Andalusia, Balm of Fierarbras, caballeros, castanet, Castilian, Cave of Montesinos, Cervantes, Coyote, duende, Dulcinea, Falstaff, flamenco, Golden Age, hidalgo, Jack Horner, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Kindle, La Mancha, parador, paramour, Pele Tower, picaresque, Quixote, Sancho Panza, Serrano, Simon Russell Beale, Tony Benn
John McDonnell as Sancho Panza?
(Photo: Kolrobbie at Wikipaedia)
Augustus Snodbury, Senior Master of St Birinus Middle,
grimaced at the Junior Master’s pronunciation.
Nigel had just informed his elder and better that he was taking
his paramour, Drusilla to a Ciudad Real Parador for the October
half term break. They would not be joining Gus and Virginia at
the Pele Tower in the Borders.
On enquiring what Nigel’s- he refused to call him ‘Nige’- holiday
reading might be, he was given to understand that Cervantes was
on the agenda-or at least, on the Kindle, abridged, naturally.
Nigel, more or less, had identified the novel as Don Coyote.
Another instance of that annoying expression.
Nigel put his hand in his tweed jacket, to draw out a handkerchief
and, to his surprise, pulled out-not a plum, like Jack Horner, but a pair
of castanets. He flushed and raised them above his head, attempting a
What’s going on? muttered Snod.
Oh, Dru and I have been preparing for our forthcoming trip by attending
a Flamenco Club in Suttonford, on a Wednesday night.
Cervantes and the duende. Hmmm, you are studying the chivalric form of
The Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha, I take it?
Snod patted his paunch sagely, as if he were Simon Russell Beale playing
Privately, Nigel thought Gus could do with some exercise himself. He could
lose some of that grandote.
Flapping his hand in a hidalgoesque manner, Snod indicated that he was
terminating the conversation. He picked up a newspaper and gave the
impression that all discussion on the picaresque was at an end.
But Nigel, noticing a front page photo of Jeremy Corbyn, could not help
commenting that the politician was another example, like Tony Benn, who
was given to renunciation of the caballeros class.
Snod lowered his paper and pronounced:
I think he feels Fortune has arranged thirty or more monstrous giants, all
of whom he means to engage in battle and slay in righteous warfare.
No, Mr Milford-Haven. The quotation is ‘Que gigantes?’ But, yes, Corbyn has
something of The Knight of the Rueful Countenance about him. You see, he
wants you to believe what he claims to have seen in the Cave of Montesinos.
And that is all he has to say. His words are like manure spread on barren
ground. He might as well be speaking Castilian.
(Photo: Garry Knight)
You think he is just telling some groups of goatherds about a Golden Age?
He believes he can heal society with an equivalent of the Balm of Fierarbras,
But at least he seems to be for the poor, Nigel qualified.
Fools think there is bacon when there is not even a hook to hang a haunch of
Serrano on, persisted Snod, beginning to enjoy the exchange. I suppose in
office he might wake to sanity.
The bell rang, concluding the exploration of the romantic forthcoming trip
with Drusilla, or Dulcinea, as Snod was beginning to think of her.
Back to the galleys, Snod announced. His identification with Cervantes
(Photo by Lourdes Cardenal, Wikipaedia)
This particular collocation of Don Quixote and Jeremy Corbyn is copyright
to Candia Dixon Stuart.
Beckham baker's boy cap, beyond the pale, Birkenstocks, Biro, Channel 4, Clothing Bank, Diane Abbott, Islington North, ITV, Jeremy Corbyn, Jezza, Jon Snow, Paisley pattern, Pele Tower, personal style signifier, Robert Peston, snowclones, Whiter Shade of Pale, Wurzel Gummidge
Virginia Fisher-Gyles had to admit to a certain frustration over her
relationship with Augustus Snodbury, Senior Master at St Birinus
They had enjoyed each other’s company over the school holidays
and were planning a half term break to visit Gus’ ex-squeeze, who
had been reconciled to her ex-husband, Murgatroyd Syylk, the erstwhile
picture dealer. Now Diana, for that was the name of the lady so lucky
in love, was adapting to her new role as chatelaine of a renovated
pele tower. To boot, her spouse was the epitome of good grooming.
Virginia felt no pangs of jealousy, architectural, or otherwise, but
what really niggled at her lately-enjoyed sense of being a deux was a
certain slight embarrassment at her partner’s wardrobe.
Gus seemed to have shadowed Jeremy Corbyn on one of his sartorial
shopping treks round Islington North market stalls. The schoolmaster
wasn’t guilty of the white vest solecism, but he did have a very similar
beige jacket, albeit with unco-ordinated elbow patches.
Like Jezza, Snod had a habit of keeping a spare Biro in his shirt pocket.
One hot summer day, before term had ended, Peabrayne Minor had
practically freaked out, as he had noticed a crimson seepage from his
teacher’s breast. He had run out of the classroom to fetch the San Sister,
thinking the old boy was haemmorhaging. Some of the other boys on the
front row had noticed the phenomenon too, but had realised that it was
a leaky marking pen that was gradually creating a map that the more
geographically-aware members of the class were already identifying as
Snod had been sporting cords since the Seventies- possibly the same pair-
because he appreciated their comfort, which only increased, the baggier
they became round his increasing backside.
For more formal occasions, such as a Parents’ Evening, he added a rakish
personal style signifier in the form of a Paisley patterned silk mouchoir,
which protruded from the aforementioned jacket pocket.
Virginia had been relieved that her had stuck to his old cricket flannels on
their European cruise. At least he had not worn shorts with his Birkenstocks.
That would have been beyond the pale, as far as she was concerned. She
privately made a bet with herself that his legs had not seen the light of day
since A Whiter Shade of Pale had topped the charts in 1967. Anyway, she
wasn’t going to go there.
So, for her beau, beige was the new black. She had read that such
expressions were termed snowclones. How she wished that he would take
a leaf out of Jon Snow’s book and, at least, display a hint of hosiery style.
However, since Gus was not a Channel 4 type, she would just have to accept
that he was happier to converge with the likes of Robert Peston. But if the
economist was to defect to ITV, there might be a hope of persuading her man
that Wurzel Gummidge was an unsuitable role model, or fashion template.
So, boho-Corbynesque seemed to prevail. What was she supposed to do
about it? Threaten to dress like Diane Abbott?
No, she would start her campaign early and ensure that he wasn’t just
getting socks and Boxers for Christmas. This was going to tax her
organisational skills as a PA to the limit, as well as her personal shopper
aspirations. It was heartening, however, to know that Snod’s daughter,
Drusilla, was on board and had offered to hijack his laundry and take it to
the Clothing Bank at the re-cycling centre. They would probably charge
her ten quid to incinerate it.
Virginia thought that might be a risky strategy, although a tempting one.
However, since Nigel, Drusilla’s boyfriend was adopting the same
magisterial uniform, in the Latin sense, perhaps the two women could
form a twin-pronged attack on both males and achieve successful
At least neither of them owned a Beckham baker’s boy cap. So, there
might be some hope after all.