Tag Archives: politics

Extensive aquifers . . . (episode 11)

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet

April 12 1997

It’s alright darling. You will act (or not) when the time feels right. Even in an apparent interregnum your brain will still be working out what to do. If my recollections are correct Harriet, I believe you used to engage in the writing of poetry – and also that you were rather good at it? Isn’t there a local cafe you can attend, where you can read your musings out to a small audience of other poets? After all, whatever Austen is up to, he will find a way to carry on, and your sitting at home – with nothing to occupy your mind – will not stop him.

Meanwhile, I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I am to be back here at my own demesne in Forsythia Grove. Partly this is because I can now access water from out of an actual tap; have a bath with hot and cold running water; avail myself of the facilities of an interior toilet, and flick a switch in order to access central heating! I don’t believe I have been fully connected to my own self up at Wilderness Row. Indeed, separated from my own, familiar, environment – and then plunging into a spate of the most distressing recollections – seems to have resulted in my exhibiting an altogether more serious turn of character in my correspondence than is my wont. It may be the case dear, that I have tended to detach myself from Life’s more serious, or worrying, considerations by engaging in a distinctly surreal style of writing!

In connection with Ralph, by the way, my hypothesis regarding his presumed abduction by a ‘far right’ political group has proved to be completely unfounded. I received the following missive from him yesterday:

“Hello Auntie, I am just back from my hols in the sovereign island country of Barbados. Accommodation was free – courtesy of the country’s extensive aquifers – although the constant ‘drip drip drip’ from the roof did dampen our spirits somewhat. We managed to evade capture by the Barbadian police however, and were even able to swell numbers on the ‘Keep our Coral Clean’ march through Bridgetown last week!

I hope you weren’t worried? I did mean to tell you I was going, but it was such a rush to get a late berth on ‘Sugar Cane Sue’ that you quite slipped my mind. Fond regards, your nephew, Ralph.”

Hmmph is what I think of that Harriet! Well take care dear. I hope all your more tempting liquid refreshments are long tipped down the kitchen sink?



Cerulean blue eyes . . . (episode 6)

3A Hyde Park Terrace

April 1 1997

Dear mum (in law)

Thank you for your advice. I will try. I think I am afraid of what I might see, if I cross Hyde Park just after Austen.

I am sitting here at my dressing room table and looking into my mirror. My face is forty years old now and may be looking slightly baggier than it did ten years ago. I still have my long black hair (pinned back this morning by fuschia clips) and the same (I know I shouldn’t say this myself) beautiful body and black-lashed blue eyes. Austen – as you know – is the same age, but perhaps men wear better than women. What do you think mum?

Perhaps we married too early. Eighteen is very young. But when Austen was wheeled into the ward of Streamford hospital (having, as you know plummeted out of his ‘halls’ window en route to a tryst) all I could see – indeed any of us nurses could see – was debonair charm and a lock of blonde hair swinging back from his face. I think he knew, even then, how to engage his beautiful voice, and Cerulean blue eyes, in the seduction of women. Where did he learn this mum? Do they do this to you somehow at boarding school?

I think I hoped, when we married, that I would have a companion in whom I could trust and who would always adore me. That must sound very naive. But the reality of Austen is that he seems to think only of himself and, more than once, he has uttered the words, “My way or no way.” It is difficult to know what to make of a statement like that. Up to recently, I think I have always wanted to think the best of everybody – indeed I may have been projecting goodness for my whole life so far – but perhaps the question I should (finally) be asking myself is: is Austen really a good man? It is still difficult to think honestly about that because Austen, when he suffers some kind of setback from behind the scenes (a setback he would never discuss with me) he is just about as endearing and lovable as any man on the face of the planet.

The counsellor at the alcohol rehabilitation centre seemed to think I might be suffering from a condition called ‘thrall’ which appears to mean – when all is said and done – that I have turned into some kind of doormat who lives only to please my husband. But even if this is, to some degree true, I have been ably assisted in it by Austen – who has always extolled the practice of motherhood and abhorred any sign of interest in anything else. That reminds me mum. The twins went up to university last September and (so far) all seems to be going well.

I must go out and walk Ferris now; he has grown into a fine dog. People are always saying that Labradors (especially black ones like him) have coats which gleam in the sunlight – and this is certainly true. Thanks for all your news about cats by the way; I have always liked them as you know.

Your loving daughter (in law)