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Source: (consider it) Thread: Asparagus
Brenda Clough
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The first photograph in this article really says it all. The procession seems to be the priest, the guy holding a very large bundle of asparagus, a fellow -dressed- as a spear of asparagus, and then a Knight Templar. Am I right? And it looks fully choral!
In the US we occasionally have the Blessing of the Animals (conducted, if at all possible and after tearful pleas from the Altar Guild, outdoors) but we usually do not do vegetables.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
The first photograph in this article really says it all.

That photograph looks like it's straight out of Monty Python.

"Bless, O Lord, these thy spears of asparagus, even to the woody bits . . . ."

(Though that's not a Templar in the back. Wrong style of cross. According to the Article, that's none other than St. George.)

[ 28. April 2017, 14:22: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]

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Brenda Clough
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But ... why? Is St. George noted for eating asparagus? Was he a famous resident of Worcester?
I note that the Monty Python analogy has occurred to more than one commentator.
The choir's robes, a natty purple, very nice with the white collars.

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Gamaliel
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Perhaps the Crusader is the guy who used to be on the Tate & Lyle sugar packets when I was a kid ...

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Hedgehog

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You just KNOW that photo is going to show up in the Caption Competition, right?

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
But ... why? Is St. George noted for eating asparagus? Was he a famous resident of Worcester?

You'll note that the dateline for the article is April 25—St. George's Day, though the service appears to have been on Sunday the 23rd. And St. George is the patron saint of England. (Note that the shield he carries bears the Cross of St. George with the three English lions in the second quarter. Why they're not in the first quarter, which would be the place of honor, I can't say.)

quote:
I note that the Monty Python analogy has occurred to more than one commentator.
Yes, after I posted, I read the article more carefully and saw that. It's noted in the Archbishop Cranmer blog entry as well. It is something of a Bingo free space.

[ 28. April 2017, 14:55: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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mr cheesy
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That guy looks like he's playing the panpipes.

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Ceremoniar
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I will admit that when I saw the title of this thread, I thought that it was a jestful reference to the Asperges. In the Latin Mass circuit, we have long called it the Asparagus, in lighter moments.

[ 28. April 2017, 15:12: Message edited by: Ceremoniar ]

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JLB
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This is nothing to do with St. George. The area around Worcester is the country's main asparagus growing area, which is now in season. Although urban areas have forgotten it, many churches would have had particular times of prayer associated with the agricultural year locally. I assume that this is what is happenining here - a thanksgiving for this important harvest.
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Brenda Clough
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Both Americans and Canadians have a Thanksgiving holiday in the fall which is nominally harvest-related. It seems entirely proper for people to pray and be thankful for the things that are important in their daily lives - blessing fishing fleets and so on. Somewhere there is a picture of a priest during WW2 blessing a Jeep.
I'm just not certain about the guy dressed as an asparagus spear. That's not a gig you want to put on your resume.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by JLB:
This is nothing to do with St. George.

The article to which the OP linked suggests otherwise:

quote:
Known as "Gus", the Asparagus Man who appeared at the service has been a part of the annual asparagus festival since 2008.

He is one of a group of asparagus characters which take part in the festival, which also includes the Asparamancer, Eve the AsparaFairy, the Asparagus King and St George.

Dr Brierley said: "Recently, Vale of Evesham asparagus has been awarded EU protected name status, and when the festival organisers asked if a round of asparagus could be blessed in a service at the cathedral on St George’s day, the first day of the farming season, the cathedral was very happy to include a thanksgiving for the vegetable at its evening service, as a sign of the abundant provision and generosity of God.



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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
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quote:
Originally posted by Hedgehog:
You just KNOW that photo is going to show up in the Caption Competition, right?

Unfortunately it's copyrighted.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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The interviewed the asparagus costume man on CBC radio. So it's certainly got wheels this story. We heard it a supper yesterday. We talked about other things which we'd seen have been blessed: children's backpacks, knitted clothing and quilts. I'm wondering what the list of all blessible items might include. And wonder if we might stop at people.
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Graven Image
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Here in USA wine country we bless the grapes each year, so why not asparagus? A blessing is giving thanks for something. When the church fills the altar with fruits and veggies at our annual Thanksgiving service no one thinks that is strange at all.
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Nick Tamen

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I don't think it's the blessing of a crop—and one important to the region, at that—that's strange. Seems very reasonable and appropriate to me.

What's strange and . . . unedifying? . . . is having costumed characters in the mix. Sort of detracts from the reverence.

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Brenda Clough
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Perhaps they're hoping for a tourist turnout? If I were in the region I'd certainly consider going...

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balaam

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This is why I love being British.

(And I don't even like asparagus.)

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Gamaliel
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There was a thread a whole back about articulated puppetry that was making an appearance in Episcopalian and Presbyterian services in the US and elsewhere ...

Nobody knew what all that was about either ...

As for tourist turnout, most of Britain's medieval cathedrals get a fair number of tourists as it is. I've been to a number of cathedral services where I've felt slightly self-conscious as if I'm an exhibit or something ...

I was struck by how many of the tourists cross themselves or bow reverently before wandering on to take some pics.

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Bishops Finger
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Our Cathedral here sometimes has 'Blessing Of The [whatever]' services (e.g. the Plough - complete with beautiful antique plough nicely posed on the floor of the Quire), but AFAIK there are usually no worthies in costume (other than the choir and clergy, of course).

By all means let [whatever] be blessed, and thanksgiving made, especially if it's important to the area. Our faith is incarnational, no?

IJ

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Spike

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
But ... why? Is St. George noted for eating asparagus? Was he a famous resident of Worcester?

A friend of mine was in the choir at that service. Apparently it was also the St George's Day celebration for the local Scouts.

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North East Quine

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There are photographs here of the late Rev Graeme Longmuir blessing the River Don fishings with a quaich full of whisky.

This is a secular event, which includes a blessing, rather than a religious service.

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
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quote:
I've been to a number of cathedral services where I've felt slightly self-conscious as if I'm an exhibit or something
I've taken to making the most (no, that should just be 'making just a little bit more than nothing') of living in what used to be the inner-city, by going to evensong at our cathedral. I know what you mean.

If folks turned up dressed as vegetables, I might feel like I was getting another run at what ever madness had transpired at family service that morning at our own church.

My kids would be outright alarmed. We would hiss 'rubber head' at each other, look at the floor, and try to become inconspicuous by pure will, like English chameleons.

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(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Gramps49
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Used to hunt those little devils when I was a kid. They grew wild along the ditch banks where I grew up Love the real little ones, so tender.

Take note: asparagus is one of the early crops in temperate climes. Enjoy them while you can.

Next up: the Feast of the Rhubarb

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Anselmina
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I would've thought Brussel sprouts* were the vegetables most in need of people's prayers, being such a universally hated food.

*Soon to be known as Freedom sprouts after Brexit.

Mr Cheesy - loved the panpipes allusion. Caught myself looking for the 'like' icon!

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Gee D
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The usual Harvest Festival here. Ours is coming up in a couple of weeks, and these days much of the harvest is canned food to go to needy families, as well as the more traditional fresh fruit and vegetables.

A few other similar events through the year. The Orthodoxen dive into the water around fishing vessels being blessed - a ring is thrown into the water and there's a special blessing for the one who finds it, something like that. No asparagus person though.

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Hedgehog

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by Hedgehog:
You just KNOW that photo is going to show up in the Caption Competition, right?

Unfortunately it's copyrighted.
Curses! Foiled again!

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Nicolemr
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I can see blessing the asparagus, if it's a major crop for the area. After all, as mentioned in this thread, there are blessings of animals, boats, etc.

But the guy in the asparagus costume seems a little over the top for a mainstream church service, and the guy dressed as St George just seems a bit... odd.

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Signaller
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
You'll note that the dateline for the article is April 25—St. George's Day, though the service appears to have been on Sunday the 23rd. And St. George is the patron saint of England.

April 23rd is St George's day, in England at any rate.
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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Signaller:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
You'll note that the dateline for the article is April 25—St. George's Day, though the service appears to have been on Sunday the 23rd. And St. George is the patron saint of England.

April 23rd is St George's day, in England at any rate.
Ack! You're right, of course. My brother's birthday is how I remember when it falls, and my not-fully-caffeinated mind made it the day after his birthday rather than the day before. [Hot and Hormonal]

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Gamaliel
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Incidentally, some of the Orthodox have been taking the rise out of this on social media and wagging their beards saying that this is yet another nail in the coffin for the CofE ... and, of course, it's mostly former Anglicans turned Orthodox who are saying that ...

Mind you, as much as I enjoy English eccentricity - I'm Anglo-Welsh ... guys in rubber asparagus suits or dressed as St George seems a bit OTT ... and my reaction, were I there, would have been similar to how Mark_in_manchester describes what his would have been ...

Mind you, the Orthodox get up to some pretty wierd stuff too ... so they can't shout.

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dyfrig
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Curiously, as with worshipping vegetables in general, reading Adrisn Hilton doesn't raise me heaven- or God-ward either.

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Jengie jon

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On Iona this Easter the Abbey did Stations of the Cross with help from Bishops House and the Parish Church.

I overheard two locals talking later. The major comment was on the amateur nature of the event but one then said that if he was on holiday and saw this sort of thing he would be delighted. I think implying that it would be seen as an authentic cultural event and the amateur nature of it just increased that.

I know others differed in their opinion of the event. Indeed it was an important part of my own Easter celebration. Why I repeat here this anecdote is the second guy's clear understanding of how our perspective changes how we see things.

Jengie

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Signaller:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
You'll note that the dateline for the article is April 25—St. George's Day, though the service appears to have been on Sunday the 23rd. And St. George is the patron saint of England.

April 23rd is St George's day, in England at any rate.
It's transferred when it falls during the Easter Octave. So it was on the 24th this year.

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Chorister

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One of the loveliest services I ever went to was at the end of the Olney Pancake races. The women arrived in church, still dressed in their pinnies and carrying their frying pans. The winner was presented with an Olney Hymn Book and we were all shriven. Full story here, well worth a read.

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Horseman Bree
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I note that the "conservative" voices have been raised in loud and rude condemnation of this event, despite it being an example of a fairly normal blessing service. One blesses something that is important in one's community - the fishing fleet at the start of a season, for instance, or, in at least one case near here, the Brussels Sprout Festival with it's attendant church participation.

But why is it necessary to be so rude while complaining that no-one treats you with respect?

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Bishops Finger
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I think the Torygraph retains a few 'Anglicans' of the Disgusted-of-Tunbridge-Wells variety on its payroll, so that they can be trotted out if there's nothing else worth complaining about.

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
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I suspect that the accumulated rage inside someone who hasn't yet reconciled themselves to the 1832 Reform Act, and can barely contemplate thinking about the 1911 budget, makes it difficult to exercise restraint.

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Anglican_Brat
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Does anyone has a specific copy of the liturgy they use?

I don't like asparagus, but I love the idea of blessing vegetables. After all, we need to tell our children and some adults to eat their greens, why not use a little religion to encourage them to take up healthy eating habits?

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Amos

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The Jewish liturgical calendar is full of different 'first fruits' celebrations--after all, different crops come in at different times of the year. So the almond harvest comes at a different time from the harvest of wheat--which is Pentecost. This all makes perfect sense to me, as does the transferring of the Asparagus Service from Badsey or Bretforton in the Vale of Evesham to Worcester Cathedral. Nor am I distressed by Gus the Asparagus Man: those of us who have seen the Cathedral's 'Oranges and Lemons' vestments are ready for anything. Will other Worcestershire crops want to get in on that action? That's the real question I think. If they do, the obvious next candidate for a Cathedral service is the Pershore Plum, which has its own festival in July. And if we have a Service of the Blessing of the Plums in Worcester Cathedral, I can see Outraged of Tunbridge Wells really blowing a gasket.

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american piskie
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quote:
Originally posted by Nicolemr:


[del]
and the guy dressed as St George just seems a bit... odd.

Surely there's always a St/King George in these recovered/invented fertility rites? The Morris Men here always have one when they put on their Christmas Play. And dressed just like the one in the Worcester picture, too. I think the D & Chapter did well to resist the inclusion of Beelzebub.
Posts: 356 | From: Oxford, England, UK | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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The Bramley Apple is so important to Southwell, that the cathedral has a stained glass window dedicated to it. There has been at least one specially commissioned anthem to celebrate the festival.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34572 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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I don't suppose there's an image anywhere of these Oranges and Lemons vestments. Inquiring Altar Guild minds want to know.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Graven Image
Shipmate
# 8755

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I remember when the Muppet puppeteer Jim Hanson died that Big Bird was a part of his service. I do not remember anyone saying that it was not appropriate that he was there in full yellow glory.
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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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Oh that was entirely appropriate. Your children should show up for your funeral, don't you agree? (Corollary: Do not go to Stephen King's funeral.)

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

Posts: 5913 | From: Washington DC | Registered: Mar 2014  |  IP: Logged
Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by Graven Image:
I remember when the Muppet puppeteer Jim Hanson died that Big Bird was a part of his service. I do not remember anyone saying that it was not appropriate that he was there in full yellow glory.

I was just remembering that the other day -- watching it on television had brought me to tears. It was entirely appropriate.
[Waterworks]

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

Posts: 9613 | From: Hogwarts | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Oh that was entirely appropriate. Your children should show up for your funeral, don't you agree? (Corollary: Do not go to Stephen King's funeral.)

[Snigger]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 20013 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

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I saw a hilarious US cartoon once where the Muppets were sat around the table for Thanksgiving.

There was what appeared to be a rather large turkey on the table in front of them ...

Ha ha ha ...

Appealed to my sick sense of humour.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
I think the Torygraph retains a few 'Anglicans' of the Disgusted-of-Tunbridge-Wells variety on its payroll, so that they can be trotted out if there's nothing else worth complaining about.

IJ

It's annoying po-faced miserable feckers? Then I'm for it.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I saw a hilarious US cartoon once where the Muppets were sat around the table for Thanksgiving.

There was what appeared to be a rather large turkey on the table in front of them ...

Ha ha ha ...

Appealed to my sick sense of humour.

A long literary tradition. In The Wind in the Willows Ratty and Mole have no difficulty eating cold beef, cold pork and essentially a traditional Edwardian meal. Even in Narnia, everyone happily eats meat which we must assume comes from non-Talking animals.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

Posts: 5913 | From: Washington DC | Registered: Mar 2014  |  IP: Logged
Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I saw a hilarious US cartoon once where the Muppets were sat around the table for Thanksgiving.

There was what appeared to be a rather large turkey on the table in front of them ...

Ha ha ha ...

Appealed to my sick sense of humour.

A long literary tradition. In The Wind in the Willows Ratty and Mole have no difficulty eating cold beef, cold pork and essentially a traditional Edwardian meal. Even in Narnia, everyone happily eats meat which we must assume comes from non-Talking animals.
I believe the "turkey" in that cartoon was actually Big Bird.
[Frown]

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Don't keep calm. Go change the world.

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