Chlamydia quietly inserted her key in the lock, stealthily crept into the
hall and deposited her A La Mode carrier in the downstairs loo. Even
sashaying down The High Street she had imagined a universal disapproval,
rather than registering the global admiration she had been wont to
expect for toting such an item. There was a recession on, after all,
and, even though she had received a 70% discount, she could hear a
self-justifying voice- probably emanating from her Bad Angel, who was
misquoting D H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley:
A woman has to live her life, or live to spend, not having lived..
It also whispered:
The cataclysm has happened.. (agreed: we’ve fallen off a fiscal cliff like a
bunch of lemmings)..We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies
Tristram had just come into the kitchen to help himself to a second
Balmadies Estate Civet Cat from the cooling cafetiere.
(Why did a brew which had been circulated through the digestive
system of an Indonesian monkey taste that good?
I dunno. Try it for yourself and tell me.)
Everything all right?
Yes, eh.. (Why wouldn’t that wretched D H Lawrence voice go away?
There it was again):
What the eye doesn’t see, and the mind doesn’t know, doesn’t exist.
Imagine trying that one on –say- Prof Brian Cox, if you were married
All very well, but she hoped Tristram wouldn’t feel a sudden urge to
use the downstairs cloakroom.
No, there’s no loo paper in there. Go upstairs, she advised
She felt…. that she had come to the real bedrock of her nature, and
was essentially shameless…And it felt exciting!
Okay, she had paid for the outfit from her own account, but that
Morality Play Horned Viper was hissing, or wasn’t that a
hieroglyph on Only Connect?
She was beginning to feel like Mrs
Dalloway. All this stream of consciousness was so exhausting and
tangential! What was the reptile hissing?
You’re spending your life without renewing it…
True. She knew this only too well. When was it that she would
be getting her pittance of a pension? It was a receding crock at the
end of a metaphorical rainbow.
Tristram decided to go out and buy some Seville oranges. It was that
time of year. It was his thing. He’d sterilised the jars that morning
while she was out.
She couldn’t deceive him. He was good-natured about his wife’s
furtive behaviour. A quotation from D H Lawrence came to mind:
If you could only tell them that living and spending isn’t the same
thing! But it’s no good.
At home, the Rev Bernard Ockham settled into his study, ready to
apply his usually razor-sharp mind to his Sunday sermon. He felt well
prepared for his day. He had been out early to purchase two bags of
Seville oranges, for it was that time of year and preservation was his
sinless predilection, though he blushed to recollect his faux pas at his
host’s table in Bric-a-Brac. (twinned with Suttonford, you
Yes, his host had been explaining how the French have bread at
every meal and Bernard- he was being relatively informal en
vacances and had been exchanging tus and using first name address-
had mentioned that, in England, he did not like to eat too much bread
because, and here he launched unwisely into Franglais,
..car en Angleterre le pain est plein de preservatives.
Everyone choked or suppressed cris de horreur and his host gently
supplied le bon mot: conservateurs.
He would never again discuss preservation off cultural terra firma,
but he was still enthralled by the process. He had sterilised his Kilner
jars that very morning. Well, they were made by someone related to
that earthy Jeremy Clarkson, so you couldn’t be too careful. Selah.
Just a gospel draft to get under way and then a spot of male culinary
activity. He’d noticed Tristram Percival was buying his dented citrus too.
Be sure your sins will find you out, especially if you are married…he
scribbled. Wasn’t that from D H Lawrence?
His wife crept into the study, bearing a cup of tea and two of his
favourite fig biscuits. Keeps him regular, she thought. And didn’t Ronnie
Barker as Arkwright connote fig biscuits and loo rolls in Open All Hours?
Was the latter phrase the title of the episode or the physiological effect on
the consumer’s digestive system? Hmm..Sybil didn’t want to go there.
She was in a very good mood and was flushed and radiant, but Bernard-
named after the regulator of Clairvaux- but I digress, Bernard.. had been
married for a long time. (The vicar, I mean.) He knew that sufficient unto
the moment is the appearance of reality, so he wisely joined in the charade
of connubial bliss.
Back to the sermon. He had lost his drift. Oranges are not the only
fruit.. No, wait a minute! Ancient scholars have said that Eve
tempted Adam with a persimmon.
The apples of Sodom today .. St
Theresa…riven with an ecstasy, a rapture. Synonym for rapture,
ideally alliterating with r? Ah, yes, ravishment. Could fit with
banishment. Is it a noun? Oxford Dictionary of Quotations–
Some things can’t be ravished. You can’t ravish a tin of sardines..
And so many women are like that. D H Lawrence again!
Yes, the flush on Sybil’s face was alive enough to die. Or was that
from Thomas Hardy? That bloom only seemed to be engendered on
her visage by a visit to that wretched A la Mode. As if he didn’t know.
He had used the downstairs loo that morning and had tripped over the
carrier. Blow it! He felt quite bereft and negative regarding the
lack of communication and physical intimacy between them. She never
modelled her outfits for him nowadays. What was it that degenerate
Lawrence had advised? No, not nude wrestling. That was just typical of
He picked up the Dictionary again:
I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some
marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred orange and
scrub the floor.
Odd, but Lawrence had probably influenced Jeanette Winterson.
She should write a sequel: Oranges Are Pretty Versatile Fruit.
Or he could make that the basis for his sermon Sunday next.
Pure serendipity or Providence- whatever!
And scrubbing the floor could be quite sexy, as Jean-Marie Le Pen’s
ex-wife Pierrette had demonstrated to Le Monde Entier.
Quick, where was that Cif?