Easy As Falling Off A Bike pt 3404

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The Weekly Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 3404
by Angharad

Copyright© 2023 Angharad


This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
The journey back to Portsmouth was horrendous, not helped by the number of grockles clogging up the already bad system which is the Chichester bypass which has more jam than Hartley's, traffic jam that is an exciting new flavour, not. I returned to my office just in time to see the others going home,"oh look," said Diane, "it's the night shift." I just glowered as my answer.

I was going to start my computer to look at the spreadsheets again and instead called up Google and looked up the Duke of Surrey. There was very little about his offspring other than saying there was one. Nigel, born February 2002.Our distant royal was 21. Theoretically, I was old enough to be her mother, I didn't see that as being conducive for a relationship of equals. I sighed, closed down my computer and went home.

I was irritable when I got home and retired to my study with a cup of tea, which usually seemed to make things feel better even if they weren't. I thought about my situation, I had been pulled into someone else's problem. Just because I have survived a similar one doesn't make me an authority on the subject and what worked for me might not work for someone else. Do I have sympathy? Yes, no one should have to deal with feeling uncomfortable in their own skin. When it happens to children, who may not be able to articulate their needs, it is doubly unfortunate and the way the Republicans in America are dealing with it, is despicable, but then the party of Abe Lincoln, seems to have lost its way and it is now the party of Donald Trump, who would be laughable if it were not so dangerous. Apparently, he has promised to give evidence under oath as the truth, when the actual truth is he wouldn't recognise it if it bit him on the nose.

Now, what do I think of Laura de Court? She can't help her physical body but her hands and feet are big for a woman and so is her height. I am about 5'7" and she towers over me so must be nearly six foot tall, her head is also bigger than the usual woman but is in keeping with her body size. She seems to have enormous boobs which have been enhanced in some way, her skirt yesterday was too short, but then she is only twenty-one. Am I becoming an old grump? No, I've got that far without trying.

But I'm not the one under the microscope, been there done that got the teeshirt and the scars on my back. She comes over as a bit arrogant, but then she went to Eton, which can't have been much fun. At least Boris and Cameron had left by then. Perhaps I should suggest she runs for Prime Minister rather than biology, as she has a statistical advantage for that.

So once again up comes the question, 'Should I help her?' and the answer is I don't want to, I am rather tired of the subject. I am a biologist and ecologist not a trained counsellor or psychologist; it isn't my business to run other people's lives for them or find solutions for their problems, I have enough of my own and several children to worry if the Countess of Surrey serves the correct canapés for dinner or whether the Sunday Times does an exposure, it isn't my problem, besides, she seems to be doing alright on her own and I don't think she would take my advice or opinion, anyway.

I could do with one of my kids to give me an independent view, I wonder if Trish could just devise a scheme to help Diane. I know Sammi could, could she advise Trish who could come into the office and see if her analytical mind and her computer skills could sort the dilemma Diane has and why hasn't somebody sorted it before?

I rang Sammi who was in her flat and agreed to talk with Trish, who is always ready to talk to her very clever sister. I got one of the other girls to find her while I told Sammi about the problems we had at the department sorting through so many names and checking grades and offers. We were looking to accept about three hundred for five courses, botany, biology, ecology, environmental science and zoology. I let microbiology sort out itself as they were a much smaller intake. The problem that could arise was that A-level results were said to be lower this year. Covid had made them difficult and teachers were allowed to give their estimates which were abnormally high, so this year felt the crunch and we expected to have some failures or re-sits. It's an awful job but better since I left it to Diane only acting as final arbiter if there were any anomalies or disputes to settle.

Trish came and spoke to her sister and about half an hour later she agreed to come into my office the next morning and try the fix that Sammi had suggested and sent her over the net. She downloaded it on her laptop and was raring to go the next day.

That next day I dressed like I was going to a board meeting, even Daddy noticed it before he left, I told him I had someone special coming today who may want to try for a master's degree and I wanted to show I wasn't the poor relation. He gave me a funny look but left before Trish and I. She looked at me eating my banana on toast and said, "Some student if you're wearing Chanel to influence them." I said nothing.

We got to the office and before Diane went totally apeshit at me bringing in Trish to sort her problem, I made her sit and listen and then told her what Sammi had told me last night, the spreadsheet she had developed would enable prospective results to be entered and also actual; results. They had to input their name and the prospective result, our offer requirements and if they got it. Their actual results were then inputted and the system set to highlight the anomalous results in a matter of seconds. Diane accepted Trish to show them the system which also showed how many we would actually be accepting, a link with UCAS the universities place finding body and who had nearly achieved our offer. In close cases, we tended to accept them.

While playing with my own software on the spreadsheets to see how our funding was progressing Trish disturbed me and said Diane was up and running and she would check them at lunchtime, which I was buying her. She saw my spreadsheet and wanted to play with it and I warned her if she messed it up I would not be buying lunch as dead people don't eat and I'd probably be on remand somewhere. She laughed at that. However, she sat in the corner and played with my laptop. At just after 10.00am Laura arrived, she wore a skirt that practically showed her knickers and a top that demonstrated her enhanced boobs to anyone interested in seeing them - I wasn't.

Trish took my computer, went out to Diane's office and sat in the corner. I settled Laura in my office and went to ask Diane to make us some coffee, Trish heard me and offered to do it. I reluctantly accepted her offer. As I was returning to my office and the unwanted meeting with Laura, Diane told me that Daddy had phoned and that he had invited us both to lunch at his usual haunt, and that Trish had been added to the invite as well. In another week she'd be back on her course.

I went back to my office. The intruder, I explained was my daughter who was trying some software another daughter had devised, she was currently looking at another computer job but had agreed to make us coffee. I took some ground coffee in that David had suggested and a cafetiere in which to make it. I also had a pack of chocolate biscuits that were a cut above Tesco's ordinary.

Trish knocked and entered with our coffee and biccies then having snaffled some for herself and the girls in Diane's office made herself scarce. I told Laura that if we hadn't finished our business by 12.30 pm, the Vice Chancellor would be taking us to lunch. She seemed impressed for a moment: "That's your dad isn't it?" I had to admit that it was.

"That's Prof Herbert's friend?"

"They've been friends for twenty or more years," I confirmed. "Now what help do you need from me?"

She took a biscuit and sipped her coffee, "Nice coffee," she remarked instead of answering my question.

"It should be, my chef gets it especially for me."

That statement took her aback for a moment, "You have a chef?"

"Yes, he's an absolute treasure and my father-in-law has tried to poach him several times, but thankfully he likes it at my place."

"We only have a woman who comes in as necessary a few days a week, especially if Dad is entertaining; usually he finds it easier to meet people in restaurants."

"Yes, Simon does that in London, they have to be special to be invited to our house and deal with half a dozen girls of various ages."

"I believe some of them started off as boys."

I felt myself blush as I answered, "I'm sorry, I don't discuss my children."

Now it was her time to blush and she just nodded.

"You were going to tell me how I could help; I can only give you an opinion as I'm not a mental health professional. I also think that men tend to seek solutions whereas women just listen to the problem." I laid down my ground rules before we got started and I made no pretence to making everything okay, as I wasn't sure I liked her and her father, the duke, or Ezzie Herbert could do it without me. I liked to think I was the icing on the cake.

"You don't like me, do you?" she asked me, talk about directness.

"I don't dislike you, Laura, I hardly know you, but I will say that unless the title has been awarded on merit, academic or otherwise, they don't usually impress me."

"Is that because you weren't born into one?"

"I said openly to Simon and his dad, of whom I'm very fond, that I got mine as part of the compensation package for marrying into a family of interbred loonies."

"Is that how you see me?"

"Like I said, I have made no judgments about you because I don't know you, but I also don't owe Esmond any favours. I already took somebody who was being hassled by the TERF mafia at Sussex."

"So I heard, didn't she face down the press by herself?"

"Her press conference was not what we planned."

She smiled, "But it worked?"

"It seemed to have in her case."

"Is she still with you?"

"I'm sorry, but that's confidential."

She was taken aback by that, "I see, so you're telling me that you wouldn't go out on a limb for me like you did for her or your footballing daughter."

"I would do what was necessary for my daughter, to protect her. I would also do what was necessary to keep my staff and students as safe as I possibly could."

"So that doesn't include me then?"

"You aren't one of my students."

"Even though Herbert asked you to take me on?"

"I can't just take anybody on, they have to apply and fulfill the criteria required."

"Does a 2:1 fulfill your criteria?"

"What, for a master's?"

"Yeah, or a doctorate?"

"A doctorate would be out of the question without a suitable master's."

"Why? It's hardly Oxbridge, is it? It's not even Sussex."

"We may not rival the bigger universities in some ways, but I like to think our degrees are as good as anywhere and better than some. If you don't think so, there wouldn't be much point in you applying just to keep you out of a press storm as you'd be unlikely to finish it."

"I thought Herbert had this sewn up, obviously he hasn't."

"I didn't agree anything with Esmond except to speak to you. I even suggested you went off to Switzerland or somewhere until it all died down."

"My dad has a place in the States, in Florida."

"That would be far enough," I smiled.

"From you, you mean? So I don't contaminate your little university."

"My little university is expanding every year; it has a happier student body and workforce than many of its contemporaries, including Oxford and Sussex. I have several gender dysphoric students here who have or are transitioning and if they came here because of me, it was because they like the courses I offer and perhaps want to work with small mammals."

"On television?"

"Television sources individuals from many places, Attenborough went to Cambridge, Chris Packham went to Southampton, several are graduates of the Open University which has links to the BBC, London, Cardiff, Aberystwyth you name it, people from all over have made documentaries for television. It's as much about their presentation skills as their alma mater."

"So nobody helped you then."

"They did and I was very grateful."

"Let them road test it did you?"

"I beg your pardon?" I think it was at this point she realised she'd overstepped the mark and blushed profusely, even her artificial breasts shared in the experience.

"I'm sorry, that was uncalled for."

"It was." I was still angry with her.

"If you're not going to offer me a course, I might as well be off."

"I didn't say I wouldn't offer you a course and a 2:1 could get you on a master's." I pulled out a list of courses that were possible. "Of course, you'd have to apply and do it quickly as they start in a couple of weeks."

"So you'd offer me one?"

"I might if your application form arrived in time and your references held up."

"I thought you said you wouldn't offer me one?"

"No, I said I wouldn't do anybody any favours and they'd have to apply and meet the criteria we need for accepting said applications."

"So, I could apply?"

"Anybody who has the required academic background can, but I would expect you to finish the course, so if this was just a place to hide while the shit clears, I wouldn't accept you. I only want committed students here doing undergrad or postgrad studies. I happen to believe the reputation of this university is rising and will do nothing to compromise that. Do I make myself clear."

"Very," she replied, "I like you, you don't pull any punches do you?"

"I'm paid not to, and I won't compromise on quality, we have suffered for being small but we're punching above our weight because we are getting respect for the quality of the work we're doing. I'm going to do my damnedest to maintain that."

"I'm going, Professor Watts, I'll leave you to have lunch with your dad and daughter. You've given me something to think about, that if I applied and was accepted it wouldn't be a shoo-in but one on merit. Ever since I was at Eton, I met the required standard but few have challenged me like you have; they're scared that my dad would punish them. You'd stand up to him and Esmond Herbert wouldn't you?"

"In a word, yes. He doesn't scare me as I suspect Simon or Henry would lean on him, so he is probably more scared of what we could do to him. Don't worry, we are reactive not proactive so it probably won't happen. But no one with any sense wants to mix it with one of the five richest and most powerful people in the country and the crown owes us so much money, they wouldn't help you either. But if you apply to us and are accepted we'll help you to finish your transition and to get a good master's degree. It's up to you."

She picked up the course prospectus and an application form. "I like you, Cathy, you're the first person who hasn't been swayed by my family name or tried to toady up to me. I respect that, I probably will apply and thank you for being you."

"Better get that in PDQ if you don't want to be behind at the start." We shook hands and she left.

"Who was that with their tits and arse hanging out?" asked Trish.

"Someone that I think just met their match and it was salutary for them, but It possibly helped them."

"Yeah, my Mum frightens me at times; oh I've sorted your spreadsheet and Diane's program is doing the bizz, can we have lunch with Gramps now?"

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Super Chapter

Robertlouis's picture

A sparkling combination of verbal chess and fencing with Cathy coming out on top but not humiliating the other party. Honours even.

This could be very interesting indeed.



Maddy Bell's picture

first order of the day is sorting the Rt Hon lady's wardrobe!


Madeline Anafrid Bell


Robertlouis's picture

…with her hemline.


Bing of the peerage

Wendy Jean's picture

Going to help this one even a little, it might even be a slight detriment.

The Right Priorities

joannebarbarella's picture

Lunch with Gramps!

I thought Cathy was a bit harsh with Laura. Her own prejudices came out, But Laura also over-stepped the mark a couple of times, but being 21, I could forgive her for that. We're none of us at our best at that age. I think Laura will cut it.

Cathy (the one I respect) has returned!

This was an episode with guts. Recent ones, while still worthy of a kudos, have seemed retrospectively introverted.
Cathy can show a straightness in her approach to difficulties, which is what makes her such an interesting character.
And you've kept her going for so many episodes. I don't know how you do it, I do know that I couldn't.
Best wishes

Another goodun! Cathy knows

Another goodun! Cathy knows how to tell it like it is. And does so. Boy does she. But, will she be hearing from Laura's daddy? And that maybe a positive thing.

Just love this story from the first chapter on.


A wardrobe review?

I'm surprised that Cathy didn't suggest to Laura that if she wants to avoid attention, she should stop dressing like a street corner tart. Maybe that's to come if she is accepted to the uni.

Love the

way Trish asked her mum who was the new lady she was chatting with, I can see her putting a few noses out of joint if she continues to ask questions that get straight to the point, Trish may only be adopted but she is truely her mothers daughter.