I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Looking on the bright side

Felt a surge of optimism yesterday morning. True the thermometer said 24 deg C but I try to ignore weather. More important I was en route to French (a raison d’etre  right there) and the book we’re doing is often hilarious. The drive took in somnolent rural Herefordshire and involved a Wye crossing.

Also Blest Redeemer is nearing 90,000 words (since past). Another ten-thousand would be six figures but 90K is good. I suspect The Great Gatsby has fewer. Just checked: a mere 47,000. And yes, I know what hubris is.

Blest Redeemer comes from a LUGUBRIOUS HYMN (not enhanced here by the Bahamian congregation I fear):

Our blest redeemer ‘ere he breathed
His tender last farewell.

The theme is secular redemption. The title may not survive but, for the moment, that archaic “blest” is important. I don’t know why. Plutarch approves of the title since unlike other titles attached temporarily to my two earlier novels, he insists he will remember this one. Plutarch read the first 20,000 words when I wasn’t sure anyone would be interested. Encouraged me to continue. So did Mrs LdP, the first time I have ever asked her to look at my fiction.

So, optimism. It’s a sometime thing at age 77 and deserves celebration. But which music best expresses optimism? For my money a passage from Britten’s Spring Symphony. Here’s Wikipedia: “The crowning glory of the work is the enthralling moment when the children’s voices re-enter the scene and sing the 13th century round Sumer Is Icumen In.

That passage isn’t available on YouTube and this PALE SHADOW (Top of the Pops in AD 1260) will have to do. But, please, I beg of you search out the real thing some day.


  1. Reminds me of one of my favourite songs chanted by some jolly Spanish climbers I climbed with in Spain. They would give air to Python's Life of Brian song - Always Look on the Bright Side of Life when they encountered a difficult and threatening move on the climb.

  2. That Life of Brian song deserves Sir Hugh's reference bearing in mind its ironic intonation. Blest Redeemer meanwhile deserves to be retained as a title if only because it is deeply ingrained in one of its readers' minds where it has established a niche from which it would be hard for this reader to shift it.

  3. Sir Hugh: In my climbing days there was a left-wing slant: guys in Army surplus anoraks, lolling around at the Cow and Calf, used to sing Bandiera Rossa (Italian for red flag), also called Avanti Popolo for its first lines, one of the most famous songs of the Italian labour movement. It's unlikely that Spanish climbers would have sung it given that one of the couplets was:

    Eh! General Franco,
    Che bastarda!

    Plutarch: Perhaps I was a little too dismissive. I meant that one always has to face the possibility of changing the title, however well-loved. For the moment, though, I don't envisage doing so, particularly since there's a growing irony between that title and the final section which deals with redemption.