The Slemnec Stone (Episode 4)

CHAPTER 2

Many people (friends, colleagues and family included) considered him to be a big-headed, self-centred, arrogant pig, they were so wrong he thought: his own well considered opinion was that he may be the most modest person in the world. Dr Jeremiah Chandos ,contented smile spread across his face, peered out of the 747’s porthole at the dense carpet of fluffy cloud below. He was returning to England, having spent three months summer vacation in his native New Zealand. Dr Jeremiah Chandos was a renowned geologist, who specialised in igneous petrology. He was affectionately referred to as J.C. by his students at Blackdale University, and extremely popular, particularly with the female students; and the female staff for that matter.

Dr Chandos started teaching at Blackdale University in October 1992, the year it had opened. Blackdale is a small town located on the Lake Serpentine in the Lake District, quite close to Keswick. The university consisted of two main buildings; a science block, and an arts block. Each building had been designed for about five hundred students. The science building had been built last, and it had turned out to be a bit of an eyesore to say the least, what we might call a ‘carbuncle’. In stark contrast the arts and humanities building was attractive, some might even have said enchanting. To reflect the theme of the building (supposedly one of culture), the education department of Cumbria County Council had decided to give the building a Gothic feel. The main entrance featured a pointed arch about twenty feet high, and inside transverse arches supported the ceiling of the entrance hall. The exterior of the building was dominated by tal windows ornamented by decorative stonework all the way around. These tall windows resembled a translucent wall set in a framework of meshed stone. Anyway, the cost of this building had proved so great, and the schedule of completion had been so far behind, that not enough money or time were available to complete the science building, so the council in their infinite wisdom decided to hastily erect the science building out of grey breeze blocks.

Again Dr Chandos looked out of the 747’s porthole, the layer of cloud cover had now disappeared. Beneath, the Mediterranean Sea sparkled a sapphire blue, interlocked with white crests that shimmered and then vanished. A flotilla of sailing vessels wove in-between a myriad of small islands.

I guess we’re flying over the Greek Islands”, Dr Chandos said, as a young blonde airhostess refilled his glass with port.

Er, I’m not quite sure….”

At that moment there was a crackle.

Ladies and gentlemen we will be landing to refuel in Athens in approximately ten minutes time. If you look out of your porthole you will see Cyclades one of the numerous Greek Island groups. Once we have landed in Athens you may disembark the plane, but please be back within an hour. Thank you”.

Well that confirms my surmise”, Dr Chandos said.

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