Once again, it is my sad duty to inform our loyal readership that our regular diarist is unable to provide us with his usual sparkling bons mots. As one, we Pitshanger archivists live in dread of the arrival of his man bearing the familiar green ink on his monogrammed Basildon Bond. With no meandering preamble to fill the page, we always have to do more work in our research when his two-seater fails to arrive. We pray that normal service is resumed by next week, but in the meanwhile we shall return to an old favourite that is close at hand and very well thumbed: Sir John Soane’s tenure as chairman and convenor of our august and ancient Tuesday nights.
One of his regular visitors was the overly serious William Blake, never a man to reach for a double entendre when an obscure metaphysical homily was there for the preaching. This was often alloyed with his many conspiracy theories, which included his conviction that barefooted foreigners were sullying England’s pristine pastures with their sweaty feet.
No such paranoia at tonight’s gathering, where Daphne Gloag brought us a fine brace of poems concerning pigeon coos and buttercups both dead and alive alive-oh. Nick Barth has reworked his memories of his cocksure youth, while Martin Choules salvaged a regrettable experience through verse, even if it is the most expensive verse he’s ever written. Finally, we had John Hurley come to a compromise with an oversized copper beech.
Bill Blake was finally persuaded to stop attending and “concentrate on his painting” after he once too often accosted somebody referred to in the archives cryptically as “Mr. M”. This is probably Sir John’s gardener, a large raven-haired gentleman about whom the Bard of Broad Street was convinced “had a look about him”. Apparently, the horticulturalist did not take kindly to Blake constantly referring to him as “Dark Satanic Mills”.