(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2017 Angharad
It was good having Sammi home for a couple of days and Kelly seemed to take to Trish’s constant questioning on mathematics or physics with good grace. I really expect Trish to end up studying quantum physics or possibly even quantum biology at top university. The more I think about tunnelling or other seemingly unreal quantum effects, the more I feel happy to stick to conventional biological principles.
The next morning I rose early as I had work to do on my Darwin lecture. I’d borrowed several pictures of Darwin and his contemporaries, including Wallace, from all sorts of places and I also had one or two photos of his notebooks and some of the illustrations for his barnacle books—they were amazing, though he nearly came to blows with the illustrator on a number of occasions.
A colleague had sent me a link to something about Wallace and some correspondence he’d had with his publisher. There is a school of thought that Wallace was betrayed by Darwin and his pals over his contribution to evolution and natural selection. The correspondence showed otherwise. I mean, Wallace was made a member of the Order of Merit, one of the most valued civilian gongs the country can award. Apparently, he only accepted it if they sent it to him rather than him having to go and collect it from the palace and all the fuss that would include.
He valued his friendship with Darwin and is probably the originator of the term ‘Darwinism’ to indicate someone who believed in evolution by natural selection and he himself was one of Darwin’s greatest defenders, writing articles and letters when he felt the opposition, mostly right wing Anglicans, who felt that accepting the evidence would lead to societal breakdown and moral degeneration.
Certainly, when the full effect of ‘The Origin’ was felt it gave impetus to other groups who were trying to wrest power from the old guard, who really could see the writing was on the wall. To have been called an atheist in those days would have been tantamount to making one an outcast in all conventional circles and possibly have resulted in charges of blasphemy or heresy—which they tried against Huxley, but it was rejected. Then, Darwin should have got a knighthood but that was blocked by one or two bishops and politicians who felt he was an affront to their idea of a god.
“You’re up early,” came the comment from the doorway.
“I needed to do some things and it’s easiest when everyone else is in bed.”
“Right, you didn’t send that demon cat up to attack my toes did you?”
“Trish’s familiar, you mean?”
“Trish is familiar—she’s our bloody daughter—of course she’s familiar, what sort of question was that?”
“Simon, I said, ‘Trish’s familiar,’ meaning her magical animal.” The look on his face showed he knew that already. “Bastard,” I muttered under my breath.
“No, I’m legitimate and thus heir to a fortune—but then you knew that already...”
“And the reason I nearly didn’t marry you—be a good chap and put the kettle on, will you.”
“All this hypermasculinity standing here dripping testosterone and she wants me to put the kettle on, not to ravish her—the woman is seriously strange.”
“Simon—kettle,” I said loudly.
“Yes boss,” he saluted and went off to the kitchen. I saved my work and switched off the computer. Watching as the screen disappeared into a dot reminded me of Sammi’s efforts the day before, I hoped she was a clever as she thought she was. If not it wouldn’t reflect very well on a university professor hacking into their own university’s computer system and sending viruses willy-nilly.
He was eating his cereal when I got to the kitchen and Meems was sitting next to him. “Mummy, how wong is Kewwy and Sammi staying?”
“I think they’re going home tonight, why?”
“I wike Kewwy, she’s nice, she showed me some things to do on my iPad.”
“She dealt with Einstein pretty well too,” observed Simon, pointing to my mug of tea.
“Thank you, darling.” I said to him picking up the mug.
“Don’t thank me, Mima made it, didn’t you, kiddo?”
“Weww, I knew Mummy would want one.”
“Thank you, sweetheart.”
“Mummy, Sawah is doing bawwet, can I try?”
Simon nearly choked to death on his cornflakes.
“Ballet? But when I offered to enrol you a couple of years ago, you didn’t want to do it?”
“Weww I do now.”
I suspect the reason she didn’t want to do it then was Trish’s assassination of the fair art of ballet dancing, because she thought I was going to make her do it, so she sowed the seeds of dissent amongst the others. In some ways it was surprising that something as overtly feminine as ballet classes didn’t attract her—I’d have loved to do it when I was eight or nine, though I had all the coordination of a slug with a verruca, so perhaps it was just as well I didn’t do it.
“Where does Sarah do it?”
“In schoow, in the wunch hou-ah.”
“I’ll speak with Sister Maria and see what we can do.”
She got down off her seat, high fived with her dad and gave me a big wet kiss. “Thank you,” she said skipping out of the kitchen.
“What was all that about?” I asked my smirking husband.
“She asked me if she could do ballet and I told her to ask you.”
“I said I’d support her application for an arts council grant...”
He snorted by way of response. Sometimes I did wonder if he was a changeling, must speak to Henry about it one of these days. Mind you, he’s always trying to disown him, though I suspect that’s all an act—stiff upper wotsit and all that.
A rather dishevelled Sammi appeared next and pecked us both on the cheek.
“Bloody Trish buttonholed her on the landing, last I saw of them they were booting up one of my computers in the bedroom.”
“No I’ll just have a coffee thanks,” she replied possibly not having heard my question properly as she yawned at the same time.
“Yeah, I’d forgotten how quiet it is here compared to London. Couldn’t get off to sleep—was too quiet.”
Simon smiled at this, it never seems to keep him awake, but then nothing much does, I’m sure he could sleep on a clothes line—he’d soon drop off, wouldn’t he?
I poured her some of the coffee that Tom’s new coffee making machine produced. I bought him a whole box of coffee beans to use in it, plus a new grinder for his birthday—Si got it for me in London. Oh I forgot to mention, he bought Tom the machine. It’s good to see my adoptive father drink something that isn’t distilled single malt, especially as they’re saying that three cups of coffee a day make you live forever or something, but only for men. It seems women don’t get quite the same benefit, they only live to about ninety or something. Personally, I suspect it’s all nonsense—one minute they say this is good for you, then they say it isn’t and something else is better except it causes swollen ankles or wrinkles or something. I think I’ll have to publish Cathy’s Law, which states that no matter what you eat, or do with your life, you’ll live right up until the moment you die. Let’s see them prove that wrong.
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