Skip to content

Mainly On the Plane

August 13, 2010


With a weekend of internet access (out by the hotel pool, decadent swine that I am) before we return to glorious rusticity in the Sierras, where my Papaver somniferum harvest awaits my attention, it seems like a good idea to give you all something to sink your teeth into. Let’s have poems on your idea of Spain.

What I mean is that even those who’ve never visited Spain or only experienced the Costas have, I believe, an image or images of the country, probably quite strong and distinct. Spain, unlike say, Belgium, makes a strong impression even by proxy.

Before I ever visited the country, I had a clear vision of it, formed from books, from films, from news reports, from art and literature and from conversation, rumour and the reading of history.

So: poems on your vision of Spain, regardless of whether or not your vision was subsequently tested to destruction or confirmed in whole or in part; no matter how dated or simplistic or unreal; whether formed by Lorca or De Falla or Pablo Casals or George Borrow or Richard Ford or by Real Madrid or Cervantes or Goya or Dali or Gaudi or El Greco or Juan Gris or the Alhambra or Franco or Gerald Brenan or George Orwell or Buñuel or Almodovar; by the Pyrenees, by the meseta, by the sun or by childhood memories: the frisson of fear that the Inquisition inspired, for instance.

Perhaps even formed on a long-ago coach trip with your parents; everyone wearing silly hats and singing ‘Viva España’ non-stop, only pausing to vomit some duty-free ardent spirits out of the coach window, creating an attractive pebble-dash racing stripe effect.

Anoche cuando dormía
soñé ¡bendita ilusión!
que una colmena tenía
dentro de mi corazón;
y las doradas abejas
iban fabricando en él,
con las amarguras viejas,
blanca cera y dulce miel. – Antonio Machado

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

¡Ándale! ¡Arriba!, muchachos! Punch yourself in the heart, rouse those bees and give us some honey…

  1. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    August 13, 2010 11:20 AM

    *I’m Going To Spain*

    I’ve sold my car, thrown in my job
    I’m 24 years old
    I think it’s time that I saw the world
    And I hate it yes I hate the cold

    I’m going to Spain
    Cousin Norman had a real fine time last year
    I hear it doesn’t rain
    I hope that I can quickly learn the language

    The factory floor presented me
    With some tapes of Elton John
    Though that should keep me company
    And I hate them yes I hate the goodbye-iyeees

    I’m going to Spain
    Cousin Norman had a real fine time last year
    I hear it doesn’t rain
    I hope I can quickly learn the language

    My mother cried on Friday night
    Told me to take good care
    And wrapped me up some sandwiches
    And I hate them yes I hate the cheese and pickle

    I’m going to Spain
    Cousin Norman had a real fine time last year
    I hear it doesn’t rain
    I hope I can quickly learn the language yeah
    I hope I can quickly learn the language
    Besame mucho my love

  2. August 13, 2010 12:14 PM

    The pain in Spain is that there isn’t much rain
    Although that problem isn’t so big
    Imagine the heat when performing in a pig.
    I sweated so much inside the pig’s sail-cloth pelt
    That my figure morphed from obese to svelte.

    Whereas the Spanish when young are beautiful and thin
    But progress to trousers you could fit
    Two young Spaniards in.

  3. August 13, 2010 1:48 PM

    Turn up the TV pull the shutters down
    The neighbour next door is coming back to town

    We’ve got him down as a poetry loving fop
    There are rumours he’s growing an opium crop

    Seems a perfectly decent sort of bloke
    If I keep saying that maybe he’ll give me a smoke

    At midnight next door it’s usually quite mad
    As he stays up burning copies of “Breaking Bad”

    Never up early always up late,
    Is he from Oman or is it Kuwait?

    Normally I wouldn’t make such a bloody fuss
    But the bastard’s getting them at PH to write poems about Us

  4. hic8ubique permalink
    August 13, 2010 5:38 PM

    I somehow recognise that bee-hive Machado poem, which makes me think I want a Google search function for:
    ‘Whence do I know this?’ to spare me the distraction of trying to chase odd-fragments of memory.
    And I love that painting. Painting? is it water-colour, Mishari? Like looking at a vast out-breath while soaring.

  5. mishari permalink*
    August 13, 2010 5:54 PM

    You’ve got a great eye, honey. ‘A vast out-breath while soaring’ is a perfect description of what you’re seeing: it’s a photograph (taken from a plane) of dawn and the mists rising over the Sierra de Gata. A morning yawn and then out, just as you spotted…

    I’m pleased you like it…it’s quite beautiful, isn’t it? Almost an abstract painting…mornings in spring and fall really do look like that in the sierra…

  6. mishari permalink*
    August 13, 2010 5:59 PM

    I forgot to say, great stuff, Ed…you’re on a roll. The dago aesthetic agrees with you, hombre

    HLM, where the hell do find this stuff? It’s like Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass Meet The Fall…wonderful.

  7. hic8ubique permalink
    August 13, 2010 8:21 PM

    Well, thanks for the buzz. It’s so perfectly idealised, I took it for a tonal painting. It must be a black and white photo to capture that fine gradation, though I’m not getting the resolution I want here, and I see do colour in it. Yes, it must be stunningly beautiful.
    Are you the photographer? I don’t see a photo credit, which sometimes is an indication of undue modesty.

    That song reminded me a bit of Herb Alpert as well, Moon, a sound embedded in my ear forever, despite much cheesey orchestration, including among many the irresistible rhythm in this:

    and this consummate happy childhood song:

  8. hic8ubique permalink
    August 13, 2010 8:26 PM

    Oh, ‘on the P L A N E’
    better late than never.

  9. mishari permalink*
    August 13, 2010 9:27 PM

    It is actually in colour, hic, but so subdued that it’s hard to tell. I wish I could claim credit for it but it’s an objet trouvé.

    It is a stunningly lovely part of Spain, almost completely unvisited by tourists (railway connections are sparse and paved roads peter out quickly into rough tracks away from towns), and on the mountainous borders where Extremadura, Portugal and Castile meet. They even have their own languages: Fala and Extremaduran, both related to Galician.

    I bought the property, what I guess you’d call a hill farm, some 20 years ago: about 40 acres with olives, fruit, ancient walnuts, almonds etc. and a single-room house of about 500 sq. ft. and a barn, built of local materials–granite walls, slate roof and floors, ancient chestnut roof-beams from the groves higher up in the Sierra.

    There the pata negra pigs gorge on the nuts before the cold weather and the matanza, when the pigs are transformed into Jamon Serrano, rich scarlet coloured and marbled with snow-white fat, that makes most store-bought ham look and taste like soggy toilet paper.

    It cost roughly what a week in a one-bedroom suite at the Crillon in Paris would cost you now.

    A joke, really, but in those days, people couldn’t get rid of the properties they’d inherited from their parents and grandparents fast enough. It was Madrid (or Barcelona or Seville or…as fast as their young legs could carry them). Depopulation in rural Spain was (and is) fierce.

    To give you an idea of how off the trodden ways the place is, my next-door neighbour (5 miles away but these things are relative, no?) told me (after I’d come to know him) that I was the first foreigner he’d ever met in his life (he’s my age).

    No-one had lived there for years (too remote, no services, no road, just a mule-track, but an ancient sweet-water spring that’s never run dry) and the local shepherds used it to shelter their beasts and themselves when the weather got too filthy and for cheese-making. The building was essentially sound, though and I reckon it would take a direct hit from a 1000 lb. bomb without a scratch.

    The variety and abundance of wildlife in the surrounding country was and is startling and includes: black vultures and the threatened Spanish Imperial Eagle already mentioned, as well as a multitude of other raptors, including golden eagles, peregrine falcons and eagle owls (standing almost 3 ft and with a 6 ft wing-span, it’s the world’s largest owl), the azure-winged magpie and my favourites, the bee-eaters, those sociable flying jewels.

    Mammals include otters (which we sometimes see in the nearby river where I keep the old wooden rowboat you saw in your dream), the Iberian lynx (painfully rare and very endangered–I long to glimpse one in the wild), wolves, minks, badgers, marmots, deer, boar, (rumoured) bears and wild cats: not to be confused with feral domestic cats but the species Felis silvestris silvestris, the European wildcat; shy but I’ve encountered them.

    Another dream is to find a wildcat kitten, lost, orphaned or abandoned and raise it. Some day…

  10. hic8ubique permalink
    August 13, 2010 11:23 PM

    This is such a real account of a remaining unscathed real place, it feels too brutal to follow it with my nonsensical Spain poem (in progress).

    You must have people to work the farm? or at least harvest while you’re away. I’ve never heard of an eagle owl. I’d be happy to hear one, and thrilled to see one. So, you don’t camp with tents? you go to this remote land with your laden mule/s.
    Or this is base camp and you go sojourning from here? The stars must be exponentially visible to the naked eye.

    Lynx are very shy as well, I hear, and so apparently is any trace online of my favourite lynx tapestry from the Textil Museet Hogbö, hurrumph.
    That kitten will present itself someday, I’d wager.

    ok back to my poem, but thanks for the window in…

  11. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 14, 2010 12:14 AM

    Sounds like hell, or Somerset. Anyway, here’s my effort.

    Spain 1977

    Yesterday the beach. The full-breasted typists
    From Formby and Eccles, the contact sports on the burning sand,
    The selection of partners through glance and smile.
    Yesterday the visit to the waterfront bar.

    Yesterday the twenty litres of Stella,
    The pints of pina colada, the bucket of Sangria,
    The bottle of Malibu. Yesterday
    The bolting of shots at the bar. But today the hangover.

    Yesterday the reddened torsos, the sunburnt faces,
    The surge of violence in the jostling crowd,
    The spilt drink and the insincere apology.
    Yesterday the ruck with the twats from Leeds. But today the hangover.

    Tomorrow the freezing cell and the scowling coppers,
    The uncomfortable drive in the prison van,
    The cold drizzle falling on Luton airport.
    Tomorrow the deportation. But today the hangover.

  12. hic8ubique permalink
    August 14, 2010 3:22 AM

    Well done, MM; you’ve disinhibited me, so I can let this go:


    Swirling glazed tesserae spin a story
    where corks grow fully formed above
    horns of the quiescent Ferdinand.
    A girl knows, has been told:
    Spanish men are never to be trusted
    near a blonde daughter, they won’t take no.
    No they will take her, but no danger
    of that Marbella sold house no more
    to assemble
    gazpacho by the casita pool
    hibiscus in her shining hair, nor Gibraltar
    might bite macaques.
    No risk now no mother-worry of her being
    carried off mayhap

    by the Rom
    to wander wildly bound
    high on mountain horses
    safe swathed close against dust
    until hair and faces are forgotten
    except in circle of night fire eating
    together from one long dish
    while a shadow-wrought fiddler
    on one rosined bow-hair tugs a slow song
    to make her spine begin to rise and dance
    then high-pitch drumming such opening
    to the wind spin in dark and bright strumming
    that just out of fire sinews might rise
    Saladin himself dark attenuous
    blade arcing her out-riding beyond beyond
    the thinnest air of night-belonging ever~ ever~~
    No fear of that

    and, she’s safe kept in the end.
    This establishment, the shared tapas elegant
    and more-ish, though she couldn’t recommend
    trying squid in ink … another cava please, Gato,
    his daughter’s at Columbia, you know, oh make that two…
    beautifully crafted yes all the tile-work this
    old damascene bracelet? (gracious manacle)
    brought back from Toledo intricately
    inlaid traditional, but the clasp sadly
    is not to be trusted.

  13. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    August 14, 2010 8:10 AM

    La Isla Blanca, a.k.a. Ibiza
    Non-stop dance music, pills, poppers and ether
    Wake up at four with your eyes all balearic
    Post-high depression, breath beeric, feel tearic
    Cringe at the whoops and the chemical laughter
    Swear off all pills, except the morning after
    Jamón de York and Ramón de Menorca
    Stabbing the iPhone to send home a porker

    Pater and Mater have not followed suit
    They’re in a B&B of some repute
    Torturing Irish and shooting the Scots
    Stoning the dykes and the gays (there are lots)
    “Friendly” and “welcoming”, also “diverse”
    Brochures omit the night rallies (and worse)
    Join with the residents beating the blight
    Travel with Thompson to the Isle of White

  14. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 14, 2010 10:29 AM

    On the money there, HLM. I forgot to mention that the Wurzels are performing tonight at the IW Garlic Festival should anyone wish to attend. Mrs M bought some garlic ice cream yesterday and forced it on me at dinner. The aftertaste lingered long enough to pollute my Rice Crispies this morning.

  15. mishari permalink*
    August 14, 2010 11:31 AM

    No wonder I keep having to fix it. Don’t use embed. Forget ’embed’. Just copy the address out of the browser and paste it. Remember: copy and paste the address.

    hic, we do go on camping trips and we take tents (it’s what mules are for) but we only erect them if the weather turns nasty.

    But the house itself is eminently livable. It’s our Armageddon bolt-hole. Over the years, I’ve installed solar panels that provide power enough for most things short of washing machines and such. I’ve put in a solar-heated water tank and a solar-powered pump that brings water from our spring-fed well to the kitchen and bathroom that I built.

    I’ve built plenty of bookshelves in walnut, taken from an old tree that came down in a storm and used timber from the same tree to build a massive kitchen/dining table; I’ve still got quite a lot of walnut timber left in the barn–it was a big tree.

    I oil the slate floors every year (the slate, already a lovely grey/blue, darkens and gleams). We’ve collected a lot of handmade woolen rugs, locally made and some of them very old, to cover the floor here and there.

    I love going to farm auctions and house sales where we find old tools and stuff. Well-made stuff that gets rejected because it’s ‘old’ but can be brought back to life and use with a bit of care. Very satisfying.

    Jesus…I sound like one of those fucking smug Sunday supplement articles. Sorry. Keep in mind, though: this was work carried on over 20 years…

    My neighbour and his extended family harvest my olives, walnuts and almonds. In the beginning, we split the produce 50/50, but I found myself drowning in a sea of olive oil and an avalanche of walnuts and almonds.

    Now, I just take a 100 litres of the first press oil, and 100 Kgs. each of the walnuts and almonds, which makes more sense and is, I think, fairer anyway. Harvesting is hard work and I didn’t deserve 50% for doing fuck all…

    Fine work, BTW, MM, hic & Moon…

  16. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 14, 2010 1:15 PM

    OK. Embedding seemed to work until a couple of days ago. I don’t know what’s changed.

    Blimey, what do you do with 100 kg of walnuts? I get pissed off with cracking them after the first two, and almonds are impossible.

  17. mishari permalink*
    August 14, 2010 1:49 PM

    Eat the buggers. I love ’em. Clearly, they pose a problem for puny 97 lb. weaklings like yourself; to real men like is to laugh…I crack them with a stern look or a word (no…a different word).

    Seriously, though, a local pal, who farms walnuts and almonds on a big scale (about 250 acres of walnuts alone), has an ancient but very efficient machine for de-shelling nuts. It works a treat.

    He also has the equipment to pack and vacuum-seal the nuts. Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried it but walnuts make a delicious jam.

    I turn a lot of the almonds into paste (basically unsweetened marzipan) which then adds a wonderful flavour to sweet breads, biscuits and cakes.

    The rest, I salt and dry-roast (and they go wonderfully well with an ice-cold glass of bone-dry fino) or just leave them raw for adding to various dishes. I tell you, it’s all go on the culinary front around here, boy…

  18. hic8ubique permalink
    August 14, 2010 5:04 PM

    I seem to remember tasting a special nocino aperitif ? being made from walnuts. Almond paste is the most distinctive flavour in Swedish baking, along with cardamon I suppose. I often substitute half the cinnamon called for with cardamon.

    Your accounts don’t sound smug to me, M, though I know what you mean about those precious ‘how to be a truly neolithic zero footprint primitive agrarian unwashed dude’ people.(I do know one, and he’s in truth a radiantly beautiful human being, spends half his waking state in meditation, and has only himself to look after, oh and a comfy trust fund.)

    No, I do believe there is a human satisfaction only to be found in creative art/craft of making (and repairing) the practical, the beautiful and preferably a union of those two qualities. Old figured walnut is just gorgeous.
    I remember spending hours as a child watching elders hands making things. My father spent every weekend for 20 yrs renovating our house.
    The real stuff of turpentine, oil paints, rug looms, pianos, two-man tree saw, wool yarn, silk-screens, tapestries, carving benches/mallets/ tools, the marble baking slab, giant matte cutting guillotine, easels, pastel dust, saw dust, linseed oil, whetstone, leather punch, sail-makers kit, clay, I could keep going for a while… (sorry).
    against a background of walls of vinyl records and books, and the furniture and rugs made by ancestors.

    In one generation, much of this is in disuse. Everything can be bought or replaced so readily, my children mostly enjoy manipulating electronics one way or another, (lose them/ break them, throw them away, buy more) but when we go off the grid, they become contented in a way I don’t see at other times (only the younger two, the eldest miminy piminy is too far gone for lake bathing). They calm down and enjoy solving the way to repair the dock, or cooking over a fire,log-splitting… the mobiles work only if we climb a cliff. (This place is not far from Bar Harbour, M.)
    Long way of saying, I feel it’s a sort of quietly heroic act of positive resistance to maintain a connection to what is real in concrete human terms for one’s children (and self!), even absent a dramatic armageddon.
    Sweet water, castile soap, almond oil: everyone in your family must have the finest skin.
    We spent the night of millennial turning celebrations around a bonfire in a friend’s meadow by a frozen pond, and I remember thinking: ‘This is the only thing to do tonight; this is what people were doing a thousand yrs ago’.

  19. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 14, 2010 5:40 PM

    It’s a tangerine dream, HLM!

  20. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    August 14, 2010 6:22 PM

    Well, we’re top of the Premier League at the moment I type this. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

  21. mishari permalink*
    August 14, 2010 6:51 PM

    Verily, Hank:

    Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. -Proverbs


    15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. -Psalm 7

    So, watch it…

    I couldn’t agree more, hic: there’s a deep satisfaction and pleasure in making and mending things yourself. Over the last 20 years, I’ve taken God knows how many courses in basic stuff: bricklaying, masonry, electrical wiring, plumbing, carpentry, joinery, cabinet-making, networking (computer networking, that is), welding (electrical, oxy-acetylene and tungsten inert gas) and many more.

    I just wanted to be able to do these basic things for myself, instead of having to rely on someone else. I’m not expert in any of them by any means, but I can do them well enough to rarely need the services of anyone else. Emerson wrote (in Self Reliance):

    “The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscles. … His note-books impair his memory; his libraries overload his wit; the insurance-office increases the number of accidents; and it may be a question whether machinery does not encumber; whether we have not lost by refinement some energy, by a Christianity entrenched in establishments and forms, some vigor of wild virtue.”

    Goddamn right, Ralph.

    And there’s the pleasure in it. The walnut kitchen/dining table I made gives me pleasure out of all proportion to what it actually is. It’s beauty resides in the wood, which I spent countless hours sanding down through finer and finer grades of paper. It’s as plain as a table can be: 4 legs and a top, but I think it’s simplicity is elegant. It’s strong and useful and pleases the eye–and I made it myself; it’s not a store-bought pleasure or a spectacle conjured up to amuse me by some entertainer.

    And I’ll tell you something else, seeing as how I’m kicking into boring old fart mode: nothing tastes as good as the stuff you’ve grown yourself…young people nowadays…don’t know they’re born…with their iBongs and E-post…when I was a boy…

  22. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 14, 2010 7:21 PM

    Only 37 more points to get. No problem.

    I was at Osborne House yesterday and at the Ice House I noticed, or was notified, that Queen Vic’s ice was imported from the Wenham Lake Company of Massachusetts. Any relation to your lake, hic?

    On reflection I suppose there’s quite a lot you can do with nuts. I’ve noticed walnut oil in Tesco but never tried it. Must give it a go with my chicken nuggets.

  23. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    August 14, 2010 8:00 PM

    I cannot make or do, so I make do.

    Inspired by the walnut content, I went out and purchased a walnut oil-based shampoo that I am itching to try.

    For my chicken nuggets, I favour a mild corticosteroid ointment.

  24. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 14, 2010 11:01 PM

    I reserve the steroid creams for my nuts.

    How do you cut a walnut trunk into usable planks? Chainsaw?

  25. mishari permalink*
    August 14, 2010 11:13 PM

    You chainsaw the trunk into manageable lengths, attach a trailer to your neighbour’s Land Cruiser and cart the lot over to the sawmill in Badajoz.

    For proper planks, you really need a high-speed band-saw, especially for a dense hardwood like walnut (unless you want to spend months working with an adze: I don’t).

  26. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 14, 2010 11:37 PM

    I thought that might be the answer, though I did come across an oak a few years ago which had been sliced (longitudinally) into thirty foot lengths as it lay on the ground. It must have been at least four feet in diameter. I still can’t figure out how it was done. Maybe there’s an extra-wide two-handed chainsaw somewhere out there. It was a lovely piece of wood.

    Badajoz is one of the battle honours of the Glorious Glosters. Their flags used to hang all round the parish church and formed my reading matter when I wasn’t listening to the sermon, which was all the time.

  27. mishari permalink*
    August 15, 2010 12:12 AM

    It’s an interesting place to visit, especially if you’ve read an account of the storming of the city. The walls, glacis, battlements etc are still intact, repaired, too, so one can take them all in.

    The fortifications are still as impressive as hell and the thought of climbing the glacis and attacking those walls with a handmade ladder and a musket for company will make your buttocks clench with horror…

  28. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 15, 2010 12:59 AM

    The Peninsular War was a favourite of mine at school, with battles which are fairly easy to follow and a not overly complicated narrative. Learning the Burial Of Sir John Moore After Corunna was mandatory, of course, or corse. Forester did a couple of decent novels about it, Death To The French (apologies to your wife) being the best, I thought. One of Mrs M’s brothers keeps pressing Sharpe books on me, which I find unreadable.

  29. hic8ubique permalink
    August 15, 2010 4:30 AM

    Wenham Lake is less than half and hour from here. I think it’s a reservoir, though the ice industry was once booming in N.E. (and I drove past it today on the way to a ‘spectacle arranged for our amusement’: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Ovo’ production), no the ‘lake’ we go to is in truth one of the ‘Great Ponds’ of the state of Maine, MM.
    It has been in our friends’ family since the ’30s, and we join them there once or twice a season. There are only 9? camps on one side of the ‘lake’ and I think about 30K acres of forest surrounding.
    The camps are accessed by the one communal boat called the ‘Fetch and Carry’, or just the Fetch for short. The structures are less imposing than M’s ancient timber and slate edifice, but the amenities sound similar: water pumped up to the roof for plumbing, but solar panels are not as reliable in the North woods, so there is propane from tanks. We kayak, row, hike, sail and swim, read, and gather wild blueberries during the days, and sing at night til we nod off one by one. The quiet is profound apart from our carousing. It falls short of Sweden, but not badly for a 5 hr drive.

    Now I know what the ‘tig welding’ on aluminium bikes stands for; there’s something I’ve never wondered about. Your Sierra environs sound like perfect mountain-biking terrain, M.
    I went biking in the mountains of Härjedalen on reindeer tracks in ’94 and my cousins thought I was mad (I was), but they tell me it’s quite popular now.

  30. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 15, 2010 4:35 PM

  31. hic8ubique permalink
    August 15, 2010 5:36 PM

    He’s… ‘sayin: Let’s aget together and feeel aalright.’
    wo wo wo wo…

    If I were making this IoW tourism promo, MM, I’d have invested in either a choreographer for Buff Derek,
    or in having Dancing Matt come and get everyone on the beach grooving with him, but they didn’t ask me.

    Your zyder song reminded me of ‘Who Threw the Overalls in Mistress Murphy’s Chowder?’.
    The euphonium squeezing backwards through the vats at the end is the sort of perfect cut characteristic of a PH vid.
    (oom pa oom pa)

    also, btw, felt Paul McCartney horning in on your entertaining Yesterday poem~ just a bit. He might own that word.

  32. SimonMH permalink
    August 15, 2010 5:42 PM

    Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, Easter Sunday 1999

    Come a strutted matador
    horns that scream a life out
    Spain n Dutch, the bloody thrust
    gored ‘em in the vitals
    Yayo shot at Franco
    in 1936
    morphous unconnected forms
    added to a mix

  33. hic8ubique permalink
    August 15, 2010 6:33 PM

    Hi Simon, nice to see you here, though our host has stepped into the woods for a while. May I bring you a glass of rioja?
    actually, I noticed a white sangria yesterday for the first time, but was worried it would be sweet.

    I have that morphous impression too.
    My alternate/abandoned theme was: the running away of blondes in Pamplona.

    Mowbray, now I’m worried about you using a one-handled chain-saw. I’ve never heard of such a thing; if you look closely, you’ll likely detect a second…
    just ribbing you. x

  34. August 15, 2010 8:17 PM

    He’ll be ribbing himself if he doesn’t use two hands on the saw hic.

  35. Reine permalink
    August 15, 2010 10:36 PM

    Caluroso in Here

    Sangria soaked and sweat sodden
    Dusty from a day’s long troddin’
    Along the camino’s winding path
    Time to have a tepid bath

    Hostel honks of cumin pits
    Ill aimed piss and held in shits
    Dear God, let there be no queue
    Or I will drown myself… and you

    So I head off with damp towel
    Skanky hair and sullen scowl
    Run reluctant taps near dry
    Water comes half way up thigh

    Damn this hellish rainless plain
    I could pass on sunny Spain
    I long for a power shower
    And a fragrant dew-kissed bower

  36. mishari permalink*
    August 15, 2010 10:55 PM

    Welcome, Simon. Reine, I take it you’ve done the Camino de Santiago, then. How we peregrinos have suffered…

    A pleasant evening of bar-hopping before our return to more bucolic delights in the morning. Watching my children hustling men 4 or 5 times their age at pool is a sight.

    Hearing one of my daughters suggest to a man old enough to be her grandfather that they should ‘…make this game interesting…’ and then proceeding to skin the poor bastard fills me with mixed emotions, I can tell you.

    I don’t know whether to be proud or horrified…but it’s a measure of the difference between Spain and Britain. In the UK, being beaten by a little girl would lead to a fist-fight. In Spain, they line up for more.

    That IOW video is comedy gold. ‘Land of the free’, eh? And what’s with all the fucking hovercraft shots? It must be very gratifying for you, MM, seeing your tax money at work…

    Meanwhile, more evidence that cats just know stuff:

  37. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 15, 2010 11:45 PM

    The Naked Maja

    Like a plate of silky mashed potato,
    laced with butter and rich with clotted cream,
    this body has the appetising glow
    of a solanum-loving gourmet’s dream.

    Even that comedy breast can’t detract
    from the sensual buffet laid out here,
    every curve and swell and line’s exact,
    every plane and every surface sheer.

    This is a banquet which is always right
    it’s a dish to be savoured year on year,
    at any hour of the day or night,
    and no complaints at all about the hair.

  38. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 15, 2010 11:58 PM

    My daughter turned me on to Derek, who performs every Saturday at the Appley Beach Cafe, if you’re interested. It seems that he moved himself and his family over from Jamaica because he loves the IW so much. Or it might be that there’s a contract out on him for crimes against reggae.

    I think Auden might have something to say about McCartney’s use of yesterday, hic. Terrific poem, I meant to say earlier.

    I hope my prayers for your weekend were answered, Reine. After reading your poem I had to put aside my Twirl bar, which seemed to have developed a faecal aspect, and pause over my vaguely urinous Bereich Bernkastell. Though not for long.

  39. mishari permalink*
    August 16, 2010 12:05 AM

    Derek’s ‘costume’ changes are a bit puzzling. I mean, aside from demonstrating the extent of his t-shirt collection, I don’t see the point. Still, he seems awfully keen on the IOW..actually, rather more keen than is entirely rational…good Goya poem. See? I always knew you were one of those ‘arty’ types…the beard, the velvet knickerbockers, the absinthe habit…

  40. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 16, 2010 12:17 AM

    Pretty hairy, those absinthe habits.

    I had a look for Wenham Lake (or Lake Wenham) on Google Earth. It seems to be obscured by fuzz. Must be an ICBM silo. Why Queen Victoria found it necessary to get her ice from the US is hard to understand. What’s wrong with Scandinavia, or Russia? They’re a lot closer, and most of them must have been ruled by her close relatives. I’ll have to ask next time I’m over there. Answer: Dunno. Buy a guide book, mate.

  41. hic8ubique permalink
    August 16, 2010 12:21 AM

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, MM. Is a twirl bar the thing the girl at the front of a parade wields?

    I rode one of those hydrofoil (?) craft to Capri (which I especially remember for having the most polluted water I’ve ever seen) the thing made more noise than a 747.

    Now your Maja, she seems to have a helium effect happening, slightly levitating, especially her ‘comedy breast’, and her lower body belongs to a smaller person, likewise her upper body to a larger person~ in my uninitiated opinion. But the eyes have it.

    Back with a roar, Re, may your bower be dew-kissed tonight.x

  42. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 16, 2010 12:32 AM

    The Twirl bar is a confection which I am currently addicted to. I’ve been to Capri but I don’t remember a hovercraft (quite distinct from a hydrofoil), though I have a feeling the Italians might have had one or two. I think the IW is now the only place in the world where hovercraft operate commercially. When I was a kid they were The Future. Now they’re The Past, rather like me.

    The more you look at the Maja the weirder she looks. I must stop.

  43. hic8ubique permalink
    August 16, 2010 12:35 AM

    I noticed the ‘quick change in the stairwell’ costume array, probably because it’s the only thing happening. Oh, and sorry if I was rude about the Goya, whom I recall you especially like, M.
    Safe journey tomorrow…

    Mowbray forget Google earth, try if you really care to see Wenham Lake. Search ‘Wenham Lake, MA’. If you click ‘birdseye view’ you can look at portions of it. Not wildly exciting, I’m afraid, but at least the shoreline’s more interesting than the middle.

  44. SimonMH permalink
    August 16, 2010 12:52 AM

    Rioja’s great Hic, thanks. And thanks for the welcome mishari. A Capri hydrofoil video made me laugh but an hour ago, which is a coincidence.

  45. mishari permalink*
    August 16, 2010 1:13 AM

    Hilarious, Simon. So, Maria is a ‘… fisioterapista, vocalist, deejay e cantautrice. Con la passione per i libri di Fabio Volo…’? Fabio Volo? Christ on a bike.

  46. mishari permalink*
    August 16, 2010 1:14 AM

    See you all in September…

  47. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 10:39 AM

    MM, heartily sorry to have put you off your twirl. Now, what would really interest me is how you eat it – from the fridge or at room temp, two fingers at one sitting or spaced apart, dipped in tea or coffee and sucked or just plain old munched bite by bite? Perhaps you have a different strategy entirely.

    Thanks for your prayers – they worked insofar as we got there and back without incident. Had a lovely day on Saturday in and around Henley with my cousin while my folks attended the wedding and him indoors was at a match.

    Liked your poem very much.

    Agree with Hic that poor old Derek’s (whose surname my eye insists on reading as Shandy as in Tristram or a fizzy drink) dance moves are rather limited but he certainly has a positive outlook, God bless him.

  48. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 16, 2010 2:18 PM

    Fridged choc is a flashpoint in this house. Mrs M, who takes three months to get through 100g of Fairtrade Guilt-Free 100% Bolivian Plain Chocolate, leaves her stash in the fridge, where it constantly falls though the shelves and into trifles, tiramisu, bowls of duck fat etc. Bloody irritating. Twirlwise I’m a dunker. I always take the ends off first, however: in my view they are the choicest cuts. It has to be said that the Twirl suffers from the problem characteristic of all double-barrelled confectionery items. ‘I’ll just have this one,’ you think, ‘And I’ll leave the other one till later.’ Thirty seconds later they’re both gone.

    Those Bingmaps are pretty good- I’ve never tried them before. The Lake Wenham info says that their stuff was Queen Vicky’s favourite ice. How can you have a favourite ice? I suppose it’s the flavour of the beaver urine.

  49. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 2:41 PM

    I applaud your methodologies MM and, like Rapunzel’s mother, am now suffering an acute hankering. The suffering you cause me…

  50. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 2:43 PM

    suffering, suffering … word power at a very low ebb today, synonyms in hiding. Adios amigo.

  51. hic8ubique permalink
    August 16, 2010 3:28 PM

    You two are too adorable with your ritual choc observances.
    ‘him indoors’ was my first good laugh of the day.
    bowls of duck fat!? what on earth is that doing in your icebox?

    It’s coming time for the annual trifle here. It begins the day before with the making of sponge, well, planned days before so the dozen peaches will be ripe, then on the day, the most heart-stoppering jersey cream custard is prepared, masses of local berries, a sort of tart seedless raspberry jam made by monks, and lashings of whipped jersey cream. All that plus cream sherry in the larger pud, then a small one without the sherry.
    Some meagre mulched-down leftover portion will be inhaled at next days breakfast.
    The idea of chocolate, trifle, or tiramisu languishing in the icebox (not a real one, I just like the word) would be unthinkable to the lean keen sweet-tooths in this house.

  52. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 4:41 PM

    Hic, your trifle sounds divine. I make one a year at Christmas – fruit (tinned and fresh), custard and sponge soaked in raspberry jelly and sherry (that’s the way my mother makes it). Served, naturally, with lashings of whipped cream.

    Care to stick your twirl in Hic’s trifle MM – a sort of ’99 if you will?

  53. hic8ubique permalink
    August 16, 2010 6:42 PM

    I don’t know what a 99 is, but I’m sure it’s something naughty,
    like hydrofoil therapy.

    I’ve always done mine in peach season, Re, and as my youngest was born on 1st Sept. It became her birthday ‘cake’ tradition.

    With bingmaps, MM, if you rotate the image using the swoopy arrows, you’ll often get other seasons in the alternate directional shots. The birdseye images aren’t always available for uninhabited places. I hope it’s still being expanded.

  54. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 6:56 PM

    A 99, Hic, is a wafer cone of whipped ice cream into which, typically, a Cadbury’s flake is inserted. A twirl is the flake’s cousin by marriage, slightly better dressed and, well, less flakey.

    What a lovely tradition. Happy early birthday to your girl. Peachy, I’m sure. x

  55. hic8ubique permalink
    August 16, 2010 7:20 PM

    Thanks, Re, more will-o-the-wisp than peach this one; she’ll be 14, and we’ll be up north then so there’ll be more than one celebration in order that those left home needn’t go without trifle. Something less elaborate for her rustic party…

    Cadbury flakey chocolate is long familiar, but the twirl is new to me, not fond of Cadbury really, too something I can’t quite remember…acidic tasting?
    I liked the little Callard&Bowser nougat in rice paper that is no more. And there’s a sort of nougat in a fancy red box and paper…may be Spanish…ooh that’s a treat.

  56. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 8:52 PM

    Ah, Callard and Bowser, there’s a blast from the past. Dad used to buy Mam a slim white box of silver foil wrapped square licorice toffees when we were kids. There were about ten to a box; the box looked so chic and elegant. They got a quick death if we chanced upon them.

  57. hic8ubique permalink
    August 16, 2010 9:06 PM

    The licorice were better than the butterscotch weren’t they.
    My mother had them in her bag to keep us quiet in the car, heh, wishful.
    The others she carried were round French tins of fruit sweeties in the shapes of the fruits.

  58. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 9:14 PM

    The licorice seemed positively exotic. I remember her sitting in the living room telling me and my next nearest sister that she was pregnant (we were nine and six, respectively) and we all hugged and kissed and then she Daddy produced not one but two boxes of C and B to celebrate (wild!). And then Sarah arrived and C and B stopped making licorice toffee, but we don’t think the two events are connected!

  59. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 9:16 PM

    Breaking news: Him indoors has bought me a twirl!! Hurrah. Will think of you MM.

  60. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 10:09 PM

    Pie Eh Yah

    He likes a nice paella, my fella
    Likes to stand at my shoulder
    A kind of culinary hand holder

    Can talk at length about chorizo
    Doesn’t hold with the addition of peas though

    Saffron, he can take or leave
    Although I could not conceive
    A paella
    That wasn’t yella

    Crocus stamen are to me
    Essential to the dish
    Although I am ambivalent
    About the addition of fish

    A few prawns certainly
    Keep good company with chicken
    Coupled with parsley, lemon and so on
    The outcome finger lickin’

    So we take stock
    As does the rice
    While eating through the seasons
    A dish that comforts and pleases
    For many different reasons

  61. obooki permalink
    August 16, 2010 10:32 PM

    Twirls are the best chocolate, imho (for now, anyway).

    I finished a poem today whilst shaving, though it’s not about Spain. It went:

    Vladimir Nabokov packed his trunk
    And said goodbye to the Caucasus;
    Off he went with a Humberty-Hump
    Hump, Hump, Hump.

    For ages it was nagging at my mind that there was an area of Russia that looked a bit like “circus” but I couldn’t think what it was.

  62. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 16, 2010 11:36 PM

    What a fine chap him indoors must be, Reine. My consumption of sweets is strongly condemned (not unreasonably, considering the state of my teeth). This stuff I only allow myself twice a year or I would be a toothless ball of solid fat:

    What else do you do with duck fat? I know some people just leave the stuff in cupboards, but they’re mostly French. It seems quite wrong not to refrigerate it.

    Just noticed the new post, obooki. I haven’t managed to read Love yet. Have you visited Shandy Hall? I thought of Modernism Before Modernism when the owner, inexplicably to my mind, was droning on about Sterne being a Post-Modernist. That can’t be right.

  63. hic8ubique permalink
    August 16, 2010 11:37 PM

    but in the end
    no bloody yoose.

    Nice to see you obooski, there was a visitation by his nibsokovski, but you missed him. A consolatory ‘Nostrovia!’ anyway.

    So Re-knee…by those rhymes, I gather you know pie-Ella, the generously portioned friend of freep.
    I’m thinking him indoors would be crest-fallen to know how his sacred offerings inspire thoughts of another.

  64. Reine permalink
    August 16, 2010 11:54 PM

    He is well aware that my desire for twirl was inspired by an islander but reckons he is far enough away not to pose any threat.

    Hasn’t yet found my hotel booking for I think I will request the Yew room.

  65. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 17, 2010 12:07 AM

    There’s a public park literally on the doorstep where the feral youth of Shanklin are inclined to do their thing. Take your nunchuks.

    Circassia must be better than Caucasus, surely?

  66. obooki permalink
    August 17, 2010 12:18 AM

    Yes, but Circassia doesn’t rhyme.

    I was thinking:

    “And said goodbye to the Terra Rus”

    which has a sort of implication of “terrorist” in it, which might make us think of those evil Bolsheviks who put an end to Nabokov’s jolly aristocratic world.

    (I don’t know why I’m sticking with 3 syllables when there should only be 2 – a dactyl for a spondee, anyhow).

    I have not been to Shandy Hall: did they have watered-down beer there?

    – Yes, I might do another post in a month or two.

  67. obooki permalink
    August 17, 2010 12:20 AM

    Come to think of it, “trunk” and “circus” don’t rhyme much either. – I suppose I meant, rhyme with the original version.

  68. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 17, 2010 12:57 AM

    If you mean ‘correspond with’ rather than ‘rhyme with’, then Circassia must be better. They’re both quite hard to fit in when sung.

    You have to pick your moment with Shandy Hall; open twice a week for 2 hours. We’d gone to Byland Abbey (founded in 1188 by Roger de Mowbray. It’s well-known in the family that he was less interested in religion than athletic young monks, probably the ones who make raspberry jam (the ‘de’ was dropped for patriotic reasons in the Napoleonic Wars. Adding the ‘von’ as a tribute to Blucher was a mistake, as Siegfried Von Mowbray discovered when he signed a cheque in Aylesbury in 1916 and was parasolled to death by a group of elderly ladies.)) but as it was Yorkshire Day it rained heavily and we had to retreat to the car. As we sat there steaming I noticed a signpost to Coxwold and remembered that Sterne was vicar there. So we found ourselves at the Hall, really just a large cottage which Sterne extended when he became a bestseller. An extremely enthusiastic chap who immediately bored me rigid showed us round. Unfortunately Mrs M maliciously volunteered the information that I’d read Tristram Shandy. Henceforth all his remarks were directed at me so I was unable to close my eyes and slide into a light sleep. It was a mild pleasure, I suppose, to stand in the room where Sterne apparently wrote TS and Sentimental Journey, though the the other 12 people did make it a bit of a squeeze. It was only in the garden that I got any Sterne vibrations, which in retrospect were probably from the near-continuous stream of traffic passing a few feet away.

    God, must go to bed.

  69. hic8ubique permalink
    August 17, 2010 1:02 AM

    ‘toothless ball of solid fat’ but, where would we keep you, MM, the fridge or the cupboard?

    The Rylstone manor looks a bit too Laura A for me, Re. Next time I need to be out west (unless I end up in a tent on a cliff):

  70. hic8ubique permalink
    August 17, 2010 1:10 AM

    I can’t keep Tristram Shandy from tangling up with Tobias Smollett… but ‘parasolled to death’ is a keeper.
    Is that a coinage, or am I a naif in the arts of polite homicide?

  71. SimonMH permalink
    August 17, 2010 1:35 AM

    MM, many more of those and I shall have the other late night ‘researchers’ staring at me as I collapse in hysterical laughter.

    Something more sombre, more Spanish

  72. hic8ubique permalink
    August 17, 2010 2:31 AM

    at your own risk, Simon, that’s classic Mowbray.

    ‘And, as he asks what there the stranger seeks,
    Thy voice along the cloister whispers, “Peace!” ‘

    I just had good news: has just invited the
    will-o-the-wisp’s dance corps to perform at Carnegie Hall on my Birthday(!)
    Especially good, since the other rumblings/scoutings were related to ‘America’s got Talent’, which I believe I couldn’t stomach. How could I sacrifice my child to a threshing machine like that?

    per your vid….yrs ago when I didn;t know an answer in
    ‘Trivial Pursuit’, it was invariably Mary Pickwick or
    The Spanish Civil War.

  73. August 17, 2010 9:30 AM

    Tristram Shandy is one of those books I ought to like, it makes all the right sounds, everything about it is right up my alley as it were but I’ve tried to read it many times over the years and never got further than about a third of the way in.

    Flann O’Brien’s “At Swim Two Birds” is the same and I love “The Third Policeman”.

  74. Reine permalink
    August 17, 2010 2:46 PM

    Hic, I confess I did not research the accommodation thoroughly. I might just camp out on the beach, flask and twirls at the ready.

    Ed, with you on “At Swim Two Birds”, have tried unsuccessfully over the course of 20 years to make a dent in it.

    MM, you poor fella, that must have been an agonising experience. Well told though.

  75. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 17, 2010 2:58 PM

    Snap on Tristram Shandy, ET. I had to read the book for educational purposes, otherwise I would never have got to the end. You can see it’s really clever, intelligent, funny (sort of) but somehow it fails to grip. The earlier parts contain the best stuff, I think: Uncle Toby and the fly have stayed with me, and still occasionally influence my dealings with our insect friends, as has Corporal Trim. I much preferred A Sentimental Journey, despite all those – in my opinion – which others may choose to disagree with – those infernal – those quite unnecessary – dashes. It’s probably my dull bourgeois taste for straightforward narrative.

    I don’t know what turnupthe peace is, hic, but kudos to your daughter. Don’t turn your back on America’s Got Talent too hastily, though. I believe our host has a connection with Piers Morgan, who is very fond of walnuts.

  76. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 17, 2010 3:06 PM

    Snap on At Swim as well, ET and Reine. Shandy Hall wasn’t too painful, since I had a bag of wine gums in my pocket. A slight awkwardness when I was invited to give my views on Sterne’s typographical innovations.

    ‘ Urgh, yergh, vergy intresbub.’

  77. August 17, 2010 3:13 PM

    Piers Morgan certainly looks like a young walnut.

    MM “Epitaph of a Small-time winner” by Machado de Assis is a similar kind of post-modern-long-long -before-post-modern novel and is very good.

    I’m always dissappointed with myself when a reading of TS grinds to an inevitable halt and for some reason still insist on thinking of it kindly despite 3 decades of cast-iron proof that I didn’t enjoy it.

    The film with Steve Coogan was dissappointing too but mainly because I have an allergy to Rob Brydon’s suffocating brand of egotism.

  78. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 17, 2010 4:39 PM

    I don’t know de Assis. You performed with Coogan at one time, didn’t you? I find Brydon quite irritating on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue.

  79. August 17, 2010 5:06 PM

    Yes I used to be in an improvising comedy team who did late nights at a theatre in Manchester. One of those you-had-to-be-there type of things that either went brilliantly or fell flat on its face.

    We had guests – Steve Coogan, Caroline Aherne, John Thompson ( all pre the big time ) amongst others who all did well for themselves whilst the rest of us faded into obscurity.

    I understand he became an arrogant arsehole during his rise to the top but when he worked with us Steve Coogan was the epitome of a modest team-player and refused to do any impressions ( which formed the basis of his fame on Spitting Image back then ).

  80. hic8ubique permalink
    August 17, 2010 5:22 PM

    I don’t know about ‘turn up the peace’ yet either, but it seems to have a less dubious basis than those celebrity machine contests. Walnuts or no, I want nothing to do with any of those people.
    The show I loved was My Word, but haven’t heard it in ages…

    This came my way today, speaking of performance, maybe I’ve found a teacher for Derek Shindy:

  81. hic8ubique permalink
    August 17, 2010 6:41 PM

    Mary Pickwick!!
    erratum: Mary Pickford, still a blank.

  82. Reine permalink
    August 17, 2010 8:40 PM

    Hic, well done to baby Hic. Clearly inheriting her Mama’s talent if in a different genre. The Pickford Papers is a great book. x

  83. freep permalink
    August 17, 2010 9:57 PM

    That was a nice story about Shandy Hall, MM. I like to hear that visitors / tourists to a place of deep cultural significance find their expectations thwarted. I worked at Dove Cottage for a while, and the staff there always loved deceiving visitors with Coleridge’s hookah, Dorothy Wordsworth’s bra, William’s Gillette razor and shaving mug etc etc.
    Just now I take parties round Earl Grey’s ancestral pile in Northumberland, and delight in feeding them quarter-truths about Queen Victoria getting drunk on quince punch after she escaped the cholera epidemic in Newcastle.

    I know what people mean about Tristram Shandy- hard to read end to end – but it is a mine of excellent jokes, esp Uncle Toby, and his delight at being able to lie diagonally in bed in the absence of the Widow Wadman. The only bits of Joyce I really like are where he is clearly in Sterne’s debt.
    The Third Policeman is in my top eleven books. After ‘The Catechism Carefully Explained’ and before Isaac D’Israeli’s ‘Curiosities of Literature.’

  84. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    August 17, 2010 10:37 PM

    The Third Policeman is one of those books that I can’t classify alongside others. Instead, it shares category space with Groundhog Day, Tubular Bells and Tottenham Hotspur. Oh, and Armitage Shanks.

  85. salonrosa permalink
    August 17, 2010 11:14 PM

    Vision of Spain

    My vision of Spain
    remains a man and woman
    who are, almost certainly, man
    and wife but might, despite
    their eighty plus years,
    also be lovers,
    out on this evening
    promenade they have taken.
    He in a clean white shirt,
    its cuffs pressed to a severe
    above the brown
    whilst she wears a skirt
    to show what small fullness
    still moves at her hip.

    They catch my gaze
    and I shrink
    to naught
    in a shared nostril

  86. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 18, 2010 12:17 AM

    Spanish Omelette

    Even as a starving student
    I found it a filthy mixture,
    its elements horribly blent
    in a kickshaw without allure.

    Separately the parts were good,
    but tossed together like pigswill
    and grilled to the texture of wood
    it always made me feel quite ill.

    Like Spain itself. Behind the mask
    of carefully maintained union,
    the Catalan potato, Basque
    pepper and Aragon onion,

    and the beaten egg of Castile,
    make an indigestible meal.

  87. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 18, 2010 12:44 AM

    I haven’t noticed Coogan much since Partridge. I did catch an episode of Saxondale, which was pretty awful.

    I wish you’d told me about your guiding activities before I went to Northumberland, freep. I could have done a mystery shopper and reported on your skillset to PH. Now, is it true that Wordsworth slept sitting up or not? This ‘fact’ was the basis for a major argument between myself and mother-in-law in about 1995, when we took her to the Lakes and visited Dove Cottage. She argued from authority, ie the guide said so, I from the position that he was just making it up as he went along (since I noticed several other errors in his talk). I would be delighted to have this confirmed.

    Hello, pr. Haven’t seen you about recently.

  88. hic8ubique permalink
    August 18, 2010 1:08 AM

    I thoroughly enjoyed both of those, maybe I should go back to the drawing board…
    You are a patient man to continue visiting that MiL, MM, or you give as you get, more likely. Did you ever have a culture for aspergillosis? seems a thing you’d want to know for sure.

    Fortunately, Re, the wee twist has not her mother’s talent for over-exuberance leading to *ahem* sprained iliolumbar ligaments; though she does have more exuberance than her fair share, she has the tensile resilience to go with it…
    So, I was growing restive here on my ice-pack, until stumbling into the PH archive of March 09, and the discussion on the aural properties of poetry, which I had missed, and do miss in this often silent paradigm. Just the ticket.

    By the way, my great-grandfather John Wildman (far less illustrious than Wordsworth, but featuring in a recent poem here) slept sitting up due to asthma. He also self-flagellated with nettles to relieve the condition, which I imagine must have had an antihistamine effect.

    Overheard this morning:
    ‘I hope I don’t cough up a lung.’

  89. August 18, 2010 9:51 AM

    freep I have a Xmas tradition with one of my brothers where we send each other unreadable books.

    “Motivational Business Haikus” sits proudly on my shelf whereas a book of drawings of the cross sections of various gauges of steel cable sits on his ( literally unreadable in that case.)

    I did send him ” Memoirs of the Chinese Minister for Agriculture vol.3 1962 -67″ and he had the bare-faced cheek to actually read it cover to cover. Very interesting apparently if you’re keen to know how many times the author visited Yugoslavia. But a bit sketchy on what he actually did in Yugoslavia.

    In revenge I read ” Reports on injuries to the shoulder blade at University College London”. That’ll learn him I thought to myself.

  90. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 18, 2010 11:30 AM

    There was a young man of Seville
    Who thought he believed in free will,
    When his amante
    Removed her scanties
    He found his volition was nil.

    Just a skin test, hic, which I assume is adequate (or cheaper, which is the way of the NHS). Being thrashed with nettles is a treatment yet to be recommended, but I’m sure there would be queues to apply it.

  91. Reine permalink
    August 18, 2010 12:59 PM

    To test MM’s mettle
    A potion of nettle
    She applied to his chest
    While heaving her breast

    That breast is comedic
    To an orthopaedic
    Desist if you will
    And give me a pill

  92. SimonMH permalink
    August 18, 2010 2:32 PM

    I should think it was, Edward. His business in the šljìvovica producing areas of the Dalmatian coast, conveniently timed for the summer months, would be a state secret, but you can be sure they were vital missions in the interests of fraternal harmony and co-operation.

  93. hic8ubique permalink
    August 18, 2010 2:58 PM

    I hope this won’t make you feel nettled:
    In your case, I would never have settled
    for each negative test from the skint NHS
    til a positive finding was fettled.

    So, if the skin test was inconclusive, you know you want to pursue it further?
    Sorry to be harping, but sometimes you must push them to get the most complete profile, rather than accept: ‘hmm this finding is suggestive that we might try this approach next…’

    In any case, you might also look into taking vit D supplements (northerner) to support your immune system and reduce inflammation. Maybe 400IUs a day?
    There’s new info about the agency of vit D. Have a glance at this:

    You might also like to have a look at this Moeller testimony…

    I don’t know, but if the doc is just giving you steroids, I hope you’ll keep your eyes open. Public health can be a slow machine relative to individual circumstance.

    Ok, Mother Hen has spoken (ie. this is not professional advice).

  94. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 18, 2010 4:42 PM

    I’ve had more extensive treatment in the past, like six months’ worth of itraconazole (which is expensive, to be fair to the NHS); unfortunately it didn’t make any difference. Vitamin D sounds like a good idea: I’m supposed to have regular B12 injections (when I remember them). The doc is an excellent chap: I think it’s just a very difficult one to pin down. Anyway, now I’ve got my DOD it all seems a bit pointless.

    Sorry to hear about your hindquarters, btw. I can recommend the ice from Lake Windermere. Its unique cocktail of petrol, melted ice cream, used condoms and pure Cumbrian rainwater (2%) is said to be most efficacious for the injured bum.

  95. hic8ubique permalink
    August 18, 2010 5:41 PM
    ? DOD?

    I was just yesterday learning the origin of the Mowbray’s arse jokes, must say my bum is just fine, it’s L5 that’s offended, thanks.
    I always think I’d like an excuse to lie about and read, until I have one…
    Windermere water sounds like the stew I witnessed off of Capri.
    Anyone wanting to swim had to swish away the flotsam to create a briefly open area to plunge into, but then where to come up again?

  96. August 18, 2010 10:08 PM

    I don’t think I could advise you to swim there now, Hic. Naples is not famed for its sanitation or safety, though I always found it charming on brief visits.

    I did the quiz in the Guardian today on English dialect words. On finishing I was thrilled to learn I was a WOMBAT: Waste of Money, Brains and Time, which seems a bit unfair, to the wombat.

    I do not know if Mr. de Boinod is the author of this acephalous anti-marsupial hysteria but he is at least associated with it; perhaps a serendipitous koala once shat on his head in Wallamaloo.

    My score was so low that the median inebriated wombat would have done better, as I hope you did if you tried it.

  97. hic8ubique permalink
    August 18, 2010 10:56 PM

    I’ve never been, but the Herculaneum exhibits must be worth a visit. Pompeii was so eerily nauseous, I felt as though the shock of the eruption was still frozen in the genius loci.

    I went to have a go at the dialect quiz on your say so, S.
    this is what I got:

    “You scored 6 out of a possible 10

    Not bad but on the cochel side (Sussex dialect – too much for a wheelbarrow but not enough for a cart)”

    No critters.

    So does Wombat mean you got them all and thus have wasted your time becoming so well-informed of the abstruse?
    or that you scored nil and thus all efforts to educate you have been in vain, Professor?

    Oh, now I see this… ‘My score was so low that the median inebriated wombat would have done better…’
    ja, but I was really trying.

  98. August 18, 2010 11:27 PM

    Not nil, but not far off it. I blame too many years in foreign parts. I’m beginning to remind myself of the French soldier in Tom Jones who had forgotten his own language and was unable to pick up any other.

  99. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 18, 2010 11:43 PM

    There was a young lady from Santander
    who shaved her legs with a sander
    she saw with a groan
    she was down to the bone
    still, her fibias were worth a gander.

    I got 5. Didn’t attempt swimming at Capri, but had a very pleasant walk to the Villa Jovis accompanied, or trailed, by two disgruntled teenage girls. Once there I reflected that Tiberius’ policy of throwing unruly elements off the cliff was a good one. The Archaeological Museum in Naples is wonderful, the apparent desire of Neapolitan drivers to kill you as you cross the road less so.

    Now’s the time to invest in the Swedish Wallander (ie the non-Branagh version), hic. As depressing as Bergman but more entertaining. Beats reading.

  100. August 19, 2010 12:05 AM

    There was an young bull in Madrid
    who wished he could be like El Cid
    Not just the grunt
    the hero for once
    in Toledo or Valladolid

    We were taken round Naples the first time by my then girlfriend’s cousin, but I don’t remember much about the day except that it was August, sweltering and I got steadily grumpier as we wandered from one dusty church to another. The pizzas are superb though, many say the best in Italy, and I’d go back for them.

  101. hic8ubique permalink
    August 19, 2010 12:20 AM

    Ok MM, you may have ‘tibias’ or ‘fibulas’, but fibias is an inadmissible conflation, so you must choose. No more fence sitting for you.This is not the ‘spelling queen’ btw, but a matter of principle in an unprincipled age.(where is our attentive ed. when we are in our greatest need, I cry!)

    There was an old wheezer from Tunbridge
    whose shins stuck together in bondage,
    not only his pins,
    but the bones there withins
    with epoxy in tonnage and poundage.

    Right, I’m going for the Wallander. Subtitles mean I view alone, but after all: Story of my Life.
    (cue tiny violin; better indeed than contest shows)

    Simon, I’ve forgotten the soldier in TJ, but I did name my first-born Sophia, nickname: Sophy.

  102. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 19, 2010 1:04 AM

    There was a young chap from Vigo
    who had an enormous ego
    when he died
    no one cried
    he didn’t have a single amigo.

    All right, tibias. I didn’t know about the fibias/fibulas thing. I wonder why it isn’t tibulas?

    Must climb the wooden hill.

  103. hic8ubique permalink
    August 19, 2010 1:23 AM

    The fiddler well-known as Nero
    used a Julio-Claudian biro
    to tattoo his fibulas
    in tribute to Tiberi(a)s,
    his peroneal bo(w)neal hero.

    uh oh, seventh hill calling me too?

  104. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:11 AM

    There was a young man from Salamanca
    who had a name as a bit of a wanker
    he’d goad the toad
    in nonstop mode
    until he developed a canker.

    Spain ought to be a productive subject, but I seem to be dry.

    I came across this in a letter from Auden to John Cornford:

    ‘Never write from your head, write from your cock.’

    You might as well give up, gals.

  105. Reine permalink
    August 19, 2010 1:01 PM

    There was a young man from Blackrock
    Who wrote with the tip of his cock
    He dipped it in ink
    Then rinsed off in the sink
    His housekeeper died of the shock


    A young lady from outside Mulranny
    Tried to write from the heart and the fanny
    But the locals objected
    And the curate directed
    That she thereafter live with her Granny

  106. Reine permalink
    August 19, 2010 1:01 PM

    I’ll give up now!

  107. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 19, 2010 2:06 PM

    Don’t do that, Reine. Auden was a prick.

  108. hic8ubique permalink
    August 19, 2010 2:46 PM

    revisionist history:

    Mary the Queen of the Scots
    to her death went in tanbark culottes
    thus inspiring Drake
    his sails’ cloth for her sake
    to dye red as his foes’ old garottes.

    the man to drum up when your powder’s running low.

  109. August 19, 2010 3:40 PM

    Utterly filthy, Reine! Got any more? Please?

    Drake’s Drum, Hic? What a good idea:

  110. hic8ubique permalink
    August 19, 2010 3:43 PM

    I’m deeply distressed that the Don won’t kiss and make up, despite my overtures of abject contrition. Can’t post this there though…

    A Don on a Lipizzan stallion
    was himself an entire battalion
    and full-rigged armada,
    or whipped-up intifada,
    putting all eyes en guarde for his galleon.

  111. August 19, 2010 4:03 PM

    I’m sure he has, Hic. You’re not fighting now, are you? Perhaps, contrary to stereotype, he is a not a demonstrative Spaniard.

    Looks like one of those bulls took my limerick to heart:

  112. hic8ubique permalink
    August 19, 2010 4:05 PM

    I’d never heard that version, Simon. That was a treat on the old gramophone.
    May I ask about your sojourns in many lands? Tell us more about your Polyglot’s Progress, if you will.

  113. Reine permalink
    August 19, 2010 4:07 PM

    For Simon

    There was a young man from Hong Kong
    Who had an incredible schlong
    It stretched all the way
    from London to LA
    then turned left and headed for Cong.

    Hic, I forget why Don took against you, but am sure it was undeserved.

  114. hic8ubique permalink
    August 19, 2010 4:27 PM

    I keep crossing with you, Simon. He’s a particularly demonstrative Spaniard I think, an extreme example of type.
    He’s not speaking to me at all now, despite my attempt at soft-pedal charms *sigh*

    That bull was impressive, shame they had to kill it; a fine looking animal with some good moves.

    Your boyo did well then, Re, one big hurdle behind?

    A libidinous lady from Dingle
    had a vocab to make your cheeks tingle,
    with such terms for the phallus
    as to make a faun jealous
    hung out on her cunning-shaped shingle.

  115. Reine permalink
    August 19, 2010 6:01 PM

    He did extremely well Hic, thanks, but just shy of marks needed to study medicine, which is what he really wants, so may repeat. Some thinking to be done.

    An excellent limerick; don’t know where the faun is gone these days. I pine for him!

  116. hic8ubique permalink
    August 19, 2010 6:53 PM

    Thanks Re, it’s all for you. x
    I suspect the faun may have periods of ‘indisposition’. He’ll recur, I’m sure, quite possibly in response to your pang expressed here.

    For your scholar, I hope this will be one of many such moments of reckoning when only the one’s who ‘really want it’ pull through. Let me know if he starts looking in this direction…

  117. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 19, 2010 10:13 PM

    The Golden Spaniards

    In the Escorial’s dim apartments,
    hung richly with brocade and arras-work,

    those proud hidalgos kept their milky hands
    hidden in gloves throughout the daylight hours

    as they observed the ritual movements
    prescribed by the court’s enduring mandate.

    At evening time their body servants came
    to peel off those gloves and oil and comb

    the heavy piles of hair and pointed beards,
    to light the eyes with essence of berries,

    apply the masks of vinegar and lead
    and paint the scarlet beeswax on the lips.

    And then, from the iron-banded boxes,
    bring the glittering chains of bullion,

    the gravid necklaces, the golden cuffs,
    the tall, silver-topped ebony canes.

    Gathering their pale wives, two by two,
    red heels tapping on the echoing tile,

    those Spanish grandees strutted through the halls
    with an empire’s heart in their bloodless hands.

  118. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:15 PM

    Sorry to hear that, Reine. Medicine is a particularly unforgiving course here. One of Mrs M’s students was one mark short of her grade a couple of years ago and was canned as a result. Resat, passed, went next year. Sometimes a bit of latitude would be sensible.

  119. Reine permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:31 PM

    Thanks MM and Hic. He is only 17 and seems to be leaning towards giving it another go. Systems do seem very inflexible sometimes and points for medicine are huge. God, it’s hard being a parent isn’t it, wish I could take the disappointment away and make it all better but am of the mind that, to use the well worn saying, what’s for him won’t go by him. I am immensely proud of him, not just for his achievement which was super, but because he is a lovely young man. I would say that wouldn’t I? He is not remotely as rude as his mother either.

  120. freep permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:33 PM

    My amigo Jose, he loved Gaudi,
    Whose aesthetic was pious and cloudy.
    I prefer churches closed,
    With their steeples less posed,
    And a churchyard unweeded and dowdy.

  121. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:39 PM

    From the head or the cock, freep?

  122. Reine permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:49 PM

    A young man who lived in Bilbao
    Kept in his backyard a cow
    Her low swinging udders
    Gave his neighbours the shudders
    And things often broke out in a row

    He offered them free milk in lieu
    Of the lingering smell of cow poo
    But they were dairy free
    Favoured oil over ghee
    So the cow ended up in the zoo

  123. freep permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:50 PM

    Straight from the prostate, my old mucker.

  124. freep permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:57 PM

    …………. damn good Golden poem, by the way, MM.
    And, Reine, I had not considered in my head that weaned cattle are strict vegans . Food for thought here, as ever.

    A friend whose son took a medical degree recently said it was like taking 300 GCSEs…. a great deal of necessary rote learning. After all, you have to be able to say in rational terms what is the difference between an arm and a leg.

  125. Reine permalink
    August 20, 2010 12:03 AM

    Yes, Freep, the great minds of our time are bound to use my limericks as a source of groundbreaking debate!

  126. Reine permalink
    August 20, 2010 12:05 AM

    And now the penny drops…. me and my personal pronouns.

  127. hic8ubique permalink
    August 20, 2010 1:14 AM

    [‘ones’, not one’s, alas, we are left to our own vices]
    freepoland liked steeples so candid
    he enjoyed them however they landed
    in slumped contraposto,
    cantilevered robusto,
    or see-sawed, his taste even-handed.

    I hope that weaned kine are now scrupulous vegans; the other way madness lies.

    Beautiful work MM, delectably sensual! just as we devolve into odd bits, you pull that one out. Marvellous.

  128. August 20, 2010 3:35 AM

    Polyglot? Thanks for the compliment, Hic, but I’m far from that, although a certain facility with linguistics can make it appear so. One of the jokes about linguists is that they can talk knowledgeably about the world’s languages without actually being able to speak any. I do a little better, but still…

    Your interest in my driftings has set off a tangled skein. Let’s start with a Romanian wedding in 1984.

    We had driven all day from Budapest and arrived at Oradea (dubbed ‘Oh dear’ by one wit) well after nightfall. Not too late for the beggars however, who mobbed the coach demanding cans of Koh::ka Koh::la.

    I convinced one particularly pressing lout that I hated coke and therefore had none, whereupon he offered me a wad of banknotes for my Instamatic. This was no use to me: in those days it was impossible to take Romanian lei out of the country and there was precious little to spend them on inside it.

    When we finally reached the hotel, which made a Barking doss house look like the Hilton, there was a wedding in progress; ever on the qui vive for a free drink, a group of us gate-crashed the party.

    The drink must have been good because I don’t remember much else, except that I got chatting to an extremely beautiful young woman and made a clumsy pass. She fended this off more graciously than it deserved and we ended up swapping addresses.

    I received a lovely letter from her about six weeks later, to which I replied, but I never heard from her again. I know now that she would have had to report our conversation to the Securitate and that our letters would have been opened; perhaps mine to her never arrived; perhaps her father intervened; perhaps.

    Thanks for the Limerick dedicated to me, Reine. I shall treasure it. Very nice golden poem, MM, though I’m not sure it’s fair to elevate the tone so quickly. How about a quartet set in Spain to finish:

  129. salonrosa permalink
    August 20, 2010 8:56 AM

    That 10.13 was an absolute topper mm

    Strange reine should mention Mulranny, a town simply named for a Limerick.. in fact “a Mulranny” (or indeed a “Cong’ or even a “Dingle”) would be a far better name for the form. Tweed often passed through there, he allegedly crossing swords there with John Lennon, but that is a tale for another time. Meanwhile here is a fag packet effort scatched out to entertain the locals.

    An aged grandee, who hailed from Grenada,
    sought potions to make his “penisla” harder.
    “This one works!” he did roar,
    “Bring me whores, by the score,
    from Cadiz to Guadalajara.”

  130. freep permalink
    August 20, 2010 9:55 AM

    That was a good, if sad, story, Simon. I was hoping it would end: ‘Reader, I married her’. In the 1970s I fell temporarily in love with a Polish florist’s assistant under the influence of punch at a wedding. Alas; what could have been. She is probably now a stout exporter of bilberries.

  131. Reine permalink
    August 20, 2010 11:21 AM

    MM, one can almost smell the vinegar and oil, a superb portrait.

    seomra dearg, a “mulranny” could take off but I think it would better describe a type of haircut, a bit wild at the sides with a centre parting.

    You guys and your love stories are getting me all misty eyed.

  132. salonrosa permalink
    August 20, 2010 12:25 PM

    Liking your thinking Reine; it could form part of a hellish triangle of haircutting best achieved with some hand shears and a pot of raddle.

    The Scranny Mulranny, as descibed above, could link with the already infamous “Bell” Mullett and the triangle completed by the Foxford Farmer, a style where hair (best of a wiry ginger) of any shape or length, is cleaved into a sunday best side parting and patted down flat.

    Spittle and the words ‘That’ll do so.” are entirely optional.

  133. Reine permalink
    August 20, 2010 12:35 PM

    Pink, I must also put in a word for the Westport wave favoured by my (non-spitting) father “Thank you John, give my regards to your mother”, the Castlebar combover and the Achill afro (simply achieved by the wearer standing on the cliffs towards Keem Bay). I suspect Tweed was its ultimate poster boy. R

  134. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 20, 2010 1:00 PM

    Thanks to everyone, you’re too kind.

    This is the man to go to for hair-stylings, of course:

  135. Reine permalink
    August 20, 2010 1:08 PM

    That’d be the “Louisburgh-Lecanvey lichen” MM.

    I hope you rewarded yourself with a supersize Twirl for your masterpiece.

  136. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 20, 2010 1:09 PM

    In the photo booth at Tesco the other day it seemed that a very old rat had been flayed and its skin attached to my head. No comb, of course, and finger-forking just isn’t up to the job. The result should scare a few customs officials anyway.

  137. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 20, 2010 1:11 PM

    I have a five-pack of Toffee Crisp which I haven’t cracked yet. I may savour one this evening.

  138. salonrosa permalink
    August 20, 2010 2:29 PM

    Ah yes, the Westport Wave… the very epitome of louche urban sophistication (I hear they have three streets there) A little dab of brylcreme – or “the devil’s spunk” as our headmaster descibed it – to complete the look?

    For the fullest horrors I would suggest a trip inland, perhaps Roscommon way, where herbicides/insecticides and tractor parts enter the equation.

  139. hic8ubique permalink
    August 20, 2010 3:21 PM

    A very old rat skin!
    What a treat to find this a.m. :young international romance,
    the voice of Cecilia if I’m not mistaken, and more crimes against hair. Thanks for the tale Simon.

    The bloody marvel at my house had hair very like that Carlos
    when he played sweeper at school in the 70s, MM.

    I see updos are back in vogue which means I’ll be ‘on trend’ for a season or so, nothing ticklish, just a quick twist keeps the mop out of the way.

  140. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 20, 2010 3:51 PM

    Carlos seems to have kept his hair, and his hairdo, intact. I hope your marvel has done the same, hic. There was a footballer who played for Wolves in the 70s who had the biggest afro I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately I can’t remember his name. Anyone?

  141. salonrosa permalink
    August 20, 2010 4:04 PM

    That would be George Berry… a magnificent specimen.

    An hour two on Achill Head and even mm’s ratty lichen would be thus transformed.

  142. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 20, 2010 4:09 PM

    That’s him. Magnificent topiary.

  143. hic8ubique permalink
    August 20, 2010 5:15 PM

    …like a standard poodle best-in-show.
    The bmv is more sawdust dog or airdale than poodle-fro these days. Every oil-change indicates time for a hair-cut,
    or is it vice versa?

  144. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 20, 2010 8:42 PM

    That’s Airedale, Your Maj. A river valley in bloody Yorkshire.

    The female Mowbrays brought me back a Hershey bar from Southampton. A strangely bland concoction.

  145. hic8ubique permalink
    August 20, 2010 10:16 PM

    Oh you got me, you rotter! Never saw it. You’ve just been lying in wait to do justice. But, I needn’t capitalise the dog, surely, only the river. I’ll only call them sawdust dogs from now on anyway.
    Hershey ‘chocolate’ is probably mostly tallow, casting my mind back. Try polishing your boots with it. Thought that counts though.

  146. Reine permalink
    August 20, 2010 10:27 PM

    God, Hershey is dire. Hic, bought a pack of mini trifles on the way home in the absence of ripe peaches and time to make one’s own – we have just watched the Celebrity Masterchef final while scoffing them. Not bad, at least the cream was fresh. Not as good as Dick Strawbridge’s food though. I was sure he was going to win.

  147. hic8ubique permalink
    August 20, 2010 10:53 PM

    Dear and doting Mumma Re, I must report:
    my bairns, having only had freshly whipped cream with a drop of vanilla extract (from Madagascar) on special occasions, such as the annual ballet-recital Pavlova, or the previously mentioned sherry trifle, think it’s the very cat’s arse to have on-demand pressurised *ththtthtwoooark* chem cream from ‘RealWhip’ in the icebox.
    They ecstatically spray this sickly sweet foam on everything sweet, and *sploofutch* tomato ketchup on everything savoury. That particular odour with eggs at breakfast makes a bad start for me any day.
    I hurry away with my espresso.

  148. Reine permalink
    August 20, 2010 11:09 PM

    Yeah, I think it is accepted the ketchup thing must be a kind of child esperanto… keep your relishes or chilli jams… I suppose kids will be kids.

    So imagine my absolute horror when out for lunch under an aforementioned elsewhere portrait of Maud Gonne, my beloved father added to his delightful looking homemade beef stroganoff two sachets of tomato sauce. He said it was a bit bland and needed a kick. There were no words.

  149. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 20, 2010 11:25 PM

    Mrs M adds ketchup to kedgeree, which seems bonkers to me. My son used to eat crisps for breakfast. I had to leave the room.

  150. hic8ubique permalink
    August 20, 2010 11:34 PM

    and no tabasco either, I suppose.
    I’m impressed my son to his credit has always liked mango chutney. As a child, I thought it had hair in it and would never try it.
    My father’s special enhancement is fresh black pepper.
    He would grind so much over his plate it seasoned everyone elses meal as well.

  151. Reine permalink
    August 20, 2010 11:39 PM

    And when I make omelettes – lovely free range eggs, parsley and what have you, seasoned and cooked to perfection, my husband’s first action is to cover the whole thing in Heinz to look like some kind of Jackson Pollock tribute. I know it shouldn’t bother me but it does. Makes me feel like I’ve married Jack Duckworth or Onslow. More To The Manor Born, me. Ha.

  152. hic8ubique permalink
    August 21, 2010 12:39 AM

    I’m more to the manner indoctrinated myself, but I strive to surmount this oppression (do shut up MM).
    I would never be entrusted to get the spousal eggs out of the pan with sufficient alacrity. Alright with me.

  153. Reine permalink
    August 21, 2010 12:48 AM

    Your hairy chutney most amusing Hic; at the end of every jar in our house lie some sad and naked fruit. A real skill to work around them. Love fresh or dried mango but always unsettles me to bite into a jarred one… or a mango in jar.

  154. August 21, 2010 12:51 AM

    Amati essemus, freep, who can say? Spanish Ladies:

  155. hic8ubique permalink
    August 21, 2010 1:05 AM

    Fresh mango is an altogether different kettle of, um, fruit.

    Lingonsylt is the only thing I add to savouries, except for perhaps mustard pickle or gomasio.
    The faithful bmv once interviewed everyone in the market trying to discover what this ‘mustard pickle’ on the shopping list might be, but nobody could help him. I ask you!
    Lemon juice is good on many things…avocados, lobster.

    Now, MM, you know I meant ‘shut up’ in re ‘Your Maj’, not generally, at all, at all…x

  156. Reine permalink
    August 21, 2010 1:13 AM

    Never without a lemon or a lime at hand Hic – if very lazy, I make a quick guacamole with avocado, lime, touch of salt and black pepper and a few chili flakes, omitting garlic. Gomasio not widely prevalent here – we are still coming to terms with sea salt!

  157. hic8ubique permalink
    August 21, 2010 1:28 AM

    That’s lazy? No, lazy is ordering Mexican.
    Gomasio is not prevalent here either, but I love sesame.

  158. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 21, 2010 1:27 PM


    In the wildest celebration
    it has the sweetness of success,
    in moments of contemplation
    a quiet and subtle caress.

    If you’re lonely or can’t get laid,
    or generally feeling blue,
    this double-digited comrade
    is going to be there for you.

    And in those moments of defeat,
    when life has kicked you in the gut
    and you’ve gone into full retreat,
    there’s still a bar of chocolate

    which gives two fingers to the world:
    stop struggling and pick up a Twirl.

  159. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 21, 2010 1:38 PM

    I’ve never heard of gomasio. I can’t say it sounds particularly appealing. Sesame seeds are ubiquitous even in this outpost of civilisation, liberally sprinkled over every bakery product you buy.

    What, no horseradish?

  160. Reine permalink
    August 21, 2010 1:43 PM

    “If you’re lonely or can’t get laid,
    or generally feeling blue,
    this double-digited comrade
    is going to be there for you.”

    Just be careful to confine them
    To within your upper lips
    Because if lower you consign them
    They will on your scanties drip

  161. hic8ubique permalink
    August 21, 2010 2:34 PM

    I put gomasio on salads…good source of calcium. Once in a while, I’ll have a bagel covered in sesame seeds. (I was actually 15 yrs old before I ever saw a bagel, can you imagine!)
    Horseradish is good, but I’m not a great meat-eater so I seldom think of it.
    Often, what I fancy for a sweet is honey, in fact M’s Machado poem seems to have stayed with me, and I’ve even dreamt of bees making their humming drone last night. I can smell the beeswax now.
    The sort I like best is the raw creamed honey with messy bits of comb left in. It’s almost chewy. Come to think, raw honey might be good for your immunity, Mowbray. Do you like it?
    (also for skin and mucous membranes)

    I wish I could remember more of that dream…I was among lidded bee-hives which were ever so slowly walking around on legs, but they were the perfect long legs of women~ absolutely smooth and elegant. The entire surrounding atmosphere was vigourously vibrating with bees. I was in white veils and gloves, but I had no legs, or no, they were engulfed in wildflowers, I just hovered and watched the bees gather nectar but in macro detail. It was totally blissful.
    Sorry, I know listening to other people’s dreams can be excruciatingly boring, but this was such a *sweet* one.
    Now I want some hunny.

  162. Reine permalink
    August 21, 2010 2:43 PM

    “The Lord bless us and save us” as my Granny would have said.

    I, on the other hand, dreamed the night before last that I had several wasps embedded in my arm and was screaming for help for someone to remove them. I am terrified of wasps and for some reason they have for the past three years chosen our house as home to their nests. We get the nest removed each year and they come back and set up in a different place. Dastardly fellows.

  163. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 21, 2010 2:51 PM

    I’ll bear that in mind, Reine, though it’s a most unlikely scenario in my case. Mr Marks and Mr Spencer are probably turning in their graves at the thought.

    Nice translation on the GU (not that I know or understand the original: I like the plainness of it). I have the impression that you are or were a specialist in Irish literature.

  164. Reine permalink
    August 21, 2010 3:21 PM

    I like the poem myself MM – it speaks to me I suppose as a seaside girl living in the city! Thank you for your kind comment. The first three lines and last line of each stanza are identical in the original but I played around a bit with the meaning because I couldn’t decide on one version.

    Sadly I am not a specialist in Irish literature – studied Irish lit as part of English for my BA and specialised, if that can be said, in middle English writing by or about women for my MA. Was having a bit of a feminist moment which, thankfully, passed quickly. Studied acres of middle English texts and remember very little of them. I studied Irish until I was 17 but that’s about the extent of it. Maintain an interest in it though and can speak and read it after a limited fashion.

    Sorry about Twirlworld addendum, you do have a way of making me sink to new lows!

  165. hic8ubique permalink
    August 21, 2010 3:54 PM

    You are specialist enough for me, Reine. I always enjoy your Irish contributions, although I have no hope in the pronunciation. I had ideas of being a medievalist myself, but abandoned the idea early on. I could see you as a wife of Bath showing your racey red hose.
    How interesting that the wasps have specially chosen your home to ’embed’ in. We have the paper-nest building ones here, but they mind their own business.

    Here’s one for Simon, (but maybe not just Simon?)…

  166. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 21, 2010 4:05 PM

    I must have misinterpreted something. Nice to have a choice of languages, anyway. I don’t think my A level French will cut much ice on the Translation thing, unless a free rendering of Sur Le Pont D’Avignon is required.

    Horseradish works well with cheese. I like honey, but prefer golden syrup. Its health-giving properties are well-known.

    What an extraordinary pair of dreams. Sigmund, thou shouldst be living at this hour!

  167. Reine permalink
    August 21, 2010 4:16 PM

    Your bee dream, Hic, made me think of this verse from Yeats’s The Lake Isle of Innisfree:

    “I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
    And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
    Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
    And live alone in the bee-loud glade”

    Yes, it was always my dream to turn into the Wife of Bath!

    What a super-sweet voice.

  168. Reine permalink
    August 21, 2010 4:20 PM

    I’m quite sure you would have a central role in the analysis in both cases MM.

  169. hic8ubique permalink
    August 21, 2010 5:04 PM

    Yes, the bee-loud glade! Perfect. Thank you for remembering that one for me Re.

    There’s this one too:
    “Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge. We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind.”
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche

    but I like the Machado far better, as the transformative power of the heart. I suppose I need them both.

    hmm, golden syrup sounds suspiciously artificial, MM.

  170. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 22, 2010 12:44 AM

    It’s a tangerine nightmare, HLM.

    Golden syrup is a completely natural product made by crushing selections from The Sound Of Music, then straining them through Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s wig. An extract of badger piss gives the final deep yellow colour. Bon appetit!

    Mrs M went to a party tonight where the entertainment was provided by Derek Sandy, of Welcome To The IOW fame. I rather wish I’d gone now.

  171. hic8ubique permalink
    August 22, 2010 2:15 AM

    Ran out of chocolate?
    I was supposed to go to a kirtan on a beautiful beach this evening, but in the deciding moment, felt it had been a populous day, and I’d just as soon be quiet, so I just walked the dogg on the usual beach. The Lake Isle of Innisfree has been with me today, and probably influenced my choice.
    If you’re unfamiliar with the kirtan, this is a special opportunity for ones family to roll their eyes and slope off to watch a flick. Tonight the feature is Get Smart.

    I recognise golden syrup now, but never used it. We always had lemon and sugar on pancakes, but now maple syrup is the favourite. Do you get it in the UK now? It would seem like a freep item.

  172. August 22, 2010 9:23 AM

    So they let Derek out then?

    Obviously the IoW is a more liberal place than its northern counterpart the Isle of Man – where being black is probably a punishable offence never mind the sort of grievous bodily harm that Derek has done to reggae music.

  173. August 22, 2010 9:33 AM

    I was always fascinated by Tate & Lyle’s choice of image to sell their Golden syrup. A dead lion with a colony of bees coming out of its stomach ” Out of strength comes forth sweetness” or something like that.

    In this age of cute cartoon characters you can’t imagine such an advertising ploy being desirable. It’s probably a celebration of the imperial spirit . I suppose as a “white supremacist” ( copywrite parallaxview 2009 – all rights reserved ) I should know these things but I don’t..

    I haven’t looked at a tin for years ( such things cause us diabetics to cower in the corner ) so I don’t know whether they’ve persisted with it.

  174. Captain Ned permalink
    August 22, 2010 12:21 PM

    ‘A man is not from where he is born, but where he chooses to die’

    Señor, I am something monstrous fat –
    a redundant admission, I’ll admit,
    for you see well enough
    the pillowy prodigality of my gut.
    Don’t stand too close, señor,
    for I may burst,
    and give your donkey a fright.

    I like to advertise my want
    of vanity. So yes, señor,
    I am fat.
    And broke.
    A spectacle of modest interest,
    come to your town to sweat
    and smoke and glower
    in this infernal heat.

    You have a face, señor –
    a face I like very much.
    A face made in this heat.
    Ruined, too, in this heat,
    if you don’t mind my saying so,
    which of course you don’t,
    being too old to feel insulted.

    But your face I like very much,
    And your donkey’s face,
    equally ruined.
    (His name, I take it,
    is Platero?)
    I’m fond of ruins, señor.

    I’m a sentimentalist at heart,
    for my heart is rotten,
    and ruined faces such as yours,
    and your donkey’s,
    give me such sweet fraudulent
    delight that I laugh, señor,
    at my own brilliance.

    You were quite gallardo
    when young, señor.
    Isn’t that so?
    No stranger to the corrida,
    Muy macho.
    Of course, there’s no-one like that now.
    The young men of today,
    señor, wouldn’t you say,
    their cojones (you’d use
    that word?) are somewhat

    Well, I salute you,
    my Quixote.
    And you too, my Platero.
    There’s a carrot for you
    (I meant the donkey,
    but never mind).
    We snatch,
    in this squalid world,
    at mean delights, and try
    to hold them,
    if we can.
    My grip’s slippery.

    And now there’s dust
    in my beard.

  175. Reine permalink
    August 22, 2010 3:14 PM

    Ed, checked a tin languishing at the back of the press, still the lion and bees and the legend “Out of the strong came forth sweetness” – I had never noticed that before.

    For anyone interested, I use the golden syrup in a chocolate biscuit cake recipe which I make very infrequently. GS is violently sweet so necessary to be very exacting in measurement. Lyles do a maple flavoured golden syrup too Hic but the Canadian real deal stuff is, unlike gomasio, widely available. Hope you enjoyed your solitude.

    Mrs. M was home early MM, she must have missed you or had enough of Derek or both perhaps. Perhaps she is just a sensible girl.

  176. Reine permalink
    August 22, 2010 3:15 PM

    And the word for today is “perhaps”.

  177. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 22, 2010 5:05 PM

    Esplendido, Capitano! Any luck with the novel?

    Derek was excellent, I’m told, but very loud. Most of the attendees were oldsters so hung around cringing at the back of the marquee until cattle-prodded into dancing. Mrs M was obliged to attend, but I made my excuses thinking it would just be another exercise in boring and being bored. Regrets. I’ve had a few.

    There’s a strong vein of racism among the islanders, ET, which is odd considering that black or Asian faces were very rare until quite recently. One of the few exceptions was the family who owned the Ta Mahal (qv). I was at a school sports day fifteen years ago held on a vast field nearby on a very hot day. In the far distance several colourful figures appeared, distorted slightly by the heat haze. When they were closer it turned out to be the mother, sisters, aunts, grandmothers etc of the family (who had two daughters at the school), in full traditional dress, sari, headscarf, gold sandals etc etc. The sparse crowd of beige chinoed and pale sundressed Europeans looked even more pallid than usual.

    I daresay Lyle was a keen muscular Christian, like many Vicwardian entrepreneurs, which no doubt explains his use of the Samson riddle. It was a regular feature of Sunday School, carefully explained every time by Mrs Whatsit who ran it, despite the answer being fucking obvious even to a Christian.

  178. hic8ubique permalink
    August 22, 2010 5:39 PM

    So, MM, does that mean you find homogeneous societies to be less xenophobic than diverse ones? I’d certainly be inclined to suggest the opposite. Would you say more about that, so I can get your meaning?

  179. August 22, 2010 7:33 PM

    Reine I’m generally sponsored by the word “seems”

  180. Reine permalink
    August 22, 2010 7:44 PM

    Perhaps you are Ed, perhaps you are.

  181. August 22, 2010 8:07 PM

    MM I never went to Sunday School so had no idea where that saying came from.

    Biblical studies in Frome consisted of stringing the weedy kids ( of which I was one ) up onto tree branches and turning bottles of wine or whatever was cheapest into streams of piss in the town centre every Saturday night.

  182. Reine permalink
    August 22, 2010 8:25 PM

    Thank God I am not the only Sunday school virgin. The Catholics didn’t hold with Sunday school. Or with the bible much for that matter.

    I like your Weeing at Frome parable Ed.

  183. August 22, 2010 8:32 PM

    better as a parable than in reality Reine. Those who mither on about binge drinking today clearly had no experience of Frome in the early 70’s ….or anywhere at any point in time.

  184. freep permalink
    August 22, 2010 9:44 PM

    I loved your poem, Cap’n; it made me smile a great deal.

    Agree with you, hic, about homogeneous societies and xenophobia. When my kids were at primary school, we inhabited a Co. Durham ex-mining village, where no person from afar had been seen since the pit was opened in 1906. My elderly neighbour went to Newcastle (ten miles away) only once a year for her Christmas Sellotape. And because it was over 500 feet up, the residents thought it was a healthy place. On moving in, my neighbour the other side said, ‘Mind, if you’ve got TB, you brought it with you; there’s nae better air than here in Greenside.’
    My daughter was the only child in the school with dark hair, the rest being all descended from Vikings. One day (I’m talking as recently as 1989), a dark, English-born but Sri Lankan by origin friend came for the weekend, and I took him into the Pack Horse pub, where he was scrutinised minutely and silently. Some days later, an acquaintance came up to me and said, ‘Peter, your mate’s a canny lad for a darkie; ah thowt he spoke English pretty good, like.’

  185. Captain Ned permalink
    August 22, 2010 10:26 PM

    Thanks freep, Melton. I had Orson Welles in mind when I started it (the title’s a quote of his), but in the end I drifted a little from my original conception.

    There’s much first-rate stuff here. I’m particularly taken with ‘The Golden Spaniards’: a rich and strange piece. The same might be said of ‘Welcome to the Isle of Wight’.

    Very strange but not at all rich, except in production values, is ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’, which I’ve just watched. The first film was bad enough; this is simply atrocious. The portrayal of the Spaniards as stereotypically swarthy, villainous religious fanatics is so over-the-top as to be unintentionally hilarious. John Dee, one of the characters in my novel (which I’m just finishing up, MM, after a heavy editing job), pops up – rather anachronistically, as he wasn’t in the country at the time. Some of the dialogue is so treasurably lame as to be almost fit for comparison with the immortal beauties of ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’. I recommend it.

  186. August 22, 2010 11:27 PM

    Cap’n is your novel being edited for publication or is it to be sent out with that in mind? Good luck with either option.

    Went to see “the illusionist” this afternoon. A French 2-D drawn animation by the guy who made “Belleville Rendezvous.” Beautifully made but the story was a little blank in places. The animation of buses and cars was great though.

  187. Reine permalink
    August 22, 2010 11:36 PM

    Worth going Ed, it’s on here at the mo in my favourite cinema?

    I liked Partir with KST – mostly for her Catalan lover played by Sergi López.

  188. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 23, 2010 12:00 AM

    Well, hic, I certainly wouldn’t generalise from my experience of the IOW, which is by no means a homogeneous society anyway. I’m not sure that xenophobia is the same thing as racism either, though native islanders are often that as well (it’s much less common now). It seems (EdwardTaylorTM) common sense that diverse societies would be more tolerant.

    I suppose what I meant (and this is guesswork) is that it seems peculiar that with their very limited experience of other races that Islanders should be so enthusiastic about hating them. In short, that it’s irrational, but then racism by its nature is irrational, so I’m incorrect in describing it as ‘odd’. Sorry about that.

    Best of luck with the novel, Captain.

  189. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 12:12 AM

    Pardon my latecomer’s ignorance but is the Captain already a published author (as a captain, I feel it is inappropriate to address the question to him directly)? Hats off to you sir, all the best with it. Really liked your poem.

  190. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 23, 2010 12:44 AM

    I’ve no idea. You should put in a chit requesting the information (in triplicate) to the Captain’s Adjutant, who will subsequently lose it and pretend he never received it. Then you’ll find yourself guarding an empty shed in Northern Germany in the coldest winter for 50 years.

  191. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 12:59 AM

    Ah well, MM, thankfully I have the perfect hat for such a posting should it come to pass.

  192. hic8ubique permalink
    August 23, 2010 1:19 AM

    Don’t worry, MM. I seem to have a perverse drive to discuss awkward topics. There is certainly something ‘other’ about islands. I’ve met individuals here who avoid going over the bridge.

    It seems there’s been a surfeit of Elizabethan films. I can’t remember liking any of them…but smooth sailing to your endeavours, Capt.
    I very much enjoyed Edith Pargeter’s (Ellis Peters) ‘Brothers of Gwynedd’. I like Sharon Kay Penman as well.

    Thanks for your account freep. ( Peter is a fine name, by the way.)
    I had a dark-haired swim instructor at the age of 4. His name was Duke and I distinctly remember him. I screamed in terror throughout every frigid lesson.
    If a dark-haired man came into the house, I dove under the dining table until he went away. Like the residents of Greenside, everyone in my family was fair. At some point, I got over my innocent’s terror, but it seems isolated people can fear ‘the stranger’ their whole lives long.

    I’ll look for Partir, Reine. Have you seen ‘I’ve Loved You So Long’? that was a treat.
    So far no luck getting hold of Wallander.

  193. hic8ubique permalink
    August 23, 2010 1:22 AM

    Is it black astrakhan, Re?

  194. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 1:34 AM

    Don’t think I’ve seen that one Hic.

    Glad to hear you are over your dark haired phobia or I would horrify you if we were ever to meet … dark hair and eyes to boot.

    The hat is silver fox fur from Canada. It was a gift, it would have been rude not to accept it. Please don’t turn me in to PETA.

  195. hic8ubique permalink
    August 23, 2010 1:50 AM

    You are up late! I just put Partir on the list. Looks like I’ll be viewing that one solo…
    I’d highly recommend I’ve Loved You So Long, if you like KST.
    Especially as you have a sister.
    You’ll be an exotic sight in your silver fox someday.
    Amundsen wore sealskin and lived to tell the tale. In certain climates, it’s no fox paw.

  196. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 2:12 AM

    I am up late Hic because I slept late today and was generally very lazy. I often go to see films solo – find it very relaxing. No sniggering or yawning or munching beside me to interrupt my escapism… if I choose my seat carefully.

    Yes, some sister she is if you mean the one who is slandering me on PP! I am the eldest of three girls. No brothers to dilute the hysteria.

    I have worn the hat but tell people it’s fake if I am unsure of their stance. So a liar as well as a fur wearer.

    ‘night. I’m finally sleepy.

  197. hic8ubique permalink
    August 23, 2010 2:49 AM

    I’ll say good morning then, Re. So, YoneyB must be your sister!
    I wouldn’t have put that together. No wonder you were tart with her.
    I too am the eldest of three sisters. Our grandfather liked to call us The Three Graces in a blind delusion of wishful thinking.

    Wear your hat and celebrate the fox, I say. Tell people impertinent enough to ask that it’s ‘recycled’; this is true.

    That DonG is weirdly erratically self-contradicting, I keep getting tangled up in him…

  198. August 23, 2010 8:43 AM

    Reine. The Illusionist is an odd film. Don’t know what I felt about it really but it’s really beautiful to look at throughout. The original script is by Tati ( a favourite of mine ) who features in drawn-form as the lead character. For me the director hasn’t given him enough of the subtle physical comedy that the real Tati would bring to a scene. So it feels a bit empty at times.

    hic I tend to make a comment on PotW and leave these days. The latest craze seems ( ET reg.TM ) to be unearth a draft/alternative version of the poem and discuss that instead.

    Self contradicting characters have been a hallmark of that thread since I first started contributing a few years back. Best of luck in your entanglements.

  199. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 10:52 AM

    Thanks Edward, hope to go during the week.

    A few people seem to have taken odd turns on PoTW these days. People whose contributions were previously entertainingly satirical have become decidedly sardonic. Hic, try not to let them under your skin. As Daddy would say “maintain your dignity [as you always do] even if everyone else is losing theirs”.

    Yes, YoneyB is my sister and likes to drop in occasionally to have a “big fat laugh” at my pontifications. No chance of ever getting above oneself!

  200. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 1:33 PM

    Freep, you couldn’t ask bee-scatterer George to come around to my house could you? Wasps in my case. I’d pay handsomely with an apple tart.

  201. freep permalink
    August 23, 2010 2:38 PM

    Apple tart? with custard? Seductive indeed, especially if it contains old cloves. But you may have noticed from the poem, Reine, that George was not successful at bee hunting. George is from Cork, I should mention. You should treasure the companionship of wasps. There is little in nature to compare with the papery elegance of the nests of Vespula Vulgaris. I have tried writing a poem on wasp-paper, but have not found the correct ink.

    Forgot to follow up on MM’s query about Wordsworth and whether he slept upright. I had always assumed that he slept standing up, not sitting in bed. There is an old moss-covered shed behind Sykeside Cottage where it is thought the poet would stand and munch oats each night, in between dictating The Prelude to his favourite dogg (Prelude, Book IV, 84 et seq):
    …a rough Terrier of the hills ….preordain’d
    To hunt the badger, and unearth the fox,
    Among the impervious crags…’
    W. would:
    ‘…let loose
    My hand [hoof?] upon his back with stormy joy,
    Caressing him again, and yet again …’ (!)

    He was three-quarters horse, and in the early years at Dove Cottage would get Dorothy to saddle him up and install John or Dora as jockey on his back. Their customary route was up to Greenhead Gill and back. WW was sensitive about the appellation ‘old horseface’ which was widespread in Grasmere. Note in particular that he never wrote a poem to a horse. It was just too close.

    Wordsworth knew that standing up was to become the customary mode of human existence. I see that Ryanair will be introducing standing only flights soon. When I was a sprog, it was always said that the whole population of the globe would be able to stand on the Isle of Wight. Now there are more people, I wonder if that remains true, if it ever was. And would people on Wight welcome the boost to tourism?.

    This is a busy afternoon.

  202. hic8ubique permalink
    August 23, 2010 3:26 PM

    Oh Greenhead Gill, I remember that from Matthew.
    Papery elegance is very well described, freep.

    Thanks EdT , I’ve recognised for some time that he is a ‘character’, the Don, so I’m not really having an arachnileptic fit. The agenda is different to Iant/Minerva’s, though she is extremely passive/aggressive!
    It’s like poking a scorpion, I know I should stop, but I’m sort of fascinated…

    I’m sure it is a failure of elegance, Reine. That umbrella remark is too astonishing for words. I’ll try to behave, but *now I’m laughing* it’s awfully entertaining.

  203. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 4:16 PM

    Ah, Freep, the master apple tart baker who is my mother would be horrified by the addition of cloves or cinnamon and suggests people who use these are merely attempting to disguise the fact they cannot make a proper apple tart that lets the fruit speak for itself with the addition only of some sugar. She also abhors the practice of stewing the fruit before “tarting” it. A most humble woman, she is hailed for her tarts (not to be confused with her daughters, boom boom).

    I had seen that George was unsuccessful but was willing to give him another shot. His coming from Cork makes sense of everything; there they talk about how every possible scenario should be approached and resolved but those I know well/am married to never get as far as the action bit.

    Perhaps D speaks from painful experience Hic of an umbrella up his bum or down his… isn’t there something called an “umbrella” test that makes men wince and their partners wait with bated breath for the outcome?

    Don, if you are reading this, I do not for one moment suggest you have the clap.

  204. hic8ubique permalink
    August 23, 2010 5:47 PM


  205. freep permalink
    August 23, 2010 8:06 PM

    I would cheerfully award your mother a bursary, or a free holiday to a thriving arboretum, Reine. For a well-made apple pie is better than any poem. I am never quite sure what a poem is, whereas I do know what an apple pie is, and could probably recognise one in the darkest night. I might try that next time I have a pie in the house; invite a friend into a darkened room and see how quickly s/he can identify the mystery objects on the table. ‘Which of these is Wordsworth’s Prelude, which Grays Elegy,and which is a well-crafted apple pie?’

    And as you suggest, cloves and cinnamon are just filthy pretentious foreign additives to disguise the baker’s incompetence. I expect it will be the Armagh Bramleys she uses, which certainly never require prior stewing. I would be interested to know whether she prefers a shallow or a deep dish on which to rest the holy object, and whether she goes so far as to put that plaited rope pastry decoration around its rim – or is that too Gothick for her? Does she enter them for prizes? I thought not. Just like poetry, the best ones are never entered for competitions. She will have complete confidence in her pies, as good poets do in their high doggerel.

    The George from Cork is indeed a person who could not make an apple pie, because he lacks a killer instinct. But he is married for fifty years to a Longford girl, so he gets by, and pie.

  206. hic8ubique permalink
    August 23, 2010 8:58 PM

    A fruit that speaks for itself
    is the worthiest pie ingredient
    it cools aloft on a sill or shelf
    and burbles and sighs its contentment

    no spiced pretence of exotic clime

    may disguise the native Bramley or Spy
    but tart and sweet of scent sublime
    like an Irish girl is the humble pie.

  207. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 9:24 PM

    Funny you should say that Freep for Mama is a woman who uses words sparingly and marvels at my ability to “talk such shite” – she says this with love I am sure.

    She favours a hollow dish as hers are tarts rather than pies and is not overly fussed about the apple identity – seems to be able to bend them to her will. She does not plait but favours a thumb/finger formation to seal and prettify and finishes off with an application of egg wash. She tried to teach me the t/f trick when I was 12 and we nearly came to blows – I think she may have called me a “thick galoot”. She denies it but I still bear the psychological scar. This, from a woman who never curses and is most refined, was unheard of. She was obviously severely provoked by my lack of finesse. She told me any one of her students would master the technique. In my defence, I was half trying to watch the Waltons at the same time.

    She makes tarts for high days and holy days – in bulk at Christmas when the refrain “I have to make the bloody pastry and trifles before your father comes back with eight turkeys and a trailer load of black pudding from Newport” can be heard in her Westport kitchen. We have a visitor every Christmas who calls for three nights on the trot to eat Mammy’s tart and is not seen again for 362 days.

    Not that you asked but to complete the vignette, Daddy drowns his in custard and surprisingly does not add salt, Mam prefers hers with a “small dollop” of freshly whipped cream (she loathes ignorant presentation or portions) and the girls prefer it luke warm or cold. Patsy, the visitor, likes it hot with cream and always has two huge slices with a “tiny drop” of red wine.

    My “George” is also in love with her tart. No laughs in the cheap seats please. I make mine to the same recipe and they taste good but never look a patch on hers. Still can’t do thumb/finger 28 years later. We laughed recently when I made an Eve’s pudding for dessert and she said “at least you won’t have to thumb finger that”. Cruel I thought. She is the kindest lady though and angelic aside from the aforementioned slip up.

    Hic, is this for me? “…but tart and sweet of scent sublime
    like an Irish girl…”. I am deeply moved. x

  208. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 9:27 PM

    PS – they were secretarial students not tart-making ones so the remark was all the more cutting. She tried to teach me shorthand too but that was another unsuccessful enterprise – I was too swirly for her liking. Still, my swirl has stood me in good stead and I am a very quick typist!

  209. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 9:35 PM

    Correction – a “shallow” dish.

  210. Captain Ned permalink
    August 23, 2010 9:41 PM

    Nothing previously published, Reine; this is my first effort. And ET, I’m getting it into shape before submitting it to potential agents.

    ‘Shakespeare in Love’ is pretty grim, hic, and I’m dreading/gleefully anticipating the forthcoming ‘Anonymous’, a Roland Emmerich-directed thriller-cum-anti-Stratfordian-fantasy with Rhys Ifans as the Earl of Oxford and Vanessa Redgrave as Quoon Bess. However, I quite liked the second part of the recent telly drama with Helen Mirren. I’ve not seen the first part.

    Freep, your post of 2:38 almost made me fall off my chair with laughter.

  211. Captain Ned permalink
    August 23, 2010 9:46 PM

    Thick galoot is a charming term, Reine. I shall endeavour to try it on my own family this Christmas.

  212. August 23, 2010 10:07 PM

    cap’n If it’s an Emmerich film one can only speculate how the Earl of Oxford might demolish the Empire State Building.

    The last one I saw on TV about an ec- disaster hitting New York featured a memorable scene of frost chasing the hero across a hall. The sheer excitement of it all.

  213. Reine permalink
    August 23, 2010 10:10 PM

    Well, good luck Captain. You could always try out “thick galoot” on the publisher/s if your brilliance is not rewarded.

  214. freep permalink
    August 23, 2010 11:28 PM

    well I think it’s pies I prefer. Even if the egg wash makes it nice and brown. But that’s cosmetics, prettying up. Tarts from the tanning studio. Me mam told me to keep me hands off of the tarts. Plain flans and puddings are safe, so long as you wear a sober hat and unreflective buttons.
    Cap’n Ned, be careful with your draft, and don’t show it around here. There are people who are not orthodox. People who eat novels in the belief they may be sandwiches.

  215. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 24, 2010 12:21 AM

    Apples got a very bad press at Sunday school. I’ve never liked them much. The packaging is incredibly difficult to remove (you actually need a knife!) and the watery stuff inside is hardly worth the effort.

  216. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 24, 2010 12:48 AM

    There ought to be a Wallander on BBC iplayer, hic, if it’s available there.

  217. hic8ubique permalink
    August 24, 2010 3:21 AM

    Of course it’s all for you Reine, just a fancy; I plucked it entire from your conversation with freep. The t/f thingy is called ‘fluting’. If you weren’t so traumatised, it would be easy as …
    but how you would crow to see me typing.

    Capt. ~ I saw S in Love some time ago – just the usual HWood rubbish I thought. I can usually steer clear of those. There was something more recent with an unattractive actress playing EI…looks like it was Anne-Marie Duff.
    Haven’t seen the Cate Blanchette one.
    Yet another, if I recall with HBCarter playing Anne Boleyn…How many do we need?
    but I’d watch Helen play any Elizabeth she pleases.
    I’ll look out for Anonymous, since the XVII Earl interests me.
    Your first novel! You must keep us posted.

    per reflective buttons, freep: a further failure of elegance.

    MM, I’ll see into that BBC iplayer. We have ieverythingelse
    here, so ‘perhaps’.
    Do you mean to say you don’t carry a Kirk&Matz mother-of-pearl-handled fruit knife?
    yet another failure of elegance. What’s becoming of us? rudderless and un-seaworthy thread sailors.

  218. August 24, 2010 9:54 AM

    Being a diabetic involves having to eat sugary things at odd hours of the day when blood sugar levels dip.

    I remember needing something at about 2 in the morning. I kept a Braeburn apple by the bedside, didn’t want to switch the light on and wake my other half up so sat up and ate it in the dark. In retrospect the sound of an apple being munched in the dark would probably be far more disturbing

    But the taste of that apple divorced from looking at it whilst I ate was one of the best tastes I’ve ever had

  219. hic8ubique permalink
    August 24, 2010 3:22 PM

    Braeburns are excellent. An apple with almond butter is a great snack, though I don’t mean to suggest almond butter in bed. Cocoa butter on the other hand…
    (sorry, that was for Reine)

    So EdT I’m wondering whether you looked closely at that link from MIT about the blood-sugar monitoring tattoos being developed? The ink changes colour to replace the finger-prick. I thought that was a wildly cool idea.
    Have you ever tried the pump?

    The BBC iplayer is another proxy-switch miasma, MM. I’ll wait til I’m in the mood to be helped.
    The trouble is the ‘help’ is apt to subsume me in too much information long beyond my attention span for such
    ‘work-around genius’ skills…
    makes me think of Re’s image of sticking pins in her eyes.
    I squirm in despair at the very thought of being so helped.
    For me, typing is an enormous advance in tech skill,
    but I can do beautiful pie-crust.

  220. August 24, 2010 3:46 PM

    hic I liked the colour change idea but would prefer it if they came up with a shirt that changed colour rather than a tattoo.

    The manager of my local bank has one which is wrong on almost every level

  221. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 24, 2010 3:59 PM

    A Braeburn is a good choice, ET. Having a Pink Lady in the middle of the night would probably have woken your other half, and a Cox is unacceptable for all sorts of reasons.

    You might be better off waiting for the second series of Wallander, hic. The first was damaged for me when I learned that the actress playing Wallander’s daughter had killed herself (in Real Life, that is). As the stories inevitably deal with huge numbers of violent deaths, and the character she plays is clearly affected by her proximity to so much mortality it was quite difficult to follow the plots without a certain sense of voyeurism. There’s a scene in one in which someone points out to her the hook from which a female character hung herself. Quite spooky.

  222. hic8ubique permalink
    August 24, 2010 5:46 PM

    That is sad. It makes me wonder whether she was morbidly disposed and that attracted her to the role, or whether she was so suggestible as to go over the edge as she identified with her character? maybe both.
    I don’t mind grim or dark themes in film, not at all, but sensationalised violence loses my attention pretty quickly. I like PDJames for example; interesting character studies, puzzles, without too much of an adrenalin ride.
    I can only imagine that people attracted to gruesome violence are so insensate that they crave that overstim to help them find their pulse. That’s a bit of a mystery to me.

    This week is bursting at the seams, since I spent most of last week lying about. I’m procrastinating here.

    • MeltonMowbray permalink
      August 24, 2010 11:54 PM

      Makes you go blind, or so they told us at Sunday school. I assume you’re talking about PD James the lousy crime novelist. Apart from being politically a Conservative (which I suppose isn’t a crime, though it should be) PDJ’s offences against art are many. Totally baffling plots, insufficiently developed characters and a quick resort to stereotypes often feature, but the chief failure is the downbeat Dalgliesh and his unfeasible poetry. He’s such a stuffed shirt I willed the villains on to do him in. The TV programmes are better than the books, I’ll say that.

  223. obooki permalink
    August 24, 2010 8:30 PM

    There is a Wallander on i-player: I watched 5 minutes of it before turning it off because it annoyed me so much. My feeling was similar to my feeling about quiz programmes in general: I don’t care about their lives, just ask them some questions.

    I felt a bit the same about Watchmen which I watched the other day: – enough with the tedious backstory, just show some superheroes doing stuff!! – It was like it was filmed by Michael Cimino (except there wasn’t a homosexual subtext – not that I noticed anyway).

    That Jonathan Jones on the BooksBlog annoyed me so much I was forced to come out of retirement, damn him.

  224. hic8ubique permalink
    August 25, 2010 12:11 AM

    I dislike watching the American Olympics coverage for that reason, obooki.
    JJones was one of the first blogs I ever read, and he was so banal that if deadgod hadn’t made a comment which caught my attention, I may never have persisted looking in the GUblogs. I remember thinking: Oh, this is more than people shouting at one another…
    Too bad about Jones having that gig though. I seem to recall a nun lecturing on art. Sister Artcritic ? who was much more perceptive and engaging than he is.
    It’s coming back~ Sister Wendy!
    Enjoyed the comments from EdT/Alarming and CaptNed as well.
    Your Llewellyn the Great on PP was a treat Capt.
    I cast way back for my heroes, I suppose.
    Lovely serious turn from Mowbray, too modest, you.
    And HLM, if you are with us, I’d go for an invitation like that, lush and compelling, better than dessert. Take me there.

    But whilst I’m heralding all you worthies, may I mention that our Reine (as reenimus) has been awarded the bronze trophy in the books blog competition for unintentionally smuttiest title for her nomination of…
    ‘The Adventures of Mr Pinkwhistle’.
    Congratulations, Re; you were poised to win!

  225. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 25, 2010 12:20 AM

    You’re obviously one of those insensate people hic inveighs against above, obooki. You’ve got to give Wallander time to develop; it’s not Thundercats. Leaving aside the detection element, the sad face of Krister Henriksson as he obsessively seeks affection from a succession of unlikely ladies is a wonderful sight. Though it almost tips over into parody sometimes, in the main it’s a truly great performance. The second series, when he falls for a lawyer who moves in next to him, is even better, when his doglike devotion (he even has a dog, to which he’s devoted) is constantly spurned by this Swedish lovely.
    There’s humour, too, which is unexpected in a Scandinavian film.

  226. hic8ubique permalink
    August 25, 2010 12:30 AM

    Sorry MM, we crossed. I do remember lots of high church business, but I thought PDJ’s plots were good, well, the two I read, titles forgotten. And I liked the dramatisations; it was some time ago, and I remember liking Dorothy Sayers as well, and Agatha. Actually, haven’t read much fiction in yrs, so I defer to your wisdom.

    I see the p/a DonG marionette has reappeared as Einsloth/ARS; just as nasty but less whimsical. I’m trying to resist giving him a talking to… ho hum.

    You speak truth about Scandis, MM. Any humour in me comes from the maternal line which disappears mysteriously into Ireland several generations back.

  227. Reine permalink
    August 25, 2010 12:35 AM

    Very funny MM – priests apparently in bygone days used to ask young men in the confessional whether they “sinned alone” which, not having the Vatican’s lexicon of allusion to hand, most of them did not understand and considered some kind of riddle. Preferable on the whole I think if one is going to sin to have a bit of company and maybe an apple afterwards – I don’t like to follow Eve in all things.

    Hic, thank you for noticing and broacasting my mediocre offering – stronger contenders I felt but who I am to judge? I am happy to accept a third place rosette any day which I will leave on my locker beside my cocoa butter and emergency Braeburn.

    I think I will invest in a box set of Wallander so that I can be in the cool gang!

  228. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 25, 2010 12:42 AM

    Procrastinating again. Tut tut.

    Just pulling your leg there (metaphorically speaking, of course). I’ve met several humorous Swedes and Danes. I think my aversion to PDJ developed when my daughter had to study one of her books for an exam. I must have read the thing several times in the course of giving her the benefit of my views on it, which she completely ignored, of course.

    I don’t connect DonG with the Notorious Arse, but I suppose anything’s possible.

    Well, I’m off to the land of Nod. Ciao!

  229. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    August 25, 2010 10:21 AM

    Thanks for the kind words, both here and on PP. I returned from the Dorset smuggler’s coast at the weekend to zero work and zero visibility, which should make me more prolific but instead everything creative locks up and I spend my time worrying and watching vampire movies with my younger daughter, with Mrs HLM constantly peptalking in the background. The translated poem was done in an hour between a couple of minor ad projects. I can’t seem to write unless I steal the time from someone else. Sorry to witter. My brain cells have been destroyed this morning by re-synchronizing English subtitles for the French DVD of Twilight 3. I may need therapy…

  230. Reine permalink
    August 25, 2010 10:45 AM

    HisLovelyMoonness, witter away, you’re among friends or at least people likewise in need of therapy! A friend of mine at work who is in her 50s is obsessed by Twilight; I would have thought her above the average age cohort of 12 to 16 but I’ve never watched it so can’t really say. Think how lucky your daughter feels to have you by her side watching flicks. Keep the faith x.

  231. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 25, 2010 4:05 PM

    If I’d known you were that close, HLM, I would have strengthened the guard.

    My ma-in-law is a keen Twilight fan, books and films. As a churchgoer she has (or claims to have) a hic-like aversion to the depiction of violence (and sex). Twilight’s impeccable Mormon credentials have persuaded her that it is religiously correct, though I’m told it’s bursting at the seams with sex and violence. Typical of the self-delusion of the religiose, I suppose. The Mormon church seems to share most of the views of other evangelical churches, creationism, adult baptism, chastity etc, yet when it comes to vampires (which most God-botherers rank with Black Magic and Satanism) they seem intensely relaxed. Weird. But then they are.

  232. August 25, 2010 4:22 PM

    We once worked in Salt Lake City and on a morning off went to see the Mormon Tabernacle choir in action at the Temple bang in the centre of town. All the streets radiate from around it in increasingly large squares.

    Streets have a name but also have an East West North or South added to the name so you need to know your position geographically at all times.

    When we asked directions to get somewhere instead of someone saying left of here or go right, then turn left they’d say take such and such street North. We had no idea where North was so wandered around in circles.

    It was if saying the word “left” or “right” was an affront to the Mormon sensibility.

    The Temple choir service is televised, creepy X 10 on the Richter scale and appears more about the numbers of people tuning in on their TV’s rather than any expression of spirituality. At the end you scraped the sugar off the saccharine that had formed in your mouth.

  233. hic8ubique permalink
    August 25, 2010 5:14 PM

    A bit of leg traction never did me harm, Vicar. I could be wrong about the Don, but that was as fine an insult as I could wish on anyone.
    I hope it’s crystal clear that a true ‘hic-like aversion’ has nothing to do with religiosity, and does not include depictions of (non-violent) sex; in fact one of my favourite films is the recent French version of Lady Chatterley.(I’m sure mil would give up the ghost at that one.) I remember mentioning it to you before, Reine.

    PH is wonderful witter therapy, I find, HLM.
    Have you read John Meade Falkner’s ‘Moonfleet’? I have it here in the bed-side stack, in case a smuggler’s coast mood strikes. We have zero visibility as well in the third day of a soaking north-easter.

    Vampirism and Mormonism seem a perfectly natural fit to me, only distinguishable in the superficial layers.

  234. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 25, 2010 8:11 PM

    I imagine the city’s inhabitants are guided by God, ET. How anyone could swallow that stuff about Joseph Smith and the golden specs is beyond me, but in itself it’s no more or less improbable than Christianity or Islam. Smith and Brigham Young’s naked self-interest in promulgating polygamy ought to have switched on some red lights, but the self-delusion etc etc.

    Moonfleet is an excellent read. The parts set in the IOW have a near-contemporary feel: it’s only last week that we put the donkey out to pasture (all right, we slaughtered it. Good burgers) and closed off the well.

  235. hic8ubique permalink
    August 25, 2010 9:01 PM

    Self-delusion? what’s not to love: systemic subjugation of women, patriarchal abuse of power, all the usual perqs and then some, and all blessed by an omnipotent overlord persona.
    Some of their ‘art’ is an eye-opener… murals like ’50s hotel art depicting family groupings with women kneeling or sitting primly, and the men all standing in positions of authoritative command, ie the usual balderdash.

    You missed your chance to try burroitos.

  236. August 25, 2010 9:13 PM

    MM no-one appears to live in Salt Lake City. It’s dead after about 6.00 in the evening.

    They all go back to the ‘burbs and farms in the hills where presumably one man farms 20 to 30 head of women.

    When I can figure out how to write it in an interesting and not overly pedantic manner I’ll recount the 3-handed Mormon organist experience.

    I suspect though it will take as long to appear as our bloghost’s thesis on Clint Eastwood. He could be writing it now but I bet he’s doing something unreasonable like enjoying himself.

  237. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 26, 2010 12:06 AM

    The organist experience sounds fascinating. Let’s hear it.

    I know a Mormon quite well (relative) and the relations between man and wife seem fairly normal (whatever that is). I daresay behind the scenes the chap has the final word and the wife defers to that, but in the course of conversation no deference is evident. There’s quite a bit of eye-rolling and general piss-taking. I suppose Mormon marriages are as variable as any other. The ideology is unattractive, that’s for sure.

    Yes, what happened to that Eastwood piece? I don’t know how anyone could enjoy themselves in the middle of nowhere with their family. Clue: papaver somniferum.

    I’m going to overlook those burritos.

  238. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 26, 2010 12:25 AM

    I meant to say that people sidle away when I express my love for Wallander, Reine, so keep your box set well hidden. Among the stash of Twirls, perhaps.

  239. Reine permalink
    August 26, 2010 1:20 AM

    The Twirl phase has passed MM. Tonight it was Jelly Tots at the cinema (went to see The Secret in their Eyes / El Secreto de sus Ojos – which I enjoyed although Mr. Mine would have preferred a bit more shooting and torture). I will let you know in due course where I secrete it.

    My neighbour called in this evening with a bag of glorious apples from the tree in his garden. Perfect story book rosy ones but very crunchy so I don’t think I will take one upstairs with me.

    Hic, you did mention that film – I must get my hands on it. A sucker for a good old woodshed romp.

  240. hic8ubique permalink
    August 26, 2010 1:49 AM

    I promise it’s worth the purchase, Re. Do report back…
    I’m due to view (the lamentably hideous) John Adams at any minute, though Stephen Dillane as Thos Jefferson is a consolation prize.

    Yes, I thought the organist experience had the sound of something beginning to be rude…perhaps?

    I’d say from my experience of the ‘middle of nowhere’ that it offers every compass point from which to enjoy intimate company or to evade all company, as one feels inclined.
    This is an excellent formula, but admittedly it’s important to choose ones family carefully.
    I’m confident our too long removed M knows at least how to enjoy himself, which confers a vicarious satisfaction on a stormy night…

    I’ll overlook the burgers, you unabashed carnivore.

  241. Parisa permalink
    August 26, 2010 4:04 AM

    Hey folks – well I’m glad to hear that there are Wallander fans on here. Mr Luvvy (Kenneth Branagh) is v credible in this – & as MM says – you have to give him/it a chance. As it’s the only decent prog on American telly (it’s true what they say – hundreds of channels & nothing to watch) I’ve been lapping Wallander up.

    What with all the fruit, pies & choccy etc chatter, you’ve all made me v hungry – I favour a dollop of Barley Malt myself – would scream blue murder when I had to take it as a kid but now find it yum.

    I heard that vit B 12 injections were good for Bell’s palsy – couldn’t follow what you took them for, MM, but hope it’s not that but it goes away with time & patience. And agree with Hic about vit D – the “sunshine vitamin”.

    Can’t write a poem about Spain as no time (too busy translating for PPs)& anyway it’s long ago since I was there (good excuse) but enjoyed all of yours.

    Cheers, P

  242. Parisa permalink
    August 26, 2010 9:15 AM

    “Another dream is to find a wildcat kitten, lost, orphaned or abandoned and raise it. Some day…”

    Good luck, Mishari – because I think it will still grow up as a wildcat & tear you to shreds. Btw…….I too love that photo “taken from a plane” – some “find”!


    Innocent (until proven guilty)

    My earliest memories of Spain were of the first honeymoon kind
    Perhaps better forgot – & yet……..I have fond thoughts
    Of the wonders of being wed so young (& so stupid)
    Where to have been more cautious – instead of falling
    Head over heels – that kind of won
    Would’ve been better.
    Nineteen & only just been kissed. (pull the other one)
    It’s a story lost in translation
    Like the overblown white wedding
    And anyway I was innocent

  243. August 26, 2010 9:39 AM

    We went to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the Mormon Temple on a Sunday.

    We sat near the front and watched the choir and their accompanist take their places onstage. The accompanist sat at a church organ with the standard 3 or 4 rows of keyboards. The stage was rather high but you could see every part of the stage.

    These events are transmitted live on Mormon TV. There are cameras trained on various parts of the choir which are then relayed to big screens on the ceiling. Presumably an editor somewhere else in the temple edited all these camerashots into a live TV programme for the nation.

    One of the screens showed the organist’s hands playing on the keyboard. For one song a third hand suddenly appeared on the screen and played along with the music.

    As we couldn’t see a second organist on stage this was a bit of a shock to the 5 of us who’d gone along to watch. Extremely funny too. Logically our position in the stalls and the perspective of the stage would explain our inability to see this person but when we stood up to look he still wasn’t there from our vantage point. He wasn’t there at the end either when the crowd had got up to leave and we could move about more freely.

    The easiest explanation was that we’d had a Mormonic vision of a 3 handed organist, God exists and we were better off donating that 50 bucks to the church rather than spending it on our worthless selves.

  244. August 26, 2010 12:27 PM

    Well my claim that I only ever post one comment on PotW has now been shot to bits so the above story probably isn’t true either.

  245. Reine permalink
    August 26, 2010 2:08 PM

    Are you sure it was a hand?

  246. August 26, 2010 2:19 PM

    What else has 4 fingers and a thumb?

  247. hic8ubique permalink
    August 26, 2010 2:39 PM

    I’d be inclined to suggest the entire business both audio and visual was pre-recorded, EdT.
    When you see a live athletic event televised, for example, notice how the national anthem performer(s) have their heads down to begin and come up together on the second beat.That’s known as the Blessed Miracle of Starting in Synch with the pre-recorded soundtrack.

  248. August 26, 2010 2:43 PM

    The choir certainly seemed automated hic. One could imagine the money collected from the assembled being used to feed a slot machine to keep the singers going.

  249. hic8ubique permalink
    August 26, 2010 2:53 PM

    That’s it; perfect every time.
    (Using the term ‘perfect’ at its most liberal stretch with regard to the MTC, of course.)

  250. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    August 26, 2010 3:40 PM

    Maybe it was the organist’s assistant. In the long-ago days when I frequented churches, I did see the odd third hand come into play for pieces that needed it. Mind you there was always a body attached. The assistant would also turn pages and pull stops, presumably at pre-rehearsed moments. The larger the organ, the more hands required on the pumps.
    Those rows of keyboards are called manuals, BTW.

  251. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 26, 2010 7:48 PM

    I hate Branagh with a passion, Parisa. It’s Swedish Wallander which I’ve been referring to.

    Jelly Tots? The Branagh of the confectionery world.

    If you’d graduated from Sunday school, ET, you would be familiar with the doctrine of the Trinity. Those three hands were clearly attributes of our three-personned God, guesting for Mormon TV. It’s well-known that the Latter-Day Saints are adherents of the Manual Heresy: that each aspect of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, can manifest Itself as a Holy Hand and intercede in human affairs when properly requested. Of course it’s professionals who have the expertise in these complex ecclesiastical matters, so in general it’s the priestly castes who ask for, and often receive, what is technically known as a Hand Job.

    Thanks for the Wordsworth thoughts, freep. I’m intrigued to hear that Wordsworth is thought to have slept standing up. My information, which comes from an unpublished thesis, is that he slept standing on his head. There’s an interesting passage in Dorothy’s Journal, June 22nd 1799:

    ‘… as I was on the roof replacing some Slaytes, I looked down on Wm, who was lying in his Hammock, and Noticed that his Hair has grown noticeably Thinner of late. He will not use the little Oakum Cushione I made for him to rest his Head on while Sleeping. Mary has Complained much of late that Wms heels are Marking the Wall Paper when he has the Jimmy Legges whilst dreaming… ’

    Quoted in Lance Whitehead, ‘Wordsworth: The Ovine Oracle’.

    I think Lance might have a point.

  252. freep permalink
    August 26, 2010 8:25 PM

    Ay, MM, the Swedish Wallander is to Branagh what High-grade Belgian chocolate is to false carob vegechocs.

  253. August 26, 2010 8:30 PM

    That reminds me of the time I lived with a Rev. in Milan, MM. I had just arrived in the city, looking for work and accommodation and was advised to see His Divineness for assistance. To my great delight he took one look at me and offered me a berth in his apartment: ‘bodyguard cum watchman’ as he put it.

    You’ll probably have guessed by now there was a catch, perhaps that ‘cum’ was more emphatic than I remember. Anyway, our domestic bliss was short-lived.

  254. August 26, 2010 9:18 PM

    Freep but without false carob vegechocs a diabetic’s life wouldn’t be worth living.

    Branagh is spectacularly awful in a so-so Woody Allen film called Fame or Celebrity or something where he impersonates Allen’s verbal mannerisms.

  255. MeltonMowbray permalink
    August 26, 2010 11:02 PM

    A sticky situation, Simon. Glad you made it out with your dignity intact.

    Blimey, what’s happened to the template?

  256. hic8ubique permalink
    August 26, 2010 11:17 PM

    What’s happening?!
    I’m all in a dither.Help!
    can’t even read comments, must go breathe into paper bag…

  257. mishari permalink*
    August 26, 2010 11:38 PM

    It’s the new winter template. Good, innit? Clean, simple, elegant. I know you’d prefer day-glo paisley with lots of flashing, grand mal seizure-inducing stuff, but it’s high time you said ‘goodbye’ to 1967, my old.

  258. hic8ubique permalink
    August 27, 2010 2:37 AM

    Oh, I could ‘be six now forever and ever’, making paisley paint prints with my hypothenar eminence and pinkie finger.
    Do we have you safely back among us? The template is lovely (though ‘winter’ is a bit previous) but my complaint remains as it ever was: I like you to preside with a more imposing visage, not that wee little skvit of a pic.
    Otherwise, it is ‘clean simple elegant’ indeed… generous white-space. I don’t see the masthead with recent posts anywhere…?

  259. Parisa permalink
    August 27, 2010 3:44 AM

    poor Kenneth – I haven’t liked him in much before but I think he’s great in Wallander!

  260. Parisa permalink
    August 27, 2010 4:00 AM

    I’ve not tried false carob veggiechocs (false carob – what’s that?!)nor Swedish Wallander – (where is that on?) but for me Branagh is like 85% cacao in Wallander. Nice & dark – kind of bitter sweet – just how I like my choccy. High grade Belgian chocs are yum but imo a wee bit sickly. (specially if you eat too many as I do the cherry liqueur ones)I’ve not seen Branagh in a Woody movie but I did see whatsisname – the crotchety misanthrope guy – who is usually hilarious (anyway in Curb your Enthusiam – yes – Larry David – that’s who – such a glorious grump! He’s quite good in WA’s “Whatever Works” too. (But not as good as Annie Hall & Manhattan – fave movies!)

    Hello, I must be going
    I cannot stay, I came to say
    I must be going
    I’m glad I came but just the same
    I must be going
    La la.

  261. mishari permalink*
    August 27, 2010 4:03 AM

    A more imposing visage is no-go, my dear. I have a responsibility to the anonymous hordes of the interwebz, who could easily be inflamed– goaded into displays of unseemly and vulgar sensuality by the sight of my god-like beauty.

    It’s annoying enough that I needs must employ a team of ex-Royal Marines to guard me on Europe’s streets, intercepting libidinous young women, intent on throwing themselves at my feet and pleading, hoarsely, for the honey of my lips and advanced-level instruction in the art of love.

    I blame television.

    Beauty like this can be a curse: it can be a power for good or a power for evil, so it must be used wisely.

    To display it willy-nilly to 100s of millions of impressionable young people, their minds already clouded by hormonal imperatives–well, it would be the very height of folly.

    Of course, members of The Politely Homicidal After Hours Club® automatically receive a full-length nude portrait of me, twinkle in my eye (that Photoshop is terrific), stretched languidly on a tiger-skin (synthetic, I assure you) and nibbling on a small chunk of HL Moon’s Finest Aged In Sackcloth Emmental Cheese (available exclusively from the PH After Hours Gourmand Catalogue, $199.00/Kg., postage free).

    It’s all in the best possible taste, of course, with all proceeds going to my favourite charity (Berry Bros & Rudd of St. James, Vintners by Appointment).

    The photo was taken by that Kodachrome Carravagio, that Leonardo of The Lens, that Zarathustra of The Zoom [alright, alright, we get it already: he can push a button-Ed.] M. L. ‘Tone’ Mauxbret, who is to the male nude what Benny Hill was to the female bosom: relentless.

    Membership details can be obtained for a small fee from: Mr. Levi Ng Onnajedplane, Bank of Kleptocrats, Mountebanks and Gigolos, Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands.

    The ‘recent posts’ is there…at least, I can see it. Mind you, all the sidebar stuff is only visible when you’re on the homepage. The sidebars aren’t visible when you’re viewing a thread. I dunno why but there it is. Sorry for any inconvenience…

  262. hic8ubique permalink
    August 27, 2010 4:54 AM

    I think you missed us by the look of that…
    Didn’t mean a different visage, or full-length &c,
    just the fondly familiar one, but restored to proper proportion.
    I don’t see any home page either? this can’t be a proxy thing…I’ll try signing on for notices, which I’ve never bothered to do, possibly that will give me the home page.
    Wouldn’t want to miss anything earth-shattering.Is everyone else seeing a home? I’ll click my heels three times…

  263. hic8ubique permalink
    August 27, 2010 5:01 AM


    (I’m not being her Maj MM,just can’t make the notice thing go without a comment, and that was it.)

  264. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    August 27, 2010 5:33 AM

    I acn’t read any of this;, i COULD BE TYPING ABNYTHING;

  265. mishari permalink*
    August 27, 2010 5:38 AM

    The lack of a clear ‘Home Page’ link is bugging me. There must be a work-around. I’ll find it. I wish to Christ just once, they’d get a theme completely right.

    I say Zarastrutha, you say Zarathustra, he says Zoroaster, Mowbray says ‘Zorro is Awesome’…let’s call the whole God thing dead.

  266. mishari permalink*
    August 27, 2010 5:41 AM

    Hank, click on ‘tools’ > ‘options’ > ‘content’ and increase the font size. I think you can specify that the increase is only applicable to this site…

  267. August 27, 2010 8:56 AM

    Is this new font for real or am I suffering the after effects of too many false carob vegechocs?

Comments are closed.