Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 2 August 2012
William Golding and WMD
I will be driving through this countryside today, to go and see about a very boring job for a very interesting person.
I had said that the work on offer was not really the sort of thing I did these days, and despite me giving him the contact details of six ordinary stone masons in his immediate area, he - through a mutual friend and employee - made it clear that he really wanted me to sort it out, for some reason.
So I eventually agreed to drive there and begin to assess the damage, so to speak, and decided to make a day and a night of it, staying there in an extremely interesting environment which should produce a lot of good pictures for the weekend. Hopefully I will be able to tell you more about him and it later.
Has anyone read the William Golding book, 'The Spire'? Set in the time of the building of Salisbury Cathedral, it is a factitious account of the building of the tallest ecclesiastical tower in Europe, and the problems which had to be overcome when erecting it on what was then marshland.
Instead of piling deep into the wet earth with solid foundations, they used a bit of lateral thinking and built the 404 foot-high spire on a bed of rushes, 754 years ago, and they have - in the recent past - employed a diver to go down into the beds below it to inspect and repair the footings of the 6,500 ton pile of masonry above.
It has the world's oldest working clock (dating from 1386), and the original medieval, wooden scaffold and treadmill can still be seen inside the spire, looking as though it was built in about 1940.
About thirty years ago, some remedial, structural work was done on the inside of the spire, augmenting the original old wooden framework with lightweight, stainless steel. A friend of mine - a Scotsman, who lived in Bath - was one of the main architects in charge of this project.
One evening, he was leaving the pub which I still use as my local every day, and he stepped out from between two parked cars into the road and was hit by a car being driven by a young, recently qualified driver. He was killed instantly. His body ended up about 20 yards away, landing right in front of the house of another mutual friend - Bath is a small place.
Everyone felt extremely sorry for the driver, as it was no fault of his, even though a little extra experience may have quickened his reactions to the unforeseen behaviour of our notoriously erratic Scottish mate. What a way to begin your life as the driver of a car. I hope he got over it quickly.
I said that Bath is a small place, but - actually - England is a small place. There are connections linked to connections linked to connections, and - as I will explain later - it seems the world is a small place too. There is a strong link between this little trip I am about to make, and Saddam Hussein's fictitious Weapons of Mass Destruction too.