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What Happened to His Sherry Butt?

Could it be this one?

The British have a unique national constitution: It’s unwritten. One result of this is a Monarchy, without power, but with some fairly weird and wonderful plug-ins and add-ons. Some people say this is all a complete waste of time and tax-payers’ money, and should be done away with ASAP. Others think this system holds the country together and prevents the excesses which happen from time to time in Republics, with their codified laws.

Although there is no longer a court Jester, the Royal Household still includes many interesting beasts, including a Master of the Queen’s Music(k), a Piper (read glorified alarm clock), Purse Bearer, various Lords and Ladies of Bedchambers, Stewards and Chamberlains, there is even a Grand Carver – and we have not even started on Her Majesty’s Scottish Household.

Anyway, according to the Evening Standard Newspaper, one poor member of this illustrious group is missing his butt.

Since 1999, Andrew Motion, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, has been the Queen’s Poet Laureate. The job of the Poet Laureate is to think up poems about great National and Royal events and in return for these poetic efforts the Laureate receives £5000 a year, plus the traditional “Butt of Sack”. Now some of you will probably know already that “sack” is an old word for Sherry and “butt” is the word they use for casks in Sherry country. However, you might not know that Andrew Motion, who after 10 years, recently handed over his Poet Laureate’s pen to Carol Ann Duffy, but has not yet received his butt.

Andrew Motion came to Jerez in 2005 to select the wine, and even threatened to throw a party for the charity PEN on the butt’s arrival in the UK, but four years later, there is no sign of it.

It seems the UK government, Buckingham Palace and the Sherry Institute of Spain (Fedejerez) have been passing this hot potato around. Perhaps Carol Ann should insist on accepting her butt up front!

Hasta la proxima!

Justin Roberts

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