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.

Dear Reader.

It is a Bobby. In full uniform.


8 thoughts on “A Knock at the Door

  1. Ah, Speccy. Perhaps you would consider signing up for my Advanced Runeological Epic class? I am sure you would excel, with your fine grasp of genre convention. There is a place, now that Bobby (your Bobby, not mine!) has unexpectedly emailed to say that he has been appointed Trumpeter-in-Chief for N— City Brass Band and is off to compete in the All-World Brass Band Championships.

    1. And there I was thinking it was the brass band’s nose-flute section warming up, dear Lucille, or the usual wail of a soul in torment. My gramaphone is now turned up to eleven to drown out the tuneless dirge.

  2. Oh dear! Dear oh dear oh dear Dr. Ada. I am Concerned. Is the entrepreneurial future in jeopardy? Will you be needing the tunnel for an escape route instead? Whatever I may think of your after hours activities, I really have grown quite fond of you dear Ms. Lamb. I am certain that at moments such as this the reputational yardsticks are quite useless and the chainsaw a risky accoutrement. I have a stout and serviceable shovel to loan as a token of my esteem. It is a handy tool for digging “marigolds”, or tunnels, or etc. If in the course of your entrepreneurial pursuits there is any evidence of etcetera still lingering on it when you are through using it, you needn’t bother to return it. The shovel is yours, Dr. Ada. My gift to you and your hopeful if precarious future.

    At this point, the plot is as thick as pea soup and in need of a little ham. Oink.

    1. Dear Ms End,

      Your concern is touching, and your shovel a delight. It arrived by special delivery in the last half hour and even came with complimentary gardening gloves and cliffhanger grappling hook. I will treasure it, and use it wisely.

      Yours eternally,


      PS. I will order more ham, just for you.
      PPS. I do like your surname. So final.

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