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The Scrivener: One Passes On

Earlier this year Open Writing published the obituary of Sir Isambard Vestibule Greangryme, well known for his dedicated research into the dysfunctions of organic feasibility.

It has now come to the attention of our worthy and diligent correspondent Brian Barratt that Sir Isambard did not pass on in a deceased sort of way. He actually passed, with some financial assistance, on to Australia, with the intention of there initiating research into a hitherto unknown species, the Umposs.

Our thanks to Brian for this information, and for his regular contributions to this Web magazine. They can be found by clicking on The Scrivener in the menu on this page. Enjoy a happy hour, or two, or even three, delving through them until you come to an earlier mention of Sir Isambard.

For further delightful mental callisthenics please visit Brianís Web site The Brain Rummager www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas

The Editor wishes to apologise to Sir Isambard Vestibule Greangryme for publishing his obituary in a previous issue of this Journal. Sir Isambard, well known for his dedicated research into the dysfunctions of organic feasibility, did not pass on. Rather, he was granted a passage. The error was made by our reporter.

Although the knighthood of which Sir Isambard spoke while in residential care might be subject to further enquiry, it is certain that a medical research association did grant him an Honorary MB BS. Although this usually denotes a Member of the Bats in the Belfry Society, in Sir Isambardís case it refers to Most Bothersome Biological Specimen. There remains some dispute, we understand, about the identity of the biological specimen involved. He asserts that it was the creature he was studying at the time. Others suggest privately that it refers to Sir Isambard himself but, as that is a defamatory statement, we shall not publish it.

On the matter of passing, we are now able to inform our readers that Sir Isambard was granted an assisted passage to Australia when he announced that he intended to initiate research into a hitherto unknown species, the Umposs. The assistance came from the vales of Academe rather than the Australian Government. According to Sir Isambardís putative theorisation, if there is a Greater Umposs and a Lesser Umposs there must, ipso facto, be a Middle Umposs. We should add that whereas other scientists study living animals or extinct animals, Sir Isambard prefers to study indistinct animals.
In his usual single-minded manner, he sent back reports of his additional searches for the Duck-billed Cattypuss, the Furtive Wombite, and the Laughing Kookaroo. It was not completely clear if, when or where he found these creatures. His notes are generally written on the back of those little mats so kindly provided in hostelries to obviate oneís well-earned refreshment from staining the timber; or on serviettes freely available at take-away food outlets when one is just too involved in oneís work to take a leisurely meal.

When Sir Isambard approached the School of Biological Sciences at ANU (Australian National University), it appears that there was an academic misunderstanding of the sort which does occasionally arise in the fields of intensive and ground-breaking research. In response to his enquiry concerning someone who was familiar with the breeding habits of the Greater and Lesser Umposs, he was directed to the third door on the right. He was delighted to find a plentiful supply of writing paper in the office concerned, but somewhat puzzled by the presence of a large ovoid porcelain vessel, with a flat top and a round plastic lid, on the floor.

While at ANU, however, Sir Isambard was granted the honour of an MBE. This, of course, is rather surprising, as Australia now has its own system of honours in preference to those granted by the Queen in the United Kingdom. His fellow academics, on the other hand, saw no problem in making this bestowal. They felt that he had well and truly earned the right to be designated Muddled Brain Emeritus.

It was probably at this juncture that the Department of Immigration became aware of Sir Isambardís presence in Australia, and of his perhaps undocumented mode of arrival. They therefore determined to apply The Pacific Solution, by which uninvited guests are sent to a remote island where they are cared for, in a manner of speaking, until they can validate their right to be accepted as migrants.

Sir Isambard was delighted to accept a free passage to such a place, as he felt that it would indubitably enable him to further his search for the Middle Umposs. He was equally delighted when someone passed him a D Litt at Sydney University. Due to his academic preoccupation, he was not aware that the defaced sign had originally said ĎDo not Litterí. And so one passes on, does one not?

© Copyright 2006 Brian Barratt

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