Rahere (or Rathere?)

23-02-2014 Sunday

Image

Mr Bent came back from hospital yesterday and I went over to take care of him a little. He was very pleased I had put some of his books back and created some room for him to walk, sit, and sleep. He wasn’t in a wheelchair or anything, so the path that I had made was wide enough. It was as if the books were saying,’ Hello, and welcome back,’ to him they way I arranged them.

Although I am not as good as Mr Bent with these things, I made him some tea with biscuits and sandwiches (okay, I didn’t make the biscuits myself). The tea tastes different when he makes it. There must be some kind of magic he uses. As you know, there is absolutely no magic in me. Which reminds me, I have got some stuff on sale. I should really put it up on eBay. If you happen to know anybody who is interested in a wand or a broom or anything, let me know. I can’t promise they will work, but who knows. They might look cooler on someone else. I didn’t really have ‘swag’ with a broom under my butt. Who needs ‘swag’ anyways!? In 20 years from now, kids will find the word old-fashioned and stupid. Mr Bent doesn’t even know what ‘swag’ is.
The other day, as we were leaving the hospital Mr Bent whispered something about ghosts in St Bart’s. Yesterday he told me about one of them. You might want to crawl up to your teddy bear or maybe pull your blanket a bit higher up, because it freaked me out. It might also be nice to read it while drinking a hot cup of chocolate with cream on it. I love hot chocolate with cream in winter. Mr Bent calls this story ‘The Coffin Lift’. Remember to read this in one of those deep, dark voices,
‘Before I start telling anything about the haunted lift in St Bart’s, let me start by saying something about the building itself, for it is a very special building. King Henry I – early 12th century – had a jester whose name was Rahere. After the king’s only son had drowned at sea near Calais, Rahere became a monk and went to Rome. Of course, in those days, jabs were not common practise and thus Rahere became seriously ill. He was struck by malaria and it was weakening him more and more. When he felt his end was nigh he vowed that, should he miraculously recover, he’d erect a hospital for the poor.
,On his way back to England, he had a vision or a dream, if you will, in which St Bartholomew told him to not only erect a hospital, but also a church in London. Rahere did so. He built a church and a hospital and when he died somewhere 1145, he was buried in his own church. There’s a good ghost story about that church, too, but we’re not going to go into that now. Let’s save that for later, shall we?’
I will have to leave you with this. As school starts tomorrow, I have homework to do and a dog to walk. The latter has nothing to do with school whatsoever. This is where we say goodbye for now. If I have time to spare tonight, I will post the rest of the story. Otherwise … see me tomorrow. 

PS. I took the picture of the hospital. I took the camera with me when we went to see Mr Bent.

Amelia Dyer – the beginning

20140127_23113327-01-2014 Monday

22.30

So, as I was saying, I was making tea for us and Mr Bent came into the kitchen with his dowsing rod in his hands. He looked at the rods and played with them a little. Trying to hold them in different ways to make different geometrical shapes. While he was fidgeting with those darn things he said, in his thoughtful deep dark voice,’ You know, I’ve actually never quite understood these things.’ That’s when he threw them out of the window.

We stared at each other for a couple of seconds and then burst out in laughter. You should have seen the look on his face. He was dead serious when he said it and just chucked them out like that. I hope nobody was walking by at that very moment. He said he had something better for me. Well, actually, two things. Another story, and, what was even better, a book! The book he had been looking for wasn’t for him; it was for me. I made a picture of it to show you. It has got all kinds of freaky ghost stories about London. Sometimes I wish school made us read these kinds of books, they are way more interesting than things like ‘Gone with the wind’ or ‘Jane Eyre’

When tea was ready we sat ourselves down in sitting room, somewhere amidst all those books. Mr Bent said it was ok to just make a chair out of books if I wanted to. I thought it would a bit disrespectful, so I just threw some books on the floor and sat down on the sofa (I know, bad idea) while Mr Bent settled himself on one of the few … no, rephrase … the only free chair in the room. Which, as you can understand, wasn’t free anymore now.

He asked me if I had ever heard of a woman called Amelia Dyer. The name didn’t really ring a bell. Even after thinking really hard with my little thinker I couldn’t think of anyone who goes by that name. Even though I kept thinking Mr Bent was already saying it was useless to go on thinking. Amelia Dyer has been dead for a long time now; for over a century already. The world might be better off without her, too. She was not the nicest of woman.

‘For this story,’ as he added a little more bass to his voice,’ I have to take you back to the late 19th century. It were different times then, what with Jack the Ripper about, stirring up life in London. Great many killings were going on at that time and not all of them were done by dear ol’ Jacky.’

A loud noise of things falling filled the room.  It made an awful racket. We looked round us to see if we could see what had happened. A bunch of books fell down from one of the shelves and on their way down they had knocked over a quite inexpensive vase that shattered into pieces as it hit a very thick book. Mr Bent couldn’t be bothered. He took of sip of his tea, which was still piping hot, and swallowed it as if his throat was made of lead. Maybe that comes with old age, I dunno.

I will have to continue my story tomorrow. I can assure that it is going to be amazing. Though it’s a bit sad too. My bed is calling me and I can hear it calling me over the song I’ve been hearing in my head all day. Does everybody have that? A song that just gets stuck in your head for days and you can’t help but humming it or singing it in your head. The most frustrating thing is that I keep on repeating one bit of the song because I forgot the lyrics to the rest of it. All day long I’ve been walking around singing the same two lines, then I pause for a bit – there are more lines but I just don’t know the words – and finish with the last line of the verse and head into the first line of the chorus ending in a lalala, because I just don’t know the rest of the bleeding song anymore. I hope I am the only who has this, I wouldn’t want anybody else to suffer like this. See me tomorrow.

I Don’t Like Mondays

06-01-2014 Monday

19.00

I don’t like Mondays. Well, actually, I do, as long as they are holidays. First day of school in a new year, well it’s not really our first day yet. We still have this day off, but school is open. Things probably haven’t changed a bit. Some of those kids are most likely still being their same old selves. My guess is most of them did not see the need for good years resolutions when it comes to their personalities.
There are some kids that are okay in my book, but I don’t really have any friends as you may have gathered from the story so far. By the way, I am not going to name any names in my story. Not real names I mean. I am giving everybody fake names, because I don’t know whether they want to be mentioned in here, and I don’t want people to find out who I am and I don’t really feel like being bullied by others because of this book. I will also have to make up the name of the school I am going to, although I am not sure if it is going to be possible for me not to give anything away as I am writing way too many details about everything that is going on in my life.
We’ve got some big tests coming and I haven’t even begun studying. I should, but I can’t help thinking about the story of Sarah and Philip. Mr Bent was really horror struck at the end of the story. He looked as white as a ghost himself. He was trembling, although that could also have been the cold or his age, but I think it was fear. After he had finished the story he walked out of the room. He left me sitting at the table with an empty teapot and some crumbs on a plate. Either he was throwing up, taking a dump or he had scared himself shitless.
After some five minutes or so he came back into the room. At least he had some colour in his face again. He put a glass of water on the table and sat down in the chair, looking outside. I have no idea what he was looking at as there was not much to see out there. It was mostly dark. He murmured something, but I couldn’t makes heads or tails of it.
I looked at him and asked him whether he had ever seen Sarah. He turned his head round quite quickly. It startled me a little. He has got these big bushy eyebrows and his look can be quite scary sometimes because of these hairy monsters just above his eyes.
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘as a matter of fact, I have. Although I wish I hadn’t. She scared the living daylights out of me. And ‘no’ I hadn’t seen her brother. That woman was frightening and yet saddening, too. To see a dead woman still looking for her long departed brother is not something you’d like to see everyday.
After her death, they buried her behind the bank. There used to be a church there called St Christopher le Stocks. That was even before Sarah’s death. The churchyard was still there until 1867. They started moving the bodies to Nunhead Cemetery because of work. Still, Sarah must have been very special to being buried there. She was buried amongst some very important bankers.
That’s all I have to say tonight. It’s been a long day and a very long evening. I hope you enjoyed yourself, because I am going to have to throw you now. Well, not literally, of course, but you know what I mean.’
So, there you have it. That’s it and that’s that. Even though I have the feeling Mr Bent didn’t give me the entire story about his encounter with Sarah. It may have been too scary for him. I don’t know. It was too scary for me just listening to it.
Unfortunately, it’s time for homework. Thanks for reading, see me tomorrow.

Till Death

05-01-2014 Sunday

17.30

Nope, I did not have time to report back yesterday. But, I am here now, so your worries are over. Hopefully you are doing fine, too. I am doing just great except for a little headache. Thanks for asking. In case you haven’t noticed I am trying my best to be a bit more sociable. After having done some research (I asked Mum, Dad and Grandma), it appeared to me that these are some of the things people say when they want to start making small talk. I think I am not very good at making small talk … or big talk for that matter.

Last day of my holiday and what am I going to do … nothing. I am going to finish the story I started telling a couple of days ago. Mr Bent was very enthusiastic when I told him about my blogs. He is not much of a social media person himself … he is not much of a social person. He kind of keeps to himself most of the time. I hardly ever see anybody come over and in the few cases I meet him outside, he either just went down the road to get his groceries or he is putting his rubbish out. He is a great storyteller though, wish more people would come and listen to him. No, I don’t, actually.

 

‘Sarah continued coming to the bank every day. She would always ask the same question over and over again,’ Have you seen my brother?’. Of course, nobody had seen him. Well, some had seen him, but that was before he died or … when he died. In any case, sometimes Sarah was given some money so the bank could buy off some of their feelings of guilt (if they had any at all … feelings that is), and sometimes she’d insult the workers and scream at them.

At some point Sarah started thinking that the bank was keeping a large sum of money from her. Did Philip not leave her money after his death? Didn’t he have a bank account there? Were they keeping this from her on purpose? How much would it be? All these questions started running around in her head.

It is said that on one occasion she even insulted a very important person at the bank, a certain Baron Rothschild. He was just minding his own business, when Sarah walked in again, wearing her usual black clothes, asking after her brother and receiving some money from the clerks. When she saw Baron Rothschild she started accusing him of being a villain and a robber. Screaming how he was keeping a very large sum of money from her, some 2000 pounds – which was a lot of money early 19th century. He gave her some petty cash, which seemed to please her … for a day. She’d just be back the next day, and the day after, and so on, and so on, etc. etc.

After 4 years of coming to the bank each and every day, the bank finally grew tired of her. So tired that they decided to offer Sarah a large sum of money. They made her sign a contract that she was never to return to the bank again her entire life. As Sarah was a woman of her word she never set foot inside the bank again her entire life. And then she died …’

 

Mr Bent stopped and stared out of the window for a minute. He looked up at the ceiling, then he moved his head down very slowly. He took a deep breath as he looked at me and then continued.

 

‘The contract never said anything about not coming back after her death. She is often seen on Threadneedle Street. She is still dressed in black and referred to as the Bank Nun and she’s still repeating that very same line she repeated for some 4 years,’ Have you seen my brother?’.’

 

Time sure is fun when you’re having flies. I’ve been spending a lot of time on this blog. I am not sure if I will have so much time when school starts tomorrow. Even though the story of Sarah and Philip is finished, the story of Mr Bent is not finished yet. It will have to wait till tomorrow I’m afraid, because dinner awaits and after that it’s homework. I don’t know why, but school seems to like giving tests right after a holiday. So long everybody. See me tomorrow.  Image

Sarah and Philip Whitehead

03 – 01 – 2014 Friday

17.30

I know; that was a very long walk. Mum and Dad wanted to go shopping and I had to come. I don’t think they trust me enough to be alone in the house too often. As if I was planning a London Project X or something. We went up and down Oxford Street, then up and down Regent Street and in the end Mum ended up buying the clothes she said she liked in the first shop we went into. These things do not make me want to look for a girlfriend.

So, where was I? Oh, yeah, Mr Bent was about to start his story. It would be best if you could read this in one of those low voices. Closest thing I can think of is Morgan Freeman, but even lower still and at a steady pace, take your time reading this and sometimes, in the middle of a sentence, just breathe in very deeply (as if you are in deep thought) and then continue. Here goes.

 

‘We are going to go back as far as November 1811. That’s a mighty long time ago. You weren’t born, I wasn’t born, not even my dad was born then; it’s that long. In those times there weren’t any mobile phones, there was no Internet, no TV, no anything. If you wanted to talk to anybody, you had to go out and meet that person in person. Streetlights were just candles that were lit by people. News had to travel by word of mouth. They say news travels fast, but in those days, not all news travelled fast. Which was a shame for poor Sarah Whitehead.

Philip Whitehead, Sarah’s brother, worked at the Cashier’s Office at the Bank of England. The Bank of England, as you may know, is situated on Threadneedle Street near Bank station. Bank station itself is also renowned for some ghostly activity, but we’re not going to talk about that now, because we are interested in the story of Sarah and Philip.

Philip was said to be a man of genteel appearance, whatever that may be. He’d worked at the bank for a couple of years when he was charged with forgery. Whether he was forging money, papers, or both is not really known. Nonetheless, forgery was what he was charged with and he was taken to the Old Bailey where he was – as you can guess – found guilty.

Nowadays, forgers get fines and they are sent to prison where they will have to spend some time and then after a couple of years, they are released and can build up a new life. Back in those days forgers were just as bad as killers, and murderers, and people who took other people’s lives and such. They were criminals. Therefore he was sentenced to death and early 1812 Philip Whitehead was hanged.

Some think that being hanged is a terrible way to die, but when done correctly, it’s actually a very fast, swift and humane way to kill somebody. If the length and strength of the rope is accurate, the short drop and the sudden stop will break your neck and you will die almost instantly without a lot of pain. In those days they had much more terrible ways of dealing with criminals that I am not going to talk about as they are not suitable for kids.’

Oh geez… look at the time. I have got to go. We are going to Grandma. She has got this New Year’s Afternoon Tea Party, sounds more like a Mad Hatter’s Party to me. She is completely loopy, but I’m not buying it. I think she is trying to con us into believing she is getting old and forgetful. Before to long she’ll be shouting,’ No room, no room!’ I think it’s all just a big show and when have left the room she just laughs and laughs and she’ll laugh her head off thinking of how she has fooled the lot of us again. Anyways, got to go. See you tomorrow.

 

1.10

Just noticed I forgot to post the former post. So I am posting it now. Just got back from Grandma’s place and I was right … Mad Hatter’s Party. Got to go and get some sleep. Good night.