Iwas asleep at my desk, my head cushioned by my keyboard, when Harold flounced into my light and airy studio snapping a pair of castanets for no good reason other than he believed he was a flamenco dancer.
‘Why you do this, Madam Scarlet? Why you let stupid girl abuse pens? Is not right.’
I lifted my head from the keyboard leaving a thread of spittle connecting the s and the k.
‘Oh Harold, I’m tired of all this nonsense, you are a plumber from Southend-on-Sea; wearing a frilly crimplene blouson and a tight pair of lycra bell bottoms is not going to make you anything other.’
Harold snapped his castanets and pouted.
‘So, what’s the problem? What’s Charmaine done now?’
‘She is writing the modern calligraphy, she make letters look like spider ‘aving epileptic fit on paper. I come ‘ere with belief that Madam Scarlet teach traditional calligraphy.’
I glared at Harold. My head felt fuzzy.
‘Are you doing a French or Spanish accent today?’ I asked, wishing he’d just talk like a plumber.
‘You are mad woman. On first day ‘ere you say we must learn proper letter form and now you let stupid girl do what she like. What will ‘appen to the wonderful craft of calligraphy if no-one learn it proper? It will die out and no-one will know ‘ow to use pen; we will ‘ave nothing left of our calligraphy heritage other than childish scribble.’
Harold was looking puffed up and red in the face, so I glared at Harold some more, but with added swagger.
‘So what?’ I said, controversially, with a dash of evil in my eye.
As expected, my reply was like a red flag to a bull. Harold exploded in a Fandango, there was much fancy footwork, an enviable castanet technique featuring numerous redoble rolls, and an eye-watering misplacement of a maraca, which was unpredictable and belonged to an entirely different culture.
After reassembling the wooden floor, I dismissed Harold, dabbed the spittle from my keyboard, and pondered my latest calligraphy request – I had been asked to recreate an ancient village document with Gothic lettering and gold illumination. I smiled to myself, silly Harold, as if the wonderful craft of calligraphy would ever die out!! To be fair this request was probably beyond my remit, but thankfully I knew plenty of calligraphers [this highly talented one in particular] who would rise to the challenge. Horses for courses as they say.
I pushed my laptop to the side of my desk, it was time to get on with some occasional calligraphy of my own….