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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A required tonic

A long slow lunch
With like-minded friends
In misty mid-winter
At the Queens Head Inn
In Icklesham,
East Sussex,
Is a required tonic
Before strolling wistfully
Over the Brede valley downland
To the ancient medieval hill towns
Of Winchelsea and Rye.

This is Old England
At its best.

There are ghosts hereabouts
And the memories of ghosts.

Creep into
The thirteenth century
Rib-vaulted cellar
Beneath The New Inn
In Winchelsea
And listen,
But do not extinguish your candle
And do not go there after dark:
The smugglers will have you still.

The liquid treasure
Of Gascony
Still lubricates life
On the other side.

And then on
Past lonely Camber Castle
To Rye
And The Mermaid Inn
Rebuilt in 1420.

Those who remember
Still talk in the tea shops
About what happened here
In 1377
And spit, politely,
At the French.

In this part of the world,
It is only the present
Which seems unreal.


The Queens Head at Icklesham
The pub's website

The New Inn (Winchelsea)
A photograph

A note on the cellars of Winchelsea

Camber Castle
A photograph

The Mermaid Inn (Rye)
A photograph


Happy hour

A taxi is possible

Out beyond the Gas Giants

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Traditional school carol service

Things got off to a bad start
During the procession
Down the nave isle
Of the old medieval church.

The Head Teacher
Dropped dead.

Because he was dressed
As Father Christmas,
And had a pair of plastic
Reindeer horns
Sellotaped to his zimmer frame,
Everyone thought
He was messing about.

But it was a real
And gigantic
Heart attack,
Brought on
By the intolerable stress
Of the previous night's
Governors' meeting
And the challenging fit
Of his bright red trousers.

The Vicar,
Fully vested
As the Sugarplum Fairy
(He was an Anglo-Catholic),
Surveyed the untimely sacrifice
And insisted
That the show should go on:
That is what Jesus would have wanted.

So the rapidly cooling body
Of the Head Teacher
Was discreetly removed
To a chest deepfreeze
In the vestry,
And the procession continued.

What happened next
Was harder to explain.

The vicar was turned into stone.

This was achieved
By a petrifying force
Of considerable potency
Emanating from the direction
Of the Lady Chapel.

When an Anglo-Catholic vicar,
Dressed as the Sugarplum Fairy,
Is turned into stone,
In the middle of a procession
Down the nave isle
Of a Christmas carol service church
With a packed congregation,
And the organ roaring,
The effect is not inconsiderable.

As in life, so in death:
He could not be shifted.

Elephant chains were procured,
Royal Engineers' lifting gear
Was deployed,
But the stone statue
Of the vicar
Was unmoved and unmoving.

So the procession
Had to squeeze past him
As if nothing
Had happened.

You can still see
The stone statue there today.

Sir Nikolas Pevsner
Describes it as
An eccentric piece,
Well-executed in the
Arts-and-Crafts fashion,
Skilfully rendered drapery,
But unfortunately located.

The procession reached the sanctuary
Without further difficulty,
Except that one of Hannibal's elephants
Was sick on the communion rail
And his trunk fell off.

Worse things happened
During the Second Punic War.

The church now
Subsided into respectful silence
For the solo singing
Of the first verse of
Once in Royal David's City.

The familiar words
Piped out into
The candlelit church:

Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby
In an egg box, not a bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Donald Duck her little child.


Christmas in Keswick

Christmas metanarrative

More Norfolk koans

Index of blog contents

Spirituality websites worth watching

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Yoda wisdom for Gungan groupies

Compiled by Alcuin Bramerton
from privileged sources in the Outer Rim

Page update: 01.06.10 Planet Earth western hemisphere linear time


Yoda senses a disturbance
in The Force.
On Planet Earth
another animal
has been needlessly

for human food.


Yoda has taught
many young Jedis
in his time,
but he knows that
teaching is not something
you do to pupils;
teaching is something you are.


Yoda is aware that
7.6 million British women
own more than sixteen
pairs of shoes each,
yet still The Force remains strong
within him.

Yoda thinks that astrology
will be better understood
on Planet Earth
when human science becomes
a little more mature.


Yoda trusts his own anger;
he has a second cup of tea
Saruman the White.


Gungans are not
Yoda knows this
but stays positive.


On Christmas Eve,
when Yoda encounters
a fresh slice of
hot buttered toast,
his light sabre glows blue.
But he does not eat it.
Even a
Jedi Master
cannot easily digest
a light sabre.


In The Adam and Eve pub,
in Bishopgate, Norwich (UK),
Yoda, Albus Dumbledore

and Gandalf the Grey
occasionally enjoy a game
of three-sided chess.
But they take care

to leave the pawns untouched.

The thing about Yoda
is that
Yoda doesn't blog.


Yoda doesn't eat chocolate;
he wills the chocolate
to be eaten by others.


Yoda understands himself;
he knows about
the internal architecture
of being.


Yoda is everywhere;
he is everywhere
all at once,
except you don't notice.


Think quantum transdimensionality
and you think Yoda.
But you don't touch Yoda
with your thought;
Yoda touches you with his.


Yoda's ears are chimerical;
they look as if
they're listening.
But actually
his ears
are looking.

They are looking elsewhere.


Images of Yoda1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Images of hot buttered toast
1 2 3 4 5


Out beyond the Gas Giants

More Norfolk koans

Index of blog contents