Hullo, Justin here.
Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosomed friend of the maturing sun... Ah, Autumn... Almost upon us and even here in our sleepless city, the signs are there... falling leaves, thoughts of a still distant Christmas, and more immediately the Rugby Union World Cup. Presently, this clash of the Titans dominates our little household. My lady wife and the young man with the wire in his ear are both terribly keen on this competition, and so I am free to indulge one or two minor passions of my own.
I recently unearthed a few brass rubbings I made in my student days. One – of Sir Gilbert de Ponce and his wife Lady Edith taken from their tomb in the nave of Glossop Cathedral reminds me always that Man makes plans and God smiles. Research tells us that the ambitious Sir Gilbert and his new wife journeyed from France early in the 12th century to join the court of King William. En route from Dover to Winchester they were set upon by what appear to have been ne'er-do-wells and hobbledehoys, robbed of all their worldly goods and left naked and bruised by the roadside. I mention this by way of making the connection between circumstance and solution. Far from being discouraged, the de Ponces girded their loins with leaves, lay in wait for the next French emigrés to appear and repeated the procedure, eventually reaching King William’s court, late but unbowed, ending their days as Master and Mistress of the King’s Commode. Were theirs Christian actions ? Well, in the words of the Bard, “Needs must when the Devil’s made off with yer kecks.”
Sadly, I am tugged back to reality by shouts of “Ref! REF! – FORWARD PASS!” as Tongans jump on French heads, and try hard to weave something rugby-ish into Sunday’s sermon.