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mike
Chapter 53B
Sun Feb 11, 2018 23:18
108.26.68.82

Chapter 53 B CHRISTMAS DAY

Tom awoke me by kneading my chest which I took for a sign he needed to go outside. To my surprise it was past 9am, that's very late for me I am usually an early riser. Wonderful mouth watering odours were wafting out past me as I opened the kitchen door. They had previously greeted me as I descended the stairs to open the back door for Tom before getting myself a cup of tea that essential starting fluid to an Englishmans day.

The kitchen was always the centre of our family life, years before my father had knocked down the wall that previously separated a small boxy kitchen from a small boxy dining room and combined both into one large room the full length of the house. That gave my mother room to work and the rest of us to stay close to the action whilst not getting under her feet. Father had left the bottom three feet of the original wall and built an immense table top onto it, the size of a table tennis table. That way we could use the back half for family gatherings whilst the front half was more than enough room for mothers use when cooking.

My parents greeted me fondly and I joined my father seated at the back part of the table. He poured me a mug of tea and said "Tell me when you're feeling up to speed Tolbert. I've been reading those notes of yours, you seem to have been extremely busy and there's one or two things I'd like you to clarify for me. Enigmatic sort of chap this Colonel you refer to, if I was in your shoes I'd want to find out what makes him tick."

I felt a great sense of relief at hearing his words knowing that he must have gone through my notes thoroughly to have picked up on that aspect of the working arrangement. I'd phrased my description of the hierarchy as dispassionately and accurately as I could knowing that the various people mentioned might well read my evaluation of their part in the division of labour. After a slightly awkward start the Club had given the Colonel complete control of the operation and he'd pretty much left us to our own devices, very much hands off by comparison with the original arrangement.

"Or so it would seem" said my father as he completed his summary of the Colonels modus operandi. "Yet the one or two suggestions he made to yourself and this Professor, may have far reaching consequences though I note its largely for your benefit. I would surmise that he's doing his best to keep you out of the firing line which seems to be his speciality. He almost exclusively prefers to work with the mavericks and gets the most out of them rather than try to force square pegs into round holes like the military does. If I were you," Father concluded "I would make it my business to try and find out more about the other chaps he's worked with and get their take on what sort of a C.O. he is."

"You got all that from my notes?" I asked in surprise.
"Reading between the lines Tolbert and using my own experience of similar sorts of men. You have done a better job than perhaps you realize in describing the intricacies of this situation you have taken on. Because of your attention to detail I was able to make one or two informed guesses about the men you mention in your various separate entries. Knowing Mr Churchill, for example, I can be fairly certain who he's relying on for his scientific advice which would be Lindemann and knowing his circle of contacts I can probably find out more about your Colonel if you'd like me to?"
"Wheels within wheels" I murmured to myself thoughtfully wondering if I should take my fathers advice or let sleeping dogs lie.
"It's an incestuous community this group of specialised technicians and engineers who like to distance themselves from scientists that deal mostly in theory even though the engineers wouldn't have things to turn into fact without the original ideas put forward by the research establishment." said my father who sounded both amused and exasperated as he explained this more fully for my benefit.

"Alright you men, it's Christmas Day, surely you can put aside this business discussion until tomorrow?" my mother suggested "Besides which there's a lot of work still to be done and I would like a hand. I'll tell you what needs doing and you can work it out between yourselves as to who does what."

The rest of Christmas Day passed in a pleasant blur of games, conversations about various friends and relations, food and drink and the warmth and cheer that is not perhaps as universal as it should be but for my family, at least, would be long remembered as one of the best.

To my surprise and delight my parents made me a gift of the MG which was generous and unexpected, I'd been afraid that I'd be asked to return it following my extended loan of the car. Mother had never been entirely happy about the Morgan, seeing it as a dangerously vulnerable vehicle only suited for occasional use. Father said it was perfectly safe and fine for gadding about on a summers day but not really practical for long distance use in the dead of winter.

Well I'd been a dutiful son and held the conversation about work in abeyance for Mothers sake but I knew my father and it had seemed to me that our brief exchange at breakfast was but the tip of the iceberg. He had that look I knew well from my childhood, the water was piling up behind the dam, it was just a matter of waiting for the floodgates to be opened.

    • Ah, yes... - sarge, Mon Feb 12 07:37
      The hidebound military. You are not far from wrong in that era. A good read is Monty's biography (Hamilton). The tween-wars period was one of great conflict within the Army, the old hidebound crowd... more
      • Interesting remark you make - mike, Mon Feb 12 09:37
        At first reading I thought it was so at odds to what I'd written that perhaps you weren't making reference to my story at all. Then on reading my own post again I saw how it does seem as if that's... more
        • I wandered off... - Sarge, Mon Feb 12 10:16
          ...what you intended, but on purpose. Again, the times might well define the antagonist once you get there. I sent those Churchill books to give you an idea (in the first volume) and some useful... more
          • I haven't got an antagonist yet - mike, Mon Feb 12 13:27
            That I'm aware of. I'm being truthful when I make the claim that I don't have any idea about where the story is going, its as much a surprise to me as to you (or possibly not in your case). This has... more
            • I do find... - Sarge, Mon Feb 12 19:07
              ...things are much more brightly framed after a good run in one of the little cars; God I must look a total spanner getting out of the dam thing, though, and getting in one with the top up is a... more
              • Welcome advice but today was weird - mike, Mon Feb 12 20:36
                I went to bed at 11 and fell asleep quickly didnt get up till almost 8am which is most unusual. Then to cap it all I fell asleep at 11am after dog walk and breakfast slept till 1am had a light lunch... more
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