Clump whirr. Clump whirr. Clump whirr.
That is the sound of Sir Reginald being pushed in his bath chair around the West Cliff Gardens by his one legged manservant Phillips.
The sound of their peregrination is interspersed by the cry of gulls and the distant peals of laughter carried on the breeze up from the sands below. Sir Reginald grimaces. He dislikes gulls. He abhors laughter. He is vexed by the breeze and most of all he detests the cliff top gardens and the sea and the whole existence of the town of Bournemouth. Why he has allowed himself to be imprisoned here he cannot imagine. He only knows that Bournemouth is the most excruciatingly awful place he has ever had the bad luck to be in. And he has walked the foetid alleyways of Calcutta and the less that salubrious slums of Naples and San Francisco. “Damn Bournemouth. Damn it all.” He mutters aloud. “Yes Sir” intones Phillips and pushes his master on through the resinous groves of Corsican pine that dot the greensward.
A young female leans on the rail at the clifftop and surveys the bay below. Sir Reginald waves his stick. A handcarved affair denoting a serpent twining around the shaft with its tail in its mouth. “Sloven!” hisses Sir Reginald “Nincompoop. Damn Socialist. I don’t pay my taxes so that young persons may idle about when they should be gainfully employed.” And at least one part of that sentiment is true for Sir Reginald considers taxes to be something that only the so-called working classes should be subjected to. Not people like him, servants of the Empire and prisoners of Grand Marine Court. Indeed, if any member of The Club had suggested that he had stooped so low as to pay a penny in tax at any time in his life he would have been mortally offended and would have called him out. Or at least, enjoined Phillips to beat the rascal soundly with his wooden leg.
And so the daily journey continues. Round and round the asphalt paths beneath the pines and across the grass. Clump whirr. Clump whirr. Clump whirr. And as each lap is completed Sir Reginald finds something new to rail against. Some other cause for fulmination. A discarded toffee paper causes a two prong outpouring of bile. One against the miscreant who dropped it in the first place. “Damn communist. Expecting me to pick up his litter. Part of his so-called Socialist so-called paradise” He rages. “He can only have been a visitor” Sir Reginald has no time for visitors. But the main recipient for his spleen is the otherwise fastidious servant of the Borough Council who has failed dismally to spot the wrapper and retrieve it. “Damn lefties at the council. All those rates we have to pay.” (See note above concerning taxes) “And they expect me to do all their work for them.” However, we get the impression that Sir Reginald probably wouldn’t have picked the wrapper up himself as his contribution to the common good.
And as Phillips directs the machine towards Grand Marine Court the vexed subject of luncheon is raised. “As it is Monday, I believe the menu features cottage pie.” Clump whirr. “Damn swill. Cottage pie is for socialists. Not for people like me. Those nincompoops in the kitchen. “Clump whirr. And the sound of Sir Reginald’s bath chair and Sir Reginald’s vituperations fade into the distance leaving just the sound of the breeze in the pines and a very small sound which may have been the smallest of sighs escaping the pursed lips of Phillips the one legged manservant.