They say Polo is the sport of kings. That’s what my history tutor said, anyway, though I have reason to doubt this for many reasons. Reason one: not EVERY king has to have liked the same sport. Maybe there was a very important one back in the day who really liked polo, and people watched him having a splendid time of it and decided ‘you know what, everyone? This has to be the sport of the king, because look how he enjoys it so’. And then that king retired and the next person became king and there was all this pressure on him to like the same thing, because by that time their entire kingdom’s economy was based around polo and for him to put his foot down and say that he was a big fan of hockey would’ve upset everything. People would’ve had to switch to making hockey nets, all the signs around the kingdom entrance would’ve had to have been changed from ‘TRY POLO: THE SPORT OF KINGS!’ to something like ‘HOCKEY: THE SPORT OF THE CURRENT KING!’ and that just doesn’t have the same advertising ring to it.
I’m terribly glad that modern melbourne doesn’t have any sort of sporting elitism, at least none of which I’m aware. All sorts of sports netting is readily encouraged, unless your sports doesn’t involve nets. Though many of them do, I’ve found…I suppose so many of them involve equipment that can go flying off and cause terrible injury, so netting is what allows the spectators to spectate while remaining unharmed.
Archie went through a phase where he wanted to play polo like Daddy does on the weekends, but I think his natural wants won over and now he is terribly inclined towards golf. That’s why we had the driving range installed down near the lake. I watched the golf driving nets go up and thought that was very sensible, otherwise all the balls would end up underwater.
I am still deciding which sport shall be mine. Mother says I must pick one with an air of grace and ladyhood, so perhaps…clay pigeon shooting?
No, darling, you’re going to have to put up with the men around the house a little bit longer.
That’s what I keep telling Cecelia, the silly woman. If she doesn’t like the entire right side of the manor being covered in aluminium platforms, she can move to the left side. Pity me; my favourite of the four studies is on that side, and it’s where I keep most of my filing, so I really don’t have a choice.
Every now and then we need to get some professionals in to make sure the stone menagerie is properly affixed. It’s a VERY specialised service, not something I would entrust to just anyone, so I have to have these people flown in from Turkey. They’re the only ones I trust to do the job properly; Ahmed and Sons, proud fixers of stone structures since the 1400s.
You see, we have a veritable zoo’s worth of stone animals lining the top of the manor, and due to weather being so very fickle in these parts, I have to make extra sure that all of them are firmly fixed in place. We don’t want a repeat of the gargoyle incident, do we? More importantly, there’s a very specific place for every single one of those animals. It would be patently, utterly ridiculous to have one of the horses fall off, thus spoiling the entire effect of the Charge of the Light Brigade monument. And our Noah’s Ark recreation would be the laughing stock of the neighbourhood if a single giraffe was left standing while the other had its head knocked off by wild winds.
Of course, our only point of consternation are all the planks and trestles and folding platform ladders, that have to be put in place. Transporting stonemason equipment to a high rooftop is no gentle matter, I suppose, and it’s not every year I have this done. Hopefully the job is done a bit quicker than usual, and mobile scaffolding carted away. I should like to look upon Whitehall in all its splendour again.
-Percival Clancey III
Since Father owns most of the city, we spend a bit of time outside of it. After all, there’s little else more tiresome than going to a place and seeing all these business people you know. There’s a time for business, and there’s a time for relaxation. Every time we steal a tiny snippet of time to go out as a family, Father ends up seeing some contact, they get into a fierce bit of company rigmarole and we might as well have simply stayed home and ordered a choir to serenade us or something.
After the last time we went out for tiramisu and Albanian hot chocolate, Mother finally said that they needed a local holiday where we weren’t being accosted by the business world. Father let her choose the destination, which was very odd, but we’ve settled on some luxury accommodation in Lorne. Oh, it’s in Victoria- it’s a local holiday, after all- but just far out that we may be able to have a family holiday. Mother has already threatened to take Father’s main business phone and deposit it in the two-storey piranha tank we had installed in lounge #6, and so he seems to be taking the hint.
I must admit, beaches are not the worst of places, provided one takes proper precautions. I could be tempted to leave the aforementioned luxury accommodation and venture out, though not onto a boat…after the previous episode, I have quite gone off them for the time being. Undoubtedly we’ll be taking the family cruise ship down to Lorne, which I can handle. After that, I should very much like to plant my feet firmly on terra firma for the duration of our stay.
Lorne seems like a very agreeable place, from what I have seen. Perhaps one day our influence shall extend there, and Lorne hotels will be under the Clancey Family Empire’s control. Not today, however…if Father even tried, I think Mother would snap completely.
-Archibald Clancey III
Often during the family boat trips I am forced to stay low, where I can fool myself into thinking we are not moving. Madeira does give me such grief for it, however. She can be a little beast when Mother and Father are not looking. Just to set all the records straight, I am perfectly fine when the boat is not moving. It is not the location that causes my queasiness, which I truly wish is something my school chums could understand.
My seventh birthday was the time of my discovery, and it was rather embarrassing. I had asked for a boat- specifically a plate aluminium boat, because even then, I was fascinated by industry- and I received one upon which I would celebrate my ascension to manhood. The school chums were invited, though I made sure I was the first one deck for the big party. I felt like I was the king of my own domain, with my own boat at last (my plate alloy boat) and truly grown up. I ordered a sailing trip around the bay while my party was in progress, so I could show off my kingdom as was my due.
This, I am sorry to say, is where the seasickness set in. Madeira had snuck on board, because she is a terror who never obeyed me even when we were younger. The girl is a menace with no respect for the authority of her older sibling. In any case, she made sure to point out to all my chums that I seemed under the weather, despite my attempts to hide it. I ordered a return to shore, but the damage had been done. Clinging to the fishing rod holder, I barely kept my footing and my image (along with the party) was ruined.
My plate alloy boat, the specs of which once caused in me great excitement, now lies abandoned. Perhaps I should donate it to charity, so that those less fortunate than I can take boat trips. I hear people generally enjoy them.
-Archibald Clancey II
You know, I think I was six years old before I even saw an insect. Mother said that a proper lady didn’t spend much time outdoors, at least much more than was socially required (garden parties and such), and thus I tried to follow that mandate to the letter, spending a lot of time in the parlour learning how to crochet and laugh at the jokes of the menfolk.
Then Imogen came to school one day, her butler porting in an ant farm, and I listened in utter fascination as she described how she was allowed to keep the ants in the upper levels of her quarters at the family mansion and she fed them pellets every day (that is, Antony the butler fed them every day and Imogen was allowed to watch).
Such an ecosystem! After that, I’m afraid I became rather hooked on the unladylike aspiration of finding out more about insects. Surrounding suburbs such as Frankston have pest control, where people actually try to get insects and such things out of their homes. Now, I understand people have phobias and such, but if I was at a loss to see how you could control them. In my mind, pest control was much like brain control; getting to the level of the ants and telling them (nay, asking them, more likely) to leave so that business may resume.
Obviously I was wrong there. The grounds of Whitehall Chapel are extensive, and I used to spend our Sunday family walks trying to find evidence of insect life. Apparently our gardeners are given strict orders by Daddy to remove them from our sight, because I saw very few of them. Now that I am eight, my interest has waned somewhat, mostly because I have been allowed to read about them in my computer lessons and I have found that termites can be rather odious. There are designated Frankston termite control companies to deal with the damage they cause. But still…I should like to be allowed to form my own opinion.
Before I met my wife I had very little time for universal forces. As a doctor my belief system is rooted in evidence, proof, statistical testing etc. I do not take things on faith alone, I need more. This model of fact finding does not allow for thoughts to do with energies and cosmic forces. However, the events that lead to me meeting the amazing woman that would become my wife, changed everything.
Every once in awhile a patient of mine asks for a treatment that I am either unfamiliar with or unable to prescribe. Normally it’s just a one off and I can refer them to a colleague but over the course of three months, seven years ago, I had thirteen patients inquire about dry needling as a treatment for muscular pain. I decided to do something about. I found a great facility offering dry needling courses in Sydney and booked myself onto the first available one.
On the flight on the way there I sat next to an extremely beautiful woman. We didn’t exchange words but the occasional glance may have occurred. That night at the hotel restaurant I saw the same woman dining alone, we gave a knowing smile and carried on dining independently. The introduction to dry needling courses was taking place early the next morning so I headed up to bed without haste. As I arrive at the dry needling centre I see all the nametags for various doctors taking part, my hand reaches down to grab mine at the same time as the one adjacent is being picked up. I’m sure you can guess who it was, Dr. Angela Victoria, my future wife, colleague and friend. I never would have imagined that taking a course in dry needling techniques would have such an impact on my life. We’re coming up to our one year anniversary and I can’t imagine my life without her.
Every now and then I like to sneak into Father’s study while he’s out. I know it’s so terribly naughty and a very bad habit, but his study is just so interesting. All those grand staircases and big, heavy books covered in dust that make me feel like I’m discovering a book of ancient magic. I can usually just close my eyes and use my imagination to not notice that they’re usually books on finance. Oh, but what if finance was a sort of magic? That’s simply terrific.
Sometimes I read the notes lying around on his desk, which again is rather naughty, but Daddy is always saying to Mummy that I should be taking an interest in business. Mummy wants me to be a lady of class, but I think it’s rather exciting, the world of finance and transactions and stocks. I barely even know what those things are, and they give me a shiver of excitement! I know exactly what I want to do, as well. I shall start my own cosmetic tattooing place in Ballarat. May-Belle at school had it done over the holidays and she looks very splendid, but Mummy said I am not allowed until I am fifteen. That’s centuries away, so I’ve decided that I’m going to own my own chain of eyebrow and cosmetic tattooing places when I’m older. It shall be called…Madeira Magic, because the beauty of the people walking out of the salons will be almost magical, and they shall hold everyone spellbound. Oh, we’ll offer more than just eyebrow services. Dermal fillers, hair removal, that thing that people do with getting rid of moles…no job will be too small. That’s what I’ve learned from the talk around the dinner table: diversity in business is key!
Maybe one day it will turn into an empire’s, just like that of my father. Madeira Magic, the premier service for eyebrow work and general beauty. Because that, also, is the key to great business: specialisation. I will rule the world of Melbourne’s eyebrow tattooing, and probably other things. I haven’t decided yet…
I do so dislike the mansion needing work. It’s Whitehall Chamber! Our beloved home needs no improvement! Sadly, sometimes it does, and quite urgently as well. I was spending some time in lounge number five, which has slightly more space than loung number six but the chairs are closer to the heater than in loung number nine (making it my favourite) when I was greatly disturbed by smashing windows and and great thump in tandem.
I immediately leapt from my chair in a great fright, forgetting entirely the episode of Week of Our Lives that had demanded my attention only seconds prior, and saw that the old oak had finally come down in the wind. Percy kept saying that we needed to do something about that old thing, but business kept him terribly busy.
So now there are aluminium work platforms blocking out the view of lounge number five, which is a great shame because if I want to be just the right temperature and closeness to the television in lounge number eleven, I have to call Sebastian to come and move the chair for me. Even then, I can still hear the men on their work platforms! Lounge sixteen is the furthest away, but I wasn’t allowed to pick the cushions and thus Percy chose a strange lime that I think clashes horribly with most of my wardrobe.
In any case, it’s a good thing the old oak didn’t come straight through the window. No, it was only a few stray branches, with some damage to the wall. That’s what they said, anyway. Our walls are very high, which I suppose is why they decided to drag along all those heavy-looking fibreglass ladders. Terribly scary stuff, clambering all over those things so terribly high. Reminds me of the latest episode of Week of Our Lives, where Reece was rock-climbing when his schizophrenia/split personalities came back…oh, I need to catch up!!
I just bought a brand new ute with the insurance money that I got from when my old ute got broken into and stolen. I know that material possessions shouldn’t mean anything to us, since we are in essence only material possessions ourselves. We live this life, then we are no more. For all of existence, except for the tiny speck of a speck of a grain of sand we call a lifetime. We are insignificant and at the same time, the most significant beings in existence.
We are made of stardust created billions of years ago. Compost, in the heap of the universe. I guess that’s why this life is so important to us. We know it is so fleeting, that we will protect it. That’s why I wanted to protect my tools, by using aluminium toolboxes. That way, if there was ever a problem, I could help them by keeping them safe.
This was not the case on the night before last. I had gone to bed early that night since I had a big day the next day, but I also thought, in my own funny feeling kind of way, that we were in trouble.
My senses must have been on the ball because that night we got broken into. They took the ute, and I lost all of my tools, which were safely locked away in the toolbox. I’m going to miss those aluminium toolboxes, Melbourne tradies should all have them installed. On this new ute, which I’m about to kit out, I will have a brand new aluminium ute toolbox installed on it, so that I can keep trying to protect that which I hold dear to me. I’ll never get back what was stolen from me. I’ll never be able to the same as I was before. For better or for worse, I’ve changed now, and there is no going back. I will be a different ute owner, and a different person from here on in. I want my aluminium accessories to remember that.
Oh dear! My fairy kingdom!
Father says the copse of trees down near the lake is being removed to make way for a silly old golf course, and I think it’s so terribly rotten. When I have school chums over, or just when I’m by myself and in the mood, I’d often travel down there and pretend I’m in a magical fairy kingdom deep in the woods. Of course, sometimes it does not feel like pretending at all, because it really is rather magical down there with a spring and a clearing of tree stumps and a tree that grants wishes, really.
I am thinking of protesting. It is what the common people do when they do not have enough money to simply make a problem go away. Once Daddy’s Melbourne tree lopping people arrive, I shall have built myself a treehouse covered in slogans that support the environment and declare the fairies and woodland folk should be free from industry. And I shall refuse to come down until the tree removal people go and remove trees elsewhere! Or rather, I shall only come down for the essentials, such as meals, going to bed, attending school (with extracurricular activities) and other social events that require my attention. Otherwise, I shall be in my treehouse, facing down the tree lopping folks and giving them my best eagle eye that I was taught by Frau Sauer, my extremely terrifying and commanding European Languages teacher. We always dedicated several minutes at the end of each tutoring session for such things; it was from Frau Sauer that I learned that all men are scum and women should be in charge of the world, which I found rather fascinating even if I feel it warrants further investigation.
Perhaps another time. For now, I must take on the Melbourne tree removal industry and win. Perhaps they will be too busy and will not be able to come? I shall live in hope…since I do not think I even know how to make a treehouse. It gets awfully windy up there.