Another summer solstice is behind us and Judy’s best linen is back in the cupboard with only minor chutney damage. As we all stood around in the back garden two evenings ago, wrapped in our ceremonial robes and declaring our love for the Moon and Sun Goddesses, I felt completely at ease with the world. Life is often trying and unfair to men of good looks and talent. Some of us are unfairly singled out for abuse. Yet it’s reassuring to know that Mother Sun is always there to ensure we’re tanned to at least a Madeley Factor of 4. I suppose that’s why those of us in the druid faith are always happy in each other’s company. There’s really no mood better than that of a group of celebrities when there’s a goat to offer up on the high altar of light entertainment.
Which is why it struck me as odd that Stephen Fry looked so intense as he walked around the garden waving a large wooden baton.
‘Ah,’ said Stephen, ‘’tis I, Fry, with my ceremonial fertility cane, hewn from the finest Brazilian hardwood and guaranteed to deliver fecundity to all who fall under it.’
‘You mean it’s a stick of procreation?’
‘You might say that,’ said he, directing randomly towards David Dickinson.
‘I really wish you wouldn’t do that,’ I said, jumping in the way of the stick. ‘There are lots of people here but the last one I’d like to see frisky is Dickinson.’
‘I do not choose,’ said Stephen. ‘’Tis the stick that chooses whose loins will be blessed this summer eve.’
And with that he was off, this time to worry the already pregnant Billy Piper with his cane.
I left Stephen to his shamanism and slipped over to the buffet table where Sir Clive James was struggling to get some of Judy’s homemade chutney off his ceremonial gown.
‘I’m a mess,’ wheezed the Great One. ‘I’ll never be able to look a vestal virgin in the face. I have chutney where chutney should never tread.’
I gave him a slap on the back. ‘Cheer up, Clive. It’s not every year that you get to be the one to deliver the final blow to our ceremonial goat.’
‘But the chutney,’ said Clive. ‘I can’t slaughter an animal looking like this. And what will Judy say? Goat blood might not be the only life essence to flow by the close of play.’
‘Spare me the chutney,’ I replied. ‘Just think. You’ll soon be awash with the fresh arterial spray of the best Norfolk goat that money can buy. You should look forward to that.’
‘Ah, Richard,’ said Sir Clive, looking at me over his glasses in that way that reminds you of the great intellect at work behind that magnificent brow of his. ‘You know how to cheer a fellow up. I feel moved to write you a poem, perhaps in three stanzas and with end rhymes.’
‘I can do even better than that,’ I said. ‘Go and stand near Stephen. One wave of his stick and you’ll feel positively chirpy about the world and the vestal virgins won’t stand a chance with you. Nor will the goat, if I’m honest. But there you have the Great Circle of Life. You can’t have everything.’
And that, on this Sunday morning, is the message I want to send out to all my friends in the druid community. I know you were disappointed that neither Judy nor I could be with you at Stonehenge the other day, but we promise to make up for it next year.
These things are foretold in the Book of Raj, as lifted from the Book of Stanley.
'Shabna Grithalda Vertiga Madeley Vespa.'