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So, how are you getting on with your belated Spring cleaning and

general clear-out?  Brassica asked me.

It’s too difficult.  Every time I investigate a box, I start reading

its contents.  Today, for instance, I found a ‘Guardian’ supplement

from 2004 which was all about predictions for 2020.

Hmm…crystal ball gazing.  Did they get things right?  she enquired,

munching something out of her Bento box- Costamuchamoulah’s

latest fad.

Well, there was an article in Part Two, dated 28th September,

2004, called ‘Who Will Be Who?

Ooh, do spill the beans!

It predicted that Ioan Gruffudd would be James Bond.

You mean that guy who was Horatio Hornblower?

Yip.  Timothy Dalton was Welsh, remember!  So, they may have

been thinking in similar terms.

Brassie looked sceptical.  She has always liked Sean Connery,

followed by Piers Brosnan.

Then it advocated Martha Lane Fox as possible Vice Chancellor

of the University of Cambridge.

Because she is big on marketing and global brands?

I was surprised that Brassie had heard of her.

Yes, students are customers now, you must realise.

What about the monarch?

Oh, they assumed The Queen would be carrying on.

Charles will be 71 then.  The Queen will be 94.

Who did they think would take over from Miliband?

They didn’t know then that Ed would have been Leader!

Of course not.  Who did they back?

Hilary Benn.

They might be right.  Could do worse.  They backed David Cameron

for Leader of the Conservatives.  Back then he was a fresh-faced

Chief Policy Co-ordinator, aged 37.  They said he was leader of The

Notting Hill set.

I thought that was Hugh Grant.

They did mention his ‘raffish good looks.’

No, they must have mixed him up with Hugh Grant.  Anyway, who

else was nominated?

Leroy Rosenior as England Football Manager; Helen Boaden as BBC

Director General.

I do like their clothes, Brassie sighed.

Different Boden, I explained.


Ask me another.  I pinched a sliver of sea cucumber from her

lacquered top layer.

Poet Laureate?  She shut the lid.

Mark Ford.

Who?…  Archbishop of Canterbury?

Canon Dr Judith Maltby.

Oh, I like her, approved Brassie.  I heard her in Wintonchester


Only trouble is that she was nominated by Rev Giles Fraser.

And look what happened to him.

Giles Fraser Levellers Day Burford 20080517.jpg

(Photo by Kaihsu Tai)

Brassie chewed reflectively.  Wasn’t he the Dean of St Paul’s?

The one that is a Real Christian.

Brassie has her own categories of Christians- ranging from Born

Again to Brain Dead and then, suddenly she will find one to whom

she will give a Divine Imprimatur, almost as if she is standing in the

wings at The Last Judgement as The Recording Angel.

See, in 2004, women couldn’t be ordained as bishops.  So, it was quite

a bold statement, I pointed out. Mind you, I think that there were three

major groups in post-Nicene Christianity that supported women priests

in powerful positions-the Pepuzians, Priscillians and some Celtic


The Celts!  Brassie spat out a fibrous shred of something vegetable.

She doesn’t like Nicola Sturgeon and doesn’t believe she should be

encouraged in any Assumption to any powerful position.  (Women

can be so mean about other women, n’est-ce-pas?)

What about soap stars?  She changed the subject.

The Queen Vic.jpg

(Photo by Matt Pearson)

Oh, Kevin O’Sullivan of ‘The Daily Mirror’ thought that Sonia Jackson’s

baby should be kept in the ‘Eastenders’ script and could be a future

landlady, if Barbara Windsor stopped clinging to the post.

So that was two Windsors still in power, in their estimation? 

Yes.  But they were wrong about that.  The current landlady is Linda

Carter, I believe- though I never watch it.

I looked around Costamuchamoulah nervously.

Barbara Windsor Maryebone Tree.JPG

(Photo by Portlandvillage)

I could tell Brassie was losing focus now.  She was more interested in

opening the Pandora’s Box- I mean the Bento box.  I wondered what she

had in there.  Maybe it would be like a Goya nightmare, with all sorts of

weird and frightening creatures escaping and circling our heads.  And that

was only the sociological prophecies, not the contents of her lunchbox!

Museo del Prado - Goya - Caprichos - No. 43 - El sueño de la razon produce monstruos.jpg

She took off the top layer.  Yum!  Beef and noodles!

Don’t you want to know who they thought would be Governor of The

Bank of England?

Not especially.

Well, it was the then economic adviser to Gordon Brown.

Gordon Brown official.jpg

(Photo-Wikimedia Commons.  Official gov.uk portrait)

She looked sardonical.  Here!  Try a wasabi-flavoured forkful of this!

My throat was on fire, so I didn’t tell her Evan Davis’ recommendation:

Shriti Vadera.

I bet they didn’t have Bento boxes in Suttonford in 2004.