Monday, February 16, 2015

Lord Bonkers' Diary: "Top Secret: Burn Before Reading"

The latest issue of Liberator is on its way to subscribers, so it is time to spend some time with Rutland's most celebrated fictional peer.

The description of winter here owes a lot to T.H. White, "Top Secret: Burn Before Reading" came from overhearing an old boy in a pub in Llanfair Caereinion reminiscing about a friend from his Army days who was given to annotating documents in that fashion.


Winter has come to Rutland. Polar bear have been shot as far south as Barleythorpe and the drive to the Hall remains blocked by head-high drifts – at least they were head high for the Well-Behaved Orphans who were trying to clear them this morning.

The snow lies on my roof like the icing on one of Cook’s delicious Christmas cakes – I happen to have a slice before me as I write this. Long icicles hang from the eaves. As this is just the worst time of the year for a journey, I pass my days watching the skaters enjoy the frozen expanse of Rutland Water or dozing by the Library fire.

This morning the postman struggled to my front door with a bundle of letters. Here is a request to donate a prize for the tombola at a fete to raise money for the Home for Distressed Canvassers in Herne Bay. Here is an estimate from a builder for repairs to the roof of St Asquith’s – it is a little on the eyewatering side so, come the spring, I shall no doubt find myself up there directing operations. Here is a package with a Yeovil postmark marked ‘TOP SECRET: BURN BEFORE READING’. I suspect it will turn out to be from Paddy Ashplant and contain his latest plans for the general election campaign.

So, rather than offer you my usual diary, let me give you the benefit of my experience and assess our prospects in a number of seats at this year’s general election. (Those in the know, incidentally, expect it to be held on a Thursday early in May.)

Lord Bonkers was Liberal MP for Rutland South-West, 1906-10.

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