POSTCARD FROM OXFORD
Hello playmates, it's Rumpole of the Waily here (that's my nickname for this delightful little court room of ours, formerly know as the EC Forum - the Old Waily).
I've been dragged to Oxford by 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' for a couple of days R&R (it's either her birthday or our anniversary, can't remember which). Lovely weather. (What's it like in Edinburgh, Geoff?)
Anyway, I am sitting here in the Jeremy Morse Bar of the Randolph Hotel with 'She'. Both of us are in a foul mood. I'm unhappy because they don't serve Chateau Thames Valley League in the Morse Bar...
O for a beaker full of the warm South
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim.
Instead I have to make do with Eley's Old Peculier. A foul tipple. 'She' is also upset because she can't get her favourite Fox and James' Dry Sherry. (Or is it amontillado?)
But that's nothing to the row we had earlier when she caught sight of my forum posts. She drew herself up to her full 5' 2" in height and I was at once transported to the moment when I fell in love with her. It was the day when she punched Mildred Basman clean out of the ring in the middleweight division of the 1934 Surrey Ladies' Chess Brawling Championship. (In Surrey, then as now, we were proud of our reputation as the most violent chess-playing county in the kingdom. Adjudication we regarded as a bit cissy, preferring to end unfinished games with a choice of a ten-minute quickplay bare-knuckle fist fight, or a two-minute blitz eye-gouging contest.)
Anyway, 'She' started into me: "Rumpole! Disgraceful behaviour! The way you treated Mr Justice Horton was beastly! He's a charming man and loves his pussy! And as for using that awful word to describe Sir Roger de Coverly - 'despicable' indeed. And a man from your own chambers, too!
" It was no use arguing with her in this mood. I promised to apologise to both gentlemen forthwith.
But no! Rumpole never pleads guilty! Both deserved what was coming to them. Anyone who has suffered the word-by-word torture of an interrogation by 'Saint-Just
' or his cohorts from the S&B Committee of Public Safety
will know what I'm talking about.
As for Sir Roger de Mentor - I told my grandson about him and he told me he sounded like one of the Dementors in Harry Potter
who go round sucking the life and positivity out of everyone - he may seem like a harmless old darling, but anyone who had seen the glint in his eye as he sends some hapless forumite down to the cells for contempt of court, merely for mentioning adjudication in his court, will empathise. It's true we both did a stretch at a windy penal colony on the Fens back in the mists of time, though not the same cell block nor at the same time, but such niceties cut no ice with Rumpole.
Anyway, just to let you know, I may be posting less frequently for a day or two, but thought I'd send you a postcard to wish you all well. Even Saint-Just and de Mentor.
I expect I shall return home in a couple of days to find the debate has moved on to a discussion about Harry Golombek's inside leg measurement or 3.Bf4 in the Queen's Gambit. No - that second suggestion was far-fetched. Discussing chess on a chess forum? Silly me for suggesting it.
'She' is insisting we go to the Cezanne exhibition at the Ashmolean. I tried to dissuade her, suggesting that it was unwise going on the first day as the paint may not be dry yet, but she would have none of it.
Anyway, I bid you a fond farewell - for the while.
Rumpole of the Waily