About 60 odd years ago, when I was five year, my Father was a great stick and cane enthusiast and was never seen out and about without one. He dressed to please my Mother and thus with his hat, stick or cane looked the thorough Gent – in fact that became his ‘trademark’.
He was a Royal Navy man however (eventually serving 26 years) and during his leave time and after retirement he used to sit quietly with me showing how to make, create, varnish and French polish etc a piece of wood to a finely balanced, beautiful and useful walking stick or cane any Gent would be proud of.
Eventually the grand walking stick maker in the sky called him to the heavenly bench but the skills he passed down still holds true today
Now the internet is here I present our story, our skills and sticks for inspection
I also offer the background to The Duchy of Effenhauer title, its origins and description – I hope both are of interest albeit that I have tried to write in the mid Victorian style to add the ‘flavour’ and epitome of Gentleman-ness of the time
“The Duchy of Effenhauer is therefore not, as some trite hobby micro-nationalist might have or mal-spun conspirators try to assert, fiction. It is neither
On the contrary, it is a fact, completely functional by its essential elements and meaningful as all startling revelations might suggest, clean, wholesome and pure as the law (or heaven) might permit.
It is a perfectly legal entity, (by English and E.U. Law) and to paraphrase certain ‘fraternity members’ it is a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by the alternatives it offers, for right, reasonable thinking men and women of the full age of 21 years and over’
It is nothing like, and therefore should not be confused with Effenaar, which is neither a Duchy (It is situated in Eindhoven, however, in the Netherlands suggesting it may have been part of the Duchy of Brabant at one time) and has near enough the same spelling (which again, may have a linguistic origin i.e. Dutch) roughly translates the same but apart from those linguistic peculiarities have no other resemblance.
The Duchy of Effenhauer was originally thought to be connected, or part of, one of the major houses of Europe, in some form or other, but that idea, and the thousand avenue searches that followed, including the Austro-Hungarian, Germany and Russian Empires all culminated as cul de sac hope, mantled and crowned with charnel house dust and mustard thrown willy-nilly by youthful, yet destructive, micro-nationalists – in short, choked for a time on the disappointing results it returned and the abysmal waste of time lost in the pursuit. After those disappointments, however, the inner de jure – de facto enthusiasm to find it continued, with added fervour – but in a different form
To me The Duchy of Effenhauer existed and it was as simple as that. I had seen it perhaps even read about it somewhere and was ‘mind-struck’ by its ethic and charm, from some bland, boring, dog eared tome years before, but nevertheless suggesting to me something far greater, ‘higher and wonderful’ that essentially had to be achieved.
Not in the sense of some bedraggled Sufi seeking to find the meaning of life on a larks tooth or a supine inebriant cursing the dark for want of a match, but for a far simpler reason – the basic inquisitive of karma seeking ‘everyman’ – the peg of existence that answers their own mortal reality.
I might even have heard its name, surreptitiously adhesive, from some television drama, a play or commercial and considered it new through cryptomnesia but I just knew it existed somewhere, dimly lit, of course but as solid as the sphinx and twice as large yet allusive as a Piatnik blue card in a modern standard pack of Tarot
There were, of course, the easy times and ways of looking, the library, for instance, museums, old books, even a phone call or two but without doubt intertwined with cobblestones of arduous tread and euphemistic hills of unrequited labour – no laud on those, but then of course, the smallest of laurels would have meant something. A hope-twig, maybe a leaf or two, but not a pigeon pecked pip in sight, to tease or encourage.
The haggard lines of democratic destitution, by learned government gowns and clowns, could not have fared worse.
Their legacy of dour emblems, tainted by the constant wear and tear of consecutive dear-hearts governments, all vying for the crumbs of monarchs’ say so and the easy ransom or a gong or two for their trouble, casually dismissing their real purpose of participation by their own base virtues of driven avarice and greed
Their tat and tawdry endeavours leaving as a legacy, massive piles of international debt and the unwanted wide open doors principle , to linguistic babbledom and cultural abyss of the (so called) ‘unwashed masses’ – the non contributing millions from other climes, the god-swine of the Levant and the basket of other nonsensical war torn climes.
At the time of writing, the UK debt is fifteen hundred billion pounds and the handful of change to match the time of day.
The ever present, accumulating by the second, the meld of human complexions and cultural hue, leaving empty faculties, churches and industry and a social decay adding, more often than not, to the bleak melee, much like the puttideum of a 19th century workhouses
Those sodden bricks labour institutions simply held together by wattle, rotten daub and cold charity – defiled and scabbed by their own socially over laden stupidity; and a system so dire, it eventually went down with its Captain, crew, all ‘those who sailed with her’, the rats and the hoard of unwanted foreign vermin. New to severely overcrowded areas, the docks and the sea.
Those open sores of political posturing sound bitten and tested by the so called virtuous and free always gave the inevitable negative response for their abysmal loose venture – an empire lost and the remnants in a battered old budget box reminiscent of the mentality of its temporary owners – full of wind and pith Chancellors
My endeavours, a different tale altogether, a mess of peppermint holes, and nothing more
The Crown giving no teach either – their coffers full and fat and shoulders heavy with sable and gilded gimp, all ensconced under arches of majestic tower and corbel. No care in the world except the dilettante reconciliation of pennies and pounds at the end of each week for their greater glory and need – themselves and themselves alone.
Mine, no matter which way I turned or tried the empty sieve of nothing and the all too familiar lost onion skin of a damp spring morn
The cross and Mitre taint the same poniard. Aged by the sadism of shrouded sanctimonious mystery and wept-washed by the light touch of nonplussed benediction, the safety of the myrrh cloister and eons of smooth suave narrative – no less a double talk of foam and feather and a font full of insipid rancid water, that heaven sent or beguiled invariably left something – the distasteful distemper of history and faith, and the long forgotten dingy sweat room of the strappado, but always resulting in something, nonetheless, no matter how perverse, bloody or putrid
In my case, as I say, a raging volcano of froth soured by a left over bubble burst – nothing less, nothing more!
No….The Duchy of Effenhauer, no matter where it was or was hidden, had to be the answer. Why it had to be or what it stood for I could not say. All I knew was that it was a belief, a divine calling, if you wish; the name when muttered lifted my sap and spirit for as far back I could remember.
A hoped for faith of a pleasing nirvana in wisdom, testament and ‘being’; the source of wonderment and beauty, on my every action thought and word during day and misty dreams; the Nemesis of hardened cynicism, and sweat-meat of comfort and the truth which up to that time, proven so hard to look for, let alone find.
When all was said and done, however, The Duchy of Effenhauer was, to me, the varsity of faith wrapped in a puzzle, enveloped by an enigma and held together by the thinnest of twine begs the simple question– why?
Because it had to, no needed to, to be found, simply because of itself, by itself and the essence of itself, clean, wholesome and perfect, knowing its own time, its place and its own circumstance in the World waiting to slowly evolve and manifest in majestic splendour
Me’thinks, of course, it was my own soul, the drumming of an incessant tell-tale heart; the missing purpose, meaning and direction that my stretched out finger would never quite reach, gladly moving on nevertheless, without fear or favour, for want of an epiphany. That sudden flash, that would have pleases so much yet in its place, of hopelessly seeking the phantom, watching the slow agonising decline of beloved Jane, my wife, slowly sinking devoured by illness and total abysmal despair.
In the long run the insidious and horrendous malady that brought about her sudden demise on 26th January 2014 with an aftermath of the deepest, dark misery and grief for many months to follow, and later by the strangest of coincidences the appearance of the illusive Duchy of Effenhauer. A synchronicity I still cannot explain and perhaps never will
After Jane’s final committal and service, the inevitable paperwork followed. Solicitors, Inland Revenue, and probate and the thousand amendments and changes of details to bank, building society and so on that was both tedious and painful but not, I might add, to the faceless clerics and administrator, shamelessly pimping on every families’ sadness, bereavement and disaster – it was sickening to watch and witness, what they needed and wanted to know. So penetrating, so personal and so, so hurtful
After Jane’s and my affairs had been stretched and racked by the faceless and emotionally devoid Mandarins I ultimately received my household deeds (from H.M. Land Registry by copies), and there, in most singular awe, the boldest and clearest terms possible describing our house, by land, name, title and registry number, defining it’s all as ‘The Duchy of Effenhauer’, and registered in title absolute – by law, legal factual and true