Another? Aren’t we talking about the Prittster Patel and the Rwanda fiasco? For sure, the other night the infamous transportation flight never left the tarmac at Boscombe Down, near Amesbury, the former RAF base, but first, I’m going to talk about my mother’s strange past. And talking of planes, well, just don’t mention them in Battleaxe’s hearing. Tomorrow we should have been flying out to Turkey, but would you believe Philosopher has Covid? He tested positive on Tuesday. Yes, I know it was Easyjet from Gatwick, but at least fate could have given us a chance… we had been so looking forward to that holiday. Have re-booked for next week. Should be fine unless he is not better or I catch it…. gulp..
So, first, what about my mother? In her declining years she lived in Amesbury, and for some reason that I can’t explain, she seemed to be particularly fond of a few pink gins in the Officer’s Mess at RAF Boscombe Down. She went there so often that Philosopher diagnosed a severe case of a new condition previously unknown to medical science – Boscombe Downs Syndrome. But I am now wondering why she went so often? Who took her there? What connection did she have with Boscombe Down? Of course, she and my father are both long dead, so as so often and so infuriating, I can’t ask her, and will never know.
I do remember though that high-ranking RAF officers always seem to have played a big part in her life. Her conversation was peppered with the goings-on of Squadron Leaders, Wing-Commanders… She had one particular old friend, Jack Maggs, who ended up as an Air Vice- Marshal. I remember meeting the Maggs when I was young. They lived at Tidworth. But how did she know him? What sort of relationship did they have? Who knows. But don’t lets just stop at Air Vice-Marshalls. The woman was also old friends with Field-Marshall Sir Geoffrey Baker, Chief of the Imperial General Staff in the 1960s. He was like, head of the armed forces… The Bakers had several of our little dogs, and again, I can remember them visiting us. So what on earth was all that about? How did she know him? Was my mother a spy or something? Did she have irresistable sexual magnetism? (I don’t think so…) How did my father fit into all this? I wish I could just ring her up and ask her. Of course, it would be no use, she was an incorrigible liar, so I wouldn’t have got the truth. But I do know that Maggs and Baker were real… as was Boscombe Down Syndrome.
Being brought up by my parents was maybe a bit like trying to live with Boris Johnson’s government – a bizarre and dysfunctional unreal world where nothing is what it seems, and truth ceases to have any meaning. Marina Hyde wrote quite a good piece in the Guardian today – Government by Annoying the Right People, i.e these apparently crackpot policies aren’t designed to achieve any results, but are there to distract, divide and weaken us all yet further, and carefully targeted to unearth yet more categories of people and institutions that can be demonised, vilified and blamed. In this case, we now have ‘lefty lawyers’ to bash, and best of all, the European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act – which have of course, been wrongly, but powerfully, linked to that boringly familar old bogey, the EU… Talking of the government, Hyde says:
‘Much of what is done feels more like theatre or film-making. Yesterday’s immersive set was the military airbase at Boscombe Down. Several hundred thousand pounds were spent hiring a plane that – as airily expected by those who had hired it – did not take off, and consequently might be best regarded as an expensive stage prop.’
In this macabre, tragic piece of performance art, the ‘terrified migrants are but hapless extras’.
Boscombe Downs Syndrome indeed…
For sure, my parents were in no way nearly as wicked as Patel, Johnson et al, nor were they any good at what they did, but take it from me, it was not a great environment to grow up in. No wonder the Battleaxe suffers from life-long anxiety, and no wonder that living in Tory Never-Never Land makes me yet more angry and anxious…
The Covid business is a bit boring. On Sunday I did the Race for Life in Alexandra Park with WI mates. Philosopher spent the whole time I was doing the bizz sitting – outside – with friend Tom Kelly. Tom tested positive on Monday, then P’pher on Tuesday. So far I am negative but that means nothing. There we all were, just starting to believe the pandemic was receding – and just maybe – normal life was back. But hells bells, no.
Our friend Shaun is flying out tomorrow on his own – we will join him just as soon as possible.
I also had to miss my first meeting of a Novel Critiquing Group. I want to join to keep the pressure on myself to get this WI who-dunnit novel finished. Am now on Chapter Six.