Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sleepy Hamlet Column


This is something of an indulgence. This blog is meant to be for artwork and not writing, but seeing as I illustrate as well as write this column I thought you might like to see them and read them and don't worry it's only once a month...unless you want to see more?


Sleepy Hamlet in a Wassailing Merry Christmas


Every year Mrs Markle, the village postmistress would endeavour to enlist the villagers in a bit of seasonal carol singing, and every year they’d resist by either hiding, posting look outs and running whenever she honed into view or just having letters ready from their mothers, excusing them from such activities. But this year it was different. Everyone she’d approached had agreed to come along on the understanding that she allow Mrs Heppleheimer and her Wassailing jug to come along too.

Initially Mrs Markle was more than a little sceptical of anything that involved Mrs Heppleheimer, a jug of liquid and the unforced acquiescence of the villagers; especially when they sniggered a lot. But seeing as Mrs Heppleheimer had insisted that it was a fruit version of the traditional warm ale, honey and spice drink and that the only added extra was an unnamed Bavarian fruit, she was forced to accept this, although she still didn’t like the look in Mrs Heppleheimer’s eye.

Wassailing, to the untutored, was a traditional Saxon ceremony that involved the lord of his particular hundred shouting ‘Waes Hael’ which meant ‘be well’ to his villeins. The assembled villeins would then reply cheerily ‘Drinc hael’—drink and be healthy. But to be absolutely true to the tradition, the villagers should’ve taken one sip each from the wassailing cup and sang their carols without moving on. But this being Sleepy Hamlet and she being Mrs Heppleheimer and the unnamed Bavarian fruit having the potency of gut-rot moonshine, she decided it would be more fun to go door to door, handing the wassailing cup around every time. And before the tea totalling Mrs Markle could realise what had happened, her cheeks had taken on the glow of an inebriate and her normally stringent high church morals were avalanching out of control. In fact by the time the throng arrived at her at No. 42’s, Mrs Markle was wassailed up to the gills and belting out versions of ‘Deck the Halls’ that would’ve had rugby players cringing with embarrassment. But it was only when she started to laugh uproariously and make ‘Woo-woo’ noises at Lord Hamlets off colour jokes that they all agreed it was time to take her home.

The next morning Mrs Markle woke up gingerly, the memories of the previous night washing over her memory like a hard cold frost. She got dressed and went down stairs slowly to the beat of her throbbing head, hoping that the villagers were also in the same state and therefore unable to remember what she’d done the night before. This may indeed have been the case if it hadn’t been for Mrs Heppleheimer, who was busily stapling photos all over the village of Mrs Markle dancing around a shocked looking PC Wuruld whilst flashing her large frilly bloomers at him.

Mrs Markle groaned and went back to bed thinking that this was going to be a very memorable Christmas, but for all the wrong reasons.

Merry Christmas all

© Karl Dixon 2009

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