Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A Drought Turn

As I emerged from the crypt, I was greeted by my good friend Feaxede the fox, who'd grown increasingly concerned during my absence from the scene, and whom - I suspect - had missed me. (He'd never tell me that, of course.) I assured him that I was fine, and that it was a cat's prerogative to go on occasions to discreetly visit a crypt and to leave a small offering. It goes with the territory.

Feaxede then briefed me about the latest developments in the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria. I sat fascinated as I heard him tell me about Prince Ruprecht Evil-Merodach's new solar Sunday soothsaying project to replace the dead and disgraced Nus Utherworld. He then told me about the joyful Greek people, who were welcoming their new austerity and debt-ridden poverty with open arms, not to mention the privileged opportunity to become a southern province of the Westphalian Kingdom. He told me about the ecstatic welcome that Andhun the Landslide's new reforms of the Northumbrian Herbalist Service have received from the pitiful, the deluded and the unreflective. Other members of the happy-clappy Redistributionist community have yet to comment.

But the main piece of hot news he informed me about was the Great Northumbrian Drought. It appears that this year has seen the very worst drought since the last one. I was staggered, perplexed and horrified when Feaxede told me this. It had seemed like a good winter, and snow had fallen; there had also been some rain. The River Esk was still flowing languidly into the sea, and everything appeared to be normal. The grass was its various shades of brown, and the usual sheep and ox skulls littered the streets. Vultures circled above in their customarily menacing fashion.

I thanked Feaxede for the update, and went on my way with his words still resounding in my feline cranium. A drought? This was terrible news, but so far I hadn't seen any evidence of it. As I walked along deep in thought, a robed figure loomed into view in a slow, bouncing gait; he was riding a large animal, which didn't remotely resemble the usual horses or donkeys I see. It had a large humped back, large feet and a long neck, at the end of which was a head with a strange nose, heavily lashed eyes and mouth bearing a supercilious expression. The figure grunted and spat ominously, and the animal did likewise. As he approached, he asked me in a heavy foreign accent if I knew the way to Timbuktou. I told him that I he'd probably missed a turning: he should head off in the direction of Skarðaborg - a coastal Viking settlement some miles down the coast. He issued some guttural exotic valediction and departed.

Later on I met Feaxede, who told me that the Tree/Liberationist Administration had appointed a new Minister For Drought and Plague Business, so the problem was going to be solved. Hooray for Caddy Boy and his honourable friends! Where would the Kingdom be without them? I shudder to contemplate. You can't begin to imagine my relief on hearing this news. Feaxede and I will be celebrating later with a feast of fresh chicken carcasses. I can't wait! As soon as the new Ministry is established (at taxpayers' expense, natch), the drought will mysteriously disappear from the landscape.

When I told him about the strange traveller and the weird animal he was riding, he told me that others had also seen him, too. The rumours are that it's His Holiness Georges Moonbat (the High Priestess of the Global Warming Cult), who's still trying to make his way to the next Climate and Magic Mushroom Conference in North Africa. He was reported missing from the previous conference six months ago..

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