Sunday, May 13, 2012

Searching for the Field of Ladders


Ugly dreams, I wake up and pad about looking for Lawrence.

I see him in the garden, he is with James. They are poking the hole, I hear Lawrence laughing, "we have it!" he shouts.

I am still in my dressing gown, but that excites me so I go out to the green lawn (my the sunshine is bright in my eyes).

Lawrence is happy to see me: indeed, he is quite overcome with delight and rushes over to give one of the famous Lawrence hugs that so terrify new staff.

When Lawrence has released me I ask, "What have you found, Lawrence", to which he replies, "It is James's hole, he is letting me poke it!". Lawrence is so happy his round face becomes a joyful pink balloon. "Maybe you may too", he says. I look across to v, he nods solemnly and, taking Lawrence's stick I give the hole a poke

But after the initial delight passes I begin to find poking the hole uninteresting. I think it was merely the fact that James usually stops anyone else from poking it that make getting the chance to poke it seem quite wonderful, when really poking a hole is nothing special at all.

However, it has made Lawrence extremely happy: he has stretched out his arms and is making the sound of an engine, and he bounds and leaps about the garden with enormous energy, like a giant bumble bee. Seeing how merry this makes him, I join him too. I think that with his girth he might be a bomber; I, lighter, an accompanying spitfire.

And when presently our aeroplanes tire, we tumble breathless to the grass near that very tree, lying on our backs: we look up and see a figure: He has taken a chair from the dining area and managed to lodge it in the crook of a tree, more than three metres high. Quite how he managed this is in itself remarkable.

He is quite stout and has enormous eyes, and has made himself a crown from folded pages of the Daily Telegraph. From his perched throne he proclaims: :

I am Nick Parker. 
King of the Ladders
Kneel before me
Or I empty my bladders.

He is new, and plainly does not entirely understand our customs.

I yell up from the grass, "We are a republic, silly! Besides, no-one has more than one bladder, even if you are a king" But Lawrence, flushed with happiness after the double pleasure of having been permitted to poke the hole and of having been a Lancaster Bomber is more hospitable, and shouts, "we haven't seen your ladders, but we can help you find them".

This makes the fellow in the tree quite beam with delight.

 We help him down from the tree and though he scuffs his shin against the bark he continues to smile, and we start looking for the ladders. We go along the A-road and past the scrapyard and up the the rise where the white water towers are and looked across the landscape where the housing estates grow, but there really is nothing at all there that resembles in the least the famous field of ladders.

We found the ladder used by the gardener resting on the ground near the side  of the garage, but otherwise there were none at all. But other than this it cannot be said to have been a successful mission, though it absorbed us fully until luncheon.

The failure to find the ladders made me doubt that this Nick Parker was really the real Nick Parker, and not an impostor. As we were having luncheon at the big table, and were out of earshot of our new companion, I whispered to Lawrence, I don't think he is the real Nick Parker, The real Nick Parker would have known how to find the ladders."

Lawrence, still in a munificent humour, replies, "Well, he might be, he looks like a Nick Parker, and he likes to eat. And, perhaps there even isn't a real Nick Parker anyway."

*

I still think he was neither a king nor the real Nick Parker. I suspect that he felt lonely, and he wanted  to be acknowledged, and that is why he presented himself as both a king and as Nick Parker, forgetting perhaps that while he might be either, he could never be both simultaneously.

*

This is one of an ongoing series of loosly linked pieces, which can be found with the label, "The Beasties" .

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