Saturday, May 23, 2009

wolf, rules, saw

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The grey wolf in the wall.

Opposite the church of King Charles the Martyr is the former King Charles' School building. It is a large room which was, for a while, a Chinese Restaurant. The Chinese owner, an Elvis impersonator, gave regular performances for customers. Last year he sold the premises, which have now been nicely restored as a conference room. It is often open during the day at weekends as a coffee shop. Round the walls are memorabilia of the school, which ceased to be an educational establishment in the 80s. A number of former pupils are still living in the town. Here, as a taste of the standards of a different age, are the contents of a framed inscription on the wall of the conference room:
Pupils at King Charles' School were required to observe the following rules:
Profane no divine ordinance
Touch no state matters
Urge no health
Pick no quarrels
Maintain no opinions
Encourage no vice
Repeat no agrievances
Reveal no secrets
Make no comparisons
Keep no bad company
Make no long meals
Spare not. Spoil not. Waste no. Want not.
I have been asking myself, how far back these rules go, and which if any of them would, or should be applicable today.

On a bench in the High Street two young men sit on a bench. One has a guitar, the other a large saw. While the guitarist strums, his companion extracts from the saw a haunting, wailing sound, which, thanks to the absence of an amplifier, doesn't carry far.


Zhoen said...

Very difficult to get an electric saw, these days.

Urge no health?

June Saville said...

Nice word picture. My father was a builder of houses in the old days and used a hand saw. He could play it. Although not well.

That list of behaviours could easily have been among those by which my father was moulded from childhood.

He was an unhappy man.

June in Oz

Unknown said...

Z: Urge no health, I guess, refers to drinking people's health. But why that is wrong I do not know.

Those rules, while I deplore nearly all of them, leave me, in a perverse way, feeling a little nostalgic for a world where such values are held. A world of inhibitions, frustrations and suppressed imagation. But a safe world. Any one who stuck to them, I can imagine, would find it hard to be happy.

The Crow said...


Lucy said...

It's the juxtaposition of the King Charles rules and the Elvis impersonations that beguiles me...

Lucy said...

... and a Chinese Elvis impersonator to boot.