Heads

Gold is very yesteryear, innit? Silence – which is undoubtedly golden – has no place here and speech is silvern. Hence this flattering new portrait which shows me (l) in the limelight and Backside in the shade, just as it should be.

Any road up, we hope you like our new livery – although once again, Backside’s actual words do not bear repetiton. Goodness knows what’s eating him this time.

Home town thoughts

It amazed me, gladdened a few and perhaps amused many to read that Coventry has been named City of Culture 2021. It’s hardly a natural epithet for a city whose history might better be described as dour, bordering on tragic. Oh yes, it’s had its moments of industrial  significance (is that the word?) with Frank Whittle’s jet engine and a string of well-known badges gracing its car factories. But genuine culture is harder to discern. Does Mary Ann Evans count? She was born nearby in Nuneaton but lived in the city for some years as she became the noted novelist George Eliot. A bit ponderous for my taste.

But soft ! (etc.) What about Philip Larkin whose only widely known poem starts with a very rude observation? Yes, he counts as culture and he went to ‘my’ grammar school. Even more significantly his poems are imbued with a fatalistic gloom that is an essential part of being a Midlander.

So here’s one of his best poems, Afternoons, written in 1959.

Summer is fading:
The leaves fall in ones and twos
From trees bordering
The new recreation ground.
In the hollows of afternoons
Young mothers assemble
At swing and sandpit
Setting free their children. Continue reading “Home town thoughts”

A Dorset lad’s pome

Thomas Hardy dun gud, lik wiv pomes. So eres won wot I lik. ‘The Darkling Thrush’, 1900

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

Continue reading “A Dorset lad’s pome”

All topped out at last

Thanks to 12 daytime periods of rain, it took the friendly thatcher nine weeks to complete the renovations. And last Friday a symbolic shower accompanied the traditional ceremony of topping out, flags ‘n all. We stood outside to enjoy a red sausage with a bread roll, mustard and ketchup dips, washed down with probably the best beer Denmark can offer. Believe it or not, that really is the traditional fare for such occasions!

He recalled that he himself had re-thatched parts of this same roof 25 years ago – and could even remember the details of his earlier work, replacing some rough-hewn battens with modern planed timbers, by now specified as to quality and dimensions by the building authorities. Not surprisingly, the latest requirements take account of the burgeoning girth of the craftsmen they must support!

Skål! Og vi ses! (Probably not.)

A name to conjure with

Carles Puigdemont. It’s a cracker, anagram-wise.

Let’s leave aside the bizarre concept of an elected European pollie seeking political asylum in Belgium – whose own cultural conflicts deserve serious attention!

CP offers us some marvellous phrases:

Is he RECOMPUTING DEALS? Does he come from the CAMPGROUND ELITES? Is Catalonia now an IMPREGNATED LOCUS? Is Madrid PROSECUTING LAMED ducks? Or are they all MODULATING CREEPS? Is there a MOULDERING ASPECT to all this? Is JP PERMEATING CLOUDS? Or is it a storm in a SMOLDERING TEACUP?

Have your own fun with it – the list is endless.

Flavour of the month

What is it, this month?

Snow White

Well, it’s sex scandals of course, mainly tales of  starlets from many constellations being abused and exploited. The hypocritical tut-tutting echoes around the lots (of everything) in Hollywood and the corridors of power in Westminster; fuelling the flames of feminism and sending whiffs of grapeshot among the moguls and mandarins. Continue reading “Flavour of the month”

Sam’s the man!

My reader may have noticed on his/her cyber-trek that Google has just celebrated the anniversary of Samuel Johnson’s 308th birthday. He was undoubtedly its predecessor – lexicographically speaking – before the more modern encyclopedias appeared. And his dictionary reflected his character as a poet, wit and literary compiler. Continue reading “Sam’s the man!”

Fake news?

Everybody’s fave airline (not), Ryanair, is having a Darwin , cancelling 50 flights a day, expected to total 2,000 before long. It claims it’s all about its holiday arrangements for pilots but interestingly, Norwegian (my fave!) has announced today that it has been poaching Ryanair’s pilots – to the tune of 140!

So who’s telling porkies here?

Meantime, guess who’s losing customers in droves and who’s first in line for new bookings!