Wednesday, 24 December 2014

...Is A Rubbish Title For A Blog

Selenium Arsenic Oxygen Nitrogen Aluminum 
Iron Lithium Carbon Iodine Titanium Einsteinium

That's what I wanted to call this post. Because it spells this (below). You know how much I love the Periodic Table, and this is the politest thing I've ever spelt with it. The relative atomic masses are all correct to one decimal place and everything. 
Science is well sexy.
I made this. I think it's brilliant. So does Brian Cox, or he would, if he saw it. He'd say, 'Mu's cake is brilliaaaaant!'
IT'S CHRISTMAS, and every year I share something seasonal. You can hear my traditional Christmas Eve ghost story here - I read it to my children an hour ago and, once again, they loved it. 
Here's something else, though. I read this, and the ghost story, at the Midwinter Poetry Cafe just last week. You can read my friend Crysse's blog post about it here. This is a bit of Mu-Nonsense to bring to mind a very important but much overlooked period in the life of Jesus: we all know the story of the First Christmas, but very little is written about the Fifteenth Christmas.
So here for you - being as I'm Pope and all - is...

The Fifteenth Book of
Chapter twelve, verses 1-24

1And it came to pass that Joseph of Nazareth did speak unto his wife a third time, saying, O most holy Mother, the cock hath crew thrice already and His Lordship hath not yet arisen from his pit. 2And Mary did consider and reply, Do not forget, Husband, that the Lord is a growing boy and He needeth His sleep. 3And mind thy grammar.  
4That may be so, Wife, said Joseph unto Mary, but it changeth not the fact that thou art suffering Him to lie about in bed today of all days. 5Whereupon Mary did flick Joseph about the tunic with a teatowel, saying, Thou wert no doubt the same when thou wert that age. Unto this Joseph could make no reply, for he saw that the most Holy Virgin Mother did verily speak the truth.  
6When he could no more endure the waiting, Joseph did again go to Mary and implore of her, Canst thou do nothing to wake Him? 7The hour at which we break our fast approacheth, and my stomach doth begin to believe that, like the sacrificial lamb, my throat hath been cut. 8At this Mary did roll of her eyes unto Heaven and say, 9Sooth, thou shalt not die of hunger, thou great wet blanket, why dost thou not make thyself useful and bring forth the Hoover?  
10The Hoover? quoth Joseph. 11Yea, the Hoover, quoth Mary, and verily at that moment did a brilliant light  shine upon the head of Joseph, and the angels did sing in holy harmony. Ah, uttered he, 12I get thy drift.  
13And thus it came to pass that Joseph did extract the Hoover from where it lay in a small utility cave, the existence of which was unto him hitherto unknown. And in his joy, Joseph was moved to exclaim, 14Righteously with this Hoover shall I cause the Lord to stir even from his pit, that we may at last gladly and with thanks feast upon our festive victuals and open our presents. 15Well done, Husband, Mary did reply unto him in such a virtuous whisper that he might not hear, 16Art thou not clever.
17And at that moment by the pressing of the button which beareth the Mighty Word, ‘ON’, did Joseph cause the air to be rent by a fearful noise. 18And the fearful noise did continue until the door unto the Lord’s chamber did open, whereupon the Lord Himself did appear in His pants. At this Joseph did rejoice in his small victory, and enquired of the Lord, 19Jesus, what time dost thou call this? 20And the Lord was most displeased, and He did gnash of His teeth and speak in tongues about it being well unfair, it’s like My birthday and everything.  
21And with that did He shuffle into the bathroom, from whence did issue sounds which, though alarming, did fill of His parents’ hearts with hope that the Lord may yet appear a second time before noon.  22And Mary did turn unto Joseph, saying, there you are Husband, 23the Lord doth move in mysterious ways. And Joseph did reply, 24Yea, dear Wife, that He doth.
Here endeth the lesson.

© Muriel Lavender
November 2011

Monday, 1 December 2014


This year was my third Hogswatch, and my second as the hostess of the Pink Pussycat Cabaret Club. 

If none of that means anything to you, be a love and pop over to Google for an explanation, because once again it's after midnight and I should be in bed. 

The bit that Google may not make immediately clear is the abundance is warmth and love that, each year, wraps itself round the small town in Somerset where Ankh-Morpork has found its twin.
I drove there on Saturday morning through blazing sunshine, drinking in gold all the way, thinking to myself, I'm going home. I'm going to my Family. That's how we all feel. Enjoy the few pictures I've scattered though here; they barely touch the surface though, really.
I tried to get a few Hogswatch selfies, which was fun, and there were lots of new faces too - 'Hogswatch Virgins'. Well: Virgins no more - or, as dear Douglas Adams would have had it, maybe rather flushed and sticky Virgins.
As you know from a previous blog, I made a couple of donations to the annual auction in aid of RICE (Research Institute for Care for the Elderly). 
These were a necklace I assembled myself from a mysterious marble found in my bed; and the beautiful artwork print of my f**k-off fantastic tattoo.
In addition, I donated an envelope of fifteen or so Haiku that I had written for the occasion.
Here's the bit that floored me. The Haiku? A handful of moderately pornographic verses, and a dozen or so tributes to our DW friends? Sold for £55.
The necklace? Which, actually, was rather lovely? Sold for £55. Maybe if I'd mentioned that I had slept in it, it might have fetched more...
And the print? One of only three, and the only one available to buy? Sold for £160.

I am humbled.
Where else to take you? How can I, in a few words and pictures, do justice to the Hogswatch Talent Show; the visit from the Hogfather; the fabulous cake competition; the games, lectures and quizzes; the aerial hooping display; the Magnificent Makers' Market; the Sausage Supper or, indeed, The Cabaret show itself?

Of course, I can't. Not really. You had to be there. You really do have to be there. It's like nothing else, and I love it. 
One other thing: Davina challenged me in the afternoon to write a poem based on things shouted out by the audience on the Saturday afternoon.
Things that sprang to mind when they thought of Hogswatch. Sausage! they shouted. Corsets! said someone. Drink! said pretty much everybody. Off you go, Mu. 
I had about an hour, by the time I'd got back to the hotel and changed my costume ready for the evening. This is it, as promised. I don't know if it has a title yet; I'm still waiting for it to tell me. But it's a cautionary tale, of a sort, such as befits the season. Sort of.

This is the tale of Felicity Vaine
Whose tastes for the high life were such
That she only drank of the finest Champagne
And dined upon truffles – so much

That her father despaired of her, so he said “Flair,
Your habits are costly and fine
Your disdain for the ordinary makes me despair!
In fact, I’ve decided it’s time

That you learnt a new lesson in life! Yes, indeed!
Simple pleasures, you know. Now I’ve talked
To your Mother about it, and she is agreed
We’re sending you to Ankh-Morpork!”

“But Daddy!” sobbed Flick, “But it’s Hogswatch, you Fiend!
And I’ve heard the place smells like a drain!”
“That’s as may be, young lady, but you’re not the Queen
And you’re drinking me dry of Champagne  –

So don’t argue, your bags are all packed, off you go
The train’s got a good head of steam
And when you come back, let’s hope that you know
Life is not just a big bowl of cream!”

Poor Fliss – she wasn’t cut out for that life
Though she wasn’t without common sense;
She bought a corset and a long silver knife
And she took up a new residence

At a boarding house owned by one Madam Palm
(Whose daughters were residents, too)
Felicity reasoned with no hint of alarm,
“I’m a well classy bird through and through

I could toil at housemaiding, earning my bread
On my knees, until they are sore;
But the manner to which im accustomed,” she said,
“I need money – so I’ll be a Whore!”

She made a glittering start, being young, fresh and pert
(Though glitter’s a rookie mistake
She soon learnt not to sprinkle it under her skirts
Because after a while, it chafes)

Her clients were noble and wealthy young men
Fliss Vaine was the toast of all Ankh
Oh yes, the toffs wanted a piece of her then
They all love an upper-class yank

But life has a why of handing out fates
And Felicity Vaine’s heart was won
By an unlikely squire who held out a plate:
“How about this – inna bun?”

Well – she looked, and she looked, and her violet eyes
Took him in from his boots to his smock;
And her breath came in fast and her eyes opened wide
As she noticed the size of his – sausage

So Felicity lost most of her dainty ways
And fell from her pedestal high
She couldn’t resist Dibbler’s sausage, no, nay,
Nor his rock-solid thighs. – I mean pies.
© Muriel Lavender
Hogswatch 2014

Well - they asked for it.

So... Thanks to Bernard, Reb, Ian, Boggis and all the organising crew who make it happen. 
Thanks to Davina, Alison, Mari, my DW Mummy Ulisa, Pat Harkin, The Bear Inn, everyone who looks after me like the over-fluffed Diva I am.

Thanks to Kev, George, Pam, Rob, Nige, Jan, Vicky, Steve, Robin, Phil, Cohen, Matthew, Alex, Renta, Ana, AJ, Haddock, Harry, Darren, Carrot, David, Stew, Pixie, Ellie, Erik, Renta, Eli, Jacob, Aine,
Angelina, Adele, Ras, Krystel, Adora (much missed), Dibbler (remembered in rhyme), Igorina, Kirstine, Vanessa, Ian, Pam, Dr Hix, Grundy, Amy, Richard, Nina, Chris, Mandy,
Granny W, and all the endless people I can't name because it's now half past midnight and I still have laundry to deal with. But I love you. All of you. 

Thank you, Hat. Thank you, Terry. For everything.