Other Worlds

We have just experienced a country house weekend. No aunts or cow-creamers were harmed during the duration of our stay, though otherwise, there were overtones of P.G. Wodehouse. The scale of things may be indicated by the fact that it was possible to overlook an eight-foot-high Van Dyck in the hall due to the 23 other paintings that were jostling for attention. The Northern Professor had encountered such things in his younger days; and I, at least, did sufficient time as a Cambridge College Fellow to have a rough sense of how things went. I remembered that after tea you had time off for good behaviour till dinner; I had forgotten, however, that a housekeeper comes and turns down your bed and shuts curtains. I had spent the two hours in question, for reasons of my own, reading a book called Spiritual and Demonic Magic, which I found removed firmly to a side table, and shut. What can one do. Lunch was a return-match with some of the people of the previous night, and struck me as quite extraordinarily Buchanesque: the host was vastly distinguished and very much in the forefront of the Scottish great & good, and, in his younger days, used to poach his own land in a spirit of experiment. Richard Hannay, so to say, while another character, a formidably bright and multi-lingual military attaché, is as near Sandy Clanroyden as makes no odds aside from the arrested development. I enjoyed it enormously, but personally, I would hate to live with all the burglar alarms. One of the survivors of the World of Ed simply sold all the pictures she inherited from her considerably older girlfriend, because otherwise they would rule her life. We can barely remember to lock the back door, and though it was beautiful, wonderful and fantastic, I was so glad, coming home, to feel that if someone had to live like that, it wasn’t me.

2 Responses to “Other Worlds”

  1. carol Says:

    From a housekeeperly point-of-view, there can’t be many worse books to be caught perusing (except Microwaved Meals for One I should think). She probably defaults to concocting her own grannie’s vinegar and tea-leaf scrub for high Victorian post-seance ectoplasm removal, and has now been forced to dust off the long-dormant stills round the back.

    I’. in a deep slough of marking- the surreal type where many, many plays have to be skimmed to make sure the hard-working student has actually bothered to sniff the cast list. Plots start a-swirling, and when a person is multi-tasking Shakespeare, American, modern British and Irish (so far), all the competing voices are a bit much. Next wave will be Naturalism and all the gloom and samovar stuff. At least your wasn’t a house party in the Urals…

    That plus the classic ‘must reapply for own job again’- it’s going up from a 0.45 to a 0.5 (to boss’s disgust, who’ been holding out for a 0.8 for me.) When in doubt, go home to mother- again.

  2. Will Says:

    As an aside, anyone come across Ireson? He’s the same level as Thomas Archer and we are thinking of buying one of his properties in Wincanton. I think he was the one who, (having conversed with Teddy at Chettle) put the rather fine cupola on Blandford Church instead of a heady Palladian spire. (I love retrospective Baroque architecture…). Postcard to….

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