Monday 7 May 2018

Round 19.


The man sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for Mr Quinpot of room 403, is reading a book.

The book is Hard Times, written by Charles Dickens.

The man took the book from the ‘free-help-yourself-put-one-in’ swap cupboard, which is on the wall of the building next to the estate agent’s.

The copy is not in good condition; it has been read many times and the pages are almost all separate.

The man is unsure that he hasn’t read this particular page before.

It is page 70.

The receptionist who invited the waiting man to sit has forgotten that Mr Quinpot is unlikely to return before the 2nd January; he has returned home to see his family for Christmas and is sitting on a train travelling towards Basingstoke.

The man on the train is reading too.

His reading is something of a coincidence, as is his choice of book.

The Times and Tribulations of Timothy Tibblins is not a Charles Dickens book, but it came from the same swap cupboard as Hard Times.

Lucy who put both books in the cupboard took a copy of an unofficial biography of somebody famous whose name she has forgotten already.

She thinks it will be a perfect Christmas Present for her brother who once mentioned he that he fancied what’s-her-name.

The unofficially biographied celebrity is a woman.

The book is wrapped in red silver paper and Lucy is placing it under the artificial Christmas tree that stands in the corner of her two-room flat in Peckham; she has invited her brother to visit for Christmas lunch.

The man in the hotel lobby has been invited nowhere for Christmas and he may as well stay where he is, reading Hard Times in the Holiday Inn just off the roundabout at The Swiss Cottage.

His own family are far away, mainly in Australia where they have moved for the convenience of distance.

The one member of his family not in Australia is a very distant first cousin whom he has never spoken to.

His name is Charles.

Charles lives in Greenland; he is a research scientist interested in the effect of ice melt on ground moss.

 It is a specialised subject and he has written many papers on his findings that very few people have bothered to read. In return, Charles the research scientist has never read any of Charles Dickens’ work.

It’s a shame, because if he had, the young field assistant Mary who is working beside him cataloguing the deformation of the ground moss would find him a more interesting companion.

She may even have fallen in love with him.

She has read all of Charles Dickens’ work and can quote complete passages.

She is thinking of one as she is cataloguing.

And she has a dog.

The dog’s name is Merrylegs.

Merrylegs is the name of a dog that appears on page 70 of Charles Dickens’ Hard Times.

The man sitting in the Hotel lobby waiting for Mr Quinpot of room 403 to not return because he has gone home for Christmas, is reading.

He is reading a book.

The book is Hard Times, written by Charles Dickens.

It’s a small world sometimes.


Mary said...

It is true that Mary, young field assistant, would have found Charles the research scientist more interesting if he had read 'Hard Times' or any Dickens. Just finished 'Bleak House', preceded by 'Martin Chuzzlewit', preceded by 'Great Expectations' [THE BEST!!!!], and 'Oliver Twist', as well as, 'A Christmas Carol', many other Christmas stories and assorted short stories. Actually, have read and reread most Dickens novels over the past 45 years, except 'Pickwick Papers' and 'Our Mutual Friend' which I hope to do in the next couple of years. Next up, 'Little Dorrit'. Coming in at between 60 to 120 characters per novel, his character names are brilliant, biting and often, hilarious!

Dickens -- Highly recommended by your Italian-Canadian friend. He is to be read slowly so that you don't miss a word.

Hope all are well. It is perfect nonsense on this side of the world.


Caveat: The last person I encouraged to read Dickens -- about 6 months ago -- did so, and until recently, avoided me in case I might begin a discussion about it. ;-)

popps said...

Hello Mary - i thought that might draw a comment from you :-)
Now - - go here ,
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to the émissions
click on them
choose the second option - télécharger - and then explore (middle for the first three, end of the most recent)
I'm curious for your comments!!

Mary said...

Yikes -- there you are. Bazartland is an online podcast? Oui?

Listened to all four. Hee Hee -- how wonderful! Not sure your voice sounds as I recall it but you and Peter are fab. Those puns. Great timing. Well-written, great delivery, and fresh.

Downtown in French?!

Not sure if gallery, café, bookstore, le bazaar and midnight movies are real but hope they are.

Curry On Englishmen in France!!!!!!


popps said...

Oh yes , it's all real, i was hoping that you might see it as me and him come to life a bit.
We recorded the latest today, will send link once it's broadcast, thanks for the encouragement.
Having fun doing it, and writing it.

Mary said...

I don't know Peter but you and he are vividly come to life. Yes, keep writing and keep recording.

I look forward to the next instalment.


popps said...

I didn't know him either - just met him.
Ex neuro scientist.