When I decided to take on the hefty burden of becoming Benign Dictator of Beestonia, I decided that the only way one can truly start a Cult of Personality would be to have a title. I toyed with creepy, communist state ones such as ‘Head Comrade’ , ‘Commandent’ or ‘Dear Leader’. These didn’t sound right. I then remembered Idi Amin decided that the true way to moniker oneself is to do so with hugh cojones, and not bother with any subtlety: His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular. Which is rather ace, even if the man himself was a crazed psychopath with a taste for genocide. Nope, I had to look closer to home.
Every manor needs a lord, as the saying goes, so I decided to keep it simple and plump for a simple, but dazzlingly effective Lord Beestonia. It has a slight mellifluous ring to it, was crisp, simple and probably entitled me to wear ermine.
But before I ultimately plumped for a peerage, I felt a twinge of temptation to indecently indulge my adoration of alliteration and become “Baron Beestonia”. It had a medieval feel to it, probably allowing me to wear a raven on my shoulder, wear sweeping black velvet cloaks and know that when I limped through town women would shield their children’s eyes from my terrifying presence.
My real name? Goold. Yes, geedoubleoheldee. No, I haven’t got it wrong, no there isn’t a bloody U in it, yes I know its unusual. Its the bane of my life, misspelt by even my closest friends. I have received letters for a Mister God, Good, Gold, Goolo (I had a credit card with that on. Used it until the bank phoned me and asked if I exist), Goole, Godd and numerous other depressing variants. Its been a mystery when, how and why the Goolds diverged from the Goolds. A mystery. A mystery that I solved on Friday, after a lazy afternoon googling and some sheer good fortune. And it turns out Im actually a Baron. Or at least, a direct descendant of one.
A hundred and ninety-nine years ago, a loyal politician was given the title ‘Baron of County Cork’ by a grateful King George the Third. His name was Patrick Gould, but he promptly changed it to Patrick Goold, to distinguish the new, aristocratic wing of the family from the dirty faced commoners. Thus all us Goolds are descended from a Baron, and despite me having militant republican tendencies when it before I discovered this stunning fact, if I now am allowed to eat swan, drink six gallons of finest ruby port a week and get to be carried about in a golden sedan carriage, as cap-doffing loyal subjects scatter rose petals in my path, well, I suppose I can change my opinion slightly to accommodate this revelation.
So there it is, Beestonians, in some Dickensian twist of fate, you are ruled by a Baron. Please ask permission before kissing my brass buckled boots. And someone find me a bloody castle.
This wasn’t the only nugget of weirdness I found while scraping round Google and Wikipedia. Nope, something even weirder came up. It’s a tale of treachery, tennis, casinos, mad widows and much much more. It’s a tale that is so incredibly bizarre I’m finding my attempts to write it up are hindered by my need to temper the details, as they appear incredible. It’s a tale that is one part F. Scott Fitzgerald, three parts Agatha Christie, two parts Thomas Hardy and ten parts Plain Weird. I thought I led a dissolute life: compared to my utterly crackpot ancestor I’m the very model of sober regularity. Tune in soon…..
Boots, gonna walk all over you
No doubt you’ve heard the pretty crap news that Boots, or more correctly, Alliance Boots, is shedding 750 jobs. Boots was bought by an aggressive private equity firm, KKR, the type of company that only sees a bottom line, and squeezing the maximum amount of profit in the minimum amount of time and staff, and sod the ethics. One of its first actions when it took control was to withdraw from the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), a retail industry recognized standard set up by a coalition of charities and campaign groups such as Oxfam and Christian Aid, that pledges to ban suppliers from using forced /child labour (another boss who refused to sign up to the ETI is Topshop’s Sir Philip Green, the oleaginous slug of a man who is presently advising the Coalition on what cuts the public sector should make, no doubt emailed in from his huge yacht moored off St Tropez).
So whats our caring MP done about it? Stormed down to Boots to give them a jolly good telling off, yes? Err, not quite. She came back from a meeting and reported in her latest newsletter that nah, nowt to worry about, it’s just efficiency, innit? And instead of reporting back that she’d managed to persuade the scythe-wielding bosses to ease up a little, she actually devoted a big chunk of the email demanding that the A453 is widened and the workplace parking levy be scrapped, echoing the demands made by the very bosses she should have been laying into. Thanks Anna, nice to see whose side you’re on.
The founder of Boots, Jesse Boot, was a great philanthropist who loved the area, donating Highfields and the meadows to its north for the new University College, which is now Nottingham University, with the proviso the grounds were kept open and not overbuilt, hence the beauty and leafy gloryof the campus. Poor bloke must be whirling like a centrifuge right now.
Jesse’s philanthropy didn’t go unrewarded, and in 1929 was rewarded with an elevation to the peerage and became Baron Trent. The title passed to his son, John, who went on to become Chancellor at the University. And that’s where it ends, as the baronetcy sadly became extinct on his death.
Hmmm, now I’m an aristo, I can probably pull a few strings with Lizzie Windsor and get it resurrected and in use again. Who should have it? Suggestions to the usual address please….