sweet-smelling flowers.)
To cut a long story (with an incomprehensible Greek accent) short, the Uro has fallen foul of the Great Credit Crisis, and in order to bail out the legions of profligate Moneylenders - and to support them in their untold wealth at their time of need, the Beloved Emperor decided on a whim that those provinces dependent on olives, wine and oranges for their economies should suffer increased burdens of taxation and endure Painful Cuts in Public Spending.
Naturally, the poor inhabitants of Greece are Deeply Concerned - to the point where they've been assembling in the market squares and tavernas of their towns to politely protest about the injustices to which they've become subjected. Most of them are hopping mad - if only because they didn't contribute towards the Great Moneylending Credit Crisis in the first place, so they feel disinclined to pay off the debts of those who enjoy the Life of Riley and self-congratulation, and reward themselves handsomely for their catastrophic financial failures. The Greek provincial Governor - Georgos Papadocos Duvalis - has kindly acknowledged their pleas, and responded with soldiers and chariots. Bless.
The remaining Provincial Governors in the Evil Empire who preside over Uro economies are anxiously biting their nails; if the Greeks successfully resist the imposition of harsh financial strictures, other nationalities might be tempted to follow suit - and those poor Moneylenders would have to suffer. It doesn't bear thinking about.
And the hapless land of Greece would be left with a mountain of unbought olives, grapes and oranges, rotting in their barns, since no other provinces would continue to trade with them. There goes Costa's small fortune...