My advice seems to be much in demand these days. With the economic situation so gloomy, everyone seems to expect me; with my great entrepreneurial skills, to sort things to right.
I have barely left my office in Homeward in months - frantic phone calls from Karolos, from the Oval Office or No.10 , seeking advice and aid, come at all times of the day and night.
In the early hours one morning, I decided to take a stroll around my residence to blow away the intricate cobwebs besetting my mind.
I was surprised to see Goodman the cat, still hard at work, in my library. There is nothing more he enjoys than sorting through dusty tomes for my librarian, Will Shudder.
"Are you finding it hard to sleep, too, Goodman?" I inquired. "No, Sir, it's just that I was having such fun cataloguing that I completely lost track of the time. Would you like me to recommend a good read – to distract you from your great burdens?”
“Sound idea, Goodman!” I replied.
“How about this, Sir, it’s called Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway – it’s a ripping yarn!” he suggested.
Now, I must say, I am not usually that keen on novels, apart from the classics. I do enjoy Charles Dickens rags to riches tales – so like my own story. Little is known of it, but he once visited Homeward, in the darker periods of its history, and campaigned against the exploitative use of dwarfs as chimney sweeps.
However, I must say that this book by Mister Harkaway is a jolly good read.
Elephants, of course, play an important role in the adventure – if I were to level any criticism at the author it would only be the fact that I feel the book would have been much improved if the hero of the story had been an elephant. His hero tinkers with clockwork engines, not unlike are own Cowgill. Much as I respect Cowgill, I think, even he would admit, that he does not strike one as having a stature of heroic nature.
Today, Goodman, the Old Monkey and I took a stroll down Water-Chute Tower, around the Blowpipe Laundry, past the Dwarf’s Drinking Fountains to Money-and-Engine-Room Wood. “Fantasy! Pure fantasy!” I declared to the Old Monkey “Much as I admire Mister Harkaway’s book, it has to be said that a decent book on economics is far more useful – particularly in these troubled times!”
“That may be so, Sir, but sometimes one needs to escape – a mental diversion – so that one can come back to the fray refreshed, and mentally alert again” he replied.
“I take your point, Old Monkey – you are suggesting that I might have become stale in my thinking?” I queried.
“Oh no, not at all, Sir, but your absence on the interweb has been noticed – perhaps you have allowed your many good works to rather rule your life?” he responded.
“Well, I hardly think that readers of my missives would be interested in examining the probabilities of default implicit in observable market spreads or would wish to consider these calculations against sovereign debt dynamics!” I retorted.
“Well, know, Sir, exactly – may I suggest that you need to take some time out from all this and get back to having some adventures again?” he sighed.
“Hmmm, I must admit, my domain is vast and there are still so many unexplored areas. Brother Rupert has been badgering me to join him on his expedition to discover the source of the Oooze…” I pondered.
“Oh yes please, Sir, please can we go! I have always wanted to explore that mysterious river that runs deep into the heart of Homeward!” he said excitedly.
I must admit that the dark brooding force of the Oooze has always fascinated me – a force that has traced an intricate flow through the literature and mythology of Homeward.
“I would love to go – but what if Mister Obama needs to get hold of me urgently? I said.
“Don’t worry, Sir, with modern satellite telephonic communication you can keep in touch anywhere!” wheedled the Old Monkey persuasively.
He had persuaded me. I will be joining my brother on his mission into the unknown !