A few years ago, we sent TABI investigative reporter Sam Sword to find out more about Tarot and Astrology. What he discovered is quite extraordinary, so we considered his findings worthy of republication and watch out, there will be some previously unseen episodes thrown in as well…
Some of you might remember Mickey Querent. He goes for as many Tarot readings as he possibly can, sometimes two or three a day. He’s really interested in astrology and he’s become so skilled that he adapts his approach according to the Sun-sign of the Tarot reader.
We’ve had lots of chats about astrology and I’ve learnt a lot from him. Anyway, the other evening I was watching the snooker on TV when the phone rang and woke me up.
“Hello?” I tried to sound intelligent but it obviously didn’t quite work.
“You alright mate? You sound a bit out of it.” It was Mickey Querent.
“I’m fine. Just relaxing, you know. How are you?”
Mickey never likes to chat on the phone for any length of time but this time he seemed especially keen to get to the point. Must be on his way to a Tarot reading.
“There’s a woman I’d like you to meet.”
“Really?” I was wide awake now.
“It’s not what you’re thinking. For a start she’s 80 years old.”
Sad to admit, I felt a slight twinge of disappointment.
Mickey was definitely in a bit of a hurry. “She’s a special woman. All her knowledge comes from her observations of people. She knows more about how astrology works in real life than anyone I’ve ever met.”
“Sounds like an interesting person.” My voice was calm enough but inside I was very excited.
Mickey switched to his end-of-conversation tone of voice. “Come along to the pub lunchtime tomorrow. Queenie and me’ll be there from about 12:30. See you.”
He was away before I could even say goodbye. Queenie? Do me a favour! Still, it’s such a joy when you meet someone whose knowledge comes from real life and who really knows what they’re talking about. Doesn’t happen every day.
The pub was pretty quiet but even if it had been chock-full of people I’d have known where Mickey and his friend were sitting. I could hear her laugh from the other side of the bar. I thought, “What have I let myself in for?”
I went over to where they were sitting, right in the far corner so that they both had comfy chairs with their backs to the wall. I could see that Mickey was drinking his usual grapefruit juice and lemonade. It looked like Queenie was on the sherry. Mickey looked really pleased to see me. He stood up and shook hands with me, “Hello, mate. Let me introduce my good friend Queenie.”
I shook her hand but she didn’t get up. She was solidly built and she looked in good nick but her dancing days were long gone. She had a lovely open, lived-in face with sparkling eyes and she was wearing the most obvious wig I’ve ever seen. It was orange.
“Oh ’ello chuck. Will ya ’ave a drink? Ted’s told me all about yer.”
I glanced nervously at Mickey. “Queenie calls me Ted. Or sometimes Keith,” he said, as though it was the most natural thing in the world.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Queenie.” It sounded funny saying her name. “Thanks but I’ll get these. What will you two have?”
Mickey shook his head and Queenie said, “No thanks luvvie, you’re alright. Ted got me a sherry.”
I nipped off quickly to the bar.
To be honest, I wanted a little minute to myself. I’ve got a pretty good ear for accents you see. I used to say that I could place anyone from the UK to within 50 miles of where they went to primary school. Outside of the UK, I could generally tell what country they were from.
Do you remember that TV programme, “You Bet”? They had a professor on once who said that he could tell what country someone was from by their accent. He was useless. I did much better than him.
Actually, that 50 miles business is easier than you think. Supposing you can tell that they’re from the Midlands. Well you’ve every chance if you say, “Ashby-de-la-Zouch” which is within 50 miles of Derby, Leicester, Birmingham, Coventry, the lot.
I ordered my drink and started thinking. Where was Queenie from? Flat, North Country vowel sounds but not Yorkshire. The North-West probably. Not nasal enough for Manc-chester but not back-of-the-throat enough for a Scouser. Somewhere in between perhaps? Rugby League territory. Wigan? No she didn’t have that lovely David Lloyd “aroyund the groyund” Lancashire thingy. St Helens? No that would be a touch more Liverpool. Warrington? Yes. That’s good.
I heard a gentle cough then a woman saying, “I said that’s one pound ninety please.” Her voice was friendly enough but had a worrying touch of pity about it.
“Oh sorry. I was miles away.” I paid the woman behind the bar and went back to join Mickey. I was quite excited to hear Queenie talk about Astrology.
I took a sip of orange and went over and sat down with Mickey and Queenie.
“How’s TABI then?” Mickey asked casually.
I thought for a moment. “Fine thanks. They’re planning another conference I think. Should be fun trying to organise that one. I’m staying well out of it!”
Queenie laughed. I’m sure the table shook. “Ted says you’d like to learn more about astrology. In your chart luv, have you got the Sun trine the Moon?”
I had to think for a moment. Trine means 120 degrees apart, if two planets are more or less at the same degree in different signs of the same element then they’re trine to each other. I said, “Yes actually I think I have. Why do you say that?”
“Well you see, I’ve noticed that people who ’ave the Sun trine the Moon in their charts chuck, well they manage to achieve what I call a harmonious interaction between inner and outer self.”
I looked over at Mickey. He was listening very intently, taking in every word she said.
“What you were sayin’ about lookin’ after ya’self. Well you see, that makes a lot of sense to me. As you get older ya realise just ’ow important that is. But you ’ave to be nice and friendly as well with it don’t ya chuck. You see that’s the Sun and the Moon workin’ together like Mum and Dad. Coz you see, if you’ve got the Sun square the Moon that can often mean that your parents are divided, specially these days, eh Ted?”
“I’m sure that’s true Queenie,” Mickey said, careful not to interrupt the flow too much.
“You see chuck, I used to work in the retail trade. I ’ad a little shop on an estate in Macclesfield. You name it I sold it. Everythin’ except for food that is.”
Queenie was away. “I started to study astrology as a hobby but books only tell ya so much. I wanted to see ’ow the characteristics of the Sun-signs behaved by getting to know the people that come in the shop.”
“You see, it was quite easy to find out their sign because kids would come in to buy Mum or Dad a birthday present. I didn’t let ’em know I was interested in astrology though. Kept it quiet.”
Queenie took a drink. Mickey sat quietly and I followed his example.
“You see, I’m retired now but I was able to use astrology in buying and selling. Let me give you an example.”
“After runnin’ me retail shop alone for almost a year, I started to show a profit. I decided I could afford a full time junior. I made a list of what duties I’d want ’er to do and what qualities she’d need to ’ave.”
“I came up with Adaptability, what with all the different things I sold. Intelligence to be able to communicate with me and the customers. And Curiosity so’s she’d be eager to learn. She’d ’ave to be Friendly but without gettin’ too involved.”
“I ’ad a think and I decided that I needed a Gemini girl to ’elp me out in the shop.”
Queenie took another sip.
“Anyway. True story this. Within an hour of me displayin’ me notice in the shop window, an assistant from the shop next door told me her niece was looking for a job as a shop assistant. I asked her how old she was and she said she’d be 17 soon. I said when’s her birthday she said May 27th I said send her in!”
Mickey cracked up. “Fantastic! I love it,” he said.
I laughed but I was thinking, “Hang on, May 27th that’s got to be after Taurus because May Day is Taurus time. So she must have been a Gemini. I get it.”
I said to Queenie, “So was your new assistant any good then?”
“Nearly four years she stayed with me. And when it came to saying goodbye – she didn’t want to leave but new horizons and the time was right – when we said goodbye we hugged each other and there were tears tricklin’ down our cheeks. My tears were to wish her well for her loyalty and for the pleasure I ’ad in seeing her potential blossom.”
Mickey finished off his drink. “Come on Queenie. Time to take you home now.”
“Thanks Keith,” said Queenie with a laugh. “I’m not as mobile as I used to be. Lovely to meet yer chuck. Maybe see you again?”
I smiled. “I hope so.”
And the two of them left the pub together, Queenie leaning on Mickey’s arm as she walked slowly out.
I thought to myself, “Macclesfield? Yeah that’s definitely less than 50 miles from Warrington.”