The mood in the Tavern was muted all day. The bright sunshine outside was not mirrored by the customers sitting and looking into their tankards. The news had come through that a most beloved 'competitor' had closed her Pub.
She has not been well.
I must have mentioned the Raccoon Arms a good few times before. And its fine Landlady Anna Raccoon. There are several fine ale houses around and I frequently dropped by Anna's place to see what was going on.
As is 'usual' in the blogosphere, that was not her real name. She was, in fact, Susanne Cameron-Blackie, a retired Lawyer and Englishwoman resident in her beloved Dordogne, France. In the past few years, during which her output regarding nefarious going-on especially in the UK and especially around the child abuse / celebrities hysteria was prodigeous, Anna has suffered bouts of Cancer which have been debilitating.
It has all become too much, it seems and she has decided to stop and rest.
She did put ip a notice on the locked door to the pub. It read:
Parish Notice.by ANNA RACCOON on NOVEMBER 23, 2016Morning all! Listen up.The events of the past few weeks have been pretty exhausting. On a personal level, on a health level, and finally on the level of this blog.The news from the Doctors yesterday was not good – yet I am still here. They don’t know why!I simply don’t have the spare energy to do this any longer. If I needed any further persuasion, having the blog hijacked by God, Beelzebub, Jesus, and the Archbishop – whilst comedy gold, and I enjoyed the joke as much as anyone, was just the push I needed to say “Actually, I’m paying for this, I’m supporting it, I’m enabling it – why don’t I just stop it”?So. What I am going to do is this.First, and dearest to my heart, is to thank all those of you who have brought joy and entertainment into my heart. I have always been intensely proud of the majority of my commentators – they put thought, intelligence, wit, and common sense into their comments. You don’t often see that on other blogs. You have taught me so much, you have been endlessly patient with me, you have broadened my horizons immeasurably. I reckon this blog pretty much cornered the market in intelligent commentators. I salute you all.Secondly, to those who only wanted to taunt, insult, wound, either in public or from a distance. Your luck has run out – you’ve had your chance, and now I’m withdrawing. The fun is over. No more Ms Raccoon to tilt at.
I don’t think it is right that I should ‘have the last word’ – so your right to reply will last exactly 24 hours. After which comments will close for good on all posts.On January 30 2017, the blog is primed to self combust. This platform is not like ‘Blogger’ or similar platforms, that float around in the internet long after they have been abandoned. I pay to have it hosted in Utah. Don’t pay – it doesn’t exist!Some of you may have good reason to want to preserve some of the excellent research that has been done here, by the commentators, as well as by me. You may be relying on the ‘wayback machine’ to allow you to access articles after the blog has vanished.A word of warning there. Much of the research links back to original documents. Over time, I have been made aware that some of those documents – the Surrey Police investigation into Savile to give you one example; the cache of documents concerning Surrey Police’s ‘arrest first, investigate afterwards’ policy, as another – have been removed from the internet. Where I have been able to, I have managed to find copies, or held copies myself, and have replaced the original links with a copy uploaded to my server with Bluehost.If any of those articles are of importance to you – do not rely on the links – download the linked material separately – for when the blog goes, my copy of those documents will go as well, and your saved page ‘with links’ will be worthless.There is nothing more to be said.
This really is goodbye.
It came fast and caught many quite unawares.I may tweet occasionally, I shall certainly watch the world go mad from a distance – and I shall spend a lot of time curled up next to Mr G for as long as I can.
Bill Stickers could barely comprehend it
One note of sadness for the day; Anna Raccoon has closed her blog. This time (it is said) for the very last time. Anna has been fighting cancer with a vim and verve one can only wonder at. The Raccoon Arms was a host to some particularly fine, whimsical, well researched and above all amusing writing. Now trying to link to the site, like with Counting Cats, throws up a ‘database error’. Which means the blog has been wiped, or is otherwise inaccessible. I will take them off the sidebar after New Year if there is no sign of a return.
Guys, if you’re still breathing and have time to drop by, remember that your courage, integrity and skill with words has always been viewed (at least by me) with nothing but admiration.
Ave atque vale.
But let the last word here be from Gildas the Monk who was a very staunch customer in Anna's pub. And a fine chap too..
Dear Brothers and Sister of the BlogI am relatively new to the Blogosphere. I merely stumbled across it at a time of great personal crisis for me, whiling away the hours. I do not remember making any conscious choice to seek it out, but merely found a variety of sites which by varying degree amused, informed, provided catharsis and engaged.
However, the Anna Raccoon site was very special.
If I say that the Blog had a Libertarian bent, I may be doing it an injustice. I am not a political expert, and have no fixed affiliations. What I discovered was a Blog which boasted a cadre of free thinking, independent minded commentators and freedom fighters.
Anna herself, of course, but also Thaddeus J. Wilson, Andrew P. Withers and others. Common themes were the protection of freedom, the exposure of injustice by the state, and the cause of the Common Man.
The writing was always of the highest quality, and there was quantity too. I do know that Anna herself worked tirelessly to review a host of daily sources and keep up the volume of posts. And these were not your ordinary pithy internet posts, but full on eloquent essays. It was less of a blog and more of a magazine. Hell, it was almost a lifestyle!But it was never purely political. There could be a hilarious and moving essay Anna’s somewhat eccentric family one minute; a polemic on the evils of petty bureaucrats or foolish local councils the next, or a scabrous satire on a political figure and then a simple diary piece the next. There was wisdom, life experience, brilliance, insight, humour and courage.
There was what the Romans called civic virtue.There was always vigorous debate, contribution and plenty of humour.Anna had a passion for the defence of the weak and for upholding liberty. In that regard she was in particular a hawkish observer and critic of the murky workings of the Court of Protection.
I shall miss Anna.She was an active campaigner too. She played a leading role in the campaign to free Landlord Nick Hogan from jail for breaching the anti smoking legislation, and recently smote the Stasi at the Sandwell Council, forcing them to withdraw their threat to prosecute a pensioner for allegedly dropping cigarette ash. On a personal level she was endlessly kind and encouraging to me, and even gave me the pleasure and the privilege of posting a few of my scribblings. She did recommend I should drink less, but I never said she was perfect.Anna has now hung up her blogging hat - for whatever reasons. We do not know, although I do know that keeping up such a prodigious output and maintaining the site, sometimes in the face of the abuse and backbiting that can come with blogging, was very, very hard work.She has departed, like (King) Arthur, silently and mysteriously into the mist, a great figure of courage and virtue no longer with us, but, I hope, not finally departed either. Perhaps she will return. She will certainly never be forgotten. And so I can think of no finer tribute to you Anna, if you read this, than to hail you thus:HIC ANNONA PROCYON LOTOR ERAT;REGINA BLOGGORUM QUONDAM REGINAQUE FUTURUS!Or in English:This was Anna Raccoon; the once and future queen of the blogs!Good luck Anna, from all of us.Gildas the Monk.
I shall remember her.
Stand for a special Lady, and raise your tankards.
I shall be downstairs in the Crypt, saying a special Prayer for her.
Update. 10 May 2017
Anna has re-opened the pub and is running for Parliament. Well, not actually running but lying abed but......see here.....