Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Thought for the Day, with Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant

Justin here. I take up my pen quite fatigued after a prolonged discussion with my lady wife and Mrs Grimly, our relatively new Head Cook. It was all about the Palace's traditional Christmas Dinner for the homeless of our Parish. My lady wife seems to be of the opinion that what our homeless flock would most appreciate is as much alcohol as we can afford, whilst Mrs Grimly - a staunch teetotaller as it turns out - recommended bowls of nourishing gruel. 

The only thing they agreed on is that the distribution of the homeless Christmas meal - whatever form it might take - should take place out of doors, possibly under canvas. This is because after last year's event - held below stairs in the Nether Kitchen - the Palace was missing four candelabra, part of a pew and two mitres.
One Christmas event close to my heart is the distribution of presents to local children. Last year, Mr Hussein spent most of November hand crafting little wooden figures of the Baby Jesus, which I thought were most appropriate. However, many of the children seemed nonplussed and I overheard one mite saying, "What's this then? Where do you plug it in?"
Our tireless Christmas choir is presently practising in Our Lady's Chapel. I think "gusto" is the operative word here. The choir's version of Hark the Herald Angels Sing actually cracked my bifocals. What would Jesus have done?

Pip, pip,


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Thought for the Day, with Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant

Hullo, Justin here,

Well, I return to you thoroughly refreshed after an exciting week brass rubbing in the wilds of Norfolk – or parts of it might have been Lincolnshire, or even East Anglia – its hard to tell over there, sometimes.
But I was accompanied as ever by the young man with the wire in his ear who, whilst unimpressed by the burial places of our unsung forefathers and indeed, local wildlife, did do all the driving – in his apparently armoured 4x4 – and arranged all our overnight lodgings, these last all possessed of “a good field of fire” from bedroom windows. The young man with the wire in his ear assured me that he was “carrying”.
We were on our way to St Botolph’s-in-the-Mire, effectively guided by the vehicle’s satnav system, when I spotted something remarkable . I’ve never really understood satnav but the young man with the wire in his ear tells me that its is based on near-space triangulation achieved by satellites, whatever that means. Personally, I trust in God above for my geographic direction.
However, what did I spot? Only a male Sturrock’s Reed Wobbler! Whilst I’m not a fully-fledged Twitcher, I am very keen on identifying our feathered friends. Reed Wobblers of either sex are rare and difficult to see, and this little chap was actually busy wobbling a reed so I was delighted to be able to tick him off in my copy of Mr Oddie’s excellent book, “Unremarkable Little Brown Birds with Daft Names”.
Quite frankly, St Botolph’s was rather disappointing. I had hoped to take rubbings of the gravestones of Sir Denzil and Lady Maude Peover [died 1454 and 1460 respectively] but sadly the whole area, just south of St Botolph’s transept, is now covered by St Botolph’s Ye Olde Teashoppe, an initiative taken by the very young present incumbent. I don’t think he recognized me, but I did take him to task about the situation. He told me that the past is past and that for him, God is a Now thing and latte is cool. What would Jesus have done?

On my return home I found my lady wife in a very depressed state because of Andy Murray’s injury and Johanna Konta’s defeats at somewhere abroad. She had resorted to a bottle of Gribley’s Whizzbang Tonic Wine and seemed unimpressed by my Reed Wobbler. Such is life.
And now, dear friends, I must turn my attention to next year’s State visit by the President of the United States. There is much planning to do.
From what I know of him, Mr Trump seems to be – and I must choose my words very carefully here – a bit of a chump. The young man with the wire in his ear called him a “ definite knobhead”, whatever one of those is.

Nonetheless, the young man with the wire in his ear is very excited by the prospect of co operating with the President’s security arrangements. As he said to me as I was crossing St Botolph’s off my rubbing list, “Some of those guys carry TWO Ruger .375s !” He is also beginning a review of yours truly’s personal protection. I am not looking forward to wearing a lead-lined cope. But we must do what we must do.

Pip, pip,

Yours truly


Friday, 23 June 2017

Thought for the Day, brought to you in the absence of the Arch of Cant, by Derek Bickerstaff, a close friend of Justin who is presently brass-rubbing quite near Goole.

“Bring me your poor, your hungry...” and I’ll build a huge wall to keep them out. So says Mr Trump as he comes up with a new brainwave whereby he’s going to fix solar panels to the wall he intends to build between the U.S. and Mexico – to pay for the wall! Who will pay for the energy created by those solar panels? How long will it take for the panels to pay for themselves? The guy gets more like Homer Simpson every day.                    
I’m fed up with politics and politicians. Some are OK and seem straightforward, capable and honest – like Jeremy Corbyn. But those qualities don’t seem to be quite enough to give him and the Labour Party a chance to govern.
Meanwhile, Mrs May & Co totter along, begging for support from the DUP, an Irish branch of the Flat Earth Society.
One of the penalties of being in your 70s is that there’s too much “past”; too many memories. As soon as you start to look a bit wistful and say things like, “I remember when...”, anybody under 40 immediately switches off and resumes scanning their phones.
The recent spell of hot weather, which certainly discomfited me, the Dog and the Chickens (did you know that chickens sunbathed? Well they do. They sit on one side and stretch out one wing) got me thinking about school holidays in the Dear Dead Days Beyond Recall. It was a time when little boys roamed far and wide, doing all the things they knew damned well they shouldn’t do. One of the best places my pals and I used to frequent was a large pond of unspecified dark depth. That was interesting in itself, with frogs and the occasional leech, but the main attraction with this particular body of water was that it had a tank in it. A TANK! Well, maybe it was just the turret sans gun, but it was a hell of a lot more tank than you’ll see in your local pond these days. And it had huge ball-bearings in it, which, with the help of Danny Belshaw’s Dad’s crowbar, actually came out! They were huge. At one time, I had four. Like so many other found items, they were currency. We swapped them for other stuff. Marbles, Dinky toys (sans tyres) and on one occasion, an air rifle, which didn’t work but which earned us a huge telling off from my father who was a Policeman. We also once dammed up the river Calder – well almost – and that went down very badly too.
And there were certain kids you shouldn’t play with. Reasons were never given. One such miscreant once collected all the innards of bonfire night bangers, bunged the stuff into an aluminium cigar tube, made a fuse, stuck the thing into the canal bank, lit it, and blew a big hole in yer actual canal bank. Boy – did we run away! Oddly this incident was never mentioned in Parentland.
I’m pretty sure little boys don’t get to do things like that any more. Too many terrorists hiding in wheelie-bins these days. Too much traffic. Too many roaming bands of paedophiles. All true, I suppose. Besides, who wants to go messing about with a half-submerged tank when they’ve got a tablet to stare at?