An English In Kentucky


















Tuesday April 1st  2014  Tim Candler


     Days drift of course, an incident here, an incident there. An occasional breach in the clouds over the English Channel had offered a view of our star, which in the latitude of East Sussex has a candle like quality well into March. There was wonderful victory for the football team, Chaka was awarded his colours for valor on the football field. And there must have been some kind of miracle because Switherington-Smyth was able to prevent an enemy goal with the back of his head. And too Chaka fell briefly on the right side of good fortune, which to adequately explain might require some attempt from me at prelude.  The English Boarding School System, had an ancient tradition called the "Tuck Box."  These were little boxes with a lock and key, and they all looked alike. The American Webster's dictionary quaintly tells you that a tuck box is a 'box of delicacies from home.' And some tuck boxes were better provisioned than others, which could lead to some secrecy amongst tribesmen, and occasional pilfering.  In Chaka's own genetic line the concept of tuck box had never been properly understood, which meant Chaka had no secrets to keep. But as luck would have it, a fellow tribesman had been sent off to his winter season with a truly magnificent supply of the Australian version of Marmite, which is called Vegemite.  There was  a general understanding that somehow the tribesman's father had been charged with introducing Vegemite to the South East of England. And it's easy enough to dismiss such a charge as yet one more instance of insanity, but when all was said and done, there was no shortage of Vegemite for those proud few at the evening meal who couldn't actually tell the difference between Marmite and Vegemite. Most especially when it was mixed with the school jam, producing that sort of delicacy that reaches into the soul in order to discuss purpose with Zeus. As well, that winter season on Exeunt Day, (exeunt is Latin for 'they leave') Chaka was again landed with Switherington-Smyth, whose visiting family's idea of  fun was to wander the Romney Marsh take photo's of the Romney Ewe, then eat cheese sandwiches and introduce young Switherington-Smyth to the family's hobby of walking against gale force winds. Not something he would ever be adept at, and quite wrong of his paternal line to think otherwise.  But it kind of explained why Switherington-Smyth was on the football team.

     And, the French Master had somehow convinced himself that Chaka might have an aptitude for the French Language. He would take each and every opportunity he could to secure the detention room for Chaka's personal use, so Chaka might be able to wholly concentrate his mind on French Vocabulary, and the delightful nuances between the feminine and masculine gender of French words, as well as practice his pronunciation of "Mon Sewer," and maybe spend some time with the French Master's own frustrations, by listening to his fifth column political views. The matron had some kind of a fall which resulted in an incapacity that required the Headmaster to employ an assistant matron, who looked to be about twenty years old, which was an allure that caused a condition of swoon amongst the more vulnerable tribesmen, and a certain entirely unnecessary bravado from those who might have received their footballing colours. Then, in the last days of the winter season, the French Master discovered our titular head queering a younger tribesman who looked to be about five, but might have been persuaded he was six and a half or seven years old.  And here, without going into too much detail it was a particularly unpleasant incident of queering which involved buggering the little tribesman's anus, and would have required medical attention had it occurred in shall we call it a less isolated environment. And there was a sort of shame from the young tribesman that no amount of eloquence, not even from the English Master could heal. He lingered a while in the corners, wandered lost and alone, and there's a good chance that something might have snapped in him which time on earth does not mend.  The titular head was sent home. He was expelled, along with two other of the senior boys, all of whom probably went on to live comfortable lives in Kent, married chinless women, and probably worked as stockbrokers in the City of London, where buggering the weak has long been considered a respectable art form. My own view was to call in the Crows, take up spears and dance our tribe's sin away.  But before you know it, you're in the Charring Cross railway station, and you're stuffing your  football colours school cap into your canvass carrying bag, and you're staring at the entrance to the London Underground, and in your pocket you have one of Switherington-Smyth's pound notes, because in some circles no one in their right mind uses the underground railway, the hackney cab is so much easier.    



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