It’s early evening. I have just come off my weekly Zoom with Colonel L, as I shall now call him, to distinguish him from other Ls. It’s 34C in my study, and the door and windows have been open all day. A lot of work done today, and I have one working day left before I go on hols (although I have to say that I might spend some of the weekend just tidying up a few loose ends so that I don’t forget anything important). Talking to Colonel L is always a joy, because he has an endless reserve of stories, and because I like talking to my very good friend.
Before that call, I went on my usual 2-mile walk, this time under the cover of the trees on Mousehold Heath which offered some respite from the sun (I’m not really bothered about the heat, because I like it very much). I was muttering away to myself in German on that walk, and then when I got back and sat down at the table to drink some water, check my phone, and roll a cigarette before I had the very necessary shower, I was talking to myself in Norwegian (the house being empty because M was at her work’s office today). I too often forget what a blessing it is to be a linguist, what a blessing to have an aptitude to have learned languages, and to be able not just to speak them, but, and this is even more important, to understand what other people are saying in those languages, and to be able to possibly understand their cultures better for it. If people think I am open, I think me being a linguist has an awful lot to do with that – it has opened me up to all sorts of different things; to the entire world, actually.
The above of course gets me to thinking how much the UK is cutting itself off from the world, about how our freedom of movement to Europe has been stolen from us by a corrupt and lying government, that our freedoms within this country are being impeded more and more. An illustration of the lack of intelligence is that many of these right-wing politicians are now trying to make a case for getting the UK out of the European Court Of Human Rights, an international body which was established after World War II, with the UK a primary mover in its establishment, in order to ensure that human rights violations would be stopped. These idiots in the Conservative party either don’t know this, or they are, yet again, trying to feed the uneducated populace yet more disinformation, and that piece of disinformation is of course being swallowed whole.
All this, all this, comes back to the one central tenet of tyranny – don’t educate the people. It’s worth noting that private schools do teach critical thinking (to a greater or lesser extent), but that no government in the UK has ever made it a legal requirement for state schools to teach it (whilst also underfunding those schools to make sure it can’t be taught, I should add). Just like the underfunding of state schools, and the government-driven STEM efforts (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) have done their best t suppress any language and arts teaching in state schools. And with the disappearance of modern foreign languages from school’s curricula has gone the ability of young people to understand or be open to foreign cultures. That says it all.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 122
Lilibet nods. ‘Special Forces. They taught us. Five minutes I got to. Top five of my troop.’
Aggie scratches her head. ‘You were in Special Forces?’
Lilibet bridles. ‘Women can do it, you know.’
‘That’s not was I was wondering about. It just puzzles me that they managed to overpower you then.’
‘It was a while back. They probably took me by surprise. It’s not like your going to be on guard in sleepy old Montrose, is it?’
‘No. I guess not.’ Aggie frowns.
‘So why the question.’
‘If there’s a boat…’
‘There will be. He said he was going to let you go, but not me.’
‘Fair point. Ok. I can dive out there and take you with me.’
‘What if it takes more five minutes?’
‘You punch me and make me surface so you can breathe.’
‘And what about the guy in the boot?’
Aggie shrugs. ‘I don’t really care. And anyway, someone will come and rescue him once he wakes up and starts shouting for help.’
‘And you’re happy for him to be free? And how will you tell his friend that he’s lied to him?’
Aggie frowns again. ‘But you need to get back to your kids.’
‘Is another day going to matter after three weeks?’
‘Only you know that.’
Lilibet looks out to the sea, and swallows hard. ‘You’re saying this is all important, right? The country and everything?’
‘I think it probably is. Perhaps the world.’
‘You’re not exaggerating, are you?’ Lilibet looks at Aggie, her eyes glinting in the little light there is. She sighs.
‘Look,’ Aggie says. ‘Perhaps this was all just a ruse by Martin, just to get us away from the others. We could just drive back, dump him with Robert and tell Robert what he’s done, and then use his car to get up to Montrose. Of all the people involved in this, his car’s the least likely to be tracked.’
‘If you think so, then that’s the best thing to do. It might even get us to Montrose more quickly.’
Aggie steps up to Lilibet, touches her shoulder. ‘As long as you’re sure.’
Lilibet sets her jaw square. ‘I am. Really.’
‘Good. Let’s go.’
A moment later they’re both in the car, in the front seats, and Aggie turns the car so it’s facing up the ramp. She leaves its lights off until they’ve reached the top, until they’re on a proper road again. ‘We should be back there in an hour.’
‘Do you know the way?’ Lilibet says
‘I know all ways. They’re all in my head. I don’t know how. Maybe I swallowed a load of maps when I was a kid.’
Lilibet laughs quietly. ‘Strange childhood.’
‘I’m not sure you want to know.’ The car is on smooth ground now, on the road leading out of Filey. Aggie turns the lights on, and the world lights up. ‘Nice car, as well. Not sure I’m going to be able to hold back.’
‘Then don’t,’ Lilibet says. ‘Just don’t kill us.’
‘I won’t. And I’ll take you for a swim some other time.’
‘I can’t wait.’
Martin hasn’t started calling for help by the time they pull up in front of Robert’s house.