Saturday, August 10, 2013


Having recovered somewhat from the excesses of the Jubilee Thrash, and in particular from Cousin Marguerite’s extraordinary return from Hell to the ranks of the blessed, the time has come to address the latter and various other pertinent matters with regard to Amblewick and its affairs.

Marguerite’s re-conversion – or shall we say reversion – to our kind of sanity may or may not be a permanent affair, of course. Parsons is very much of the opinion that it is.

“Mrs Huntington-Smythe is a woman of considerable determination, Milord, and it is my understanding that such a change of attitude is the culmination of months of communion with herself. I think that Your Lordship will agree with me that she is not one to ask for advice or to listen to the arguments of other people. She trusts herself and herself alone. I believe we can therefore reasonably deduce that her recent change of heart may well be long-lasting. After all, Milord, for her to admit to herself that her outburst on the Terrace was mere sentimentality occasioned by temporary intoxication would be, in my view, entirely out of character and destructive to her opinion of herself – an unthinkable state of affairs. People who are always right, find it impossible, Milord, to submit to outside pressure or persuasion. Their decisions have to be their own – that is the law. For these reasons, I believe we can assume that the change of direction will be reasonably long-term.”

“Come to think of it, old thing, if that’s the case, the old girl could be quite a useful ally in the future – if we find ourselves in need of one….”

“Indeed, Milord, a most valuable secret weapon – if used with discretion, and infrequently. Such fire-power must never be overemployed. The fear factor must never be permitted to fade.”

“One other thing’s been puzzling me, Parsons, old scout. Why did you insist upon ‘Micawber’ as title for the Amblewick publicity outlet? Micawber? Why Micawber? ”

“During my somewhat extensive career, Milord, I have long-since come to the conclusion that honesty is invariably the best policy.”

With which mysterious reply he flits from the presence, so to speak.To my surprise his answer would re-occur to me throughout the day. Eventually it would give rise to extended reverie. The dogs and I have been warming our paws – to mingle the species a dash – before the library fire at Amblewick. Can’t answer for the canines, but I’ve been musing a trifle on the why’s and wherefore’s of ‘Micawber’ as a ‘nom de whatever-it-is’ – rather than, say, ‘Lancelot’ or ‘Quixote’, or some other worthy, or perhaps indeed unworthy.

One shares nothing at all with Sir Lancelot du Lac. Apart from anything else, he was a knight in shining armour which we most definitely are not. There’s also that slightly squalid and rather modernistic affair he undertook with his employer’s wife - for which reason his relevance to ‘Happy Isle’ affairs has been excised by Charles Peyneer from his ‘The Hysterical History of England’. We are both agreed that delivery of such a judgement would render it in extremely poor taste to take in vain his name to furnish the title of a mere ‘blog’ (dreadful word).

As for the estimable Don Quixote, the problem lies far more with Sancho Panza than with the Don himself. We would have been obliged to create an entirely different Sancho Panza in order to render the Don a suitable candidate for ‘blogmeistership’ in our cause. 

Our Sancho would have to have been far more in the likeness of an amiable bank manager of the old school – such as the modest but heroic Mr Peak of Amblewick Saga fame. The worthy Mr Peak works in a most principled manner always to ensure that ‘problems are soluble immediately – impossibilities taking a little longer’. He is also famous in the Castle annals for the following perceptive remark.

 ‘The bank has the most frightful lot of money, and I can see no reason why you, Lord Amblewick, should not have access to some of it.” 

Mr Peak’s somewhat cavalier attitude with regard to fiscal liquidity has enabled us to manage our affairs a great deal more effectively than would otherwise have been possible in these days of post-Bolshevik taxation and egalitarianism wherein the bank manager, as a friend and counselor, no longer exists - having been replaced by a myriad of characterless ‘experts” and ‘specialists’ who take one glance at one’s so-called ‘credit-rating’ and proceed to abuse and inconvenience one before dismissing one in favour of someone further down in the queue whose ‘track-record’ seems more worthy of their valuable time. One’s brief interview with such people is invariably interrupted several times by private and extensive calls, on their ‘mobiles’ - to their friends and relations – as well as to more ‘valued’ customers.  

No, the classical Sancho Panza would have been lost in his attempts to find solution to problems so foreign to his nature and awareness as ours. The trains of thought to which he would have been exposed at Amblewick would have been the harbingers of extreme mental and emotional distress in an individual of such modest aspiration and experience - whole thing a non-starter for a mere ‘Esquire’ - and mortal.       

While we have been perusing the higher philosophical realms, Amblewick affairs have been proceeding more or less in their normal humdrum and rather predictable manner.

Julian appears to be glued, as has become his habit since our evening readings tooled-off, to “The Mouse and the Gang Saga”. He‘s sprawled on the floor a dash across the room - near the gilded pineapple (or was it a pomegranate), which as yet he has not “sussed”, as far as we can ascertain. 

Tessa “The Nose” keeps him company – paw on knee, tongue in ear, as it were. We have previously introduced a few of you to “Tessa” in the first volume of the “Amblewick Saga”. She is, however, blissfully unaware of the existence of such a document. Her primary concerns have always been ‘Bendicks Bittermints’, tea at four-thirty – with milk and two lumps of sugar - and considerably more comfort than is vouchsafed to us, her devoted friends and servitors.

Parsons (I gather from Julian - a mine of insider information) is in his pantry sampling a modest and well-deserved beak-full of ‘the Talisker’ and checking the field for the Ascot meeting. Jolly good show, what? One has to keep abreast of cultural essentials, don’t you know?.       

But where were we?

Ah yes – Micawber. Pretty sympathetic character, Mr M - staring ruin in the face and yet still quite certain that ‘something will turn up!’ Apart from being one of Mr Dickens’ most well-drawn characters – he is familiar to all of us in ‘real’ life. We have all met him as he totters across our mental screens in his various disguises. Many of us have also experienced ‘close-shaves’ such as his on various recurrent occasions……..

And that, me dears, is the whole nub (knub?) of the matter. Fully aware that we at Amblewick are all a dash different in our priorities, backgrounds and expectations – but every darned one of us insists on ‘survival come what blasted well may!’ 

Where there is hope there is possibility. When hope has fled – well – that’s the end of the conversation, really, isn’t it? – bugger that for a game of soldiers!

Never, never, never give up!” (Winston Spencer Churchill) - bless his stubborn great heart!

While we’re at it, bugger the balls-up the world’s various politicians are making on our behalves – and at our expense……. I mean to say, just look at the Middle-East! Look, indeed, at the entire World….. 

Bugger also – to coin a phrase employed by His Late Majesty, King George V with reference to the Bishop (the precise Bishopric eludes one for the moment) – but yes, bugger….. What on Earth were we going to bugger next?

Ah, yes indeed, the tides of memory surge back. 

Bugger any footling conviction that we cannot change the way things are.

The only fate there is, is the one we had foisted on us when we were very young by people who had probably had the same demoralizing rubbish foisted on them!

Or were they not so foisted, but part of a distinct and privileged super-group charged – like poor dear Marguerite - with the censuring of those less perfect than themselves?  

“The Nose”, I believe, is nodding – but then she would, wouldn’t she – knowing what all great hounds know of the human race and negative re-enforcement?  Try the noble Gelert for size!

At which point in my cogitation Julian’s voice - that of a cheerful juvenile chainsaw – intrudes, chirpily enough one has to admit, upon one’s philosophical peregrination.

“Eh? Guv?”

“Yes, old thing…..?”

“I reckon I’ve found ‘me’ in the ‘Saga’.

“Good for you, old chap – and who might ‘me’ be?” 

“Cor! That’d be telling, now wouldn’t it?

“It would, indeed, old sport…….”

And now, I confess to it, I believe I am asleep……..


Yes, that seems to be the way it is.……..

I say, have any of you guys ever taken off when you’re asleep – and then accelerated like a rocket?

Coo-er!  Cor!  Try it sometime – it’s wicked………!