This is a mobile proxy. It is intended to visit the IOMfAtS Story Shelf on devices that would otherwise not correctly display the site. Please direct all your feedback to the friendly guy over at IOMfAtS!

The Observer

by Rafael Henry

Chapter 24

I stand up and face Hilary. He looks curiously expressionless, and his mouth is open. I notice how wet his lips look. I'm three inches or so taller than him, so he looks up at me slightly. I'm thinking about his hands and how good they felt on my body……..

'Thanks Hilary. That was very nice.'

'Umm, it was. More?'

His hands come back to my shoulders and neck, and mine move around his back. It feels firm and tight and athletic. I pull him towards me, and I'm aroused. He is too. I can feel him against me. I know he's hardening. I smell the scent of his skin, and I feel his breath on mine. I feel his lips touch my cheek. It's the lightest of touches. It makes me breathe faster. He knows it. His lips begin to move on my cheek. His breath is hot. I wait a few more seconds…….

The kiss was enduring, and exploratory, but above all it was intensely sexual. Some are not. This one was. It answered the question concerning where I was to sleep that night. It was not going to be the sofa.

It seemed an age before we broke the kiss on my initiative. It seemed too good to be true. I wanted to end it so a new one could begin. When we began again, my hands dropped so my palms lay firmly on his buttocks, the ends of my fingers feeling for what I knew was there. It was harder and more urgent this time, as his hands pulled my head hard against his mouth. This time he wanted to be in control. My body felt like jelly. We had to stop for breath. I think I've worried him.

'Are you ok Otta?'

Breathlessly, I answer him.

'Yes, yes, I'm fine thanks.'

'I'm sorry. Was I out of order there?'

'Of course not! It was a beautiful thing……..really really lovely.'

'Good. I want it to be.'

'It will be Hilary. Do you want to wait, or….'

'Yes. Let's wait. It's the boys.'

The boys. Of course they must come first. First and last loves.

'Shall I introduce you to Justin?' asks Hilary. 'He's my star English student. He might be interested in what you do.'

'Yes, ok. When and where?'

All fifteen boys prepare for sleep more or less at the same time. It's a little early for the older ones, and a little bit late for a nine year old. Once they are in their rooms, that's it, apart from teeth brushing and any other essentials. Clothes are folded neatly…short or long trousers first, grey jumper if worn, then shirts, socks long or short, and finally vest and pants on top, with slippers under the bed. It's a time to talk to the boys informally. I can understand how important that is. I followed Hilary into Michael and Justin's room. The two boys took scant notice of the extra visitor, apart from a 'Hi Otta' from Justin. I had been formally introduced prior to the river walk on Sunday. I sat on Michael's bed while the two boys extracted their pyjamas from underneath their pillows. Justin pulls vest, shirt and jumper off his body in one piece to reveal his bony torso. I wait until his face reappears…….

'I hear you enjoy reading Justin?'

'Yes Sir.'

'What sort of thing?' I enquire.

For a twelve year old, his taste is sophisticated. Not many that age enjoy Orwell's 'Down and Out in Paris and London'. I like Justin's smile. Here's aboy who will win people over. He announces…..

'I like writing too. I won a poetry prize last year.'

We talk about that for a couple of minutes. He's in his pyjamas now. In so doing, he made no attempt to hide his body. I like his confidence, but he has every reason to be confident. He's very nicely made.

I was an early developer. At Justin's age, my balls were larger than the average in the dormitory. I know that because we compared ourselves with one another, as boys do. I once overheard two older lads talking about me as they waited for me and my dorm mates to finish in the showers one morning.

'That one looks like a good milker don't you think Charlie?'

'Umm. Do you think he'd accept an invitation to the cinema? I wouldn't mind finding out.'

'Go and ask him then.'

The next day, Charlie did. I accepted because I quite liked him. The cinema was almost empty so we, or rather he, could get on with matters in hand without fear of observation. Five minutes into the film….I forget what it was……he asked me if 'I minded'. Mind what? I just said I didn't mind, not quite knowing what I was agreeing to, but nonetheless harbouring some hope that fairly shortly I would feel a hand on my bare thigh, swiftly followed by Charlie's hand inside my trousers. I soon found out. Sure enough, and to my great relief, he was inside my knickers in a trice. Anticipating an invasion of my private parts, I was hard by the time he touched me. We did it twice, with a half hour in between to watch the film. Both times he ended up wet, as I did, thanks to Charlie's mismanagement. Annoyingly, he never took me to the cinema again.

A week later after prep, that boy's friend, nice looking and by reputation good at games, stopped me in the corridor. He asked me if I would like to see a film with him . Shocked at another opportunity so soon after the last one, I was unable to think of a reason why I couldn't agree. The film had changed……it was called 'Zulu'. I think Stanley Baker was in it. I pretty much knew what to expect. The boy lead me to a pair of seats in the corner at the back of the cinema, like before. About fifteen minutes into the film I felt his hand on my bare thigh. He waited to see if I would object. I didn't. I wouldn't have dared. I leaned slightly towards him, which was my way of telling him that I was up and ready for whatever he wanted. Fingers slid their way up the open leg of my dinky short school trousers. The cinema was virtually empty, it being an afternoon showing. His efforts to get at me were clumsy at best, but the waiting was well worth it. When he finally extracted my fully erect little pecker, he gave me by his own fair hand, the most blissful orgasm, but unfortunately my rather modest jet of 'milk' went over my best jumper. The developing feeling was so strong, I failed the get it out of the danger zone in time, and being navy blue, it was the very devil to get clean. I remember feeling pleased with myself that his earlier estimation of my 'milking' potential proved correct, albeit rather modest. Of course I was expected to return the favour, which I duly did, efficiently I might add. At that tender age, I hadn't seen a great deal of that particular substance. My handsome new friend came swiftly, and he was better prepared than I was. Forty five minutes later, his rather unwholesome hanky was required again. As for me, my second orgasm was even better than the first. We remained occasional friends right up until the day he left the school. Despite his kind attention to me, I always regretted that my one outing with the superior Charlie was not repeated.

Anyway, I suspect that Justin is rather proud of his body, as well he might be. I had to be careful not to look too hard. If he's aware at all of how he looks, he will notice any unduly long lingering glances in the direction of his handsome penis sitting proudly atop two tightly encased testicles. I would imagine Michael can hardly believe his luck.

The boys sit up in bed. They can talk or read for a half hour before their light is put out by Hilary. Michael reads his paperback while Justin and I chat about books. For a twelve year old, he's very well read.

Justin has left us to visit the other rooms.

'Where did you go to University Sir?'


'What do actually do Sir?'

I told him….not a huge amount. My life, work wise, is rarely very taxing.

'My grandfather started a publishing company. A few years ago it was taken over by a larger firm. They agreed to keep me on as a consultant. I work with new writers. I go and meet them and discuss their work with them, and then we all sit down and decide whether they will make us any money. Things like that.'

'What was it called?'

'Lancing Publications.'

'Why Lancing sir?'

'Because that's where he went to school. It's quite a nice name so he used it.'

'That's where I'm going Sir!'

'Really? Marvellous! Well, when you've written something substantial, you must send it to me. I'll read it and maybe you might like me to comment on your work?'

'Oh yes please Sir! I'd love that.'

Job done. You never know.

Hilary came back at ten past nine.

'Lights out now boys.'

I get up from Michael's bed. He's on his side and already asleep by the look of him. Justin grimaces…..

'Oh Sir! Already?'

Justin turns onto his side, adjusts his pillow, draws his knees up, and his arms disappear down the bed, and eyes close. Sweet dreams Justin. I'm in the corridor as I hear the light switch go. There's still a little light through the curtains. Hilary whispers in my ear……

'We'll come back in ten minutes.'

Go back we did, noiselessly. The door is ajar, and just a tiny gap for one person to see through. Justin's bed is in front of me. Hilary, standing behind me, has his arm around my middle. I get an attack of butterflies in my stomach.

Justin's head is to one side facing away from me, and the bedclothes are arranged below his hips, and his pyjama top is pulled up and covering his chest. His right hand is busy stroking his penis, the foreskin stretched across the glans. His left hand is clutching some bunched up white material. Justin is far away. I wait and watch. It took maybe two more minutes? The boy's tummy pulls in sharply and I know he's more or less there, bless him. Justin comes silently as his warm semen caresses the skin of his tummy. He raises his head to inspect….fiddles in his tummy button for a moment, before wiping himself dry with his hanky. What timing on our part. Two minutes later and I would have missed it. I'm glad I didn't. What an endearing sight it was too. Sweet boy. All over now, Justin turns onto his side, mouth open. Sleep well Justin.

I move sideways into the shadows. I look at Hilary.

'Otta, doesn't Justin remind you of James?'

'Umm, he does. They are very different thought-wise, but physically rather similar don't you think?'

Indeed they are.

I asked Hilary if he would like me to undress him. He said he would. His penis felt hot and hard as I gripped it in my fist. He laid mine in the palm of his hand.

'That's nice Otta.'

I smiled.

'You too'.

I squeezed him harder, pulling him at the same time from his root towards the head. Two or three drops of clear fluid emerged. Then Hilary asks………

'I hope you're not going to waste that Otta?'

'I'm not sure what I'd do with it Hilary. I might be a same-sex virgin. Sorry.'

'Don't be. Believe it or not, I am. There's not much of it about in a boarding school full of kids.'

We both laughed. I didn't know whether to feel relieved or disappointed.

'So what shall we do then?' I asked.

'Do our best?'

'You're so sweet Hilary. I'd like to jump in at the deep end. Would you mind?'

'No of course not. Just tell me what you want me to do. I will try, I promise.'

Our first kiss was wonderful. Our second…..long, sweet and breathless was even better. Our initial attempts to make love, in a word, failed. Neither of us have the experience I'm afraid….at least not yet. Hilary is naturally submissive I think, but maybe that's because we have known each other for such a short time. Our first failure was a complete failure. Everything just stopped working for both of us. Eventually we relaxed by talking about James. There is much to say, and much to share. I think James must have been there somehow.

We've been lying quietly for some minutes. I have been exploring Hilary's body, and my erection has returned. I really believe that James is with us. Hilary whispers in my ear…..

'Please can we try again?'

I'm laughing now. I think it was the animal in me. I asked Hilary to turn onto his tummy. He did willingly. What a beautiful back he has, and such strong and athletic thighs, not to mention those buttocks. Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, they remind me of my erstwhile wife's bottom. Amy's was a perfect peach of a bottom, and Hilary is just like her. We often had sex that way round because she enjoyed it as much as the conventional method, which was required to make babies. At times when babies were off the agenda, and we didn't want to interfere with natural events, we would go anal. When I say 'natural events', we both enjoyed a degree of 'mess' that the male ejaculation creates more often than not. Sometimes she would ask me to masturbate for her, and watch me ejaculate at close range. Both of us found it extraordinarily erotic. I'm convinced that my orgasms were harder that way, than at the end of sex for baby making. She said it was a form of domination that she found sexy, but she was always embarrassed by the presence of hair around her anus for some reason. She hated me seeing it, and I had trouble convincing her that I actually liked it. Boys of course don't have it, which gives them a degree of androgyny which some of us find interesting.

I'm kneeling between Hilary's legs now, which he has dutifully spread wide apart for me. With my hands and thumbs, I part the cheeks of his bottom. There it is before me. Before I can dominate my man-boy, there is enjoyable work to do. I think of James….and others that perhaps I should not have seen.

Reading a graphic description of sex between two people can be an irritating experience, especially when it is poorly written, and loaded with obvious clichéd clutter influenced or even copied from someone else. Perhaps it is best avoided. Sex is a highly charged emotional event, at best. It can start with a kiss, and end if one is very fortunate with both of you coming more or less at the same time. That's very nice. I want to come in Hilary very soon, just as he wants me to. But first, I want to be with him. I want to tell him things that will please him….even make him cry a little. I want to tell him what I shall do to him, and what will happen in the end. I want to tell him, my pretty man-boy, that I will bring him both pain and pleasure, and that once I have begun, I will not stop until I have done with him……until I have taken him the way I want. Of course it's not real….what's said between us. It's a game we both enjoy. Our foreplay might begin literally hours before sex. We make each other wait until…well, until one of us can't wait any more.

My man-boy has reached that point, and so have I.

We are on ours sides now, and Hilary is smiling at me. He gently touches my lips with his fingers. I open my mouth and they slide inside. I close my teeth on them…..


'Well…you shouldn't put things where they shouldn't be, should you.'

'You did.'

'Did I?'

'Umm, you did .'


'It made me feel rather queer.'

'Really? It made me feel rather nice.'

'Did it? I really hope it did.'

Naturally, the emotional aftermath subsides, and there are the practicalities of post-sex to deal with. My hand is still around Hilary's penis. It has remained remarkably firm despite his recent orgasm. It was the least I could do for him, my cute little man-boy.

'I think we had better deal with your tummy hadn't we?'

'Under the pillow. Can you reach?'

I reluctantly let go of Hilary's penis. I could have hung on to it all night. I reached under the pillow and found it. I was expecting a folded quantity of tissue, or a hanky, but it was neither. Hilary didn't see me smile. I laid the article neatly over his tummy, and slowly moved it around to absorb his semen. In the less then half-light, I do a reasonable job. The task, and what I'm using to perform it, has aroused me.

'Is this what you normally keep under your pillow?'

'Only in emergencies. Do you disapprove then?'

'No, but the owner might.'

'He's not here now.'

'Oh. Where is he then?'

'Wellington College as I recall. Some boys are naturally untidy, and things end up in lost property. The cleaner girl chucks anything not put away in there. Then I have deal with it.'

'Oh dear. That's a bit tricky for you. How?'

'Put it all in the laundry hamper with everything else. Not everything gets marked either. You can't tell whose is whose half the time. Some of them are fastidious about their clothes, and they'd be horrified if they thought they were wearing another boy's knickers. Others couldn't care less. Anyway, I have a pretty good idea who owns what, but I probably make mistakes as much of the stuff looks the same, apart from the size. That's a reasonable indicator. Bigger ones are for bigger boys…smaller ones are for little boys.'

'And these?'

'A medium sized boy.'

'He sounds rather average?'

'There are not many average boys here. He certainly wasn't.'

Hilary didn't elaborate.

I'd slept badly, most of the time in contact with Hilary's warm skin. His alarm went off at six fifteen. He cancels the alarm with one hand, and rolls over to face me. I've been thinking about our sex last night, and I'm hard as a result. Hilary's hand goes immediately to my penis, and mine to his.

'Do you want more Otta?'

'Of course I want more. I want lots…tons more.'

'You'll have to come again…… to speak.'

'Very funny, but yes, I'd like to.'

'You can come whenever you like as far as I'm concerned, but not now. I have twenty five minutes to be ready. That's not enough time for what I need.'

'What do you need?'

'More of this.'

I feel his hand grip me hard. I'm very ready, and disappointed. My man-boy turns me on big-time.

He showers first. I look at him as he re-enters the bedroom, naked. Perhaps he's had our sex on his mind in the shower because his penis is quite prominent, the lovely tactile object that it is, and especially the way it is right now. I'm lying in bed as he walks over to me. He deliberately gives me a view up and between his thighs. His balls hang invitingly not far above my face. He moves away to arrange his clothes for the new day. I get up, hard yet again. Sex has always been a particular pleasure for me in the morning. Hilary tucks his shirt in…….

'I have to get the little critters up now Otta. Do you want to come with me? I start with Justin and Michael.'

This I cannot miss. Of course both of us have to be fully dressed, including our proper shoes. You can't rouse the boys from sleep, or interesting waking dreams, in your pyjamas. That would never do……..not at all.

Michael is more or less awake, and complies with Hilary's 'uppy uppy' command, immediately. Michael is the sort of boy who never really does anything wrong. Standing, he pulls off his pyjama top to reveal his undeveloped eleven year old torso, his mid brown hair charmingly unkempt. He looks cute in his slightly too small pyjama bottoms, as he makes his way to the door holding a blue towel collected from the hooks on the wall. Justin is not so keen to rise from the comfort of his bed. Hilary leaves me in the room. He has the other rooms to organise.

Justin has been lying on his tummy. He rolls onto his side and flicks the covers clear of his body. He's wearing a bright red tee shirt and nothing else. As last night, there's no attempt to hide his body, every inch the boy experiencing the uncontrollable joys of puberty, if that's what they are. He's not embarrassed, and nor am I. Why should he be? He reminds me so much of James at that lovely age. He stands, facing me, and removes his tee shirt over his head in one movement, the pattern of ribs made more prominent, the tummy sunken, leg muscles tense. He looks straight at me…….

'Can I really send you some of my work sir?'

I'm amused at such a random question……

'Of course. Mr Sendall will tell you how. I'll look at it and tell you what I think. That goes for Lancing too……or anytime…..even after that.'

I mean it. You never know, I might be useful to him. I'd do it for anyone who is really interested, and I think he is.

I'm sitting in the tiny kitchen now. I hear the sounds of the boys, some voices piping and some with a lower register. Each one is prepared now, dressed and ready. I look down from the window and I see them in a line, waiting to be escorted to their first meal of the day. Then they will return to make beds, clean teeth, and prepare themselves for a rewarding brush with academia, at least that's what their teachers hope. One boy is missing. He's ten years old, and already a professional musician. He's up and out well before the others to practice. He sings for his supper………and for his school fees.

Alone now, I wander the rooms of Neville House. It all smells warm and cosy. I don't remember it like this. My experience was a little different. There's a teddy on a pillow, a pyjama top on the floor, a sock without its mate, some discarded white pants inside out, two pillows not straight, a cupboard door open. I look inside. I touch the little pile of soft material and smell the smell of a new wool jumper, and remember.

I think of James who was once in this room. His presence is palpable. He stands by me now as I touch his shoulder. He looks up at me and smiles, dark and beautiful. He is so near, and yet so far away.

This is Justin's room now. I sit on his unmade bed. I run my hand over the untidy sheet. I rearrange the two pillows, and my hand touches something. It's lying there….hidden underneath and guilty. The shame of it all.

It's the largest collection of Sickert's work made in Dieppe ever put together, or so the blurb says in the catalogue. At five pounds, it's an expensive one, but worth it to me….well worth it. I know Dieppe quite well, and I'm particularly fond of a café near the place where the ferry ties up alongside the quay…..the Ocean Bar. I've painted it 'en pleinair' as they say, and done it singularly badly. I must have another go sometime. I have an appointment in Margate of all places, later this week. There's a young writer there that my boss thinks worthy of a visit. We shall see. I shall take my small pochade box and attempt a 'Sickert' oil sketch there I think, hopefully gaining inspiration from one of his seafront views. You never know, I might pull off something passable?

I'm on the train back to Brighton. I was in time for the two forty, and now I have an hour to reflect on recent events. My mind and body feel warm as a result, as if I have just emerged from a tranquil pool of love. I feel calm and satisfied, my head full of images and feelings. I have been unexpectedly close to beauty of various kinds. I went to see one thing, and have come away seeing much more, and my overnight bag weighs a little heavier than before. Of course the gallery catalogue accounts for the extra weight, but not quite all of it. Hilary insisted.

I had agreed to meet him in the cathedral after morning school. At twelve thirty I made my way towards the west door and sat on one of the wooden chairs near a carved Romanesque pillar. Coloured light played on the curved stone surface. I didn't see him come through the heavy glass doors and down the steps to the floor of the nave. I felt his hand on my shoulder. I knew it was him. Track suited, he was still dressed for Games. I stood up. He spoke first……

'Do you still want to Otta?'

'Yes. Do you?'

We walk quickly back to Neville House.

Midday relief.

It was very intense and immediate, his mouth almost painfully on mine all the way through. I knew that time would not allow for more. I hold his naked body hard against mine. He holds my head in both hands….



'We've made a bit of a mess of things haven't we?' he laughs. He's deliciously correct.

'Yes, we have a bit. Sorry.'

'Sorry? Why? It's mine too.'

We both laughed again. When I undressed him, I had asked him if what I had in mind was acceptable to him, and he had enthusiastically agreed. We kissed again and lay on the bed the way I wanted him. Many years ago, attractive according to some, and not very innocent, I had learnt that good sex can be a messy business, and I loved it then, and I still do.

The train slows as we reach Littlehampton, the brakes giving a final screech as we stop abruptly. I feel the package that Hilary has given me. This is not the time and place to open it.

Brighton Station is busy, but there are perhaps half a dozen customers on Platform Five for my train to Ashford. It's a slow old business, but in an hour I'll be in Rye.

It feels like I've been away for weeks. I had a bar meal at the George, and I'm in bed now, with Hilary's gift still wrapped, beside me. If it is what I think it is, I'm going to enjoy it.

What beautiful memories of James they are, and of his friends too. A few are posed portraits of James on his own and, all bar a couple, full length. Two are unashamedly erotic. I'm finding it all hugely arousing.

I want to think about him as I lie on my back. Despite my recent love making with Hilary, it's this boy I want to be with at this moment.

He is with me now.

Two years later……

I asked Hilary if he wanted to go. He's not a great one for things musical, but he said he wouldn't miss it for the world. It's James' first organ recital at the Cathedral since his appointment as Assistant Organist. I had just taken Hilary his tea in bed. I don't really know why, but I've always made the first cup for him ever since we've been together. I suppose it's just become a habit……something I always do.

'Shall we stay the night in Town?'

'Good idea. Dinner at Zeedal's?'

We arrived at our small boutique hotel about three. Looking at the wide double bed made me want sex. I'm a bit like that. I just get the idea, and want it. I suspect Hilary wants it too. He's naturally a little submissive, and won't come out with how he's feeling sometimes. He wants me to work out what's he's thinking. He's standing by the window with his back to me. That's a sign that he needs some attention. He looks cute. I love his bottom. I move up behind him and feel the two rounded buttocks with both hands. I tempted to bite his neck hard, but I resist the temptation, just.

'Breathe in Hilary.'

He does. There's a gap now, which I can exploit. I'm pressing against his back with my hands on his tummy. I slip my hands down the front of his trousers. I feel the waistband of his briefs and go inside. I grip his swelling penis. He pulls my hand out and turns towards me. It's a sensitive kiss…….wet and rather touching. He breaks the kiss and he pushes me towards the bed. I sit on the edge and watch him undress for me. It's a deliberately slow process and I watch intently. He turns round so I can inspect him. He's shaved so he looks just like a boy.

Our preparations are minimal. Nothing much is needed these days. Sex is enduring and easy for us. This time I decided that I wanted to orgasm quickly. Often we take things very slowly. Not this time, at least not for me. I just want to fuck my lover now . In five minutes it's over for me, but not for him. He's breathing hard too, with his head on one side. I know what he wants.

Five more minutes and he's there too, with my generous assistance.It's peaches and cream, and a fair amount of it this time. We kiss again, and he gets some of it back. I'm hard again and I want to try again, and it's doggy on doggy, but I go at it far too fast. It's all too frenetic and far too soon, and it doesn't work. Bugger, if you will pardon my French. As it happened, I'm glad it didn't.

Westminster Cathedral. It's an amazing building, and in places it doesn't look completed. There's a residual aroma of incense around the vast building left over from some ritual or other. James' programme of music lasted for about an hour. I counted about thirty people listening, on and off, to his playing of pieces from Bach to Buxtehude. These events are quite informal and more like a practice than anything else. There are no introductions. You start playing somewhere in the far distance, up and away, unseen, and then you stop. That's it.

We've arranged to meet near the main entrance a half hour after his recital. James is there bang on time. We take a cab to Zeedals. It's good and inexpensive French cuisine, and after a hesitant start, everything goes well. I was worried about it because Hilary hasn't set eyes on James since our boy was thirteen, which is a quite while back now. I know Hilary was a bit anxious about meeting him again, but also very excited at the prospect. Of course I had kept him informed about all aspects of our boy's progress in life since his Chichester days.

I sat with James in the back of the cab which I thought sensible to avoid any awkwardness. Conversation over dinner was broad at first, but soon degenerated into memories, and in particular, how Hilary and I had 'got together', much to James' amusement. It was as much as I could do not to tell him what I had organised by way of a reunion present. It took me four days to get it right, but it was time well spent.

In the cab going back to Victoria, James has an announcement……..

'I don't need to be back tonight. Did I tell you?'

When I booked the extra room, the possibility of James joining us was always in the back of my mind. He has an emotional commitment, so I had no right to expect anything at all, but that didn't stop me from hoping.

I answered James' question by squeezing his hand.………

'Wonderful. Are you sure?'

'Yes of course. I want to.'

'You have your own room to use as you wish.'

'What about yours? Can I use that as I wish?'

'I hope so. By the way, we have a present for you. I think you'll like it. It will bring back memories……..nice ones I hope.'

'Really? Can you give me a clue……please?'

'Do you remember that book binding class I went to?'

'Yes I do. You haven't been writing romantic fiction again have you?'

'No, not recently. This has nothing to do with words.'

'Oh. How interesting. What then?'

'No more clues. Think about it.'

Being in the publishing business somehow made me think of book conservation, hence my decision to join a bookbinding course. When James gained a good degree in Music, and a proper job as a result, the idea occurred to me. I wanted to give him something to mark his achievements. Hilary has already donated part of his collection of memorabilia, and I have added most of the drawings I have made of James. When I told Hilary my plan, quite a lot more came my way from him. The whole thing adds up to a fairly comprehensive picture, literally, of a very interesting part of James' life. It's not a volume you would necessarily want to show your granny, but there it is. I have taken the trouble to make a perfect facsimile of the complete work which Hilary and I will keep. After the official presentation tonight, perhaps James will share his new acquisition and a few memories with us? I think I know about most things in James' early life, but perhaps not quite all?

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead