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.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Same is bad?

SUNDAY Roast guinea fowl (plumper and denser than chicken; yearning to be a pheasant) appeared on our dinner table accompanied by new potatoes and green lentils in a savoury stock sauce. MONDAY 5/2 diet day. TUESDAY Guinea fowl leftovers in mushroom cream sauce encased in large square vol au vent. WEDNESDAY 5/2 diet day. THURSDAY We lunched out and only required a lightish evening meal - remains of cream sauce guinea fowl on slice of toast.

In households round the world this week's regime would never happen. I find all the reasons fascinating.

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN. Self-explanatory. Less obvious are those who eat nut roasts shaped as lamb chops. See The Guardian for current acrimonious debate.

THE SATED PALATE. That the body's gustatory preferences would somehow revolt if presented with variations of the same thing, despite diet-day separations. Yet these sensitive souls often drink the same brand of wine over and over provided it's cheap enough.

SOCIOLOGICAL GUILT. That the neighbours might regard this as evidence of poverty.

THE VERY AGED. Who remember the nutritional privations of WW2 when one ate what one had without grumbling, even cabbage five days on the trot.

TEENAGERS. Convinced their parents (all adults for that matter) are deceiving them.

Me? I hate waste especially when it’s speciously justified, as in: “We’ll put this out for the birds.” I appreciate VR’s ingenuity at dressing up food in different guises. I am prepared to argue that food may be transformed such that its origins disappear in the process. I hate myself less – admittedly in a marginal way – when the BBC as custodian of my soul reveals how things are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Yemen, tent cities occupied by the Myanmar, and small foundering craft crossing from Libya to the shores of mainland Europe.  

Monday, 18 June 2018

The egged face

My previous post, Q&A , was over-complex and over-serious. Does what follows compensate?

Introducing my youngest brother to rock-climbing I was solo-ing a climb I'd done before, rock broke away, I fell into a gully and had to be rescued. My brother never subsequently climbed.

As a tyro reporter I interviewed a young woman and became infatuated. In the article I misspelt her name.

My motorbike licence entitled me to drive a tiny three-wheeler car. Without any instruction or experience I bought such a car, drove it home and could only bring it to a halt by crashing it (mildly) into my mother's washing-line post.

A Frenchman serving behind a bar way up in the Massif Central maintained I had mis-pronounced the word "rugby" so un-Frenchly he had no idea what I was talking about.

At school, aged 11, I showed off in an essay by including several obscure words. My hand-writing was (and is) appalling and the master asked me to identify one word. "Intri-gewed," I said confidently.

In the USA I was inveigled into a game of volley-ball not knowing the rules. Within a minute I consecutively hit the ball three times. In disgust another player (who didn't think much of foreigners anyway) immediately walked off saying he didn't play "pointless" games.

My son-in-law, lunching in France, asked me about an "andouillette" (a sausage composed of sweepings from the butcher's floor) listed on the menu. Jocularly I said it was only for adults. He took this as a challenge, ordered one, ate a small slice and pushed it to the side of his plate. I teased him for being a child and he asked me to try it. It had, I think, putrefied.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Q and A

Can you interview yourself? Answer honestly?

RR2: Your tee-shirt sports a quote from a Mozart duet. Showing off? RR1: I suppose so. I've sung the duet and I'd like the world to know.

RR2: It's in German. RR1: Yeah, my German isn't good enough to justify that. The duet's in German.

RR2: The sentiments of the quote (Trans: Husband and wife, together, reach for divinity.) - aren't they grandiose? RR1: I've been undeservedly lucky in marriage.

RR2: Undeservedly? RR1: I wasn't much cop during the early decades, now I’m up to mediocre. After I'd printed the tee-shirt I saw the quote as a tribute to VR. But only afterwards.

RR2: You're 82, are you preoccupied with death? RR1: The thought's never distant but's it's the dying that grips me. Might there be a kernel of consciousness in dementia? I had breathing problems when young and that would be a lousy - no, terrifying - way to go. But I'm curious.

RR2: Do you consider yourself handsome? RR1: In a tall, gaunt, wearied form, yes. But only others’ opinion matters.

RR2: Clever? RR1: Not in any worthwhile way. But I can hide this defect behind well-chosen prose.

RR2: Competitive? RR1: As a working journalist, yes. I needed to be. In all other senses I'm a wimp.

RR2: Ashamed? RR1: I pretended I was a rock-climber but I lacked the moxie. I overdo blogging banter and hurt people. I talk too much, straining for effect.

RR2: You boast about reading Proust and Joyce. RR1: Why the Hell not?

RR2: Some of your opinions seem prejudiced. RR1: I could defend this given another thousand words.

RR2: Are all the above answers truthful? RR1: They include qualifications, the first step towards lying.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Bricks without straw?

The great thing about sleep is sensuous anticipation. Why else would we pre-empt the Grim Reaper and temporarily inhabit his tomb between midnight and 07.00? Fatigue? Let's not be dully quotidian.

The great thing about wakefulness is thought. That oft-neglected facility by which we cuddle up to the undefinable. With which we make our metaphorical bed and lie on it, knowing there will be no ruckled-up sheets to hinder Grand Conclusions.

But do I think enough? When Descartes averred thought proved his very existence that may have been all very well for a French cleverclogs but I'm not the father of analytical geometry. Should I think more? Is there a mental gymnasium where I can do exercises?

I could read testing stuff but the Bible's against it. If you regularly watch Pointless, take heart from "Of making many books there is no end, etc, etc." There are cryptic crosswords but they're a knack, best served by a long commute - Folkestone to Waterloo in my case in 1972. These days I drive and the knack has flown.

Should I dwell on massive conundrums like What Is Life? Forget that one for a starter. In a flash it becomes Che Faro? and I'm left wondering whether Dame Janet's version might be a little too plummy. Quantum mechanics is a tighter, challenging microworld but the entry fee is too high.

Build on what I've got then? Mate journalistic experience with an over-inflated ego. Hey, there's something there! Should I interview myself, asking sneaky questions and jumping on inadequate answers? Are you vain RR? --- Then what about the 5/2 diet? Do you dream futilely of Susan Sarandon? -- Futilely, I said.

And if the process proves irksome, there’s always sleep. Nasty thought – was I born only for oblivion?

Friday, 8 June 2018

Listen to Cassandra (and friends)

Cassandra sings, way above me tonally and qualitatively. And as member of a first-rate choir. Through the miracle of the WWW you can hear her and them this coming Sunday.

The details: C says: Link to Toronto (Uh, uh, make that Montreal; see  comments below) Cathedral evensong, June 17. The broadcast will be HERE (ie, in Canada) at 4 pm, 16:00 our time. We're five hours apart now (from GMT), I think, so 9:00 pm / 21:00 for you.

Me again: Rather than use my computer I will be lolling on the couch in the living room, listening by smart TV. In trials I had difficulties making the link work because it incorporates the US route (google.com) not the UK route (google.co.uk). The second link below may help UK listeners

http://www.radiovm.com/ecouter/en-direct

http://www.radiovm.co.uk/ecouter/en-direct

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Brexit medicine

Delicious Dames: Smith, Plowright, Atkins, Dench
When British women enjoy sustained professional success and become elderly, if not aged, they may be accorded the title Dame. To me it sounds like a pantomime insult but never mind, it's the crazy way we do things here. More positively it forms the basis of a 90-minute movie, Nothing Like A Dame, which allows four inarguably great actresses (Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright – combined age 342 years) to reminisce - often scabrously - about their trade. As The Guardian notes, "the laughter and pure hysteria are infectious."

JD was once attended to by a paramedic after being "stung on the bum by a hornet". He wheedled: "What's our name?" and "Have we got a carer?" She burst out: "F--- ---! I've just done eight weeks in The Winter's Tale at the Garrick."

All agree none is "exactly an oil painting" (I'd dispute this but then I'm just a fella.) and several had related misgivings about playing Cleopatra. EA says she overheard someone say she lacked good looks but was, nevertheless, sexy. "I liked that," she adds, demurely.

One frightening figure in all their lives was (Lord – no Dame he!) Laurence Olivier, to whom JP was married. MS says he hit her hard on the face each night when she was playing Desdemona to his strangely blacked-up Othello.

Filming was done at JP's country house since she is somewhat frail and has lost her sight. Character is revealed. JD (whose roles include Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria) giggles helplessly while MS finishes off her one-liners with eloquently vulgar facials.

My patriotism, never strong, is presently being tested by Britain’s metamorphosis into a Banana Republic. These indomitable Dames, all self-evidently Brits, helped restore the balance for one night at least.