The weather was like lemon cheesecake

Section 137 is flirting with optimism

On Monday Vernon arose early to a crystal-clear morning which promised to mature into a balmy day. He had slept surprisingly well considering the possibility of another visit from DC Constable. Inwardly he sighed and as he breakfasted hurriedly he resolved to enjoy the day; what would be would be.

You could slice the weather Vernon thought, but it would stick to your knife.

You could slice the weather Vernon thought, but it would stick to your knife.

His journey presented itself as a swift exit from Suffolk through Cambridgeshire, a leisurely drive through the fens of Lincoln, and on through to Hull. It looked pretty close on the map and he wondered if he might get the top down for a bit. He had collated his documents the evening before and figured an early start giving him two and a half hours to get to the visa office would be time enough. When he left the house the consistency of the weather was warm and smooth with an undeniable edge, rather like lemon cheesecake, the night’s cold lingered and so it had taken some time and effort to clean the frost off the windscreen of the Cabriolet. As far as he could ascertain from the relaxed ambiguity characterising the personnel in the Thai Consulate they would see him at 12.30 am.

Vernon enjoyed the image of himself as a stuntman in the silent movies. He could hear the manic piano accompaniment even now.

Vernon enjoyed the image of himself as a stuntman in the silent movies. He could hear the manic piano accompaniment even now.

Like a heroic lead in a silent movie who springs from one train to another, he had jump in the nick of time, from his failing job to another which promised to be far more exotic. He had also survived, so far, the bear with a sore head, and he persisted in the belief that Tarkey had brought about his own demise. Over the weekend he had rekindled his romance with Nsansa and yesterday recharged his spiritual batteries. What could go wrong… if God was for him who could be against him? Of course, he was he knew, walking blithely into the jaws of international bureaucracy for a second time and he had little proficiency in Thai to speak of. Hopefully it would not matter, the British Empire had not tutored the Thai administration in obfuscation and dissembling; the glut of pedant’s terms with which to distinguish degrees of officious hindrance showed how capably the British ‘bureaucratted’.

The farmers of Lincoln seemed to have mobilised every tractor they had today.

The farmers of Lincoln seemed to have mobilised every tractor they had today.

With a new found truce between him and God in place Vernon offered up a speculative prayer for help. Perhaps God would pull some strings this time and not pull his leg. Moments later Vernon amended his prayer to a petition for more progress, fewer National Tour coaches, and and a cessation of the farming community’s full deployment of heavy machinery. As he crawled behind the widest tractor he’d ever struggled to overtake he wondered if in fact literally crawling might be faster? He had more opportunity than he wanted to note that the scenery not so featureless as he had anticipated. Small market-villages formed remote islands in fields of sea-green vegetables. Train tracks like tributaries converged and dispersed. Canals and rail lines necessitated stone bridges that were a towering feature in the landscape. As the morning wore on the expansive East Anglian sky became moody and its sulkiness resonated with Vernon’s concern about the time. When he finally got to it Lincoln was attractive but under refurbishment, giving it a messy unfinished appearance. Though his route North was well marked Vernon sensed he was running out of time and pulled in to a lay-by to make his apologies. The mobile call went straight through; a pleasant voice on the other end assured him all was well and the appointment time was completely flexible. Not a thing to worry about he was assured, all is well.

Check out the story so far on The Novel page

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