Monthly Archives: November 2016

Tomi Lahren is wrong on Muslims.


Tomi Lahren wants to prevent any Muslim refugees from being admitted to the United States. It is surely un American to discriminate against people on the basis of their faith. The USA boasts that it invented religious freedom. Not quite true since many states had laws that discriminated against those who were not part of the state church well into the 19th century.

What is Miss Lahren’s reason for being against Muslims from being allowed to claim asylum in the USA.

The man who allegedly carried out the attack at Ohio State University is a Muslim. His supposed reasons for allegedly committing these crimes is that he was enraged by the mistreatment of Muslims in the United States. Her rants against Muslims contribute to the anti Muslim hatred. This then causes the murder of Muslims in the United States.

There is no question that the attacks in OSU were horrific. These murders are heinous. These horrors should not be exploited by demagogues by her.

”This is everything to do with Allah Akbar.” Miss Lahren is too ignorant to know the most famous slogan of Islam which is ”Allahu Akbar.” It seems that she knows very little about Muslims. As she has very vociferously voiced her opinions on Muslims she should at least educate herself about these people. There are almost 2 000 000 000 Muslims. They are from all walks of life and all nationalities. They include all personality types.

There are at least 10 000 000 murders a year in the United States. The vast majority of them are not carried out by Muslims. Most of these murders are committed by whites and Christians. Is Christianity evil? Is Miss Lahren responsible for these crimes since she professes the same religion as the perpetrators of these crimes?

She suggests that Islamophobia is not real. It very much is. She is one who disseminates it. This leads to Muslims being insulted and discriminated against.

Is radical Christianity not to blame? White supremacists are usually fervent Christians. Christian fundamentalists are usually those most enthusiastic about killing people abroad.

What about the Muslims who are American citizens? They have as much right to reside there as Miss Lahren. Should they be discriminated against?

How can Muslim refugees be prevented from coming to the USA? How would you know if someone is a Muslim? Hint Muslims are a faith and not a race. Bosnian refugees are as white as can be. Anyone can convert to that faith. One would have to ask people if they are Muslim. SOmeone coming to the USA with the intention of committing a crime would surely be willing to lie about his faith.

La Lahren focuses only on the tiny minority of crimes committed by those who believe in Islam. She ignores all the other murders. What actuates these terrorists? Their cause is due to economic, political, social, national, territorial and yes religious reasons. It is revolting to demonise a religion like this. Muslims are the victims of ISIS and the Taleban.

How about Christians in Muslim lands? Her rhetoric will increase hostility towards them. What about Americans in Muslim countries? Ill feeling towards them is provoked by this woman’s screeds.

Miss Lahren says that the USA lets in hundreds of Muslim refugees a day. Is that true? What is her source. If it was even 100 per day it would 36 500 per year.


A dream of Rossiya and micturition.


A dream of Russia and micturition..

I was in Russia walking along a road in the countryside. Luxuriant meadows lay on either side. There were some trees in the distance. A light breeze brushed the grass. I felt relaxed and at liberty.

There was something about running and being chased. I so often think of Egor the guard – how he liked me and I amused him.
Later I was in the lavatory of a restaurant. I needed to change into rugby shorts for something. I put them on. then a bit of urine came out. I had wet myself – just a tiny bit but it was embarrassing. I woke up bursting for the loo.
Maybe this comes from wanting to land a new job – the earlier segement of the dream that is. There may have been something about Londinum too.

Amblefifth. Term starts

Sean had not met the headmaster when he had come for interview a few months earlier. The head had been away at the time. He was not invited to meet the head one on one. At the appointed hour Sean arrived at the headmaster’s office.
Sean wore a grey pin striped suit with black lace-ups. He wore a pink shirt and a blue silk tie. His hair was not brushed – as ever. It hung down past his eyebrows.
He sat in the head’s secretary’s office for a moment.
”He is with someone. He shall be free in a minute” said his secretary in a gentle Yorkshire accent. This skinny middle aged woman had a light brown bob and wore a demure black trouser suit offset by a vermilion blouse. She was capable and much more approachable than most headmaster’s secretaries. They tend to be a ferocious species.
In a minute another teacher filed out of the office looking pleased.
”Knock on the door and go in now” the secretary whispered.
”Ok then” said Sean feeling a touch self-conscious. He knocked on the door and walked in.
It was a very modern first floor office overlooking the front of the school. Windows behind the desk commanded a magnificent vista over the mile wide valley and the wild hills beyond.
There was a sofa to the side. The desk was at the far end. The head was wearing his black habit and was sat behind it with piles in paper in front of him. He was so tiny that his ashen face was hardly visible over the sheafs of paper.
”Hello Sean” he said meekly and stood up. Sean strode forward to meet him.
The headmaster was a little monk  whose face indicated that he was nervous and timid. He was physically unprepossessing but his personality was more so.
”Good morning Father Michael” said Sean. He then shook the headmaster’s hand. The head was a mouse of a man. He was 5’4” but suffered no small man syndrome. He was far less impressive than that. His voice scarcely rose above a whisper. This black spikey hair was lined with silver. His pale skin looked permanently sweaty and unhealthy. Though this man was distinctly lacking in machismo he always had five o clock shadow. His misshapen face seemed as though it had not been finetuned in the womb. His dark little eyes were behind thin rimmed glasses. He was an unprepossessing figure.
Sean sat down as the head indicated.
”Well … ah…. welcome to the… school” said Fr Michael as though struggling for the words. ”We are ur …. glad to… um … have you… er …. here.” He spoke without punctuation.
”Thank you Father I am pleased to be here.”
”So you… are in… um … an …excellent…er…  department. I used to teach History too. Then I …er… became a…… and had…. cut… my workload. I became head …er… two and a half years ago.”
Two and a HALF years ago? A head was got rid of in the middle of the school year? Must be a worthwhile story to that, Sean thought. Got to get after that one. He also noticed that Fr Michael had struggled to call the department excellent. Was this a speech hesitation that the monk was grappling with?
Fr Michael seemed the anxious one. It was as though he was being interviewed.
”Now one…um…  can feel like something of a ….er…  prisoner in the … valley. Even a monk…  needs to…  get out … just…er…. occasionally.”
Did the man have a speech impediment? This man was not a natural leader. His susurations continued. The man was painfully diffident.
Sean noticed that Fr Michael hugely over-emphasised the ‘S’ sound.
Ssso it is niCcce that SSSo many people SSSeem SSSatiSSSfied with catholiCCCiSSSm here.”
This staccato and hissing delivery would hardly go down well with a large audience. The man had missed public speaking lesson number one.
”Yes, I see.” The conversation continued in that vain. Michael was a deeply shy man. WHy on earth was the head? He was a decent sort but patently not cut out for any sort of management role. Fr Michael was the most monkish monk of all. No presence at all. He could be dominated by a toddler. He surely had greatness thrust upon him. Anything but your stereotypical headmaster. He was very much reserved. This was a role for a person who was unashamedly extrovert. Fr Michael did not exude self-assurance much less exuberance. Who would repose confidence in someone who did not believe in himself? He was as uninspirational as it was possible to be.
Murphy held a department meeting. They all met in Murphy’s classroom.
Sean was one of the first there. The classroom was perhaps 20 m by 20 m. Posters of the Third Reich lined the walls. There was a crucifix on the wall by the white board.
 There was a teacher’s desk with a computer in the corner. The desk tops were made from brown formica and were in a C shape around the classroom. A small door led to Murphy’s little office. They muttered waiting till Murphy said his piece. Hugo Codd was saying, ”Glad they moved my lot to a new house. We used to be in a total shit hole. It is a fucking relief. The old headmaster was an absolute bastard.  ”
Sean was stunned that Codd was so foul mouthed. Perhaps things would not be as straitlaced in actuality as he had anticipated. Codd was also a gargoyle to look at. Having been heckled by life with that vicious face he then spat out expletives at the world. Hugo Codd was a London whose cods no doubt knew the seedier side of Soho. How else could so ugly a cunt get a shag?
 It seemed they were intrigue going on.
They all sat down and then Murphy introduced them.
”Morning everyone”, he said in his flat voice – sniffling. ”Like to introduce Sean who is new to the department.”
”hello”, said Sean forcing himself to smile – this produced a laconic response.
”So let me introduce everyone” Murphy twisted his mouth to the right as he pursed his lips.
There was Ray Ryan. He was 26 – same age as Sean. He was 5’10” and had black hair. An English born Irishman with a rubicund manner. Added to his Hibernian colouration was a priestly face and a fierce intelligence. Ray was a wraithlike figure. He was the only decent one there.
Jim Thorough was a spikey haired Yorkshireman. He was drastically gaunt but this did not make him come across as mean. He wore PE clothes as he taught PE most of the time. A PE man loaned to History – it was not a heartening sign. He was tidy and sprightly – not a bad chap. Sean had little to do with him.
Hugo Codd had teeth that would allow him to eat corn on the cob through a tennis racket. Well he could save on dental floss. His big bug eyes were barely reduced by his glasses. He had dark blond hair and was around the half century mark. He dressed in a rather county style and was very up himself. His shoes were brightly polished. He seemed to cultivate as unexotic an aura as he could. There was something unflappable about him. He would need to be since running a house was never easy.
Dana Cavanagh was a Scotswoman who plainly had Irish ancestry. She mispronounced things a lot and that was not due to her accent. She had a fake tan and a round face. A moustache was also visible. Her huge arse was somehow not appealing. When she lent over the tattoo on her lower back revealed her for the chav she was. She was a childist – always dumbing down and treating everyone like a child. Molly coddling, goody two shoes, over planning, oh so prissy and a total sneak. She was forever fomenting reasons for Murphy to be irate with Sean. Her love-in with Murphy was so noisome as to have Sean retching.
Augustine Sheffield was there. He was a 6’4” blond monk. Father Augustine wore bottle end glasses and had a gentle manner. Sean was soon to discover that this man’s genial exterior hid a duplicitious nature. Augustine did not do confrontation. He would never be honest enough to stab a man in the front. The grandson of an Anglican bishop he had converted to Catholicism. He was forever rabbiting on about women he wanted to fuck. His unreliability would soon become apparent. This did not deprive him of sanctimoniousness. Fr Augustine was urbane for a monk. Sean could imagine him ghosting an ambassador’s memoirs.
Murphy launched into a tirade about how important the department was – the most respected one in the country. Sean thought it would be refreshing if someone for once said their department was average or even shite.
”The parents are paying 30 000 pounds a year. That is 10 000 per A level. You all know that. It is not rocket science. ”
Sean was not convinced by this specious reasoning. It was to the first of many such illogical concoctions.
Murphy then said how documentation was crucial. Sean was finding this nerve racking already. Miss Cavanagh looked gleeful at the mention of paperwork.
”All subjects are complementary. We teach the Reformation as part of the school’s mission. We co ordinate with English. We teach the First World War as they teach the poetry thereof” he hissed. ”Soon we will be setted against Geography in year 9. People will have to pick us or them. It is not rocket science. So you have to give high grades or they will give up. It will have an affect on staff numbers.”
Sean could not help by smirking at that blatant threat. What about telling the truth? If someone is shite at History but brilliant at Geography which should she do? Should grades not reflect this? What about the well being of the pupils? So self centred. But oh no Murphy wanted them to do History even if that was the wrong choice. Just for his own sake. Fuck their future. He had better not speak his mind. A flaming row right now would not work wonders for his career. Bite your tongue. It was something he would have to get used to. It seemed like a farce.
Murphy noticed Sean’s irreverent indeed unauthorised smile.
”You may smile but…”
I may smile? May I?  Thank you for permission kind sir. Next time I shall apply to permission smile in triplicate a week in advance.
”You may smile but we have to do our best not to let Geography overtake us.”
The other nodded in assent.
”Policy is formulated in light of curricular developments. We are up to speed with the latest business best practise”. What bullshit thought Sean. Murphy continued his monologue. ”So we believe in blue skies thinking. We try to keep this a paperless environment among the department. You all know I have an open door policy. I may have to sunset some ideas. We are in lockstep on the teaching. I absolutely insist that you do everything the way I order down to the finest detail. Occasionally I may throw in a thought grenade. But remember a pyramidal management structure is so outdated. A collegial pedagogy is most desirable. One of you may occasionally deputise for me. I insist that all allotted tasks are performed punctually according to protocol.”
The others nodded sagely at these apparent profundities. Murphy sniffled once a sentence.
What did this management consultant goobledegook mean? It was an emperor’s new clothes syndrome. No one was willing to jeopardise his career by saying that Murphy was spouting utter shite. Their reverence for such babble troubled Sean. He sensed that Ryan was perhaps of the same mind as him but too canny to let on.
Murphy was oddly capricious and indecisive in view of his control freakery. He had changed his mind about one of the courses that Sean would teach at the last minute. As for another he vacillated till just before term started before making his mind up.
The pupils were back. It was 5 September. Sean had been assigned to St Olaf’s House. As it happened Father Augustine was housemaster. Sean arrived at the house for the new boy’s tea party. He knocked on the door of Fr Augustine’s study. Augustine greeted him cordially. He was good at getting to know people so he decided to tell Sean a bit about himself. Fr Augustine spoke in his trademark gentle manner, ”I went to that place St Paul’s. We did not have boarding. But anyway I have been here 15 years so this whole boarding lark is not new to me.”
Sean went along to the new boy’s tea party. He remembered attending one a dozen years earlier. He got himself a cup of cha and a crumpet. A middle aged man breezed up to him ”Which one is your boy?”
”I don”t have children. I am far too young” he chortled.
The new boys were all white and mostly nondescript. The sort of bland mass of tweed jackets, Oxford brogues, mid brown hair lovingly blushed by a tearful mother and diffidence. The school did not have uniform – they had to wear a jacket and tie. These were the sorts who people public school. Sean scanned the anxious and beardless faces. Only one stood out on the first day.
”Hello sir” said a boy who was tall and chubby for a 13 year old ”My name is Wilfred Ogg”
”Well – pleased to meet you. I am Mr Gallagher” Sean was fainting surprised by the boy’s unashamedly  forward manner. Pupils are normally painfully diffident on such a day. At his new boy’s tea party Sean had been decorously deferential.
”I see. So you are a tutor in this house. What do you teach?”
”I teach History.”
”Oh good that is my favourite subject and I was the best in my prep school at it.”
”Fabulous. We shall get on famously. Which prepper did you go to?”
”I attended Aysgarth.”
”Ah yes I have heard of that one. The premier prep school of northern England.”
Wilfred Ogg had mid brown curls and pallid skin. He was forward and jaunty. Though stuck up it seemed that he would be among the more amiable of the new boys.
 Sean was assigned a tutor group from St Olaf’s House; Lower Sixth boys.
The tutor group gathered in Sean’s classroom for him to meet them for the first time. They all sat down and he asked them to introduce themselves.
”Hello my name is Magnus Armistead” said a slight boy with a custard blond hair cut in a  pudding bowl style and ultra pale skin. His persona was equally pallid. He was a milquetoast with a very bland voice. ”Yeah and I am from Scotland” he said in a pukka accent. ”And I kind of like it here.  Coz it is kind of nice. Yeah. Kinda. So I am here coz dad says we are Catholic or something like that.”. There was something very vapid about him. Magnus: the name meant ”great”. It was as though Fate was blowing a massive raspberry on him by allotting him a name that was the most inapt of all.
”I see Magnus and what A Levels are you doing?”
”Well I am doing English. I think? Yeah, English. Maybe English yeah because I really like words. Lots of them. Different words.”
”So you like reading?”
”Oh no. I hate books.”
”Ah I see. Might be a slight obstacle in English Literature. What other A levels are you doing?”
”Well um… let me see. Some other ones. I can’t really remember. English and um… a couple of others.” he said in his quiet dweeb voice.
”What do you do for fun Magnus?”
”Oh I….  rest.”
Sean had looked at a highly controversial report on the boy and his IQ. His verbal IQ was 98. That is below average. How was this dolt going to tackle a nineteenth century novel when he had a limited vocabulary? This might have been thought an insuperable obstacle to doing English A level but not at this school.
”Thank you Magnus. That was very informative”. Magnus’ blank expression revealed that sarcasm was an alien concept to him. His face indicated that his mind had  gone back to standby mode. Sean was not thrilled to have such a deadbeat as a tutor. Sean figured that if Magnus was given plenty of one on one tuition for several years he might eventually aspire to be a janitor. A fine ambition for a boy with a 30 000 pounds a year education. This did not prefigure a stimulating time tutoring this dimwit.
”So how about you” Sean said to another boy sitting near the front.
”Hi my name’s Stephen Erwin-Montague”, he piped self-conceitedly. Stephen was slight and 5’6”. He had a thin face and a sharp nose. He had blond and slightly curling hair. He was clearly trying to suck up to the others. His weediness had meant that he learnt guile.
”Well I am a sub prefect because I am popular. I am doing English, Christian Theology, History and Classical Civilisation. I have a Cardinal Bursary because I am an all rounder” he said very self satisfied. He smarmed. ”I am half English half Scots. Dad is in the army. My mum is well my mum. My sister was here. She has left now and she is doing very well so she is at   Exeter Uni. I am a Catholic too. We are better people. The Anglicans are plebs .  In my free time I like, well, socialising.” He smiled with a punchable self -satisfaction. A Cardinal Bursary for this loathsome prick? It was a travesty. Sean was supposed to treat his pupils well but that would be impossible in this case. Those awarding Cardinal bursaries were supposed to look into a child’s character before awarding one. They had plainly shirked that duty in this case.
”Right. Fascinating. Very revealing.” Stephen was clearly a douche bag. He needed to be taken down a peg or ten but the boy had spirit. Unlike that complete wet tissue called Magnus.
”Now how about you?” Sean continued – ”tell me about yourself.” he addressed another lad.
”My name is Harry Burley-Wookey” he said. The boy was almost 6 foot in height and fairly broad. He had jet black hair – other than that he resembled Sean closely. He had a dramatic and mischievous face. ”I am doing History, English and Drama. I like acting best of all.”
Harry spoke in received pronunciation like the rest of them. ”I am a Geordie but I know I talk posh. Anyway my brother was here but he got expelled.”
”For shagging someone in the woods and then the beagle pack came along into the bit where he was shagging this Paki girl and they got caught” said Stephen. They all burst out laughing. Sean would well imagine Burley Wookey turning out to be a satyromaniac.
Sean thought he should chide them but did not. Harry laughed too he was patently proud of his elder brother’s antics. ”So in my free time I like acting and watching films.”
”Right thank you Harry I think I have the measure of you. Who is next – yes. You please introduce myself.”
”My name is Jamie Tavish” said a boy with black hair and very pale skin. He had brown eyes far back in his head. He was tall and seemed weak physically and even more so mentally.
”I am from Scotland” he said in an upper class accent. ”I am not that clever. I am doing Christian Theology, History and Politics.”
”And Maths GCSE – again! ” shouted Stephen scornfully.
”Stephen – please do not interrupt.”
”Well yeah Maths GCSE did not go my way last time.”
”You mean you failed!” Stephen said scornfully.
”Erwin – Montague that is quite enough. Be quiet” Sean reproved the boy.
”Right so I got to take it again.”
”I see and why do you like Politics.”
”Well because my dad is into it. He is politics like. Um he is a Tory and the Tories is against the Labours. So it is not that easy because in Scotland a lot of people are chavs and they are Labours. So Tories is for our sort of people and Catholics and Labours is against Catholic. We  are also against Conversatives.”
”But  Jamie – the Tories are the Conservatives.”
”No Conversatives are different.”
”It is Conservative not Conversative. Tory is the nickname of the Conservatives.”
”Is it ? What? I am a Tory. Conversatives is like Labour.”
”I see. I don’t quite agree with your political analysis.”
”Well were are Catholics and we are public school people. Protestants are chavs. So we are more better than them is. In my free time I like up you know just hanging out.”
”I see. Scintillating” Sean hid his horror.
”Now you” said Sean looking at someone else. ”Please tell me a bit a about yourself.”
”My name is Will Stoke. I am from Yorkshire” he said in a very cut glass accent. The boy was 5’4” and weedy. ”My family is a very distinguished family. Our ancestor was an archbishop.”
”An Anglican archbishop then?”
”Excuse me! No, I am a Catholic.” Sean had not the heart to tell the boy that meant his ancestors were conceived the wrong side of the blanket.
Will Stoke carried on; ”Only the plebs are Protestants. To be gentry you must be Catholic. So I am doing History, Maths and CT. I am a Tory like Jamie. I am also into field sports. Bring back field sports. My dad was in the army and now he is a mobile phone executive. So I am going to join the army too and boss some chavs around. In my spare time I like shooting and beagling. ”
This stupid weed be in command of anyone? Sean was beginning to perceive how religion and morality could be poles apart. In this boy;s case they were totally unrelated. His faith was an excuse for Stoke to look down his snout at others. Sean felt his face burning. He was furious with this ineffable shit already.
”Thanks for that. Most illuminating” said Sean
”Now you – please introduce yourself” he said to someone else.
”My name is Joachim Wittelsbach” he said in a slightly Germanic accent ”So I am from Bavaria. And I have been at school in England three years.” He was skinny, tanned and blond about 5’9”. If he had been better built he would have been the perfect Aryan. ”I am doing Maths, Economics and History. I like most sports and that is it.” He was phlegmatic and soft spoken because he was self assured.
”Ah now last but not least please introduce yourself” he said to an Oriental boy.
”Hello my name is Geoffrey” said a small bespectacled Oriental boy.
”Geoffrey trying to be British” said Stephen in a mock Chinese accent – narrowing his eyes, pulling them slanted with his fingers and putting his teeth over his upper lip. ”I China boy!” Geoffrey was evidently well accustomed to such vile racial epithets and took it with a Confucian calm.
”Erwin – Montague – stop that. SHut up. I will not have racism in here” Sean flashed with anger.
”So I am front Hong Kong. I have been here one year” he had only a vestigial Chinese accent. ”I do Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I like to study and play computer games.”
”You would do even Further Maths if you could” Erwin -Montague shouted. Fortunately no one laughed at this last attempt to humiliate the Chinese boy.
”Shut up Erwin-Montague. You stay behind at the end. We need to discuss your attitude.”
What a shower! That German one seemed all right. Wittelsbach  – the royal family of Bavaria? He had seen a Bavarian flag up in St Olaf’s. Then as for Geoffrey – that Hong Konger seemed amiable. The rest seemed dreadful and very unpromising. Well at least that German did not appear to be obtrusive. He was a harmless dimwit. The other thing is that Wittelsbach was not as stuck up as some of the others. Perhaps it was precisely because he was royal that he did not feel impelled to over emphasise he status. Sean was seen as foam flecked right winger by those who knew him. Yet even he was horrified by the unthinking ultra conservative snobbery of some of his tutor group. He was equally aghast at the combative far left zealotry of Mrs Arrowsmith. There seemed nothing to choose between these two repugnant mindsets.
Sean warmed to the German and the Chinaman. Other than that the others proved that abortion could be a moral imperative.
”Right it is time to go to the abbey church” said Sean ”Father abbot shall be concelebrating high mass with Fr Michael and Fr Hugh. So we had best get down there in good time. We are sitting together in the St Olaf’s House section of the church isn’t that right?”
”yes” they murmured. They filed out of the classroom. A milky haired old dear was cleaning the corridor. Sean noticed Stoke give the elderly woman a glare of disdain. Could be worse. If she was a Protestant than this boy would despise her all the more. The boy was an unreconstructed bigot. His face was what really begged to be reconstructed.
Sean Gallagher led them off the the 1920s Gilbert Scot church. It was built of pale stone and was handsome as these things go.
All 500 pupils were there and almost 100 staff. There was a monastery attached to the school. Mass was atmospheric and the music was fantastic. The choir in their raiment led rousing choruses of ”Christs Regnat!”
 The school filed up to the gymnasium atop a hillock for the first assembly of the year.
The boys and girls sat on chairs in their respective house sections. The staff lined the walls. Sean stood near St Olaf’s – his house. On the far side of the gym he saw Mr Murphy. Andy Murphy stood with his arms folded. A defensive posture. The man had been there for 12 years. WHy did he feel so under threat? He was paranoid. Oddly enough at Sean’s last school there had been a former colleague of Murphy’s – a chap named Marco Perez. Marco had said ”Andy Murphy is a worrier. He got married years ago and it took a long time for his wife to conceive. That was a burden for them. Yes, he is very stressed out and a real details man. He seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders.” Sean was increasingly perceiving that Marco has been on the money about Andy Murphy.
Sean happened to stand behind a man who was supervising boys in another house. ”Hello there my name is Conor Donnelly” said a sabre toothed middle aged man.
”Hello my name is Sean Gallagher. How do you do?”
”Very well indeed. You are new – looks like you are in Olaf’s?”, this man was 5’8” and affable. He wore a revolting shiny bright blue suit with silver fish tie. His shirt was day glo orange. He wore pink socks inside grey slip on shoes.
”Yes, that’s right how about you?” asked Sean.
”St Edmund’s – Wilbert’s. It is a house with a double name – dedicated to two saints.” he explained in his southern English accent.
”Oh I see. Did you have a good summer holiday?”
”Oh yes pretty good. My wife and my son and I  – we went to Ireland. That is where I am from. I was born here – grew up in England. Irish citizen so I go back a lot. How about you – fun summer.”
”Yeah it was quite good once I got going. Had to work in a summer school in July but in August I was all around Central Europe. I spent a bit much though.”
”Ah credit card taken too much of a rollicking? I know the feeling” he said genially.
Sean really warmed to Conor Donnelly.
The pupils were all seated and then the headmaster and the deputy head Mr Brown walked in  and up the idle. The chattering pupils gradually fell silent.
Fr Michael got to the lectern at the front and commenced his speech. ”Welcome everyone. ThiSSS iSSS the SSStart of a new term. SSSo let uSSS remember the SSSaintSSS of th SSSchool – the bleSSSed NicholaSSS PoSSStgate and SSSo forth. We are a SSSchool of the Lord’SSS SSService.”  Michael carried on his bland announcements in a similar vain and with a singular absence of panache. Fr Michael blatantly detested every single second he had to speak in public. He was a profoundly timorous man. It was agonising to watch. The pupils scarcely listened but at least they were not restive. It was as though Fr Michael was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He did not inspire confidence or respect only pity. It seemed blatant that he loathed being headmaster. He was doing it under obedience to the abbot. It was very much – father take this cup from me. Sean felt deeply embarrassed on behalf of this singularly inept leader.
Then Mr Brown, the deputy headmaster, came to speak. Brown poised over the lectern like a scrum half over a ball at the back of a ruck. He was energetic and delivered his speech with poise and verve. His cadences struck the back of the hall. Now there was a leader! Bonhomous, capable, humorous, approachable and driven. Shouldn’t he be the head?
It came to pass that Sean had to teach his first lesson. He was in his classroom and the pupils filed up outside. He opened the door and greeted them sternly. It was vital to instill into them the notion that he was in charge.
The girls and boys were formal outfits. There was no uniform as such. The boys could wear suits. If not their trousers had to be black. They could wear jackets, blazers or jumpers. The girls had to wear something similarly formal but not ties.
Then he had them enter the room. They sat down noiselessly. They were new in the school. Mr Gallagher was an unknown quantity. He could be a psychopath so they dare not provoke him. Gallagher remembered the sagacious advice from a colleague at his first school – don’t smile till Christmas.
They were all settled within half a minute.
”Good afternoon everyone. My name is Mr Gallagher. I shall be your History teacher this year. I am going to go through your names just to start to learn them. It may take a few weeks but also to check that you are all here.”
He proceeded to call the roll of a dozen odd names. Three of them were Hispanic.
”Miguel, are you from a Spanish speaking country.?”
”Yes sir we are from Mexico” a black hair swarthy little boy said with a notably Hispanophone accent.
”I see. Nice. What do you mean by we?”
”Me and Salvador and Jesus.”
”Ah I see – all of you Mexican.”
”Yes we are. All from Mexico City you see.”
”How come you speak such brilliant English?”
”Well we went to a school in Mexico with teachers from Canada and I was at the prep school here last year St Mark’s”
”Ah right I get it.”
Miss Pinfold was one of the pupils. She sat towards the back solemn faced and tight lipped. She was not an unhappy girl. It was simply that her demeanour was dour.
”Now I have various rules. They are all obvious. When you come into the classroom please sit down immediately and be silent. Do not speak without permission. Do not disturb the lesson in any way. Arrive here on time every single time. Bring the things that you need. Do you work on time every time. If you wish to speak please raise your hand and wait for permission. It is all commonsense because we cannot have a dozen people speaking all at the same time. Questions are always welcome. If I speak too fast please let me know. If there is anything you do not understand please ask. If you need something repeated then please ask. I am here to help. I want you to enjoy it. Then you will learn better.”
Sean paused and looked around. He let his words sink in before continuing.
”So first of all – what is History?” Sean asked. It reminded him of a book by E H Carr. ”Any ideas?”
Jack, one of the braver boys, put his hand up.
”Yes, you please” said Sean using his arm to indicate Jack without actually pointing.
”Sir, is it learning about all the things that happened long ago like kings and battles.”
” Yes, pretty good. We do learn about things long ago including kings and battles. I like you answer. ANyone else?”
Jesus, a tall Mexican, ”History is learn about all the events of the old times.”
”Excellent. I am impressed” said Sean jauntily. ”So anyone else – how do we find out about the past?”
A chubby, ruddy faced, brown haired English girl with the classic look of the gentry put up her hand, ” Sir, it is by reading about it in books and watching films about it” she said in her posh asthmatic voice.
”Tremendous, yes books are vital for learning about History and we can see films of things that happened 100 years ago. We did not have films much more than 100 years ago. ANyone else – how else can we learn about these things?”
A girl with curling dark blond hair named Jacynthia put up her paw, ”Mr Gallagher – is it by reading letters and things like that?” She spoke in RP a well.
”Yes, very good. Reading letters is crucial. In the olden days they did not have email of course.”
”Sir we can look at old fallen down buildings” said thin faced Jack.
”Fantastic – yes old buildings can tell us a lot. We dig them up. What else can we see and find?”
Jacynthia put up her hand ”Sir we can look at old paintings and stuff like that..”
”Yes fabulous. ARt work things like the Bayeux tapestry which many of you will know about. So bringing it all together  – these things we can look at like books, letters, videos, diaries, paintings, statues, old buildings, things we dig up. What could we call all this together? ”
Jack with the slim face and protruding nose put up his hand. His brown eyes showed total concentration. ”It is information/”
”Pretty good – it is information but there is another word that is even better beginning with a letter E. Anyone think of it?”
Jesus raised his hand and Sean nodded at him to speak ”Is evidence.”
”Marvellous. That is exactly the word I am looking for. So History is about evidence. It is the study of evidence about the past. Right so I am going to put some notes on the board for you to copy down. Underline the heading. Put the date – remember to put the date on everything you do. Don’t forget the name of a month takes a capital letter since it is a proper noun.”
Sean wrote : What is History?    5 September.
History is the study of evidence about the past.
Types of evidence: Books, diaries, letters, court records, government records, paintings, statues, songs,  buildings and artefacts.
The pupils diligently copied that down.
 He then began a didactic session on the Catholic Church in Europe in the early 16th century. He made sure to make some references to Mexico so the Mexican pupils felt included and realised that this was pertinent to them too.
Next day Sean had a lesson with one of his Lower Sixth groups. Among them were some of his tutees. Stephen Erwin- Montague, Harry Burley Wookey, Will Stoke and Jamie Tavish .
They filed in noisily. The class was about 20 strong. Only one girl was among them. She tried to sit on her own.
When they were finally settled Sean began. He strove to put on his stern face.
”Good morning. I am Mr Gallagher. I am your History teacher this year. Let me set out the expectations so you know right from the very start what you have to do. You have all chosen History and that is because you are good at it and you like it. That means that you have to do more work at a higher level than you did at GCSE. ” He then gave them his pep talk.
Gallagher than handed around some pamphlets – notes made by Andy Murphy. These were about the History of the Third Reich. It was supposed to be done in silence. Stephen Erwin – Montague kept piping up. He was as insolent as possible. He insulted the less popular pupils. Some were new in sixth form and so he picked on them. He was very deferential to those boys who were well established and seen as hard.
There was a boy in the slow Lower Sixth set named Callixtus. Callixtus was a gangly Belgian who spoke French as his first language. He always brushed his brown hair carefully without this being in any way an act of ostentation. He was diffident partly because his English was very imperfect. He was one of the few pupils who got on with his work sedulously and behaved himself. The others took no account of the fact that he was doing everything through his second language. He was always tidy, ductile and industrious. He put the others to shame.
Sean walked home from the first night of term. The school was on a hillside. he had to go down a bit to get to the farm lane that led to the village.
It was already dark. He walked down a grassy slope – avoiding the path. In the ambient light he could just make out a few youthful figures coming out of a rhodedendron bush.
They were chatting and he saw flashes if lighted cigarettes. As they drew on the ciggies they lit up more.  What did one do? He had not been briefed. How could he catch them all in the dark? How could he get their names? He wanted to let smoking drift but he could not turn a blind eye to it. He had done that in his last school – keen to be liked by the pupils. But no – think of your career he said to himself. Pupils also considered it a sport – teachers were entitled to try to bust them.
Knowing he could not catch them Sean decided to give them a fright. He called out loudly and deeply, ”Hey who is that smoking? You are smoking. Stop come here right now!”
Of course the boys dropped their cigarettes and scattered. They ran for their houses.
Once a week Sean had house duty. He toddled along to St Olaf’s after luncheon. He would supervise their prep session.
He would come back in the evening for the same purpose. Stephen E- M was a junior prefect. He had some authority over the younger boys. Stephen E – M did not concern himself with 4th form or 5th form – they might answer back. He sought out 3 rd form. Some were at boarding school for the first time. Many were lachyrmose. Stephen made it his business to torment them and publicly insult them. Sean was obliged to verbally slap down Stephen for his shameful behaviour. It was an abuse of his authority.
The young three years studied in the big study downstairs. Six formers studied in their rooms. Sean was on duty and had to patrol. Stephen came with him as the junior prefect on duty. Sean knocked on Jamie Tavish’s door.
”Come in” said Jamie
Sean walked in to see Jamie at his desk with a book open.
”Hello Jamie what you up to?”
”I am doing a bit of Maths sir.”
”GCSE again isn’t it?” said Stephen sneeringly. ”Ha ha! You are a thicko.”
”Stephen – that is enough. You do not insult people for things they find difficult. Ok. Grow up. What is wrong with you that you feel compelled to belittle people?”
Stephen fell silent.
Later in the corridor Stephen said ”I am going out for lunch with my parents on Sunday. Dad is back from Iraq on leave.”
”He is in the army is he?”
”Yes he is a major.”
”And would you like to join the army?”
”Not sure.” said Stephen. There was something about his facial expression that Sean could read. Stephen patently did not plan to enlist in the army. But he could not bring himself to tell his parents that. Sean perceived that Stephen lacked the qualities of an army officer – the discipline, physical courage, drive or efficiency. On the other hand Stephen did have some characteristics that were associated with army officers: craven sycophancy, bullying, crassness, vanity, vapidity, moral cowardice, total conformity and a fixation with his hair and clothes. The boy plainly spent half an hour combing his hair each morning.
”And I don’t ever want to hear you insulting people about not being good at a subject” said Sean
”Sir what? I did not do anything.”
”Yes, you did you were being offensive to Jamie just because he has got to re do Maths.”
”Sir, what? I never said anything to him? He is a friend of mine.”
”You most certainly did. I was right there. I heard you. It was five minutes ago.”
”Sir I mentioned he was doing Maths but I was not rude to him. I never would be. I swear on my mother’s life” he said blinking like mad.
Erwin-Montague continued like that. He would always pick on the vulnerable and join the gang of bullies. He would pass it off as mere badinage. But this was not banter. He would find a raw nerve and go for it mercilessly. He was despicable.
Sean got to know Amy. She was the ravishing secretary of the director of studies. Amy was 5’3” and had raven hair past her shoulders. She was slender and vivacious but short on the grey matter.
Sean was in emotional convalescence after the German had dumped him. He decided to set his cap at Amy.
Most mornings Sean took the minibus to school. His friend Lisa Penn was a regular.
Betty also boarded the bus. She was a 60 something cleaner who resembled an over grown turkey that had temporarily taken human form and not too convincingly. A maniacal mindless grin sat on her sallow face beneath her dense, short, dark brown hair. Her brown eyes proclaimed her lack of intelligence. She spoke little but when she did speak it was in a loud and lunatic Yorkshire accent accompanied by shrieking laughter. She was a person of very limited understanding.  Betty was forever grasping the wrong end of the stick – with both hands.
Janet was another who took the bus almost daily. Janet was also beyond middle age. She was a 60s beauty complete with a 60s hairstyle. This Yorkshirewoman’s curling blonde locks were always carefully sculpted. She was soft spoken and self -assured. She exuded kindness and tranquility. It was small wonder that she was a nurse and an excellent one at that. She always wore a tasteful dress.
Sean had breakfast in the school every morning. It was one of the few decent things about the place. The brekker was hearty fare. This was not the sort of food with which is school has poisoned its table 10 years earlier.
The staff had gathered in the staff room at mid morning break. Maids brought up a trolley with large vats of tea and coffee as well as plates of snacks. They tucked into their elevenses.
The headmaster rang a bell. They fell silent and looked around to his diminutive form. The little Scot spoke up with his exaggerated ‘S’ sounds.
”SSSorry everybody. You will have SSSeen the meSSSage about the propoSSSed timetable changeSSS for next year. PleaSSSe SSSend back your reSSSponSSSeSSS by SSSaturday. ASSS you will know I am a conSSSenSSSuSSS politician. SSSo I would prefer if we can have agreement on thiSSS.”
Sean caught sight of Murphy – arms folded. He was on the defensive as ever. He was negative and suspicious. How had he chosen Sean for the job? Sean was a sanguine and creative sort – the polar opposite of Murphy. He thought that Murphy was so uptight he must wear starched Y fronts.
On Sunday during chapel Sean wandered into the woods near the bottom of the valley.  He wandered along a muddy path deep into the woods. In an outlying part of the dense wood he saw a dark shape. He found a disused container shed.  There were several plastic chairs nicked from classrooms and there was a table. There were overflowing ashtrays. Cigarette butts were strewn around like confetti.
Sean was not conscientious. He would not report his find.

The stupidity of John Major.


John Major has spoken out against Brexit. It is odd that he thinks holding a referendum is so dreadful. After all he caved into Referendum Party pressure and vowed to hold one before any attempt to scrap the pound.

Major said that leaving the European Union will be about the tyranny of the majority. Tyranny? This is a revolting word to use to describe the United Kingdom reclaiming its sovereignty. He would rather have the tyranny of the minority. Despite all Remains massive advantages, despite cheating through using public money to fund their side the Remainers still lost.

The referendum was far more democratic than an election. Every vote was of equal value. When there is an elite consensus among parties then the opinion of the masses can be prevented from having any influence. For so long this was the case on the EU.

Back in the 90s he initially opposed a referendum on getting rid of sterling. He said it involved issues that are highly complex. The implication being that most people are too thick to be allowed a say. Of course that is true but also applies to elections.

The referendum was held to determine the United Kingdom’s future. There is no doubt as to the result. Major is Britain’s most discredited Prime Minister. He left office with record disapproval ratings. He led his party to being wiped out in Scotland and Wales. The opinion of this loser carries very little weight indeed.


An assessment of Fidel Castro.


Fidel Castro is dead.

Mr Castro died at the age of 90. He was well known for being the dictator of Cuba for 57 years.

Fidel Castro was born into a well to do family in Cuba. His parents had moved from Spain. He read law at the University of Havana. Most Cubans were illiterate at the time. Castro spoke English at a time when precious few Cubans did.

Castro was attracted to liberal-left ideas. He went to Mexico and teamed up with other Cubans there plotting a revolution. They sailed back to Cuba and attempted a revolt. President Batista’s forces defeated them easily. Batista is now portrayed as a horrific tyrant. In fact he treated these insurgents very leniently. Within a few years they were freed.

Castro then tried again. The second time he was successful. He marched into Havana and proclaimed himself president. Castro emphasised that he was not a communist. He resented the United States. He said many American companies were exploiting the country. There may have been some truth to this in terms of low wages. Castro expropriated American property without compensation. The United States started an embargo. This pushed Cuba into the Soviet orbit. Had the US not done that the Castro might never have decided that he was a communist. On the other hand other countries would have felt it safe to seize American property without fear of a push back.

Castro brought in free healthcare and education. These were laudable policies. He abolished illiteracy in a few years. He forbade free expression and inquiry. This is anti educational.

He drove many of the intelligentsia abroad. He then prevented people from leaving.

Education mainly consisted of Marxist brainwashing. It was better than no education at all.

People had almost no money. They lacked material wealth. However, they had a long life expectancy. Another positive thing is that he was anti racist.

Castro said he was an anti imperialist. He also tried to impose his dogmas on the rest of the world. He backed sectarian extreme nationalists in the UK.

Castro did a lot to tackle poverty. He also destroyed civil liberty. Religious freedom was not allowed.

In 1981 he expelled a lot of criminals and the mentally ill. So much for his social conscience.

In the 90s there was severe hardship. He loosened up a little. Religious liberty was permitted anew. He stopped wearing his combat fatigues. His cult of the personality continued too. If he was so popular he would not have needed the media constantly shewing forth his praise. He would have held fair elections.

Castro did many wicked things. Overall he was a bad man. It would be churlish to deny that he accomplished some things too.




Mr Golden


I learnt much whilst working for the rich and infamous.

I discovered yet more crimes in which Mr Golden was at the very least complicit. Workers were ripped off by his company. The contract said they got $300 a month and they were not even paid that. The ordinary workers were paid less than their official wage. Why? So millionaires could have even more money to spend on foreign clothes. Swindling labourers of their wages: is that the action of a moral man? Yet Golden vaunts his own morality.

These poor workers eke out a miserable existence because the super affluent have robbed them. Hard to credit that Golden embrace commie colours with relish as a teenager. He grew up on Marxist dialectics. So much for collectivism now. Such a volte face demonstrates how utterly self serving people like him are. This somersault is because he is a time pleaser.

They went on strike. Their lawyer was sent to prison for several years for speaking up for her clients. Such arrant injustice is deplorable. The oligarchs are given a free hand to steal from the needy.

The super rich stealing from the poorest is one of the most revolting things possible. How can Golden have any morals at all? He is one of the wickedest men I met. He does not even have the style to be louche or fun. He is an ignoble savage.

Picture a chubby paw snatching a milk bottle from the toothless gums of an infant. That is what has happened. It is sickening that he is so self-righteous. He consider goodness to consist of subscribing to falsehood. That is what he does and not only insofar as he is a Buddhist. The same could be said for believing in any mythology. Why is it that wicked people are often religious? It is so they can tell themselves they are good. Deep down they know that they were repugnant. He can persuade himself that morality is about orisons and rituals.

What happened in oil town? Government buildings were fired. How could this be? They were surrounded by razor wire fence and strongly patrolled. The police set them afire to provide a pretext to gun down demonstrators. The demonstrators were exercising their constitutional rights to agitate on public grievances. They were exposing a crime – theft by the privileged.

Were the police right to open fire? The demonstrators had no weapons at all. The police reported no casualties on their side.

The police admit to having shot 116 of whom 14 died. That is 1 in 8. That is a very low death rate in comparison to the number shot. Is that credible?

Many protesters were arrested and abused in custody. Their claims of mistreatment were quite mild – being kept handcuffed for 12 hours with their feet in cold water. Arms twisted. Death threats. Beatings. Because these gentler abuses their claims are more believable. One many was beaten to badly that he was blinded in one eye.

These demonstrators mostly came from an ethnic minority. This might be why they are so exploited.

One Russian strike leader was sent to prison for inciting unrest. This is a legal catch all. Any speech which notes the crimes of the elite can be counted as inciting unrest. It is not the kelptocracy that ever cause unrest by stealing from the working class of course.

One protester repeatedly faced death threats. His daughter was then raped and murdered. It cannot be proven that the state did it.

One demonstrator was tortured till he agreed to bear false witness. In the dock the changed his mind. He said he would not perjure himself. He then told the truth. He was released. Later he was followed out of a shop one night and beaten to death with an iron bar. His killers were never caught.

It is decent of the state not to frame innocent people for these unsolved murders. That at least is a step forward! But it leaves open the very considerable possibility that the secret police killed these people.

SOme officials were sacked for their handling of the demonstrations. No one has served a day in prison for the murder of these dozens of peaceful protesters.

All this happened the year that Mr G struck it rich. Golden did not just steal. Nor did he merely engage in armed robbery. Golden and those of their ilk have literally murdered their compatriots to get yet more millions. Asking to be paid your wages is a death penalty offence in Mr Golden’s country.

Under communism is was far worse. This would have been the tip of the iceberg. There is a tiny bit of media freedom now. People can travel freely and foreigners come there. That is why the state cannot be too savagely oppressive. They also need investment and they care about world opinion to an extent.

Mr Golden has been climbing up the slippery pole. He has had a lot of help from his old man. His family made their way up the Soviet cursus dishonorum by slavishly serving the tyrants. This was no mere survival. Most people survived and must not be blamed for it. To prosper under such a system is different. That is not about doing the minimum needed to ensure a decent life. It involves zealously carrying out orders of frightfulness. It beggars belief that Golden exalts his ancestors for this.

Incentives drive behaviour. The Goldens had done as they did out of self interest like most people. They then persuaded themselves they did it for ethical reasons. The horde’s hoard shows their lack of scruple. They were Marxists – disgusted at the very notion of private property. They were egalitarians. All the while they stole from the poor and amassed wealth. The hypocrisy is sickening.


Mr Golden’s father was fixated with ‘the Jewish Question’. That is an unfailing sign of a deranged bigot.

Mrs Golden used to moan that her maids were overpaid. That takes some chutzpah. It is nauseating beyond belief to hear a billionairess bitch that her servants have too much money!

Mrs Golden lamented that her brood were immature, irresponsible, brattish, disorganised, torpid, self-centred and dim. Where did they get it from? Did she ever take  look in the mirror? This fishwife had no self-awareness. She thought her sons could be army officers. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Talk about chocolate soldier.

This woman had never been set boundaries. She had never had to grow up. She had things all her own way. She never had to plan or be accountable. She had never had to cope with ordinary inconveniences. Likewise her sons had never travelled by bus or train or even scheduled flight. It was always VIP entrances and private jets. Things had to be when they wanted and where they wanted. They had been infantilisied and conditioned not to share or compromise. They could not keep emotions in check or see things from another person’s perspective. Talk about a spoilt child. This is why they were so easily insulted and enraged.


Amblefifth. Before the pupils arrived.

Over the brow of the hill and into the valley the car sped. The countryside was splendidly green and fragrant in high summer. It was very remote – woods and meadows all around. Then suddenly – a gargantuan complex of grey buildings on the far side of the valley. That was the monastery school – always very striking.
It was a clear August afternoon was Sean got out of a taxi in North Yorkshire. He stepped onto yellow gravel outside a handsome grey stone double cottage. Sean stood up to his full height of 6 feet. He had pale skin, blue eyes and a few pounds too many. His thick brown unbrushed hair swayed in the brisk breeze as he lifted a suitcase out of the boot. The bluff old taxi driver grumbled that the tip was insufficient. Sean blithely ignored him and dragged his two suitcases towards the 18th century cottage. He was a self possessed man in his mid 20s: not pleased to be starting to teach at a school so remote and so full of the academically subnormal. But he was gritting his teeth: determined to make the best of it. It was this or unemployment. Had he chosen the right option?
Miss Jenkins opened one door of the double cottage and came out to greet him.
”Sean! Ah you are here!” said Miss Jenkins in her pukka voice. She wore a matching pale blue blouse and trousers. Her sensible laceup mid brown leather shoes had seen better days. The woman was some way over 70, 5’8” and very upright. Her messy silver hair surmounted a face that was not too wrinkled despite eschewing moisturiser. She was a retired  headmaster’s secretary with all the poise and severity that the role had demanded.
Sean greeted her with a handshake. Miss Jenkins then went and unlocked the door to Sean’s cottage. She walked very rigidly.
She stepped into the dining room at the front. ”Put your things har” she commanded as Sean dragged in his battered suitcases.
”Yes, certainly”, he said sheepishly.
”Would you like a wash?” Miss Jenkins interrogated him. He noticed how sprightly she was.
He paused unsure whether to answer truthfully though he understood the euphemism.
”Go upstairs” she told him. He duly obeyed. Sean was beginning to perceive that this old woman was accustomed to having her way.
A minute later Sean was down again and feeling relieved.
”Why don’t you settle in and come around to mine for tea in 20 minutes?”
Sean did not especially want to have tea with this woman though he could see that she was decent in her own hectoring way. Nor could he think of a way to politely decline.
”Yes please, that would be very nice?” his fake smile did not fool her. He surmised that she was the sort of person who liked to control everything in minor detail.
Sean collapsed on the bed. He had come up from London. He then rolled off and forced himself to do a little unpacking. He flung his items here and there. His distinguishing feature was his bohemianism. He feared this would not sit well with Miss Jenkins’ exacting standards of correctness. Sean was the untidiest person you would meet.  He was clever, cultured, inquisitive and shrewd but contemptuous of bourgeois domesticity.  Sean would not be called an aesthete.
There were two bedrooms. The place was sparsely but tastefully furnished. He thought of the cum rag he had bought in Croatia. Better find a place to chuck that out clandestinely. Mrs Jenkins had mentioned a cleaner coming around – he did not want her seeing it in the bin.
Where had his gilded youth gone? His days as a stellar undergraduate and holding forth at the Oxford Union were long behind him. He knew all the History that was worth knowing and more besides. He was well grounded in languages. He had a wide but superficial knowledge of literature. He had felt  splendid future had been assured him. He called to mind Cyril Connolly’s dictum – whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising.
What a summer it had been? Working in a summer school for a pittance. Flying over to Germany to see his girlfriend. It was not a long sojourn in Germany. Yet she had jilted him after only a week.  She told him she had met a better prospect. Then he had travelled to Hungary and Slovenia on his own. At least he had seen Hungary at last. Hungarian History was now a monomania of his. The past 2 years had seen one catastrophe after another. Failing his driving test. Again. Now marooned in the middle of nowhere. Failing his Master’s degree. Again. Being dumped by the only one he had ever loved. He had found his last teaching job in Berkshire stressful and been none too successful. Please God this one would turn out all right. His parents had been nagging him to read for the bar but his self-belief was at a very low ebb. Enough of exams. He was never going to fail again because he was never going to try again. The past year seemed to have been one long epicedium to his ambitions.  Perhaps he was better off up here – away from the scene of his past glories and calamities. Moreover, at his last school there had been disgusting, football like toothless children. These cardiac arrest candidates seemed to have been force fed deep fried sugar all day such that at the age of 11 some of them could not jog 50 yards. These spherical kiddies of indeterminate sex peopled the London connurbation.  A growing child needs exercise and at least Amblefifth would ensure that.
20 minutes later and Sean was in another outfit – black chinos and a blue and white striped shirt – deodorant freshly applied.
Miss J invited him in.
”Do come in”, she said in her loud  and commanding voice. Sean stepped over the welcome mat. Her cottage was full of bric a brac and Catholic imagery. It was very much a spinster’s house and almost ornately furnished.
He was ushered into the drawing room.  The smart sofas were a few decades old and all the better for it. To his surprise he saw a bald old man sitting in one of the armchairs.
 The old man was wearing regulation geriatric slacks and a brown jumper with a rumpled white shirt under it.  must have been in his 70s. He wore those special black leather slip on old man shoes designed for hammer toes.
”Hello Sean – I am Father Julian. Forgive me if I do not get up. At my age it is such an effort.”
”Good afternoon Father Julian” said Sean. He stooped to shake his hand.
”Why don’t you sit thar?” Miss J told Sean. He mused that she could easily have been an army officer’s wife.
”Um yes, certainly” he said sitting on a sofa perpendicular to Fr Julian’s chair.
Miss J then disappeared into the kitchen.
”I was headmaster until a few years ago and Miss Jennings was my secretary”
”Oh I see.”
”Terribly good woman.”
Miss J re appeared carrying a tray. She set it down and announced ”My father was the head of a Catholic prep school you see.  Then in the war we were evacuated up here. I was the only girl at the school. I was brilliant at cricket and everything. Then I turned 12 and had to go off to a girls’ school.”
”I am not much use at cricket I am afraid. I am rather hoping they will get me into rugby.”
”Well I am sure they shall use you for rugger” said Fr Julian. ”Tell me you are Irish aren’t you?”
”Yes, I am. From Limerick.” Sean was the sort of Irishman who took the trouble to put the fada in his name. He was known to sport an Irish rugger jersey from time to time. This was more out of ethnic identity than any enthusiasm for the magnificent team in green.
”But you picked up that public school accent here?”
”Yes, I was at Winchester” he answered a little nervously.
”Ah Winchester – fabulous. Then Oxford was it?”
”That’s right – Balliol” he was relaxing a tad.
”Ah Balliol. Fr Adrian was there” said the monk pensively.
”Now Sean” said Miss J ”there is a fete on at the parish church tomorrow. Fr Reinhold is running it. You should come. It would be a good way to meet people.”
”Yes, good idea.”
”Now you will notice that there is a door from my cottage to yours. That is because officially this is a single dwelling so one council tax bill. I can keep the rent off the books. But don’t worry I shan’t come around and bother you.”
Sean returned to his gaffe. He remembered the Croatian porn he had with him. He had better dispose of this illicit material.
Next day Sir Charles Goode came around. This diminutive man was an old boy of the school and a local worthy. He signed the lodger agreement as a witness. As a former high commissioner to Bangladesh he was someone whose signature carried sway.
Later that afternoon he took a long walk. The harvest was on. Combine harvesters were scooping up grain. He walked all around the village. It only housed 500 people. There were two pubs and a post office shop. That shop was a lifeline to him. The chip shop was only open three nights a week.
He walked up the hill and on the round that wound up to the right. He turned around and found himself overlooking the many shades of green across the verdant valley. There were holts and tares over the uneven surface of the land. The land was littered with sheep sheds, cow byres and outhouses. He was in deep countryside. It was open woodland. Some fields were filled with grazing ovines.  He took a rest under a tree. Later we walked all the way to the ruined abbey. There was still a little rock debris left centuries after Henry VIII’s men had expelled the monks and torn down the roof.
That night he repined for Oxford. Those storied streets. The sandstone buildings that had witnesses centuries of youth. Oxford was life and fun. he had been an assiduous student as an undergraduate. What had gone wrong as a post graduate? But he had to turn the page. Here he was in lonely exile. He was far from all the gossip and the merry scandals of his chums. England was the Thames Valley for him. Old Father Thames flowed through his life. Now he was banished to the northern wastes. But at least he had a job. Better makes a good fist of it for the two year contract. His mother had said – you stay there until they make you headmaster. He would not do that. But in two years he could have a PGCE, a driving licence, a mortgage and more.
That night he pined for his German ex-girlfriend. She was not unobtainable. She was his city of Lyonesse.
The next morning it was time to walk to school to meet the head of Department. Sean had only met him once before – at interview back in June. He walked in through the front door and into the main hall. The front hall connected to the abbey church and the monastic enclosure on one side. On the other it connected to the school buildings. Sean was surprised to see two middle aged monks walk by. Those well tailored black habits. It threw him. This was the religious tradition he was brought up in but to see these men wearing such anachronistic garb was discombobulating. Were they very strange people to wear that? What must it be like for those who were not raised as Catholics to see men wearing these curious garments?
Sean walked through the school – down a long corridor to the History Department. The parquet tiles were light brown. Windows to the left looked up the slope to the dining halls. To the right were the doors of half a dozen classrooms.
Sean got to the end – the Head of History’s office. He knocked at a polite volume.
Through the window in the door Sean saw the man he had met at interview. Andy Murphy was 6’4” – skinny as a snake and twice as poisonous. Some light brown hair was clustered to the rear of his egghead. Apart from that he was bald. Malevolent brown eyes bored out from the front of his skull. Murphy wore a pale blue V neck sweater with diamond shape designs on it. He wore brown corduroy trousers and  shiny grey slip on leather shoes with white socks.  The man thought he looked natty. But Andy Murphy had the manners and appearance of a failed funeral director. Sean remembered when he had come up in June – after his interview. He had come all the way from London to discuss the forthcoming term. Murphy had then told him he would not be paid travel expenses and nor would he be provided with lunch. It set a tone  miserliness and spite. But Murphy had unwittingly supplied Sean with boundless comic material. Murphy was a very easy man to do an impression of and Sean was a gifted mimic. He would have his mates in stitches doing impersonations of this fiend.
Murphy came to the door and opened it with his long face. He appeared to be conspicuously stressed. Sean was to learn that Murphy always wore this expression.
”Hello Sean.” he hissed in his southern English accent..
”Hello Mr Murphy” he said in a deferential tone.
”No need to be so formal. Well – call me what you like” said Murphy in his low monotone. Murphy began to sniffle.
Murphy sat down behind his desk. There was one in front of it. Sean stood by the chair.
 Murphy made himself comfortable and was about to talk. Then he realised Sean was still standing. Sean had expected to see reference books in the office but there were none. This man called himself and academic but had no books – just files. It was telling as to where his priorities lay.
”Please sit down” he was discomforted by Sean’s decorous behaviour. Murphy snuffled some more,
”Thank you Mr Murphy.”
”So here you are. You are 25. Do you want to be here when you are 55?”, he droned. Murphy twitched his mouth to the right.
Sean thought to himself he did not even want to be here now but knew it was unwise to say so.
Murphy continued ”That’s why I want you to make a success here. I do not mind you knowing I had a very long conversation with all your referees. So you need to work hard. If I have to speak to the headmaster and say it is not going well then it will be very bad news for you. It is not rocket science. We are a flagship department for the school.”, he threatened. ”But we have a lot in common. We are both  20th century historians.” He said in his expressionless hiss. Sean knew that he was radically different from Murphy but sought to humour him.
”And both Irish” said Sean.
”I am not Irish” Murphy looked insulted. Murphy sniffed again. He pushed his lips out and then to the right.
”Oh sorry just judging from your surname.”
”I am not Irish. I am English. I am not even Catholic.” Murphy twitched his mouth to the right.
”Oh sorry – not even a little bit. Several generations back.”
”No. Not at all. I am from Sussex. Murphy is not Irish at all.” Andy Murphy stretched his mouth to the right again. Twice.
Sean was learning to be a bit more inhibited.
”Now get your file out” he demanded. Murphy twitched his mouth to the right again and snuffled.
Sean handed him a yellow folder with notes for the pupils that he had spent days typing.
Murphy eyed them disdainfully for a moment. Sean felt deeply gauche. Murphy scrutinised them as though his job was the most important of all.
”These are crap. You will have to use mine. You need to learn to write decent notes. It is not rocket science. ” Murphy twisted his mouth to the right.
 ”I see. Ok” Sean strove to convey respect he did not feel.
”It is not ok!” Murphy scolded the young man. ”One thing you will learn about me is I never smile!” He tweaked his mouth to the right and snuffled. ”A teacher stands or falls on the quality of his notes.”
Sean was guessing he fell then. ”Should I just use a textbook?”
”No textbooks are crap. Use my notes they are superb. I am the last one they invite to a party but my notes are out of this world. My real enthusiasm is the Holocaust. I love it. I teach about it in America. My wife’s American you see.” Murphy appeared to think he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Sean was beginning to see that retaining his job would be no easy matter.  Was he really suitable for this place? Why had he put himself forward for this? If only he had gone for that Quaker school instead. Pacifists and vegetarians – better than this lot. It seemed portentous. He hated Murphy’s guts already. Sean could have been reading for the Bar at the moment but he had made the fateful decision to accept this job.
Murphy had a horrendous facial tic – pursing his lips out and stretching his mouth to the right. Only ever to the right. Sean suspected that Murphy had adinoidal trouble. He came to notice that Murphy never, ever went to the loo. Anal retentive? In on year Sean never saw Murphy going to or coming from the lavatory.
It had been a baptism by fire. He realised that humouring and pampering his tempermental boss would be his chief challenge. Murphy was not a man to be gainsaid. He was also a man of brittle ego. Sean would have to hide his erudition. Emotional astuteness would be as important as anything else.
For Murphy it was all about style not substance. It was about organising and labelling things and not knowing things or even imparting facts or skills in an engaging manner. It seemed like this man did not care a rap for History. A fantastically
 nit picking civil servant was lost in him. Sean feared this was not the last time that Murphy would remonstrate with him.
Later that afternoon it was sunny. Tea was taking outside one of the boarding houses. The pupils would not be back for a few days. Sean felt a little relaxed and admired the magnificent backdrops of fields and coppices on the hills.
There was a chubby middle aged monk. ”Hello nice person” he said with a manic facial expression. Sean shook the man’s flabby hand.
”I am father Jerzy” he said in an English accent.
”Jerzy I see.  Unusual name”
”Yes, I am half Polish.”
”I see. Do all Benedictines wear this habit”
”Yes we all have elephant ears” he said holding onto the flaps that came over his shoulders.
Later Sean fell into conversation with a slim young man – about the same age as himself.
”Hi, my name is Abel Kennington.” he said smilingly almost madly.
”Hello I am Sean.”
” I teach CT.”
CT  – Sean thought. He must mean ICT. This bloke did not seem the geeky type.
”CT wow – that is useful. I was terrible at that.”
”Well Christian Theology is what it is all about.”
”Christian Theology. I thought you said ICT. Ah  – I get it CT.”
”Ah I see. So did you have a good summer?”
”Oh yes very nice. We moved up last month.  Hanging around here.”
”Right. We? Are you…”
”Yes, I am married. Two children.”
Sean was surprised as this man could be no older than him.
There was an afternoon lecture.
Sean was busy photocopying – getting ready for term. The deputy headmaster walked into the photocopying room. Paul Brown was his name. The Scotsman was average height and had very thin brown hair – he would have been better off shaving it.
”You are in there mate” he said – he indicated a lecture room ”There is a talk on”
”Oh thanks” said Sean. He was always absent minded. Could never remember where to be and when.
Sean hastened into the lecture room. Brown did not look troubled that Sean had almost forgotten.
Sean looked along the rows of new colleagues. Most of the staff beginning that year were in their 20s. Some were middle aged. Who was that half way along? A young woman. He recognised here. No! It couldn’t be. No? WHat? It was. It could only be here
Her cerebral endowments were much better than her physical ones. She was 5’4” and very dumpy for a woman her age. She had grubby teeth and very pale skin. Her jowels were unbecoming and here curly hair was auburn. Curiously, she was a person of pronounced left wing opinions.
It seemed no one had troubled to inquire into her background. Like most people who are superlatively clever the Griffin was also barking mad. Not always in a harmless way either. Sean remembered Wiffen confronting her boyfriend with a knife. She had been rusticated and sectioned. Surely she had been less than honest about her time away from education. Despite missing a term of a three year degree she had still come out with a double first. A razor sharp mind. She was often grubby but had chosen to scrub up. She was a driven woman. He could well imagine her interviewing well. Barking mad – as the thought. This might also be why she was now rabidly religious or so he had heard tell.
The lecture began. Up stepped an epicene person who might have passed for a woman. Her wrinkles were elephantine. Her short dark blonde spit end unwashed ropey hair hung limply down to her chin. It was her one concession to her sex. Her black corduroy trousers did nothing for her.  She at least had the decency to hide most of her skin with these. She croaked out;
 ”My name is Rachel Arrowsmith. Welcome to Amblefifth” she said in her hoarse and graceless voice. She was a battleaxe with a pukka accent. ”I am an English teacher and I have been here over 20 years. I am head of new staff development. Make sure you dress right. We are constantly going on to the girls about modesty. So women dress in trousers and long skirts. And no cleavage.” She was champing a little.
Sean could not believe that this woman had mentioned decolletage in the presence of monks. For men utterly deprived of female society the mere mention of decolleatage could provoke them to sustain a hard on. Sean remembered as a  pupil in an all boys school if he saw so much as the outline of a bra strap through a blouse that gave him an instant erection. Could she not have modified it?  Mrs Arrowsmith continued her harangue. ”We must challenge the students on their prejudices. Many of them are Tories. People who are young should be left wing. Some of them say the most frightfully Tory things. I can hear my husband spinning in his grave when they talk Tory rubbish. My sister is a journalist – you probably know her work. Everyone will tell you who she is. So it is our job to challenge right wing bigotry.” She  foamed around the edge of the lips and dripped self-righteousness.
It struck Sean as very bizarre that an avowed left winger should teach at a public school. Someone could be left wing or work at a public school but not both. Not if this person had any morals at all. There was no warmth, no charm and no feminimity in this female. Mrs Arrowsmith’s speech was all discursive and never informative. Were his right wing views to be muzzled? For a place anchored in Catholicism the school seemed very intolerant of traditionalism.
”We must be PC. I am very proud that my daughter is in the police and advancing the politically correct agenda. We must have zero tolerance of any name calling especially by Tory bigots.” Was that not a contradiction in terms? It was all delivered in such a self righteous tone. In his pique he wanted to tell this woman what he thought of her screed. Sean was a man very fertile in ideas. Rarely being stuck for an opinion he found it difficult to keep them to himself. He sensed this could be his downfall. He recalled Matt at university had said ”Your mouth is going to get you into trouble one day”. Prophetic words.
Mrs Arrowsmith lacked eloquence for an English teacher. Her speech certainly did not energise Sean. He had better not be obstinate. Was his time here going to be a fiasco? He had already taken a violent dislike to Mrs Arrowsmith.
Sean mused that perhaps he had been wrong to turn down a part-time position in Bedford. Being a historian he always raked over the past. He tormented himself forever by asking whether a decision was right or wrong. He told himself – turn the page. Except he kept turning it back.
Afterwards at tea Griffin saw him and bounded up to him.
”I saw you and could not believe it” he said.
 She giggled  ”I could not believe it was you.”
She seemed to be in a good state of nerves. ”I know so much about you. You know so much about me. It is mutually assured destruction” he quipped.
Griffin laughed raucously at that. He had got her on a good day but observed that she was still swivel eyed.
”I have converted to Catholicism!” she trumpeted.
”Oh I see congratulations. I am a cradle Catholic”
”And lax – so I heard.”
Emily then treated him to her sermon on why Catholicism is the way. It was delivered with trademark panache. Her intellectual hauteur also shone through.
”What do you think of Lefebvre”
”Well my father confessor always suspects me of being one of those but I am not one of Lefebvrist;s coterie. I was at world youth day this year! Wonderful to see his Holiness!”
”Pope’s had to swear to maintain all the doctrines of their most illustrious predecessors and not to admit any novelty but popes have.”
”That is tradition not dogma. ”
Her lunacy and her religious fervour amused him. These two were a usual combination he thought.  She could do really well here so long as she does not have another breakdown.
The conversation wandered to other things and she said  ”I have a boyfriend”
”Well done you.”
”His name is Bob. He is teaching CT at Manchester Grammar. Met him at a wedding last month.”
”Well done you.”
”I am going to be an assistant housemistress in a girl’s house.”
”Are you really? Well done you.”
”Do you want to come around and see my place?”
”Yes, sure I do.” He knew they did not need to be anywhere for a few hours. Was this a sufficient margin of time to seduce her? She was a notorious flirt. He found her unattractive but also subscribed to the any hole’s a goal philosophy.
Emily led him to her flat. There they snogged and petted. It turned out there was no call for extravagant sweet talk.  It all got out of hand with clothes coming off. Events unfolded as did her labia. They ended up indulging in a soixante neuf. Soon his tongue was burrowing like a squirrel into her vulva. He reflected how the bulk of boys at Oxford had done her. It was said that there were three things no boy at Oxford could avoid: matriculation, exams and sex with the GRIFFIN. Her raddled meat did not taste bad considering that she had more than likely picked up several STDs.
After resting a while Sean decided he had better go.
”Are you coming to the pub quiz down the Horse?”
”Um no I don’t feel like it.”
”All right then” said Sean getting dressed. It was time to make a strategic retreat. He spotted a half empty bottle of vodka in her bedside table. It carried him back to Oxford. He remembered the first time he had met Emily – 5 years earlier. It had been at a Conservative drinks party. She had got blind drunk. She sat down. The lights were flashed on and off to tell people to quieten down. Then a speech began. Emily started shaking. She had to be held in her chair. Her drunken paroxysms had been so wild that she had had to be escorted out. Plus ca change.
Sean was not keen to repeat his misadventure with the Griffin. He realised that desperation might get the better of him. How far would she push him to come back? He then recalled the old adage – it is the height of ill manners to have sex with someone once. It suggests that one did not derive the keenest pleasure from it. Out of courtesy perhaps he ought to bed her a second time solely for form’s sake. What would Debrett’s say? Sean knew that he spoke before he thought. Trouble is he fucked before he thought too.
Sean knew that the Griffin could pivot either way. She was high as a kite at that moment. But next moment she could be suicidially depressed. She could also become dangerously unhinged.
Sean found himself down the White Horse for a pub quiz. He walked into the small and dimly lit country pub complete with oakbeams and wooden floor boards.
A short young man greeted him ”ee oop”.
”Hello” said Sean nonplussed. ee oop. He could not believe it. That was out of James Herriot – did people really speak like that in Yorkshire still?
It was time to shed his class blinkers. He noticed that everyone in this alehouse either spoke with a broad Yorkshire accent or else in a cutglass accent. Nothing else.
He was on a team with the evil Murphy. People are normally insouciant in pubs but not Murphy.
Which surname is common to a British PM and an American President? Wilson.
What is the name of the German pilot who shot down the most British planes in the Great War?
”Bastard” someone shouted to raucous laughter.  The answer was the Red Baron Manfred von Richthofen.
”Anyone got any plans for the weekend? If not get some it is your last weekend for a long time” said Murphy.
Michael Jackson came up in conversation. ”How about a school trip to his neverland ranch?” Sean quipped
”Yeah” said Murphy bitterly ”would you like to do the risk assessment for it?”
Sean’s team won the ten pounds prize. He was too self effacing to say he had been on University Challenge. ”lET’s donate it all to RNLI” said Murphy
The prize would have been split three ways otherwise.
”What would we get for 3 pounds 33?” Sean jested.
”A lot of guilt” said Murphy morosely. Murphy went home to his lanky American wife and two sprogs.
Sean chatted to his new pal from C  T  – Abel Kennington. He was wearing brown tweed trousers and a white shirt with brown lines. It was a deliberate archaism. He cultivated the young fogey look with a fedora which mercifully he had hung up on the hat stand.
”I was at Oxford too.” Abel was in his cups
”Oh yeah”
”Just graduated 3 years ago” said Abel between gulping down a pint.
”Me too.”
”Contemporaries then. I took an extra year though – had time off for being academically crap.”
”Ah I see. So how long you been married then?”
”Well this far into the conversation” Abel Kennington was almost shouting as he was half pissed ” I mean Nigella and I met. We decided to get married. We would not do it until we married. But then in a moment of weakness we lapsed. She got pregnant straightaway. Anyway – my son was born a month before I sat finals. Then we got married 4 months later.”
”Oh right good for you.” he said.
” You must come around some time. I live in St James’s/ Come over for a drink tomorrow at 7.”
Abel clearly like a drink – a little too much.  ”Yes, fabulous I will come over.”
”I am fucking good at CT” said Abel ” no point in hiding it.” Abel then treated Sean to a rodomontade of ultra right wing diatribe. He expounded on the need to expunge all reforms made in the Catholic Church since the First Vatican Council. ”I am a member of the Society of Pius IX” he said with evident pride. The odd thing was that Abel’s loony tunes opinions were expressed with a certain rationality and coherence. He showed great ingenuity in voicing these off the wall opinions in a manner that did not seem overly objectionable. The curious thing was his views did not correspond with anyone of his generation. Abel also affected the style and mannerisms of a country squire.
All the teachers gathered in Big Study. It was not just the staff who were new that year.
Fr Augustine got up to speak. He was 6’4” and wore his black monk’s robes. His dense thatch of blond hair surmounted a kindly face framed by thick rimmed glasses. Augustine spoke in an endearing voice, ”Hello I am Fr Augustine. I teach History and I am housemaster of St Olaf’s. So a bit about me. I was born in London. My dad was an oil executive. I went to St Paul’s and then King’s College, Cambridge where I read History. Then I went to do another BA at Oxford in Theology. I joined the NHS and worked as a manager. I was brought up and Anglican but I converted to Catholicism. I came up here for several weekends to try out the monastery. When I was 27 I joined the order. So I have been here for 15 years. So this session is about being a house tutor. As a housemaster and a monk I am busy. Tutors are assigned to each house to help the housemaster and the assistant housemaster. It reminds me of how every year or so a monk dies. The other monks carry the coffin. It seems like some of those carrying the coffin are carrying none of the weight, some of them are carrying half of the weight and some of them are carrying all of the weight. Well we do not want that in a house situation. We need all of the tutors to carry an equal share of the weight.  I go to mass as much as I can. Should be 5 times a day. But when I am there I want to have the confidence that whoever is in charge of that the house is running it well. So I also want the tutors of the boys to be in regular touch with the parents. The secret of being a good tutor is record keeping. If a parent phones you to ask about something they have discussed previously they expect you to have taken notes. You need notes to help you and not a half-remembered phone conversation from six months ago.” He carried on in a similar vain. He was fairly engaging and came over as humble though not to the point of self-effacement.
The next evening Sean found the door of the St James’s assistant housemaster. It felt bizarre to walk down long half lit corridors of wooden tiles in an empty school. The walls were lined with images of Catholics who were liquidated for their faith. Uplifting indeed! Would this make pupils dutifully comply with school rules? Sean doubted it. There were troublemakers in every school. Of course Catholic governments had seen Protestants as renegades and the unbending ones had been burnt. Oddly that did not rate a mention in this school.
Sean knocked delicately on the door.  A hefty man some way past middle aged and about 6’4” in height opened it. ”Good evening” he said in a Mancunian accent.
”Hello; my name is Sean Gallagher, Abel invited me around this evening.”
”Oh come in then” said the
muscular oldish man. He was soft spoken.
Sean stepped into an entrance hall which led onto a small, bright and sparsely furnished drawing room.
”Ah Sean – good to see you old bean” said Abel.
 Old bean – thought Sean. Affected?
Bob wore trademark green tweeds.
”I am Dean by the way” said the older man ”Melanie’s father.”
”Ah so you are Abel’s father in law.” Sean confirmed.
”That’s right” he giant was soft spoken and his clothes were very orderly. ”I thought you were one of the older boys.”
”They are not back yet. I am 26 but I shall take it as a compliment” he laughed.
 Dean chortled too. He was a gentle giant.
”Come sit down” said Abel who had clearly started early.
”What will you have ? ” Abel continued ”Beer?”
”Yes any beer” said Sean obligingly.
”Yorkshire bitter?” asked Abel standing. He was so cheery he was climbing the walls.
”It is isn’t it”’ Sean joked.
”Oh ain’t it half” said Dean  ”I am from the other side of Pennines you see.”
Abel went and got some tinnies they all sat down for a chat.
”I was in the police for 40 years” said Dean ”now I run the pension fund.”
”Oh I see. Terrific” said Sean straining to find a compliment to pay.
A few minutes later Nigella came out.. She was 26 and had dark brown lustrous locks past her shoulders. Her skin was alabaster. There was delicate beauty to her and her cheekbones were prominent. She had dreamy blue eyes and a soft, distant voice. She was lightfooted and slender.  Abel had done very well for himself. Sean would like to  get into Nigella’s inner sanctum.
”Hello, my name is Sean” he said standing. He shook her hand
”Well pleased to meet you. Welcome” she spoke with a light Mancunian accent ”I just had to put the children to bed.”
”How old are they?”
”Our eldest is 3 and the other one is 18 months”
”Good for you.”
”Now I am a fervent Catholic. Not always so. I was brought up an Anglican. I was passionate about it – wanted to be a vicar. I was in the Church Army. Became and atheist.  I was a radical one but I still went to read Theology out of intellectual curiosity. This Ulster Prod said to me ‘Have you heard the good news about Jesus?’ I said, ”Yeah – he is dead.” But then I came back to Christianity. I became a Catholic and I am proud to say I am devout.”
Dean smiled indulgently. Nigella seemed faintly embarrassed – she had heard this homily many times over. Sean was puzzled – Abel had been through three different religious positions by the age of 20. He seems to have embraced each of these fervently. Was this evidence of an unstable personality?
”So you are Catholic too?” Sean asked Nigella.
”Well, no.” she said in her tinkling voice, ” I was baptised an Anglican like most people but we did not really go to church.” Her personality was so temperate. It was so at odds with that of her husband. He was a driven man and no doubt a man of demons.
”We are not a religious family” Dean commented.
”But I got to mass with Abel and the boys are being brought up Catholic.”
”Oh yes. We carry them on a sofa as the pope used to be carried and should still be carried” said Abel ”I want to work in Catholic education my whole life. I spoke to Fr James about doing a full tridentine mass. I shall be acolyte. There was an Anglican priestess here last week for a conference. She said she hoped I accepted her . I said accept you as an Anglican but as a priest – I do not accept you at all!” He looked very pleased with himself for that witticism. He was sanguine in his manner. ”You should real Missale Romanum. I find it invaluable to my spiritual life. It sets out why it was so wrong of the Church of England to have women priests. It was a tactical manoeuvre. Women priests are wrong – always will be wrong. That was why so many good Anglicans crossed the Tiber to us!”Did that  constitute sufficient pretext to change church, Sean wondered?
Melanie seemed a little distant.  She joined the soiree but did not engage much. Sean coveted her.  Abel – having two children by this age. Seemed a nightmare. On the other hand he got to climb into bed with Melanie every night. Cannot be bad. Sean felt he could gauge her character – equable. She had inherited her father’s temperament. He was also on an even keel.
Abel seemed dissipated: he was a maelstrom of emotion. There was something maniacal about his facial expressions and voice. He was slim whereas Sean was fleshy faced. Nigella had internal stability to her. What was this inner tranquility?
Abel continued to hold forth. It was unadulterated reactionary invective against modernism in religion and politics. The entire 20th century had been one gigantic error! He talked incessantly. Sean was amused by him. He could not call him an interlocutor as he was seldom able to say anything. Despite this Sean was not bored. He sensed that Abel was glad to have found someone who would indulge him by listening to his zany opinions. Sean could detect a bolshy adolescent in Abel. Was he still at pains to shock? Abel said almost nothing about his last place except ”We were short staffed so I had to teach History too. Magnificent subject!”
Sean walked home with his heading buzzing. He had given up the faith years ago. He still had a soft spot for Catholic aesthetics. As for the Church – he considered it tedious but sometimes amusing for loonery. Overall it was grandmotherly. There was something wrong with a young man like Abel who was so mad keen on reactionary Catholicism. At least he was upbeat about it and not quietistic. He was increasingly apprehensive about the job.
On Sunday Sean went along to the village fayre. It was held outside the tiny grey stone Catholic chapel. A courtyard around the church face onto the one street in the village of 800 souls.
A few score people were milling around a few stalls. Miss Jenkins was there in a floral print summer dress complete with bonnet.  She saw Sean and made a beeline for him.
”I am glad you made it.” Then she turned from him ”Father Reinhold” she called to a middle aged slender bald monk in a black cassock.
The monk turned around ”Yes, Miss Jenkins” he said in a notably Teutonic accent.
”I wish to introduce you to a new parishoner.”
”Ah hallo” Fr Reinhold said.
Sean shook the man’s hand. What hair Reinhold had clustered at the rear of his scalp. ”So vat brings you here to Amblefifth?”
”I am teaching there.”
”Ah very nice. I am in the monastery but not involved in the school. I run the orchard. Sometimes the students are scrumping from it. I make cider.”
Sean was impressed that the priest knew a word so precise as scrump.
”Ah I see. Are you from Germany.”
”Yes, I was a surgeon there. Then I had a vocation so I came here to become a monk. Now I am parish priest here.”
”I see. A surgeon wow. And do you treat the students or anyone?”
”Oh no. I have given up Medicine. The work of God is far more important than healing the sick.”
Sean was stunned. Had this man not got his priorities the wrong way around? Would healing the sick not be doing God’s work? But logic did not seem to go far here.
”I see. Well I hear there is high mass in the abbey church the first day that the pupils are back and all the priests from the abbey will be participating. ”
”Yes, it will be a wonderful mass. It will be led by the abbot – he says a lovely, warm mass. It is great for people to see the real glory of the church.”
”Yes, it can be very impressive” Sean was straining himself to say something complimentary. The glory of the church – he thought. What about the glory of God? Was this not all about worldliness? It amused him that Fr Reinhold reviewed masses as though he was reviewing films. Some were more entertaining than others.
”Excuse me – I must say hello to zat woman over zere” said Reinhold and was gone.
”Ah someone else you should meet” said Miss Jenkins. ”The Pinfolds.”
An obese middle aged woman was there.  Her mass of brown hair did not sufficiently distract from her fat, unattractive yet kindly face. Her heavy jowls were reddish.
”Hello my name is Meg Pinfold.”
”Hello Mrs Pinfold.”, he shook her hand.
”This is my son Mark.” He was about 15. He was unbearded and skinny as can be. He was deathly pale and had dark brown freckles. His loose brown hair was wild as can be. He wore a sulky expression and looked around furtively.
”Ah hello Mark” said Sean shaking the boy’s hand.
”Ah hello sir” the boy said through closed lips. Mark was not tall and he stooped over – making him seem even shorter.
”Mark goes to Amblefifth” said Mrs Pinfold.
”I see good to meet you then” said Sean, ”I am about to start teaching there.”
The boy looked at him again – differently; Faintly afraid. It was as though he was accustomed to falling foul of authority.
”Oh right”, said Mark Pinfold. His accent was difficult to discern since he spoke through a closed mouth but it seemed to be RP. ”Which house you in?” Mark mumbled as he foostered.
”I am going to be in St OlAF’s”
”That is my house.” The boy seemed even more worried. He looked down and fidgeted. Mrs Pinfold glowered at him. As though he had done something very wrong. There was patently froideur between them.
”And this is my daughter. Lily” said Mrs Pinfold.
A brunette of 13 greeted him. She was also pale but had no freckles. She had a serious mean and shook Sean’s hand.
”hello” she said in a Yorkshire accent ”I am pleased to meet you sir.” She stood up straight and looked him in the eye. She spoke clearly and there was none of the foostering of her brother. Mrs Pinfold looked on Lily benignly.
”I was at the prep school last year so I am pleased to be moving on to the senior school now.”
”Oh well it is great that you are keen on the move. SOme people are a touch nervous about  anew stage and all that. I am!”, he chuckled. Mrs Pinfold laughed with him but Lily did not. Mark seemed nonplussed.  ”What did you do for the summer?”
”We were in Spain for a week but mostly I was here riding and looking after our horses. I was in a gymkhana”
”Ah tremendous ” said Sean. He did his best to keep the conversation going. He noticed there was no Mr Pinfold on the scene. The chat soon petered out and he moved on to  mingle with others.
Mark Pinfold reminded him of Tom Sawyer – mischievous, none too keen on school and far from bright. Lily was clearly the golden girl in her mother’s eyes.