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Ferrets, wife-carrying and zealot-burning – Earth Day in Tittleham


IN COMMON with all Conservative MPs, our man in Westminster, Sir Charles ‘Chatty’ Chatterton, the raffish, six-times-married, long-serving Member of Parliament who is Assistant Under Secretary at the Department for Transport, has been asked to let Conservative Central Office know of initiatives he took to celebrate Earth Week. The Conservative Woman has seen a copy of his local events and wishes to share them as an inspiration to other less committed MPs.  

Dear Chairman 

We are fortunate in Tittleham, in that April 22, Earth Day, coincided with Saint Theodore’s Day, also celebrated here as King Ferret Day. I attach a copy of the programme of events in the constituency, along with explanatory notes.

9am: The Banishment of the Crows

The day begins with a solemn service at Saint Theodore’s Parish Church in Middle Tittleham conducted by the Reverend Harding.

Prayers are said for the preservation of the environment, and those poor souls from Tittleham who were taken as slaves.

Saint Theodore was, of course, not only a great theologian, but is known as the patron saint of ferrets and weasels. During the service the statue of the saint holding his pet ferret is paraded around the church grounds.

Following the singing of the National Anthem, the older children from Saint Theodore’s Primary School will climb trees in the church grounds to disperse crows, the bringers of bad luck, and remove branches that may become future nesting sites.

11am: The Annual Wife-Carrying Competition 

This traditional event is reputed to have begun at the end of the eighteenth century to commemorate the time when the men of Tittleham had to carry their wives to secret locations to avoid capture by African slave traders.

The competition takes place outside The Merciless Moor public house in Lesser Tittleham, and the race involves a wife being carried, non-stop, for a furlong. (Trans people are barred from this event).

Unfortunately, because of Lady Veronica’s recent hip operation I will not be competing in this year’s challenge.

Noon: The Tittleham Hunt – The Relocation of the Foxes

Watch as the intrepid members of the Hunt set off in pursuit of the ferrets’ deadly enemy: cunning Reynard.

However, long gone are the days when the cornered fox would be ripped to pieces. The Tittleham hounds are trained to cause the foxes to enter strategically located cages. The caged animals will be well treated as they are conveyed to safer environments in the gardens of North London or the constituencies of Liberal Democrat MPs.

1pm: The Crowning of the Ferret

This popular event is appropriately held at The Drunken Ferret in Middle Tittleham. The victorious spouse from the aforementioned Wife-Carrying Competition is given the honour of placing a crown of spring flowers on the stuffed ferret, located on the bar of the hostelry.

Ferrets played an important role in helping the people of Tittleham to survive during the African slave trader raids, by allowing them to source abundant supplies of rabbits driven from their burrows.

2pm: Tittleham Steam Fair in Tittleham Park

Revisit the days when steam traction engines plied their trade delivering essential supplies and dealt quickly with sink holes and other impediments on the road. Marvel at the sight and sounds of these magnificent coal-powered engineering miracles.

3pm: Hen Racing at Tittleham Hall

Will anyone beat ‘Sturgeon’, the Scots Dumpy, to this year’s title? Sturgeon has won this event for the past three years, so all bird fanciers will be waiting to see if their favourite Scots Grey, ‘Salmond’, or any of the other challengers can claw their way to victory.

As always there will be free cider and roasted boar for all competitors.

5pm: The Weighing of the Dung

As everyone knows, cows play a vital role in the health of the countryside. Not only does their flatulence encourage plant growth, but their dung is vital for fertile soil.

To celebrate the contribution of our bovine friends, judges will be at Tittleham Hall Farm from early morning, weighing the excrement from cows brought in from local farms. 

Will anyone beat the world record, 6 stone five pounds eight ounces of dung, produced by Jacinda last year? A hard one to beat, no doubt.

7pm: The Lighting of the Beacons and Burning of the Zealots

The evening festivities commence with the lighting of the beacons in each of the Tittleham villages. 

The beacons were first lit in the seventeenth century to warn villagers of impending raids by African slave traders. When that threat was removed by the Royal Navy, the beacons were retained to warn villagers of encroachments by socialists, so-called celebrities, tinkers and, most recently, Green Party members.

In the past effigies of notorious villains such as Stalin, Napoleon, Blair and Harold Shipman have been immolated; this year’s theme is those associated with the climate panic including Carrie Symonds, Al Gore, the Doom Goblin, Roger Harrabin, Bill Gates, the editor of the Guardian etc.

Revelries continue through the night and merge with those planned for the following day’s celebrations in honour of St George.

I hope you find this useful, and perhaps an inspiration for future policy initiatives.

Yours sincerely 

Sir Charles Chatterton MP

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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