Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Isle Of View
Tensions are starting to rumble once more between the Northumbrian soothsayers and one of their all-time favourite bogeymen - the accursed Goths.
Ever since the Holy Island War over three thousand years ago, things have been embarrassingly tense between the Northumbrians and the Gothic people. When the Goths cheekily invaded and occupied the island - a sacred place where the Most Blessed Aidan set foot and built an Abbey, thereby raising the standard of the Christian Faith - a flotilla of Northumbrian longships loaded with soldiers and experienced bowmen went to the rescue of the hapless islanders. The ensuing battles and the heroism of the fighters have dissolved into the stuff of Northumbrian legend. The Goths were soundly defeated after five minutes of fierce fighting and countless deaths, and they were sent limping joyfully home in disgrace.
Since those turbulent times, a new resource has been discovered on the islands which has aroused the envy of every other nation in the civilised world. The soil on the island is very lush and fertile, and is ideal for sheep farmers; the resulting ovine droppings are - when matured - a valuable source of fuel for the winter fires of the world. The place produces tons of the stuff, and it's wonderful business for the enterprising farmers. Consequently there's a steady stream of boats coming into the harbour to be loaded with the precious material, bound for the four corners of the globe.
Now that these millennia have passed, the Goths are starting to take a renewed interest in the Holy Island, and they've restated their territorial claim on the sacred isle. After all, they're only six hundred thousand leagues away from the place, so it must be theirs by right. Well, the Northumbrians got there first, and established Civilization there, so their argument is somewhat flaccid. I suspect that they don't want the island for pious reasons - they have their eyes on the sheep dropping industry. But I could be wrong.
But no matter: a lank, evil-smelling and scruffy thespian called Short Bent (who was famous three thousand six hundred years ago) has weighed into the controversy, claiming that the Northumbrian Kingdom has no right to continue to occupy the island: it should go to the hard-done-by Goths, who have paid him thousands of ducats to play this particular starring role. Shorty is abundantly qualified to speak on the matter; Gothic mead contributed significantly towards his character development and made him the person of obscurity he is today.
My feline mate Lareow - Chief Mouser and Rodent Czar of Caedmeron's royal residence and my eyes and ears in the corridors of impotence - has told me that Caddy Boy is very frightened. My own reaction - and I've shared it with Lareow - is that Caddy should give Shorty Bent an invitation to visit the island himself. He'll soon find himself in one of those boats with the cargo..