Thank you. You have opened the book, and started to read. I would have been lost without you. But we must be
careful that we don’t deconstruct you, as I seem to have deconstructed her. I hate that word ‘deconstruct’ but it
does seem to apply here. You notice that I say “we” – it is, of course, not within my power to do such things on my
own - but what we may be doing together here, right now, may prove to be very dangerous for you. My words and
your eyes. My thoughts and your thoughts. It’s the mingling that may cause the damage. It was the mingling of
her existence with mine that has resulted in her current condition.
Right now I am looking out at you from here just as you are now looking in at me from there. But I cannot quite
see you. I cannot quite break that barrier and come into your room and look at you properly and see how you talk
and walk. Not yet. I have a good idea what your life is like but I cannot be sure. She was the only one, so far, that
I have been able to make a complete connection with.
Nevertheless I invite you into my life - I suppose I must say that I invite you into my ‘lives’ - because my life has
never been as clearly defined as yours. I have not lived within the same boundaries as you. There is a barrier to
break through. She has been the only one with whom I have been able to break that barrier so far. She cared for
As you read these pages you will understand what has happened. You see we each suffer from the delusion that
the world we see and hear and touch, the world that we appear to live in, that this world is shared by everyone
else. We believe, without stopping to think about it, that we all live in the same world and see the same things and
do the same things. And we make an awful mess of trying to handle that simplicity. It is just as well that most of us
have no idea how things really are.
This is where the first whiff of danger may be noticed. Yes, I am going to tell you how things really are. I will let
you see it not only from the point of view of what I suppose I must call “ordinary people” but also from her point
of view and, as best I can, from my own points of view. It will be up to you to decide what reality you wish to be in.
I had no desire to be in your reality, the reality of words and objects. I just became aware that I was – and I felt
Our identities are quite casual things. We find ourselves here and others impose an identity on us. Because my
newborn body was found in a wooden crate at the markets I was described as “the baby in the crate” and “the
crate baby”. After a while, in the institution, I became known simply as Crate. By the time she arrived to take the
five of us to live at Mansfield Road I had become completely institutionalised and my name was recorded as
Krate. They preferred the hard K to what might have been seen as a soft C. I am sure they had no knowledge of
the word krater or of the alchemist’s use of that word. No knowledge of alchemists, period. No knowledge of time
or space or the idea of parallel universes; very little knowledge of human beings at all, though they thought they
knew it all. None of this should have worried me - except here I was trapped, as you are, in a human body with all
its limitations of time and space. The basic difference between us is that I was aware of this whereas I very much
doubt if you are.
It happened that the body I was trapped in, Krate’s body, was ill-formed, misshapen, extremely awkward in its
movements and though able to make strange and wild sounds, it was a body incapable of human speech. I
immediately wanted to be out of that body, no longer hampered with it – you’ve probably felt like that on odd
occasions. I felt like it all the time and I could do nothing about it. Nothing, that is, as far as my flawed human
body and mind were concerned. The mind, being a function of the brain, is as much a part of the body as the
stomach and the digestive system or the heart and the circulation of the blood.
I was locked up and drugged from birth. The institution. Wire mesh fences and chemical shackles. Hosed down.
Treated as non-human. That’s how my body-mind grew to physical maturity. When I was mature nobody asked me
if I would like to go to the nearest bar and drown my sorrows. Not that I could understand their words at first.
Your words. And not just because my ears were twisted like malformed fungi. I didn’t use any of their words - and
not just because my upper lip was cleft and my tongue much smaller than theirs. It was just that they were not my
She was different. She was the one who went with us out of the institution and settled with us in a residential home.
Five of us, all adults, and a rotating team of carers that included her. She was an ordinary person. Well, no,
perhaps she was not. To all intents and purposes she lived and acted like an ordinary person. That is how she was
when we met. She changed. In an amazingly short space of time she connected with me, and she began to find
herself in a reality other than her usual reality. Perhaps I should say in addition to her usual reality. She joined
me. And this is what I am asking you to do. I have pieced together everything I could find and added details that
only I know. I have taken the position of the observer, the witness – as well as the major protagonist. Take my
hand. Join me.
Here is how the “authorities” presented it:
“1.This DAILY ACTIVITIES JOURNAL is the property of the State Mental Health Department and cannot be
quoted or reproduced without the express written permission of the Head of Department.
2.The following notes are taken from the Authorized Daily Activities Journal kept by the five full-time carers at
the Mansfield Road home.
3.The other diary was privately produced by the now hospitalised carer and has been declared the property of the
State Mental Health Department until such time if and when the carer should be found sufficiently recovered to
claim it, such finding being the responsibility of a Committee to be established by the Department.
4.The original of this Authorised Daily Activities Journal may be viewed in the Department library with the written
permission of the Head of Department.”
The next pages are from this daily journal, written for her employers:
Okay. Here goes. I’ve started. This is very difficult to do. Very difficult for me to do, that is. I want to be honest
but I’m embarrassed at the thought of other people reading this. I don’t want to wander off into all sorts of
philosophical ideas (or psychological theories!) but I have been told not to just limit this journal to boring entries
about what time people get their bottoms wiped or how long it took to get somebody to wash their face. I want to
list everything correctly, log everything that happens. But I want to put something more into this than that.
I’m worried about grammar and construction and readability. I know I’ve been told not to worry about that kind of
thing and to just put everything down as it comes to me, just like talking to somebody, but I don’t find it easy. For
example I don’t know if I’m supposed to only write about them or whether I should also write about us, that is
about myself and the other staff? Is this just meant to be a record of their behaviour or is it meant to also be a
record of our behaviour and what I think and feel about it all? I don’t think we have been briefed clearly enough.
When I wrote that,I immediately felt fear. What happens if I criticise the Department, the way it works (or is
supposed to work!) And suppose I want to be critical, adversely critical that is, of a senior member of the staff? Of
the Psych or the Supervisor? I can’t believe that such criticism would not bounce back on me. It’s one thing to be
told to be truthful but I don’t think any of us is going to risk getting sacked, are we?
I’ve just been changing shitty bed sheets. Now, when I read what I wrote earlier, I would like to cross it all out and
start again. But you specifically said we mustn’t do that. I wonder how long before we do start wiping stuff out and
”Changing shitty bed sheets”, she writes - and then, as you will see she starts to glide through the barrier from
her reality into mine. She starts with a plain and factual diary for her employers. She also feels the need to keep a
personal, secret diary. Inside her head, she becomes familiar with another story. At first she keeps this other
story well inside her head, because there is no way her conscious mind can believe it. Her life is becoming more
and more involved with the life of the poor mentally incapable man she cares for in the community house. What
she thinks of as her inner existence starts to become entangled not only with her outside existence but also with
my existence – my many existences. (What follows is from her new, private hournal – K.)
Unreal. Something odd’s going on. Look in the mirror. At your face. Wink your left eye. What’s happening? Your
right eye is winking back at you! Yes it is! Oh they’ll have a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation. What
about behind you? In the mirror. Looks like your room? You think so? But wait. What are all those trees doing
there? You look round quickly and your room is still there? Real? Look back into the mirror. Yes, they are trees,
a whole forest of them. And somebody looking out at you from behind a big oak. A man. Naked. That’s Krate.
And another figure behind him. That’s me. So where am I really? And where are you? What reality are we in? Is
that really us over there by the big oak?
I used to think mirrors told the truth, like mothers, but not anymore. You might think you’re home and safe in your
nice real room and in a way you are; it depends whose reality you want to share I suppose but, as far as I’m
concerned, you’re in the forest with us, with me and Krate. We can see you so you should be able to see us.
See how Krate stops counting his fingers and puts one hand in front of his mouth and cocks his head to one side
and starts to whisper his bird noises behind his fingers. He can see you through his fingers. Now he runs both
palms down the sides of his naked body and steps out into the full light. He thinks you’re one of the spotters and
that you want to claim him for the king and that’s why he’s angry and shouting. Hear him?
“You want to give me to the King! I know you! I know who you are! You damned spotter! You cursed body
He has a loud, proud, clear voice. See him now lift his hand above his head in the moonlight.
“For you!” he cries, “the ears of an ass! The feathers of a carrion crow!”
I don’t think he likes you. He thinks you don’t understand him and I think he’s probably right about that.
Krate stands in the clearing; this is his sanctuary. His body is completely shaven; he stretches out a slender,
graceful, arm and I pass him his robes - a close-fitting tunic and hose, centrally divided into red and white halves,
a pointed and belled hood, also divided into red and white halves, peaked shoes, and a whip.
He pirouettes, arms rising and stretching full to either side as he brings the whip whistling across towards me and,
as I jump away, the whip catches me across my buttocks. I cry out in pain but my cries are drowned out by the
music of a pipe and drum giving the time to his dance. He ignores us now, intent on his movements as he sings:
“Make room sirs, so that I may run
See, see where I’m back again
Decked out in many colours...
What do you say, sirs - aren’t I gay?
Don’t you see Flatterie, your own fool
Who’s come to join this new festivity?
Wasn’t I here with you at Yule?”
Now, see, he drops the whip and brandishes a wooden dagger and the clearing in the forest has filled with
mummers and revellers and the noise is loud and coarse and violent and happy and if you want to dance you can.
Go on! Join in with everybody else!
Except Krate’s not happy. They’ve brought him the letter they took from the nobleman they waylaid. It was
addressed to Thomas Cromwell:
“ye knowe the Kinges grace hath one old fole Bladwyn as good as might be whiche bicause of aige is not like to
cotinew. I have spied one yong fole at Butley whiche in myne opinion shalbe muche mor pleasaunt than ever the
Bladwyn was-- and he is not past XVIII yere old/Whiche is every day newe to the herere - albeit I mi self have but
smal delectation in folys -”
They’ll be getting a jury together in no time - de idiota inquirendo -the spotters. They’ll prove him purus idiota and
he’ll become the property of the Crown. Why him? He has no land or belongings to be confiscated and given to the
spotter so somebody, somewhere, must have some mad plan from which they would benefit. At first he had
thought it was me. There’s always somebody who can make use of an idiot; they can always find some way to use
him to raise money for them or to boost their own sense of importance.
But I know Krate. Let them beg for him. He’ll show them who’s the fool. Watch now! See how he whirls around to
face his Maid in the centre of the dancers; the four points of his coat hung with bells and more bells hang from his
arms and legs and now he leaps high to shake them in the moonlight and to signal that the revellers should form
the snake line round the periphery of the clearing. I’m going to join the line! Come on. Jump through your fears!
We’ll all dance now! Later we’ll go down the path past the small cottage and onto the road that leads to the abbey
and when the bishop hears us coming he’ll fear for the sanctity of his divine service. We’ll show him what’s divine!
Let me tell you more about Krate. Staverton Park was his home.They brought him food there and they came to
him when they needed him. They brought him his clothes and whips and bells and played the music for him to
dance and when his familiar friends arrived they brought the white sheet to catch the mistletoe. Sometimes Krate
was afraid I might take the sheet away from them and he’d strike out at me and of course there was blood and we’
d take the mistletoe wrapped in the sheet up to Butley Abbey and present it to the abbot.
Krate called the abbot Father because he said that he had never known his real father and somebody had told him
he had never had a father at all, just a mother. The abbot put a stop to that talk and he seemed to like Krate
calling him Father. But he didn’t like the mistletoe in the sheet. Why they did it Krate didn’t know but they always
came and got him to cut it down and dressed him in the red and white and the cap and gave him the whip and
played the music while they all danced snakelike through the dark woods and up to the abbey.
Once the abbot got over the first mistletoe bit there’d be a fine feast with lots to eat and drink and lots of fun with
the girls. When we approached the arched gateway to the abbey a shout would go up from inside and the monks
would come running and stumbling out to meet us and bottles would wave and skirts fly and Krate would be
whirled into the crowded gateway and pushed and cuffed and kissed and covered with garlands of flowers and
singed by the waving torches and groped by unseen hands.
Through the arch and into the courtyard and off came his clothes and he’d be dancing naked in the torchlight and
screeching his wild bird noises and kicking out his legs as though they would fly from his body and some of the
monks would be out of their clothes too and dancing and falling and ripping at the girls’ clothes and the words of
the songs would be the words of the devil rather than those of God.
The revellers formed into rings and danced round and round and in the very centre Krate spun on his heels until
he was so dizzy he fell to the ground.One of the girls would clamber astride him before he could get back on his
feet and the dancers would shout and cheer. You’d see naked monks urinating onto the copulating couples.
Look at them now! ‘This must stop!” the abbot is shouting, “This has got to stop!” One of the women has grabs
him by the balls and he tumbles shrieking to the ground.
In the village the cottagers have bolted and barred their doors and windows and they’ll be huddled together,
listening to the cries and shouts and the music and the cursing. Inside the abbey the monks will ask you,“Are you
one of the spotters?”
Let me tell you what happened. They came for him soon after the Feast of Fools and we saw them give money to
the abbot and the abbot blessed him and one of the monks waved to him from a high window.One of the serving
girls even ran over to give him a kiss on the cheek. But none of that stopped them taking him away.
The spotters had claimed him and all I could do was follow behind as they took him in the back of a cart down the
Woodbridge Road, through the winding lanes of Silly Suffolk and on towards London. Krate was sick and
miserable and refused to eat or speak or even look at the passing countryside.They were afraid he would die
before they could get him to London. Any idea of him being in a fit state to perform had been forgotten.
“Let’s leave him by the roadside” said one of the men with the cart.
“Dasn’t do that. They told the king’s man he’s coming. We deliver the fool and what they do with him then be
That night we stopped in a clearing at the edge of a wood. It was a bright cold starry night and they made a fire in
the bend of a grassy mound that rose to a height of some twenty feet and stretched a good hundred yards in its
They had Krate well wrapped against the cold but he wouldn’t eat, just sat huddled up at the edge of the firelight.
When the two men fell asleep he got to his feet and explored the bushes at one end of the mound.
I followed close behind him. It was an old burial mound and I watched as he pulled aside rocks that covered a low
entrance. At first it was dark inside and then the light of the moon penetrated a hole through the top of the mound.
I could see that the place had been used not so very long ago, though for what purpose I was not sure. There were
a lot of bright shining pieces on the walls, like glass, and Krate pulled a piece loose and held it in his hand.
He held the piece of white rock quartz so that the moonlight struck it and he could throw the light around the walls
and make it flash back and forth across the inside of the cave. Then, at the far end of the chamber I saw the shelf
of earth with the carved stone figure. I watched Krate approach it cautiously - and stop before he got too close.
The figure was that of a woman, on her back and with her legs parted and her hands at her vulva, holding the lips
apart, like the entrance to another cave within the cave. In darkness, the figure of Sheela-na-gig waited for the
rising sun of the winter solstice to send its beam down through the hole in the roof of the mound and into her cold,
waiting vulva. Krate turned the piece of quartz in his hand and the moonlight flashed across the chamber,
ricocheting from wall to wall, bombarding the stone figure from all sides as though a sudden frenzied electrical
storm had let loose the lightning inside the burial mound. He staggered back, confused by the brilliance he had set
In the morning we said nothing to the men with the cart. We hadn’t spoken to them since they had loaded Krate
aboard at the abbey. As we recommenced our journey I saw him hugging the quartz to his chest as though its
urgent messages were penetrating his flesh.
It was a long slow journey. After the twelfth day Krate began to eat a little food and when we stopped at inns they
let him sleep with the horse; the dogs of the inns came and lay at his feet. His shaven head and his often naked
body caused no surprise to the innkeepers or their customers for it seemed they were used to such natural
innocents. The nobility might sneer at these “witless men” but the frequenters of the inns welcomed the fools and
invited them to join their games. For the time being, Krate would not dance or even speak so they left him alone
with the animals.
Krate was not very interested in other people, though I knew that the abbot had caught and held Krate’s interest
for a long time. It was the abbot and his monks who had taught the young fellow to read and to memorise great
lengths of verse, holy and otherwise. There had been a Maid for him in many of the ceremonies. The Maids were
interchangeable and Krate paid them scant attention.
I had heard the two men talking of London and was curious as to what we would find there but, after a few days, I
heard that we were not to visit London; instead would go on to Richmond, where the king was to celebrate
The two men treated their unholy innocent as though he were a friendly and valuable animal that must be kept
reasonably fit for delivery to his new owner. They spoke in front of him as though he didn’t understand their
words. They had no idea that he could read or write.
When we crossed the river at Kingston we were met by a gentleman called Richard Gibson who immediately
examined Krate to see if he was well.
“Get the thing some more covering. It’s going to be a cold night,” he told the men. Krate gave no sign of interest
or understanding and I knew that it usually mattered little to him if he were cold or not because he was used to his
nakedness. This time he seemed glad of some more cloth. Snow was in the air and it promised to be a particularly
Most of the fools prayed to be taken up by some nobleman or abbot for the winter.
A fool turned outdoors in winter had little chance of survival. Summers were fine for wandering and joining the
people’s games and ceremonies on holy days.Many a mid-summer’s bonfire had Krate leaped over and many a
young maiden had he frightened at the spring sowing.
Now he was content to be in somebody’s care with a little food and covering. It was enough for him that he would
not be spurned or left to die in the woods. I thought of that abbey where he had wintered Christmases in fine style.
There had been hard times too, under the Staverton oaks, but somehow he was always taken up and kept alive
and used for whatever purpose the others saw fit. He knew all he needed to know about them. They really knew
nothing about him. Except that he was a fool.
When we got to Kingston, Krate was surprised at what we found there. The Kingston Morris team sported six
Maid Marion dancers and he was expected to be their fool. There was a Robin Hood team also and it had two
Maid Marions of its own.
This was riches indeed for Krate. The fellow elected to act Robin Hood gave Krate a thorough examination and
asked him many questions, all of which he pretended not to understand. When the Robin Hood declared him
useless the gentleman remarked that it was just as well because Krate was to be Fool with the Morris and there
was no chance that the Hood team would be able to use Krate.
They must find their own fool.
The Morris Team was a proud collection of men and women. They acknowledged their debt to the Moorish
whirlers (which was more than the Waltzers did) and they raised a silent prayer every time before they danced,
even in rehearsal. They travelled as far afield as Walton and Leatherhead and were looking forward with great
eagerness to a repeat performance as Court Mask to the king at Richmond this Christmas. They were initially
wary of the new fool but he set to with a will when he donned the cap and bells.
Watching their rehearsals was Richard Gibson. He had the habit of wandering into the barn with a bottle of wine
and sitting making notes while they performed. One day, unaware of Krate’s literacy, he left his notes behind and
it was thus that we learned that Gibson was in fact the king’s private accountant and was making notes for a plan
to form a new company of hynsmen for this year’s Christmas Mask for the king. Krate made up his mind that this
was the time he must speak.
“Sire. Take me into your mask for the king. I have great desire to become one of the royal hynsmen,” said Krate
to Richard Gibson.
The king’s accountant was amazed to hear a fool speak in such a manner and questioned Krate closely on his
knowledge and was even more surprised to find how well the young man spoke and how clearly he thought.
“Without doubt I will do that,” he told Krate. Then he swore Krate to secrecy about his plan and told him he would
make all the arrangements to get us away from the Kingston Morris and up the river to Richmond. He was as
good as his word and even took Krate into his carriage, washed and clothed of course, though I had to rough it out
on the carriage rooftop.
Though he said little to the fool, Gibson asked some astute questions that had Krate thinking fast to give bland,
non-committal, replies. Our biggest surprise was hearing the king’s accountant calmly talking of the end of the
Church’s Feast of Fools. “Tis to be banned,” said Gibson, “with threat of excommunication and anathema.” Then
he winked at Krate and said, “The abbots ban the fools from the churches ‘cos there are enough fools there
already. We must take more fools into the palaces eh?”
Krate didn’t join in Gibson’s hearty laughter. He didn’t think it wise to show too much understanding of the
gentleman’s conversation. By winding roads we caught glimpses of the Thames and finally a breathtaking view
from the top of Richmond Hill.There, on the river’s high bank, was Richmond Palace, where King Henry was to
hold his Christmas revels.
When the carriage arrived at the palace I scrambled down from the roof and Krate caught a glimpse of me. He’d
been looking for me every day or so and, although I had tried to keep well out of his sight, he knew that I was still
travelling with him. I vanished into the crowd before either he or Gibson could catch me. Once in the palace, Krate
was left to find his own way around the dank and narrow passageways. I followed at a distance. He knew that they
would find him when they wanted him; they never failed to find him when they wanted him.
When he was sure he was unobserved he sat down by a lighted candle and opened up the piece of paper he had
taken from Gibson’s pocket. I sidled up beside him and he let me sit and read over his shoulder. He flattened out
the creases and I saw the words
“erthen vesselles, hoges brystylles, Pynke, venegyr, kotyn kandelles, bokelles, garteres, dartes, kotun clothes, a
ladyll turnd, chest bordes, metyll belles of sundries sortes, why sarsenet, crymsyn sarsenet.....”
The list was long and much was unfamiliar to me. I knew that Krate would replace it in the gentleman’s clothes
next time he saw him.
When they finally sent for Krate, we found that they had a new outfit for him. His coat was an elaborate work of
red and white sarsenet, lined with buckram. The four points of his coat were each hung with twelve bells, nine
dozen bells hung from the arms and legs.
Then came the night of the Epiphany Banquet. The news had been broken that the Kingston Morris would not be
at Richmond this year but a company of Henry’s own hynsmen would perform The Mask - and there was a new
I mingled with the guests and, when we entered the palace hall, we found an extravagant sight awaiting us. The
pageant was disguised like a mountain, glistening, as though made of gold and set with precious stones. On top of
the mountain was a tree of gold whose branches were hung with roses and pomegranates.
When we were all settled in our places, the Vices brought the mountain up the length of the hall towards the king
and out of the mountain leaped a lady wearing a flowing dress of gold and accompanied by the children of honour
who were called The Henchmen.Leaping about behind them was The Fool.
In his hand Krate carried a staff shaped like a phallus. He put his finger to his lips and pointed with his phallus-
stick to the heavens - somewhere up beyond the smoky ceiling. Between Krate’s legs was a wooden hobbyhorse
and now he beat at the wooden beast’s flanks and let out ear-splitting, high-pitched neighing noises as he galloped
madly around the hall. Throwing his horse to one side he leaped onto tables and snatched goblets from the lips of
nobleman to drink the wine himself. He turned his buttocks in the faces of the gentlewomen and dropped his
trousers to fart on a candle.
The cries of laughter turned to howls of anger as Krate leaped up to the table where the king sat and let out a
great shout for silence. The hall was hushed. King Henry looked ready to have a fit. But the fool beside him put
his finger to his lips and said: “Silence! For me and my brother!” He rapped King Henry’s shoulder with the
They had seen nothing like this. The Morris teams of the Thames banks were bold and bawdy but never in the
memories of those present had any fool dared so much.
“We,” said the Fool, and he threw his arm around the king’s shoulders, “We are born to what you can never
achieve! Try! Try with all your might! Yet never will you reach this height!”
He now stood up straight on the table next to where the king sat in dumbfounded silence. The hall was shocked to
“Born to be Fool! Born to be King! Tis the same thing!”
He pulled the piece of white quartz from his clothing and held it up on the front of his forehead like a jewel in a
crown. Then he struck the king across the head with the phallus-stick, leaped from the table and ran for his life
down the length of the hall with the King’s Men, The Vices, and The Henchmen in hot pursuit and the whole
assembly howling for his blood.
Doubling down the dim, narrow, passageways, we put our early searchings of the palace to good use and quickly
lost the visiting soldiers who were not too familiar with the Richmond layout. Krate opened a rotting wooden door
and we were out onto the bank of the Thames. Without pause, Krate leaped into the river, down, down, down.
Beneath the icy waters his skin must have frozen as he cut through the river like an icicle, the shining quartz held
in his mouth.
(What was all that about? All that “Olde Englande”stuff? Where actually was she? Where was I? Was that
“Krate”really me? Was that a dream she was having? A dream that for some reason she dare not tell, dare not
even admit into her everyday consciousness? Yet she wrote it down, made notes. Not quite as detailed as you
have just read maybe, perhaps I have elaborated a little for you. Of course it could not be true, it could not have
really happened! I mean that was hundreds of years ago. Must just have been something that was going on in her
mind, eh? Let’s return to the daily journal she was keeping for the authorities.-K.)
I have started to paint the kitchen an apple green, very fresh and bright, and there is enough money available in
the maintenance account. I spent yesterday washing down with sugar soap and in the morning I will stay on so I
can actually get stuck into the painting. I believe it is most important to have as much brightness and light inside
the house as possible.
I’ve decided to put everything into this journal - well everything that happens within this place. I’m not going to
put in here about all the other things that are happening to me. If you only knew! For example I think I should
write in here that I knew Dickie didn’t like the apple green paint. I think Dickie is a bit of a bore - and I don’t
mind if he reads that! I don’t know what he is doing working as a carer in this place. About ready for the old folks’
home himself. Well perhaps that’s a bit unkind. But he still thinks he’s in the army and looking after his “men”.
He always leaves everything neat and tidy though and the kitchen as clean as an officer’s mess ready for
inspection time. But I find him too critical. Concentrates on unimportant details and lives in a different reality to
the old man and Krate and the girls. I think he was a corporal but I call him Colonel just to annoy him.
(It is now that,in addition to the Daily Activities Journal, she decides to continue with her own private diary. She
writes, at first, of other aspects of the daily life in the house, writing it for herself, not to be included in the official
daily journal. She is constructing a vehicle to carry her backwards and forwards between realities Here’s
something from her private journal. – K.)
While I was writing that last piece in the Daily Activities Journal I’d been biting my lips as I concentrated. I would
have liked to cross it all out, or wipe it out somehow; maybe tear the pages out. But we’d all agreed to keep this
carers’ journal. I half felt excited and pleased about the journal idea, and half felt frightened of it. I didn’t know
why. Just self-conscious I suppose.
I was wearing my usual loose blue shorts and white tee shirt. It gets hot in the house at this time of year. The fan
was broken again. I was fed up with trying to mend it. I closed the Journal and put it into the table drawer. I stood
up, unfolding myself to my full height in a long, flowing motion that I’d adopted recently. I’d started wearing
sandals, and I’d stopped hunching my shoulders over to reduce my height.
Krate was watching me. Nobody else paid any attention to what I did. At least I could see no sign that they ever
paid attention. Except when I got their food ready, or a pot of tea.
“Time for tea,” I’d say, loudly, “Time for tea, time for tea, time for tea for you and me.”
I’ve got into the habit of making up little chants and songs as I work around the house. If I feel in a particularly
good mood I’ll even break into a dance. Even catch hold of somebody’s hands and try to make them dance around
the room with me. Some of them just make unhappy sounds and pull their hands away. Sometimes one of them will
giggle and let themself be pulled around. Not Krate though.
Once I caught Krate dancing on his own. In his own room. I’d opened the door quietly because I thought Krate
was resting on his bed. He was in the middle of the room and waving one foot in the air and holding his arms out
sideways and swaying his head from side to side. His arms wouldn’t go out straight and his hands were in their
usual curled position and he looked like a big skinny bird about to alight on a mouse or something. As he saw me
come into the doorway he dropped his arms, stamped his leg on the floor and let out a series of wild snarls and
spits, like an eagle at bay.
“Hey that’s lovely Krate!” I told him, “I didn’t know you could dance! That’s great. Come on, let’s dance some
But he backed away into the corner with that snarl on his lips and his eyes sending out fierce messages that he
didn’t want me to come anywhere near him.
“Okay. Okay. Another day. But I thought you looked really great dancing like that.”
Patience. Patience, patience, patience, I told myself. I just have to be more and more patient and then a million
times more patient than that.
“I’ll be patient,” I told Krate, over my shoulder as I went back out of his room.
I let Krate wear whatever he likes. In the house. They all like to wear their clothes mixed up; different coloured
socks or maybe a pyjama jacket and jeans. But Krate puts on anybody’s clothes. Sometimes he’ll have one red
sandshoe and one black sandal, maybe one of the girls’ skirts, a woolly hat. Anything that takes his fancy. I don’t
get cross with him and make him put his own clothes on. Or tie up his laces. Or button his shirt. I let him dress
however he likes.
The others don’t like this either. Particularly Simon. He accused me of favouritism. Treat them all alike, he told
me. If you start making favourites then you upset the others and the one you favour will just take advantage of
you. Just like kids, he told me. He didn’t want to listen when I told him that everyone should be treated as an
individual, and as an adult. Simon always looks unhealthy. Sallow. Floppy dirty hair.
The other evening I switched on the television. I don’t think anyone watched it except me. The clients won’t give it
so much as a glance. But they heard the music. Some of them used to sway backwards and forwards in time.
Sometimes Krate would walk past the set very quickly and, without looking at it, he’d flick the volume control
right across so that the sound blasted out into the room. He’d keep walking fast, out onto the deck or into the
kitchen. But I’d see the little grin he was trying to hide.
When Krate keeps doing something like that, or one of the others decides to shred all the paper that can be found,
it’s difficult not to lose my temper. Sometimes I shout at them and bang my fist on the table. But I try never to hit
them. Like some people do. I’ve got doubts about Simon.
I let them play around with my things too. I’ve always left my bag on the floor and books and papers on the table.
Sometimes it takes a while to round all my stuff up when it’s time to leave but I hate the idea of locking everything
away or forever nagging at them to leave things alone. One night I was leaving and Krate came running out into
the garden in the rain, to give me the umbrella he thought I had lost. It’s the odd moment like that that makes it
These were the things they didn’t teach me when I was “training” at the Institute. About communication through
gestures, actions. I just remember lots of vile people threatening me to keep my mouth shut or else. I wonder now
if I really saw those things going on? The punching and the kicking and the sexual abuse. I can’t write about that.
I’ll just write about Krate. He’s the one who has taught me. He’s the one I learn from. He’s the reason I’m here. I
sometimes wonder what existence I have beyond being with him now?
My past? I don’t seem to have one. My life is bounded by the walls of this house. The garden. A gate. But where
does it go to? Do I really “go home” at the end of a shift? Is there a “home” other than this one? I must have an
existence other than in here with them. Well I know I do, really, I have a comfortable sort of self-contained flat at
the back of a house. But it seems to slip my mind. I only really get into gear when Krate’s on the scene. I spend so
much time in the Mansfield Road house now that I find myself wondering if all that “out there” is just a bit of a
Like the Psych. I sometimes wonder just how real she is. I mean if I write her a note I never get an answer. I’ve
never been able to get her on the phone either. Yet this morning I came into the room and there was Krate holding
on the phone and grinning and when he passed it to me it was the Psych on the other end. Would it be all right if
she didn’t come to see us until next week now? I felt like shouting down the phone at her “You don’t exist! It’s
just Krate doing voices!” But something stopped me. I looked over at Krate and he had one hand curled up in
front of his mouth to hide that sneery little smile. I don’t like him when he looks like that.
We’ve been through a great deal together, Krate and I. In fact I can’t really remember BK time. That’s Before
Krate time. See he won’t speak to me now. Just sits watching me across the room. I can tell from his eyes that he
could speak to me if he wanted to. Just keeps quiet because it gives him some kind of power over me. Well not
quiet, really. He makes noises.
You may be wondering about Krate’s apparent obsession with his penis, his seemingly ever present erection, so I
will explain. I sought to find means of communication through Krate’s body. I could achieve virtually nothing with
the throat and mouth, a few harsh sounds now and again. My fingers would not hold a pen for more than a few
seconds and I could find no way to make them adapt to the act of writing. I tried to send some form of
communication out to others through my eyes but all I could see in return was fear.
When I finally became aware of the enormous pure flow of energy through Krate’s body I knew I must use this to
create connection and communicate with the people around me. This creative energy was strongest when it flowed
through the sexual channels. Again and again I aroused the creative energy in that body and again and again it
forced its way into those sexual channels that resulted in the continuing erections. I could not direct that energy
into the channel of speech.
The desire you have to communicate your inner emotions is continually seeking an outlet. That desire to make
contact and to create meaning continually seeks to expressive itself sexually. That form of expression is either
banned or very heavily controlled by the society in which you live. The expression of my inner energies, as Krate,
was these continuing erections, and they were considered completely anti-social, wrong. Try as I might, I was
unable to convert that energy into a more acceptable method of communication.
(She is having her own troubles with communication, not able to accept what her unconscious self is experiencing.
The boundaries of her consciousness begin to blur even more as she goes back into her unconscious mind, into her
shared experience with me in that other place, at that other time. That’s why she has started keeping her own
private diary, confiding to it the personal details that she no longer feels confident about writing in the official
After Krate jumped into the Thames it was a long time before I caught up with him again. Times had changed. No
longer did the innocent fools freely roam the land. King Henry’s accountant had been correct in his prophecies,
the Church decided to ban its Feast of Fools. It was said that it was the nakedness and wantonness that really
upset them. And then, when the theatres were closed, the idiot was no longer a protected natural but was bundled
into Bedlam. At the mercy of the jailer, the rapist, the keeper of the keys. The lunatic, in thrall to the moon,
became a penny peepshow and howled to the hidden sky for his lost freedom. The possessed. The demon. The
idiot savant. The innocent. The natural.
Not Krate, of course. He found himself a pig. Shaved it bald. Put it in a dress, tied it to a chair and exhibited it as
The Pig-Faced Lady. I caught up with him one day as he was coming onto the outskirts of a country town where
the children were running up to him shouting, “Here be the Show Folk! ‘Tis the Clown! Tis the Clown!”
I could see that he liked being in the company of other mountebanks, especially a show with musicians up on a
carriage drawn by big horses and the company walking behind into town, in pairs of cavaliers and ladies, and
himself at the rear riding a gaily festooned donkey. I fell into step beside him and he told me that sometimes he
liked to play The Doctor, and he started to sing:
“ I cure all ills,
Past, present and to come;
The Cramp, the Stitch,
The Squirt, the Itch,
The Gout, the Stone, the Pox;
The Bonny Scrubs,
And all Pandora’s Box”.
He told me that, when he worked on his own, he carried his bits and pieces from fair to fair on his back. Children
ran after him shouting “Mr. Punch! Mr. Punch! Show your hunch! Show your hunch!”.
I got to like Krate in his Fool’s outfit but due to circumstances that I will relate he had to give it up. The last time
he wore it was one Whitsuntide when we came into a village to find them building a shed of green boughs on the
Krate approached the Bowery cautiously and introduced himself to the Lord and Lady of The Feast. They were
delighted with Krate and he changed into his patchwork motley straight away, fixed his piece of white quartz into
his funnel-shaped fool’s cap and took up his staff with the bladder and cow’s tail at opposite ends and fell into step
behind the Lord as the procession began around the village.
In front, a villager carried the first-born lamb of the season. Then the Lord, carrying his collection box, and then
Krate leaping about, making his bird noises and buffeting the villagers with the bladder on his staff. Behind Krate
came a set of women Morris dancers and Krate turned to dance with them, remembering his Maid Marions of
previous times, always plump fair-skinned girls with their blonde hair in plaits and flying out behind them as they
When they got back to the village green Krate beat out a tune for me to play on my fiddle and started his solo jig.
While I kept my bow busy, Krate set out on the grass a dozen or so newly laid eggs. Then he called on Maid
Marion to tie a scarf over his eyes. He signalled to me to play faster and faster and then, to the wild delight of the
crowd, he danced backwards and forwards, sideways and everyways, in and out of the eggs without ever stepping
on or even brushing against one of them. That was the first and only time I saw him dance the Egg Jig.
We finally made our way to London, and there Krate changed his red face to a blank white mask and his country
clothes to a close fitting white silk garment covered in spangles and with ribbons at his knees. No longer The Fool.
A term of abuse now, Fool! But Clown was fine. Krate The Clown at Covent Garden. And at Bartholomew Fair.
It was the dream of many a Fool to find his way to the great Bartholomew Fair. For seven hundred years the
players had gathered for Bart’s Fair. Few remembered Rahere, the fool who had started it all. The one-time priest
who left not only the annual gathering of players to celebrate his life and death but also the land and wherewithal
to establish the hospital that grew to be the mighty Bartholomew’s. A Holy Fool, Rahere.
By the time we got to Bartholomew Fair traditions had changed. Punch the man had given way to Punch the
puppet. For seven hundred years the famous fair had been a place for the Fool to celebrate his existence; but now
Fools had become Clowns and Mountebanks. We could hear the hollow laughter echoing down the decaying
alleyways of Bartholomew’s Fair; and we could smell the antiseptic future of Bart’s tiled hospital passageways.
But somewhere in Krate’s complex memory were the leaf-floored corridors of Staverton Forest. The hard cobbles
of the city hurt not only his feet. He left the city and I followed him as he went wandering the countryside finding
casual welcome in village theatres and with strolling players. The itinerant actors and musicians accepted each
other with no questions and no judgements. They knew each other through their performances. Each created his
or her own world and, where these worlds of fantasy overlapped, they found a shared reality.
In the winter warmth and rough food of the small town tavern-theatre, Krate and I found sanctuary once again. He
said that sometimes he dreamed of the royal court, sometimes of the village green, sometimes of the hidden
chamber in the grassy burial mound. Sometimes he said that he saw a beautiful goddess who encouraged him to
approach. She held a large and ornate golden goblet before her and offered it to him, he said. And he said he knew
that, somewhere, a goddess dreamed of him; saw him as a dark, demonic lover, biding his time to father her first-
(Now, from the depths of her unconscious mind, she finds her way slowly up into her private journal. – K.)
I’ve been the longest to stay at this house. The others are always switching about from one house to another, even
going back to work in the Institute. How they could do that I don’t understand. At least there’s some attempt to
treat people as human beings here. In the Institute there was not enough time, not enough of us, endless reasons
why you shovelled food into people and filled them up with drugs and hosed them down and put them to bed in long
rows of beds that almost touched each other.
Those first weeks I spent working at the Institute are never going to leave me. I still have nightmares and wake
up shouting out “leave them alone!” I don’t like to talk about it. Why hadn’t I gone to somebody in authority and
told them what was going on? I couldn’t answer that satisfactorily, not even to myself. When I look around here
and see them in their bright clothes, wandering about and sitting down or lying on the floor as they wish I let the
memories of the cages and the concrete fade. They did graduate from the Institute into residential care
eventually. Well, some of them did.
Today I was walking back into the main room when I saw that Krate sitting at the table, in the chair I’d been
using. He had the Daily Activities Journal open before him and was running his hand backwards and forwards
over the surface of the page, dragging his bent fingers from one side to the other, and then from the top of the
page to the bottom. He seemed to be scanning the page with his fingers. He looked up and saw me standing in the
doorway from the kitchen looking at him. He didn’t jump up but kept on trailing his fingers across the page where
I’d been writing my notes. Then he looked directly at me and our eyes met for several seconds. There was no
sense of guilt in Krate’s behaviour. I felt he was trying to send some message to me through his eyes.
“What is it Krate?” I asked.
His hand stopped, but rested on the page.
“What is it? Are you trying to write something in the Journal? Is that it? Do you want to have your say, tell them
how you think things are?”
By the middle of the hot afternoon I no longer felt like chatting with Krate or any of the others. My tee shirt had
patterns of dark sweat at the small of my back and under the arms. My hair was damp and sticking to my neck. I
was shouting, at nobody in particular:
“For God’s sake can’t one of you pick all this stuff up off the floor!”
I found myself stamping around the house, picking up bits of discarded clothing and torn magazines. Crusts of
bread crumbled like gravel under my bare feet. I scooped up clothes and shoes and, in a smooth, swinging,
movement, tossed them across the room and through the open bedroom door. I noticed that the girls moved
silently and swiftly out of my reach. One of them actually winced and put up a thin hand to protect her face.
What the hell do the other staff get up to when they are on duty? I don’t want to know the answer. For the
residents, years of being taunted and smacked and punched in the Institution have left them with programmed
reactions. I try to tell myself that’s all it is. Left over fear. Not really me they are frightened of. Everything’s okay
Then I heard myself shouting, “There’s nobody to be afraid of here! For God’s sake why are you cowering away
from me like that?”
Then I threw the pieces of crust across the room, through the doorway to the kitchen, and shouted at them again:
“Don’t be so fucking stupid! I’m not going to hurt you, you silly fucking bastards!”
Yes, that’s exactly what I said, I admit it.
I found myself suddenly sinking down onto a cushion in the middle of the room and holding my head in my hands.
“Well look who’s here for Gosh sakes! Hi Emily? Has Bob been playing up again? And where’s Marlene? Not
out with Trevor I hope? But it must be time for a highball darling.”
“For fuck’s sake somebody turn that fucking television off!” I shouted. And the television set went silent.
I tensed my body where I crouched over the cushion. I lifted my head and looked around. Women with strangely
piled hair were gesticulating to each other on a Malibu Beach patio. Their mouths opened and closed soundlessly.
I looked around the room. The girls sat or stood with their eyes fixed on some distant planet, counting fingers,
plucking at their cheeks, twisting their long blonde plaits. For them I didn’t exist. Or so they would have me think.
By the kitchen door, Krate stood with his hands covering his mouth. He was staring at me,. the toes of one bare
foot clutching and unclutching a crust of bread on the kitchen floor. For an instant his eyes flicked across to the
television set and then back to me. I started to cry with sheer exhaustion.
When I got up and threw the cushion onto the chair Krate disappeared into the kitchen. The girls had changed
positions but were still counting fingers and plucking at cheeks.
“Thank you Krate,” I said, “Thank you very much. I know you understand what’s going on. Thank you for being
so patient with me.”
I walked out to the kitchen to him and he started to back away but found himself in a corner. His lips started to
curl into a snarl and his fingers tightened. I stopped in front of him. He was almost as tall as me but he kept his
shoulders crouched and hunched all the time so that his chest seemed to be concave. It made his arms look as
though they hung down longer than they did.
I didn’t want to crowd him. I put out one hand and touched him on the shoulder. He flinched. Then he suddenly
lurched forward, hunching his shoulders even more and lowering his head and grabbing for my hand at the same
time. My every instinct was to resist him, to repel him. But something made me keep still.
Krate stopped with his head pushed into my chest. He was breathing very heavily, and fast. He had caught hold of
my hand with both of his and seemed to be trying to twist my arm. But then I realised he wanted to get my hand on
top of his head. And then he was pulling my hand backwards and forwards over his hair. And we stood in the
kitchen with his head resting against my chest as I gently stroked his head. He made no sound, other than the
sound of his heavy, anguished breath. I felt tears filling my eyes again and I just wanted to be away from the
place, away from them all.
“Thank you Krate,” I said.
Violently he pulled away from me, nearly knocking me over as he strode across the kitchen, through the lounge
and into his room, slamming his door shut on the way.
I wonder if I should be writing all this into the Daily Activities Journal? You say that you want to know what really
goes on here. Perhaps I’ll copy some of this out later. I don’t expect you’d agree with me keeping a private
journal and then just putting some of it into the Daily Activities Journal. Well that’s how it is. I just don’t trust
your reactions. I mean the Supervisor and the Psych and whoever else reads the bloody thing.
I do not agree with Hannah’s entry yesterday about Krate being more difficult since we cut back on the neulactyl.
More active maybe, but isn’t that what we are trying to achieve? To get them to take a more active part in life? In
their own lives? Or am I going to be accused again of being theoretical and philosophical? And as far as “playing
favourites” is concerned I think this could spring from a certain amount of unrealised jealousy at the results we
are getting from the time and patience I put into dealing with this particular resident.
I understood that where we felt we could get some progress through a personal relationship with a resident then
we should report this and, subject to approval, go ahead and develop that relationship to give the resident more
self confidence and self esteem. But it’s no good if, in so doing, we are going to be sarcastically criticized by fellow
staff because that is just going to undermine our own self confidence. And if we can’t feel confidence in ourselves
then how the hell are we going to encourage it in the residents?
I just cannot believe that Krate would deliberately attack anyone, staff or fellow resident. If he is provoked then
he will defend himself vigorously, as we all would. Because he is not in as skilful control of his body movements as
we are it is only natural that from time to time he exerts more force than is necessary.
God, why is it I have to keep apologising on behalf of Krate! The girls shit everywhere. The old man wanders off
every chance he gets and we spend hours looking for him and getting offside with the local police by having to
report him missing. Krate is a model of behaviour compared to them.
Okay, I will have to report that I received bruises today when Krate accidentally pushed me against the kitchen
table. The only reason I’ll report this is so that nobody can accuse me of covering anything up. They are of a
minor nature and were inflicted accidentally when he pushed past me to go to his room and I fell against the table
because I was standing awkwardly at the time.
I think the above type of incident is what our caring for them is all about. I mean to see things for what they really
are and not get paranoid about them. Far more important is solving some of the things that can be easily solved.
Like getting a new washing machine and thus saving staff the frustration of trying to deal with the wreck we
currently have. We get enough frustration in handling the residents without having to put up with faulty
mechanical devices that can be fixed.
I will also draw attention to the question of sheets again. They’re beginning to look, and feel, very much like
Institutional sheets. I thought the whole point of residential care was to get right away from all the depressing and
oppressing stuff. This is why I buy bright clothes for them and bright curtains. The look and feel of these sheets
right now must take the residents straight back to their Institutional nightmares the minute they climb into bed.
What else? Yes. I must remind them that I have sent through four requests now for consideration to be given to
regular, or at least trial, visits from the Psych as I think Krate, and the girls for that matter, would benefit. I’ll tell
them that we, or I, am happy to give as much care and attention as possible to the residents (when we aren’t
cleaning the house, cooking meals, shopping, washing the residents and their clothes, etc.) but whilst we have
plenty of practical experience of how the residents behave, we do not have any training or knowledge of what
might be the psychological reasons behind their behaviour. We may, with the best will in the world, be doing things
which are hampering rather than helping. On the other hand we may be doing things which the Psych can tell us
are okay, or could be increased. I know she is incredibly busy but I do think we have people here who have
managed to (I was going to write “escape”) well “graduate” from the Institution and I think we should maintain
that process towards some kind of normality rather than letting them sink into some kind of stupor that keeps
them in residential care for the rest of their lives.
Each day is getting hotter and more humid. I was working extra shifts because of staff transfers and because
Simon seemed to be forever off sick. Each day I swore I’d take sick leave myself. Both the girls were shitting
themselves. No matter how many times I cleaned the floors or how much deodorant I sprayed around, there was
always that sickly smell of shit in the hot, damp, air.
Last night I noticed that there was quite a long tear in my blue shorts. I thought perhaps I’d mend it when they’d
all gone to sleep. If I didn’t fall asleep first. I stepped into the shower and let the cold water run over me. Not
really cold because the pipes would heat up from the sun on the house all day. But cooling. I closed my eyes and
felt the cooling, calming, liquid trickle down my body. I lifted my arms so the cool liquid ran under my armpits,
over my chest, down my thighs. I let the water run all over my head. I turned my head up to let the water fall
directly onto my face. I let out a big sigh, and with it what seemed like a lifetime of tension.
As I ran the palms of my hands down the sides of my body I felt the swelling of the bruise on my thigh where I had
been pushed against the table by Krate at teatime. Why oh why couldn’t he sit at the table like the girls and let me
serve him his food and his endless cups of tea? He had to follow me around like a little dog. Stand beside the
stove. Stand beside the sink. Always in the way when I turned round with my hands full.
When I shouted at him, he would stride off into his room and slam the door. Then five minutes later he’d be out
again, wandering aimlessly around the house with his penis erect and clutched in his crooked fingers, breathing
heavily and staring into space so that he bumped into the furniture. That made him angry and he’d kick at the
table or pick up a chair and throw it across the room.
I’d shout at him, “Stop that! Do you hear me? Stop that temper! Don’t you dare throw that chair! And put your
cock away for God’s sake!”
Well, last night, I felt for the soap and started to soap my face. There was somebody there. Standing by the
shower. I turned my face up to wash off the soap and said through the water, “Who’s that? What’s the trouble
I should have guessed from the heavy breathing that it was Krate. There was no curtain on the shower and they
always left the bathroom door open. The residents never bothered each other. They didn’t even look at each other
when they were in the bathroom together. One of the girls could wash herself, after a fashion. The other girl had to
be undressed and put under the shower and soaped and rinsed just like a large, standing up, baby. ‘Colonel’
Dickie didn’t like showering the girls so they were usually pretty shitty by the time I came on duty. Krate liked to
take off his own clothes and stand under the shower but he liked to be soaped and he had to be told when to come
out. He usually needed a bit of help with drying himself too. Which, incidentally, Hannah refused to do.
Now he stood there naked, his clothes in a heap on the bathroom floor. “What are you up to?” I asked. He started
to breathe very fast and loud and stepped into the shower with me.
“Hi, hi!” I heard myself shout, “ What do you think you’re doing then? You had your shower, before tea!”
I was suddenly worried. I mean I’m well built and strong enough but Krate can be very strong. And, if the truth be
told, very violent if he chooses. He bent his head and pushed it into my chest. The water was pouring down from
the shower and it ran all over his head, down his curved back. He had his hands clenched as tightly as he could at
his sides. His head was pushed hard into my body but he didn’t move it at all. I put one hand out to steady myself
against the wall of the shower. Then I put my other hand on Krate’s wet head. His hair lost its crinkle when it was
wet. I moved my hand across his head, smoothing the water out of his hair. Watching it fill with water again.
“All right then,” I said.
I rubbed the soap into his head and worked my fingers through his hair and onto his scalp.
Then I felt his penis, begin to move against my thigh.
“That’s it old pal”
I slipped my body past him and stepped out into the bathroom, grabbed my towel and started to dry myself
“If you want to do that then you do it by yourself. And you can dry yourself off when you’ve finished. Do you hear
I was surprised that I felt a touch of fear. He had been very gentle. Now he was leaning his head against the
shower stall. His back to me. Arched forward so that all the little knobs of his spine stood out and the water
trickled around them, and down into the sharp cleft of his thin buttocks. He wasn’t moving. Just that breathing
getting heavier and heavier, faster and faster, a terrible frustration at being unable to reach orgasm. And then he
let out a cry. His head jerked up so that the water splashed into his face and into his open mouth. It was a piercing,
shrieking cry, like an eagle in combat. I left him to shout himself hoarse because I knew from experience that was
the quickest way to let him calm down. After a while he’d dry himself and put his clothes on without my help. I
dried myself and walked back to the lounge room.
“Not to worry girls, just Krate letting off a little steam.”
They paid no attention to me. The old man was out on the deck and started to whine gently. He had a habit of
waving a long white finger at me as he whined. That’ll go on for an hour, I told myself. I sat down at the table and
opened up the Daily Activities Journal again.
(In the carers’ Daily Activities Journal the traveller returns to her “official” world. – K.)
Well I appreciate the comments after my plea for a visit or visits from the Psych. No, I didn’t mean just for Krate,
although I do think he is the resident who will most benefit from some professional examination. To me the
encouraging thing was that we are all agreeing on something for once, instead of bickering and poking fun at each
other. And if Dickie really means what he wrote yesterday then I feel this Journal is beginning to work at last.
I feel the time is right to bring up the subject of the residents’ sexual lives. We seem to always politely ignore this
but I’m sure we all acknowledge that sex plays a pretty important role in our own lives and must play an equally
important part in the lives of the residents.
I suppose that, once again, Krate is the most obvious one in this context. He seems to have an almost permanent
erection and obviously has trouble trying to masturbate. However I believe the girls have their own problems in
this area too, I guess it just isn’t so obvious and noticeable.
Reading the girls’ case histories tells us that they both seem to have had sexual abuse problems at an early age.
And I just have to add here that they were certainly sexually abused at the Institution. No, I am not laying charges
or referring to specific incidents. Surely we don’t have to keep up the pretence that it doesn’t happen, frequently?
We have been told to be truthful in this Journal so I am being just that. Perhaps it will encourage others likewise.
I don’t mean that other staff are being untruthful but that they are, like myself, scared of talking about some
things because they are such disturbing subjects and could lead us into all sorts of trouble. But somebody had to
say it, so I have said it.
What I am getting at is that I believe the residents would benefit from some kind of sexual counselling. I know
such a service exists but I don’t think it is going to be offered until we ask for it. I seriously believe that some
residents, like Krate, could be helped to find relief from some of the tension that continually builds up inside them.
I am not suggesting this from a pleasure point of view but as a means of lowering their tension rather than just
pouring more drugs into them to bottle it up even more.
I believe sexual counsellors often rely on videos but this would not work here because nobody is into watching
television. It would need to be something more personal and I don’t know if this is provided under the sexual
counselling service or whether they have other techniques. Anyway I do think it should be considered and I would
like to hear other staff’s views on this.
One more thing. The turnover of staff has been so great in the past month that I wonder if this Journal is serving
its original purpose? Should there be some interchange with Journals from other Residencies? Just a thought.
FIRST CHAPTERS OF KRATE
Idiot savant, feast of fools, pyschiatry, intellectually handicapped,Butley Abbey,jester