Wednesday 31 December 2014

Honours Among Thieves

In my morning rounds, it's my custom to wait by a particular fence for a few minutes; I've found by observation that there's a particular hole underneath the aforesaid fence providing a convenient route for passing mice, whose footprints have steadily worn a small trackway. And I'm never disappointed if I wait there, since some hapless rodent is certain to pass by.

In a similar fashion, my annual routine at this time of the year is to join with my vulpine friend Feaxede the fox in the blessed anticipation of the Northumbrian New Year Honours. We eagerly listen out to the ramblings of Beeby See and other soothsayers to catch news of the eagerly-awaited Awards. We can hardly contain our excitement as the names of the nominees is put forward, and our hearts simply burst for joy! Happy days!

These Honours are awarded by the Supreme Monarch of Northumbria, the ancient King Alhfrith, although I shouldn't hestitate to point out that the Great Chieftain doesn't actually play any part in the selection of those nominated to receive these awards; such labours are infra dignatem for such as he. Fortunately, he has a legion of politicos, diversity co-ordinators, pigeon psychologists and sociopaths to take up the menial process of selecting the recipients.

There are three separate categories of awards: Distinguished Order of the Northumbrian Kingdom [DONK], Hero Of the Northumbrian Kingdom [HONK] and Bachelor Of the Nothumbrian Kingdom [BONK]. Each individual nominated to receive such an honour is supplied with a reason for his or her award; this is usually prefaced with either the phrase "For services to.." or "In recognition of..."

Most of the recipients are names unknown to the Northumbrian populace, since most of them are people who don't actually exist, but whose inclusion provides some measure of proof that the selectors have actually been doing something to earn their Holy Groats. However, some are awarded (with fanfares) to leading celebrity drunks, homeopaths, luvvies, vermin, politicos and criminals. Those servants of the public who've managed to set one particular community at the throat of another (for example, Vikings against Caledonians) are granted an honour in recognition to their services to the Great Goddess of Diversity. And so it goes. On occasion awards are even granted to ordinary members of the public who've given their time in the service of others or who have performed some outstanding act of courage.

Such excitement for these awards as ours isn't restricted to members of the animal kingdom, either. I went on a fact-finding mission to find out what the average Northumbrian thought about these New Year Honours, and I was suitably impressed by the response I found. One fisherman I asked was so animated about it that he spat; fortunately I wasn't within the trajectory of the fluid utterance. A market trader I questioned look blankly at me, leaned over to one side and sent a noisy explosion from his hind quarters, accompanied by a noxious invisible cloud of colonic gas.

I can emphasise enough how exciting these awards are; even the humans have a visceral affection for them!

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