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Saturday 31 October 2020

Village Life!


    “I understand we are to have yet another new interim Number 2.”
    “Surely not another one, what’s happened to Number 2?”
    “You haven’t heard then?”
    “No, what?”
    “Number 2 has taken himself away on leave.”
    “Whatever for, no Number 2 has ever gone on leave before!”
    “I know, its unprecedented I agree. But he has been very industrious what with the new beautiful mural in the library, laying down plans for the new concert hall that is to be built, and the electrification of the clocks, and giving us an extra recreation hour. Not to mention the new café facilities we have now, as well as the new flower borders. Then there’s the golf course and clock golf, the extra blue zone in the post.”
   “Well I don’t play golf, clock or otherwise. And I didn’t know Number 2 is interested in horticulture.”
    “You use the library.”
    “Yes. But I haven’t noticed an improvement in the post, even with the extra blue zone, whatever that is!”
    “Well we both like music, so the new concert hall will be a welcome addition.”
    “Yes I know, but I like the old recreation hall.”
    “Well I do, but you know what we must do, what must we do?”
    “Progress, progress, progress!”
    “Precisely, but all the same I cannot help but wonder what this new Interim Number 2 will be like.”
    “He can’t be any worse than the last one.”
    “You think not? I wonder where they find some of these so called chief administrators.”
    “I did see a memo the other day discussing Number 2’s retirement.”
    “Did you, retirement eh when he’s away on leave?”
    “Well I expect he’s using up the rest of his holiday allocation before he goes into retirement.”
    “He’ll miss the work, having been so active.”
    “Plans for Appreciation Day ceremony are well under way.”
    “I know, I saw the memo.”
    “I wonder what they will present Number 2 with during the ceremony?”
    “A clock I shouldn’t wonder, that’s the usual thing when someone retires.”

“Just a minute, there’s such a quick turnover of interim Number 2’s they don’t last long enough to qualify for retirement.”

“This one does, not being interim, he’s been more permanent in having lasted a year, busy working behind the scenes if you like. What say you, should we avail ourselves of the new café facilities?”

“Good idea, but it’s your turn to pay.”

“I paid the last time!”

“No I paid the last time, I remember distinctly ordering tea and two tea cakes.
   “Oh alright, we can call in on the watchmakers shop on the way, he should have repaired my pocket watch by now.”

Be seeing you

Wednesday 28 October 2020

The Wreck of The Amis Reunis Revisited

     Regular readers of my blog will remember a previous entry regarding the wreck of the Amis Reunis at Portmeirion when the shifting sands of the estuary revealed the yacht’s timbers in 20012.

    Now we can revisit the wreck of the Amis Reunis via a quite remarkable photograph taken by Fraser Levey in October 2018 to use Fraser’s own words;
“I was on one of my regular stays at Portmeirion. I was staying in Government at the time and noticed the wreck was particularly visible one morning so I thought I’d have a go at getting a decent photo of it.
I used a DJI Mavic Air to get the shot (I asked permission first) from about 15 metres directly above the wreck at low tide. I wasn’t prepared for how much was left intact, indeed I don’t think Portmeirion realised how much was left either. I’ve done a bit of post processing in photoshop to bring out the details but really not much.

    The image has been shared with Portmeirion and I have permission to fly over the wreck again to see how the condition has altered. Sadly this year’s stay there was cancelled but with a bit of luck we’ll make it next year at least once.”

   The surprising thing for me is the condition of the wreck, how the shifting sands of the estuary at Portmeirion has preserved the Amis Reunis remarkably well.

    Photograph by kind permission of Fraser Levey.

Be seeing you

More Tales From The Village

     Upon his arrival in the village it didn’t take the prisoner long to try and escape. He quickly made for the woods and the mountains beyond, but finding himself in open ground on the far side of the woods, Post 10 shot the prisoner in the leg using a high powered rifle. After a couple of days in hospital he was eventually discharged and was given a free ride home. As the taxi made its way through the village, the prisoner took it in his head to kick the driver out of the moving vehicle which veered to the side of the road until the prisoner leaned over grabbing the wheel, and then in the driver’s seat took control of the Mini-Moke. He drove at speed down the hill passed the Town Hall, round the hairpin bend, and then down the slipway onto the beach, and away along the beach leaving the village far behind.
    In the control room the supervisor was watching the prisoner’s progress on the large wall screen and it looked as though he was going to get away with it. But no,
   “Orange alert, orange alert, prisoner escaping in our vehicle, now approaching outer zone.
    In the distance there was a white sphere moving across the beach towards the speeding Mini-Moke, the driver gazed at the curious thing that was fast approaching, he pulled hard on the steering wheel and the vehicle swerved to avoid a collision, and continued on its way. But the Guardian was not to be beaten; it floated through the air emitting a sound like Gregorian chant crossed with the sound of a bicycle pump, and someone breathing through an aqua lung as it pursued the Mini-Moke. The Prisoner glanced over his shoulder as the white sphere maintained its pursuit, then turned the steering wheel first to the left then to the right and in weaving this way and that set up a kind of zig-zag pattern. The intention was to stop swerving and drive off in the direction the Mini-Moke was pointing in an attempt to shake off the sphere. But then he pulled on the steering wheel too hard and the Mini-Moke suddenly flipped over, throwing the prisoner out and onto the sand. He lay there for a few seconds the wind having been knocked out of him. Then he slowly got to his feet only to be confronted by the white amorphous sphere, its blood curdling roar filling his ears as its membrane covered his face, cutting off the air. He screamed and screamed, his lungs burned for lack of oxygen, until he fell to the sand in dead faint.
“Whatever did you think you were doing 19?”

The prisoner had woken to find he was lying in a hospital bed, and there were two men by his bedside. The man sat in the chair wore a badge which donated the number 2. A tall, fair-haired man in a grey blazer with dark blue piping stood at the end of the bed, there was something menacing about this Number 14.
“I asked you what you thought you were doing” No.2 said helping himself to a few grapes from a dish on the bedside table.

“I….I wanted to escape” the Prisoner said.
“That much is obvious” 14 said.

“Why did you want to escape 19, don’t you like it here?”
“Not really” and with this he threw back the sheets, jumped out of bed, raced to the end of the ward and threw himself out of the open window!

Numbers 2 and 14 looked at each other in astonishment, and then went to look out of the window. The prisoner had survived the fall and had climbed over a fence and was hobbling away across the pasture towards the woods.
   After No.19’s recapture he was put under the closest possible surveillance. And yet that did not deter him from attempting further escapes, because no surveillance is ever 100 percent foolproof. The Prisoner discovered there was a blind spot in his cottage, and soon began digging his way out. However mathematics was not his strong point, as he miscalculated the distance of his tunnel. He had had the very devil of a job hiding the earth he had excavated within the confines of his cottage, but never once did he think he would find himself filling in the very tunnel he had spent three months digging. Because his tunnel ended one hundred feet short of his objective! The gardener got the fright of his life when the ground in the flower bed began to move, then a head popped up out of a hole. The gardener called out to two passing guardians who helped No.19 out of his tunnel and frogmarched him to the Green Dome.
   Two days later No.19 stole a speedboat, and was approaching the mouth of the estuary when he encountered that amorphous white sphere once more. He pulled hard on the helm, first to port, then to starboard setting a zig-zag course so to avoid a collision. But then at the last second he steered straight for the Guardian and it bounded off the bow of the speedboat sending it high into the air as the speedboat made for the open sea. The Guardian did not pursue the craft, but continued across water towards the village. In the control room an operator sat on one end of the steel see-saw device took control of the helm of the speedboat by remote control, turning the craft round and bringing it safely back to shore where two guardians stood waiting to take No.19 into charge!
   No.19 persisted in his escape attempts, two weeks later he hid in a dustbin in order to have himself thrown out of the village with the rubbish. However he gave himself up when the dustcart tipped him out at the village waste dump!
    Two days later he hid himself in the bushes near the lawn by the sea wall. He watched as the pilot returned the silver grey Alouette helicopter. The engine started, the rotor blades began to turn, and just as the helicopter was about to take off No.19 sprang from the bushes, ran across the lawn and leapt onto one of the grey floats and clung to the steel framework of the helicopter as it flew out across the estuary towards the direction of the landing stage. As he clung to the helicopter he looked down and saw a motor ship moored at the far and of the pier. The helicopter began to descend and just before it landed he jumped down and ran for the cover of nearby bushes. The pilot left the helicopter and walked towards a wooden building and went inside. From his advantage point he could see no-one about and decided to break cover. He ran across the open ground and leapt into the water, swimming to the stern of the boat he managed to haul himself aboard and stow himself away. But M. S. Polotska is their ship, and at sea during a night-time patrol the two man crew proved difficult to over power. And even then the helm of the little ship had been locked, then operated by remote control M. S. Polotska was sailed safely to the village.
   No.19 never stopped making his bid for freedom, in fact the ingenuity of his plans had became a constant challenge for No.2, the Supervisor, Observers, guardians, and the security of the village. Then one day No.19 made his final escape attempt, a funeral was held which No.2 attended. And yet as the coffin was slowly lowered into the sand No.2 gave the order for the coffin to be raised and ordered two Top Hat officials to remove the lid. The coffin was found to have been weighted down by three bags of sand! The exasperated expression on No.2’s face said it all!

Be seeing you

Sunday 25 October 2020

Village Life!


    “What’s the meaning of this General Purposes committee meeting?”
    “You haven’t heard?”
    “No, I’ve been away on special assignment.”
    “No.2 has decided to put a ban on smoking in the village!”
    “Really! What put that idea in her head?”

“It came about when Number 48 decided to try and escape.”

“What’s that got to do with putting a ban on smoking?”

“Well Number 48 decided to strike out for the far side of the estuary. The supervisor issued an Orange Alert and despatched the Guardian to subdue him.”

“I fail to see.”

“Number 48 was smoking at the time, and he had a long stick
    “I still don’t see.”
“When Number 48 saw the Guardian approaching, he attached the lighted cigarette to the end of the stick. Then he waved the stick at the Guardian.”

“In trying to fend it off you mean.”

“Worse than that. Number 48 attempted to burst the Guardian as though it were a balloon by stabbing it with the tip of his lighted cigarette!”

“He didn’t?!”

“He did, so as I tell you did it happen.”

“It didn’t work I take it?”

“Of course not, it was a prosperous idea; mind you a medic had to rub soothing camomile lotion to the burn marks on the Guardian’s membrane!”

“And Number 48?”

“He’s made us all suffer now, with this non-smoking policy Number 2 is trying to put through.”

“We could block it.”


“It states in the village charter that it’s the right if every free citizen to be able to light a cheroot on occasion.”

  “Does it, I didn’t know that.”

“Well have you read the charter?”


“No, and I bet Number 2 hasn’t either!”

“Coffee before we go in?”

“Why not, cigarette?”


“It might be our last!”

“I was going to give them up anyway!”

Be seeing you

Thursday 22 October 2020

Le Parisien


  Madame Engadine is to hold another of her celebrated parties in Paris, where the rich and famous can be seen, a place where old friends can meet, and mix with the influential, the renowned and the infamous. It is rumoured that Madame Engadine’s fortune stems from her previous husbands.
    ‘AB and C’ is another of those episodes which give an “out of village” experience, one it is thought No.6 would enjoy. Although at one point he hardly looked the life and soul of the party. But perhaps that can be put down to his encounter with ‘A’ who had once been a friend and colleague, but who having made world news a few years ago, now does the same work, but for the “other side.” Another old friend is ‘B’ with whom he does feel relaxed with, so much so that the pleasantness of this part of No.6’s dream means he’s using the doctor’s drug up far too quickly. This forces No.2’s hand, as well as for No.14 to take drastic action, and put words into ‘B’s mouth. However does this also afford the doctor the chance of giving the game away to No.6, by using a phrase she had use before “We all make mistakes, sometimes we have to.”
   ‘C’ I would have thought was Madame Engadine, although to protect her No.6 creates the situation that even she works for someone, that someone is a man of mystery, who hides behind his anonymity which is often the best disguise for the most important people…. ‘D.’
    As easy as A B and C,  It is often the case that none of us have control when we are dreaming, or indeed of what we dream, perhaps least of all the outcome. Our fears are often uppermost in our minds
when we dream, and can quickly turn into our own worst nightmares.
    There is something unusual in this episode, No.6 meets No.2 only the once, although in ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ he doesn’t meet No.2 at all!

Description, A, is a completely drug induced dream, while B, is diluted by No.6’s suspicion of being manipulated, and C, is back in control, turning the tables on No.2 because he was able to dilute the drug and consequently the potency of the drug. Although that can be a danger in itself!

This episode is perhaps the most surreal of the entire series. We watch No.2 and the doctor watching themselves on the large screen, as the pair of steels doors slide open and No.6 comes striding into the laboratory, and yet when No.2 and the doctor look the steel doors are still closed. And then on the screen No.6 makes his apologies because he forgot to give No.2 the white envelope, with No.2 in the laboratory urging his counterpart on the screen to open the envelope. But then disaster, the envelope is full of holiday leaflets, No.6 was going on holiday, he wasn’t selling out!
Fact, Colin Gordon died within 5 years of his 2 time appearance in ‘the Prisoner,’ he said “Playing No.2 is one of the most dramatic roles I have ever undertaken.” He went on to describe No.2 as “ruthless and determined, and yet at the same time he’s afraid, frightened.” This is the first time I have played a part quite like this.”

The Three Circles of ‘A B and C,’
Through the Prisoner’s dreams we see the kind of circles he moved in, all those who attended Madame Engadine’s celebrated parties were either rich or influential, or both. Professional people, with perhaps a few unseemly characters thrown in for good measure. It is a place to see and be seen, a place to meet people. When the Prisoner first arrived at the party, many people knew him, they warmed to him and smiled, others, to whom he does not speak, point him out. So is it pure pleasure that brings the Prisoner to attend Engadine’s parties, or is there a professional reason? How often Engadine holds her parties is unknown, but certainly she and the Prisoner are old friends. Both he and ‘A’ do the same job, but now they are on different sides. This is the first time they have met at Engadine’s parties, she a tactful lady, and managed, up until now to keep them both apart. ‘A’ made world news when he defected, and since then No.6 has turned his back on his old friend. They had a great deal in common once, but now that’s all in the past, and now No.6 despises ‘A’, and looks upon him with derision. I imagine ‘A’ wasn’t all that important, otherwise they’d have had him brought to the village when he was about to defect. That having been the case with ‘C’ – Chambers! As for ‘B,’ she is a very good spy, from a long line of spies, no doubt produced from a School for spies somewhere on the Russian Steppes! The last No.6 remembers of her is how she was hiking across the mountains to Switzerland, she got sore feet. I guess by the conversation that he was somehow involved at the time. She was also involved with ‘A’ who is a very bad loser, and no doubt it was ‘A’ and his henchmen who ‘B’ was trying to escape from across the mountains into Switzerland! Being a very good spy, ‘B’ sees death as an occupational hazard. She’s cool, self-assured, confident in herself and her abilities. Its only when No.14 puts words in ‘B’s’ mouth that her character changes, turning her into a weak and feeble woman, who is afraid, and desperate to make a deal in order to save her own life. As a matter of fact, women make better spies, and survive longer than male counterparts. Certainly Engadine’s celebrated parties might well attract the wealthy and influential, but also the nefarious types!

     Katherine Kath was a French prima ballerina at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, who became an actress after suffering from an injury which destroyed her chances of continuing her career. Kath was born Berck, Pas-de-Calais, France, where she also died, at age 92 in 2012 from undisclosed causes.  


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