Monday 29 October 2012

Wind Up

In these tumultuous Dark Age days, the soothsayers seem to take untold delight in announcing yet more gloom and turbulence. In this last couple of days they've been excitedly informing the Northumbrian Kingdom about severe weather conditions which have been brewing over the eastern coast of that faraway (and as yet undiscovered) land affectionately known as Ultima Thule. The delirium generated by these announcements has been so intense that all shipping from these island shores has been immediately cancelled, and aspiring Viking discoverers, merchants, snake oil salesmen, privateers and maritime thugs have been advised to suspend their seaborne adventures until the adverse climatic conditions have abated. So terribly sad.

I was quite intrigued when I first heard this. As I ruminated over a mouse, the following question quietly insinuated itself into my feline mind: how do the soothsayers know this stuff, and why do they pretend to be so knowledgeable about this sort of thing? I decided to investigate. In my usual modus operandi, I went around to visit those friends who share an interest in such matters. Feaxede the Fox didn't have the first clue about it when I asked him, and didn't even offer any suggestion as to where I could pursue my line of enquiry. My humungous feline friend Leo (remember him? I still pay him a call from time to time) couldn't furnish me with any ideas either. I even visited Brockwald the badger, but he wasn't remotely interested in my question; I suspect he was preoccupied with his fellow-creatures' momentous decision, which has recently been postponed until next summer. At least it gives them time to formulate a workable strategy..

I knew that it was a complete waste of time to disturb my human master Caedmon over such things; if he's not out of doors, minding the herds as his paid employment, he's busy engaged in his pious poetic endeavours, and rhyming Anglo-Saxon couplets and iambic pentameters seem to be weightier matters in his estimation. I was about to abandon all hope of having my curiosity sated when I suddenly remembered my old feline buddy Lareow - the Minister For Rodent Communities in Caedmeron's Tree/Liberationist Alliance Administration. Of course! He's the one to go to for valuable insight. I took a wander over to his luxurious dwelling (which is subsidised by the long-suffering Northumbrian taxpayers, of course) and arranged for an interview with him over lunch. Over a mouse hors d'oeuvres, I asked him my question. I was surprised at the detail of his answer, which I now submit for your edification and delectation:

The soothsayers discover such remarkable items of news as a result of chewing particularly strong varieties of magic mushroom, which, when they take effect, elevate their consciousness (or at least, what approximates to it) to an abnormally high altitude. From such a vantage point they're able to witness remarkable visions, which they babble excitably to (sober) scribes, who are on hand with their pens poised to scribble down their ecstatic gibbering. This is apparently necessary because all recollection of these revelations evaporates when their minds return to terra firma as the effects of the fungi subside. It apparently takes a very long time to obtain a coherent narrative from the resulting manuscripts..

As for the weather, it appears that a mighty storm is brewing as a result of two colliding masses of moving air. The one is a swirling vortex of hot and malodorous rhetoric which emanates from the foetid swamplands of the Redistributionist heartland. When it encounters the cooler - but no less vile - zephyrs of the Tree Faction, a violent reaction takes place, and the resulting cycle of wind and slobber gathers a frightening momentum, disturbing the normally placid existence of people, destroying their homes and communities as it twists its drunken way through the Kingdom, uprooting Trees and scattering ordure everywhere. The damage is incalculable, and the resulting smell is enough to make a dog heave.

It all sounds like a typical day in Northumbrian politics to me - although I didn't say that to Lareow for fear of offending him. He's a veritable fountain of knowledge, and I don't want to lose such a valuable source of information..

Friday 26 October 2012

Dunstan the Smithy's Family Planning

While Edweird the Spheres continues to reinvent history in defence of his latest stance on the Kingdom's minuscule recovery, and the decrepit and degenerate old soothsayer Beeby See is embroiled in myriads of scandals concerning her dead and departed priapic friend Ine the So Vile, this Cat has been observing other little sideshows that have been in progress here in the lovely Kingdom of Northumbria. Many seemingly insignificant developments in the life of the Northumbrian body politic hatch unobserved while other issues dominate the popular consciousness. That's showbiz, children.

Dunstan the Smithy - the Unemployment and Impoverished Old Age Secretary of the Tree/Liberationist Administration has quietly been beavering away to reform the benefits system of the Realm, and in a whisper has recently announced a proposal to cap the benefits available to unemployed parents with large families. SInce the amount granted has always depended upon the size of the claimant's family, Northumbrian logic has propelled the jobless to copiously propagate their species to enable them to claim even more Holy Groats for the purchase of essentials like mead, ale and Lottery tickets. A sad and tragic consequence of this has been large gangs of feral youths menacingly hanging around street corners, chewing magic mushrooms, getting habitually drunk, joining the Redistributionist Faction and generally making a perfect nuisance of themselves to their local communities. This in turn has stretched the pathetically limited resources of the Costumed Thug Force, which has been obliged to reduce its workforce and wage bill and curtail its crime fighting duties in the interests of Saving Money.

Henceforth, benefits will be payable for up to two children; any progeny in excess of this new threshold will have to earn their keep by various forms of criminality such as theft, robbery and politics..

Thursday 18 October 2012

Lease and Fleece

Oh dear me: it simply doesn't stop. As I was on my morning patrol of my substantial empire in the environs of Streonaeshalch, word reached me from the soothsayers that those obtuse Northumbrian Peoples' representatives have been up to their old tricks again. As the Biblical proverb astutely tells us, as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly; these rascally samples of pond life appear to be very reluctant to learn the lessons of the recent past, having been already subjected to all manner of opprobrium, shame, disgrace, scandal and biscuit for their substantial and elaborate expenses scams. However, they have a valiant champion in their diminutive Speaker Dagwald the Turkey, who's nobly defended their cause and has desperately attempted to frustrate the soothsayers in a bid to conceal these unpalatable misdeeds from the tender and sensitive ears of the long-suffering and impoverished Northumbrian populace. Unfortunately, these unfruitful works of darkness have reached the public ear, and the sharpening of swords has resounded through this Dark Ages realm. What an awful shame.

It appears that the politicos - in an attempt to circumvent the ostensibly rigorous expenses procedures devised since the last scandal about five minutes ago - have discovered that they've been able to take on the role of landlord for their own (luxurious) dwellings, then renting them to their Witangemot colleagues, who then draw substantial remuneration from the rent they pay. The result of this has been a home-swapping game akin to musical chairs. And now, the music has stopped - until the next time, at least..

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Taking The Rise

Since that Momentous Announcement concerning the Great Award to the Holy Roman Empire (which neither waddles like a mallard, quacks like an Aylesbury nor even remotely resembles a duck, let alone a sanctified Latin civilisation), this Cat has heard yet another piece of news from this lovely Northumbrian Kingdom which has caused a great deal of concern, consternation, constipation and fishpaste among the destitute, downtrodden, disease-ridden but stoical hordes of ordinary people.

The noble, honourable and worthy members of the Northumbrian Witangemot have decided to award themselves a Pay Rise. Hooray for politicos, delusions of self-importance and sanctimony! When I first heard this piece of knowledge, which happily dripped from the lips of the soothsayers like a salivary rivulet, I was so terribly pleased for them, and, delighted to be the recipient of Wonderful News before my vulpine friend Feaxede the Fox, I rushed over to share this latest piece of verbal treasure with him. It's wonderful to have friends! We danced for joy.

I simply can't understand why the human population of this beautiful realm don't share our euphoria at hearing this remarkable development. They normally don't mind in being governed by others, and for them to have their meagre incomes continually reduced by frequent hikes in taxation is for them an unspeakable pleasure, since their representatives - who have their best interests fondly nestled in their bosoms - deserve the Very Best that the (negative) resources of Holy Groats can supply. I think it's very mean-spirited of them, and Feaxede agrees with me. After all, only the best is enough for these great exemplars.

In view of the fact that the majority of the politicos of this realm have self-sacrificially committed themselves to the noble art of pretence (no mean feat in itself), have cultivated at great personal expense an additional persona which has rapidly developed and - like a nascent cuckoo - overthrown their original psyches, and furthermore have sweated buckets to manfully resist the ferocious inner wrangling of scruple and conscience to take the Iscariot bread and high-mindedly lord it over their inferiors, I think that they deserve all the earthly rewards that they freely and cheerfully appropriate for themselves. After all, they've nothing else to look forward to, have they?

Friday 12 October 2012

Taking The Peace

From time to time, a gathering of august Vikings assemble in the hall of Olaf their mountain King to decide who they deem to be worthy enough to receive a prize. Such awards are many and varied; some of them are presented to sorcerers, philosophers and alchemists who've successfully pushed the frontiers of knowledge and biscuit in their chosen fields. Some are awarded to those writers whose literary excretions have advanced the quality of refined readers who are able - or patient enough - to read it and pretend to understand its core message.

Among the more controversial donations of the Viking awards are the Peace Prizes, which historically have been given to those who - in the magic mushroom-crazed thinking of the Committee - have advanced the cause of Peace among the various warring tribes and kingdoms of the uncivilised Dark Ages world. One award which raised a few eyebrows was made a few hundred years ago to His Holiness Bugrake O'Barmy - the silver-tongued and shifty chieftain of the (as yet) undiscovered land of Ultima Thule. What was surprising about this particular prize was the fact that Bugrake had only warmed his chieftain's seat for five minutes, and hadn't even decided what he was going to eat for his lunch. The making of Peace is a truly mysterious and arcane process to the simple mind of this Cat.

Today it's been noised abroad through the eager services of the soothsayers that this year's Peace Prize has been awarded to the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor by any means remotely reminiscent of an Empire). As with Buggy's trophy, the reasons for this award are unclear. Since this Cat is a feline citizen of the lovely Northumbrian Kingdom - which is a mere vassal province of the aforesaid Federation - I can only suppose that every man, woman, child and cat has also made their own individual contribution to the this great award. This is quite puzzling to me, since I've torn the ears off many a youthfully over-ambitious neighbourhood moggy who's had designs on my territory; I don't think that's exactly contributed towards the Great Cause of Global Peace and Fluffy Understanding. Whatever.

His Infernal Majesty Emperor Joe Borracho will doubtless sail to the Nordic Realm to receive the honour on behalf of the mock Empire, and I expect he'll be accompanied by his dim-witted henchman Hermit the Rumphole, along with expenses-drawing legions of diversity co-ordinators and other assorted lackeys. Perhaps he's receiving it in recognition of his dismantling of the Holy Roman Empire Ducat, which has resulted in poverty, riots starvation and fishpaste in the land of the Ancient Greeks. If so, he and his mates richly deserve it. I've a little award I'd like to make him myself..

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Caedmeron's Magic Words

Now that the Tree Faction's Annual Unfortunates' Outing and Picnic is in full swing, as with the previous events held by the other two factions, this Cat has tried his level best to ignore them, and to get on with his rodent-clearing responsibilities and, of course, the inevitable territorial maintenance. It's a tough life being a moggy..

Sadly though, it's been well nigh impossible to be completely impervious to the inane drippings of these frivolous politically-flavoured entertainments; this morning my vulpine friend Feaxede the Fox caught up with me while I was engaged in the matutinal tour of my empire, and excitedly told me that Dagwald Caedmeron - the King Cockroach of the Tree Faction and Tree/Liberationist Alliance Administration - had recently given his Most Important and Significant Speech since the last one. Hooray for Caddy Boy and the wayward wind! Excuse me. Better in than out...

Feaxede then told me that he'd heard from the soothsayers that the most significant words from the text of Caddy's oration had been assiduously collected and graciously offered to the window-licking hordes of the Northumbrian populace as an abstract object of veneration. Frankly, I don't hear many hushed and reverential tones among my Streonaeshalch parishioners, as they're too busy with more pedestrian matters, such as day-to-day survival. But never mind.

Among the key words and phrases of his speech were the following:

In This Together, Bunny Rabbits, Fairies, Kittens, Turnips, My Grandmother, Deficit, Taxation, Butterflies, Daisies, Sheep Droppings, Carrot Fly, Onion Rings, Bread And Circuses, Rhubarb and Biscuit.

The soothsayers are as I write manically attempting to extract some meaning from these coded utterances as if they'd proceeded from the lips of some Delphic oracle, or fly agaric-chewing shaman. I wish them well; they always did rely on active imaginations...

Back to the mice, methinks.

Monday 8 October 2012

Imagining The Past

As the Annual Unfortunates' Outings and Picnics trundle on in their customarily tedious fashion, this Cat has to snigger at the issues stirred up from the murky silt of these rivers of drivel and uncleanness. Last week was the Redistributionists' turn to parade their pompous idiocy, fuelled (of course) by copious chewing of the funny fungus. With tiresome predictability, Edweird the Milliner in one of his twelve-hour orations turned his fire on the Rich, who are the inevitable targets for their bilious attacks. Since the edifice of Redistributionist theology rests upon the doctrine of the sacred trinity of Taxation, Equality and Nepotism, this was bound to surface from the depths of the murk. However, it hasn't escaped notice that Edweird the Milliner himself is no stranger to the trappings of Filthy Lucre, since his nose was lovingly restored to its pristine glory to the tune of one and three quarter million Holy Groats, and his humble dwelling place is situated in a fabulously opulent suburb of Yorvik. One would hope that the Holy Emperor and Angel Cake of the aforesaid Faction would be equally committed to donating a significant proportion of his private treasury to the Northumbrian taxation industry to fund several million new diversity administrators, but few Northumbrians imagine in their wildest reveries that such contributions ever take place from the hallowed cash boxes of politicos. No one has yet managed to obtain from Edweird the Milliner an estimate of his total financial worth…

Eddy also took great time and trouble to accentuate that he was a regular child from an average family, who was sent to an ordinary school where he spent the happiest years of his life – unlike those overfed, over-privileged and pompous Tree Faction parasites, who all (to a person) were educated in the top-flight expensive educational hot-houses of the Wealthy. Unfortunately, such a picture was more inspired by a memory addled by years of hallucinogenic mushroom mastication, as it emerges that Eddy was a child who spent most of his school years in a state of terror, owing to the cheerfully intimidating behaviour of his meat-headed contemporaries, who regarded him as a whining and bookish nonentity (most of whom are now gracing the ranks of the Tree Faction benches).

For all this, the faithful knuckle-dragging lackeys and sycophants of the Faction have regarded the Picnic as an Astonishing Success, and they're all now preparing themselves for a term in office, where they can indulge their grotesque fantasies (at taxpayers' expense, of course). This illusion is also a recognisable symptom of mushroom misuse – but nobody's told them that yet..

Monday 1 October 2012

Waesp Sting

As the Redistributionists' Annual Unfortunates' Outing and Picnic rolls into its drunken motion and incoherent mutterings, (succeeding the equivalent non-event put on by the Liberationists to an enraptured audience of eleven last week), a certain amount of controversy now swills around the eminent personage of Cuðbert the Waesp - a seasoned veteran of the Witangemot ranks. The timing of these new allegations - which appear to bring into question his integrity and squeaky-cleanness - couldn't be more inconvenient for the Faction which comprises King Alhfrith's Loyal Opposition in the House of Boundless Folly. Poor Edweird the Milliner: it's such a shame.

Cuðbert the Waesp is an oddly interesting character, and has graced the benches of the Witangemot for many centuries, earning himself a reputation as a purveyor of the kind of substance used to lubricate the axles of the Kingdom's carts. He is of a Nordic persuasion, and has made himself remarkably popular among the many adherents to the sacred Eddas, adopting their bizarre causes as his own, blending seamlessly like some Proteus into their culture, jollying along their social and political interests. He's best described as ubiquitous; there's seldom an event in his local ward or in the Northumbrian Witangemot where his presence is not easily discerned. He has ten thousand fingers in as many pies.

Surprisingly enough however, such an effective champion of the good Redistributionist values of Equality, Fairness and Biscuit hasn't been a total stranger to allegations of shadowy practices in the past; he's been associated with the provision of valuable services of convenience for certain wealthy and disadvantaged exotic individuals from the Viking lands, who've wished to leapfrog certain bureaucratic queues in order to gain citizenship in the Beautiful Kingdom, and to be signed up to the salutary services of the Northumbrian Herbal Service.

So it came as something of a shock for the allegations to surface among certain soothsayers (but not Guardy-Ann, for some strange reason) that the Honourable Cuðbert the Waesp is being investigated for certain huge amounts of Holy Groats which have miraculously appeared in his own private coffers. He claims to have no knowledge of it - or how it managed to arrive in his own treasury. And this Cat is quite inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. In fact, I'd go as far as to declare that I know where that money came from. One must remember that the entire economic strategy of the Redistributionists rests upon a firm and fixed belief in the irrational folklore of their culture.

The fairies put that vast amount of cash into his treasure chest when he was fast asleep. But don't tell anyone that I told you - they'd never believe you..