Good morning, dear, dear Readers.
It is a crisp, still morning here in the hamlet of N—. The research excellence weathersock hangs limply from the Humanities Beacon. A faint whiff of burning lingers in the air. Outside my office, a perky robin cocks its head towards the cobblestones as if to say – hark! In the distance, from the direction of the Vice-Chancellor’s information nexus, there is the faint sound of gruff, manly hollering about the whereabouts of someone called Jack.
Inside my book-lined rooms three second-year students sit clumped together
for safety on my sofa, looking sorrowfully at the essays I have just handed back.
A sweet hush settles.
I reach for the poker to give the guttering fire a quick stir, my hand brushing past the chainsaw and the reputational yardsticks in the coal scuttle. I settle back on my chaise longue, ready to mould the malleable young minds of our future leaders.
Suddenly, dear Reader, there is a knock at the door.
Dear Reader, it is quite unlike the other noises of which I am a connoisseur. It bears no similarity to the frantic yet ever weakening knocking beneath the cobbles; the morse code tapped out on old pipes by an umbrella handle; the thud of Professor Chris Anthemum’s strong forearm thumping on a committee room table; the thump of poor Penny meeting the oncoming; the delicate swooshing of one of Prof Mise’s brushes as she paints yet another cockle-shell; the tutting sound made by the porters as they discuss the new Professor of PLDO’s wardrobe – no.
It is a firm knock, dear Reader. A Meaningful Knock.
I rise from my chaise longue, and glide to the door. The second years stare dully at me, stupefied by my magnificant deportment.
I open the door.
It is a Bobby. In full uniform.