I have spent an entire half an hour filling in my tax return this evening, and it transpires that I didn’t earn enough last year to pass the personal allowance. So all that tax they took between October and April… is all coming back. Whisky fund is getting a boost. Expect some serious random babbling soon.
If I stay in this job it will provide a base income of around ten grand a year, plus all the extra hours (currently there are a lot of them) then a few grand from the ticking-over consultancy and a few hundred from writing… if I total fifteen grand I’ll be working too hard. If the personal allowance hits 10,000 I’ll have a tax bill in the hundreds per year.
Yet I do not consider myself poor. I eat every day, I have a house with heating that I use as needed, I have baccy and whisky and yes, it would be nice to be able to afford Caol Ila and Lagavulin more often than extremely rarely, but Grant’s, Whyte and MacKay, Teacher’s etc are pretty good and there is Ledaig and Glen Grant in the £20 range, as well as the Lidl whiskies. I don’t have to buy the ‘value whisky’ and from what I’ve heard, I’d rather suffer sobriety than touch that stuff.
Anyway, I am now in too good a mood to rage about politicians or antismokers or antidrinkers or slugs or anything else normally found under damp stones. Instead, have a bit of weirdness (I subscribe to Fortean Times instead of New Scientist these days. They apply much more scientific rigour to their content).
In my collection of books there is one called ‘The Voynich Manuscript’ by Gerry Kennedy and Rob Churchill, published in 2004. The manuscript itself is incomprehensible, thought to date from maybe the 14th century or maybe earlier, or maybe a later fake made up by Dr. John Dee or… pretty much anything. It’s interesting because it is incomprehensible and humans love a good puzzle.
There are pages from the manuscript reproduced in the book, interspersed with lots of ‘well it could mean this or that, it could be fake, it could mean something, it could be gibberish…’ and the images of those manuscript pages are fascinating. I made no sense of them at all. Some have drawings of nude women so it’s good to have a few pages preserved before the Puritans insist on burning it. Just a thought… it could be a 14th-century version of the Sun!
As I said, I had no hope of translating any of it. Instead I made up stories about it. The fictional books ‘Geometria ton Zoon’ and ‘Aritmetika ton Kosmon’ were the spawn of the Voynich manuscript. All the other books I reference in those stories are real (yes, Goetia and the Key of Solomon are so real that you can buy partial translations on Amazon) but I wanted something that couldn’t be found. A Necronomicon of my own creation. I could have just used Lovecraft’s Necronomicon but it would feel like stealing and anyway, there are so many books about that fictional book now that some idiot was bound to come back with ‘I read the Necronomicon and that stuff isn’t in it’.
One day I will create a copy of Geometria ton Zoon and publish it under the name of John Legg, Librarian, because in ‘Samuel’s Girl’ he’s the only one left who could do it.
The other one, Aritmetika ton Kosmon, was sealed away at the end of ‘Jessica’s Trap’ (I don’t think I actually named it in that story) and will reappear in a future story which I think is the one after ‘Norman’s House’ (pencilled in as ‘Demdike’s Revival’) but when the two books are finally reunited in ‘The Apocalypse Show’ it’s all over for Romulus Crowe and I don’t want to get there too quickly. He does leave an heir, but the identity of heir and mother would be the spoiler to end all spoilers.
I have a ‘Green Man’ story in mind with Foras as the old English myth and that one should go in before the end, because it has the Green Man (Foras the demon) greeting the perfectly human Romulus with the words ‘Oh, no, not you again’.
First I have to sort out Norman’s House, which was short but which now has a longer, tenser buildup and needs a longer, even nastier ending.
All this train of thought came about because apparently there are people who think they have found some logic in the random letters and apparent words of the Voynich manuscript.
Part of me hopes they have because as with all puzzles, we all want to see it solved. Another part hopes they are wrong because that mysterious manuscript is so much of an inspiration it would be disastrous to find out it was some kind of mediaeval Percy Thrower spin-off book. There are many plant drawings with annotations in there.
Of course, they might find that it is a comprehensive treatise on the benefits of tobacco and booze, in which case they will be well paid to shut up and we’ll hear no more about it.
I feel the writing mood returning at last. I still have the Hollow Bunnies floating in my head, waiting for somethng nasty to connect with. There is a line in REM’s Losing My Religion that goes ‘What if all these fantasies come flailing around?’ and I have wondered… what if all those old gods and angels were dopey spirits who believed themselves to be whatever humanity wanted them to be?
Oh now I’ve said… too much.