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.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Our mythical US home

BIG NUMBERS Our first address in the USA was 3214 Annapolis Avenue. My mother asked: are there more than three thousand houses before yours? Annapolis Ave was a mere 300 yards long, so no. A colleague explained: 3214 was a guesstimate location which presumed an imaginary 1 Annapolis Avenue at the centre of Pittsburgh.

This never sounded like an American system. French, yes. Perhaps even German. But too niggling for Americans. Also, during our six years' stay, I never found a use for this ghostly information.

Such addresses appear in Blogger's new word verification system, sometimes running to five figures (typical, I'm told, of LA).

Movies we saw at Borderlines Festival
Barbara. Absorbing, austere story involving two doctors in 1980 East Germany faced with emotional/professional dilemma.

Quartet. Dustin Hoffman's unhappy directorial debut. Broken-back plotting based on unbelievably lush home for retired musicians in UK. Waste of Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins.

The Conformist. Admirable but not lovable account of ambiguous Fascist assassin in Italy, pre- and post-WWII. Jean-Louis Trintignant superb only exceeded by Bertolucci's  inventive and visually beautiful direction. Made in 1970; some say "greatest film ever made". New to me.

Starbuck. Sperm donor hero in amusing Canadian funsie. Flirts dangerously with sentimentality but saved by French dialogue (with sub-titles).

PROGRESS Memorised 13 lines (out of 37) of Lady Percy's speech. Bath a great help.


  1. I live in a road with about twenty houses along each side. They all have names and no numbers - frustration for postmen and delivery drivers. Mine is Blencathra - my favourite mountain in the nearby Lake District. As one who climbs mountains, I would not have dared to be so pretentious - it was so called when I bought it. I was secretly pleased.

  2. Bearing in mind what Julia said a while back about the WV being used in the digitalising of old documents (never did quite get my head round how but I was pleased to hear it), I've wondered if the number photos are something to do with getting more precision on the fly-through mapping thing or similar.

    I'm glad you came to that conclusion about 'Quartet', I've not seen it but it confirms my suspicions/prejudices about it so now I certainly won't bother.

  3. The German film Barbara moved me. Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, and Jasna Fritzi Bauer were a powerful trio. And don't get me started on the soundscape and the music. Wow.

    House numbers ... in western Japan are a challenge. They are assigned by the year the house is built, so it's possible to have a 37 next to a 73.

  4. Sir Hugh: "dared to be so pretentious". But daring enough to take on other's pretensions. After a week or two of moving in you must realise that history dissolved and that name-plate became yours. The fact is most people, ignorant about mountains, won't make the nice distinction between Dunromin and Blencathra and you will be seen by all as a name-plater. Can you live with this?

    A moment's reflection and I realise you're stuck with your situation. Even someone with a higher level of moral fibre than you would also be bedevilled. Since there are no other numbers on your road switching to a number is not an option. Perhaps an asterisk after Blencathra and the addition of a footnote on a matching bit of slate would allow you to explain things and absolve you of the charge of rank suburbanism.

    Lucy: Getting your head round... Nor can I. But I did recognise that the house number plates (many of them anyway) were US-style. Alas for Americans, denied the most stylish of all number-plates and recently given the celebration they deserve - by you.

    RW (zS): Why can't I get you started on soundscapes? Odd thumps, scratchings, creaking of bike gears, roaring of surf, arrivals and departures of cars were an audio part and parcel of Barbara - an admirable counterpoint to the earlier scenes where B hardly said anything at all. An excellent movie. The Hereford audience remained mouse-like throughout.

  5. And here I always thought housing developers used huge numbers to make their development seen gigantic in their marketing material. Your explanation makes more sense.

    Thinking about your LP lines -
    I decided to liven Caroline's English lessons up a bit by switching to Shakespeare for a month. C is now busy memorizing soliloquies. Apparently there is a bit of a playground demand for wacky readings from Romeo and Juliet. She says it particularly works when they are playing Star Wars and need a speech.

  6. Julia: I don't know whether it's the chicken or the egg but C seems to be getting a terrific education. By which I mean is it the education system or is it because C was pretty bright to start with? Or, I should add, is it because you and Will take your responsibilities pretty seriously.

    I was going to give you a few tips about memorising poetry but I realised that would be taking coals to Newcastle. Music must have taught you all you needed to know in that line. When I was much younger I absorbed poems quickly with no need for any identifiable method. Now I'm having to apply myself. One difficulty I find is where sentences incorporate parenthetical adjectival/adverbial phrases and clauses since these interfere with the sequence in which information is disclosed.

    I love the thought that C might sometime record the LP speech. But it might be pushing things at the moment.

  7. Caroline's school lets me take her out of her English class and work with her at home (much more useful than the ESL work the rest of her class does). As a result, I get to experiment with and update the writing workshops I designed in graduate school, so we both stretch ourselves a bit!

    Memorizing poetry seems to be easy for her. It's a bit harder for me, so I sometimes create memory houses for poems. Have you ever tried that?