(Image from the Got Medieval Bestiary Loveline, 2012)
before the cock crows
you’ll be gone.
hopes an answer comes
up quite soon.
Theresa May- but then she may not.
She’s the PM- well, who would have thought!
All she will say on our EU exit
is a sphinx-like, tautologous ‘Brexit means Brexit.‘
(Controller of HM Stationery Office
(Manneken Pis, 19/6/11- own work: Myrabella. Wikimedia
Commons CC BY- SA 3.0)
Gus was meditative. What was he going to do about the latest
Retirement had been a shock to his system. Living in Virginia’s
house had been a mistake. He was institutionalised. He admitted
it. He liked the company of males and thrived – throve?-in a boarding
Virginia was set in her ways. As former PA to The Headmaster, she had
been used to directing operations. Trying to accommodate both her way
and Snod’s little foibles in one domestic situation was tough. The first
rumble of discontent had been when she had baulked at displaying his
entire Wisden collection in the sitting room. She had suggested storing
his beloved books in the garage.
The house was hers. She had owned it outright since widowhood.
Maybe they should have bought a separate dwelling next door for his
cricket memorabilia collection and his model railway.
But this morning was a step too far.
He had been downstairs in the Little Boys’ Room and lifted the seat.
He felt like the Manneken Pis in sub-zero temperatures. In other words,
From somewhere in the toilet bowl direction he heard Theresa May’s voice.
Or was it Angela Merkel’s?
There was a spooky gizmo attached to the rim and a verboten notice: Halt,
Snod tore the gadget off and attempted to flush it down the loo, but, of
course this was not an effective strategy. He had to hook it out.
What are you doing, love? Virginia’s dulcet tones could be heard
approaching. You’ve been in there for ages. Are you all right?
Yes, dear, he replied through gritted teeth.
But he wasn’t.
If Nigel wants to transition to a sitzpinkler, let him! Snod seethed. I
have always told my pupils to stand up and be men!
And he took the S.P.U.K device and crushed it underfoot. For a
well-read individual such as himself, he wasn’t going to give up
his convictions about Cartesian mind/ body relationships- even if it
threatened other connections. Koestleresque ghosts in the machine
ought not to invade such a monastic cell.
If Virginia thought she could follow him where no other had dared, she
was much mistaken.
Blur, Bute House, Cath Kidston, Cotswolds, cupcake fascism, denouement, Kate Moss, King Arthur, King Mark, Maidenhead, micromanagement, neologism, Nicola Sturgeon, Roksanda, SamCam, Theresa May, Trump, Vivienne Westwood, Witney
(www.flickr.com/ photos/ home office)
I can’t believe that Candia is leaving Suttonford after defending it against
accusations of cupcake fascism, commented Chlamydia, as she sipped
an iced coffee.
I know, rejoindered Brassica. She is deserting us and going off to The
Cotswolds, to investigate the charity shops of Witney, in case they receive
any SamCam cast-offs.
Yes, that was a nice Roksanda frock Samantha wore outside Downing Street,
on their last day- the orange and navy number. That Nancy was a nice big
sister and the little one…
Flo? Brassie supplied.
Yes, Flo. She was an attractive little girl. Very natural.
‘Frock!’ It’s a long time since I heard that descriptor. It sounds a bit rude,
Anyway, where does Mother Theresa live? Not that I would thank you
for her Vivienne Westwood tartan trouser suit.
No, the PM doesn’t occupy the inglenooks of deepest Pre-Raphaelite territory,
nor does she seem to partake of pot suppers with the MP for Witney and his
set. I believe she lives in Maidenhead… The trouser suit is a bit of a favourite,
so I don’t think she’ll be disposing of it anytime soon to a charitable
At least she had the sense not to wear it when visiting Bute House. Wearing
tartan in front of the Scots is like proclaiming that you are an American golfer and/
or feature Trump on your family tree.
I suppose it would be a bit of a red rag to a bull in the case of La Sturgeon.
However, I must say that our Candia is going to have some interesting
neighbours, expatiated Brassie. Kate Moss lives down the road and Alex from
‘Blur’ makes cheese on a farm somewhere in the vicinity.
I once heard Juniper Boothroyd-Smythe call him a ‘swoonbag,’ Clammie
remarked. Don’t you just love the neologisms these kids create, or pick up?
I walked in at that precise moment.
What’s a ‘swoonbag?’ I asked.
Oh, Alex from ‘Blur,’ Brassie explained. Isn’t he going to be on your
Not if I can help it, I said firmly. Who is he anyway?
He makes cheese, Clammie clarified.
Oh. Well, I haven’t got time for farmers’ markets and all that,
I replied. Not at the moment. I have to create denouement for all my
Suttonfordian Chronicles. You know that I have left my characters
stranded in The Borders, on the brink of matrimony. Brexit finished
me off. I didn’t know whether they would have the will to carry on
and whether they would settle in Scotland, or apply for emigration visas.
Diana and Murgatroyd will surely remain ( sorry, unintended pun) in
the pele tower? Brassie queried.
If wee Nicola gives them a passport. Dru and Nigel still have to work
down south and Nigel’s mother would refuse to leave Cornwall. Her
allegiance is to King Arthur, or King Mark, or someone.
What about Virginia and Snod? Clammie enquired.
Yes, what about them? I agreed. Everyone is losing track of their
narrative. I think I will start at the very beginning, to orientate my
readers. Neither character has their pensions yet, so I don’t know if
Snod will just go ahead and retire anyway.
But Virginia loves her micromanagement PA job, Brassie submitted.
Don’t all wives? She would have plenty of scope in re-shaping Gus,
I suggested. Anyway, I am going to post a resume. It’s been so long
that I can’t remember myself how it all started.
Bonne idee! smiled Brassie. I can never remember how it all began.
Are you sitting comfortably?
They both collected a Cath Kidston seat pad, settled on the hard
bistro chairs and hung on my every word.
banquet scene, Boris Johnson, Braveheart, Cameron, epilogue, Farage, George Osborne, Macbeth, Miliband, Mrs Thatcher, Omeprazole, Salmond, Scone, scotch'd the snake, SNP, Sturgeon, The Scottish Play, Theresa May, Tony Blair
Mrs Connolly, the housekeeper, was chopping some root vegetables
for a hearty broth.
This’ll stick tae yer ribs, she promised.
I was thinking a salad might have been more appropriate in this
clement weather, suggested Diana.
Never cast a cloot till May is oot. There could be snow yet, Mrs
Syylk. Aye, we could have a blizzard before the elections.
And how will you vote? Mrs C, asked Diana. Who impressed
you in the televised debate?
Well, the wee lassie certainly wiped the flair wi’ the lot o’
them, she opined. But jist because she could handle
hersel’ in the verbal, it disnae follow that she’s no’ speakin’
a load o’ sh…Sugar!
Mrs Connolly! Please. I get your drift and I must say that
I do agree with you regarding the policies she endorses. As
Pardon me, Mrs S, but Ah canna abide that Lavage mannie.
Farage, corrected Diana. Lavage is a type of gastric
Mair like gastric irritation, Mrs C riposted. Ah huv tae take
an Omeprazole efter hearing ony o’ his drivel. Och, don’t
get me started!
Diana didn’t think she had.
Tell me aboot yer night oot wi’ Mr Syylk. She attempted to
change the subject. All this havering jist gets me doon.
We went to see a production of Macbeth at the local school.
You should call it The Scottish Play, warned Mrs C. She
stirred the broth as if she was First Witch: All hail McSturgeon
that shall be queen hereafter! she cackled, revealing her very
sound Scottish Senior Secondary education from The Sixties.
Diana laughed: Salmond still lives. Why does she dress in
borrowed robes? Treason’s capital…[will] overthrow him.
Is execution done on Miliband?
Nothing in his party would become him like the leaving of it,
quipped Mrs C.
But seriously, everyone was saying ‘What bloody woman is
that? after the debate continued Diana. She unseamed them-
all the knaves, all the chaps; and made as if to fix their heads
upon her battlements, screeching: ‘Ay, in the catalogue ye go
Aye, and the ither females were jist her chamberlains. All were
too weak when faced wi’ the Braveheart lass. She dares do all that
may become a man and some of they wumman politicians look as if
they are halfway there.. Aah, I feel faint at the thought. Don’t get
me a sturgeon, though. After a dramatic pause, she probed: Whit
aboot that big jessie, Cameron?
He’s too busy echoing the lines: We will establish our estate upon
Boris, Theresa or George, I fear.
So, she’s tae get away wi’ pouring her sweet milk of apparent
concord into hell and causing uproar to the universal peace,
confounding all unity on earth and…
…instigating yet another bloody referendum! shrieked Diana.
Oh, Scotland, Scotland. Fit to govern? Even Alex has banished
himself. Mind you, we have scotch’d that snake, but no’ killed it.
O, my breast… (here she pounded her poitrine with the wooden
spoon) …Thy hope ends here.
Diana was becoming over-enthusiastic. She stood up on her
kitchen chair. Yes, and then Miliband says, It looks like rain
But it always looks like rain here, Mrs S.
Suspend your disbelief as Nicola has instructed you, prompted
Diana. Let’s fast-forward to the banquet scene.
Scone? Mrs C wrinked her brow.
No, I’m not hungry, Diana said. Oh, I see what you mean-
No, she’s already crowned herself.
Ah hope there’ll no be ony ghosts, Mrs C wavered.
We’ve had the spectre of Blair already, but everyone pretended
he was invisible, Diana assured her. Now, like Mrs Thatcher…
God rest her soul! Mrs C bowed her head.
…The First Minister is already adopting the Royal ‘we’.
Ourself will mingle with society? queried Mrs C.
Precisely. Then she says to herself:’Be bloody, bold and
resolute and laugh to scorn/ The power of men.
We’re into Act 4 now, nodded Mrs C., keeping her eye on the
Diana, still standing on the chair, surveyed the landscape from
her kitchen window: Scotland has not foisons enough to fill her
Nor oil reserves, added Mrs C.
Diana nearly fell off the chair as there was a sudden sound of
applause. It was Murgatroyd, who had returned early from an
Oh, but how will we end it? Diana was disappointed to be
Can I have the epilogue? asked her husband. You know, the last
word that I rarely have the pleasure to express.
Go ahead, replied Diana and Mrs C sat down and mopped her brow
with the tea towel.
Murgatroyd took a deep breath and intoned:
This murderous shaft that’s shot
Hath not yet lighted, and our safest way
Is to avoid the aim.
Ah take it that ye’ll no’ be votin’ SNP then , Mr Syylk? observed
You have hit the nail upon the head as usual Mrs C. Now,
is there a bowl of broth for a hungry man?
And Mrs C reverted to her housekeeping duties and forsook
her thespian tendencies- for the moment.
Nae bother, sir.