Friday, 26 September 2014

Are you happy?

The general thrust of to-day's morning meeting at work was: "you're all incompetent, what are you all doing about it?" After less than five minutes of listening to the operations manager rattle on about why it took so long for a certain somebody (not me, surprisingly) to do something so simple I switched off and the rest of the meeting became white noise. After the meeting I went to my desk and within minutes my line manager recalled me to the office and sat me down. Something was going on as the branch manager and the operations manager were both present too. They asked if I was, of all things, "happy." So I said, "happiness is a cant and meaningless word and, if it exists at all, is the by product of some pursuit other than work." They then said that it was their job to safeguard the "happiness" of staff. It seemed that they were all reading from a script but I kept that to myself.

Well, anyway I have been given an ultimatum of sorts. I have been told to think about whether I am in the right job over the weekend and to let them know on Monday. It seems as though my banking days are numbered.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

On the bus...

I met up with an old friend from work this afternoon for tea in Chislehurst. The Sunday bus service is out of date in these parts for this modern era where Sunday is just another day so I had to wait roughly half an hour. I got on the bus and sat down and was immediately surrounded by teenage girls. In situations like this my resolution is to remain perfectly still, look straight ahead and to ignore everything around me. There were seven of them, one of me. They were loud, uncouth and intrusive. There were two "ring-leaders," one of whom came and sat next to me and, at the goading of the others, began to do things to me. "Scyooz may," she repeated over and over. Getting no response she started tapping me on the shoulder. No response. "D'you speak English, mate?" She asked as she waved her hand in front of my face. No response. "Look at 'is hair," said one as the one (presumably behind me) started pulling at it. No response. "Oi, Harry," said one from the back. "Oi, is your name Harry?" says the one next to me. "Scyooz may, mate!" "Are you gay?" I cleared my throat. This was met with unanimous laughter, like the sound of rocks sliding into a pit. The one next to me then said, "oi, why you being rude for?" and pushed my head. "Oi, leave him alone," said one. At this point they started taking pictures on their phones, presumably to upload them to their Facebook or Instagram accounts. Then the strong, unpleasant smell of deodorant (of the kind favourable among teenage girls and available from Superdrug for 59p) wafted up my nose and I began to fear that they were spraying my tweed jacket with it. At this point the one next to me got up and moved to the back of the bus and I was left alone for the remainder of the journey. They started to shout and swear among themselves then and paid no more attention to me.

When I got off the bus I took off my jacket and inspected it for damage. There was none. I had tea with my friend and then went to Marks & Spencers to get some shopping (no, I don't like shopping on Sundays but I was too lazy to do any yesterday). I went to the bus stop with my shopping and (what are the odds!), the girls were back. I looked at one straight in the eyes and she looked away. Fortunately they embarked upon a different bus. If I had a gun...

Behaviour like this will only get worse as the years go by. It also increases my conviction that there are, walking among men, an expendable subhuman species that do not have souls. Pigs have similar intestinal organs to humans, don't they?

Men nowadays...

I first heard of Jacob Bronowski's "Arrow of Time" when I read The Naked Civil Servant. You see the arrow of time points always in the direction of diminishing difference. It works like this: first there was a difference between the classes, then there was a difference between the sexes. Now there is almost none. With the recent surge in homosexuality, in both men and women, nominally "heterosexual" men and women are not unaffected - quite the contrary. We are all sexual persons, to one degree or another, and now it seems that we are all inclined to some form of sexual perversion. Years ago a "pansy" was seldom anybody you had met; he was certainly never somebody you actually knew personally. We all of us know at least one queer these days. In the 1930's Quentin Crisp went about dumb with lipstick, blind with mascara in flamboyant clothes in order to manifest his sexual type. Nowadays most young people do it! In London I have seen men parade about with half their hair platinum blonde, the other half pink, with bright make up, jingling with amulets, chains, talismans...creating no sensation whatsoever. If they're completely loopy young men will gel their hair, contour their nose and cheekbones, wear foundation and a beard. And yet you know they are not homosexual. I work with such a young man and he seems threatened by me. Why is this? Perhaps because he has seen me and is frightened about just how effeminate he could be thought to be if anybody shifted his proclivities one way or another. Not that I would ever gel my hair. At any rate, they all practise sodomy on their girlfriends and engage in any number of base sexual appetites. Men everywhere are disgusting. Nevertheless the existence of "heterosexual" young men who take care over their appearance is proof that the distinction between the sexes has disappeared. As for lesbians, just look at Clare Balding.

Where do I come in? I find it frustrating that elsewhere on blogs people are complaining about the disintegration of friendship and they are not prepared to consult the expertise of a man who was the only living authority on the subject: Mr Crisp himself. What are you afraid of? Whenever I have mentioned Mr Crisp to any number of people they say some combination of these words: "wasn't he that gay man?" He was so much more than that. The Naked Civil Servant is just as frank and wise a look at 20th century morality and politics as Nineteen Eighty-Four. I suppose what distinguishes the works is that while they are both stories about abject failure and humiliation, Mr Crisp was less neurotic about the one way television screens than Orwell.

Thursday, 18 September 2014


God for His Mercy give Grace for I call upon the intercession of all our Royal Saints and of all English and Scottish Saints from times past to stop the disintegration of (what's left of) our Union.

St Benedict Biscop, pray for us.
St Wulfstan of Worcester, pray for us.
St Sigfrid of Sweden, pray for us.
St Oswald of York, pray for us.
St Chad of Lichfield, pray for us.
St Felix of East Anglia, pray for us.
St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, pray for us.
St Guthlac of Crowland, pray for us.
St Magnus the Martyr, pray for us.
St Alphege the Martyr, pray for us.
St Mellitus of London, pray for us.
St Erkenwald of London, pray for us.
St John of Beverley, pray for us.
St Dunstan, pray for us.
St Alcuin of York, pray for us.
St David of Scotland, pray for us.
St Bede the Venerable, pray for us.
St Adhelm of Malmesbury, pray for us.
St Augustine of Canterbury, pray for us.
St Oda of Canterbury, pray for us.
St Boniface, pray for us.
St Columba, pray for us.
St Alban the Martyr, pray for us.
St Etheldreda of Ely, pray for us.
St Mildred of Thanet, pray for us.
St Swithun of Winchester, pray for us.
St Ethelwold of Winchester, pray for us.
St Oswald the Martyr, pray for us.
St Aidan of Lindisfarne, pray for us.
St Birinus of Dorchester, pray for us.
St Ninian, pray for us.
St Theodore of Tarsus, pray for us.
St Lioba of Bischofsheim, pray for us.
St Paulinus of York, pray for us.
St Ethelburga of Barking, pray for us.
St James the Deacon, pray for us.
St Wilfrid of Ripon, pray for us.
St Edward the Confessor, pray for us.
St Frideswide of Oxford, pray for us.
Blessed Alfred the Great, pray for us.
St Cedd of Lastingham, pray for us.
St Willibrord of Utrecht, pray for us.
St Margaret of Scotland, pray for us.
St Hilda of Whitby, pray for us.
St Edmund the Martyr, pray for us.

Domine salvum fac Reginam Nostram Elizabeth. Et exaudi nos in die qua invocaverimus te.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

On the shores of the sea...

I've been asleep for most of the weekend, dreaming about such things as blowing up tube trains, smothering annoying women and walking into a ticket office attached to a moving train and winding up in a rather pleasant looking town at a time of night in my pyjamas; or just dozing in my bed half asleep and wishing I was dead. I live in squalor. In fact I've come to think that it is my natural environment. I had very nice linen bed covers but they became so torn and dirty that I threw them away. I kept the pillow case. It used to be white and clean but has, over considerable time (years), taken on the hue of jaundice. I haven't opened the curtains for many months. The carpet hasn't been vacuumed in years and is covered with "bits," mostly clumps of dust, toe clippings and various fibres. The bookcases, pictures and other surfaces are covered with a thick layer of dust, except in places where my brother wrote out "my name is Pat" with his finger. I have made a conscious effort to keep the place tidy but at various intervals I am too tired to bother so piles of washing, books, random pieces of paper and rubbish pile up. I hate washing and ironing so I try to keep that to a once-a-year routine (a two or three day affair, when my parents are on holiday). This means that my best clothes - the ones that I am too cheap or embarrassed to take to the dry cleaner - pile up in a corner while I rely, for the most part, on "dossing" clothes; mostly old cords, shrunken sweaters and short-sleeve shirts from Marks & Spencers. These I am too vain to wear outside the house so, if I am constrained to leave the house for any reason on the weekends, I usually wait until after dark to venture out - for half an hour at most - to the shop and back. I did used to go out more, with nice brogues, sumptuous cashmere cardigans, jackets from Cordings, my face and hair done up Quentin Crisp fashion, but this, after a while, became too much of an effort so I stay at home now. My mother tries her utmost to make me go out but it won't happen. My father makes light of it and calls me "the hermit of the Lonely Mountain;" but my mother said, "if you carry on like this, life will pass you by."

When I was about 10 or 11 my father and I stood on the strand near Malin Head in county Donegal (the northernmost point of Ireland), a place of outstanding natural beauty, and we were looking out to the Atlantic Ocean. It was Autumn, it was sunset, there was nobody around for miles. It really did feel like the edge of the world and before the unhappy discovery of America really was. My father pointed to the fire and water at the edge of sight and said, "that is the gateway to the West." And I thought to myself, "I'm going to go West one day."

Art: Ted Nasmith. I adore this painting. It depicts Maglor casting the Silmaril into the Great Sea a the end of the First Age. Maglor is one of many anti-heroes in Tolkien and, for me, the most admirable.

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Lord Bannside...

I first heard about Ian Paisley at about the time of the Good Friday Agreement, I think. I remember seeing him on BBC news marching along side David Trimble wearing the orange sash, marching to the sound of drums and whistles. My grandmother was indifferent, my mother none too fond, but I always secretly admired Dr Paisley. I thought it terribly brave, terribly foolish, terribly "traditional" for a man, in these latter days where truth is indistinguishable from falsehood, to stand up in publick and call the Romish pope the Antichrist. I was fascinated. Not that I cared for Paisley's erroneous Protestant beliefs and I am sorry that he sold out his political convictions in recent years. Still, it may be a blessing for one so enamoured of the Union to have died now. If the Scots secede from the United Kingdom then Northern Ireland may not be far behind, at least in terms of the waning years.

You may have despised him but you cannot doubt Dr Paisley's valour; that he remained staunch during many long years of doubt and trouble for Northern Ireland, that region of my own Irish family. He will be missed sorely by the Presbyterian community and by many loyal to the Crown. May he rest in peace.

Monday, 1 September 2014


Elle, Lucy's younger cousin, died this morning at about twenty minutes past nine of the clock. I had just arrived at work and received a very distressed call from my mother who was alone in the house with her. It appears that Elle had been unwell for some time. Our concerns were first raised over the bank holiday weekend. She was refusing to eat, found breathing difficult and was drinking water profusely. We took her to an out-of-hours emergency clinic where the veterinary surgeon took a blood sample. The vet noticed a high glucose level, indicative of Diabetes, and he recommended further tests. We took her home and made an appointment with our own veterinary practice where further tests were done. These confirmed the Diabetes and Cushing's Disease. Further tests were required but my mother, conscious of money and other things, wanted to arrange an appointment this morning with the vets to have the dog put to sleep. Last night Elle had disappeared into the bushes at the far back of the garden so as to die alone but my father had brought her back into the house. She was sleeping when I left for work this morning at 8 o'clock. My mother arranged the appointment but it was too late. It seems that as soon as she put the 'phone down the dog had passed to her long home.

I lost all the photos of Elle when my phone crashed last year. Fortunately this one survived as I uploaded it to the blog. This was the feast of Candlemass in 2009. Lucy and Elle were excited by the snow that we had.

May she rest in peace.