The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) Chapter 32 — Birmingham (UK) & Edgbaston, 17 April 1962: The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Bombed Out Cinema (Part 2)

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I shot up the fire escape after her.

It wasn’t until the second landing that I found her – with the door. It was an old door, with elaborate wrought iron strap hinges – dark oak – the kind that might be side door to a cathedral.


I put the key in the lock. The key moved and the lock clicked.

I’d opened the door a crack when Jenny stayed my hand.

“It’s here,” she said. “Let’s all see it together.”

I nodded. “Ian, wave off the driver – we’re here. Stan, we’re on the second landing; haul y’self on up the escape and we’ll all steady it for Ian.”

It took a minute for Stan, another two for Ian.

A rung did break under Ian’s foot and, despite our efforts, the escape swerved horribly away from the building for a moment as he regained his footing.

But, he otherwise made it up without incident. Once he arrived, there was barely room for all of us on the landing and it swayed a bit  – but we were all there together,

“C’mon, Reggie mate,” Stan anxiously urged. “Get us inside before this thing collapses or falls away.”

I opened the door; seconds later, we were inside.

“Crikey!” Ian said breathlessly..

:”Bloody hell!” Stan – who wasn’t given to such exclamations as a rule – blurted out.

“I dreamed of this last night,” Jenny gasped.

“The rest of us dreamed of it about a week ago,” said Ian. “Now, we all have.”

It was indeed the cathedral of our mutual dream – the one we’d had the Sunday before hearing Desmond Shaddowe and Linda Faye.

We were all standing before the pews on the upper level. I half expected the ceiling of the cathedral to open any second, and the four of us to levitate to the Astral.

It didn’t, and we didn’t, but I could see the 100 candles alit, behold an array of stained glass windows that none of us had seen before, and hear – tenderly, softly, almost as in a dream – Gasang der Jünglinge,


Ever the eagle eye, Jenny found a stairway leading to the main part of the cathedral.

We descended, no sooner reaching the ground floor than we heard Jesu! Rex admirabilis surrounding us, sung perfectly,

Stan, Ian and I all chimed in, singing our respective parts, as it started a second time.






A harpsichord stood left of the altar; flanking the keyboard on what had no doubt once been wrought iron braziers, stood two giant candelabra.

“I take it this is what I’m intended to play just now,” Jenny said nervously. “Gents, I’ve never touched a harpsichord in my life.”





“Maybe you’re meant to just do chords for now, I said, “a set of quick arpeggios, as if you were playing continuo.”

“Not much help to you guys,” she said sadly.

“It would be,” I replied, “with this to help you,”


© 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 G. H. McCallum and Duvanian Press, all rights reserved.

The Bluebottle Boys (Volume One) and Walking Backward for Christmas: A Tale of Woe from Soggyhall are each now available from Amazon Books. The Bluebottle Boys (Volume Two) is expected to be available shortly.  The next novel of the series, By Good Angels Tenanted, will be available later in 2018