End of Year Report for Barnaby Rogerson, 2017
Sport: Rogerson still cannot catch a tangerine at a picnic, let alone a cricket ball. He continues to avoid all organised sports that involve any team, discipline, boundaries or a moving ball, and has been reported as abusive when a kind-hearted colleague suggested golf, angrily quoting his grandfather: “I haven’t finished fucking my wife yet.” No attempt has been made to learn how to fish, shoot or ride, despite the most excellent facilities on offer from the kind and generous Baring family (not to mention the chance of at last making some decent friends). There was just a tiny glimmer of hope, when the subject attended a two-day power-boat course on Portsmouth harbour, though this promising avenue of hope appears to have been closed by an ‘accident’ in Skye with a borrowed boat and trailer.
Mechanical knowledge: His driving has succeeded in getting even worse, but last year’s temper tantrums with the chainsaw and lawn mower have fortunately receded. We continue to suggest he is never trusted with any tool more complicated than a shovel. He has however learned to sharpen his own axe and scythe.
Languages: Astonishing incompetent, most especially when you consider the opportunities he has had (and failed to respond to) with the vast amount of foreign travel and experience abroad he has received. We have at last managed to get him to attend a medical test, and he was found to be incapable of distinguishing between a third of the consonants. Further resources would seem be wasted on this candidate.
English: He has no ear for grammar and continues to habitually mispel the most simpel of words and splits infinitives - even in his published work. However he can sometimes appear to be formidably articulate when speaking, so we must fear that this inability is based on slackness and idleness.
Geography: Rogerson remains obsessed with maps, rivers, deserts, mountains and the street plans of old cities. He is always a cheerful presence on field trips, but could learn to listen more, not just talk. He has this last year once again visited Istanbul (in January) followed by a bold route across in Northern Iran (May) with southern Greece and the Outer Hebrides explored over August. His notes and sketches are copious and disorganised.
Theatre & Film Studies: Another bumper year, he has an infectious if somewhat indiscriminating enthusiasm (and there has once again been some concern at the size of his bar bill). He has attended Schiller’s Mary Stuart, The Ferryman, The Treatment, Oslo, Ink as well as Giselle at Sadlers’s Wells ballet, the musical Book of Mormon, My Fair Lady, and Carmen, Albert Herring and Mansfield Park at the Grange Festival Opera. He continues to run the Travellers Film Club, which screens old documentaries in the basement of a bookshop for free.
Science: He effects an anti-scientific mindset, preferring to attend choral evensong at Cathedrals (with a group of known drug-abusers) and has exhibited dangerous levels of excitement for three exhibitions at the British Museum and the Ashmolean (which he returned to again and again like a recidivist) - Imagining the Divine, Divination and Art in the Islamic World, Living with Gods, as well as such morbid exhibitions as Dogs of Istanbul and the tattooed human skin on show at the Scythian exhibition. With his record as an arsonist, who has stolen chemicals to make and detonate explosives, he must never be allowed unsupervised access to ANY laboratory.
History: He has immense enthusiasm for this subject, and we are all delighted that his book, In Search of Ancient North Africa: A History in Six Lives, has finally been published. It is only a pity that it is three years late, lacks maps, a bibliography or an index, though that has at least allowed him to be impressively fluent in the supporting battery of talks and lectures he has arranged for himself. He also takes some (perhaps rather too obvious) pleasure in appearing in yet another historical documentary on television.
Business Studies: The success of Eland Publishing Ltd, which once again published eight new titles over this last calendar year, and once again clocked up sales of over 35,000 volumes/ £250,000 from its distinguished backlist of over 100 classic travel lists, must be considered a sound achievement. Though it has long remained a mystery as to what actually Rogerson does in the office, once you consider that Rose Baring is in charge of all Editorial and Production matters, Stephanie Allen runs the Publicity and Marketing, Jennie Patterson is in charge of website development and Marg Corcoran presides over the Accounts. We believe however that it offers him a comforting and supportive environment and that he is allowed to feel busy, making the tea, emptying the rubbish bins and in charge of both opening the post and the out-going mail. His wife manages two other careers, as well as her work at Eland.
Social Relationships: He remains pathetically dependent on his family, and must learn to grow friendships with patience, not just attend a bewildering number of parties and lectures associated with a back-biting group of pale and unhealthy-looking book-readers, eastern travellers and writers. But without a proper commitment to any healthy sport, this remains HIGHLY unlikely. Rogerson should be reminded that wallowing in dammed rivers and burning off a hangover by swimming in a freezing cold sea does not count as ‘sport”.
Key Calendar events of 2017: The key elements in this past year once again relate not to Barnaby but to his family; especially the March marriage of his niece Ruby (eldest daughter of his sister Dido) to Gerald at a truly blissful weekend at Connemara, the graduation of his daughter Molly as a veterinary nurse on the 5th July (who unlike her father has immediately achieved a responsible and salaried position of trust) and the travels of his other daughter Hannah (who unlike her father has worked hard on her study of foreign languages) which has allowed her to work in a Russian orphanage over the winter, followed by a summer exploring Europe by train before heading north to Edinburgh to study Anthropology. The death of his last uncle, Nico, of whom we understand Barnaby was very fond took place in July. Nico Rogerson was a much loved man, a brilliant all-round sportsman, a linguist and a dazzlingly successful entrepreneur who was the co-founder of Dewe-Rogerson, one of the trail blazers of the Thatcherite Revolution. His two other nephews, David and James, share many of these abilities.
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by Barnaby Rogerson