Bradford on Avon, Burns Supper, Calais, clairvoyant, cliche, Dalrieda, diaspora, estuary, Heraclitus, Immortal Memory, lacrosse, Mary Tudor, Nemo Me Impune Lacessit, New Year Resolution, parsing, Robert Burns, St Vitus, straightjacket
Not ‘lax‘ in any moral sense, you understand, Dear Diary. Just an
abbreviation for that energising and energetic sport which I once
taught all those years ago when I was a fresh-faced sports
mistress at St Vitus’ School for the Academically-Gifted Girl, that
educational establishment now served by my one and only
Lacrosse, how indebted I am to you for my trim figure in late
middle- no, change that-early middle age.
My New Year Resolution was to record in your pages an unfolding
record of my life as I turn my back on Bradford-on-Avon and return
to Suttonford, or environs thereof. I could castigate myself by
declining to add a preposition in the final position of a sentence,
but, Dear Inquisitive Reader, I am not allowing such an intrusion
into these highly personal pages. I can assure you that ‘thereof’
is actually an adverb. So, Parse that! as my primary teacher used
to say to me.
Apparently all that pedantic wrangling and linguistic strait-jacketing is-
new hate word- ‘prescriptive‘, so we can write what the ….we like!
Having spoken to Sonia, my old friend, ex-colleague and godmother to my
child, I was persuaded to come and lodge with her while my cottage is on
the market. Diana, she urged, Feel free to stay as long as you’d like.
So, here I am in Royalist House, 3 3/4 High Street. Suttonford.
Will this new chapter of my life include Augustus? I should ask Sonia; she
claims to be a clairvoyant.
Gus has frankly been a bit of a bore recently. We were all three en famille at
Christmas and our pre-festivities Turkish trip was delightful, but since he
assumed this Acting Head harness, he has shown a distinct lack of
delegation. I don’t know what he expects his School Secretary to do.
Well, maybe I don’t want to know, Dear Diary!
Last night he was moaning on the telephone about the fixtures list having
been published on the Calendar he inherited. Apparently, he has been left
to fill in the subtle logistical details.
The Fundraising Burns’ Supper for the PTA is a current example.
He hasn’t even booked the speaker for The Immortal Memory yet.
Did I know anyone who could deliver it? I ask you. I’ve only just arrived
in the community.
Why should I?
It all leads me to question our compatibility. I am not that burbling stream
that he once paddled in and which scarcely covered the ankles of his
gumboots. No, the mighty river of my post-menopausal personality would
probably engulf his emotional waders, to continue an aquaeous metaphor,
and would sweep him off his feet, into a tidal estuary.
Maybe his Classical learning has influenced my subconscious and transmitted
some Heraclitean analogy concerning never being able to step in the same
river twice. We have both moved on, I fear.
We emerged from the house into the street and immediately were almost
knocked over by a child on an aluminium scooter. Sonia didn’t see that
Our physical evasion led us to bump-literally-into a neighbour of Sonia’s,
namely an interesting looking woman called Candia Dixon-Stuart. She was also
on her way to the infamous Costamuchamoulah must-seen cafe, in order to
meet a friend, and so we fell into step.
Her Jacobite surname, albeit hyphenated, led me to the most serendipitous
I asked her if she knew of anyone who could give some readings of the Bard’s
works at an impending Burns Supper.
She immediately replied, I can, of course. Although I live in Suttonford, you
may detect a hint of the Caledonian in my genetic code. Prick me and do I not
exude a few drops of blue blood from the Kingdom of Dalrieda?!
I took this as an affirmative and she drew my attention to a clan badge that
she wore on her lapel. I did not know if this indicated an invitation to
remove it and plunge its pin into her soft and yielding flesh. I did not
doubt that, eviscerated, her remains would bear the motto: Nemo Me
Impune Lacessit just as indelibly as that other Mary had the word:
Calais stamped on her heart, or running right through her like a stock
of seaside rock.
Over a couple of cappuccinos, she introduced us to her friend, Carrie,
who turned out to be half Italian and half Scottish. Gosh, these Scots
certainly had some diaspora and spread their seed around like some
Carrie told me that her mother- Morag!- a stereotypical name- would have
come down had she not been performing at various Masonic associations
and venues north of the border.
Very kind, but somehow I think Candia is our woman and she will ‘step up
to the plate‘ to re-circulate a current, over-used metaphor: isn’t that a cliche?
I gave her Gus’ number and am half-inclined to allow him to take me along as
his guest of honour. There are bound to be some spare tickets and, frankly,
this new acquaintance intrigues me.