PorterGirl: First Lady Of The Keys


Ladies, gentleman and wee beasties – excellent news! PorterGirl: First Lady Of The Keys is now available for your enjoyment in paperback, as well as ebook format (click above!) Whilst you take a moment to gather yourselves following this thrilling revelation, I shall tell you about a post I have had sitting in my drafts folder for quite sometime. It has the working title of ‘Forgetting The Truth’ and is a very honest missive about what really happened during my brief (yet eventful) time as Deputy Head Porter at one of Cambridge’s foremost Colleges. I am not sure that I ever intend to publish it, but I feel it had to be written nonetheless.

I have always maintained that I would not personally name that illustrious institution (although its identity has been widely revealed on other platforms – the College’s own Wikipedia page, for starters), nor would I betray the finer details of life inside those ancient walls. This is all sounds dreadfully magnanimous and worthy, but is proving something of a stumbling block now that I come to handling the dreaded promotion of the book. I have turned down a couple of TV interviews now, as the focus of both was to fall firmly in the camp of revealing all about the real Old College. Needless to say, the publisher is none too pleased.

Having fallen foul of the press once or twice before (the notorious Putin interview still makes me wince), I am naturally somewhat averse to speaking on the record with scurrilous scribblers and media types. Whilst my prose might make passable reading, in real life I am scatty, verbose and often unintentionally offensive – my internal editor applies almost exclusively to the written word, leaving my conversational manner colourful to say the least.

There is, perhaps, a ruse that might keep everyone happy. I thought that I might develop a sanitised version of my real College days, carefully practiced and light on scandal, to share with the hacks – enough to sound half interesting but not enough to be spun into something potentially lawsuit-inducing. If (and it’s a big ‘if’) I am to share the truth of the matter with the world, I would much prefer it to be by my own pen and with my own intentions made clear. In other words, I will probably be talking a lot of bollocks in the coming weeks and months. (The first person to say ‘no change there, then’ is going right over my knee for a bloody good spanking).

And as for the actual truth? I tell you what – I shall write it all down somewhere suitably sibylline, to be discovered soon after my no doubt dramatic death.

You see? I’m really getting the hang of this writer lark.

(Also buy my book)

The Truth, The Whole Truth & A Little White Lie

So I tell him everything. Everything. My conversation with The Master in The Crypt; the various puzzling exchanges with Professor K; The Order Of The Lesser Dragon – I even impart to him details of what the Old Boy told me after the funeral. Even as I am relaying this most bizarre and unlikely tale, I am doubting the wisdom of my chosen course of action. But there is nothing else for it.

Any suspicions I had about The Dean being somehow involved in this debacle disappear as quickly as the whiskey he is enthusiastically making his way through. I watch his face wrest with numerous expressions, many of which I do not recognise. This is to be expected, I suppose.

As I come to the end of my revelations (which, when said out loud, sound ridiculous even to me) The Dean re-fills his tumbler yet again and offers it to me.

“Here, you could probably do with this” he says “Sorry I’ve only got the one glass”.

“That’s quite alright, Sir,” I reply as I take the glass from him. I would never, ever have normally accepted an alcoholic beverage on duty under any other circumstances. But, these are unusual times and unusual times call for unusual measures. Or, more specifically, large measures. Of whiskey.

The Deans puts his hands in his pockets (a sure sign that he is mulling something over) and paces a little. I sip the whiskey as I watch him stroll to the window. What is it about looking out of windows when considering a weighty matter? I have noticed this, people do it a lot. It is maybe something to do with an unconscious desire to look outside when what one really should be doing is looking within. But introspection can be difficult and displeasing; you just never know what you might see.

“You have been making interesting use of your time here at any rate, Deputy Head Porter” says The Dean, after some short contemplation.

 I shrug. What can I say, really?

“Are you telling me that you think members of The Fellowship have been… doing away with each other since the unpleasant business with The Porters’ Lodge fifty years ago?” No, I think it has actually been going on far longer than that!

“I am not quite sure what to think, to be honest, Sir” my reply is a little white lie. I am now fairly certain that this is exactly the case. And Professor K and Senior Bursar are the latest victims. Professor K clearly needed to be silenced but for what reason is Senior Bursar more preferable dead than alive?

“Well, I know what I think,” continues The Dean “I think you and I should get to the bottom of this before anyone else ends up slaughtered. More importantly, before I end up slaughtered!”

“Well, absolutely, Sir.”

“I’m going to go through some of the College records, see what I can dig up about chaps being dead and what not”

“What would you like me to do, Sir?”

“I’d bloody well keep my head down, if I were you Deputy Head Porter”

“Well, other than that, Sir”

“See you if you can get to the bottom of Senior Bursar’s new kettle” The Dean thinks for a moment “I’m sure it’s important.”

As I make my way back to The Porters’ Lodge it is all I can do to contain the little fizzes of excitement that are sparking away at in my tummy. With The Dean on board, I have no doubt that the mysteries of Old College will soon be revealed. Brilliant! That is, if we don’t end up dead, of course.