16. HMC LATEST: PROBLEMS WITH THE MAGNA CARTA @ RUNNYMEAD & ARTHUR ASKEY HOLOGRAM ON LOOSE IN 18th CENTURY AMERICA

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Hot on the heels of our success in navigating Nelson through choppy waters and setting him back on the course history is familiar with with no repercussions to our present day existence comes news of two incidents that could eventually impact upon us. All of us at HMC bases on both sides of the pond have our fingers firmly crossed that nothing bad materialises from them. But due to our new open policy we aren’t keeping these developments from you, the public.

The first involves a very recent visit we arranged for the world’s leading banoffee pie and carrot cake producer Trellis Monk. His main passion is watching opera at Covent Garden but he also expressed, from adolescence, an abiding interest in medieval England and its politics. Therefore, he was overjoyed when he approached our organisation and was told that, for a fee in excess of two million dollars, we could take him to Runnymead in 1215 to witness the signing of the Magna Carta. For him it even knocked Cosi Fan Tutti into a cooked hat.

We took every precaution to ensure there would be no mishaps and even engaged the services of Oxford Don Professor Yandell-Mount Europe’s leading authority on 13th century England to provide a crash course in etiquette for the period while the leading mime artiste Jack Bleacher was employed to show Monk how to stand still and say sod all while the historic event unfolded before his eyes.

Unfortunately, and we at the HMC cannot be held responsible for this, Trellis Monk failed to live up to his name and maintain a period of silence. Far from it. For when King John was about to put quill to parchment Monk shouted:

‘Don’t you want to get your agent to look over the contract first before you sign anything?’

This caused the much maligned monarch to pause and then reflect upon what he was doing as our agents quickly bundled Trellis Monk away before he could do any more damage and back to the 21st century where the cake entrepreneur apologised profusely for landing us in the soup and explained that he was just trying to be helpful.

Suffice it to say that when we left the scene with some haste the Magna Carta hadn’t been signed. It remains to be seen whether Monk’s unwelcome intervention will prevent the Great Charter from receiving the all important assent from King John. We will be monitoring the situation. If he doesn’t put quill to parchment it will no doubt result in the modern day lower classes in Britain having to get used to a life without basic rights and one in which their economic superiors become even wealthier. However, the good news is the new Liz Truss administration appear to be providing a taster of this possible new state of affairs.

As those of you familiar with the activities of the HMC are aware, we keep a stable of holograms of great figures from our past in case they are required to be launched into history where their genius can be utilized to correct any mistakes caused through our exclusive and patented time-travelling experiences. However, until required, they fill various mundane tasks and can be hired out to open fetes etc.

We would’ve liked to have kept the following erroneous deployment of such a hologram confidential but seeing that we also have holograms of both Judas and Anthony Blunt on our premises it was considered an impossibility to keep a lid on it. So here goes and our hearts sink knowing that this will provide further ammunition to our foes at the Campaign for Hologram Disarmament.

We were approached by a client who gave us a sizeable donation to send our hologram of the twentieth century comedian and music hall entertainer Arthur Askey back in time to visit Charles Dickens and hopefully cheer him up a bit with his act as most of his literature is rather depressing and serious. We thought this a fairly good use of our time-travelling facilities and considered that the extra frivolity injected into Dickens’ output might actually increase sales of his books in the present day.

Unfortunately, in firing the Arthur Askey hologram towards London in 1833, some miscalculations took hold and instead it has ended up in North America in the mid-1770s. We have assessed the situation and are hopeful that not too much damage will be caused by Arthur Askey being on the loose in late colonial America. The major concern is if General George Washington is ever assailed by him for it was known that thd man who went on to become the first President of the USA kept bees and if he comes across a five foot two inch buzzer singing ‘Oh, what a glorious thing to be, A healthy, grown-up, busy-busy bee,’ he will likely be pensioned off to the funny farm rather than lead his army to victory during the American Revolution.

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