Today, 19th June 2010, Mrs Monk commanded me before breakfast to visit a Cemetery on the basis of what she had learnt at 4 AM on BBC East News, which discussed a phenomena, that had transformed the look of the Southend Graveyard. Apparently, avenues of trees and even some graves had been overwhelmed by a parasite, and this was something worth investigating.
And so, before breakfast we checked out the BBC story, paid a visit and took these pictures. I understand that moths have been at work and created this strange macabre, other-world. Trees and graves have been wrapped, in “silk” provided by “worms” The “silk” has the stretching quality and consistency of latex, apparently defying any notion that it might be an organic phenomena. It is in fact, more like a Marigold rubber glove, than organic natural silk.
Consequently the trees have been suffocated and in mid June they are now ghostly, and free of organic green foliage.
Our next task of this day was to collect two unwanted paintings rejected by the Royal Academy Summer Show panel. They had the painting for three months so it was nice to have them back.
We stopped at the WholeFoods store in Kensington for lunch, and came across an old man stumbling in the street. We were not sure if he was drunk or sick. Mrs Monk recognised him as a very slow customer from Whole Foods and elected to approach him to see if he needed help.
The man was stooped and in trouble. She calmly asked him a number of serious questions as if she were a qualified physician.
Are you diabetic?
Do you feel dizzy?
Do you have any pain?
Are you on any medication?
Are you diabetic?
She asked him he would like a ride home and he said he would but since the car was laden with reject paintings, there was no room for Mrs Monk.
Mrs Monk gave him her last piece of advice. “Make sure you talk to your doctor,” she said.
He smiled. I took charge of the old man’s shopping and got him belted up. I looked at him and noticed beads of sweat on his brow.
“Would you rather I take you to the hospital?” I said.
He insisted on going home and told me that when he was able to lie down for a while, he would be OK.
On the way I chatted with him and he seemed interested in our rejected paintings.
“You must try again next year”, he said.
I learned from him that he had no one at home. I also leaned that his direct neighbours had just moved in. I assumed that by this he meant that he did not know his neighbours.
When we arrived at his house, I realised that this was no ordinary gentleman and I began to worry about leaving this man in this condition, in a house, on his own.
I asked him about his phone. He said he had a phone and knew how to use it and smiled some more and thanked me some more.
I saw him to his door and handed him his shopping.
As I drove back to pick up Mrs Monk, I recalled a woman some years ago, who worked in a Highway Toll Booth in America, and who also looked unwell, and because we were in a hurry to catch a plane, and because there was another car right behind us, we drove on. Every once and while the guilt of not doing more comes back to haunt Mr and Mrs Monk.
So I picked up Mrs Monk from outside WholeFoods and told her we were going back to the old man and that we were going to find a neighbour to watch out for him.
We started with his direct neighbour who did not respond, and worked our way down the mews, until eventually a young man came to a door. This was no ordinary home. This was a 5 Million Stirling home and the young man may well have attended school with Royalty.
Mrs Monk gave him a convoluted story without actually coming to the point. I intervened and told him that the man at No 47 is sick and alone. Would you please make sure that you check on him and make sure that he is OK?
He said that he did in fact know him and he smiled politely, and he said that he would do so.
Then in passing he said, “He is actually a Doctor.”
We were suitably relieved., and there was some nervous laughter from Mrs Monk who recalled her earlier Doctorly demeanour outside WholeFoods.
Finally we concluded our day’s business by visiting Tate Britain's Rude Britannia show, which featured racy stuff from Hogath to Steve Bell, who produced the biggest out-loud laugh, with his rendition of John Majors Super Hero calling the Traffic Cone Hotline about the traffic cone up his arse.
That was Saturday 20th June 2010