Thursday, 2 January 2020

A Woke Christmas Carol

(Posting here on request...)


I

    One upon a time - of all the good days in the year - on Christmas Eve, James Hard-Right Delingscrooge (hereon in to be known as Delingscrooge) sat busy at his desk in the best and most extravagant chamber of the Spectator’s head office. 
    It was cold, bleak, biting weather and the candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices of the New Statesmen and the Guardian. Delingscrooge, however, was warmed by the crackling of a large woodburning stove in the corner of his chamber; a stove that continued to belch out the wicked fumes of global warming.
    The door of the room was open so that he might keep an eye on his small bespectacled assistant, who in a dismal little cell beyond was busy writing up his articles and proof reading his work. His name was Toby Young-Cratchit, but we shall call him Tobes.
    “A Merry Christmas, God Save You!” cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of his brother Dick who had arrived in the city in order to sell his paintings in the Christmas market. Dick was dressed as a festive WW1 soldier with tinsel wrapped around his fine handlebar moustache.
    “Bah!” said Delingscrooge, “Humbug!”
    “Don’t be angry brother! Besides, you can’t say humbug anymore as it incites hatred and violence. Look, if you want greater reach for your podcast you have to modify your language and tone.”
    “What else can I be other than angry,” returned Delingscrooge, “when I live in such a world of cucks as this? Merry Christmas? What’s Christmas but a time for paying bills without a regular column in the Times, finding yourself a year older but not an hour richer and still no lorry arriving at the door laden with guns and porno lezzers. Every fool who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled in his own squishy virtue!”
    “I only wanted to see if you fancied a quick Christmas Yes / No game?”
    “Ok – so it’s a NO to everyone on your list! Now get out!”
    “That was a bit harsh,” said Tobes, rubbing his hands together to keep warm. 
    “Oh pass me the sick bucket!” snapped Delingscrooge. “Anyway, nobody asked your opinion, cuck-face! Have you finished my latest piece on how shit the Tory Party has become?”
    “I’m doing it now,” replied Tobes reluctantly.
    “Well, be quick about it!”
    Just then, another figure arrived at the door - a middle-aged man with a pious, self-righteous expression etched on his lefty face.
    “For God’s sake Tobes, why did you let this creature in?”
    “Well it is important to hear both sides of the argument, Master James,” mumbled Tobes.
    “Bah! I’ll deal with you later,” snapped Delingscrooge, turning back to face his new visitor. “What do you want?”
    “A Merry, Carbon-Neutral Christmas to you,” offered George Monbiot.
    “Watermelons are not welcome here! If you’ve come to lecture me you can save your time.”
    “No, no, I just wanted to pass you this,” replied Monbiot, handing Delingscrooge a letter.
    “What’s this?”
    “It’s a petition from The Guardian asking you to install a wind turbine in your back garden.”
    “Humbug!” Delingscrooge snatched the letter and tossed it into the fire.
    “It also instructs you to have all your wood burners removed,” said Monbiot, narrowing his eyes at the sight of the highly offensive right-wing fire.”
    “Do I look like I care?”
    “You might care about this,” Monbiot continued, handing him a second letter. “It’s an instruction from the Supreme Court confirming that you have to comply with our wishes. It’s legally binding from an independent and quite neutral set of judges and gives you thirty days to comply.”
    Delingscrooge took the letter and stared at it for a few moments.
    “The case was led by Jo Maugham,” Monbiot added.
    Delingscrooge scowled and screwed the envelope up, before reaching for his top drawer and pulling out a red baseball cap. With a defiant glare, he pulled it onto his head, the slogan, Make Britain Great Again emblazoned above the peak.
    “Now get out, I’ve got another hundred people to insult on Twitter and you’re holding me up!”
    Monbiot rose and trodden off, muttering insults under his breath. 
    After a few minutes jabbing furiously at his phone, Delingscrooge rose and took his coat from the bronze bust of Margaret Thatcher.
    “You’ll want tomorrow off I assume?” he asked Tobes.
    “If it’s convenient?”
    “It isn’t convenient and it’s not fair. If I were to treat you properly I’d dock your wages and make you do double time on Boxing Day. Now get that article finished immediately!”
    Muttering an assortment of inaudible curses, Delingscrooge marched out of the office and out into the dark, frosty night air. He stopped to reflect on the best route back to his apartment, given that one street would almost certainly be blocked by Anfita protesters and another by Guardian readers who would abuse him for yet another year of writing incendiary, far right articles. Realising that it was too cold for olive-based picnics and therefore the third option would at least be clear of remain protestors, he pulled his collar up against the cold and made his way back home. As he walked down the street, he passed Dominic Frisby playing jovial-yet-satirical Christmas Carols on his ukulele whilst being heckled by a small black man in a tight pink moob-restraining t-shirt. 
    Presently, Delingscrooge reached the steps of the building and approached the door. As he put his key in the lock, he saw the knocker change shape and transform into the face of a young man.
    “I’m not gay,” Delingscrooge muttered, “but if I were gay he’s the sort of chap I’d go for!”
    It was then that he realized the face was that of Owen Jones, the former Guardian columnist. Before he could register his shock, however, the knocker turned back into its original shape.
    “Impossible!”
    Delingscrooge shot inside and slammed the door behind him and marched up to his quarters, where he brewed a huge pot of his favourite imperialistic, colonial tea. As he relaxed in his burgundy leather gentlemen’s armchair, a sinister noise sounded in the background, growing louder and louder. Delingscrooge scoured the room frantically but saw no sign of what was causing the disturbance and yet the sound continued to grow louder still; an ominous, eerie clanking. All of a sudden, a ghostly apparition burst through the doorway, emitting a highly camp shriek, causing Delingscrooge to shrink back in horror, spilling his racist tea all over his fox hunting jacket.
    The ghost was shrouded in a tangle of huge chains and as it minced across towards the chair, Delingpole noticed that it bore the very same face as the one the door knocker had transformed into earlier.
    “Delingscrooge!” the ghost shrieked, pointing a girly finger at him.
    “You!” Delingscrooge spluttered. “But I thought you were dead!”
    The ghost emitted a hollow laugh, the sort of smug laugh that someone with a hidden agenda might emit when discussing terrorist atrocities on Sky News with Julia Hartley-Brewer.
    “Owen, I’m sure you disappeared a year ago and haven’t been seen since. Surely this is an illusion?”
    “Yes that’s right,” the ghost replied. “Last Christmas I went to visit Carol Cadwalladr to interview her for a BBC Documentary on the rise of the far right. When I arrived she wasn’t home and unfortunately I was set upon by her one hundred and seventy three cats who ripped me apart limb by limb (rather like that scene in the film Let the Right One In). I tragically lost my life that day, but my spirit lives on!”
    “But how is it that you appear before me if you died that day?”
    “How indeed?” the ghost snapped bitterly. “I was ascribed an incorrect and assumed gender in the afterlife and lodged a formal complaint with a view to de-platforming Saint Peter from the Gates of Heaven. However, in order to be granted a gender-neutral pronoun I was sent back to earth with a quest to achieve before I can return and live in a left-wing utopian paradise.”
    “And what might your quest be, Oh Spirit of Owen Jones?” Delingscrooge uttered fearfully.
    “I have to rescue enough hard right Brexshitters from a gammon-fuelled destiny, turning them into woke socialists, or at the very least liberals.”
    “Am I the first on your list?”
    “No, you are the last. So far I have succeeded in every single target – David Cameron, Jeremy Clarkson, Toby Young-Cratchit.”
    “Tobes? I knew it!” Delingscrooge spat.
    “Yes and now I just need you to complete my quest!” the spirit smiled in a boyish, somewhat patronizing manner.
    “What happens next, spirit?”
    “You will be visited this very night by three spirits, each of whom will attempt to bend you to their will. The first will arrive when the bell strikes one. And remember, James Hard-Right Delingscrooge, these chains that consume me are forged in the offices of the Guardian and each link represents a different gender. That’s why they are growing every day – yours too will grow for all eternity – ah hahahahaha AH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
    With that, a terrible chill swept the room and Delingscrooge shrank further back into his chair, shutting his eyes to the dreadful sight of the boyish spirit and his ridiculous petulant expression. When he opened them again the ghost was gone.
    “Thank fuck for that,” Delingscrooge muttered, before jumping to his feet and racing to his huge four-poster bed, pulling the curtains around him in a shroud of darkness. Composing himself, he quickly fell into a restless sleep.






II

    After some time, Delingscrooge awoke with a start, having heard the distant sound of a bell striking in the street outside. There appeared to be a stream of light from behind the curtains; and as he peered nervously through the gap, he spied a tiny figure stood by the window illuminated by a holy shroud of virtue and saintliness. As his eyes adjusted to the scene, he realized from the pigtails that it was a girl and noticed a halo around her head.
    “Are you the first spirit?” he gulped.
    “Yes,” she replied in a curious accent. “I am Saint Greta of Thunberg and I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. If you take my hand I will fly you around London and show you the error of your ways without consuming any carbon because I am holy and only I have been bequeathed this gift. I’m like a cross between Joan of Arc and Jesus and that woman who threw herself under a horse and shit like that.”
    “Alright, alright I get the idea,” said Delingscrooge. 
    He offered his hand and the spirit clasped him gently and benevolently. They passed through the wall and stood upon an open road with fields on either side. The city had disappeared entirely.
    “Good heavens!” said Delingscrooge. “I was bred in this place. I was a boy here!”
    “Yes,” the spirit replied. “Behold the open country fields of Worcestershire!”
    “It doesn’t look like that now.”
    “No it doesn’t!” the spirit spat bitterly. “They have been built over by evil construction companies seeking to provide houses for all the people who rose above their station during the Thatcher years. If they had stayed in their state-owned council houses, none of this would have happened and I wouldn’t have DIED of carbon and that!”
    “But …”
    Before Delingscrooge could complete his sentence, they left the view of the fields and arrived at a very stately looking set of medieval buildings. The spirit stopped outside a very grand window and asked him if he knew it.
    “Know it?” said Delingscrooge. “I was educated here.”
    They went in. The room was full of joviality and merriment; clearly, the Oxford academic semester had finished and Yuletide celebrations had begun. At the sight of a young gentleman with a pompous expression in the corner, Delingscrooge cried out with excitement.
    “It’s old Fezzi-Gove!”
    They continued to stare at Fezzi-Gove, who took the hand of a young female student and began to dance. 
    “Look, there’s David Cameron! And over there Boris. And Tobes – bloody hell, he gets everywhere. And…and… that’s me!”
    “Yes,” the spirit replied. “That’s you. Are you dancing? No, you’re sneaking off to smoke drugs. At least these boys kept their head down and gave themselves to the establishment, whereas you spent your time in selfish pursuits. They chose to be woke – why couldn’t you?”
    “Hold on,” said Delingscrooge. “Where’s Cameron going? Is that a pig’s head he has in his hands?”
    However, the scene faded out and they continued to the next place, which was a huge field full of people. It was no longer winter but summer and music sounded from somewhere in the distance. 
    “This is Glastonbury!” remarked Delingscrooge. “Why have you brought me here?”
    They landed and Delingscrooge immediately observed his younger self fooling around outside a tent with long hair, looking rather like a knock off Robert Plant.
    “Surely I never looked like that?”
    “I told you these were shadows of the things that have been,” said the spirit. “They are what they are, do not blame me for the fact that you were once inoffensive.”
    “You’re making me feel old.”
    “How dare you! HOW DARE YOU!” the spirt yelled, jabbing a ghostly finger in his midriff. “You used to have long hair and listen to music with all the other peaceful folk and now you stand before me with your foxhunting jacket on! Instead of dedicating yourself to saving the planet you dedicated yourself to writing inflammatory articles, publishing your Watermelons book and spreading lies about wind turbines.”
    “But they slice birds and blight the landscape!” Delingscrooge interjected. He noticed that they had suddenly left the field and had returned to the frosty streets of London.
    “You DARE lecture people on these matters! You ignore science – these are not subjects that should be debated!” the spirit ranted. “Everything in the past that you say was great was actually shit because it caused climate change and now look at where we are – the planet will die in a few years time like me. Perhaps even tomorrow (despite it being frigging freezing at the moment)!”
    Before Delingscrooge could argue further, the spirit disappeared from view and even the London streets darkened as he fell back into a fitful sleep.






III

    Sometime later, Delingscrooge became aware of another bell sounding and realized that the hour had approached for the second ghost to arrive. He reached nervously for the gap in the four-poster curtains and peered apprehensively through. There was a ghostly light emanating from an adjoining room and with a fit of trembling, he got up and shuffled slowly to the door. The moment Delingscrooge’s hand was on the lock, an aggressive voice called out:
    “Oi! Nazi! Come in here now!”
    Delingscrooge obeyed and entered. It was his own room, of that there was no doubt. However, it had undergone a huge transformation with leaves and berries hanging from the walls and ceiling. On the floor a mountain of plates were gathered and it was clear that they had recently carried a feast of food including turkey, goose, game pie, sausages, mince-pies and plumb pudding. However, all that was left was an array of crumbs, for an enormous gentleman who sat in the middle of the room had evidently scoffed the lot. He was a huge, barrel-chested black man who bore a glowing torch and held it up high to shine a light on Delingscrooge as he came peeping round the door. 
    “Come in.” exclaimed the spirit. “Come in, and know me better, man.”
    Delingscrooge walked forward. The spirit was clothed in a green robe bordered with white fur. His chest was bare and his eyes cast a keen X-ray beam of racism detection for the good of mankind. 
    “I am Lammy, the Ghost of Christmas Present,” said the spirit. “Look upon me.” The spirit rose with a deafening belch, wiped his mouth on his sleeve and made his way over to the window.
    “Are you going to show me more sights, spirit?” Delingscrooge asked.
    “Yes, though I would prefer it if we had some protection out there at this time,” the spirit reflected, staring out at the scene below. “I haven’t seen a single policeman all night.”
    “There’s one over there,” said Delingscrooge. “And there – look. In fact there’s load of them!”
    “You miss the point,” the spirit snapped, narrowing his eyes as he realized what an utter dimwit he was. “Your white privilege means you only see an opportunity to stop and search innocent black people!”
    Unsure how to reply to this statement, Delingscrooge offered his arm and once again felt himself transported into the cold night sky.
    “Where are we going?” he asked, at length.
    “We follow the path of righteousness,” the spirit replied. “This torch represents Twitter, which in itself is a beacon that illuminates our souls.”
“What does that even mean?”
“It means you are a FAR RIGHT BREXTREMIST!”
    Before Delingscrooge could react, the spirt swooped down nearer to the street where a cluster of white homeless people huddled together for warmth.
    “Racists!” the spirit yelled.
    They changed course and flew past another group – this time a Salvation Army marching band raising money for charity with a tender festive rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
    “Fascist scum!” the ghost called, his face contorted in a blaze of fury and flecks of spittle flying from his mouth.
    “Surely not all of these people are racist, Oh Enlightened Spirit?” Delingscrooge ventured.
    “Indeed not, look over here.”
    They swept down another street where there was a set of high-rise apartments. Above the door was a brass-plated sign that read Luxury Communism Expert and through the window he could see a young woman with a mustache having sex in the manner of a porn star.
    “She’s not racist,” the spirit announced.
    “Right, okay.”
    They changed course again, this time sweeping past Parliament Square. Down below, Diane Abbot and Dawn Butler were making their way towards College Green.
    “They are not racist,” the spirit stated, shining his ridiculous torch towards them.
    “But they’re both thick as pigshit,” Delingscrooge replied. “Besides which, Diane Abbot is quite racist actually.”
    “NONSENSE!” yelled the ghost. “It’s impossible to be black and racist!”
    “In that case, the woman over there must be fairly sound,” Delingscrooge remarked, pointing to the small figure of Priti Patel in the distance, emoji heart symbols flaring where his eyes used to be.
    The ghost’s face contorted at this and it looked for a moment that Lammy’s head might explode at this conundrum. Instead, they fell back into the sky and continued to soar through the freezing night, leaving the twinkling lights of London behind and eventually making their way towards what appeared to be the coast of Kent.
    “See below.”
    Delingscrooge glanced down as the ghost guided him nearer to the choppy waters. Approaching the white cliffs of Dover were two very large rubber dinghies, packed full with what appeared to be African migrants.
    “Behold! Two boats carrying doctors and lawyers coming to help enrich our otherwise racist country and redress the balance of colour. Their selfless journey will help prop up our under-funded NHS and to ensure that there is enough legal assistance to democratically oppose a hard Brexit.”
    “They are all doctors and lawyers?” Delingscrooge muttered doubtfully.
    “See! The inherent racism of the privileged white man knows no limits! It is clear that my pointing out the reality of the progressive new world we have built has done you no favours. I have no option other than to hand you over to the final spirit who will show you what must happen if you do not repent. Besides which, I’m bloody starving – I’ll fade away if I don’t eat anything soon.”
    They were making their way back now, the darkening sky obscuring the previous scene and moments later bringing them back to the familiar lights of London. Soon they were descending to street level once more and Delingscrooge found himself landing softly on the cobbled stones, shivering as he did so. The hand that had grasped him for the duration of his flight had grown withered and frail. As he began to walk he felt the final sensation disappear and with his lip trembling, he turned around to see what was left of Lammy. Gone was the second spirit and instead, there before him, was a tall phantom shrouded in a black cloak and hood. Somewhere in the distance, a bell struck three.






IV

    “Are you the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?” asked Delingscrooge.
    The spirit silently approached and nodded gravely. Its very presence seemed to scatter gloom and misery through the night air.
    “You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us,” Delingscrooge pursued. “Is that so, Spirit?”
    The phantom did not move or speak but instead pointed a limp hand out from the deep black garment towards an iron gate that stood on the corner of the street.
    “Ghost of the Future!” Delingscrooge exclaimed, “I fear you more than any spirit I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company. Will you not speak to me?”
    It gave him no reply but began to walk slowly towards the gate. As they approached, it became clear that it was the entrance to a graveyard. A sense of overwhelming dread and doom filled his very soul as they passed through and came to a rest alongside a newly-laid headstone where two men were talking to each other.
    “Last week it was,” the first man muttered. “They found him slumped at his desk. Was only a matter of time.”
    “What was the cause?” the second man asked.
    “He died of overwork,” the first replied. “Apparently his awful boss flogged him to death. Poor ‘ol Mr Young-Cratchit!”
    Delingscrooge glanced down and noticed the following inscription on the stonework:

In Loving memory of Tobes. He was never fully accepted by the establishment, despite all his efforts.

    “Spirit!” he hissed. “Do you mean to tell me that Tobes will die?”
    Instead of answering him, the spirit moved onwards to another grave. This one was marked with a far more extravagant, pedimental affair flanked by two winged cherubs and a Latin inscription on the apex. The dedication read as follows: 

Here lies the Right Honourable Jacob Rees Mogg. Suffocated by his ever-expanding giant suit in retribution for being a Brextreemist and using anachronistic language. May he never rest in peace.

    “Bloody hell, this is awful!” Delingscrooge wailed. “Stop this, spirit, please, I’ve had quite enough of this already!”
    The ghost continued to ignore him and instead pointed a finger back at the two men who were approaching them, coming to rest at a freshly dug hole only a few feet away from the grave of the fallen Member for North East Somerset. 
    “Better get the rest of these done tonight,” the first man said, pulling up a shovel. “I got a new job starting tomorrow.”
    “Oh yeah, what’s that?” the second man asked.
    “Digging out footings for a new windfarm,” he replied. “Up in the Midlands. That’s the twentieth new one this month they’ve started work on.”
    “How you going to get up there now that they’ve banned cars completely?” the second asked.
    “Lentil-powered community cycle,” the first man answered, without the slightest hint of a snigger.
    “Come on then, let’s get this one done and that only leaves one more to do.”
    Delingscrooge glanced down and saw a coffin at the foot of the hole. The headstone above bore an embossed swastika, below which the text read:

Here lies Trump. America was never great.

    Delingscrooge’s heart began to thump. What on earth was happening in this hellish future world? Had everything gone to complete and utter shit?
    “This is the last one,” the first man called. “Dump the coffin in and let’s get out of here.”
    “Who’s this one?”
    “Some ‘ol fascist from the Midlands. He’s the chap whose house was seized by the state for this new windfarm I’m helping to build tomorrow. When Jo Maugham QC took over as the Legal Leader of the UK and appointed George Monbiot as Supreme Environment Chairperson, the first thing he did was seize this chap’s land. It was enough to finish him off.”
    “What’s his name?”
    “Oh I don’t know – all his friends are gone so there’s no marking on the headstone. It was something miserable and racist-sounding like Delinscrooge I think.”
    With that, Delinscrooge sank to his knees, his mind a swirling panic and a horrified expression etched upon his features. The spirit pointed ominously to the deep hole and the black void seemed to open further like the mouth of a great white shark. 
    “Spirit! I beg you, please have mercy!” Delinscrooge implored, clasping his hands together almost in prayer. “Have these events not yet come to pass? Is there still time to avoid this misery? Or must these things be? I don’t want to die – nor do I wish for this hellish, liberal, green, censorial dictatorship to take over my country!”
    Just then, several things happened at once. There was a disturbance over by the entrance to the graveyard and a group of men entered through the gate. The two gravediggers stopped work and called out, “Who goes there?” Several of the group switched on torches and the graveyard became illuminated, revealing that the newcomers were a band of WW1 re-enactors, led by Delinscrooge’s brother Dick, who had come to re-enact the Christmas 1914 game of football in the trenches.
    Caught by surprise, the gravediggers stumbled back, bumping into the spirit, who jerked a hand out to steady itself and in doing so caused the black cape and hood to fall off and drop to the ground.
    “Shit!” the spirit hissed. “Fucking hell!”
    Delinscrooge stared at the man beneath the dark shroud and realized that he was looking at non-other than the virtue-signaling Canadian leader Justin Trudeau, his face having been blacked up in order to play the role of the phantom. 
    “YOU!” Delingscrooge gasped. “What a complete bloody fraud!”
    “Shit, shit, shit!” Trudeau muttered, frantically trying to scoop up the costume. 
    “Blacking up, after everything you’ve lectured us on!”
    “Come on man, I didn’t realise what I was doing, I didn’t know!” Trudeau howled. “This is part of my learning journey, for which I am grateful so that I can become a better human being. Besides which, I hadn’t got to the point where I tell you to go and visit Portland.”
    Just then, the soldiers began to spread out and the authentic leather-stitched football was brought out to start the game. One of the lads gave it a hearty boot and it struck Trudeau right on the arse as he bent forwards to gather his cloak.
    “Argh!” he cried, toppling forwards into the open grave. “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!”
    Delingscrooge peered over as the figure disappeared from sight. Oddly, everything suddenly seemed to disappear, the voices became distorted and the images blurry. As if descending down a long tunnel, the scene darkened once more and everything fell silent.







V

    Delingscrooge came to. The bedpost was his own. The bed was his own. Best and happiest of all, the time before him was his own too!
    “I will live in the past, the present and the future!” he called out, springing from his mattress. “I am still here, what joy!”
    Outside, there came the distant sound of a church bell clanging and the glorious light of the early morning winter sun. Running to the window. Delingscrooge opened it and put out his head. There was no fog, no mist, no bleak darkness but jovial, stirring cold mixed with the golden sunlight upon the smattering of snow below. He noticed a boy loitering in the street below.
    “You boy! Tell me what day it is?”
    “Why it’s Christmas Day of course,” the boy replied, looking startled.
    “It’s Christmas Day,” said Delingscrooge to himself. “I haven’t missed it; the spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like – of course they can!”
    The boy looked puzzled.
    “How would you like to earn yourself a bitcoin?”
    “Very much so kind sir!” the boy nodded eagerly.
    “Very well!” Delingscrooge yelled with a sadistic grin. “Firstly, find that poisoned dwarf Bercow and seize his Range Rover. Peel off that ridiculous Bollocks to Brexit sticker and then drive it flat out in second gear (preferably running over any stray cats in the process) to the house of my cuckold assistant Tobes. Tell him to stop all that celebratory Yuletide nonsense with his family and get his cuck-faced arse back to the Spectator offices immediately where he needs to publish my article on how Trump is our God!”
    “Yes sir!”
    “Wait! I also want you to send word to my brother Dick. Tell him to gather his re-enactment soldiers in their best uniforms and march this very hour upon the Borough of Islington. I want it raised to the ground before the day is out – do you hear me?”
    “Yes sir!”
    “And finally, saddle my horse and fetch my guns for now I ride out to war!”
    Delingscrooge ran to his wardrobe, seized the rest of his hunting attire (which included a custom red hat with “Trump is Our God” written on) and gamboled downstairs, where his horse was waiting for him. He leapt on in cavalier fashion and seized his gun, rearing the horse in the air rather like Henry V at the siege of Harfleur.
    “Together we will celebrate Christmas the correct way, by sacking the establishment and forming a new world order. Cry God for libertarianism, guns and porno lezzers!”
    With that the horse galloped off. Delingscrooge opened fire and began to throw Molotov cocktails into the windows of the offices of the New Statesman, The Guardian, Scotland Yard as well as the buildings of the civil service, the Supreme Court and other such places – it was basically like the end of Game of Thrones where Daenerys goes mental and reduces Kings Landing to rubble. All the while he yelled, “I’m ALWAYS right, I’ll NEVER surrender!” whilst a pack of baying hounds charged by his side, savaging the corpses of the fallen. 

    He had no further visits from the spirits, but lived happily ever afterwards; and it was always said of James Hard-Right Delingscrooge that he knew how to keep the spirit of woke well and truly at bay. May that be truly said of us and to all the non-binary virtue-signallers, god help them, every one! 

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Wild Lone, The Story Of A Pytchley Fox Book

I do not read many novels these days. In fact, I have reached the stage where any form of art and entertainment has to really be worth my while.

About a month ago I purchased Wild Lone - The Story of a Pytchley Fox by Denys Watkins-Pitchford (under the pseudonym BB), having stumbled across a recommendation from somewhere I can no longer recall. It was described as being a stark and savage telling of the story of a fox in the Northamptonshire countryside in the thirties and something about the review grabbed me. I am glad it did.

The countryside in Wild Lone is the countryside I recognise from my childhood in rural Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The trees and hedgerows jump of the page with life and soul, the farmyards bustle with activity and the changing seasons flow from one page to another beautifully. The narrative concerns a young fox cub who miraculously survives to become a fully grown male fox, in spite of his parents and siblings perishing and goes on to successfully thwart various local hunts and sire several litters of cubs of his own. Rufus (all the main characters are given names in Wild Lone) is neither hero nor anti-hero; he is too brutal and determined to grow fond of and yet at the same time our hearts race when danger presents itself.

The real point here is that the narrative presents itself without judgement. We are not instructed how to think of the characters, this isn't a JK Rowling-style exercise in side-taking or a Philip Pullman-style assault on traditional values. The stark, brutal, fascinating cornucopia of nature of told as it is. Badgers bite foxes, baby birds fall from nests and are swallowed whole by predators, rabbits are torn from their mothers and butchers, hounds drown in frozen lakes and at one point even a heron is killed. There is no sense of regret or subjectivity and as such the whole point of the natural world is allowed to flourish. My personal view, that whilst fox hunting is somewhat brutal it is also the most effective way of controlling the fox population in rural areas was endorsed whilst working my way through the chapters and I would suggest that the likes of Chris Packham and other eco-warriors could learn a thing or two from these pages.

I am not sure if Wild Lone inspired Richard Adams, but the efforts to which Rufus goes to in the final chapters when being pursued by hounds down into his burrow was reminiscent of Bigwig's heroic last stand against the tyrant General Woundwort in Watership Down. That particular novel was written in the early seventies, some thirty years after Wild Lone, and yet these sorts of honest snapshots of rural life seem condemned to a distant past. Perhaps my generation was the last to experience the countryside in it's true form, though I cant help but yearn for the return of the bleak landscape of these novels, devoid of wind turbines, ring roads and millennial protesters. 

Thursday, 14 November 2019

A Despairing End to the Decade

Good God I feel miserable.

I accept that most gripes and grumbles come in small, inconsequential portions. There are minor irritants such as the lights turning red just before your turn to cross a junction, or a drinks mat sticking to the glass then falling to the floor with an annoying clatter when you take a sip. These moments are almost instantly forgotten about as soon as they happen, though collectively they can snipe and goad at your mood throughout the day. There are then more caustic versions of these nuisances that take a little longer to pass – whether it be a failing kitchen appliance, a work-related problem or a persistently dour length of rainfall.

Let me acknowledge that there have been a myriad of those things this week, though I have little interest in detailing the minutiae of all this here – even less than you would have digesting it. Two things rise above the trivia, however, and are both worth noting. The first is that on Monday it came to my attention that I am to face a huge tax bill, along with a likely (and significant) drop to my monthly household income. The details of this are not worth delving into but broadly speaking it is down to the ludicrous way in which child benefit eligibility is not only calculated but retrospectively analysed, together with the unfortunate level at which my taxable income sits. Not only am I in a “problem” bucket, but my overall package can fluctuate significantly on an annual basis. It is a bizarrely twisted situation and right now it feels as if my circumstances were specifically designed to fall foul of just about every possible angle that David Cameron’s inadequate legislation was based upon. As a result of trying to do the right thing I am likely to receive a hefty demand for thousands of pounds in the run up to Christmas and moreover, with immediate effect, I am going to be a couple of hundred quid worse off a month. The bitter punchline is that if our household income almost doubled, but was split 50/50 from an earnings perspective between my wife and me, then not only would I not have to pay this money back but I would also not lose the extra monthly payment. The word absurd does not do it justice. 

It is more than likely that at some point in your life – perhaps even on multiple occasions – you have had an unexpected bill or expense, so I am sure you can empathise with the stark fact that this just sucks. In most case though, this amounts to a new car or new boiler and therefore the monetary outlay at least results in a tangible benefit. In my case, it will simply amount to me writing a cheque to the Inland Revenue and then being poorer each month from then on. The Government will spend this money on how it deems fit (based on the current pie chart on the back on P60 forms the largest chunk of this will go to prop up the welfare state and the NHS); yet I must soldier on, getting up at the crack of dawn and doing my bit for the economy with the same smile on my face and level of motivation required to steer my vessel forward. It is here that I will segue into the other source for my gloom. The forthcoming General Election.

On the way into work this morning I had the radio on as usual (it remains on for the first fifteen minutes of my journey until I receive the traffic news and is then switched off immediately to be replaced by either music or podcasts) and was subjected to a torrent of anti-Tory, anti-Boris propaganda. This is fairly routine so ordinarily I wouldn’t allow this to ruin my mood, except for the fact that of course there remains the chance – however slight – that we could end up with a Corbyn government. When I think of how my monetary story has played out under a Tory Government; the idea of a rampant Marxist who hates Britain and the West gaining the keys to 10 Downing Street and ramping up tax and spend on just about every area of the public sector (not to mention land-grabbing more of the private sector into this bucket), it is almost certain to cause me complete and utter financial ruin overnight. This is a man who, not only wants to turn the UK into a socialist state, but wants to pull up the drawbridge on any chance of the country rejecting his policies once the harsh realization of what they have voted for hits the people. He’ll lower the voting age to sixteen, massively expand the number of public sector workers, hugely empower the trade unions and force business owners to flee the country. The net result of this will be a reduction in the Tory vote and in increase in indoctrinated Labour voters (this is already occurring in the educational establishment where the main point of keeping people in full time education is to ensure they remain both socialist and woke).

The next few weeks will be a turning point. I await my bill with the disposition of a man facing the gallows and then the subsequent election with the sort of confidence that I typically reserve for an England vs Wales match in the Six Nations (i.e. almost none). Should I find scrape the funds together, move on from the sorry incident and then welcome in a Boris victory, I might find a modicum of Christmas cheer. Perhaps this will be followed by a swift exit from the EU, a reform of taxation and some welcome optimism with which to start the new decade. On the other hand, if I am left financially ruined and then am forced to witness that lunatic win power I might just plan to disappear. After all, there must be something better than this. 

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Absence…Projects & Distractions

I’ve not posted for some considerable time. There are multiple reasons for this – some dull, some more interesting. Firstly, throughout the spring and summer my house was having renovation work (that’s interesting for me, no doubt quite dull for others). When I did have spare time throughout that period it was invariably spent either decorating or catching up with other things. However, I have also been working on a couple of mini projects…

The first is a set of YouTube videos in a series called Gods and Flannelled Fools, charting the history of English test match cricket. The blog for this is available here: https://godsandflannelledfools.blogspot.com/

There are currently ten episodes available (a pilot of the initial pre-test match history of the game and then the first nine actual episodes going from the first test match in 1877 through to the home series against the West Indies in 1963. There are probably another ten or so planned which I will record and produce as and when the time allows.

I’ve also been writing a few things for the first time in a while. Nothing that I necessarily plan to release, but nonetheless it’s interesting and a bit different. Aside from that, it’s all politics really and I cannot be bothered to pollute this blog with pages and pages charting the ineptitude of the political establishment when it comes to the management of Brexit over the past three years. Of course, all that could end in the next couple of weeks (though I suspect not). 

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The morality of investment in our buildings

Much has been made in recent weeks of the various pledges to re-build and restore the shell of Notre Dame Cathedral following the devastating fire that tore through the building just before Easter. Within hours there were several vocal donations from billionaires to contribute to the restoration work and these were almost immediately castigated by large sections of society (not all of these dissenting voices were from the left, though of course most were) who were of the view that it was morally reprehensible to so quickly commit to sums of this magnitude towards a religious monument when there are so many homeless human beings who would be far worthier recipients of a cash injection. Of course, we do not know how much these wealthy benefactors give to human causes (not all charity bearers are virtue-signallers), so it would seem somewhat premature to condemn them on this charge – but still, one can appreciate the point at hand.

On a more micro level I heard a conversation on a radio station in which Jason Manford (yes I know – it wasn’t me who chose the station) recanted a story of having met a sales rep from a luxury wallpaper company during a recent holiday. In the midst of the chat, he had asked the rep – out of sheer curiosity – how much high end wallpaper cost and was staggered by the response. Apparently an average order for a medium sized lounge would be around fifteen thousand pounds. This prompted a phone-in discussion in which listeners were encouraged to voice their horror at how some people had so much wealth that they could fritter it away on such “mundane items” and how it was disgusting and so on and so forth.

It has always seemed strange to me that the those who criticise the investment in the finer things in life ignore the economic benefit that these products and services bring. After all, the sales rep who provided the basis for Jason Manford’s anecdote met him at the same holiday resort as his family in Portugal and sadly we can’t all make enough to pay for foreign family holidays on the back of radio presenter salaries. For every millionaire who pays for a luxury item, there is someone in a job receiving the money from this, though many conveniently choose to ignore this inconvenient truth. I suspect that they would rather the rich invested their money back into products and services however their personal tastes deem fit, rather than dumping it all in offshore tax havens; but there again that doesn’t generate as much superficial outrage when it comes to the 21st century narrative.

Leaving aside the economic argument, there is the equally – perhaps even greater – argument of the philosophy of things as opposed to people. Mankind has always sought to climb the hierarchy of needs beyond the level of mere hunter-gatherer and it is art and beauty that provides the framework in which this ascent can take place. Survival is all well and good and indeed is the thing that drives us out of bed in the morning but without something greater it is simply that – survival – and one reaches the point where it becomes rather pointless. Of course, in the Middle Ages, cathedrals such as Notre Dame were the cinemas, bowling alleys and nightclubs of the day: a central point of contemporary culture which brought everyone together in a place that no single individual would ever be able to visualize or indeed afford to build. Yes, religious worship was an ingrained part of society and yes, the myriad of modern entertainment did not exist and yes, most other elements of life were rather grim, but nonetheless the point remained: all members of society were drawn to these magnificent works of art for they represented the pinnacle of man’s aspiration to greater through art, craft and ultimately beauty. Nothing like this exists today; the municipal buildings of the 21st Century are constructed with speed and affordability in mind and often design is overshadowed by inclusivity and eco-friendliness. In the rare cases where money is spent, buildings often become white-elephants and this is ultimately because capitalism has won: we have an improved quality of life and the pound in our pocket is better spent in accordance with our own needs rather than via the stewardship of the state. John Smith no longer lives in a mud hut, but a modern home fitted out with all the latest comforts and the concrete-and-cladding paneled municipal buildings in his town centre don’t really float his boat in the same way that the stone wonders of the ancient, medieval and Renaissance ages did.

I am currently having an extension built on my house and this work is being undertaken by a wonderful builder who for the purposes of anonymity we shall call Bob. Bob has done work for us over a period of seven years, ranging from bathrooms refits to more complex home improvement projects. He is a highly (and I mean highly) skilled craftsman who, with the exception of plumbing and electrics, can undertake any area of building to a high level. As chance would have it, a different builder is constructing an orangery extension next door and they often engage in banter over the fence, partly to pass the time and partly out of curiosity and as a result of this ongoing interaction we know what they are constructing (and how) and vice versa. Last week, Bob said the following to me:

“Dan, there are two reasons I do this job. Firstly for the money, as I should have retired a couple of years ago (*this is true) and secondly for the craft and the satisfaction. To those mongrels next door it’s just a job and they’ll use the cheapest materials and bung it up any old how. To me it’s more than that – I’m building this to the standard I have for my own house.”

Let us turn our attention therefore to Bob’s own house. Ostensibly a simple end terrace, he has turned what initially was a ramshackle Victorian property into something that looks like a five star Mediterranean retreat with illuminated lawns, walled gardens, round walls and cutting edge technology. There are underwater cameras in his fish pond, a two-story double garage extension with snooker table, a curved granite patio – you name it, he’s got it. As far as terrace housing is concerned I can’t imagine anything finer. Why has he poured so much of his heart and soul into this building? Quite simply, his wife left him and within months of that he broke his back in a work accident – an incident from which he was lucky to make a full recovery. As a married man he gave everything to his family and was devastated when his wife left him and as a result he has changed his outlook on life. People no longer inspire his trust, but his home is just that, his home. It’s where he can be himself, relax and enjoy the things he has worked on away from the disappointment and mean-spirited society that surrounds him. Through the lens that Bob views the world I can fully understand why buildings mean more to him than people.

This of course is the microcosmic glance at the matter. Returning to the much larger theatre piece of Notre Damn, I reference the old quote, “Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” 500 medieval trees were felled to create that wondrous spire and whilst I doubt whether precisely the same approach will be taken with the reconstruction work, it is important to remember that mankind aspires to more than survival. Our soul lies in art and creativity and if we cheapen or remove this then we are mere ants, scurrying around merely to exist and not to live.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Cultural Marxism: It began with the "Celebrity"


There is a growing list of people - in the interest of brevity we can refer to them as blue ticks as you’ll inevitably know what I mean - who I’m finding myself unfollowing on Twitter owing to their ridiculous views. In part, this goes back to last year when I was involved in a spat with an ex sportsman and incurred the wrath of his army of sycophantic followers. Since then, my detector systems have been on high alert and in the interest of maintaining my sanity, not to mention avoiding an inevitable war of words I more often than not choose to mute rather than engage.

Of course, the broader, more curious question, is why are the overwhelming majority of “celebrities” inclined to broadcast views that can be categorised as being leftist, authoritarian, woke, and generally promoting of their virtue at every given opportunity? The origins of this go back to the birth of the concept of celebrity back in the late nineties. Up to that point, anyone famous had (broadly speaking) earned their reputation by succeeding in a particular field. Whether sportspeople, newsreaders, musicians, games show hosts, actors or authors, they were famous for something and we recognised them within this context. Of course, this was pre-internet and social media which meant that, aside from the odd lifestyle magazine interview, autobiography or talk show interview, their private lives (including personal views) were just that - private. Now it’s true that there were some whose political views were known (Richard Burton was open about his socialist views back in the seventies) but they tended to be the exceptions and beyond this the detail remained relatively discrete. All this changed when Tony Blair was handed the keys to No. 10 and immediately dished out invitations to a host of left-leaning (note the clever tactical use of the word “leaning” to distance from the hard left) Brit Pack actors and pop stars to invoke a sense of his having his finger on the zeitgeist. From that moment onwards, famous people were first and foremost famous and we could therefore badge them as celebrities. It didn’t matter whether they had earned the badge of respect via their profession because they had essentially made it into the public eye and could legitimately have free reign to appear on any medium at any point without question. 

To solidify this new movement, extra foot soldiers were recruited via the medium of reality TV shows. Here, a new legion of celebrities were given their badge of endorsement simply by appearing on one of these programs and contributing to some cheap moment of outrage or “shock” in order to join the Beckhams and the Gallaghers in the VIP queue. By the early noughties it didn’t matter HOW you made it but IF you made it. Once you were part of the set you were a celebrity and your future income was guaranteed. Fast forward a decade and one of the perks of being a celebrity is that you have blue tick status on Twitter and Instagram, something that secures a high volume of followers and therefore a significant reach. You are (as cringeworthy as the term is) a genuine influencer and here to stay.

When I look at some of the people I typically follow on social media many are inevitably sports people who, owing to my age and the passing of time, have become ex-sports people. They’ve enjoyed fine careers by excelling at their particular discipline and have called time, ready to start a new chapter. Here, their fame offers up opportunities, more often than not in the media (I can think of a host of examples). They didn’t have to go through a university degree to achieve this or a selective sequence of job interviews - their agent just put them forward and they got a couple of opportunities to write articles, offer punditry or some guest commentary and that was it, they were in. Sometimes this is down to being talented, more often than not talent doesn’t come into it. They essentially have a high paid media job for life. They’ve made it. No longer are they a sportsperson. They are a celebrity: you’ll see them on tv, online, in print - their name is a brand and as we know, brand names can be rubber stamped upon almost anything in the interests of commercial gain. Now, there is one proviso: you can have all the benefits of a career for life in the media – the salary, the expenses, the fortunate, the fame, the commercial opportunities, the freebies, the lot – but you MUST tow the party line. That means NOTHING controversial, NOTHING off message and NOTHING that blocks the advance of the woke narrative. 

Here, it is worth pausing to consider the tactics of the left since the early nineties when, with the dialogue having been established between east and west (Gorbachev and Reagan) and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the economic argument for socialism and communism was well and truly defeated. Capitalism, for all its fault, had dragged up living standards for millions and prosperity had been created by making more people rich instead of more people poor. Having accepted defeat, those on the left turned their attentions to pushing through all the elements associated with the Marxist cause via the ostensible banner of “social justice.” Here, their chances were far greater, after all, the waves of change in the sixties had shown that when it came to things such as race equality and feminism, there was far greater appetite on the side of the big institutions in society to engage than with economics. Gradually then, the “woke agenda” began to find its way into the fabric of society – here in the UK it began with the BBC, where the curation of news and programming meant the phasing out of anything non-progressive and a new wave of “diverse” presenters and faces. The change in government also facilitated this – John Major was in complete favour of an authoritarian stance on government (let us cast our minds back that he refused to offer the British people a vote on the Maastricht Treaty and systematically distanced his government from the libertarian approach of his celebrated predecessor). By the time that Blair stormed to victory, the stage was set for more powers to be given to the European Union and for more laws to enter be passed, helping to fuel the notion that we are all too stupid to govern ourselves – we need lots of law, multiple layers of bureaucracy and far more of a gap between our vote and the end result. All of this contributed to the perfect framework for a torrent of progressive “justice” to flood into the governance of our society.

In the (nearly) three decades since Thatcher left office, the Labour Party cleverly re-positioned itself as a “left of centre” party in order to regain economic credibility (and therefore power). The Conservative Party’s response to this was to try and win back the centre ground and by doing so stopped being conservative (thanks Cameron). Now the Labour Party has gone further back to its roots and yet the Conservative Party cannot bring itself to correctly re-position itself – you can blame May and Brandon Lewis with the way they have handled Brexit. As a result, a perfect vacuum has been created in order for the social justice movement to continue to flood through our institutions and drive the narrative accordingly. When Sky News, the BBC and Channel Four lead with these ridiculous stories about “cliff edge no deal Brexit scenarios,” transgender rights, the need to reduce the voting age, white privilege, how we need to give an amnesty to all illegal immigrants or anything else (the list is endless), you will IMMEDIATELY see an endless list of celebrities endorsing the case for these things. After all, most live in either central London in penthouse suites or luxury townhouses or alternatively in gated country pads and are therefore immune to the impact of these things – but more importantly it’s essentially an unwritten part of their contract: be woke and continue to signal your virtues and your career will flourish. You’ve got enough protection on your income to avoid any issues so fill your boots.

And so we naturally see Twitter alliances being created with these people and politicians who continually spout bollocks about prejudice where none exists (David Lammy and Jess Phillips spring to mind), broadcasters fueled by Cultural Marxism (James O’Brien and Jon Snow spring to mind) and entertainers who no longer entertain but lecture (David Schneider and Frankie Boyle spring to mind). All of a sudden, the ex-rugby player who you follow because you want some insight on the game is frenetically retweeting all of these people and their timeline has turned into a political broadcast by the Authoritarian Bed Wetting Party. Of course, it’s easy to unfollow if you have some awareness of how this narrative is fueled, but for many who are completely politically naive, it would be easy to forgive them for immediately ordering a subscription to the Economist and New Statesman before wrapping themselves up in Palestinian lanyards and rainbow flags.

The damage has long since been wreaked. It would be almost impossible to turn back the clocks on the celebrity culture. Indeed, when it comes to people entering the media right now, politics has almost become a central benchmark of qualification, with diversity second and talent a mere “nice-to-have” that languishes in the distant background. Look at the “comedians” on the BBC now: we have Dara O’Brien who in mocking the Brexit referendum tells us gleefully that independence isn’t important to the Irish like it is for the English (WTF was the War of Independence for then Mr Potato Head?), Nish Kumar who is desperate for all white people to be racist and pretty much the entire panel on the Last Leg who I get the impression would essentially like to go one step further and control what people actually think.

Their job is not to be funny (after you can’t be funny if so many topics are now off-limits in order to avoid offence) but to spread the message of social justice via “comedy” – i.e. by ridiculing anyone who might stand in the way of left wing, new-age liberalism. If you turn on any of the “entertainment programs” on these channels, the goal of the programmers is to ensure that the viewer is compelled to agree with the content and come to the conclusion that we need big government to control how we think, what we say and what we do to a microcosmic level of detail.

So in hindsight, Thatcher and Reagan’s defeat of socialism was a mere red herring. Had the war not been lost, the millennial generation might have been able to see its tangible failure for themselves and drawn a logical conclusion as to its merits. Instead, Marxyism has crept in through the backdoor and what’s more, the red army of celebrities are doing everything in their power to force this home. Perhaps if some of them stopped to think of the cost of their ego-driven agendas, we might have a chance of reverting the balance. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

“Castle Woodstock" – Lego Medieval Castle MOC

Last year I completed my second effort at a Lego Castle MOC and no sooner had I posted the pictures online I began picking away at its many imperfections. Yes it was big and impressive but in trying to make the thing tick the many boxes on my list I had essentially ensured that it didn’t really do anything REALLY well. 

Firstly, the overall engineering was flawed. The base was a single set of plates which were never stable enough with the weight of either of the section and then the hinge connecting the two parts in the rock was insufficient to keep the two parts together. Every time I took it from the shelf it broke apart and I ended up removing the hinge and simply pushing the two sections together. Then there was the overall style. On the one hand it looked like it wanted to be a medieval concentric castle from the front with its gatehouse but then there wasn’t enough room for the adjoining walls which mean it ended up a weird hybrid of a part keep, part Scottish tower house with all sorts of contradictory elements poking out! This in a sense was partly deliberate in order to satisfy my interest in different types of architecture, but in the end just watered down the overall effect. I think the triumph of the castle was the interior with the stable block, courtroom and chapel being really nice additions – though ultimately the exterior dimensions were compromised in order to fit all those bits in. 


“Castle Woodstock" – Lego Medieval Castle MOC

So with that in mind I ended up dismantling the entire thing and going back to the drawing board with a new Lego Castle MOC. I realized that I needed a far larger set of dimensions and in order to achieve this I would build the new castle in three separate parts, focusing initially on the dimensions for these to ensure that I could store them on my shelves separately but that they would piece together to form something that had enough scope to breathe a little more. I then set to work on the base sections and came up with the idea for using a “Lego brick sandwich” which essentially involves using a series of large plates with 2-berth bricks joining them together and then another layer of plates on top. This creates a nice solid base upon which the build can commence – the edges of these sections were then laced with Technic hole bricks to allow them to be connected together using pins (I also used these on the exterior so that future sections could easily be added at a later date). So let’s look at the three sections of Woodstock Castle in turn.



Woodstock Castle Gatehouse and Moat

The gatehouse itself is very similar to my previous Lego build. Having decided I wanted to stock with the medieval theme it made little sense to change a winning formula so I used the same style, but reduced the height for a number a reasons (combination of storage height on my shelves plus trying to create a better balance with the rest of the castle). The main difference in the new build is that I allowed for a proper moat and section of landscape at the forefront to give it a sense of setting and context. The greenery takes the form of a flowery meadow (it SUCKED up flower heads and green plates in the process!) with a winding cobbled path leading to the drawbridge. The moat itself has a blue plate base with clear tiles and round plates on top to give the impression of a babbling stream – this was pinched as an idea from countless browsing through images of Lego water features and I’ll come back to this shortly when discussing the waterfall.


Woodstock Castle Lego Gatehouse

The gatehouse itself is very similar to my previous Lego build. Having decided I wanted to stock with the medieval theme it made little sense to change a winning formula so I used the same style, but reduced the height for a number a reasons (combination of storage height on my shelves plus trying to create a better balance with the rest of the castle). The main difference in the new build is that I allowed for a proper moat and section of landscape at the forefront to give it a sense of setting and context. The greenery takes the form of a flowery meadow (it SUCKED up flower heads and green plates in the process!) with a winding cobbled path leading to the drawbridge. The moat itself has a blue plate base with clear tiles and round plates on top to give the impression of a babbling stream – this was pinched as an idea from countless browsing through images of Lego water features and I’ll come back to this shortly when discussing the waterfall.



Woodstock Castle Lego Gatehouse Rear View

The rear of the gatehouse is very simple as I wanted it to simply fix onto the town square without any fuss so the only feature is an overhanging blue and brown wooden room in the Tudor style which combines nicely with the other jetty-style timber-framed buildings.



Woodstock Castle Side Section and Waterfall

The side section was the first to be completed in its entirety and was also the most fun to build. I was keen to develop the rocky outcrop style on my previous build, but take this to the next level and this combined with the idea for a waterfall that would flow down into the moat. The key to this was planning – everything was about levels and I had to repeatedly disassemble bits to ensure that I could go back to the other two sections and ensure that the whole thing would work from every angle. Once the tiers were established, it was a case of building up the rock using sloped sections until the base of the rear tower was completed and the brickwork that joined the rock was all in place. The waterfall used a combination of the same clear tiles and clear round plates that the moat is built from, with the added extra of some 1x1 clear slopes to form the actually “fall.” I’m quite pleased with the finished effect!


Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Side Section with Waterfall

On the interior there is the clock tower, barrel stores then some steps to the rear tower in which I have once again employed a scribe inside the Lego Library with a chapel above. One feature of this new Lego castle MOC is that I have closed some of the rooms off as it was more or less impossible to open these up without a significant compromise tot eh build quality. That said, both the top of the black sloping clock tower and the top section of the rear tower are both removable to ensure it slid into my shelf! This involved adding flat tiles to the level at which space dictated I could build and then constructing the remaining parts with a protrusion so that they would slot in securely once the section was removed from the shelf. 


Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Side Section with Clockface




Woodstock Castle Main Section and Town Square

And so to the largest section. This in theory should have been the easiest because two sides essentially comprised of a town square (i.e. low-level, no building work required). However, in practice there were a few things that made this the toughest section. Firstly, I started to run out of bricks (thanks Bricklink for being there during times of crisis!). Secondly, the differential between the gatehouse and the entrance to the great hall was such that the levels really had to be manipulated to avoid a single step or unconvincing drop. Thirdly, I discovered that building the timber-framed overhangs was quite difficult whilst maintain the exterior stonework of the walls. 


Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Medieval Town Square with Timbered Buildings

On numerous occasions I had to take bits apart and work things backwards to try and accommodate the slope and the roofline which culminated in reaching the tricky final tower and great hall. The final effect was worthwhile however and I added the finishing touch of the jester entertaining the crowds in the square, overlooked by the Lego Edward of Woodstock (not sure if Edward the Black Prince has been depicted as a Lego minifigure before) and lion soldier standing guard on the steps flanked by two burning torches and an array of shields featuring various coat-of-arms.


Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Medieval Battlements Section

I also managed to get hold of an owl and a rat to add a dash of nature to proceedings (though the blacksmith doesn’t seem too happy about that).


Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Blacksmith and Armoury

Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Mounted Knight on Drawbridge

Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Jester in the Medieval Marketplace

Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Great Hall with Shields & Burning Torches

Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Overhanging Timbered Buildings

Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Edward the Black Prince Minifigure

Woodstock Castle Lego MOC Cobbled path through the meadow


So that’s Castle Woodstock, my Lego Medieval castle MOC for 2019, featuring Edward of Woostock and a garrison of soldiers and medieval marketplace. I think I’m generally happier with this one - and if you like it you can buy it! It's currently available on eBay here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/333145425001?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649