A meeting to no purpose…

I have been so impressed with the efforts of our young Child Barrister associate (Paul Holt) that I decided to engineer a meeting between Paul, Nigel Bookbinder and myself.

I gave Nigel a call and pleaded “Nigel, let’s put this tea-towel business behind us. I promise to stay well away from Tea-Towels in the future…” (NB: This was a complete fabrication. I have absolutely no intention of doing this).

Yesterday morning, Paul and I met up at Nigel’s apartment for a meeting with the great literary critic himself. “Ah Humphrey,” Nigel boomed in his usual tone of fruity bonhomie, “so this is the famous Child Barrister I have heard so much about.”

Sitting in an armchair was Basil Snootly, one of Nigel’s old chums. “Let me introduce you to Basil, young Paul. He has the distinction of being the only man in London to own a pet armadillo. Every morning you can see him walking that armadillo on a lead through Hyde Park.” And this was no lie. There was an armadillo fast asleep in the corner of the room.

“Ah Humphrey,” announced Basil, as if waking from a trance. “Do you remember the Great Stink of 1954?”

“Can’t say I do Basil. A bit before my time” I replied.

Nigel had a dreamy look in his eyes and pronounced “The Great Stink of 54! Who could forget it. The whole town stank for months on end. It was as if we were living in an open sewer. Quite repulsive as I recall. Made me want to vomit literally every morning. My father would have none of it, of course. He would stride into the room and shout ‘What What! Stop behaving like an effeminate invert Nigel. Think of the centuries of Bookbinder blood running through your veins. Am I going to have to make you wear a dress before you come to your senses?’ He would take off his belt and give me a sound thrashing. Ah! Those were happy days. Dear Papa! He always knew what to do for the best…”

Basil broke in and opined “The funny thing is that to this day, nobody knows what caused the ‘Great Stink’. There are lots of theories, but it has never been proved definitively. Personally I blame it on the dead pigeons that had been rotting in the sewers for years.”

At this point young Paul came up and whispered in my ear “What exactly are we meant to be doing here? I do have to be in Court in an hour’s time…and what are they talking about?”

“Err….I’m not really sure any more…” I replied. I had totally forgotten the purpose of the meeting as I became more and more absorbed in Nigel and Basil’s stream of verbal drivel…