In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk




The Parrot has been speechless for quite a while now. But in the fairly recent past, leading up to the UK Brexit vote, this bird in a cage had quite a lot to say. See Parrot-Addenda-distilled-2.pdf (

The Parrot is an old friend of mine, borrowed from John Skelton, a poet in the reign of Henry 8th. Skelton wrote a longish satire called ‘Speak Parrot,’ all in strict Rhyme Royal – a seven line rhyming stanza. His Parrot is a bird of paradise who ‘speaks all languages aptly.’ Perhaps his cage restricts him. There again, perhaps it protects him. Or is it a rib-cage ? For the parrot must speak the truth and from the heart and that can be a dangerous business and he has to go carefully.

And my present-day Parrot has transferred his cage to the top of the Tyndale Monument (pictured). This was built by the Victorians in honour of William Tyndale, a man who died for his truth. The monument stands on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment, facing due west. The Parrot sees the UK as being covered over and almost overwhelmed by a Great Flood of lies. He is a kind of Noah, riding his Ark, robed in bright colours. He might venture down again from that high tower, when and if the Flood retreats.

The Hoodlum Toad referred to in this latest stanza is of course Alex Johnson (‘call me Boris’), ex-Prime Minister of the UK, sacked for his successive abuses of the nation’s sovereign people (a number of whom, at the time of writing, would seem to want yet more). My title for Johnson is partly in reference to Mr Toad of Toad Hall, a character in Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. In that book, set in Edwardian times, Mr Toad puffs himself up quite a lot and talks reassuringly to himself in front of the mirror. And there’s also that popular phrase : ‘Lying Toad.’