I live in a
village called Ruddington, part of the borough of Rushcliffe in
itself dates back to Saxon times, though a recent excavation on the perimeter
found stone arrowheads dating back to 1500 BC. Looking at certain members of
some of the older families of the village, I can well believe they have been
here that long. Two spring to mind immediately. They both have beards, long
straggly hair and the wife of one of them has a fur coat.
Close by the
arrowheads they found the remains of a Roman villa. Try as I might, I have yet
to discover any of their distant relatives. No orgies have been reported in my
Such is the gossipy nature of the village,
that if as much as a threesome had been planned, the entire village would have
heard of it before number three had taken his coat off. A full-blown orgy would
have seen a horde of Ruddintonians peering through windows long before the participants
got as far as second helpings.
is home to the famous Framework and Knitters Museum. I have to shamefully admit
that this is a place I have never visited. Maybe it’s the thought of those dark
old satanic mills that puts me off, maybe it’s the anger I would surely feel
when I saw the conditions those poor Victorian wretches had to work in. But
mainly I think it’s because I would be bored rigid. Cotton and wool, whilst
worthy commodities, do not do a lot for me.
is situated just beyond the church in the centre of the red brick village.
Ruddington may sound as if it is named after the colour of its soil, or the
brickwork on show; but it is actually named after a Saxon called Rudda. The
name Ruddington means “the homestead’ or ‘ton’ of the Ruddingas (Rudda’s
I believe an
ex-village hairdresser is a direct descendent of Rudda. I’m sure she used an
axe as a hair cutting tool, there is no way you could make it look that rough,
pond is teaming with wildlife at the moment. We have Koi Carp, Goldfish, a
couple of Green Tench and a few dozen newts, frogs and toads. I also have two
energetic Springer Spaniels. Both of them are accomplished frogger’s, Molly, my
black and white Springer, could frog for England at the ‘frogging Olympics’ if
such an entity existed.
She is so accomplished that she sometimes comes trotting
into the house with three frogs at a time, her mouth gently but firmly closed
over fat bodies, leaving a tangle of green legs hanging out of the sides.
Usually though, it’s only one unfortunate creature that has been caught unaware
s as it came out of hiding, thinking it’s safe to go about catching dinner.
Maisie, my liver and white Springer, isn’t quite as
adept at catching them, though she could still be an international at the
event. She likes to see them jump, so she’ll give them a whack with her paw,
then chase after them and repeat the exercise until they are steered in the direction
of the pond. She knows they live there; she saw them in the bottom when we dug
it out a month or two back.
Once the escapee is back in its watery gaol, she’ll go in search of another,
looking under shrubs, stones and bits of old log we have scattered about the
Occasionally she’ll pick one up and trot around the
garden with it. If we spot her, a quick ‘leave’ will see her cough up the
absconding prisoner. She will then guard it carefully until we, the warders,
stroll up to return the inmate to its watery cell.
Molly doesn’t give up her prize anywhere near as
easily. She is a hoarder, a collector, an expert on the species. It really
doesn’t matter if she has a frog or a foul-tasting toad. Once they are caught,
they don’t get released until they been carefully inspected, catalogued, sized
and sexed. We always groan when we see her with one, as we know what a tough
job we have ahead of us, trying to negotiate a ransom.
Today, the Independent newspaper is carrying a story about
the perfectly preserved body of a Buddhist monk that has been found in
Mongolia. One Buddhist academic maintains that the monk, still sitting in the
lotus position, may not be dead but might be in a state of deep mediation.
Now, as some of you know, I’m not one to be taken in by
religious relics. I wasn’t fooled when a ‘genuine,’ nail, from the crucifixion
of Jesus was put up for sale on Ebay, nor was I convinced by the splinter from
the cross that was being offered by the same seller. (Not least because I had
already bought one from a street market seller when I was in Turkey, and the
one I’d haggled for was made of a much darker wood.) I was sorely tempted to
purchase one of the thirty six, Messiah’s foreskins that were offered to me on
the same holiday, but in the end I didn’t succumb, I mean, Jesus only had one
foreskin removed, how could I be sure which one of them was the genuine
article? I could have ended up with Judas’ prepuce and that wouldn’t have been
half as valuable. I suppose, in a way they may all have been genuine, he was a
supreme healer, after all. I just don’t think he’d have put up with a rabbi
following him around with a sharp knife waiting to snip the latest growth.
It began with a trivial moment of carelessness, but the shockwaves that reverberate from this seemingly insignificant incident, spread far and wide.
Ed and his heavily pregnant wife Mary are on an errand for Ed’s ailing father before the pair depart for warmer climes. But the winter of 1962 comes early and one innocuous event and a hastily taken decision will have devastating consequences for the family of young Rose Gorton. Mary’s already fragile mental state is put under further stress while Ed tries to make sense of events that are spiralling massively, Out of Control.
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