Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chapter 4


Mrs Fenner’s nephew, Julian, is ‘well-cheesed’ - to employ his own rich metaphor.
These so-called ‘’olidays’ at Amblewick are all very well, but the truth is that he
misses his ‘mates’ and the weekends ‘my lot spend down the social – them all
getting slaughtered and sussing last week’s scores and next week’s chances.’
Strange, but the author finds himself lost for his own words, He realises, with
only fleeting regret, that we’re never going to get to know young Julian ‘up close
and personal like’ unless we surrender to his rather more picturesque modes of
expression. ‘It’s a pretty catchy old rabbit, an’all’ – see what we mean?

The reader is going to have to sacrifice sacred cows like grammar, to permit, how
can one put it, colour and tone, perhaps? No apologies offered, we’re just saying
what we bleedin’ well mean………
Him and his gang gets a kick out of listening to the grown-ups and their rabbiting on.
What’s more, they’re always on the look-out for the perks they can score from the
jobs getting pulled up the West End toff areas.

We overheard a conversation Julian was having with one of the under-gardeners as
we were passing the conservatory one morning.

“Best thing what come my way was a BMX what they knocked off from a garridge
what they give a seein’ to, up South Ken. O’course, they never says where the stuff
comes from, do they – not direct like?. It’s all sort of, nudge, nudge, say no more a
nod’s as good as a wink. Yer sort of, well, yer just use yer nous, don’tcha. Nearest
they get to the facts is yer talk about lorries - and stuff fallin’ off the back of’em.
Amazin’ the number of lorries what sling stuff out up the West End, innit…...?”

We reckon he’s remembering something of similar hilarity, today. Anyway, he’s
grinning to himself - happily enough, for someone ‘what’s cheesed’.

“Best things what comes out of Amblewick is yer hallmarks on the silver in the still-
room cupboards – right back to yer William-an-Mary – worth a bob or two up the
Silver Vaults, that lot - and there’s Auntie Fenner’s ‘Choklit Mouse’, o’course – that’s

We can only try to imagine what’s going on in his clearly rather fertile mind as he
climbs the broad main staircase and turns right onto the Long Gallery landing.

“Come to fink of it, there’s other brill things abaht Amblewick, an’all. His Lordship’s
a bit of alright - sort of comical and, well, bit of a card, innit? Cor! That bleeding rice
pudding, and the two of us wiv our fingers in the trough - just like real people, eh?”

Do we detect a slightly puzzled pause?

“Always thought ‘is Lordship and ‘is likes is s’posed to be the spooks for us lot, ain’t
he? Don’t really add up, that, do it?”

He shakes his head, as he says he always does when he wants ‘to clear out stuff
what makes me brain hurt’ – and then the dream goes on….

"The other things about Amblewick what’s cool are all the mammoth rooms and all
that gear to check out – and the moat, and the punt, and the ‘orses, and the dogs -
and all the people just like me - ‘cept their accents, mind you – double-dutch most of
the time, that Partridgeshire lingo……”

This time, a rueful grin…..

“Mr P’s cool, an’all - if yer keeps on the right side of ’im, that is…..”

By the time he’s thought all these thoughts Julian has reached his destination - the
Library. Truth to tell, he’s not at all sure how today’s mission fits in with ‘keeping Mr
Parsons sweet’ – ‘but there yer go, eh?’
The thing is, he’s had his ‘beady’ on that cabinet full of knick-knacks ever since the
rice-pudding party – ‘and ’specially ‘them horse pistols on the bottom shelf – not to
nick, mind you – course not, no - just to get me ‘ands on’em - that once.’

And again, we can only guess, to dream…..

Julian’s dreams are a very different world - no longer the world he’s stuck with
every day – but a land of radiant colour, adventure, thrills, spills and, yes - that
most precious of freedoms – the freedom to believe that he really is as he is in those

He opens the towering mahogany doors a chink and holds his breath – no one there
– he knows from the ‘empty feel’. Warily, he slips inside. In a trice he’s at the cabinet
doors twiddling the little golden key. The doors swing open silently and he reaches,
breathless, for the gleaming pistol butts…

“Stick’em up – money or your life!” says a deep, but not unfriendly voice from

immediately behind him………..

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