Friday, 27 March 2009

An Apology and A Very Short Snippet

I must apologise to all those waiting for the publication of volume 2 and those wondering what has happened to the blog of late. Both answers come down to the same thing; the evils of drink. You may recall I was going to a real ale festival when last we spoke, trouble was that I ended up attending all three days of it. Then the next day after it ended I met up with an old school mate for more of the same - then yet again on the following day. Then came Mother's day, requiring a pub lunch, and by the morning after that I was feeling so shaky that I had to have one or two 'medicinals'. Of course, predictably enough that just led into a couple more days of the same. Basically yesterday was my first totally 'dry' day and I'm still somewhat shaky. Nevertheless, I am on the mend and writing for volume 2 again (actually I got quite a lot written in pen during my pub visits that I have yet to get into the computer and should near enough complete the thing when I do). Other than remodeling the cover (I don't like the school girl / gymslip thing it presently incorporates and now find it a bit silly) it should be ready by next weekend.

I thought for today you might like to see a very short volume 2 snippet I have just written to link together two pieces of the story line - not much happens, but you should get a feel for that particular thread. By the way; I wonder what has become of Judith and her aunt (the pic above reminded me) it has been a long time since we have heard anything from that direction?
A Return to the schoolroom

There had been changes-a-plenty in her absence, far reaching changes, going far beyond the outward appearance of the girls – though the new uniform was a drastic enough departure in itself. For one thing, in addition to the new school mistress, a new dormitory mistress had been installed, the previous woman having been transferred to another experiment. Not that Lavinia was to know anything about that, it had nothing to do with her - she was just another test-subject.

This new woman had brought with her an entire legacy and an approach almost entirely built on the quite unreasonable bitterness she still felt having been dismissed some time previously from a fairly high-flying post in control of the secure wing of a psychiatric hospital. That this had only been following a whole series of allegations of serious staff misconduct involving the long-term psychological and physical abuse of patients and that she had been lucky to escape legal redress, a lengthy investigation having implicated her in “fostering or allowing to develop” what had become a “deeply entrenched institutional culture of inappropriate treatment” did nothing to ameliorate the resentment she now carried with her.

Someone, then, had ‘blown the whistle’; someone had betrayed her trust. There would be no whistleblowers here; no investigative committee to poke, pry and probe. Indeed her unique style of management was something not only condoned but encouraged. Someone had to pay for the humiliation that still stung her - and what better salve could there be than the humiliation of others.

These girls she could equate quite happily with the mental patients she once had charge of. How they were treated once in the schoolroom per se each day, what they did in there, the school uniforms they wore; none of this was her doing and none of this was of interest to her. Once back in the dormitory however they became her girls once more: she was a psychiatric nursing expert and they were in her care.

As far she was concerned, once in her hands they were mental patients and the regime was to reflect this. They were to be treated like mental patients and expected to behave like mental patients. They were to be allowed to do nothing for themselves, neither dress nor undress or even feed themselves. The three meals they received in the dormitory each day- breakfast, dinner and supper - were to be spoon fed to them by the nurses; each girl being obliged to sit up stiffly in her bed, dressed in her hospital-issue latex nightdress and plastic knickers and with her hands on her head, fingers tightly interlocked, throughout her meal and while waiting - with two nurses and six girls there would always some element of waiting, but it all added to the sense of control and discipline.

It went without saying they would have to be dressed appropriately. It was to be straight out of those school uniforms - that she would never have approved of have if it had been up to her, it smacked far too much of normality -and into those night dresses and knickers she deemed more appropriate for good, well controlled mental patients, with their locking zippers, tamperproof waistbands and the wonderful adaptability of the flexible system of restraints they incorporated.

Not that she had neglected other, more conventional, means of restraint - six thick strong canvas and leather-strapped straitjackets, the traditional mainstay of the mental hospital, were to be always close at hand should any of her patients show even the slightest hint of rebellion. As would be a heavy yet supple length of bamboo and a selection of thick leather punishment straps of various lengths: once caned in a straitjacket, the tight crotch strap conveniently and invitingly parting the full, heavy fleshy globes of her buttocks, a patient was never quite the same person again.

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