Archive for February, 2012



I don't have a photo of Vanessa... unfortunately, but here's a very nice one of the sheep. Thanks, Maggie.

It’s a new beginning, another one. It’s late February and I  am prostrated by la gripe, man-flu… laid low to the extent that I am unable to function normally and am thus reduced to writing blogs. These things happen from time to time and it’s nothing to get worried about, but there’s a lot of coughing going on, inordinate quantities of mucus, a wretched weakness and much sneezing. This last I like a lot, and in a sense it makes the whole thing worthwhile, because it makes me think of Vanessa Blackwell. I should explain…

Vanessa Blackwell, whom I haven’t laid eyes on since I was eighteen, is the girl I have thought of more than any other in my whole life – apart from the Wife, that is – and all because of a most singular event which I shall now relate to you.

The more assiduous followers of my witterings will remember that I was educated at one of those establishments conceived to prepare men to run the Empire (British). It was a boys’ boarding school, and thus, until I turned up one late summer morning at the co-educational Crawley College of Knowledge, I had only the sketchiest notions of what a girl was, and still less of what they were actually for.

Imagine, then, the author, fresh from public school, taking his seat nervously halfway up a tower block in Crawley new town, for his first ‘Liberal Studies’ class. I was dressed in what I considered to be bohemian style: unwashed jeans, rabbit-fur coat and grey felt hat. In the classroom were a score or so of louts making a lot of noise and fooling about. They made me feel uneasy.

All of a sudden the classroom door flew open and banged against the wall. Every head swivelled; a pen dropped with a crash like thunder into the portentous silence that engulfed us, as we took in the dazzling apparition at the door. We had none of us ever seen anything like it, and never, never would we see such a thing again. For there stood none other than Vanessa Blackwell herself, disdainfully appraising us. She was slender, and willowy with the shape of a woman, and she moved like the back legs of a colt. The eyes that so insolently held our drooling gaze were witches’ green, and her curling blonde hair cascaded down across the skin-tight black velvet minidress that she had somehow contrived to wriggle into.

There was a sharp intake of breath from each lug and lout in unison, culminating in a long low groan; then the utter silence reasserted itself. This, then, was a girl, and this was what they were for: she exuded raw sex, and she had each and every one of us males utterly bewitched.

For an instant longer she held our gaze… as each of us longed against longing for her to sit beside us.

Then, very delicately, she sneezed.

We gasped.

She spoke:

“Did you know,” she said, with a toss of her curls, “that the intensity of a woman’s sneeze is in inverse proportion to the intensity of her orgasm?”

Vanessa Blackwell, I shall never forget… and I’m sure that there was not another lumpen lug in that classroom who ever will forget either.

Anyway, as a consequence of this illuminating little episode, I have thought in a salacious way of Vanessa Blackwell every time I have sneezed since the age of eighteen. That was forty two years ago. In an average week one might sneeze, I suppose, thirty times (with me they come in threes). In a week with the man-flu heavy upon one it might be more than three hundred times. The man-flu hits you about once a year, so call it fifty one thirties and one three hundred: that’s 1,830; now multiply that by forty two and you get seventy six thousand eight hundred and sixty times that Vanessa in that slinky black dress has sashayed into my view. I think that may be even more than I’ve thought in that way about the Wife…