Rose Marie, wisely, corrected me recently for referring to the elect Vice-Chancellor of this University, a lady of Irish origin, as a "girl from the County Waterford". Would I have desribed a man as "a boy"?
What can I do but plead guilty and throw myself upon the mercy of the court? But convicts are, in some jurisdictions, allowed to make pleas in mitigation.
The vision that had floated before my mind was that of a wild Irish colleen, bare-footed, brought up in a smokey cabin somewhere on the backside of the Knock-me-down Mountains, skilled in the cultivation of potatoes, adept at strumming the udders of a cow, striding suddenly into the pomposities of faux-sophisticated Oxford.
You see, my mind, in its very great weakness, does tend to dwell on visions of frivolous incongruity. When I wrote recently about the Master of Benets, who appears to have worked with immense distinction in pretty well every university in the known world, I had a picture of him sitting on the Hebdomadal Council in his native peasant lederhosen. (Or am I confusing Saarland with the Tyrol?). The other day, walking past the Salvation Army Citadel in Oxford, which is built on the site of the mediaeval Dominican house, I had a sudden fantasy of knocking on the door and advising them of the appropriateness of adopting the Dominican Rite in their Conventual Chapel. The temptation was so powerful that I very nearly did it. You are right: I am well past my sell-by date.
Sometimes, when I hear of the pontifications of self-obsessed prelates, I like to imagine them as married men, listening to their wives' accurately balloon-pricking assessments. I suffer from this sort of over-vivid and radically disordered imagination.
Megaweird, I know, but we all have our own mental eccentricities. I wonder, Rose Marie, if mine entitle me to any remission of sentence?