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Yep. I’m goin’ to hell!


We went to church yesterday.

Yeah. Heh. I know. I kind of expected it to disappear up its own belfry like that house at the end of Poltergeist, too, but we sat in the back and it was very uneventful. This was the last of our premarital Tests of Courage.

Poor Uncle B didn’t recognize a single hymn from childhood. All the King James in the service was wiped away and replaced with easyspeak.

I’m not sure which bit was more painful, the part where everyone shook everyone’s hand (and I do mean everyone and everyone; we all milled about the church shaking random hands like sleepwalking Fuller brush salesmen), or the part where we sang the Lord’s Prayer to the tune of Kumbaya.

That really happened. I swear.

I’ve worked out why the CofE is bleeding customers: this was like all the thing British people are least comfortable doing, rolled into one socially awkward hour. I’m surprised they’re hanging in as well as they are.

Take it from an atheist, O ye witch doctors: you vary your schtick at your peril!

Religion is in the business of selling ancient, immutable, bedrock, absolute truths. A big dose of the traditions of our fathers, with a touch of the secret answer to absolutely everything. Any time a religion “modernizes” itself, it admits that parts of its creed are negotiable. The honest-to-God secret answer to absolutely everything isn’t going to be negotiable, is it?

Plus, the CofE lacks a certain snake-handlin’, foot-washin’ something.

January 19, 2009 — 8:47 pm
Comments: 49



Welp, that’s two-thirds of my swag crammed into Badger House. The only casualty so far, a small bottle of patchouili oil that leaked out over a bunch of stuff in transit. My hands smell like the illicit lovechild of the Glastonbury Festival and Woodstock.

How bad is it? I poured Uncle B a drink and he turned it down because the glass stank of hippie.

Ow. I’m off. Bath. Booze. Laterz.

January 16, 2009 — 7:54 pm
Comments: 53

I wonder why he never used this…


Huh. I found this in a box with the sushi-colored bandaids. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to buy him nice things.

I’m moving all his shit out of the dining room, to make room for my shit, which arrives tomorrow afternoon. Well, two thirds of it, anyhow. They took my trans-Atlantic container and broke it up into three crates for storage. I really didn’t think we could absorb such a very great deal of shit at once, so we’re accepting delivery of two.

Um, yay. I guess.

We had our last counseling session with the vicar earlier tonight. Uncle B managed to peek over her shoulder and read, “you can slip in the stuff about Jesus now” in her vicar’s notes. But it was just a pinch of Jesus and a little prayer and it hardly hurt at all.

Actually, the vicar never says Jesus, she always says “Jesus Christ,” which makes me think she’s about to cut loose with a string of profanity.

Also, the way she says “God” is flat-out terrifying. Like Gowwwdeh. It sounds serious as a heart-attack.

Anyhow, I’m going to go contemplate my sins. By which I mean soak in a very hot tub with a very large vodka and listen to Classic FM by candlelight.

I’ve got a tough day tomorrow. I’ll probably have to get out of bed before noon.



January 15, 2009 — 8:29 pm
Comments: 11

Moo. Moo. Moo. Moo.


Weather forecasting is not very good in the UK. We’re spoiled in the US; our weather usually comes West to East across a big stable land-mass. Americans can see stuff coming a long way off. Britain is an island in the Atlantic; its weather is pushed around and bullied by a big, cold sea. Forecasts aren’t reliable even 24 hours out.

So when last night’s BBC forecast called for clear sun and very poor visibility, I thought it was either/or. Hedging their bets. How can those two things be? They can’t.

And then I woke up to the foghorn.

Our foghorn is not the BEEE-OHHHH of Warner Brother’s cartoons. Ours goes “moo” every little while, like an especially monotonous and retarded cow. It is not a romantic sound. It is a frankly very fucking annoying sound.

It was sunny and lovely for a while when I got up, then the fog dropped from above like ninja marshmallow. Just like that. One minute, I was emptying the dishwasher. The next, Uncle B was saying, “ummm…I don’t think we’re going anywhere today.”

Jesus, it can fog around here.

We went out anyway, but we didn’t get anything done that we meant to. So that’s okay.


January 14, 2009 — 8:13 pm
Comments: 16

Some fresher crazy, perhaps…?


I’ve spent a delightful evening paddling around Britain’s National Archives looking for records of Badger House*. Brits do their censuseses on the year one, and I have managed to find Badger House in two of them. In 1901, it was listed as Badger Cottage and uninhabited. In 1911, it was listed as Old Badger (the name it has today). For more detail, I’ll have to give the Queen a few bob.

Earlier censuxices are online — back to 1841 — but it’s all still in beta. I haven’t gotten any hits before 1901, which either means the information hasn’t been fed into the database yet, or the house had a different name. Either. Both. Take your pick.

For the very besteses information — the proper parish records — this little weasel is going to have to hop a train for the county seat in Lewes. All in good time, my pretties. All in good time.

Anyhow, the stuff the British government has gotten online so far is impossibly cool. I posted about the proceedings of the Old Bailey database this Spring (couldn’t find any significant criminal records for the Weasel *or* Badger families, which probably just means we got away with it). As a devoted British true-crimophile, this stuff blows my mind. Britons make fabulous criminals.

And for all you UFOlogists: the UFO files. I’m not much into it myself, but I did check to see if anything weird is on record buzzing Badger House.

No. For once.

*name has been changed to protect the mustelids. I hate to be cute about it, but the real name of this house is enough of a true and legal address to track us down like dogs. Like dogs!

January 13, 2009 — 9:37 pm
Comments: 11

Okay, this is getting ridiculous…


We went wassailing this weekend.



Apple wassailing, to be specific. Or, as it is traditionally known in Sussex, howling. It doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas (or wassail); wassailing is an ancient pagan ritual performed in apple growing parts of the South of England. The locals dress up like elvish hobos, offer bread and cider to the trees and fire off shotguns to scare evil spirits away from the orchard.

You people think I make this shit up, don’t you? Well, I don’t. Every day in Angle-land is like King Richard’s Faire, but with older costumes and fewer chubby virgins.

I was going to tell you all about the ritual and shit, but for once in their miserable lives the locals started a ceremony early. We got there right on time, which was just in time to see the boogie-scaring fireworks and the traditional wassail bowl paraded back into the pub. Then everybody got pissed as newts on cider.

We did get to see the mummers in the pub, though. Yeah, you know what? I’m going to go lie down for a while.

But, hey, I get to keep my debit card.

January 12, 2009 — 9:00 pm
Comments: 25

How can I resteses with this going on?


January 10, 2009 — 5:06 pm
Comments: 27

What was I thinking?!


We went down to visit my stuff today. The local mover guys COULDN’T have been nicer. They had shifted my container’s worth into three large crates, and they were incensed on my behalf that Arpin hadn’t packed it properly on the front end. They offered to help me file a complaint.

“Look here!” the man said, “this chair is broken.”
“Oh. Heh. Yeah. Broke that years ago. Shouldn’t have leaned it back on two legs all the time like that.”
“And this! It’s just wrapped in plain paper!”
“Oh, that. Hm. Yeah. It’s kind of crap, that thing.”

Folks, I have just spent umpty-ump thousand dollars moving an entire container of complete shit to England. Sentimental value, my silky sable ass.

Anyway, we’ll have to arrange for a dropoff next week. We’re expecting torrential rain and gale force winds, but a good soaking isn’t going to make things any worse. Just to show willing, I grabbed a box marked “kitchen” — and brought it home to discover the Museum of Godawful Tacky Ceramics.

Did I think a heaping helping of buttugly was going to cheer me up?

January 9, 2009 — 7:30 pm
Comments: 17

How to tell you’re in an exotic foreign land…


Whiskas comes in flavors like duck and rabbit, which makes annoying Warner Brothers cartoons play in my head whenever I feed the cat (DUCK season…WABBIT season…DUCK season…WABBIT season…). And the packet is in five languages.

Also, you have tea with the vicar. Tea with the vicar, I am so not kidding. Tonight was the second of our premarital counseling sessions (oooh! ‘Premarital’ makes it sound so naughty). She didn’t show us any more of Margaret Calvert’s industrial design work, but there was this graphic of a cup filling up with anger and resentment and spilling over with sarcasm, or some shit. I don’t know. I drew a picture of an weasel going “grrrr!” on it when she turned her back.

The vicar is a very nice lady, or I wouldn’t put up with a minute of this.

Then we came home, started a roaring coal fire and set the chimney on fire. No, no…we were able to starve it before it burned down Badger House, but that means no more fires until the sweeps come. And the sweeps can’t come until Thursday. And it’s going to be Really Very Cold this weekend.

But never mind. I’ve always said one of the great benefits of living in a multicultural society is that the airport ladies’ room teaches you how to say, “please put your tampon in the receptacle provided” in a variety of pointless, mouth-grinding, ugly languages. So here, courtesy of Whiskas, for your enlightenment and entertainment, is “complete pet food for adult cats” rendered in a bunch of stupid foreign tongues:

Alimento complete para gatos adultos.
Helfoder för vuxna katter.
Fuldfoder til voksne katte.
Täysravintoa aikuisille kissoille.

Ah, Croatian. The language of love.

January 8, 2009 — 8:53 pm
Comments: 36

Politics, for a moment

countryfirstWe interrupt the today’s regularly scheduled birdwatching and Brit baiting…did anybody else get this email from John “Frutty as a Nootcake” McCain today?

…So to continue the movement, I have decided to launch a new grassroots organization called Country First.

Today, I’m asking you as a friend and supporter to renew your commitment to our common goals by becoming a Charter Member of Country First with an online contribution.

Emphasis his. Dang. You reckon somebody borrowed his name to start a PAC, or do you think he means it? Three quarters of his party couldn’t stand him BEFORE he blew the election with squishiness and sanctimony.

Together, we can make government more responsive to today’s problems and more answerable to the people.

Yes, let’s wad up our caps in our grubby fists and beg government, “please, Sir…can we have some more?” Or, you know, government could just fuck off out of the way and let us deal with “today’s problems” our own damn selves.

And so begins the Political Battle of Twenty Twelve, between those who believe conservative principles are not beliefs but observations as immutable as the laws of physics, and the squish RINO party hacks who don’t stand for much beyond endless compromise and cocktail parties.

And if that ain’t enough to kink your drawers, hey guess what? Madame Tussauds is letting Americans in for free on Inauguration Day to see the pretty waxwork we just elected POTUS. If you thought the American Obamatrons were cultish, you would not BELIEVE the ass-licking he’s getting over here.

I understand the American president has a big footprint, but the amount of attention the BBC pays US politics (in general) and Obama (in particular) is…Princess Di-like in its extreme creepitude.

January 7, 2009 — 8:16 pm
Comments: 29