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mike
Chapter 52. Thanks for your patience.
Sat Feb 10, 2018 19:56
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Chapter 52
(NOTE:- To break the jam thats been afflicting me, I'm going to jump in without attempting to fit this into whatever went before.)

Was it really for Tom's sake as much as anything that I decided not to move home to somewhere nearer to the Professor? I see from my diary of the time that was the excuse I had made to the Professor who had been hoping I would move to his village. It would have put me at his beck and call but since that was why the Club was paying my salary I shouldn't have had any objection to the fact
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It might seem disingenuous to use my cat as an excuse but truthfully Tom was better adapted to his City life, if I had to go away and couldn't take him with me he had ready made cat sitters only too willing to give him food and shelter for his rodent extermination services. Last but not least he'd seemed somewhat 'lost' whilst staying at the Professors home.

Having had time to consider all the pros and cons I might have decided to move anyway despite the cat, it was really a hair splitting choice. What would change my mind was an accidental discovery that I'd not share with anyone else, probably not ever.

Manys the time I had sat in the little park outside my flat wondering how it had managed to escape being 'landscaped' or strait jacketed by the usual low box hedges and formal flower beds. It almost seemed like a little piece of the original countryside that had existed before all the housing was erected during the boom years of Victoria's reign.

I mean to say that the park was like a snapshot of the open countryside that must have existed here a hundred and fity years ago. It had a grove of massive oak trees, only six in total but there was also a couple of giant beech trees and three horse chestnuts and those alone should have guaranteed its being over run by small boys collecting conkers in autumn.

The park had the unusual property of seeming much larger than it was and it was also topographically unusual in that its centre was obviously what had once been a hilltop. It was as if someone had sliced off the top of a low hill. When I was a boy I would have spent almost every free moment in a place like this, it would have been my own Never Never Land, Treasure Island and every other adventurous setting.

Because of the big trees and the difference in height between the outside circumference and the centre, it wasn't possible to see straight across from one side to the other. Also the tangled massive roots of the trees trapped little crests and hollows between them, so that you could easily imagine you were inside a forest or a jungle especially during summer when the foliage was at its thickest.

Yet despite what ought to have been its magnetic allure to boys for streets around, it was rarely occupied except for the occasional lone writer, artist or similarly inclined individuals grateful for a peaceful haven amidst Londons hurly burly. I had walked over every inch of it at one time or another and marvelled at the network of paths caused by its undulations. They weren't paths at all, just places where the shade made the grass grow thinly. I thought it had a magical timeless quality, unlike George.

"Nobody really feels comfortable there sir, something about the place" said the caretaker when I mentioned how unexpected it was that such a beautiful natural spot should remain unspoiled "By all accounts there's a dark story behind its being left in its natural state. I did hear mention of a Lords owning all this land hereabouts and leasing it out to the builders on their legal promise to leave that part alone and untouched. Seems his oldest boy was killed in a duel fought there. Theres more to it than that but I've only heard a part of the tale. Nasty by all accounts, dirty doings that brought the boy low, sad business but thats all I knows about it."

There and then I decided to investigate the matter thoroughly first chance I got but despite George's morbid misgivings I still found the place soothing, peaceful, a most helpful retreat when there was thinking to be done.

In fact now I come to think about it, I should have noticed this before, that this park has the same way of heightening ones sensibilities that the area on the Downs did, the one that the Professors old dog had drawn his attention to.There was one way to see if my feelings were on the money, I could bring the cats cradle to the park and see if it revealed anything.

However, first things first, no more wild goose chases for Mrs Lanstons little boy until after Christmas, I told myself firmly. "You've got more than enough on your plate as it is and supposing something happened as a result of doing that test? Mother and father would be most upset if I didn't show up and let them hear about my adventures up till now. Heaven knows theres enough to talk about already.

Yes but what harm could befall me if I just took a quick scan of the park? As long as I remained determined to go no further no matter what the temptation. After all whatever I saw today would still be true two weeks from now, its not as if past events can change having already happened. That argument with myself was warning enough. When I start trying to convince myself that no harm could possibly befall whatever the notion was then I know that's the clearest sign of all that it should NOT be done!

Tom must have recognized the cue that his human was considering doing something unwise because he took it upon himself to distract me by playing 'kitten' and behaving in an utterly silly and hilarious fashion. He started it by stalking an innocent sock and then tossing it up into the air lying on his back to bat the hapless hosiery hither and yon.

Next he proceeded to unreel the toilet paper, pulling it around chair legs, under the table and pouncing on it anew every time it had the temerity to flutter in a draught. Finally he settled down on his front legs extended, rear end and tail up in the air, growling softly and finally launching an attack upon my piled up notes, scattering them all over the floor before sauntering over to my chair to jump up onto my lap and purr loudly and rub his face against my chest as if to say "Go on, swear at me, I dare you!"

Weak with laughter and overcome with affection I stroked him at length and told him what a wonderful animal he was and how right of him to break into my train of thought by reminding me that companionship is a two way street and maybe cats sometimes need a little cheering up too. Only on making that declaration did I realize that I had in fact been a bit blue but hadn't really noticed it until Tom's making me laugh showed me the difference between how I'd been and how he'd changed my mood completely.

Oh well, write it off to the usual Pre or Apres Christmas state of mind when for whatever reason, rich or poor, you find yourself wondering whether it should be like that. If you're rich it's the Little Match Girl to make you guilt ridden at your comfort, if you're poor it's self condemnation, self pity or some equally bleak comparison to be made between Them and Us, works both ways. The world never seems quite as wonderful as it did once you realize that Father Christmas is fiction not fact. What's really important though is the ability, however brief, to maintain such a belief.

After all such an ability lies behind the motivation to attempt to make a fact out of such fictions as Justice, Truth, Honour and many other noble ideals. That's what motivates me to be a writer who seeks to enlighten others as to the benefits of Science, Engineering and those means by which humanity has laboriously dragged itself out of the animal and towards the intellectual. For the same reason I have and always will refuse to acknowledge anything that acts contrary to those ideals.


    • here it is Roger! - mike, Sat Feb 10 23:59
      Chapter 52 is the next episode
    • Very good... - Sarge, Sat Feb 10 20:16
      Timed perfectly, as Hobbes jumped in my lap, started kneading my paunch with a blissful look and his motor running, timing fully advanced. Now flopped over almost on his back... Now, I have to type... more
      • Overjoyed and overloaded - mike, Sat Feb 10 20:46
        With affection Herbert tends to nip ear lobes and nose septum and if really blown away at my return will chew on a hand but its gentle not meant to hurt though it can sometimes she's never drawn... more
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