Why did Freddie

have to climb into the back seat of the car? Why couldn’t he just open the door, get out, walk round and get into the back like a normal human being?

And why did he need to bother anyway? Why not just scrunch down in his seat? Or pull the blanket over him in the front?


Because it is written by idiots?
Can’t see any other explanation.


While we’re on the subject, what exactly are Freddie’s bail conditions? As I recall, the original reason he couldn’t go home was because the police didn’t want him destroying evidence before they’d finished searching his room. I thought the continued ban was Lizard’s own idea, as part of her attempt to get her licence back?

I’m with Gus on this one.


The bail conditions make no sense once any searches were completed.
If they didn’t want him on licensed premises, because Dealer, then there is an assumption that he would reoffend and bail should therefore not have been granted at all…
If it is contact with the great and innocent British public at a commercial venue that was the issue, then are we to take it that the stables no longer has any customers at all?


What we heard, on 5th August, was Elizabeth telling Lily about it. As I wrote elsewhere:

I have tried to find out the reason, and this is what I can find:

Lowfield, Sunday 5th August, 2018
Elizabeth has found out that Freddie won’t be able to return to Lower Loxley even if he is bailed. She calls Brookfield and Lily calls Kenton. Neither of those work out and so Freddie has to stay, much to his disgust, with Shula.

The police apparently made it a condition of his being bailed rather than held on remand that he was not allowed to live at home: the exact words used to break this news on air, in conversation between Lily and Elizabeth on the phone, were

“As soon as it’s over you can get him out of there and bring him home.”
“No. No. That’s just it. I can’t.”
“Why? What are they going to do?”
“I’ve had an update from Patrick’s legal assistant: if Freddie’s charged, he can’t come back home again to Lower Loxley. It’s the scene of the crime, where he was caught dealing – they can’t let him come back here in case he --”
“Oh, you’re kidding me!”
“Oh I don’t know, it’s a conflict of interest or something, his bail conditions, it’s just not allowed.”

We were never told “in case he” what. I am unsure what it might be: any ideas, anyone? What conflict of interest might it be?


Plot and Probability? (Not one of Austen’s best, I understand)


Nor was Emmur.

Or Cliffhangar Abbey

Or Perversion

Or … oh dammit. I admit, I can’t abide any Austen. We, at a boys Grammar in deepest Lancashire were forced to do Norfangar Abbey for O Level & Persuasion for A Level.

I read each one once. It was more than enough.


We were lucky - Our Mutual Friend for A Level; to this day one of my favourite novels. Lear, Faustus and Marvell have also stayed with me.


Oh, but we did Anthony & Cleopatra. Dryden’s ‘All For Love’ (which was his take on A&C), the poetry of Wordsworth and Keats.

To be fair, we had Hardy’s ‘Return of the Native’, Macbeth, Julius Caesar and Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ … so there was some relief.

But it was hardly targetting its audience.


Pride and Prejudice was the only one of the five books we “did” that I liked afterwards.

Northanger Abbey is much more fun if you already know the Gothick.


Attempting to “target the audience” is a major contributing factor to declining standards.


I don’t think any of the authors was to blame; that falls on the people who decided that all children must take examinations about their work, which will not have been in the minds of Austen, Dickens, Hardy and the rest.

I think “targeting your audience” ought to mean writing with more or fewer hard words depending on whether you are writing for adults of children, and shorter sentences and paragraphs for the latter and for people born after say 1960, who don’t cope well with “hard” writing: Titty in Swallows and Amazons, set in the 1920s/30s, had read Robinson Crusoe in the original by the age of twelve, but I don’t suppose anyone her age since about 1950 will have done so, and precious few adults today do either.


That’s just prompted me to dig out my copy of Adrian Mitchell’s On The Beach At Cambridge (not that I need much prompting):



Diana Wynne Jones was always glad that her books were more likely to be banned by librarians in the Mid-West than used as exam-fodder by people in Oxford, Cambridge or London. When people started to write Learned Essays Interpreting Her Work, she signed in a resigned way and allowed as how she expected the sort of people who wrote books on books not to understand her books.

She did get slightly peeved by the essay predicated on the idea that she had used (for which read plagiarised) ideas from a book she had not read – especially since there was and is sod-all connection between the book in question (which she then read, slightly anxiously in case she had in fact copied from it by accident) and the work of hers which was said to be on themes explored in said work. She said bluntly that it wasn’t, and if that was what people wanted to read into it, the operative words were “read into”, not “take from”.


No. We coped with Chaucer & Milton & Hardy. It was romantic poetry, romantic Shakespeare and bloody Jane, bloody Austen with it’s audience being 15-17 yr old boys in Bolton.

I mean, c’mon !!


None of these works was written for you to be its audience, Armers. Shakespeare and Jane Austen had no idea that you would ever exist, so how could they have had you in mind as their audience?


Then the teecher what chose it wanted a talking to.

Oddly, he was a great teacher AND person, and always gets a mention in Danny Boyle’s stuff as his inspiration.

He led me to a Grade A A level despite loathing 50% of his choices.

He was famed for not making me get me hair cut, even as it reached my shoulders … until he was given a talking to by the head. His quote to me, in front of the whole class, was “… now, quite frankly I don’t care how long you grow your hait. Indeed, I find it quite fetching. For me you could grow it until it could be tied to the hairs on your behind … but when I get in trouble because of the length of YOUR hair, that seems a little one-sided. I’m sure you’d agree”.

I got it cut that evening.

But his choice of work for us to study was appalling. Verging on the deliberate. I wonder if it was for a bet.

I forgot to mention that he had us read ‘Little Women’.


Possibly on account of the hair, Armers, but you missed the hint


Your individual teacher will not have chosen the A-level set texts for the year, Armers.


When I was doing it, there was a list of maybe 10-15 works that would have questions set, of which the teacher or school would pick five.