The Bucket of Filth – How Private Schools Breach Employment Rights


Quinton House School

O, but they say the tongues of dying men
Enforce attention like deep harmony:
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain,
For they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.

I’m presently dying of colorectal cancer. I have nothing to lose from telling the truth about the disgusting people who run private schools.

I’ve just seen the result of my tribunal hearing. I sat through the hearing with a new Hartmanns procedure scar, a stoma bag and dosed up on cardiac medications. Despite this the tribunal ruled that there was no evidence of my having any health issues and ruled my claim out of time. Given that the school’s claims were rejected by the responsible agencies, they were forced to rely on a technicality and the tribunal duly obliged.

Everything that follows is absolutely true. It might seem unbelievable, but it can be proved. I have a copy of a “bucket of filth” document, plus an additional equally dishonest document. Every element can be shown to be untrue.

The disgusting people who put together this personal attack were well aware of my frail health. This may have been their motivation. I never asked for any allowances to be made nor sought any sympathy, but these qualities are not part of their makeup.

The bucket of filth is a well known bullying technique used by Britain’s private schools. Hoyle explained it by describing it as a “ bucket of shit.” I feel uncomfortable with His foul use of language.

You want to get rid of an inconvenient teacher? You stir up a bucket of filth which you then throw at the person, if they haven’t already resigned in fear. The usual expectation is that some of the filth will stick. The bucket of filth is a scare tactic. Hoyle, the headteacher wanted rid of me. I could leave quietly or be destroyed. I was offered the ability to resign or share a cell with Ian Huntley. I was even told that I was worse then Ian Huntly. In my case, the bucket of filth was so obviously contrived that I chose not to run from it. None of it stuck. The NCTL had a superb barrister who conducted a thorough investigation which resulted in my not being prohibited, without a hearing. The DBS, similarly, decided not to bar me. Hoyle, on the other hand, still spews from his bucket of filth. In reality, Hoyle forced my resignation with threats of violence. His bucket stains only him.

It became abundantly clear that there was no intention of discussing the bucket of filth. I was threatened with physical violence if I dared to enter the school again. The gutless wonders like Hoyle could have attended a tribunal to defend the contents of their bucket, but chose instead to use a technicality, which, among other things, cast doubt on my health issues. I was not prepared to swear to something which would put the complexities of my health in open court.

Had the school and company allowed the accusations where they belonged, in the public domain, they would face a class action from parents. They have maintained secrecy throughout.

May I introduce you to an exponent of this technique, a man without principle, one of the most vicious and vindictive people you could ever care to meet, a piece of filth as low as is possible. This is a man going by the name of Tim Hoyle. Believe it or not, he’s a headteacher.

The bucket of filth commissioned by Hoyle was bizarre to say the least.

Just before Christmas 2017, the nursery circulated an email flyer asking for volunteers to tell a story. I volunteered, told my story to the children, their teachers and the nursery nurse. That was my one and only contact with the nursery. I received a thank you Christmas card.

This event found it’s way into Hoyle’s bucket of filth. He told me that “there’s only one reason someone your age would want to tell stories to children.” When pressed he was either unable or unwilling to say what that reason was. There appears to be more than one reason. I tell stories because it’s fun to share. Why does Hoyle tell stories?

As an addenda to the storytelling, it was also alleged that I was somehow involved with the Brownies. There was no evidence other than “someone said.” Whoever “said” remained anonymous and nothing untoward was attached to the allegation, so why add it to the bucket? Presumably it encourages speculation. I have never had anything at all to do with the Brownies.

Muskin, an Assistant head come games teacher expressed the opinion that I suffer from undiagnosed Autism. He made several mistakes by not checking my background. In the late 60s and early 70s I trained as a psychiatric nurse and worked with a range of people including some on the autistic spectrum. You would have thought that someone would have noticed an autistic nurse. I married my wife, also a nurse, at that time. She didn’t notice and still doesn’t notice any obvious mental health issues. To diagnose a serious mental health issue you obviously need to employ vindictive games teachers. Muskin should read about libel. Mental Health accusations are difficult to defend.

Someone, probably Muskin, was obviously searching for filth about me on the Internet. They found something, I’m not sure what, there are lots of snippets to be found from deleted longer posts. What they found was about inappropriate behaviour involving a school. They assumed it was about me and assumed that it involved the school I was working at at the time . Muskin even declared, triumphantly, “that school was Frank Markham School.” He was so wrong. The School was Woking High School, a place I have never visited. I informed that school that they were being maligned on the Internet and ended up as part of complicated legal action. I eventually won and as a result of a complaint from me and others, the person concerned was made a vexatious litigant. The court transcript is on the web but would have been no use to Muskin. He just invented a piece of filth around a few unrelated snippets, and into Hoyle’s bucket it went. It is worth noting that I was granted judgment on the very issues that Muskin raises. I think it would be difficult to defend his actions.

Muskin threw himself (sic) into the bucket of filth. He came up with the idea that I was grooming girls, despite an investigation that found not a shred of evidence. His response, “I don’t need evidence, if I say it’s true, then it’s true.” A truly professional shithouse.

My classroom was a very open room. When there was space, teachers would often sit in to use a computer. There was regular traffic of people collecting printing or doing photocopying. Through the glass of the door you could see almost the entire room and what was on the teacher’s computer. It was alleged that the Head of English made the claim that she entered the room and found that I was looking at porn. She was alleged to have immediately reported it but an investigation by the technician found nothing. Given a time, date and a specific computer, anything untoward would quickly be found. It was one of the few things the police had an opinion about because the police liason officer was determined that there must be something. Nobody looks at porn just once. An extensive search of my computer account found nothing, but the allegation was never removed. The police liason officer was clearly not aware of the bucket of filth and that everything alleged was pure invention.

The Head of English earned her promotion by also alleging that I wrote paedophile pornography. No titles were mentioned. She also alleged that this site contains a story of two teenagers indulging in sexual activity. I challenge anyone to find it. Nothing has been deleted. My books are published using the name Roger Amadis. One is about George and the Dragon. One is about a Manticore. The other is about a girl trapped alone on an alien spaceship and the alien trapped on earth. Difficult topics for pornography.

From childhood I have had a lazy eye, which developed into amblyopia. My brain no longer processes signal from my right eye. As a result, the eye wanders off and does it’s own thing. I have limited control over my right eye. Now you wouldn’t think that someone could use a long established medical condition in their bucket of filth. Hoyle could and did. Apparently, my amblyopia isn’t a medical condition at all, but an excuse for me to look at students in a sexual way. I’m not even sure what that means. I suffered a lot of bullying when I was a child which was dealt with by teachers. It takes a particularly vindictive shit to initiate bullying on that basis.

I first started at the school as a supply teacher. I took the role seriously, prepared lessons, attended staff meetings and parents evening. Teaching was difficult because, although there were twenty five computers, one or more was often in need of repair. Many classes had twenty five or twenty sis students. Moving round the room and working with students one to one meant squeezing through gaps. Inevitably, I might brush against a student. When taking control of a mouse I might occasionally touch a hand. A few students complained to their tutor and my then line manager investigated and observed and concluded that my rushing around supporting a large class and being a bit clumsy meant these accidents sometimes happened. The main concern was with two teachers who had issues. Despite these allegations, I was offered and accepted a permanent role at the school. I was not aware of the allegations. When the bucket of filth was created, these allegations were thrown in with added descriptions like “fondling,” “touching up,” and “stroking,” None of these words were included in the original complaints.

The Head of HR, who I had never met until a few months ago, claimed that I told her that I had to get close to the screen and the students because I had very poor eyesight. The fact is that I have 20/20 vision in my left eye when I wear my glasses, which is always, and no useful vision in my right. Because it’s a lifetime condition, it’s not considered a disability and I’m allowed to drive. I do need, like everyone, to have a correct orientation to the computer screen. This means being seated, or in the absence of a chair, I would kneel. This is shown quite clearly in the school’s promotional video where I am filmed working one to one with a student while kneeling

A student with ADHD and other issues came to me and said

. the Deputy Head, says, “you’re weird.” He also told me that she had says that I “was to be sacked for touching up the girls.” I raised this with Mrs Goody, who assured me, “that’s just W and his ADHD. I’ll have a word with him.” It was therefore something of a surprise to find that the bucket of filth contained a statement from W alleging that I was “weird,” and that I, “touched up all the girls.” He said that he’d “never seen it, but knew it was true.” When asked to sign the statement, he refused, saying that “it never happened and was all a joke.” Hoyle clearly needed the statement and underplayed the withdrawal. The fact is that he had allegations of serious sexual assaults. His duty was to inform the police. He chose not to.

One lunchtime I was walking down the footpath between the main building and the sports hall. I caught my foot against a stone, slipped and fell. I was helped to my feet by two students. Unknown to me a student was asked to make a statement after telling a teacher about the incident and saying that I stumbled and fell and touched her leg. I have no idea if I did, but I was grazed, cut and bleeding and concerned because of anticoagulants. Muskin rewrote the story to suggest that I acted deliberately and failed to report the incident for that reason. I had asked for an entry to be made in the accident book but that has mysteriously disappeared.

During June, Mrs. Goody called me into her office and told me that unless I resigned, she was going to bring a disciplinary against me for inviting students to my home. I told her not to be so ridiculous. She then told me that the School’s Head and the Head of the Primary School had been sacked because of me. I am unable to check with them because of settlement agreements and non disclosure agreements. Nothing more happened during that academic year.

A check was made with every school and agency I worked for. Nothing untoward was found, which was regarded as suspicious.

The police did a full check and found no criminal record or any other police intelligence. This was recorded as suspicious. Apparently it is unusual for someone of my age not to have come to the attention of the police. Not even a speeding ticket.

My health was called into question. I have diiabetes with multiple neuropathies, a serious heart condition and am on antticoagulants. It is recorded in the bucket as untrue because “nobody would work like that.”

The TA in charge of the homework club sent an email to all staff saying that my computing club run at the same time was havoc. While it was true that the room was havoc, I had only two students. One year seven girl who worked independently and a year seven boy who was always on task but occasionally asked for help. The cow maligned two decent students not her own lack of control.

In October, the allegation of my inviting girls to my home was raised again as a new discovery. It became the initiation for the bucket of filth. Hoyle ranted and raved in a reception full of parents, students and staff saying I was worse than Ian Huntley.he then sent me off to teach. Bizarre.

I live an hours drive from the school and drive a tiny utilitarian car. The girls, if they exist, claimed that I invited them home to print their 3D work. This was apparently the last week of the previous Autumn term, eleven months earlier. I had allowed the students to use whatever utilities they wanted. 3D design seemed an unusual choice because year 9 had never been taught it.

It happens that no 3D design had been produced, so there was nothing to print. The girls and slt assumed that you simply pressed print and got something. They knew nothing of my submission procedure on the VLE or the complexities of gcode and my need to check work. It was clearly mischief.

But it was alleged that I intended to put the girls in my tiny car and drive them somewhere. It obviously never happened.

Hoyle claimed to have evidence of an abduction. He should have informed the police. He chose not to.

A few porn accesses by students were picked up by the firewall and dealt with by slt. A student entered “porn” into google during one on my lesson and got a page of indecent imagez. I reported it to the technicians and slt. The technicians fixed the firewall breach and the student action was written off as a stupid act. It appears in the bucket as my fault.

All of this, from a three year period, was raised at the same time. I was subject to an arraignment and nothing I said was properly recorded. They had their evidence. They did want me to be heard. I believe the submissions to NCTL and DBS were at the insistence of the local LADO.

One of the worst parts of my treatment was when random students would ask me, “are you a paedophile, sir.” Hoyle had told everyone to be wary of me. One student even alleged that I said that being a paedophile was acceptable. Absolute nonsense. Being a criminal is never acceptable.

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The Scrubs

I was at Wormwood Scrubs for three months. It was at the same time Ricky Tomlinson was a prisoner.

Victorian institutional buildings have a character, but not one that appeals. The Scrubs was painted a typical institutional green, a colour you would never find on any colour chart and, presumably chosen to demoralise the inmates. It probably demoralised the staff too. Its most memorable feature was the smell. Take the smell of school dinner cabbage, add the stench of the drains and season it with tobacco smoke. The old mental hospitals smelt a bit like that, but they had disinfectant to temper it.

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Crime Wave

There’s something about me and traffic wardens…
I parked in the patrolled car park yesterday, put my money in the machine and ended up with no ticket and no money back. I told the lady behind me about the problem, but thinking of those to come I used my whiteboard marker to write neatly on the glass, the date, time and the message, “eats money, doesn’t give tickets.”
I had barely finished when a traffic warden arrived and demanded to know what I was doing. He wasn’t interested in my lost money. He was concerned about the “vandalism.” He told me not to leave and got to work on his radio.
Since he was marching up and down, pretty much ignoring me I got a post-it note from the boot of my car and wrote the same message on it. I then rubbed out the whiteboard marker message and stuck the post-it note in its place.
Within minutes there were police car sirens everywhere and four police cars arrived in the car park with seven policemen, all to deal with little old me. Not far behind followed a Scientific Support vehicle. A small crowd gathered, attracted by all the flashing blue lights.
The officers gathered round the traffic warden and the scale of the offence was explained. One of the policemen then came over to me and asked what I’d been doing. I explained that the machine had eaten my money and not given a ticket, so I’d put a note on it to warn others.
The policeman took the note from the machine, conferred with his colleagues and they all disappeared without another word to me. They didn’t even ask my name. The traffic warden said nothing either, but just stomped off to look for another victim.
I didn’t get my money back, but on the positive side, where do you get that much entertainment for a pound these days?

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The Paraffin Man

When I was a lad I had a friend, Robert, whose dad was the paraffin man. The paraffin man drove his lorry from street to street and customers would take out their paraffin cans for a refill.

On the back of the lorry were two taps. The regular paraffin was one and three a gallon. The premium paraffin was one and six a gallon. According to one of our snooty neighbours, you got better heat from the one and six paraffin and it smelt better.

When asked what was the difference, the paraffin man would say, “that one is one and three and that one is one and six.”

One day I went to to the depot on the lorry with Robert and his dad. I was impressed that they were able to get both types of paraffin into the lorry through the same valve and from the same storage tank.

Time moves on and today they sell electricity in the same way.

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Mr. Traylen was one of those black and white headmasters. There was praise or the cane and nothing in between. He saw it as his duty, to paraphrase Bentham, “to cane rogues honest”. In Mr Traylen’s eyes the Irish were rogues by definition. I was a rogue, along with my brothers, because my dad was a rogue.
Every morning the variety of rogues were lined up outside Mr. Traylen’s office and given one stroke of the cane, not because we had done anything wrong, “but to remind you what will happen if you do.” It seemed to make sense at the time.
It was Thursday 17th March 19xx. We were lined up for our reminders as usual. “It’s your special day,” Mr. Traylen told the Irish contingent and gave them two strokes as a treat. Everyone else had one stroke except me. I was taken by one ear and dragged under protest to the hall where the rest of the school was waiting. I was the first order of business.
“This child has destroyed a ladder,” declared Mr. Traylen, pointing at me.
“No I didn’t,” I protested in an ineffective eight year old voice.
“Don’t lie boy,” boomed Mr. Traylen, “you were seen.”
It’s still true today that answering a headteacher back makes them even madder. “You’ll get an extra stroke for lying,” he promised.
I was bent over a chair and given four strokes of the cane on my backside for the destruction of a ladder and, “this is for lying,” stormed Mr. Traylen, delivering a fifth, much harder stroke.
There were single strokes of the cane delivered in public from time to time but my flogging was the only one I remember or recorded of that severity.
I was sent in tears to my place and ordered to sob in silence. We sang All Things Bright and Beautiful, and were then told about the importance of telling the truth with several reference being made to me.
The only things about this story that I lack are the facts about the ladder. I did not know then and never discovered what ladder was destroyed, when and how. It would appear that I had been identified as the miscreant, although it is equally likely that I was picked out as a likely suspect.
In those days if a crime was committed, someone had to pay and it was less important that justice was done than that something resembling justice was seen to be done.

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The Skin and Bone Man

“When I were a lad, there where people who came round with their horse and cart buying scrap metal and old clothes. “Rag! Bone!,” they would shout. Rag and Bone men, they were called. You’d take your dad’s best suit out and they’d give you a goldfish for it.”

“We have to sort our rubbish and take it to the tip these day’s, Granddad,” said Julie, “and you don’t get a goldfish either.”

Julie loved the old man despite his memory lapses and loss of mobility. OK, he didn’t know what day it was, but he had so many stories from the past and he really cared.

“Are you nearly ready, Dad?” Mum shouted from the kitchen, “they’ll be here for you soon.”

“I don’t want him to go,” cried Julie, “I can take care of him.”

“It’s OK, love,” said Granddad, squeezing her hand, “we all have to face the Katie Hopkins’ eventually. It’s all for the best”

Julie sobbed. It just didn’t seem fair that a man who’d given so much should be worth so little, but what did an eleven year old know?

“He’s right, Julie,” said Mum, bringing in a sandwich and a cup of tea for Granddad. “If you keep everything for sentimental reasons you end up living in mess of clutter.”

“But people aren’t clutter,” Julie protested.

Julie had seen the Katie Hopkins DVD in PHSE lessons at school. Old people were a drain on resources and didn’t make a contribution. It made sense for them to be removed, freeing up houses and rationalising healthcare. Julie understood the lessons but she was not convinced. Surely emotions had a value too.

“Skin! Bone!” A hand bell rang and the Skin and Bone man drove his van slowly down the street. “Skin! Bone!”

Mum grabbed the barely touched sandwich and tea.

“Come on Dad,” she said urgently, “they’re here for you.”

“Skin! Bone!” The van was just outside now.

Granddad struggled to his feet, took his walking stick, and struggled slowly to the front door. At the door, two men held him and hurried him just a bit too quickly to the van. Julie followed behind in floods of tears, knowing that she would not see the old man again.

One of the Katie Hopkins’ men tousled Julie’s hair.

“Don’t worry love, it’s all sorted now,” he said reassuringly. “Do you want a goldfish?”

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Imagine Characters

“What are you doing in my house?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, what are you doing in my house?”

“What are you doing with that poker?”

“I’m defending myself.”

“From what?”

“From you?”

“But I’m not threatening you?”

“You’re in my house.”

“You keep saying that?”

“Because you’re in my house.”

“Do you take up a poker to everyone who is, as you say, in your house?”

“Of course not.”

“Then why have you taken one up to me?”

“Because you’re in my house.”

“There you go again. Can we move this conversation on.”

“You’re wearing my clothes.”

“That’s different. What do you mean?”

“You’re wearing my clothes. That’s my suit and shirt.”

“I’m not.”

“And my Noah’s Ark tie.”

“Are you going to carry this on like you did about your house?”

“Why are you wearing my clothes.”

“You’re wearing your clothes.”

“What? No I’m not. Yes I am.”

“So which is it?”

“Take those clothes off.”

“You want me to stand here naked?”


“Shall I close the curtains?”


“People can see in from the street. They may not understand you being here with a naked stranger.”

“Put your own clothes on, then.”

“I don’t have any clothes.”

“You must have clothes. You didn’t walk in here naked.”

“Why not?”

“Because you would have been arrested?”

“They arrest people for having no clothes?”

“No, for being naked.”

“That sounds like the same thing?”

“Of course it’s not the same thing?”

“If I have no clothes I’m naked. If they arrest me it will be for having no clothes.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“I’m glad we’ve finally agreed on something. Perhaps we can make some progress.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’m an explorer.”

“You’re an explorer with no clothes who wants to explore my house and steal my clothes?”

“Well, exploring this house is part of my mission. I want to discover how you live?”

“Why have you picked on me?”

“Not you in particular. The people who live on this planet?”

“This planet? What do your mean, This planet?”

“I’m part of a team exploring other planets. I’ve only just arrived on this one. I don’t even know what it’s called yet.”

“Earth! Hang on, are you saying you’re an alien from another planet?”

“That’s a clumsy way of saying it, but I suppose I am.”

“You don’t look like an alien.”

“You’ve seen other aliens then?”


“So how do you know that I don’t look like an alien?”

“Aliens have big eyes and silvery skin.”

“I thought you said you’ve never seen any.”

“I haven’t, but there have been reports and pictures…anyway, you’re not an alien.”

“Look on me as an explorer. That’s probably a more familiar image.”

“Alien or not. I don’t want you exploring my house and wearing my clothes.”

“Oh dear we’re back here again.”

“How did you get here? Where’s your flying saucer?”

“Flying saucer.”

“That’s how you travel isn’t it? I suppose you intend to abduct me and probe me by pushing things up my bottom?”

“Do you want me to probe you and push things up your bottom?”

“Ewwww, that’s disgusting.”

“I though so too, but you seemed quite keen.”

“So how did you get here?”

“Through a portal.”

“A porthole in your spaceship?”

“A portal in time and space. That one over there.”

“I don’t see any porthole.”

“Maybe you don’t have the depth of vision required.”

“You’re talking nonsense. You’re a nutcase. You need locking up?”

“You lock people up for talking nonsense?”

“Only when they’re mad.”

“So they’re going to lock you up for talking nonsense and say you’re mad?”

“No, they’re going to lock you up for breaking into my house and stealing my clothes.”

“I didn’t break in, I came through a portal. It’s been nice talking to you but I have work to do.”

“What work?”

“I have to examine and photograph all the artefacts here for my report?”

“Put that camera away. You can’t just come in here and photograph all my stuff.”


“I don’t want my photograph taken.”

“You’re an example of the creatures on this planet. I need to record examples.”

“Right, you asked for it…oh my God, my arm is frozen.”

“Sorry about that, but I can’t have you damaging that poker, at least not before I’ve photographed it.”

“I can’t move.”

“Sorry about that too. I have to get this job finished. You’ve held me up a bit.”

“What are you going to do with those photographs when you’ve finished?”

“They are displayed in our shops.”

“You sell photographs?”

“No, we sell the objects and creatures in the photographs.”

“You mean that you’re going to sell me?”

“Can’t promise, but your type is in fashion just now so, with luck, someone will be probing you and pushing things up your bottom in no time.”

“So the alien abduction thing is true?”

“Oh yes. By the way, do you mind if I have that poker. It will look good in my collection. Thank’s. I’ll be off now. Bye.”

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Until the Sea Gives up its Dead

“Damn, what have we caught there?” asked Jamie, the youngest crew member.

Jack had seen it all before. Tangled in the ticklers and, therefore not quite inside the net, was a body. Even as it came out of the water, it was obviously in a corrupt state, although most of its clothing seemed intact.

“Get the fish in first,” said Jack, “and we’ll sort that mess out after.”

The three crewmen brought the cod end aboard but couldn’t avert their eyes from the unpleasant sight.

That work complete, the main tackle and nets were raised from the sea and lowered on to the deck. The body hung from its legs but remained attached. It then lay in an ungainly mess on the deck.

“Oh my God,”said Jezza, “it’s Bernie.”

Bernie’s boat had been lost about six weeks earlier with nothing but an empty lifeboat being found. An inquest was held followed by a funeral which all of this crew but Jamie had attended.

“What are we going to do?” asked Jamie, feeling a bit queasy.

I’ll tell you what we’re going to do,” said Jack with considerable authority, “We’re going to drop him back in the sea.”

“Shouldn’t we call the coastguard?” asked Jezza. He was right of course.

“No bloody way,” Jack replied, “He’s already dead and buried as far as the law is concerned, do you think that poor woman, what’s her name, Diane, wants to face this, an autopsy and another inquest? Let her grieve without any more fuss.”

The men worked to untangle the body. These were men who spent half their working hours up to their elbows in fish guts, but a dead comrade made them feel sick to their stomachs. Carefully, they disentangled the corpse, trying not to look and wiping their hands on their overalls again and again.

“Get me a piece of chain,” Jack ordered Jamie.

Jamie obliged and the chain was roped to the body.

“Dear Lord have mercy on our friend,” said Jack as a short prayer and the men returned the body to the sea. Jack would mark the spot on his chart as a hazard or wreck to be shared with other boats.

“Not a word about this, not a bloody word,” ordered Jack.

The men nodded in agreement.

Then it was back to work sorting and gutting the catch. They worked in uncharacteristic and solenm silence. Jamie broke down in tears and was sent to his bunk.

Was Jack right? Personally, I think he was. Bernie belonged there, “until the sea gives up its dead.”

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On the Buses

“Scum! scum! scum1” shouted the students.

“Give them a few years and they’ll all be Tories,” said Uncle Joe. “F***ing students.”

It was noticeable that the students were all white and led by a cheerleader. They stood away from the small group of black protesters who did not join in the chanting.

The bus boycott was all well and good, but some of us had to get to work and it was too far to walk. Two of our fellow passengers were black. I knew one of them. James’ dad who worked as a cleaner at the eye hospital.

“We have to support our brothers on the buses,” Uncle Joe insisted.

It was black and white with Uncle Joe. You supported the union. In this instance you also supported the bosses because they maintained the colour bar on bus crews. (Uncle Joe also supported the bosses on the docks but backhanders were a private perk.)

“Uncle Joe” was his docker name in honour of his Russian hero. We all had a docker name. His real name was Cyril. Cyril was also “brother,” or “comrade,” depending on his role at the time.

We got off the bus and the chanting intensified. James’ dad wandered over to chat with one of the black protesters. I strolled over to the dock with Uncle Joe.

“Bananas,” I said.

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“Carry on with your meal.”

The staff had put down their cutlery when the Minister entered the kitchen. Harris, the butler, rose to his feet.

“As you know, we have an important meeting this weekend,” the Minister continued, “and I’m sure you will all perform to your usual high standard. One of the guests, you may recall, has the habit of, err…” He cleared his throat, “…err, straying. I’d be obliged if you, Harris and you, Henry,” he nodded to the footman, “could make your presence known in the corridors during the night.”

“Certainly sir,” Harris replied. Henry nodded grudgingly.

The Minister left the room. Harriet, one of the maids, started sobbing. She remembered only too well the guest in question and the nature of his straying. In the middle of the night, about four months earlier, he had burst into her room, violently restrained her and committed a vile and degrading act.

Harriet became more agitated. She was a naive fourteen year old and the Minister’s request brought back all the memories of the pain and humiliation of that night. Mrs. Rossiter, the cook tried to comfort her.

“It won’t happen again,” said Harris reassuringly. His optimism was wasted on Harriet whose tears were now in full flood.

Henry remained silent. He alone knew that there were two identical violations that night. Harriet had become hysterical. He had decided to say nothing.

“Something should be done about him, the boss eyed pervert,” Mrs. Rossiter said angrily.

“Hush woman,” said Harris. “He’s a Minister of the Crown and nothing can be done.”

Harris knew, but didn’t share his knowledge with the staff, that this guest had a reputation for this kind of sordid behaviour in great houses across the country. Young servants, male or female were easy prey who could be ignored if they dared to say anything. Various strategies were put in place to hinder his advances.

“They put people in prison, for things like that,” said Mrs. Rossiter. “They hang them in the forces…”

I’ve told you to be quiet,” ordered Harris. Mrs. Rossiter shut her lips tightly and deliberately.

Over the next few days the household busied itself preparing for the arrival of some of the greatest and most powerful members of the Government and Establishment. There were also preparations for making entry to the servants’ quarters more difficult.

On the Friday, it was Harris’ job to greet the guests and escort them to the great hall. Inevitably, the subject of the Minister’s and staff’s earlier discussions arrived. He was in full dress uniform. You always noticed his squint before you noticed his magnificent mustache.

Harris opened the door. “Good Evening Lord Kitchener,” he said, bowing slightly. “It is a great pleasure to welcome you here again.”

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