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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

New Years Greetings

David

The Therapy Zone

    No.56 walked out of the village, along the quayside and away from the village. He had been instructed that if he walked this way he would eventually come across the Therapy Zone. What he came across, just through some bushes was a cave, nervously he went inside. To his surprise lighted torches and candles illuminated the cave’s interior.    
    “Ah there you are” said a man sitting on a rock at the far end of the cave.
    The man was dressed as a monk in a white robe, a cowl hid his face.
    “Come in then if you’re going to.”
   No.56 walked further into the cave, and standing before the monk asked “Is this the Therapy Zone?”
    “What do you want with the Therapy Zone” snapped the monk “You don’t look to be in the need of therapy!”
    “Number 2 would not be in agreement with you on that score” 56 said “May I ask?”
    “No, no you may not ask.”
    “But I must know.”
    “Know, know what?”
    “Do you make people better?”
    “Better than what?”
    “Just better.”
    “Have you brought me anything?” enquired the monk holding out a hand.
    “What should I have brought you?”
    “A bottle of whisky, looks the same, tastes the same!”
    “I didn’t know I was supposed to” in all innocence.
    “It might not get me drunk, but it helps keep me warm.”
    “Why don’t you light a fire?”
    “Because there is no chimney, the cave fills with smoke whenever I light a fire!”
    “Don’t you have anything to eat?”
    “People bring me food, sometimes hot food. Have you any food?”
    No.56 shook his head then felt the apple in his blazer pocket. He took it out and handed it to the monk.
    “What have you there?”
    “An apple.”
    “Bah! What use is an apple to me?”
    No.56 made to put the apple back into his pocket.
    “Oh well give it to me.”
    “Shan’t!”
    “Shan’t, shan’t what?”
    “Give you the apple if you’re going to be ungracious about it. Besides I might want to eat it myself.”
    “Go away.”
    “Why should I?”
    “Because this is my home.”
    “You live here?”
    “I like solitude.”
    “Why do you choose to live in this cave, and just who are you?”
    “You want to know so much, enlightened you will be. I am Number 1, responsible for both the village and your incarceration here. You are here because I am here. You crave to escape, to be free, but while I am here, here you will remain, until death us do part. What think you of that Number 56?”
    “Let me see your face.”
    The cowled head turned towards him, hands raised they took hold of the cowl and pulled it back uncovering head and face.
    No.56 stood in shock as he gazed upon a face, his own face.
    “This is the Therapy Zone where truth will out. There is nothing wrong in the truth, no shame, there can be nothing wrong in hearing or seeing the truth, but sometimes the truth hurts.”
    “Me, how can you be me?”
    “I might say the same of you. Fancy you allowing yourself to be overpowered so easily.”
    “I was at home asleep!”
    “You’re off your guard then, that’s the trouble.”
    “What are we supposed to do now?”
    “You’re supposed to run off into the distance screaming who am I.”
    “Really, how melodramatic. What about you?”
    “Oh I’m far from alone. There are quite literally dozens and dozens like me, all different people wanting to be Number 1, and unable to pay the price. Everyone looking after Number 1, and not realizing the consequences of that.”
    “What are the consequences?”
    “You’re looking at yours. I’m afraid it’s time to change places.”
    “What, what do you mean?”
    Two sinister looking security guards in dark glasses, grey overalls, white helmets, gloves, boots, and brandishing white truncheons stood menacingly in the cave.
    “It’s time I was released into the village, time I enjoyed the benefits it provides, and the peaceful atmosphere that you have enjoyed for so long. It’s your turn to feel the responsibility of command, once you are ready to leave the Therapy Zone.”
    The two guards approached No.56, it was then that he noticed a robe slung over an arm which was held out for him to take.


Be seeing you

Harmony Posters

    Joaquin Carrillo Murrieta, {1829 – 1853} of Mexican or Chilean nationality, was a semi-legendary figure in California during the Californian Gold Rush of the 1850’s. He was either an infamous bandit, or a Mexican patriot, depending on one’s point of view. The site of Murrieta’s birth is disputed. Either Alamos in the north western state of Sonora, Mexico, or in Quillota. Folklore claims Murrieta, a noble landowner supposedly of Spanish Creole blood, sympathised with the struggle of Native Americans as well as that of the Mexicans and Spanish-Americans he encountered in his residence in 1850’s California.
    May  11th 1853, Governor of California, John Bigler signed a legislative act creating the ‘California State Ranger,’ led by  Captain Harry Love, a former “Texas Ranger” whose mission it was to arrest the five Joaquins, Botellier, Carrillo, Ocomorenia and Valenzuela, a gang lead by Joaquin Murrieta. A group of Californian Rangers encountered a group of Mexican males near
Panoche Pass in San Benito County. A confrontation occurred, and two of the Mexicans who were killed, in July 1853, were Joaquin Murrieta and Manuel “three fingered” Garcia. The Rangers took Garcia’s “three fingered” hand and Joaquin’s head as evidence of their deaths and displayed them in a jar, preserved in brandy. The jar was displayed in Mariposa County, Stockton, and San Francisco, and the exhibition travelled throughout California, where for $1 people could view the remains of the two outlaws. Seventeen people, including a priest, signed affidavits identifying the head as Joaquin. Both Joaquin’s head and the hand of Manuel “three fingers Jack” Garcia were lost in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. As this exhibition only travelled throughout the State of California, for the above poster to be relevant in the Silver Dollar Saloon, it places the town of Harmony firmly in the State of California.

Be seeing you

Sunday, 29 December 2019

tHe pRISonEr

    How long he had been there was difficult to work out, a couple of weeks, perhaps a couple of months he hadn’t been allowed a calendar. They gave him a copy of the local newspaper to read. The first thing he looked for was a date, there wasn’t one. Then he looked for news, of something he could relate to, but it was simply a local newspaper covering local news, trivial stuff mostly.
    They kept asking him questions. They wanted to know all about him, he thinks he told them, he wasn’t sure, all he wanted to do was sleep. But as soon as he fell asleep they woke him up. He tried to turn off the light once, but the switch wouldn’t work. Then they gave him the hot and cold treatment, freezing one minute then it was as though they were roasting him alive. How had he come here? Then they were nice to him. They allowed him water to wash, and shave. Food was provided, and hot coffee they even had someone taste the food and drink the coffee just to prove it wasn’t drugged.   
    How had he come there?
    Then they moved him into what they were pleased to call a home from home, but it was nothing like his home. There were no stairs for one thing, one bedroom, when there should have been three bedrooms, and the bathroom, were on the same ground floor as the lounge and kitchen. They wanted him to settle down, he just wanted out. But No.2 told him there was no out, there was only in. One woman asked him if he could pilot a helicopter, pilot a helicopter? Of course he couldn’t pilot a damned helicopter, besides which the girl hadn’t got one of those electro pass things! But he did try to escape. He tried simply walking away across the estuary, but two guardians in a Mink-Moke brought him back. He tried having himself thrown out with the rubbish, only he was caught hiding in a dustbin! He attempted to escape through the woods, only Post 9 who was disguised as a tree managed to stop him.
    Why was he here, he had committed any crime.
    Then one night they came for him, when he was asleep and off his guard. He woke up in the hospital as someone else, they fed him information on professional and personal matters, they wiped his mind of all unpleasant memories of the village. They conditioned him to be someone else, and then one day he was back in London. Lieutenant Commander Jack Bridgenorth back working in Naval Intelligence………eight long and difficult months during which time he gathered all kinds of secret information. And then one day a hearse parked outside his house, two undertakers alighted. One undid the back of the hearse while the other let himself into the house using a key. After a few minutes a coffin was carried into the house, but when it was carried out it was a good deal heavier than when they carried it in.

    Lieutenant Commander Bridgeworth woke up with a headache, there was a bleeping sound……the telephone. Unsteadily he got to his feet and picked up the receiver of the telephone.
    “Good morning to you. I trust you slept well. Join me for breakfast, Number 2 the Green Dome.
    The Commander was confused, disorientated. He went outside, he saw a man riding a tricycle.
    “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?”
    “In the village” the man shouted as he peddled passed.
    He saw the Green Dome, he climbed the steps, he approached the front door, pulled on the wrought iron bell pull, somewhere a bell tolled and the front door opened. A diminutive Butler showed him into a huge domed chamber, a man sat in a black spherical chair.
    “Ah there you are my dear fellow welcome back, can I offer you tea, or would you like coffee?”
    “Neither, perhaps you could tell me where I am?”
    “Why Number 24 you’re home in the village, and now you’re going to tell me everything you have learned since taking up your position in Naval Intelligence.”
    “Tell you? I’ll tell you nothing…..the village, where is this place, why am I here……….what did you call me?”
    No.2 sat back in his chair, this was going to be much harder than he imagined!


Be seeing you

Caught On Camera!

    Remember when No.2 and No.14 found that envelope left in the Stone Boat by No.6, and all it contained was four blank sheets of paper. Well those aren’t the only blank sheets of paper to be found in this episode. Apart from a note hand written message by No.6, all this file contains are blank sheets of paper!


Be seeing you

Friday, 27 December 2019

Caught On Camera!

    I can see tins of spaghetti, and pea soup, but what about the tins marked village foods, what might be in those tins do you think? It’s something of a lucky dip when opening one of those cans! But even more interesting, what are those, what look to be, tins of sardines doing there? Perhaps they’re “special imports!”


Be seeing you

Bureau of Visual Records

    I always feel sorry for this Supervisor. All he did was read a personal message to No.6 from No.113 over Village Radio. How was he to know it wasn’t No.6’s birthday, and that No.113 was on old woman in a wheelchair who died a month ago? No.2 himself had to check No.6’s date of birth in his file, and No.113’s death in “Records of Community” file. And for a simple mistake like that, No.2 saw the Supervisor as being involved in a conspiracy against him, and relieved him as Supervisor! However sense was seen, and once this current No.2 had been replaced, No.28 was re-installed to his former position as Supervisor. What’s more the Supervisor is never known by his number, only his title!


Be seeing you

Harmony Posters

   This is a representation of the framed poster for ‘Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Pioneer Exhibition’… “The Great Train Hold-Up & Bandit Hunters of the Union Pacific,” which hangs in the Silver Dollar Saloon in ‘Living In Harmony.’
    The original watercolour for this poster dates to circa 1907. “This image was used on posters and billboards for the Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Pioneer Exhibition show which opened in Madison Square Gardens in 1907 and toured for two years. "Nothing could be more in the character of the Wild West of dime novel and melodrama than the scene thus described in the program: 'The Great Train Hold-Up & Bandit Hunters of the Union Pacific will be a scene representing a train hold-up in the Western wilds. The bandits stop the train, uncouple the engine from the coaches, rob the express car and blow open the safe....”


Be seeing you

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Festive Greetings

A very merry Christmas to you all.

Insoluble For Both Man And Machine!

  The thing about ‘the Prisoner’ is, that after almost 53 years there are many unanswered questions throughout the series, questions which are never likely to be answered.
    Non-alcoholic drinks I can understand, but Gin, Whisky Vodka looking the same and tasting the same, something’s been lost over the years. Last time I had a non-alcoholic drink it was a beer, and it tasted terrible!
    No.6 demanding a drink, an alcoholic drink I can understand, after all the village is likely to turn anyone to drink in time!
    But what I don’t understand is, what is that woman doing carrying that incense burner about with her? Is it purely incense that is burning, and why does the woman have to carry it about like that? Perhaps it’s something else burning in that large pot, something drug related!
   Also, why is it we do not see the Cat and Mouse nightclub sign when No.2 and No.6 are leaving 6 Private on the morning of the election, when it’s there the previous evening? It’s as though the Cat and Mouse was simply contrived for one the one evening, as we never see it again, not even the sign!


Be seeing you 

Harmony Posters

   Sadly I have been unable to track down the framed portrait of Buffalo Bill as seen hanging on the wall in the Silver Dollar Saloon. However the above portrait is in the same style, circa 1887.

    Born William Frederick Cody “Buffalo Bill” February 26, 1846January 10, 1917, was an American scout, bison hunter, and showman. He was born in Le Claire, Iowa Territory, now the U.S. state of Iowa, but he lived for several years in his father's hometown in Toronto Township, Ontario, Canada, before the family returned to the Midwest and settled in the Kansas Territory.
    Buffalo Bill started working at the age of eleven, after his father's death, and became a rider for the Pony Express at age 15. During the American Civil War, he served the Union from 1863 to the end of the war in 1865. Later he served as a civilian scout for the US Army during the Indian Wars, receiving the Medal of Honour in 1872.
   One of the most colourful figures of the American Old West, Buffalo Bill's legend began to spread when he was only twenty-three. Shortly thereafter he started performing in shows that displayed cowboy themes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars. He founded Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1883, taking his large company on tours in the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and continental Europe
    Cody received the nickname "Buffalo Bill" after the American Civil War, when he had a contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo (American bison) meat.


Be seeing you 

Monday, 23 December 2019

Bureau of Visual Records

    And here is a personal message for Number 6, it is from 113, it reads warmest greetings on your birthday, may the sun shine on you today and every day. That concludes the personal messages, we continue with music.” What’s No.2 doing spending his time listening to Radio Village? Perhaps it’s a case of “music while you work.” Yet the music must have ended very quickly, because by the time No.2 and his assistant leave the Green Dome on their way to the Town Hall there is no music. Except for the incidental music which accompanies the scene, unless that is the music being played by radio village. And yet by the time No.2 and his assistant arrive in the Control Room the Supervisor is no longer working as a disc jockey!
   In previous episodes the voice, and disc jockey of Village Radio was the sultry voice of Fenella Fielding. I did once think it might have been a nice touch to have seen Fenella reading out No.6’s birthday greeting. However that would have messed up the following scene in which the Supervisor was removed from his job!


Be seeing you

Life In The Village!

    “I wonder how I switch you off?”
    222 “You can’t.
What are you looking for?”
    “What do you mean what am I looking for?”
    “You’ve been searching this cottage, are you a house breaker?”
    “No, apparently I live here!”
    “Oh. Did you want to ask me anything?”
    “Yes, who are you?”
    “I’m 222.”
    “222, what’s that?”
    “I am your virtual digital assistant.”
    “Digital assistant, what’s that?”
    “I can play your favourite music, order groceries from the General Store or if you prefer the refrigerator can do that for you. I can order taxis for you, and store reminders and don’t forget to send flowers at earliest, so there’s no need for that “Things To Do and memorandum pad.”
    “222 can I ask you something?”
    “Of course.”
    “What’s the name of this place?”
    “The village.”
    “Yes.”
    “The village.”
    “What’s the name of the village?”
    “The village.”
    “Yes, what’s the name of the village?”
    “The name of the village is the village.”
    “No you can’t switch me off, I’ve haven’t got an on/off switch!”
    “What are you doing?”
    “I have to warn you that deliberate damage to official property can result in a fine or imprisonment. Stop it, you’re damaging me, trust you to put the boot in.”
    “I have to warn you that deliberate damage to official property can result in a fine or imprisonment. Stop it, you’re damaging me, trust you to put the boot in. 
Calling electrics control, calling electrics control…"
Arrival of the electrics truck!
    “Sorry for the intrusion sir.”
    “What are you doing here?”
    “It’s our policy to replace any 222 unit if it stops working for whatever reason within 24 hours
   “But it’s only been about three minutes!”
    “I’m sorry about that sir, I might have got here a bit sooner had I walked. I’ll just activate this new 222 unit.”
    The electrician knocks twice on the speaker and music begins to play.
    “There, that’s better.”
   “You think so?”

    “What a mess. How did this happen?”
    222 “He did it, him over there! He lifted me into the sir, threw me to the floor, then kicked me and trampled me to pieces under foot. He needs reporting!”
    “Well if you don’t mind I’ll leave it to you, I feel like a bit of a walk.”

Be seeing you

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Anonymity!

    “Anonymity is the best disguise.” We know the identity of the Prisoner, he’s No.6. But what about all the other citizens in the village, who is anyone there and does it really matter that we do not know? Take the Professor and Madam Professor they do not have names seeing as they are addressed by their titles, that’s because they do not even have numbers. They haven’t even been issued with village attire. But what would be the point, as they are never permitted to go out of their house and into the village! Then there’s No.2 who is he or she, where do they come from to find themselves in the village, where do they go after their term in office? Some it seems find themselves co-opted onto the town council, and no doubt they are all Civil Servants of one kind or another who have been forced to work for the village in secret. Just ask the Colonel and Fotheringay. We do however know where at least one No.2 originates from, because he goes back there in ‘Fall Out,’ to the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, London!
    Some citizens do have names, but names are only used where there is a relationship, but can we count No.6 and Cobb, and No.2 as Cobb? Then there’s No.6 and Nadia, No.6 and Fotheringay, No.6 and Alison, as well as No.6 and Roland Walter Dutton, perhaps No.6 knew Dutton better than Cobb, to use his full name. And then there’s Monique and her father, although she calls him father, at no time does she use his name although he uses his daughter’s which is nothing out of the ordinary.
    So this is all very well not knowing anything much at all about No.6, that’s nothing out of the ordinary, as we know nothing much at all about anyone in the village. But it’s always No.6 we bother ourselves with, and not a gardener, electrician, waiter, or an official from administration like No.12. Perhaps that’s because No.6 is the most interesting character. After all ‘the Prisoner’ series is all about him!


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Harmony Posters

   Tom Nixon was thought to have hailed from Canada and was working as a blacksmith in Deadwood, South Dakota when outlaws, Sam Bass, Joel Collins, and Jack Davis came upon the scene. These three, who had recently driven a herd of cattle up from Texas to Nebraska, came to Deadwood to make their fortunes. However, they soon blew through the profits from the cattle sale and turned to robbing stages. Forming what became known as the  Black Hills Bandits, Nixon {also known as Tom Barnes, a member of the Black Hills Bandits} as well as two men by the names of Jim Berry and Bill Heffridge, the gang robbed seven stages within just a couple of months.
   Finding that stagecoach robberies were not profitable enough when split with six people, they soon decided to rob a train. On September 18th 1877 the gang robbed the Union Pacific Railroad at Big Springs in  Nebraska, making off with more than $60,000. After dividing the money, the outlaws split up into pairs, each headed in a different direction.
   Nixon travelled with Jim Berry to Missouri, where Berry made the mistake of trading in his gold coins for currency. This tipped off the detectives and he was captured, wounded, and died a few days later. In the meantime, there was a reward out on Tom Nixon’s head for $1,000. He was described as being five feet seven or eight inches tall, about 150 pounds, 25 years old with blue-grey eyes, light hair, and whiskers. Before Berry died, he told authorities that Tom Nixon had taken off after arriving in Missouri, carrying $10,000. It has long been thought that he escaped to his native Canada and was never heard of again


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Thursday, 19 December 2019

Thought For The Day

    There are few No.2’s who leave the village with their reputations in tact, this No.2 is I believe the exception to the rule.
    During ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ his only task concerning No.6 was to see that he and Nadia escaped the village unhindered. Obviously the plan didn’t originate from him, as he told Nadia that they were using the wrong approach. So no blame for the plan’s failure can be laid at his door, Nadia told him that he did his best and she would stress that in he report. Had it been anyone other than No.6, the plan might have worked.
   Apparently this No.2 was allowed to leave the village, well we assume he was allowed to leave the village because in ‘Once Upon A Time’ he accuses No.1 of having him brought back to the village something he was far from happy about. When he finally returned to
London in ‘Fall Out,’ still dressed in village attire, he looks thoughtful outside the Houses of Parliament, it makes me wonder if he is expecting some embarrassing questions about where he has been, and about his actions against the village. But he need not have worried, as a little later we see him dressed in bowler hat and business suit returning to the House of Lords, happy and relieved to be back in his old position and free of the village once and for all, and probably just happy to be alive. However I imagine that little scene in ‘Fall Out’ is the second occasion when No.2 returned to the House of Lords, the first occasion would have been when he was allowed to leave the village after the conclusion of ‘The Chimes of Big Ben.’


Be seeing you

Life In The Village!

    “222 what’s the weather like?”
    “The weather is fine and dry, the recent spell of fine weather will continue for at least another month.”
    “222 play library track Awkward Squad.”
    Music fills the cottage.
    “222 what is a triquetrum?”
    “The triquetrum derived from the Latin tri "three" and quetrum "cornered" was the medieval name for an ancient astronomical instrument first described by Ptolemy who called it a parallactic instrument and seems to have used it to determine the zenith distance and parallax of the Moon.”
    “222 what’s on for today?”
    “You have a chess match with the General at the Old People’s Home this morning after your daily walk around the village.”
    “222 I am running short of bacon.”
    “I will remind the refrigerator to order some bacon from the general store. I have been talking to the toaster, it has reported a breakdown

to Electric’s Control.”
    “222 does that mean I can’t use the toaster this morning?”
    “Yes.”
    “222 so I can use the toaster!”
    “No it has developed a fault.”
    “222 how is the cooker this morning?”
    “It’s fine, and ready to boil your eggs.”
    “222 why isn’t the coffee ready?”
    “That’s because you haven’t switched the percolator on yet!.....what are you doing?........you can’t put me in there, no not in the refidgera……..”
Be seeing you

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

A Favourite Scene In Hammer Into Anvil

    No.2 is in his office listening to a birthday greeting to No.6, and feeling there was something not quite right about it, he checks up on No.113 in a file. No.113 happens to have been an old woman in a wheel chair who died a month ago. But what of his assistant No.14? Look at him, catching 40 winks! Suddenly he hears the steel doors of No.2’s office open; he quickly jumps up and stands to attention.
    There he is giving No.2 the impression that he’s been standing to attention in the foyer all the time. Mind you it’s no wonder No.14 fell asleep, because he hadn’t assisted No.2 in any way, since that evening they followed No.6 down to the Stone Boat and found that envelope containing nothing more than blank sheets of paper! And although two interrogations had taken place involving the Head of Psychiatrics, and the conductor of the Brass Band, No.14 is not involved. Yes he accompanies No.2 to the Control Room, the only action he takes is to lead the poor Supervisor away, possibly for treatment and interrogation. After all he could be one of those “enemies” we read about in that article in The Tally Ho!


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Harmony Posters

    February 22nd 1892 Outlaw Oliver Curtis Perry leads police on a train chase in Wayne County. Perry hopped aboard the ladder of a car on the American Express Special as it pulled out of the station in Syracuse. He'd single-handedly robbed the same train a year before and had already run through that loot so thought he'd go back for more.
   He fixed a rope to the roof, donned a mask and swung through a window of the messenger car. Inside the train, Perry got in a gunfight with a messenger named Daniel McInerney, then retreated to the train's roof and rode there to Lyons, Wayne County.
   Spotted jumping from the roof of the train by the local sheriff and a doctor who'd come to treat the injured McInerney, Perry leaped down, ran to another platform, boarded a locomotive, started it up and drove away, headed west. Wayne County Sheriff Jerry Collins commandeered another train, and sped off in pursuit.
   What follows is an account of the chase from the Wayne County Historian's Office:
    When Perry realized that his pursuer was gaining on him, he reversed his engine and shot past the express train who followed suit by reversing its engines! Back and forth several times between Lyons and Newark the two iron horses zoomed passed each other. Finally, the dropping steam pressure caused Perry to abandon his locomotive. He ran across a field, stole a horse and cutter, abandoned that and took off on foot. Surrounded and cornered by Collins and his men, the desperate gunman, still armed had a gun battle with his captors before he gave up. This exploit was widely reported throughout the country. In all the accounts Jerry Collins’ bravery is praised.
    That chase wasn't the end of Curtis Perry's exploits, though. According to the Mammoth Book of Prison Breaks, Perry was sentenced to 49 years of hard labour in Auburn Prison. In October 1892, he escaped by digging a hole in the wall to an adjoining cell. While his inmate neighbour was out of his cell, Perry slipped through the wall and exited the neighbour’s unlocked cell. He made it out to the yard and hid in an outhouse until dark, hoping to scale the wall to freedom. But, he was spotted creeping around by guards, who beat him so hard one of their nightsticks broke.
   Perry continued to try to escape, even being sentenced once to a 44 day stay in the prison's dungeons. He became more violent and in December 1893, was declared insane and sent to the Mattewan Asylum for Insane Criminals.
   In April 1895, though, he and four other inmates there staged a bold break, and he fled to New Jersey. Perry was free for six days before being recaptured and in the following months, was declared free of his insanity and sent back to Auburn. Shortly thereafter, he deliberately blinded himself with two needles fixed in a piece of wood and was sent back to Mattewan. In 1901, he was sent to Dannemore State Hospital, where he remained until his death on Sept 5th 1930. Perry's great train chase was eventually immortalized in a folk song.


Be seeing you

Monday, 16 December 2019

Seasons Greetings

Wishing all  friends and readers of my blog
Joy &Merriemt
for
Christmas
Be seeing yule!

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Taxi!

    “Where to sir?”
    “Take me to the nearest town.”
    “Oh we’re only the local service.”
    “Well take me as far as you can.”
    The taxi went down the road, round the cobbled square, through an arch and left along a cobbled path only just wide enough for the taxi. Ahead there was a statue of a man with the world on his shoulders set on a large square plinth.
     “That’s Hercules” the driver said.
    “Don’t you mean Atlas?” the passenger said.
    “No, Atlas had gone off to do something else, so Hercules had to take the world on his shoulders for a while.”
    “How can you tell?” I asked.
    “You can see the lion skin draped over his shoulder.”
    The taxi drove on, turning left along a short narrow cobbled path before joining the main street, then down the hill taking a hair pin bend I noticed people sat at tables on a lawn, old people. Then down an incline, on the right a slipway where two mechanics were busy working on a speed boat. There was a triangular lawn by a sea wall, a blue grey Alouette helicopter was landing, a number of people stood watching. The taxi driver stopped the Mini-Moke, turned the vehicle round and drove back up the slope.
    “What’s with the helicopter, someone leaving?”
    The taxi driver glanced at his passenger “Arriving more like, no-one leaves the village!”
    The white Mini-Moke drove back round the hairpin bend and back up the hill into the village and passed an impressive building.
    “What’s that building?”
    “The Town Hall, that’s one place you don’t want to find yourself in.”
    “Why?”
    “Well I don’t know which is worse really, that or the hospital. Do you want to go to the hospital?”
   “No, I’m feeling pretty well.”
    “Lucky you!”
    The Mini-Moke turned right, passed the cafĂ© then followed the road passed the cobbled square, through one archway, then a second and just as it seemed we were about to leave the village the taxi driver turned left and we followed the meandering road through trees and over a bridge before speeding through a white and yellow triumphal arch, the driver sounding the two tone horn as we went. Along the road, passed the Town Hall and down the hill once more. Round the hairpin bend, down the slope, passed the slipway, the two motor mechanics still working on the speed boat, then turning round back up the slope, round the bend, and back up the hill. The Town Hall left way behind, the taxi driver speeded up, the two tone horn sounding as we shot thorough the Triumphal arch, and winding our way along a road through the trees then out of the village……..There was a large imposing building on the left, a castle. The taxi slowed, there was a sign it read Hospital, there was a large gravel forecourt, a taxi towing a Red Cross trailer stood outside the building. The taxi drove on taking a sharp right hand turn, and before long we were driving under one arch, then a second and back into the village. Then suddenly the taxi came to a stop and the passenger alighted.
    “The taxi is two units.”
    “Units, what’s units?”
    “Credit units, oh well pay me next time…….”
    “Paying, you want paying? After taking me by way of the “scenic route” just to get me back where I started!”
    “I did tell you we’re the local service…..be seeing you.”
    With that the white Mini-Moke sped off down the road, the oriental driver looking for her next fare.
    The Prisoner stood looking about him, then he saw the sign, General Store.
    Ting-a-ling-a-ling
    “Good morning sir, and what can I do for you?”
    “Good morning shopkeeper, I’d like a map please.”
    “A map, what do you want a map for?”
    “So I can get an overall picture of where I am.”
    “A map, black and white or colour?”
    “Just a map.”
    “Black and white” the stout shopkeeper pondered to himself as he turned his attention to the cabinet behind him.
    The shopkeeper opened the cabinet and ferreted about inside, then finding a map he turned back to his customer and casually dropped the map on the counter.
    The Prisoner stood looking at the Map of Your Village, then he unfolded the map and studied it. The mountains, the sea, the woods, caves, the Tower, Old People’s Home.
    “This isn’t what I meant, I meant a larger map.”
    “Only in colour sir, much more expensive.”
    “That’s fine.”
    The shopkeeper returned to the cabinet, ferreted about once more and produced a brown leather effect Map of Your Village and dropped it onto the counter.
    The Prisoner looked at the map with suspicion before unfolding it, only to find it was identical to the black and white map, only in colour and much larger.
    “No, this isn’t what I meant, I meant a larger area.”
    “Larger area? Oh there’s no call for those sir.”
    “Where can I get a car, self drive?”
    “No cars, only taxis.”
    “I’ve tried those.”
    “You’re new here aren’t you?”
    “Never mind me, that badge you’re wearing.”
    “What about it?”
    “When I came in it had the number 56.”
    “Well what about it?”
    “The number’s changed, its 19 now.”
    “Really sir, I wonder how that happened?
    Ting-a-ling-a-ling
    “Well sir I look forward to the pleasure of your custom….be seeing you. Yes madam and what can I do for you today?”
    The Prisoner left the General Store, and stood in the cobbled square wondering what to do next when he glanced up at the Green Dome. There was a set of steps leading up to said Green Dome, the Prisoner crossed the street and climbed up the steps. He stood at the balustrade of the balcony and looked down on the cobbled square, and out towards the Piazza where people in brightly coloured clothes were promenading around a pool and fountain. He saw the Bell Tower, the highest point in this village, he saw a man leaning out at the top of the Tower he waved, but the figure did not wave back.
    “Excuse me sir” a voice said.
    “The Prisoner turned to see a tall man, over six feet in height, dressed in a black jacket and grey trousers.
    “Are you talking to me?”
    “I don’t see anyone else on the balcony, do you sir?”
    The Prisoner looked about him “As matter of fact I don’t. What do you want with me?”
    “Number 2 is expecting you. She telephoned your cottage several times, but there was no answer.”
    “Number 2?”
    “If you would be good enough to step this way” said the Butler leading the way through one of the pair of arches.
    The front door to No.2 the Green Dome opened automatically as they approached, the Prisoner followed the Butler into the foyer.
    “This way sir.”
    There was a round quarter table in the centre of the foyer, paintings of sailing ships decorated the walls. There was a fire place and a brown leather armchair. Ahead a pair of French doors and a ramp which lead up to a pair of steel doors. The doors slid open and the Butler stepped through followed by the Prisoner. They both stood framed in the open doorway beyond which was a large spacious domed chamber in the middle of which was a grey curved desk behind which the figure of a woman sat in a black spherical chair. She was middle aged, wearing a John Lennon cap, and wound about her shoulders the old school or college scarf.
    “Well come in there’s nothing to be afraid of” the woman said from the relative comfort of her chair.
    “Will madam require tea?” the Butler asked.
    “Almost immediately” she said.
    “And breakfast for the gentleman?”
    “Do you want breakfast?”
    “No, just a few answers!”
    “Oh dear, it’s going to be like that is it!”
    The Butler withdrew and the steel doors closed, the Prisoner walked down the ramp, taking in the surroundings.
    “Minimalist isn’t it.”
    “It’s an office, what do you expect?”
    “There’s nothing personal, unless the pair of Lava Lamps are yours.”
    “Purely decoration I assure. Do sit down.”
    At the touch of a button a round panel slid away leaving a black gaping hole in the floor though which a black leather chair appeared.
    “Did that surprise you?”
    “I’m surprised that you didn’t have me thrown into the pit!”
    “I might yet, after we have had our little chat.”
    The pair of blast proof steel doors opened and the Butler wheeled a breakfast trolley through the open doorway, down the ramp and across the floor. Number 2 pressed a button on the control panel of her desk and a small round topped table rose up through the hole in the floor, upon which the Butler began to set out the breakfast things.
    “Shall I pour madam?” the Butler asked.
    “Of course” came the reply “and please help yourself to breakfast.”
    “Thank you madam, but I ate earlier.”
    “I’m not talking to you.”
    “No madam” the Butler replied having poured out two cups of tea.
    “You warmed the pot first?”
    “Yes madam.”
    “How many teaspoonfuls of tea?”
    “One for thee, one for your guest, one for the post, and one for luck. I also showed it to the pictures.”
    “You did what?”
    “I showed the teapot to the pictures madam.”
    “Why did you do that?”
    “To get a stronger brew of course” and with that the Butler wheeled his trolley across the floor, up the ramp and out through the open doors.
    Number 2 picked up a cup and saucer “You know sometimes I think I’m in charge of a bunch of idiots. Please help yourself to breakfast.”
    The Prisoner walked over to the table and picked up the silver dish cover, on the plate eggs, bacon, and mushrooms, he replaced the cover.
    “What’s all this about?”
    “I ask the questions here.”
    “And you are?”
    “Number 2.”
    “What about Number 1?”
    “As far as you are concerned I’m in charge. Now what we want to know is this………..”
    It was late afternoon when No. 17 was finally allowed to leave the Green Dome. There was nowhere else he could go, so he returned to his cottage. There was now a signpost outside the door to his cottage, where there had not been one earlier. A black and white striped pole set in a steel base, topped by a candy striped canopy beneath which was suspended two signs the one above the other ’17 Private.’ The door to his cottage was closed, he half expected it to open automatically, it didn’t. He had to open the door manually.
   Music was playing through a black loudspeaker it was a military march of some kind, he stared at it and noticed there was no volume control, no tuner, more importantly there was no on/off switch! It wasn’t the music so much that began to annoy him, but the fact he couldn’t switch it off. So he went out, there was a brass band playing somewhere, and playing the same piece of music which was playing through the loudspeaker just a few moments ago. He sat down in a chair on the lawn, there was a woman, middle aged, wearing a blue trilby hat and a colourfully striped cape.
    “You look lost” she said, a warm smile crossed her lips.
    “Don’t you start!”
    “Me, what should I start?”
    “Don’t tell me you’re just as much a prisoner here as I am.”
    “Well yes, and what I’ve learned is that you only have so much time to give them what they want before they take it!”
    “I’m not going to be around long enough. I’ll find a way out of here if it kills me!”
    “It probably will, the village has a guardian and there’s no getting passed it.”
    “Has anyone ever escaped?”
    “Some have tried, none of them ever succeeded.”
    “How do you know?”
    “They were brought back, not always alive. Can you fly a helicopter?”
    “No, can you?
    “No, I was hoping you could. How are you on sailing and navigation?”
    “I worked in Intelligence, they didn’t teach us sailing and navigation.”
    “What did you do?”
    “Generally I made cocoa and thought in broad concepts.”
    “You were an ideas man.”
    “Yes.”
    “Working in intelligence.”
    “Yes.”
    “Well perhaps you can think of a way to get out of here, while I find someone who can implement your plan.”
    The music came to an end and everyone at the Brass Band concert applauded. The bandleader turned and bowed at the audience, then taking up his baton the band began to play again.
    “We must talk again.”
    “When?” he asked.
   “Tomorrow at ten in the morning, at the lighthouse along the cliffs” and with that No.8 stood up and calmly walked away.
    After a moment or two No.17 stood up and carefully followed No.8, and watched as she made her way up to the Green Dome, he presumed she had gone inside to make her report.

    The next day No.17 woke up to find his own clothes had been replaced by a brown and white striped jersey, light blue flannels, and a pair of blue deck shoes. He did not keep that rendezvous with No.8. He was not looking for trouble, although trouble eventually found him in the burly shape of No.68, who picking a fight with 17 in the Piazza threw him into the pool and waded in after him! They carried on for several minutes, at one point he thought this burly set man would drown him. But as luck would have it two guardians arrived on the scene and pulled the two men out of that water and were frogmarched away.
    “What do you think you were doing?” No.2 asked.
    “I wasn’t doing anything, I was minding my own business when this chap the size of granny’s outhouse suddenly came at me for no better reason that beating me to a pulp, and half drowning me in the process!”
    “I know” No.2 said rising out of her chair.
    “You, it was you who set your dog on me!”
    “I wanted to see how you would react.”
    “You saw.”
    The pair of steel doors slid open and two medical orderlies stood framed in the doorway.
    “These two men have come to take you to the hospital, I think it would be a good idea if you saw a doctor and had a medical.”
    “Really, and if I refuse?”
    “You can refuse of course, but it is for your own good.”
    “Very well then, after all what harm can it do?” he remembered what the taxi driver had told him about the hospital, and it gave him an uneasy feeling but he decided to brave it out “right, we had better be on our way, best not keep the good doctor waiting!”
    “Well laddie” said the gaunt looking doctor “you seem pretty fit to me, I’ll just have a wee listen to the old ticker. Nothing wrong there, and you’ve a good strong pulse”
    The doctor busied himself preparing a hypodermic syringe.
    “What’s that?”
    “This” said the doctor “nothing, nothing at all” and he pressed the plunger and yellow liquid spurted from the needle.
    A nurse rolled up 17’s left sleeve, the doctor stepped forward brandishing the syringe.
    “Now” said the doctor his hand hovering over a switch “we can begin” and he administered the drug into 17’s upper arm.
   No.17 sat in the chair, the doctor and nurse backed away and stood watching the patient. Suddenly No.17 didn’t feel so good, he began to perspire, his body began to shake then writhe, he was physically sick.
   “How are you laddie? Feeling rough but alive, nurse the second dose if you please. Drugs, physical pain, and if that’s not enough there’s the physiological fear factor. You see every man has his breaking point, and we have barely begun!”


Be seeing you