Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Journal OF Lynton Charles

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Journal OF Lynton Charles

Article excerpt

CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY OF DURHAM

Sunday Cheryl has gone on the anti-war demo clutching her "Not in my name" placard. I toy with telling her, when she comes back, that I have arranged, through the MoD, for the RAF to drop a particularly large bomb on Kandahar with "From Cheryl Charles -- up yours, Osama" chalked on it. But much though the idea tickles me, I don't say anything. Cheryl maybe a pacifist, but she is quite capable of violence. She loves humanity, but hates people.

With me, it's the other way round. Jam becoming rather wary of humanity.

Monday A little learning is indeed a dangerous thing. Lorelei, our Latvian au pair, after ten rather desultory years in Britain, has learnt just enough English to make the Sun her number one (and numbers two to a hundred) read. As a consequence, she is now convinced that we are about to be the victims of an anthrax attack. And that's if we haven't already been the target of a so far undiagnosed biological attack. Which, given her bad cold, she thinks we have.

So she will not go into the hall if the postman has just pushed the letters through the door, she will not go into the bathroom because she has seen white powders there, and she is now agitating for us to provide gas-masks for her and the kids.

Cheryl is not helping. Whenever Lorelei embarks on a bout of worrying (in which she calls her sister in Riga every hour, pours neat disinfectant on her hands and speaks only in a tiny, broken voice), Cheryl points at me and declaims: "Blame him! He made us a target! This is what comes of shoulder to shoulder!"

And there I was thinking that it was some mad terrorist who was doing these things. Well, now I know.

Tuesday Back at the House, the children are getting nervy. Hardly an hour passes without a phone call expressing "concern". Which is usually code for "I may be slipping off the ship soon". …

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