Friday, 5 April 2013

Postscript . . .

Author's note

Well I am done now I think.  One hundred and five episodes (105) are enough for anybody to write - and read!

You can read my story from the beginning if you go into the blog archive on the right-hand side bar.  It starts in April 2012.  My passion is justice.  My theme has been goodness, and its antonym, evil.

For those of you are interested in such things, some rough viewing statistics (April 2013) are as follows: UK - 1050; US - 690;  Russia - 320; Germany - 150; France - 90, with the Ukraine and China coming in next at 30 and 25 views, respectively.  With the exception of south America and Africa (nil views) I have had views from countries all over the world.  I hope this has been due to placing a translation widget on the side bar!

I haven't used the social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc) in any way.  Partly this is because I don't know how to(!) but also it is due to feeling that I'd like viewers to be 'real' in some way - and not generated by the need for us all to 'follow' each other. 

I am grateful, however, for the readership I have had; your presence in the ether has supplied a continued motivation to write.

Evangeline

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Secret Service: EPISODE 105

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet
CORSETTSHIRE  ZY6 4GT
My Dear Ralph
I have been sitting here for quite some while.  I think I may have been trying to concentrate the forces required to write this final epistle.  Comedy is, after all, a well-known antidote to what is, often, the deadly arena of life.  I am not going to go into detail here - as I have, indeed, barely mentioned my long career in the Service - but I seem to have spent most of last year with my foot on the neck of evil.  And now, I may, I think, finally have broken the neck of it.  This saddens me dear, for one does not ever wish to set out upon the path of Nemesis.  I used to think, like Christ perhaps, that one should 'turn the other cheek' and react compassionately to manifestations of darkness.  But, if there is one thing I have learned over the decades, it is that evil does not respond well to any demonstrations of goodness, kindness and love.  Evil is playing by different rules and can, I believe, only be stopped by some expression of force.  So, I have gone (reluctantly) beyond my own self and opposed the dark force, driven it before me, and struck possibly a mortal blow.  I cry dear, for the loss of a goodness that never was.  I place my full stops.  I place them carefully.  I am elliptical, doubtless, but aren't we all occupying hidden worlds?  Aren't we all swept by currents whose meaning we can barely comprehend?  Only follow the light pet is all that I can say.  Follow it as best you can.
Meanwhile, this year - last year - I have made some friends of decent character.  Dear Guthrie attended yesterday and we engaged in a peregrination round the local countryside and munched on pie in a fine eatery.  In a day or so, I will be meeting up with the equally decent Entwhistle for a tour of 'winter' city gardens.  And then there is Tom, who is a water sports enthusiast from Bright Litton.  Life force perhaps, or intellect.
I lay my sword to earth.  And the hilt, I see it quiver.
Yours
Aunt Agatha

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A good man . . .

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet
CORSETTSHIRE  ZY6 4GT
My Dear Ralph
Today I received a telephone call from Marian, Pom-Pom's sister.  The dear old fellow apparently died at 4.00am this morning.  Frankly dear, I am relieved that his long struggle is finally over.  Indeed a whole era is over.  He was that rare thing in our society: a good man, and I will miss him.
Marian did ask me if I would like to attend his funeral, but I said I felt that the redoubtable Xanthe would not welcome my presence at this event - and that Pom-Pom and I had said all that we needed to say to one another while he was alive.  Of course, that still leaves Meribel, Pom-Pom's cat, whose care I took over when he was no longer able to safely stoop down to the cat litter.  Meribel is getting old now, and I don't know how much longer she herself will last; however, she is here with me at Forsythia Grove and we will get on as best we can.
Yours
Aunt Agatha

Monday, 1 April 2013

Ideas for games . . .

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet
CORSETTSHIRE  ZY6 4GT

Speaking, dear, about my erstwhile colleague has brought to mind an activity apparently carried out by one of her parents during the Second World War.  Apparently, said parent used to arrange for the dropping of pigeons - in wicker baskets equipped with mini-parachutes - into occupied French territory.  Capsules containing notes were then attached to the birds, which flew back home to the parental demesne.  I myself have always wondered whether the wicker baskets were designed to have apertures through which the birds could escape, should they be inadvertently dropped into a river.  Do you know the answer to that one pet?  Anyway, one of these birds - one Dumpling by name - actually won the Winn Dixie (a.k.a. the Dickin medal) for animal bravery during armed conflict!
Returning, however, to last time's story, I hoved into view at Honeysuckle House one afternoon last week and was trotted along the corridors by one Candy, the home's Elderly Activities Organizer.  I was of course first frisked and finger-printed at the gate by the rather efficient Beryl, who uttered one or two menacing remarks on the topic of criminal records checking and the necessity of my not appearing on any Register of Offenders.  Oh dear pet.  I hope the register of those 'Licenced to Kill' does not count?
At last, however, I did actually reach the lounge and had my first sightings of the denizens of this dwelling.  They were scattered to all four corners of the room (thankfully no blaring television set) and mostly, as far as I could see, they did not take their chins from off the front of their frocks on my appearance.  This was slightly dispiriting I must say, but an operative is trained to cope with any situation - however apparently adverse - as you know.  I gazed about me and my first enquiry was naturally this: 'HOW MANY OF YOU CAN HEAR ME??'  (It did not seem politic, as you will understand pet, to ask how many could not hear me, for how could anyone have replied?)  Two old ladies raised their hands and that left eight who did not . . . There was one, rather impolite, individual in the corner who - upon hearing that she was about to be regaled with a talk on MI6 operations - pulled a rather unpleasant face!  Candy did her best to rouse some interest in my presence and off I set.  Really dear, it is by no means simple to give a talk in a setting where the nether doors keep on opening to admit a hoist and associated carer sent to extract individuals to attend the toilet!  Naturally, though, I took all this in my stride and decided to relate short excerpts . . .  And, at the end of these, I embarked upon an attempt to ascertain residents' names and some general facts of interest about them.  Certainly, people did perk up somewhat once they realized that they were going to be required to participate.  And Candy's banging on the metaphorical cymbals also contributed to an atmosphere of occasional wakefulness.  I don't know dear.  One could realistically arrive at the conclusion that - if it is really natural for the elderly to while away days on end napping in their chairs - who are we to keep on waking them up with ideas for games, talks, Whist, nail care and so forth.
Yours
Aunt Agatha

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Dead man sitting . . .

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet
CORSETTSHIRE  ZY6 4GT

I have just returned from my second visit to the Crow's Nest residential care home dear.  I do think Marian must have visited - and attempted to improve the arrangement of Pom-Pom's room - because the floor-laid electrical cables had disappeared and it was possible to sit by the bed.  Pom-Pom, however, was installed in the giant armchair by the window.  He appeared to be virtually unconscious.  When I enquired about his condition, I was informed that he'd just been returned by ambulance transport, from No Return District Hospital, where he'd had his long-term catheter replaced subsequent to developing a bladder infection.  I am not in the least surprised that he had developed an infection as, to the best of my knowledge, the catheter had not been replaced since the date of its first installation many months ago!
I was horrified pet, that any human being should be put to sit in an armchair when they were hovering on the borders of consciousness - and indeed death.  It was impossible to have a conversation with Pom-Pom, whose heavy limbs loaded the seat in what appeared to be a state of near paralysis.  All I could do was sit by his side, patting his hand, and weeping for his long suffering at the hands of the UK care system.  I did not stay long.  I merely stumbled from the premises - through the long lonely corridors and unpopulated staircases - and got back into the Banger 0.9L.  Although we covered a mile or so, it wasn't long before I actually had to stop in a layby where I must have sat - in a numbed state of shock - for quite some minutes before I felt able to continue on my way back to Forsythia Grove.
And when I got to Forsythia Grove I sat for even longer in my own armchair before recovering sufficient motive force to have even a nip of gin.
Auntie

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Skid pans . . .

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet
CORSETTSHIRE  ZY6 4GT
 
My Dear Ralph
Thank you for your recent epistle pointing out that my age - and indeed my entire life - bears a distinct resemblance to that of a (fairly recently) retired personage from my sister service.  We were certainly acquainted but - owing to our very different specialisms - did not work in close congress or become in any way buddies of the (ample) bosom.  I hear too, that she has a penchant for the keeping of a type of animal called a 'llama.'  I myself would not be able to distinguish one end of said animal from another.  For your edification by the way pet, both the spelling - and the meaning - of this word is not to be confused in any way with the very similar 'lama.'  The latter is actually a style of Buddhist monk.  Anyway, at last the weather dawns more-or-less fair here at Outer Hamlet after some weeks of the most icy conditions!  The Banger 0.9L has thankfully been coughing into life - subsequent to a considerable application of zeal de-icing the windscreen every morning prior to my stints over at Colonel Mustang's.  Some days I have had to inch down the icy lanes at only a few micro-miles per hour and, on one horrible occasion, the Banger and I actually slew - wholesale - the whole way down a slope into just unfrozen flood waters.  Luckily pet, my years of training on special operations skid pans has prepared me for such contingencies and we were able to emerge without actually becoming installed in a hedgerow!
I think I may have mentioned my recent discourses with Edith on the subject of her medication and possibly accelerated decline into a local care home?  Well our deliberations on this topic continued and Edith mentioned her periodic visits to her chum Elspeth, who is currently sojourning in one of these establishments.  Apparently, such experiences are not ones of unmitigated good cheer!  Indeed, she reported being found clinging to the bannisters (in her own home) by her son Michael, uttering entreaties to never be sent to this 'Country Bunker.'  The latest is that she is hot-footing it down to her solicitors with a list of care homes that she is definitely not going to be attending - in conjunction with some document entitled a 'Living Will' which lists her preferred brand of toothpaste and how many spoons of sugar she has in her tea!  Can they really sweep one off in this manner pet?
The consequence of this conversation is that I have been commissioned by Edith and associated chums (still clinging on to life in their own homes) to investigate the facilities at one Honeysuckle House situated in the environs of Outer Hamlet.  The funds earmarked for said project were, I must say, most tempting and I spent quite some while considering a suitable pretext for gaining entry to these premises.  In the end, I came up with the idea of approaching the Home Manager with a view to giving a FREE series of talks on 'My Life as an Operative.'  Frankly dear, I was slightly offended by the just-concealed guffaw emitted by this Beryl, who might not have been able to associate my French pleat and plum nail extensions with any occupation quite so titillating as Cold War assassin.  I shall have to take along my collection of garrotting cables to show her.  I don't think she will be snickering then!  Some of these, you know, were actually extricated from person's necks in the 1970's and blood stains remain on them in some instances.  It is important never to take a lady attired in several strings of magenta beads at face value!
Yours
Aunt Agatha 

Friday, 29 March 2013

Secret Service: EPISODE 100

10 Forsythia Grove
Outer Hamlet
CORSETTSHIRE  ZY6 4GT
My Dear Ralph
Thank you for returning a couple of my recent epistles; I did in the end feel that they were, on the one hand, excessively sentimental and, on the other, excessively frank.  One would not wish the Whole World to hear about each minuscule turn of the cogs . . .
Turning to the matter of Pom-Pom's admission to the Crow's Nest residential care hom - situated on the banks of the river Beaver - I did receive a (rather desperate) phone call from him on the day of his transfer to these premises.  I still have his words on my telephone answering machine and one sentence - currently stuck in my memory banks - is: 'Can you come and see me, today?  Some horrible things are going on in here.'  The message ends with the words, 'I am missing you terribly.'  So I did go over and the impression I got from just walking in through the door - that stench of cabbage and urine - pretty much prepared me for what I was going to find.  The place looked upon its uppers, decor-wise, and I tramped through any number of seedy and depressing corridors in order to locate my friend.  He was situated in a single bed directly behind an open door.  No-one in bed could possibly see round it and nobody could sit beside it because the huge, unwieldy, 'armchair' was situated at the end of the bed, by the window.  A number of electrical cables were trailing across the floor and the television - situated high up on a wall - was both hard to see and not working.
Honestly dear.  It is almost impossible to describe the sense of dismay and helplessness I felt on his behalf.  I did assemble a couple of staff in the room to survey the scene, but no-one was prepared at that point (on a Sunday) to do anything about it.  The situation was so unacceptable that I even considered telephoning the redoubtable Xanthe (a desperate move indeed). However, I recalled that she was luckily holidaying in foreign climes at that very moment and this left Pom-Pom's sister, Marian.  So I phoned this lady, bracing myself - as a non-blood-relative - for an intra-family rebuff.  There was indeed a silence when she realized who was phoning, but I was so evidently distressed by Pom-Pom's situation that she did promise to visit and address matters personally.  She even, at the end of the call, thanked me for phoning!  I could do without all this pet as the mere recollection of it makes me feel in need of an immediate sedative.
How are you getting along with your new adult mentor by the way?  It is certainly good news that the Government realizes the importance of giving care and support to individuals recently released from gaol.  After all, a number of people might quite like to feel, at the end of their lives, that they have achieved one or two things they can be proud of - and not the reverse.
That does, of course, leave those to whom a life of unabated hedonism at the expense of everyone else - including their 'significant others' - is quite the way to go.  There are far too many people around of this ilk in my opinion pet.  I fear they may indeed have become Evil.
Yours
Aunt Agatha