Sunday, 11 December 2016

THE MAD MUDADABOB OF THE WOOD


THE MAD MUDADABOB OF THE WOOD

BY

BARRY VAN-ASTEN

 

It was a day of great sadness in the little village of Grimswald as Mrs Chilcomb the baker’s wife lay hysterical in her bed having slept very little the previous night after her youngest son Harcourt went missing yesterday. Her husband, Seymour, the baker was with the rest of the men-folk searching for the boy but it would be no use, he had disappeared like all the rest before him! The legends connected with Gallows Wood and the ‘Mad Mudadabob’ the wicked beast or ‘witch’ named by the villagers and said to reside in the woods were numerous and handed down through generations so that a very real presence was conjured that crawled through the woods and right through the village and whoever enters the woods were surely never to be seen again. Just over a hundred years ago four children were playing in the woods against their parent’s warnings and all four were never seen again. It seems that not a year goes by without some catastrophic event connected to the woods occurring.
The woods were dark and dense and those that had travelled near its edge where the road climbs towards Penwizen say that there is an awful pervading silence and that no birds will sing in the vicinity of the woods; no flowers bloom in the woods and the primrose and bluebell fear to grow beyond the outer limits of the wood within its strangling darkness. Strange lights have been seen flitting through the boughs at night and children sing songs about the fairies in Gallows Wood. Fearing yet more tragedies the Lord of the manor, Lord Montague announced a decree to the village proclaiming that anyone who can rid Gallows Wood of its infernal monster shall take his daughter, Lady Lucinda’s hand in marriage along with a thousand acres of land and a place within Monford Hall, he swore this upon his honour as a gentleman, which as we know is a very great oath indeed!
His Lordship’s daughter, Lady Lucinda was a very beautiful young woman with a pale complexion, long golden hair and large blue eyes, skilled in many arts and homely crafts with a very gentle nature and love for her father (her mother, Lady Matilda had died during childbirth and thus Lucinda became very close to his Lordship).
The first to announce his intentions of slaying the beast and claiming the Lord’s daughter was the shoemaker, Bill Trumble, who stated that he would make a fine pair of shoes and riding boots for his Lordship from the skin of the beast! The shoemaker set upon his journey to much cheering from the crowds that saw him off, and the shoemaker looked over his shoulder and waved as he went over the hill, puffing on his tobacco pipe with the gloomy Gallows Wood in view. The following day the shoemaker’s horse came trotting along the lane back towards the village and all the villagers feared the worst had happened to Bill, which indeed it surely had for he was never seen again from that day forward!
The next person to attempt the quest was the Butcher, Joseph Cotton, and before he left the village he declared that he would make a huge chain of sausages from the monster for the whole village to enjoy! And so he too set off into the distance with the dark impending doom of the woods before him. To keep his mind from the horror that lurked ahead, Joseph blew tunes upon his tin whistle but Joseph’s heart almost beat out of his chest as he neared the haunted woods and a dark mood took over the butcher which grew in intensity the closer he got. The next day Joseph’s horse was seen heading towards the village on the old Penwizen Road. Joseph was never seen again, much to the annoyance of those admirers who delighted in his pies and sausages!
The third person to set off from the village was the extremely short-sighted, bespectacled Tailor, Thomas Bullfinch, who presumptuously stated that he would stitch a fine suit from the skin of the beast and present it to his ‘Father in Law – Lord Montague’! His boastful attitude did not win him much favour in the village and besides, most of the villagers were too poor to afford his expensive suits and so hadn’t much taken to him as a villager, but, he may bring back a fine suit to prove that the beast is dead and so they made a great pretence of wishing him well, knowing that he would probably never be seen again, like the shoemaker and the butcher before him! And so he wasn’t!
Over the past few days as these brave men had set off into the woods with what appeared no fear of death, the Vicar’s daughter, Miss Selina Merryworth, had, like the other villagers watched them go. Selina was considered to be very beautiful amongst the villagers with her long dark hair and large brown eyes and she was well-liked and she knew that she was just as brave as any man, and so without notifying anyone of her intentions, she set off after dinner on horseback with a hunting rifle and the intention of bringing back the dead body of the Mad Mudadabob or whatever it is that lurks in the woods!
The moon shone full as Selina entered the dreary woods that hung over her like a dark shadow and followed a trail that meandered through the interior. Not a sound was heard nor a creature seen and the intense darkness held some fearful approaching menace. Suddenly the horse pulled up and began to rear and Selina could do nothing to encourage it to walk on. She dismounted and tethered the horse to a branch. In the distance beyond the dark boughs she could see a light and as she got nearer she could see the old woodcutter’s cottage in a much dilapidated state, yet a light shone within. Selina approached the cottage and seeing the door was open, entered, closing the door behind her. Through the murky gloom that was illuminated by a flickering fire in the hearth she could see human bones decorating the room, skulls upon the walls and a table and chair made of skeletons. In the hearth was a large pot and as Selina peeked into it she could see a pair of spectacles floating in the bubbling soup and then she noticed a pair of eyes behind them, glazed and staring at her and as she looked again she could see the ruddy remnants of the Tailor, Thomas Bullfinch’s face bobbing up and down in the boiling liquid, his tongue extruding from his mouth. Selina quickly turned away and as she leant against the table she could see a tin whistle and a tobacco pipe among other objects upon it, such as a small doll, a pair of dice and several coins.
Suddenly, the door flew open and there standing in the doorway was the figure of a menacing woman framed by the dark night behind her. Two points of fiery red lights pierced into Selina’s soul and in the next moment a large and lithe creature which must have been seven feet tall moved swiftly as if it were floating and Selina could see the human-like figure before her covered in a fine material which draped around the monster. The thing stared intensely at her and Selina felt something come over her, as if she were dreaming but she managed to pull herself out of the unearthly spell of the witch which must have overcome those who had tried to kill the beast before her and then without warning the thing rushed at her with great pace. Selina drew her rifle and blasted a hand-sized hole in its heart and the witch fell to a heap before it could get its sharp talons on her!
When she had recovered her senses Selina walked towards the monster and could see it had an almost human face, female in fact with eyes much like her own which were now black where flames were moments before and a mouth which was contorted into some wild grimace. She took the rope she had with her and bound the body of the ‘witch’ to some wooden poles she found in a clearing and attached the rope to her horse and set off back to the village and to Monford Hall.
When Selina reached the village her father the Vicar, who had been very concerned about his daughter, was the first to greet her and the church bells were ringing and the villagers were cheering and shouting with joy! In fact, the day became a festival day which would be celebrated for many generations after!
At the Hall the Lord was pleased to see Selina and looked at the ‘witch monster’ she brought with her and declared that the village was now safe! Then his Lordship added that of course she would not hold him to his oath to present his daughter, Lady Lucinda’s hand in marriage and that instead he would give her his daughter’s weight in gold coins, but Selina said:
‘My Lord, you are a just man and a noble man and your word is very truth amongst the village and so I request that you keep your word and honour me by allowing me to take your daughter’s hand in marriage!’ His Lordship was aghast but being an honourable man he was duty bound and kept his word and a week later Selina and Lady Lucinda were married by Selina’s father in the parish church of Grimswald and both brides were very beautiful, Selina wearing a lovely scarlet dress which clung neatly to her small bosom and Lucinda a white dress which complemented her delicate and petite figure and following the ceremony a great feast was prepared for the village and on the table, set for dinner, was the Mad Mudadbob, which had been roasting in the kitchen all day, on a magnificent silver platter, big enough for several children to bath in, which following the feast became its general use amongst the village children!
Mrs Chilcomb, the baker’s wife had an extra large portion of ‘roast witch’ and felt contented that by proxy she was getting even with the butcher, Joseph Cotton, who once served her a terrible cut of shoulder which she accused him of belonging to a small dog, and at the same time, getting even with the Tailor, Thomas Bullfinch, who once short-changed her but also not realising that she was also ‘getting even’ with her own son, Harcourt!
Selina and Lady Lucinda became very well-liked amongst the villagers and the Ladies resided at the Hall with Lord Montague and in time Lucinda’s duty to honour her father’s wishes deepened into a great love and intimacy for Selina!
It was two years later that Lady Lucinda’s cousin, Sheridan, a handsome man who was a very skilled horseman came to visit the Hall and stayed several days. Sheridan and the Ladies talked much about the legend of the Mad Mudadabob and how Lady Selina killed the witch; and how now birds sing joyously in the woods once more and flowers grow within without fear!

It is to be noted that not long after, there were celebrations in the village at the news that Selina and Lucinda had both fallen pregnant but as to who the father or fathers were were not talked about. Selina and Lucinda gave birth to a healthy girl and boy, respectively who both grew up to be very skilled in horsemanship!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

THE POLYMATH

THE POLYMATH
OR
THE EUCLIDIAN PARROT
 
BY
BARRY VAN-ASTEN

Polly woke at an early hour and looked out of her apartment window which looked across Berlin’s beautiful Tiergarten as she ran her fingers through her hair. She was a young, although mature, dark haired creature with large explosive eyes and tremendously long lashes and the most fabulous legs any man could run his imagination up and down, yet she did not think she was attractive, in fact, she thought she was quite plain and ordinary.
Polly Vaughan had recently left her position as a mathematics lecturer at Oxford to take a senior position at the Berlin Mathematical School. As a lecturer in pure mathematics she had been consumed by the notion of infinity and there were many a male student who sat lusting after the beautiful Miss Vaughan all to no avail for the delectable Miss Vaughan was married to her career and her love of numbers! At Oxford Polly had produced an extremely entertaining paper titled: ‘The Poldark-Putin Paradox’ which brought her some minor notoriety and in some quarters ridicule as it stated that ‘all men have torsos but not all great torsos belong to great men’ a reference to the two gentlemen in the title; feminists attacked the thesis on grounds that it suggests that all women want of a man is a ‘decent set of abs’ when every woman knows that men are too lazy to achieve this and if they do it is because they are too vain or probably gay! But the thesis was also championed at the colleges by fans of Ross Poldark and Aiden Turner who played the character of Poldark.
Polly was born an only child in the Welsh town of Kidwelly and as a dreamy child she was infatuated by two things and two things only – numbers and the spirit’s journey after death! She felt it emphatically and felt it all around her for she saw it in the birds and the animals and in the people about her; the old superstitions were still rife and the mystery of death still haunted the valleys of Wales. There was no denying it and even a hundred years of self pleasure would be of no consequence to the young Polly Vaughan for she had no interest in romance and the usual dreams of young girls and she decided to dedicate her life to the pursuit of numbers and the art of mathematics. She gleaned facts from life like a magpie and treasured all the knowledge she collected and accumulated long lists of enormous events like equations which she would add to, for knowledge was everything and the ordinary ways of the world seemed very dull by comparison to art, science history and mathematics!
Along Karl-August-Platz Polly would walk with the music of the universe singing in her ears and the catastrophic whirl of numbers revolving in her mind. At the Mathematical School Polly was thrown towards the Provost and sought him out whenever she could to be near him and look into his deep eyes for the truth was that during the short time that Polly had been at the School, Polly was falling neck over knickers in love with him! The Provost, Jonathon Lutz, was a man from Hamburg who was educated in England during his tender years; a tall and thin man in his mid-thirties who talked with the faint breath of a sparrow and leant in close during conversations as if his ears were tuned to a different frequency and struggled to grasp the sound of language. But for all the childish advances of the lovely Miss Vaughan, Mr Lutz seemed indifferent and showed no affection in return whatsoever, yet still Polly persisted in her endeavours towards Mr Lutz. Poor Polly was not very skilled in the art of love and of ‘wooing’ for she failed miserably to notice that Mr Lutz had an inexhaustible knowledge of women’s fashions and a deep interest in fabrics and colours; that he had an unwholesome fixation upon Judy Garland and musicals and enjoyed singing show-tunes in general and had a way of walking which was much too feminine to be classed as anything manly, in fact, there seemed to be nothing ‘manly’ about Jonathon and everybody knew it but Polly for none of these things seemed to hammer the nail home in poor Polly’s mind!
It was while walking in Henriette-Herz Park with Jonathon that Polly noticed a man who seemed to be signalling to Mr Lutz and he came forward and greeted them. The man, who was named Heinrich von Durstburgerdorf was a stout old man dressed in a faded suit from a bygone age; a man who had once been quite an important figure in Berlin society until some sort of public downfall. He bowed towards Polly after Mr Lutz introduced her and she noticed that one of his eyes was larger than the other one which made him look like some sort of owl with a halve closed sleepy eye and one wide-awake eye! Then the old man turned to Jonathon and said: ‘Sie ist hübsch, sie spricht Deutsch?’ to which Jonathon shook his head, saying ‘Nein!’
‘Sie wird tun!’ said the old man, delighted with the young woman companion of his friend. Then he continued: ‘Wie geht es dir mein iunger Freund?’ but before Jonathon could answer the old man said with a nudge of his elbow ‘Berlin ist berühmt für seine zarten jungen Ärsche!’ and he laughed. Before Jonathon could wedge a word in here or there the old man said ‘Es hat sich nach viel Vorbereitung fur die Nacht gewesen. Wir sind zu tief fur Zweifel Herr Lutz, von denen mussen Sie die konsequenzen erkennen.
Ja Meister!’ answered Jonathon.
Wir müssen kümmern Herr Lutz, es besteht die Gefahr der Exposition überall!’ and here the old man spat upon the floor as if to end his sentence with a full-stop!
Meister’ said Jonathon, ‘Hagel im Namen unseres Herrn, des Teufels!’
The old man bowed slowly and said ‘Ich kusse sie hand und Satan’s schwanz bis zum nachsten Treffen wir Herr Lutz!’ The old man then turned to Polly saying ‘Forgive me Fraulein for speaking in my own tongue!’ and he smiled revealing a gap in his front teeth which glared ominously in its dark loathsomeness as he continued ‘you vill find us most hospitable!’ The old man then laughed and said ‘I am afraid I have not been feeling myself lately, unlike our friend here Mister Lutz who I am afraid to say Miss Vaughan, feels himself much too often for my liking!’
Polly blushed and turned away and Jonathon said nothing in return.
Looking at Polly, the old man with a wild twinkle in his eyes suddenly seemed to become energised and more animated as he said:
‘Fraulein, how like the beautiful Eva Braun you are!’ and he stamped his foot upon the ground and made a fist which he shook in the air. ‘I knew her as a child’ he continued ‘for I served in ze Hitler Youth; such a fresh glow… Of course it vas ze glorious days of ze mighty Third Reich,’ and here the old man attempted to click his heels but stumbled forwards upon his walking stick; the temptation to follow this with a Nazi salute was overwhelming, yet he restrained himself which to him was just as difficult as a young adolescent boy refraining from keeping his hand from his genitals at every opportunity! Heinrich, after righting himself, continued, ‘I remember ze days ven Heir Hitler unt his concubine Eva Braun ver in Bavaria – unt vot vhoopee zey made! Vot vhoopee!’ The old man said this while making revolting gestures with his body and thrusting himself with his walking stick between his legs into the most sordid shapes while raising his finger and thumb to his lips and pushing his lascivious tongue through the hole he made with them!
Polly turned away disgusted and offended, thinking how unbecoming it was of an octogenarian! As they parted the old man shouted after them saying ‘remember Mister Lutz that masturbation is a one-horse race!’ and he was gone, wheezing and laughing to himself into the distance.

Polly’s life had seemed like one long fairy-tale; she was an only child and since childhood she had had fantastic dreams, the significance of which she could not fathom and put it down to her vivid imagination; dreams of cosmic interplay that seemed to linger between this world and the next as if unable to penetrate the veil that separated them; the thin and fragile line between the dimensions like the surface of water which holds firm the dimension of water against that of air. Polly had a dream such as these just two nights ago when she dreamt that she had a visit by the Father of Geometry himself – Euclid! Polly may have failed to notice the terminal expression upon Jonathon’s face every time she attempted to get close to him and seduce him in her terrible way but she could hardly fail to notice the beautiful full moon above her just as she could hardly fail to notice the importance of the dream. In this dream, Euclid spoke to Polly saying that all language in the beyond is universal and that the human race has only discovered one-third of the elements found within the Solar System for many are not visible and many are the subtler energies not yet recognised by man, much as our eyesight only sees certain spectrums and our ears intercept certain frequencies. Euclid went on to hint at the possibility of time-travel and new ways of space propulsion which he said would be unorthodox to speak of as there is a form of justice beyond for those who break the code and impart future destinies which may or may not change the course of time!
The next day Polly told her dream to Jonathon who brushed it off with a casual ‘oh, it’s only a dream, I wouldn’t think too much about it! After all, you are a mathematician who clings to logic; propositions deduced in language which apply to definite rules of reasoning! It was merely a fanciful dream - Ein phantasievoller Traum!’
‘But dreams are important, they have meaning! I have rejected God and there is nowhere else to go!’ said Polly.
‘Oh I don’t know’ said Jonathon, ‘there’s always Blackpool!’

It was a grim October’s morning when Polly was walking along the Bellevuestrabe, the light was strangely compelling as it filtered through the almost bare branches of the trees, and with no clear way to Jonathon’s heart she sat down with a deep sadness upon her. She remembered how two days ago the old man had greeted her with his obscene gestures and how frightful he had been talking of the old world and its horrors like some old forgotten relic of a hateful and cruel period in time; like a ghost of the battlefield come to haunt her and fill her with dread and fury. She saw his large eye overshadowing his smaller eye and the horrid expression on his face as his tongue circled and poked through the hole made by his finger and thumb – ‘what a disgusting old man!’ she said to herself. It was shortly after these distressing thoughts that she felt a cold chill enter her body and with some fear and trepidation she returned to her apartment.
She wasn’t long at the apartment when she received a call from Jonathon asking if he could meet her for coffee and that he had something important to discuss with her. Polly agreed to meet him and wondered what the urgency could be, and not thinking too much of it put on her coat and set out again. Jonathon was already waiting at the coffee shop and seemed to have a strange expression on his face; he was extremely cold towards her when she greeted him. Polly sat down at the table tucking her long slender legs underneath.
‘What is it that’s so important Jonathon?’ Polly enquired.
‘I have been asked to attend a conference in Stuttgart and will be away some time’ he replied ‘and it may mean that you take on a little more responsibility at the School I’m afraid!’
‘I don’t mind that Jonathon’ Polly said with a sadness in her gaze which only a heartless fool would fail to recognise. Jonathon, of course, saw nothing unusual in her look. They sipped at their coffee in silence for a while as Jonathon sat looking at his watch and Polly stared into her cup. After a short time Jonathon received a phone call and excused himself to Polly as he spoke to the caller:
‘Ja wer ist es? Heinrich Ich erwarte deinen Anruf!
Ich bin dabei, es jetzt zu tun!
Nein, sie vermutet nichts!
Ich werde später mit Ihnen sprechen, wenn es fertig ist! Liebe zu unserer Dame Lilith! Auf Wiedersehen!‘
Then there was a long silence again as Polly sipped at her coffee and Jonathon looked everywhere but into Polly’s eyes until eventually, turning to Polly, he said ‘I almost forgot’, breaking the awkward silence, ‘I wish to give you something’ and he pulled out of his pocket a small gift which was wrapped with care. In giving it to Polly he accidentally dropped it on the floor and she bent under the table to pick it up. ‘Oh, I’m very sorry Polly!’ Jonathon said as Polly returned the gift to the table and carefully un-wrapped it. ‘What is it?’ she said with a puzzled look on her face. ‘Oh it’s a brooch, of a bird, a very queer looking bird with bright colours! It’s beautiful! What bird is it?’ she asked.
‘It’s a very ancient depiction of an exotic bird and I want you to have it!’ Jonathon exclaimed.
‘Looking at it more closely it looks like a parrot!’ said Polly, smiling at Jonathon.
‘Now that you come to mention it, it does look like a parrot!’ Polly thanked him and with this Jonathon rose as if to go but not before taking Polly’s hand and saying goodbye to her which he did with an equal coldness as when he greeted her!

That night Polly had such disturbing dreams that she felt the next world press close to her, much too close for comfort it seemed and she could not get rid of the image of the old man, and Jonathon turning his cold stare away from her and the parrot on her bedside table where she had put the brooch, rising and squawking and saying in almost perfect English: ‘Before the fruition of love – the mask of enchantment!’ which the bird repeated over and over again. The dream was very vivid and she could feel herself on her own bed yet she was unable to move or speak.

‘Before the fruition of love – the mask of enchantment!’

She felt that she was not alone in the room and that a dark presence was moving around the bed, a female form or what appeared to be a woman in the darkness moving around the room like a lithe and lissom panther and as she came closer she could make out the features of the woman which were altogether not quite right. The woman, for it was definitely a woman was slender yet sinister in her appearance and Polly could do nothing to protect herself from the woman for she felt herself to be held within some cosmic force which she could not comprehend!

‘Before the fruition of love – the mask of enchantment!’

Closer came the shadowy woman and as she did so she spoke words which Polly did not recognise, words which were almost vulgar and animalistic in their sound, yet compelling in their beauty also. Fear flashed through every nerve and fibre of Polly’s body as the woman came towards her and touched her face and shoulder and she could feel her hands all over her body touching her in places which had never been touched before, writhing upon her immoveable body; Polly could feel the long hair sweep against her skin which tingled and yielded to the soft lips of the thing, touching her every intimate recesses with an infernal passion…

‘Before the fruition of love…’

Then she fell into a deep sleep and could remember nothing else of the experience.

She awoke the next day more perplexed than ever and seemed very out of sorts. What did it all mean and who was the strange visitor that entered her sleep? It had all seemed so real but Polly put it down to the usual stress and upset of a new job and being thrust into the responsibility that entails. Polly took the small brooch and pinned it to her dress and went to work at the Mathematical School, much as she had done for the past two months she had been working there. All day she could not shake away the feeling of being different to her usual self and she could not really settle to any industrious work for long periods without the thought of the sinister visitor from her dreams wandering into her mind and the parrot with its ‘‘Before the fruition of love – the mask of enchantment!’ What did it mean?
That night she settled down to sleep much as usual and a cool breeze swept in at the window which she kept open a little as her apartment got quite warm in the night. The curtain danced gently as she watched from the comfort of her bed and drifted off into the realm of sleep once more. Time seemed a mere memory of numbers on a clock face and there was peace, utter peace in sleep. She could see the high street where she grew up in Kidwelly with its little tea shop and the river, and the church; her girlhood roaming through the dark doorways of the Castle there. Then suddenly she dreamt about floating on a vast lake that rippled in ever-widening circles and when she rose into the air to look down upon the lake she could see the ripples formed a huge eye, it was the eye of the old man obscenely winking in the water and from the centre of the eye appeared the parrot squawking with droplets of water falling from its feathers: ‘Before the fruition of love – the mask of enchantment!’ Polly felt herself dissolve in the eternal darkness of the nightmare upon her and from the darkness appeared the four walls of her room, her familiar room with her bed at one end and her form upon it. Suddenly she found herself lying on the bed and unable to move or speak but that parrot was echoing in her ears

‘Before the fruition of love – the mask of enchantment!’

Just then she felt once more that she was not alone and in her helpless state she lay there as some dark presence once more revealed itself to her. She looked into its eyes which were fiery red and she felt its warm insatiable hands enveloping her body. She felt every part of her body yield to the sensuous silhouette of the woman who consumed her; she felt that her soul was in the grip of this being and no matter how she tried she could do nothing to stop it. She felt the dread wrap of annihilation permeate her body as the thing caressed her like some enormous snake and tore at her as if it were a dark panther! And the lips once more kissed and pressed upon her flesh like hot pokers searing into her soft skin.
It seemed an eternity until the morning began to sweep in through the window and wash over Polly, bathing her in its golden glow and she opened her eyes. She felt very odd and was reluctant to stir from the comfort of her bed which during the night had seemed more like a prison. She felt physically weak as if she had not slept and there was a pain in her chest which caused her some distress.
Later that day she felt well enough to go out for a walk and tried to take her mind of it all; she found a little coffee shop and ordered coffee and sat down at a table in the corner by the window, looking into the street. As she sat there she noticed the brooch she was wearing and took it off. It was while she was examining it closely in her hands that she noticed something inscribed into the back of it, a strange symbol which she had never seen before. The symbol resembled an inverted letter ‘T’ with the ends forming little crosses or three swords with their points touching and the hilts outward and from the central vertical line was attached a curved line which hung from it like a reversed letter ‘S’, like a tail in fact. It was very strange and she intended to research the symbol to find out what it means. Perhaps it has some religious meaning she thought. At the next table two ladies seemed to be deep in conversation and discreetly observing Polly. Their conversation was spoken in hushed tones and Polly, not knowing anything of the German language thought nothing about the way in which the two women talked together:
Sie sieht aus, als wäre sie die ganze Nacht aufgestanden; Sie sieht aus wie sie von einem Regiment von Soldaten gefickt wurde!‘
Ich wette, sie erschöpft sie, bevor sie sie erschöpft!‘ and they both laughed.
Polly finished her coffee and headed back to her apartment.
Polly felt tired and decided to have a hot relaxing bath before sleep so she slipped out of her shoes and stockings and took her dress off and ran the water. She looked at herself in the mirror and she looked ancient she thought and she felt utterly exhausted; in fact, she felt so tired as she got into the bath that she could have fallen fast asleep right there and then. After a long soak in the hot water she got out she put on her night dress and suddenly remembering the symbol, she decided to sleep first and then begin the research as she was just too tired to stay awake. She got into bed and it was a matter of minutes before she was fast asleep; and it was also a matter of minutes before her dreams once again took a distressing turn. She felt her eyes open and she looked upon herself lying upon the bed; she could hear herself breathe and saw the motion of her chest rising and falling. Then suddenly everything went very dark and she had the strange sensation of floating in a vast nothingness, weightless as if under water. After what seemed an age she found herself standing in a room of sorts with pin-points of light and she could hear voices speaking. The voices appeared to be growing nearer to her until she saw two figures standing in a circle and the figures were robed. Polly recognised the voices as that of Jonathon and the old man with the funny eyes that she met in Henriette-Herz Park. They were talking in English and she heard the old man say ‘she still has rich pickings in her!’ Polly stood quite close to them and she felt as if she were a ghost for the two men could not see her and did not even know that she was there. It was extraordinary and exhilarating and very weird! She then heard Jonathon say that he had given her the magical brooch with the sigil of Lilith upon it and that even now she grows weak just as the cold moon waxes towards the full for the final evocation! ‘Meo periculo’ the old man uttered and followed it with "Vor der Frucht der Liebe - die Maske der Verzauberung!" and all was silence. Then darkness once more flooded her consciousness or whatever (or whoever) it was that was perceiving this vision and she felt herself being pulled towards some unknown and awful destination.
When Polly woke up the next day she shuddered to remember the dream, if in fact a dream it was, for it all seemed so real to her. As she got out of bed she felt a stinging pain all over her body and as she looked she could see scratches all across her flesh, her arms, legs and stomach; it was as if she had been attacked by a lion or some other type of big cat. Frightened and in pain she sat on the end of the bed and cried. After the awful truth of what was happening dawned upon her she realised she must do something and so she began to research what she now knew to be the ‘sigil of Lilith’ and to attain as much knowledge as she can on the subject. All day and all night she sat up reading and investigating various accounts of the demonic Lilith, evocations and ways in which to banish the spirits and demons and counteract any so-called ‘black magic’ practiced against one.
She came upon ‘The Lesser Key of Solomon’ with its conjurations and prayers, but she instantly dismissed this for its reliance on Christian mumbo-jumbo, and as she wasn’t much into God and the Church she would never allow one of those ‘filthy priests’ to perform an exorcism; she had always had a revulsion for those sanctimonious swine in the priesthood, ‘surplices and sodomy’ she called the Church. She had not one ounce of all that Christian rubbish in her soul; she would have to find other means of salvation!
Armed with the facts, she looked into alternative forms of exorcism and was immediately drawn to witchcraft with its more natural approach to the spirit and possession. She found a woman named Frieda Cox who practiced witchcraft and listened to Polly’s story intently and said she would help her. Frieda devised a ritual to rid Polly of the evil Lilith’s influence saying that at the moment there is only the first stage of possession but that they must not delay in their actions.
That evening, Polly went to meet Frieda at her home which was quite some distance away and she arrived just after eight. Frieda had everything prepared and there was no time to waste as she stepped into the circle of protection with Frieda after a ‘spiritual cleansing ritual’. The incense was thick and overpowering as Frieda intoned her incantations and made gestures with her magical implements and to give any more details as to the actual specifics of the ritual would be a betrayal to dear Frieda who worked solely for the benefit and spiritual advancement of humanity, but there were some mighty curses and bindings towards the evil Lilith whom Frieda felt to be outside the circle. Following the banishing of the demon Frieda completed the ritual with thanks to the Goddess and the ‘bright ones’ who watched over the ordeal and symbolically ‘opened a doorway’ from the circle to the outside world. The witch gave Polly certain instructions to follow concerning the brooch and to perform before she goes to sleep around her apartment and Polly thanked Frieda, weeping with tears of thanks. That night Polly strictly followed Frieda’s advice and instructions using salt around the bed and burning incense in the room before saying a protection spell and she got into bed. After a while she fell asleep and spent a pleasant, undisturbed sleep with no unnatural or infernal distractions in the night!
Feeling fully refreshed the next morning she had one more task to perform and that was concerning the brooch with the sigil of Lilith upon it. Frieda had said that ‘the recipient must send it back to its point of origin’ and that point of origin was Jonathon Lutz! Since her strange vision whereby Jonathon and the old man featured foul, she had known that it was possibly correct to say that Jonathon had not gone to Stuttgart and in fact he was more than likely still in Berlin! Polly adhered to this natural equation and calculated that he would be remaining out of sight at his home, communicating only with the outside world by phone and by post. She had also deduced that when Jonathon had handed her the brooch and it fell to the floor he must have tampered with her drink in some way too! In conclusion to all this Polly had bought an appropriate ‘vessel’ to send the brooch back to him and she hid it inside very carefully and wrapped the item and addressed it to Jonathon Lutz.
The next morning Polly dressed and went to the Mathematical School and all the talk amongst the lecturers was concerning their colleague Mr Lutz who had been found dead in the early hours of the morning. As more information surrounding his swift departure was made available it was revealed that Mr Lutz was found at home wearing ladies’ underwear and covered in brutal scratches, his eyes ripped from his head in a vicious attack and a look of sheer torment upon his face; beside his bruised and bloody body was a stuffed toy parrot! Two days later she read in the newspaper about the death of a local man named Heinrich von Durstburgerdorf who had once taken up the office of Bishop in Berlin but had had to give up the position due to rumours surrounding his private life and the corruption of children in the Church. Heinrich von Durstburgerdorf had taken his own life by cutting his throat with a German SS knife and his body was found at his home amongst his military collection wrapped naked in a swastika flag!
Polly was interviewed for the post of Provost at the Mathematical School but whether she took it or not remains unknown!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Celebrating 50 years of Star Trek

THE STAR TREK EXHIBITION
BLACKPOOL
30TH JUNE - 6TH NOVEMBER 2016
 
 
 





 
Original items from the classic Star Trek episode
'The Trouble with Tribbles'
 




 
Script for 'The Trouble with Tribbles'
 
 
 
 
 
Close-up of the script
 
 
 
 
 
an original Tribble!
 
 
 
 
 
a uniform for the unproduced 'phase II'
of Star Trek
 
 
 
 
 
 
Spock's bandana and ears!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The uniform aisle
 
 
 
 






 
The Enterprise
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shuttle craft signed by the cast of Star Trek Voyager
 
 
 
 
 
 
A Bajoran Phaser used on Deep Space Nine
and later altered to be used by Dilithium miners
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Transporter
 
 
 
 
 
 
A Klingon knife used in the original series
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Borg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Microtape cartridges used in the original
episode of 'Mirror, Mirror'
 
 
 
 
 
 
some of the pictures from the 50 Artists
celebrating 50 Years of Star Trek
 
 
 
 
 






 
Characters from the original series

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 



 
 
 
 


 


 


 


 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

THIS ALIEN RACE

THIS ALIEN RACE
BY
BARRY VAN-ASTEN

 
This paper has been suggested by the N.E.C. [New Earth Committee] for research purposes only and has been presented for fellow earthophiles and scholars of humanity, written in the language of our subject.




For those of you who are unfamiliar with our colonisation research, the Earth Colony [planet No: 2837457389393] is located in the Laniakea Superclusters, more specifically, the Virgo Supercluster; Local Galactic Group, the Milky Way Galaxy of the Interstellar neighbourhood, within the Solar System of planets, one of many colonies in our Terrestrial and Cultural Development Studies. The Earth was designated an experimental colony 6.1 million EY [Earth Years] ago when life was gradually introduced to the planet following corrections in the atmosphere to support that life. The primordial life-forms, bred in our own laboratories and distributed throughout certain continents on the planet had the capacity for intellectual development. Following a long fallow period of interminably slow development it was thought necessary to intercept the growing life-form and ‘encourage’ it towards new progressive behaviour, which occurred 200,000 EY ago and over the last 6000 EY real developmental progress has been witnessed by our scientific observers fruiting great results! (1)
Earth colony 2837457389393 being such a magnitude of distance away and one of the furthest colonies from our own planet of Dodrondos 9 in the Perseus-Pegasus Filament connected to the Pisces-Cetus Supercluster, it was thought necessary to have permanent observers stationed on the planet at all times to record the historic progress of its development. Data for the history of this small yet subsequent planet proves fascinating reading and scholars and scientists are working alongside each other to reveal the findings of their experiments which will be catalogued (2). Several times Dodronites have had to intervene in the planet’s course of development, particularly after the primitive life-forms developed the capability for their own destruction through savage conflict and following their rudimentary entry into space and space travel (3).



At the end of 2015 EY it was decided to shut down Earth colony 2837457389393 after it became known that the colony had become contaminated; Governments upon the planet had become aware of our existence and numerous sightings had occurred and an interception of one of our crafts took place in the country called the United States of America (4). A specific ‘agent’ was introduced into the planet’s water supply which slowly acted upon the immune system of the life-forms causing a reversal in the effectiveness of their primitive anti-biotics [Stage 1]



In 2016 EY we recalled many of our ‘celebrity’ observer agents back to Dodrondos 9: VUTY892943939 Bowie; HFHJ1937399 Wogan; DGJH29776383838 Corbett; FHTY2284464628 Wood and RDHN2763893747472 Prince along with 800 of our covert agents. It was during the British European Referendum which took place on Thursday 23rd June 2016 EY, a referendum that they termed ‘Brexit’ in which their nation had to decide whether to remain in the European Union or not (5)
Those in favour of remaining in the EU namely the British Prime Minister David Cameron (Conservative), a man not long off the teat of Nanny State who wet-nursed him through his political infancy and parliamentary adolescence, showed none of the old resilience of the hated Lady of Iron (an earth substance) Margaret ‘the milk snatcher’ Thatcher, while in the United States of America (a country not associated with Europe) a vile thug named Tramp was on the rise! (6)
Cameron and his infamous cohort Chancellor George Osborne, a man short of humour displaying more than his fair share of doom-mongering; a man always ready to fly in the face of public bunions, rattling the tea cups of polite society and instilling fear throughout the duck ponds of England, faced an uphill struggle converting the lower classes of Britain to vote stay!
In opposition were those who wished to leave the EU such as the London Mayor Boorish Johnson, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party Nigel Farage and the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (7).
Following the results of ‘Brexit’ (8) and much toing and froing in bureaucratic circles on our own planet, it was decided that a certain strain of deadly influenza virus was to be introduced and distributed among the earth’s major cities infecting the population. Within 21 weeks of administering the virus which resulted in numerous deaths an operation in accordance with our planetary committee was set in motion and thus began the five year (EY) countdown to complete extermination of the species [Stage 2]

Given at the home of the New Earth Committee
Company of Corporate Planets Association,
Dodrondos 9, Perseus-Pegasus
By order of the Institution for Galactic Development Scheme
X..I.XV..-IXXX


Notes:


1. For a comprehensive list of Earth’s inhabitants from 1000 BC EY to 2017 EY, see file no: XLY9358588229 in the Planetary Archives.
2. Conclusions for the experiment known as the ‘Humanity Project’ shall be drawn up and published at a further date
3. For research data concerning World War I see file no: KDT823459376478; for World War II see file no: GDY82376478472329; for information concerning the Jesus Christ, gentile, weak and wild see file no: TYH28238776489 and for Edward the Conk, file no: HSD283474749990.
4. See file no: PGH3945785393 for a detailed account of this incident.
5. For data on the Treaty of Rome 1958 EY see file no: HDGT892783758 and for the Treaty of Maastricht 1993 EY see file no: JGFD38655627272.
6. It was suggested by the Planetary Committee that this ‘Tramp’ should be taken care of in the same way that we had to intervene on 22nd November 1963 EY when the 35th President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was eliminated. Tramp was allowed to remain purely out of curiosity.
7. For files on these tiresome and inept statesmen see Appendix IV of the Political Calendar for 2016 EY in the Fundamental Research Programme’s Archive, under case no: C824656588978222 (2)
8. Britain led the way in its proposal to leave the European Union and following the results a mass exodus ensued in Europe with the breaking up of borders and militant faction set in process. Following the downfall of Greece and ‘Grexit’ the Polish representative Faclyka Narse called for a Polish Referendum (Poexit) and thus the member states swiftly fell: Swexit, Frexit, Austexit, Spexit, Hunexit, Slovexit, Malexit, Itexit, Latexit, Finexit, Irexit, Estexit, Bulgexit, Cypexit, Nethexit, Luxexit, Romexit, Portexit, Slovexit, Litexit, Croexit, Belexit, Denexit, Chech Repexit and Germexit.


ADDENDUM

At the Company of Corporate Planets Association I announced that the human-race had been eradicated due to contamination and the colony known as Earth, planet no: 2837457389393 had been closed-down forthwith and there was no longer any intelligent life-forms left upon the planet, to which my under-secretary informed me that by some miracle (or mistake) there were two life-forms still in existence: two male members of the English House of Lords. I referred my secretary and the Committee to my previous statement and reiterated that there were no further intelligent life-forms left upon the planet, adding that the ‘two Lords’ were unlikely to reproduce and repopulate the species but coming from their privileged public schooled background it was a foregone conclusion that they would certainly try and so they were left to the endeavours of their impossible task!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

WALKING THE THAMES PATH - Part Two

 
 
 
In part one of Walking the Thames Path we walked from Lechlade to Oxford. Now for part two we decided to walk from the source of the Thames in Gloucestershire (the official start) to Lechlade where part one began (it was a matter of personal choice and transport which decided the order of the walk).
 
We spent a rainy night camping at Kemble at the rear of the delightful little pub called The Tavern next to Kemble Railway Station where they were very helpful and accommodating. The next day, our walk began from Kemble Station walking to the source, crossing the Fosse Way:
 
 
THE SOURCE TO CRICKLADE
 
 
 
 
The stone that marks the source of the Thames
 
 
 

 
 
 
Stone and way marker
 
 
 
You now have to walk back the way you came crossing the Fosse Way
 
 
 
 
 
Lyd Well - the first spring on the Thames
 
 
 
 
 
Stunning trails of Cow Parsley
 
 
 
 
 
The infant Thames
 
 
Near the village of Ewen we hade to wade through flooded meadows near the electric pylons!
 
 
 
 
 
Path between Upper Mill Farm and
Old Mill Farm
 
 
 
 
 
Onwards over footbridge!
 
 
 
We stopped for lunch in the delightful village of Ashton Keynes and then continued the walk towards Cricklade. The walk ended after approximately thirteen miles with a pot of tea at The Old Bear pub in Cricklade before making our way back to camp at Kemble arriving around 10.00 p.m.
 
 
 
CRICKLADE TO CASTLE EATON
 
 
 
The next day was dry and sunny and after taking the train to Swindon and the bus to Cricklade we spent some time investigating the impressive St Sampson's Church
 
 
 
 
 
St Sampson's Church, Cricklade
 
 
 
 
Nave to the High Altar
 
 
 
 
 
The North Aisle
 
 
 
 
 
A wonderful day!
 
 
 
The walk was extremely beautiful and the air was thick with damselflies and mayfly's and the wistful calls of cuckoos. Unfortunately, just before Castle Eaton we entered a meadow with some far off distant cows. Suddenly those cows weren't distant anymore and in moments they were thumping towards us, around thirty to forty cows led by a bull with horns. We had nowhere to go as there was a barbed wire fence to our left on the bank of the Thames. The herd came upon us, the bull stamped and snorted and went into charging mode and we did our best to look passive and non-threatening, moving away from them. Those damn cows, filled with the bull's blood lust 'escorted' us out of the field through a gate and footbridge and they were still trying to get at us by crossing the water and jumping the gate, which they were fortunately unable to do. Whoever told you that cows were non-aggressive has not had a stand off with a bull and his charging maidens! After giving the bull what for from the seemingly safe position of the footbridge we were shook-up enough to call it a day and having only walked about five miles with full rucksacks we decided to find somewhere to camp near Castle Eaton!
 
Following a footpath we came upon a campsite which I shall not name and were suitably met by a rude old lady who apparently was in charge. After setting up camp and pitching the tent and cooking a delicious chicken curry on the old faithful camp stove to the sound of bell-ringing from the church, we headed off to the local pub, The Red Lion  where there was a warmer welcome for us for tea and a pint! Just before closing time we marched back to camp, dodged the searchlights and machine gun sentry posts and got to the tent quicker than Gestapo Granny could say 'zer vil be no mobile charging of phones on zis camp site if you please or you vil be shot!' It was a very chilly night indeed! 
 
 
 
 
CASTLE EATON TO LECHLADE
 
 
 
Our last day's walk started dry and cloudy but it soon got quite sunny. After packing up camp and setting off we began with a look in the lovely 12th Century parish church of St Mary's.
 
 
 
 
St Mary's Church, Castle Eaton
 
 
 
 
 
The Bell Tower and the Font
 
 
 
 
 
The simple altar of St Mary's
 
 
 
There was a terrible section of the walk which takes in the delightful atmosphere and choking fumes of the A361 which we had to walk beside for about a mile but there was a wonderful gem of a church at the end of it: St John the Baptist, at Inglesham.
 
 
 
 
St John the Baptist, Inglesham, Wiltshire
 
 
 
 
 
The Altar
 
 
 
 
 
Anglo-Saxon Mother and Child
 
 
 
 
 
Box pews and wall paintings
 
 
 
After the lovely experience of seeing this beautiful church we had to cross another meadow towards Roundhouse farm, a meadow filled with cows! Our path went distinctly through the herd who were lying down and not paying too much attention to us so we decided to run the gauntlet! But there's always one brave, gung-ho cow who wants to challenge and defend the field of honour! And sure enough one cow did step forward and hoofed the ground at us as if to charge, but we were now old hands and had taken on 'Blood-Horn' the rambler-killing bull and his evil cohorts so this slip of a thing was easily brushed aside!
 
We reached Lechlade with an infernal thirst for tea which we quenched and so ended the day's walking after approximately 6.7 miles which felt twice as much as I was constantly feeling under the weather and could have quite easily rolled into a ditch and died!
 
 


 
 

 
 






 
 



 
 


 


 



 


 



Saturday, 14 May 2016

THE WITTERING POST

THE WITTERING POST
THE MONOLOGUE OF LADY LO LO
By
Barry Van-Asten
 
A HIDDEN SECT

In the foothills of Tibet, in the Himalayan region known as the Zangbo Valley, there is a secluded monastery where devoted monks practice the art of a certain, obscure and unspoken branch of tantric sex. The monks, a splinter sect of Buddhists, worship the god of ‘One-Self’ and attempt to achieve the complete annihilation of the human element within the sacred acts of sex. The monks practice a series of ‘postures’ or ‘damilals’ and following the strict initiatory ceremony known as the ‘fujiku’, the devoted acolytes perfect their art in such care-free abandonment, invoking inner strength to achieve such sacred and distinguished ‘damilals’ such as the ‘Reversed Swan Feather’ in which the two participants are forbidden to touch any part of the others’ body, the only point of contact being the tips of the nose which must not disconnect and remains in ‘asanic’ beatitude with its ‘Sidak’ or ‘adored one’ for an indefinite period of time until it attains a spiritual release. Some of these damilals can go on for many years and for that matter the sidaks have constructed devices to enable the wearers to keep in contact through sleep for instance. The Reversed Swan Feather is therefore a ritual of restraint. In fact the monks are so dedicated in their pursuits and devotions that in a particular posture called the ‘Turned Mare’ the celebrants must have their arms broken in two places to perform the posture correctly and it would be nothing short of a great insult to attempt the posture minus the dislocated appendages!
In another extreme example, the position known as the ‘Flying Haiku’ calls for participants to have their limbs amputated! It is a fact that only a handful of monks have achieved this ‘rhakti’ or ‘sublimation of Self-ness’. In the posture known as the ‘Winged Avenger’ death is the inevitable outcome for its celebrants and it is affectionately called the ‘quiet release’ and the less said about the ‘Bereft Cobra’ the better, suffice to say that the ‘cheetulm’ or ‘admirer’ makes claims to the flesh of his ‘lover’ which he then consumes! It’s all quite gruesome really! (1)

THE ELIZABETH BATHORY OF BOYLAN SPRINGS

In many respects the monks seem to mirror my own tortured upbringing and spiritual development. I was brought-up in Ireland and as a young girl I attended the Boylan Springs School for Girls in County Wexford, a beautiful part of the country. The school was under the auspicious and sadistic leadership of Sister Monika, a monolith of Biblical proportions for we were Lilliputians under her tyrannical reign of terror! We called her Sister Dominatrix! I can remember as if it were only yesterday asking Sister O’Brien: ‘why do we have April showers and how does the sky know when it is April?’ to which she answered: ‘By the grace of God child, for all the little flowers are a want of water during the spring thirst and God hears their little prayers and sends forth mighty water clouds to quench this great thirst, but the water clouds are dark and not willing to relinquish their store of water, so God sends forth the beautiful Angels to dance with their little bare feet upon the clouds, like the bronzed peasants we hear of treading the grapes in the vineyards in those fortunate regions in France, Spain and Italy, except the Angels that tread the clouds are pure and wholesome for they are born of Ireland where God resides! (2) I asked her why God didn’t rain down potatoes in the great famine to feed the poor who prayed to him in their hunger, but she set me to ‘Hail Marys’ and ‘Our Fathers’ which didn’t really answer the question! I believe it wasn’t long after that that I stopped believing in a benevolent God as sure enough as I stopped believing in Father Christmas; for both lies had the same desired effect on me: behave yourself or you will not be rewarded! (3) One thought that was constantly in my mind at the time was that if this is how humanity treats its own kind then as far as I’m concerned they can all go perish in some damned abominable plague-type-thingy and nature can bloody well start again and get it right this time!
But if Sister Monika was unspeakably bad then Sister Bertha, ‘Beastly Bertha’ was a different kind of fish out of water! She always insisted on seeing the ‘colour of my soul’ whatever she meant by that. I think she must have been possessed of a Loudun Devil! (4) I would not say that she was sadistic but there was something not quite right about her. I remember she would creep into the dormitory every night and check the girls to make sure they were wearing the regular, rough as hell nightshirts which itched constantly and that we had not hidden silk undergarments beneath it which in her mind ‘issued forth salacious thoughts’ and made ‘Jesus weep!’ Silly old Bertha!

A CHOCOLATE JESUS

The school was such a cold and dismal place, a rambling pile of the Georgian period with numerous ghosts and legends attached to it. In fact, my friend Celia knew someone who knew someone who had been told by someone that they had seen an apparition of a woman descending the great stair. I didn’t see anything myself but I did hear the bell ring in the supposedly haunted tower and on other occasions I would hear footsteps following me along the top landing and when I looked round there was no-one there! That was strange. But stranger still is the idea of returning back to this world once we have turned over into the next! Why indeed after so much mortal toil would any ghost in its right mind want to walk amongst the living again, after all, isn’t the next step after life supposed to be a ‘heaven’, an eternal rest for some or a ‘hell’ and an eternal nightmare for others! Perhaps ghosts are those who fear to move on due to being judged of their earthly deeds and finding themselves in purgatory? But there are nice ghosts as well as horrid ghosts so that does not really figure as an explanation. I guess we will never really know until it is our turn to ‘open the garden gate’ and stride across the ‘Elysian Fields’. But yes, Boylan Springs, there was always the odd bang and tap in the middle of the night but nothing as frightening and hideous as Sister Monika rising in the night from her bed chamber like Nosferatu from his crypt, only fatter as if she had been feeding all night long and she was all white face-cream and blood-shot eyes with guilt-covered chocolate lips! She would say in almost sinister tones ‘don’t worry child! Father Callahan blesses the bars of chocolate along with the wine so it’s just like Holy Communion!’ (5)

DISTINCT DIMENSIONS

I believe it is very arrogant of the human race to presume it is the most intellectual of organisms upon the earth for we are but one link in an infinite spectrum of life-forms. Man looks down upon the monkey who in turn looks down upon the mouse; the mouse looks down upon the mollusc and the mollusc looks down upon the mite...and so on, but man is only a small fragment for our pitiful senses are very limited. What does an ant know of Canada? It can know nothing of it whatsoever because not only is it beyond its comprehension it is beyond its simple means of travel, unless it happens to live in Canada, in which case it would not know nor care! What does a small organism living at the bottom of the ocean know about rain or snow or trees? Nothing, and in this way man is also ignorant of many things which it cannot understand, explain or control; they even believe earth to be the only planet with life upon it! How absurd and how primitive! In the future we shall be humbled to the fact that not only does other life exist beyond our small galaxy, not life which simply crawls upon its stomach all day drinking, eating, fornicating and defecating, much like some examples of humanity, but a life capable of intelligent reasoning far beyond our own thought and a life capable of inter-stellar travel. To them it is us who are the underdeveloped monkeys or perhaps only the mice in our stage of evolution!

When I came to England I became drawn to the Wiccan craft and I felt an instant connection to its theories and practices and their belief system concerning nature and sex. It was all rather beautiful and natural and not stuffy and practiced in the darkness of inhibition under a clerical roof! God, you’d think they’d be more open about such a natural and ‘sacred’ act wouldn’t you? But then again humanity is a nest of shame!

ON HUMANITY

My friend Mona, you don’t know her, asked me recently what I thought of the human race, about its hypocrisy and its greed and its nasty ways when she suddenly burst upon me like a broken sewer pipe saying ‘you have no idea about the very worst of humanity, you cannot even conceive of how ugly mankind is!’ I was shocked, flabbergasted, now there’s a word I don’t often use! But the way she turned on me! ‘I beg your pardon!’ I said, ‘not seen the worst of humanity! Not seen its ugliness!’ so I told her straight ‘I’ll have you know’ I said ‘I’ve stood on the concourse at Euston Station in London on a Friday afternoon’ I said ‘with the great and the good and the unwashed waiting for the platform number for the London to Birmingham train! Not seen the worst!’ and I did I told her good and proper of how it’s ‘every man, woman and child for themselves! It’s alright’ I said ‘if you’re the public school, Oxbridge, rowing and rugby, boxing and sodomy type of chap, you know, tired suit heel-booting down to the platform, all elbows, knees, teeth and snot, then at the doors like a greyhound, inwardly snarling and snorting, huffing and puffing behind the newspaper and boom! Doors open! Children are unceremoniously thrown into the carriage to secure a seat and the ‘suits’ spread their awful weight in the seats, all armpits, bald heads and bad breath! There’s no room for the lame and the latecomers and damn those who fall by the wayside! Pregnant women and cripples haven’t got a chance’ I said.
‘We don’t use that out-dated word anymore’ she says ‘it’s not politically correct!’
‘Oh do excuse me!’ I said ‘perhaps I should say “expectant mothers to be”!’ I knew exactly what she meant but I am not one for pleasing the eyes and ears of society! I got so worked up about it that I had to go and have a sit down with a nice cup of tea, a cigarette and a few custard creams!

THE HALCYON DAYS OF THE LINCOLN BISCUIT

Sitting there enjoying my tea I suddenly thought ‘whatever happened to the good old Lincoln biscuit?’ I used to eat those things one dot at a time in a circular motion, I’m sure many people did and it took ages but the discipline involved has stood me in good stead! (6) No doubt the author will here insert some florid piece upon the romantic and tortured aspect of the famed Lincoln! (7)

THE LINCOLN BISCUIT
A Eulogy
 
Sweet concentric tormentor, friend;
Companion to the cup, ‘ere dream
Of tea-dunked bliss, that doth ascend
The shortcake crunch, devoid of cream!
 
McVities, hail! Ye disc of gold
Swore I allegiance, youth struck dumb
At dough-passions, serene, foretold
O circular monarch of biscuitdom!
 
To thee love stirs, your glory’s grace
Is more than bland accomplishment, see
The delicate crumb, grown far apace,
Superior shine over Malted Milk and Rich Tea!
 
Moribund, thy crown hath slipp’d askance;
Heartache – thou art poet’s bread!
Fare thee well Lincoln, thou didst entrance
And forge link ‘twixt living and the dead!
 
THE BARDIC BONE

As a child I read Keats, I was far too young of course and he somehow disagreed with me and now I am constantly cursed to regurgitate large chunks of him! (8) In fact one of my favourite poems is not by Keats but about him; Alice Meynell wrote an excellent poem ‘On Keats’ Grave’ which was published in 1869 and I think it captures something of the divine about the young doomed poet:

On Keats’ Grave

Down from the low hills with pines
Into the fields at rest, the summer done,
I went by pensive ways of tombs and vines
To where the place I dream of is;
And in a stretch of meditative sun
Cloven by the dark flames of the cypresses
Came to the small grave of my ended poet.
I had felt the wild things many a dreamy hour
Pushing above him from beyond the sea,
But when I saw it
It chanced there was no flower;
And that was, too, a silent time for me.

It’s simply magical and those lines: ‘I went by pensive ways of tombs and vines/to where the place I dream of is’ just pushes it beyond our reach into another dimension! It should certainly be my epitaph! (9)
I wonder if Keats would have enjoyed a Lincoln biscuit. I’m sure he would, although I see him more as a malted milk sort of man. Perhaps Housman or Hopkins would have favoured the melancholy aspect of the Lincoln! Other poets are known to have been great dunkers in their time, let us suppose them here with a great plate of assorted biscuits, who would choose which? I like to think that old Byron would be partial to the odd chocolate bourbon or two and that the lovely John Betjeman would simply melt into his armchair with a custard cream! Yeats, a little sterner perhaps would opt for the simple digestive while the wonderful Sylvia Plath would dive into the ginger nuts! Coleridge and Ted Hughes would argue over the hob nobs and covet the chocolate ones while nice Mr Browning would indeed choose nice biscuits! Rich tea would be the choice for Wordsworth (and his sister) with Keats as I have mentioned nibbling the malted milk. Larkin would be scowling across the table with a handful of coconut creams while Eliot I see as a morning coffee sort of man; Elizabeth Barrett Browning sneaks milk chocolate digestives into her tiny delicate mouth, soaked to perfection in her tea cup; Shakespeare of course, I believe to be a secret admirer of the dark chocolate digestive and Wilde goes absolutely wild over a box of assorted biscuits for he finds it difficult to choose and so picks them at random as indeed an aesthete would so as to sample all the delights that life has to offer him in the world of biscuits! (10)

Notes:

1. Other postures include: the ‘Becalmed Devil’; the ‘Vigilant Serpent’; the ‘Taut Dragon’; the ‘Braided Bear’; the ‘Gilded Unicorn’; the ‘Sedate Toad’; the ‘Tree Goat’ and the ‘Bemused Panda’. In the year 1929 the monastery consisted of 811 monks. In the present time there are only 5.5 monks.
2. The exact address of God is still unknown but it is said by those closest to him, that he toils most lovingly and industriously in the wild and beautiful plains of Ireland.
3. We cannot ascertain the exact point in time at which Lady Lo Lo lost her faith in God, or indeed father Christmas, but it most certainly occurred sometime between the goings and comings of Blue Peter presenters Tina Heath and Sarah Greene, 1979-1980, in which case our young heroine would have been eleven years old!
4. Loudun Devil: In Loudon, France, during 1634 a convent of Ursuline nuns described being visited and possessed by demonic spirits and after an investigation by the Catholic Church it was found that father Urbain Grandier (1590-1634) a parish priest of St. Pierre-du-Marche, in Loudon, was responsible for the summoning of the ‘devils’ and he was duly burnt at the stake as a witch. For further information see: ‘The Devils of Loudon’. Aldous Huxley. 1952, and also Robert Rapley’s ‘A Case of Witchcraft: the Trial of Urbain Grandier’. 1998.
5. It is not substantially correct to assume that all nuns are habitual chocolate masticators and therefore the author wishes to withdraw this statement before serious harm is done in offending the good nature of those gentle sisters of God who do such splendid work in keeping the rivers of chocolate flowing!
6. The Lincoln biscuit has attained cult status among biscuit aficionados.
7. I did! – ‘He inflicts upon the world, unique but unreadable tosh!’ [The Times. 14 September 2001] Quite right!
8. The author here advises caution as exposure to Keats, cold, at such an early age may be harmful to one’s health!
9. Alice Meynell (1847-1922) Her first poetry collection ‘Preludes’ appeared in 1875 followed by books on her essays and further poetry. To learn more about Meynell I can do no more than refer you to the excellent ‘The Slender Tree: A Life of Alice Meynell’ by June Badeni (1981) and for her complete poems: ‘The Poems of Alice Meynell’ (1923) which comprises her ‘early’, ‘later’ and ‘last poems’.
10. At this point Lady Lo Lo fell silent and stepped aside to, as she later explained, allow an angel to pass. She thus spoke no more and her monologue came to an abrupt end.