I was assuming a life-long task when I started keeping a journal, which was on New Year’s eve 1953. But it soon occurred to me that such a project ought to include a complete life-span, so that I should immediately try to furnish all the missing material before it faded from my memory. So I was working on that as soon as I came down from university and I now have a great many volumes in my hands, comprising so far more than 6 million words, which is another way of indicating a sequence of about 60 volumes, although it is often my practice to stretch these books to a great length, so that there are consequently less of them in number. I shall be describing this sequence to you shortly, but first a few words on my style in its presentation.
I regard ‘Strictly Private’, the vast autobiography upon which I have been toiling over the greater part of my life, as a wide canvass upon which I can depict everything within my creative repertoire. I enrich the texture of what I am writing by incorporating within it all three of the novels I have written, (and some of the unpublished ones too,) with each of them thus featured as a single chapter. All of my poetry and songs are included, plus a good selection of the photographs I have kept in my many albums, as well as the presentation of all the murals I have created, describing each at the time I was painting it on the walls of Longleat.
The poetry has yet to be presented selectively in a single volume, but the numerous sonnets that I have written frequently enrich the text of Strictly Private, intended to bring emphasis to the emotions that I was seeking to feed to my readers concerning the subjects I was putting in front of them. They do in any case provide textural variation within these vast tracts of prose, and the reader may choose to dwell on them, or not, as he pleases.
In the Sixties and Seventies I was learning to play the guitar, and I was writing melodies to accompany many of my poems. I learnt that some of my songs were getting appreciated, and when I obtained the opportunity to sing one of them (called Nanny Marks) on television, during a programme when I was being interviewed by David Dimbleby on the subject of people who had been brought up by Nannies, I received a surprise telephone call from Des O’Connor asking me if I’d written any other songs of this quality, and this led to him producing an LP record entitled I Play the Host of me singing sixteen of my own songs, to my own guitar accompaniment, but with a better guitarist performing alongside me. Unfortunately however, I didn’t receive any follow-up invitations to record a second album.
An account of all this has already been presented to a wide public upon my personal website (www.lordbath.co.uk) where it can always be viewed, although some will have to be published later because my wife has threatened me with divorce if I were to insist on putting up any more of the most intimate details of our life together on such public display. And a few other lady friends have also objected to such exposure, some of them in letters from their lawyers. The initial four books (within A Plateful of Privilege) saw the light of day before this censorship was imposed, but this is as far as this tale can go until a few deaths have occurred, which will sadly include my own. So I must currently confine myself to the task of completing the task of writing this magnum opus, without enjoying the literary reputation that it might possibly create for me.
When the time has been reached that it can safely be published, albeit posthumously, it will furnish a vivid picture of life in a particular stately home, with focus upon both ‘upstairs and downstairs’ situations, along with a broad view of current affairs and their effect upon us, with the identification of the ideas for our generation’s peculiar inspiration: the activities, the beliefs, the goals along with all the frictional family disputes.
Each of the chapters within Strictly Private is broken up into specialist concerns, which usually start under the heading of Family Matters. This is followed by all the incidents within my life at that time which relate to Sex, or my failed attempts to get things moving in such a direction, but still with the notion of emotional fusion with other individuals to such an end. The next focus is upon the concept of Authority, where I investigate all the problems I have known with a view to emerging in control of the people under me, as well as the problems deriving from those who are above me in authority too. But this is frequently presented within an analysis of the current state of my Career and Activities with which I am then involved. And there is usually a final section in each chapter on the subject of Identity & Religion, where I am striving to comprehend my relationship with the Totality of the Universe as a whole.
When I come to study the subject of Family Matters within this text, the material which most comes to mind concerns the nature of my upbringing, the alliances and the enmities, the tenderness and the hatred involved; the maternal support, culminating in her ultimate rejection of me. There was also my hero-worship for a father, involving his infusion into me of his fascist ideals, despite my failed endeavour to attain his admiration, leading to a prolonged spate of sibling rivalry. The rivalry was much in evidence over our rapport with my girlfriends, although this was eventually transferred into an even more intense rivalry over the control of the stately home, involving the younger brother’s appointment as the father’s Tourist Manager and the battle for supremacy which this involved.
Or on a more personal level I am writing about all the marital friction which arises in a family of this description, and how my wife and I were to some extent in contention while seeking to influence the upbringing of our own children. There was indeed much creative inspiration within this mould. Or when I came to decorate their nursery suite with my murals, I was deliberately painting a fantasy world to inspire them in their childhood vision of reality, around the four themes of Daytime, Night-time, Underground and Underwater. These images have the capacity to speak for themselves.
The themes of my first two novels were also derived from this family setting, in The Carry-Cot which is essentially a psychological ‘who-dunnit’, concerning the un-established fate of a battered baby, where the reader is led to pose himself the imponderable questions concerning the nature of his own identity and the unfathomable notion of any ultimate responsibility, beyond what memory can be expected to ascertain, or even his factual participation within what other people seem to regard as clearly observable events. In what came to be my third published novel (although it was the second to be written), Pillars of the Establishment, I take the largely fictionalised life story of Nanny Marks, while still closely derived from that of the nanny who took care of us children when we were young, and in doing so I analyse the historical backdrop (both pre-war and post-war) of the age through which we had reached adulthood over those years. The subject is viewed with a satirical eye, within the tradition of Evelyn Waugh perhaps. (My encounter with that author receives a flattering description within his book of Collected Letters, from a letter that he wrote at that time to my mother Daphne.)
Then in one of the spiral staircases at Longleat I have been painting an entire set of Ancestral Heads, derived from any official sketch or portrait that might come to hand. But there wasn’t sufficient room on that one staircase for all the ancestors who feature upon the family tree, even though the sequence is continued up in the New Banqueting Suite, in their accompanying guest-rooms, and on the landing outside my new Penthouse Suite. I now have more than 170 of these portraits in place, which furnishes me with a fairly good idea of my full ancestry, (or those who have come to light within this genealogical investigation,) back through any of the ancestral lines to which I can lay claim. It involves many of the European royal lines, the French line in particular while including that of our own royal family (through our common ancestor of Henry VII), leading back to our earliest identifiable ancestor in the person of the Roman historian Tacitus. These portraits have been modelled like all my other paintings in my customary mixture of oil-paint with saw-dust and then laced with oily treacle strands of lighter pigmentation, before applying raw primary colours squeezed like toothpaste over some of the surfaces of figures that require a greater high-lighting. As a style of painting, mine fits somewhere within the Neo-Expressionist school.
The significance to me personally of these Ancestral Heads is that, like the Family Tree itself, this collection of paintings enables me to view my collective ancestry through any line of forebears, as something I can both quickly and easily envisage, in a feeling of "That is where my roots are to be found and perhaps even further explored," if for no better reason then to prompt an understanding of my own identity.
The second section within each chapter of Strictly Private often covers the more explicitly sexual matters in my life (under the heading of Sexual Relationships) where, in the early books, the principal theme might alternatively be described as the quest for purity and virginity, although featuring elsewhere perhaps as ‘The Holy Grail’, that elusive notion of a purity somewhere that never gets fully realised. There was indeed this concern in my life as a young adult, when these matters were still important to me. I was struggling to define such an importance to myself, and yet uncertain about any fundamental values for the behaviour between the sexes that were substantially more free and independent from any such puritanical inclination, while managing to enrich this fortunately by an exploration of a taste for exoticism that has frequently driven me to explore those aspects of human behaviour hitherto undiscovered by me.
But it is perhaps more accurate for me to say that the driving force within my sex life has been the Quest for Compatibility, which also features as the subject for a sequence of paintings within my murals. A couple is there portrayed going through agonising contortions in their quest for positions of comfort. In a pessimistically contrasting vein, I have also painted a series of images entitled From Prey to Predator, which just possibly may have had the same goal originally in mind, and without any conscious distinctions to be made from considerations of gender. Or there is another sequence entitled Mental Disorder also there on the wall to consider, with Life and Death being just possibly, more or less on the same theme too. Or just to one side of these is posed the warning in A Cautionary Tale for Bedtime, where the resulting infant is portrayed within a teardrop.
What I might be said to be pioneering within my life as a whole, as illustrated within Strictly Private, is my endeavour to set up a single working model for Polygyny, as just one of the examples of what one should expect to find practised within our human culture, where my own behaviour plays its own minimal (if formative) role, in discovering and thus experiencing all the problems that accrue to anyone seeking to live his life in that particular manner. This is a quest undertaken in the realisation that we are actually now living within a Polymorphous Society where we should be expecting to encounter the full range of family forms, including Single Parenthood, Monogamy, (whether straight or serial,) Polyandry and Group Marriage, in addition to the Polygyny to which I personally have chosen to aspire.
It might be more accurate to state that my own cultural preferences have emerged where the practices of Polygyny and Polyandry overlap, with the women as much as their menfolk incorporating the additional partners within the style of life they practise: something short of Group Sex, while still being more enriched than straight Monogamy. But each and every one of us has their individual choice to make in these matters, whereas I am merely concerned to explain and document my own.
An encounter with all of these family forms is now being revealed within our culture, as exemplified in the literature that is currently emerging, where we may expect all the advantages and disadvantages within such practices to be given extensive airing to the point of including all variations on the particular theme with what might sometimes be described as deviant behaviour. Those pleas for the recognition of such practices is for the initiates themselves to make in seeking their own acceptance from society at large. Practices which may start as mere literary suggestions might eventually prove persuasive to the culture as a whole, or alternatively they may evoke an even shriller rejection. But in my own case the specialist concern, within Strictly Private, focuses largely upon Polygyny, as indeed it is already practised, openly or covertly, in a great may areas of the world, and within Strictly Private I am merely investigating the society that we know here in the UK.
The spirit of these practises, (of both polygyny and polyandry,) is one that I have taken as the subject for one of my better known murals, the Kama Sutra Mural, where our human delight in copulation is illustrated with minimal inhibition. Then there is another spiral staircase at Longleat where I have exhibited the portrait heads of every lady of whom I have ever had full carnal knowledge, under the title of Bluebeard’s Collection, while numbering as yet a modest 74 portrait heads that have been painted within the same style as the Ancestral Heads mounted elsewhere upon the other spiral staircase, and within the Banqueting Suite mentioned earlier.
A third section within each chapter of Strictly Private investigates the current state of my life with regard to all the more commonplace activities in which I have indulged, with particular regard to the exercise of power and authority over others, as well as the receipt of it from those positioned over me. These sections are entitled Authority & Activities. Within the earliest volumes, I lay out a general picture of the ordeal in growing up within a household where the father passionately admired Hitler as the ruler who best exemplified how authority should be exercised, (ruthless and authoritarian,) and even inspiring me to put such ideals into practice when it came to my first real exercise of power as the Captain of the School at my preparatory school, along with its consequences in all that I learnt from this experience, especially after I had tasted what it was like to be at the bullied end of the way in which societies of this kind are operated.
While at Eton however the success story was to be prolonged, involving sporting prowess as both an oarsman and as a pugilist, culminating in the proud attainment of honour and prestige after my election into Pop. But this was promptly followed up with all the humiliations that I suffered during my National Service, even after my graduation as an officer in the Life Guards during the final part of this, which was spent out in Germany, in the British Army of the Rhine. This was followed by a year on the Left Bank in Paris, developing my conviction that I should study to become an artist after first going up to Oxford of course, where my activities were centred upon the Bullingdon Club, eventually becoming its President.
Subsequent to all that I spent prolonged periods both in Paris and at Longleat, discovering my style as an artist, and commencing the task of writing this autobiography. There were many periods when I was travelling abroad, or just establishing my relationship with both my domestic staff as well as with all those who worked for me upon the estate. I was confused and ill at ease with the class structure within the English way of life, and there was all the jockeying for positions of relative power and control within the Longleat hierarchy itself, with which I had to contend while seeking to comprehend it. This furnished me with a continuous evolution of material to write about as successive volumes of Strictly Private took shape.
The principal activities within my working life have been the authorship of Strictly Private, and the painting of the Longleat Murals. It is in these particular sections where my activities are under scrutiny that I am concerned to describe how they came about, what went into them and how they evolved. Starting with the subject of my murals, one method of analysing these is to list them under Cocoons, Therapies or Fantasies.
I have described the latter elsewhere when talking about the murals that I painted in decoration of the Nursery Suite on the themes of Daytime, Night-time, Underground and Underwater. But there is one sequence which should perhaps be added to these, in that I had assembled a team of young artists to assist with the construction of the murals I was painting downstairs, and I told five of them to conceive their own idea for an abstract panel, partly emerging from a particular conversation with myself. These were then to be described as my Abstract Conversation Pieces, and were painted between 1968 and 1969.
In the first of these, I was suggesting that we might view this painting as the aerial view of a battlefield, with an overall view of it looking something like a painting by Poliakoff faintly coming to mind. But we’d be sculpting it using my own special technique in mixing paint with sawdust, prior to the addition of any colour pigments. In the second of these abstracts I was suggesting that we create something looking similar to the craters on the surface of the moon, but with visible signs that mankind had started interfering with it with his imposition of some initial structures. In the third we were taking an aerial view of something like an African village, with all the huts clustered into the space beneath us. Then in the fourth it was as if there were a series of overlapping layers of corrugated iron sheets progressing to a single vortex-point for the eye to focus. And in the fifth, the human physiognomy is abstracted to create an image of just half of a human face. Then at either end of this passage containing these abstract conversation pieces, there are two more conventional conversation pieces with both of them featuring my self-portrait, but with fifteen years separating these in time: the first taken from 1970, where I am naked with my daughter Lenka as a baby on my knee. The second is from 1985, where all four of us are featured in the family group conversing far better with their own choices for personal computers, rather than with any other members of the family in particular.
Under Cocoons would be listed those murals where I am seeking to depict an understanding of our existence as we wend our paths through life. We might start with the Ages of Man mural, which was the very first that I painted at Longleat, back in 1964. It sets out to illustrate life’s eight different ages (as I myself choose to discern them,) for the simple reason that my drawing-room had been designed to include eight rather than seven panels. Following on from a lyrical depiction of Conception, we can view the full sequence of Pre-nativity, Innocence, Adolescence, Disillusionment, Maturity, Toil, Success, and then finally the Age of Decay. Within each of these panels are featured three small anecdotal statements, to be read in accordance with a psychological interpretation of dreams. I was making good progress within my current study of dream symbolism, sufficient to enable me to comprehend the language of my own dreams, and often those of other people. So I was treating the subject as if the anxieties encountered in each particular age get depicted graphically within our dreams. Then on the ceiling I introduced a large panel depicting Eternity. A particular symbol from each of the preceding panels was then lifted to follow each other in succession around the depiction of a life-giving sun.
Another example of a ‘Cocoon’ lies within The Ages of History panels, which I painted two years later. In these I am depicting images that illustrate the spirit of that particular age by evoking an enactment of the problems concerning which their minds might then have been preoccupied. The Predatory Problems of Stone-Age Art was inspired by cave paintings and is followed by the Fetishist Problems of Barbaric Art, inspired by African and aboriginal wood carvings. Then come the Heroic Problems of Greco-Roman Art, which was inspired by the figures one finds upon Greek pottery, and is followed by the Dynastic Problems of Mediaeval Art, (inspired by mediaeval brasses), and the Spiritual Problems of Renaissance Art, with a traditional depiction of the Holy Family in mind, although with cynical connotations that stand much in contrast. Then come the Economic Problems of Romantic Art with a revolutionary painting by Delacroix as the prototype; the Racist Problems of Contemporary Art, with Picasso’s painting of Guernica just faintly in mind, and I end up with the Automational Problems of Future Art. Here the background is taken up by a pile of television screens where a match-stick couple go through their day’s routine, from getting up in the morning to their retirement to bed at night. But one may start thinking that true life has somehow been transferred to the monstrous octopus-like figure that dominates the foreground of this mural, representing a computer in days to come which has become fiendishly alive.
In another Cocoon, (started in 1986, but still to be completed) I am painting a Mural of Wessex Identity, where the names of famous Wessaxons (past and present) are inscribed, upon figures that represent the careers or occupations in which they were so prominent, and with a backdrop incorporating paintings in the background, depicting the most significant events within the history of Wessex. If you so choose, it becomes a plea or a rallying cry for the contemporary recognition of Wessex, to stand alongside all those more firmly established Regions of Europe.
The group also contains my Autobiographical Mural, which incorporates a whole series of cartoons poking fun at my own lifestyle over the years. (In one of them, a young man is excusing himself from the expectation that he will kiss the young girl by telling her: "I’m afraid I don’t like human saliva," – a thought that did just faintly worry me when I first started these practices. These cartoons were all painted between 1978 and 1984, and they now brighten the walls of one of my guest rooms at Longleat.
Within the Therapies, my murals assume a different significance. The first of these were the two Paranoia Murals, painted in 1968, within passageways that are both high and narrow. Any adornment of these walls would have been totally wasted if I had not gone for shock-effect. By taking the theme of Paranoia, (from which some people came to suppose that I might myself be suffering from such delusions,) I was deliberately confronting my visitors with grotesque figures upon these walls, giving rise to the paranoid fears that might haunt some of our hearts. I depict them as starting within the womb environment, and then taking off in earnest until they culminate in the portraits of my own parents, (by the Russian artist Sorine around the date when I was born.) These portraits display a notable calm and serenity that stands much in contrast to all the bawdy irreverence of my own imagery within this mural.
There are other murals too which might be described within this group, like the picture of Life and Death, and the Heaven and Hell murals, where I set in contrast the benign serenity associated with such a mental state to be described as Heaven, perhaps, and the tortured absence of compatibility that is associated with a Hellish environment. As I point out within the text inscribed between these murals: "Heaven and Hell are what we experience here on earth, in the relationships between our fellow human beings." This was also painted in 1968, but with a few metres added to it in 1982.
The Kama Sutra Mural can be viewed in a less controversial light as an additional Therapy. Painted conveniently in ’69, it encourages the viewer to abandon him or herself to the delights of copulation, and to avoid all those inhibitions which came near to blighting my own initiation into sexual practices. And much the same can be said for the Disco Mural, (painted between 1982 and 1984, where the viewers are encouraged to abandon themselves to the pervading atmosphere of Rhythm and Dance. And there is a frieze around the top depicting a variety of ethnic variations upon the same theme, painted between 1985 and 1986.
Perhaps I should state that if I assume the task of showing some visitors these walls that I have painted, but need to shorten this task with appropriate omissions, then I might limit the tour so as to include merely the following murals. The Ages of Man mural, largely because it was the first that I painted. I would follow this with the Disco Mural because it is the most vigorously animated, displaying contrasts in colour that facilitate good photographic reproduction. Then as the finale I might show them the Kama Sutra Mural because it does generally create an impressive visual impact.
Within the sections in Strictly Private where I am discussing my general activities over the period concerned, I do of course go into some depth in describing all the problems that I encounter in writing my novels. At the time when they are completed, and even on the occasions where some novel has remained unpublished, I insert the complete text within this autobiography as a single chapter. They each had their role to play within the evolution of my thoughts, so their place within Strictly Private is deservedly required.
After completing these sections on the subject of my Career & Activities, I usually round off the chapter with a further section upon Identity & Religion. This is the area where I try to come to grips with the development of my ideas, where these have not been given sufficient coverage in any previous section. Or where my private beliefs are concerned, especially on matters which effect the development of my personal identity, this is the section where I might be expected to examine that subject.
My third novel is science fiction and entitled The King is Dead. It dwelt upon many of my ideas concerning the true nature of the Universe, and the entire novel gets slotted into a single chapter at the time when it was written. The story concerns a man (very like myself of course) who discovers that he has been resurrected, or perhaps reincarnated would be a better description of his new estate, because what he discovers is that future generations on some planet out there somewhere have been studying him in the minutest of detail, so that they were in a position to re-create him through the process of physically cloning an identical twin of himself, along with the full memory of his lifetime, because his thoughts had all been recorded as they arose in his head. It was a question of keeping him constantly under the watchful lenses of these enormously powerful telescopes, and then feeding those memories back into his mind after the cloning had been effected up on that distant planet.
Within my novel, (which missed by as little as a single year I believe becoming the first science fiction novel to employ the concept of cloning at the centre of its plot,) the cloned copy of me which they have thus in focus happens to be the heir apparent of an old King, who is taking a long time trying to sort out all his problems when lying on his deathbed. But when he does die, the cry inevitably goes up that the King is Dead, and Long Live the New King, when his son and heir can then continue living his life with all the benefits of hindsight, and much still to be done in making his peace with the future, and with some (specially fabricated for this novel) notion of God.
But it was not until the publication of a book of essays that I had written expressing my ideas on a whole variety of subjects, with the title being The New World Order of Alexander Thynn, that I am really giving myself the opportunity to state what might be regarded as my philosophy of life. It covers virtually every aspect of how I think, and what I regard as being my duties within this existence. Sooner or later of course, an explanation of all this does get revealed within Strictly Private.
Another area where my ideas get inserted into Strictly Private is when I am describing the political campaigns I fought as a Wessex Regionalist. There are items like my ‘Wessex Awake!’ campaign leaflet, which I followed up with A Regionalist Manifesto, 1975, where I present the case for Regionalist government, not only here in the U.K, but also within a United Europe of Regions, notwithstanding the persuasion that such ideas will eventually inspire the initiation of a United World Order, specifically on a basis of Regions.
When I am writing on the subject of Religion, it becomes evident that I am speaking about Pantheism: the belief that God is the Universe, requiring no other Power to account for its existence, and neither created nor potentially terminable by any such power because it constitutes its own self-contained concept of Permanence. But to make sense of this, a different conception of both Space and Time is required before the Totality of the Universe can be meaningfully conceived. Once space is assumed to be circuited, the Big Bang leads to the perpetual extension of all matter until it has extended into the Big Crunch, which of course is the same point from which it originally sprang. So with this repetition of the First Cause, Time itself is displayed as being circuited, with ‘infinite’ repetitions of identically the same History of the Universe, including the same cameo slots within it for our own individual lives. The concept of there being a life after death is removed because time present is never eradicated. (One cannot think in terms of being in both situations simultaneously.) Moreover the entire notion of infinite just disappears because the logic of (n+1) is incompatible with the notion of a One meaning All.
In working out what must be required of us in our understanding of both Individualism and our inclusion and Compatibility within the Totality of the Universe, we start to understand far more about the whole Purpose of Life. We exist within this Circuited Universe which stands in this state of Permanence, where the importance lies in discovering our fullest possible relationship in compatibility with all the rest of the Universe, and within it we are likely to be seeking to acquire a mental state of Peace of Mind, (or Serenity as it might be called) wherein is contained that purpose of life. Pantheism encompasses a religion in itself, although we are then in a position to accept all other religions in their own statements on how to approach an understanding of this state of existence. But a Pantheist is entitled to view his own religion as the umbrella beneath which the religions of the world will eventually come together in a spirit of mutual tolerance on the common assertion that we all worship God, which is factually the Totality of the Universe.
Within this presentation of my life’s work, I should stress that there have been only two Magna Opera, the Longleat murals, and this autobiography entitled From Strictly Private to Public Exposure. But I had best examine the latter to reveal the form that it has taken, where each volume falls within a numbered Series.
Series I is entitled A Plateful of Privilege, and contains six books within it. Book 1 is The Early Years, which gives a summary of the Thynn(e) family history, and tells the story of my life up to the time when I finished with my Preparatory School, in the proud position of Captain of the School. In Book 2 Top Hat and Tails, I describe my time at Eton, with the dual crisis of losing my father’s regard and an even more personal identity crisis, when I was accused of becoming one of the school tarts. Fairly innocent though I happened to be, I knew in my heart that I had developed some homosexual practices elsewhere, so that my sense of identity was given a thorough shaking up over this period. That I emerged eventually as a member of Pop, the elitist Eton Society, constitutes a small success story in its own right. And then in Book 3 Two Bites of the Apple, I am writing about my initial experiences as an adult, suffering all the humiliations while training to become an officer in the Household Cavalry as part of my National Service. But the tale once again ends in glory when to everyone’s surprise I emerged as the Army Officers’ welter-weight boxing champion. This volume also covers the story of my first love affair.
In Books 4,5 and 6, A Degree of Instability, The Oxford Years I examine each of my three years at Oxford separately, pin-pointing how my ideas started formulating as they did. So it is largely a question of starting to comprehend my own Individualism in a personalised attitude to life, but with the realisation that, in academic terms, I had failed to emerge as being any manner of a respected intellectual.
This brings us to the three books within Series II A Labyrinth of Rejection. Book 7 is entitled An Angry Young Man, and studies the development of such an attitude within my own heart from 1956 to 1959. In Book 8 In Pursuit of a Fantasist (1959-1961,) I recount the story of my travels round South America in the company of the impossible teenager who was one day ten years later to become my wife. Then in Book 9 Rejoining Society, (1961-1965), I finally resolve many of the problems which had driven me into a state almost of reclusion, buying myself a flat in London and a holiday villa in the South of France, and re-embracing the fellowship of my former friends.
Series III is entitled The Quest for Maturity and it covers the years from 1965 to 1979, when I was making a modest breakthrough as a writer with the publication of three novels and painting the murals on most of the walls within my private apartments at Longleat, which were by then being viewed by a small public, and appreciative articles were occasionally getting written about them. The four books have their individual titles, starting with Book 10 A Splash of Colour, followed by Book 11 A Master of the Arts, and then Books 12 and 13 A Political Platform, Rounds 1 & 2.
In Series IV Sibling Rivalry, I reach what was perhaps the main crisis in my life, when my brother was being encouraged to profit from the sense of conflict between my father and myself, in their attempts to demote me within the Longleat hierarchy, although I was resisting all this as best I could while continuing to promote my dissident identity both in literature and the arts. In the six volumes where I have chronicled this ordeal, I span the years from 1979 to 1993. Book 14 A Flamboyant Public Image, is followed by Book 15 Problems in Polygyny¸ which is followed by Book 16 Thwarting the Alternative Empire, and by Book 17 Roguery Afloat, and then by Book 18 The Length of a Bargepole, and finally Book 19 Attaining the Crown, which brings the story up to 1992.
Series V is entitled Establishment Material and covers my strictly modest performance in the Upper Chamber, where it might just be mentioned that I did play regularly for the House of Lords’ chess team, losing as often as I won games. But I was advocating in my speeches that the hereditary peers should lose their seats, so I could hardly complain that I too should lose mine. In fact I did not allow that my name should go forward for election with regard to those who should be permitted to remain. It would have pleased me far better if there had been a wholesale abolition of hereditary titles at this time, so that we’d all be departing at precisely the same time. Within our bicameral system however, I was actually advocating that there should be a deliberate contrast between a First Chamber directly elected by the people, and a Second Chamber indirectly elected by the Councils sitting in authority over each Regional State.
In terms of what we find in government today, the Regional Chamber might initially be filled with our elected county councillors, but with all from any particular Region grouped together within a single Council, and with these politicians then selecting a delegation of notable people whom they might wish to represent their Region within the Second Chamber. Whereas the First Chamber might then be regarded as truly representative of the people, the Second would merely consist of prominent people who were deemed to be representative of the differing idiosyncrasies of any one Region in contrast with its neighbours, while each would doubtless be proud of their distinction from the population of the country as a whole. The First and Second Chambers would thus be of a totally differing composition, and less liable to find themselves in conflict with regard to their influence on our European government of the future, especially if their respective duties were clearly defined within the European constitution.
The individual titles within Series V are as follows. Book 20 Consolidation of Power, which is followed by Book 21 Law-Makers and Law-Breakers, Book 22 A Flush of Speeches, followed by Book 23 Resurgence from Redundancy, and then finally Book 24 The Attraction of the Year, which will bring the story of my life up to the year 2003.
At this point in time the books which will constitute Series VI still remain to be written, but I am currently supposing that this series will be entitled In the Shadow of Terror. And once the whole of Strictly Private has gone up on my website, I might anticipate that I shall eventually be receiving some posthumous literary recognition. But there is no knowing about that, of course, and I am content to leave all this in the hands of the Universe!
Perhaps I should end by saying a few words on how I might be hoping my life’s achievements will ultimately be assessed. Within the 6 million words (as yet) that constitute Strictly Private, I think that I furnish a vivid depiction of 20th century feuding within a particular stately home, which might also be saying something about the evolution of the struggle between the classes, although towards a point gently diminished from former times. While creating this literary tome, it is possible that I shall gather a passionate coterie of persuaded readers, ever eager for the publication of the next volume, while assessing the vision that I present for its relevance at that future date.
Of even more importance, they will be taking note of just how accurately (or inaccurately) I might happen to have been in my prediction that three aspects of my philosophical attitude will actually take off, to become significant standards within their contemporary thought.
To start with I have predicted the advent of the Polymorphous Society, where mothers (far more than fathers) will assume the responsibility for selecting the Family Form under which their children will be raised. Some of them might be choosing Single Motherhood, while others the traditional ideas of Straight or Serial Monogamy. Then again they might choose Polygyny, Polyandry, or even Group Marriage. But where the law is concerned, the choice as a general rule will be hers, unless other members of her family group manage to persuade the law to rule differently. The State will then be paying each mother direct for the costs she will be incurring for the upkeep of her children. And to those who might query how such a system could function economically, I would urge them to reflect upon the savings that would appear from the pooling of resources that could be involved where the traditional bread-winner has been freed from the expectation of financing items such as housing, clothing, recreation and education, all of which will then be paid to her direct by the State from out of Inland Tax Revenue, and quite regardless of the family form she may have selected.
The second significant prediction that I am making is the political one, that the creation of Wessex within a United Regions of Europe will trigger the global fulfilment of democracy, (in terms of "one region, one vote",) where nations will be limited to a particular size, in terms of the population that they can expect to be recognised by the United Nations, or eventually by the future Assembly for World Government. A Manifesto will then be produced, defining the respective roles of the Regional State, where our individual Quality of Life will be both regulated and maintained; or secondly within the Continental Group where the economy can best be doctored for beneficial inter-reaction, and thirdly for the World Assembly where international peace will be guaranteed, and the practices of Candour and Empathy entrenched as the foundation stone upon which these institutions will discover their true stature. It should also be noted that the creation of this World Assembly will mark the birth of a new era: the Year One within an era common to all mankind.
Then finally I come to the religious prediction concerning the emergence of Pantheism as the spiritual umbrella, beneath which all religions will discover their self-expression within a peaceful environment, with the promotion of the Winter and Summer Solstices as the points in any year best to be celebrated in respect and reverence for the cyclic character of our one and only Universe. And if all three of these predictions are in fact realised, I may anticipate that my standing will indeed be greatly enhanced – in terms of me being someone who had the vision to perceive the true direction in which society will continue to evolve. And if Strictly Private has by then finally cleared the last hurdles before its unlimited publication, then I do indeed think that justifiably I’ll have made a name for myself!
But that isn’t quite all, of course. Half of my life’s work has been in the creation of my murals at Longleat, as well as being the Custodian for all the rest that is treasured within this domain. But if the murals in particular survive the next generation’s inclination to restore the décor to something deemed to be more ‘normal’, then I might hope that these too will acquire some veneration, from both my family and from our tourists, if only as a recommended attraction upon anyone’s tour of Wessex. I would indeed like to feel that I have made my own personal contribution to Wessex culture, to be remembered down the centuries by those who dwell within this Region, on how I assisted in the creation of Longleat’s particular atmosphere and appeal.