I am annoyed. Standing at my kitchen counter peeling potatoes, I am irritated to notice how many of them are a sort of long shape, rather than more rounded. I know that, by their very nature, potatoes tend be particularly irregular in shape. But there is a higher-than-acceptable percentage of long-type potatoes occurring here. I tell you, if I want a potato I want it to be round-type.
Dwelling somewhat longer than is sensible on the subject of potatoes, I am reminded of The Bursar’s mysterious monologue on the virtues of the egg people and the potato people. I did not understand it then and it is no clearer now. I am feeling a little light-headed. Maybe I need something to eat.
Even more annoying is this business with Maurinio, Ryan and the Hawkins girl. We have The Dean running around babbling about incantations and witchcraft whilst The Bursar ruminates the peculiar social skills (I use the term loosely) of the academic classes. I can’t help thinking that we are overlooking something very obvious. Chances are that this is exactly the case as I am surrounded by people for whom the blindingly obvious is as tactile as fog. The longer I remain in their company, the further into the fog I wander. You know what I need? A holiday.
I think Hershel may have had a point, you know. There were camp fires at both scenes. Such an unusual coincidence must suggest a nexus of some kind and I think we would be foolish to assume that witchcraft is the one and only exposition.
Think, think, think.
Although never a scintillating intellect, I was at one time quite good at thinking, at least. I rather fear that my sensibilities have been swallowed whole by Old College and its deceptively relentless regime, leaving me with little more than a cheerful mush between my ears. Perhaps I need a hobby? (The first person to suggest forming a band will be soundly spanked until their bottom turns purple).
Let’s see… what is a good thing to help with pondering? Tea could do it, I suppose, but even the miraculous effects of a good Assam seem to be less potent these days. There is always wine, of course. Maybe not a good idea. A mild distraction could do it. The moment you take your mind off a thing, the answer is sure to leap forward. I decide to put away some work shirts I had been diligently ironing before I started on the potatoes. Blasted potatoes!
I am sorry to say that this only proves to make matters even worse. Of the five shirts I have laundered, three of them have only one arm ironed. One arm! How does one forget that one has two arms? I shake my head in dismay. First thing tomorrow I am asking Head Porter for some leave. A change of scenery is evidently required.
Now in the mood for only the most impractical of pursuits, I spy an elderly packet of dry-looking cigars on the occasional table. I consider lighting one up to see if any kind of clarity lies within the intoxicating smoke…
…Smoke. There is none of that without fire.
Like a match on flint, a blinding spark of realisation explodes before my eyes.
By Jove, I think I’ve got it!