2008 — 17 Feb: Sunday, and I have my marching orders

It's 08:42, and I mustn't linger overlong as the Oatibix and Oat crisp mix tends1 to set rather like concrete once the cow juice has been poured over it. (In vitro; I don't know about in vivo!) Plus, I have that chicken sandwich to prepare before setting off on a little round trip of A/V investigation this morning ahead of the planned perambulation(s).

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

Here's today's target area, not a million miles from chums Gill & Chris. That truncated "HU" is the start of Hurstborne Priors...

Middleton marching

I could make some silly comment about petrol flowing Andover fist, but I wouldn't have dreamt2 of it. However, I cannot resist quoting one of the most recent server log search strings...

quincunx palliser appendix

What's that about? "quincunx" will have registered a hit against a James Blish novel (from memory); an expansion of a very clever little story called "Beep" featuring an instantaneous comms device. "palliser" should turn up Trollope, of course, though only indirectly. Gawd knows where "appendix" will have ended up. Not, in any case, at Charles Palliser's reissued Victorian novel "The Quincunx" with its 16-page appendix!

Brekkie is safely loaded before it set. Chicken sandwich is made. The news remains as depressing as usual. Our government is going to nationalise "Northern Rock" (as if that will solve anything, or recover any of the billions of pounds poured in to "restore" confidence). A suicide bomber at a dog fight in Afghanistan3 has managed to kill at least 80 of the spectators. This last triggers recall of a far more amusing piece of Bramah:

How is it possible to suspend topaz in one cup of the balance and weigh it against amethyst in the other; or who in a single language can compare the tranquilising grace of a maiden with the invigorating pleasure of witnessing a well-contested ratfight?

More from Ernest Bramah

The first edition (in 1900) of Bramah's first book ("The Wallet of Kai-Lung" in a print run of 1,000 copies from publisher Grant Richards) reportedly sold out in 1928!

As I said in a recent note to my friend Carol: "News just doesn't much interest me at the moment. From the little I monitor, it seems the world is still dangerous, corrupt, divided, and full of ignoble bigotry and cruelty. Did I miss anything?!" But music remains a great solace, thankfully. Now it's just about time (09:27) to think of excavating the car from its warm nest and, as it were, hitting the road. (Do you know, it took me four attempts yesterday to put the car in the garage before I could make an undistorted exit from it? I was going in too straight, it seems, which is what one instinctively tries to do, of course.)

Another notch on my walking belt

Back, at 17:00 or so, with another 60 miles or so added to the running total.4 (And a walk of 7.05 miles, according to Mike's GPS gizmo.)

Your diarist at his ease

I've just recalled, having mentioned 3D photography yesterday (and having found very little to take pictures of today [unlike Mike] — despite the glorious sunshine and clear air) that I'd previously mentioned my missive to the BBC back in happier times, just over a year ago. (It is amazing to observe the effect that several months of concentrated stress seems to have had on the retrieval mechanisms in the Mounce noggin; it is also heartening to see that [like the inverse of that horrible electronic lobotomy scene on poor HAL in Kubrick's 2001] increasing amounts of data [albeit of dubious usefulness, sometimes] seem to be coming back online, as it were.)

The bells! The bells!

Playing right now (18:20) on BBC Radio 3 is a piece by Jonathan Harvey called "Mortuos Plango" which, if I heard correctly, features a bell or two from Winchester cathedral. And rather a lot of electronic tampering. Earlier pieces took me sonically straight back to Christa's cathedral bells in Meisenheim. Amazingly evocative; an audio variant of Proust's little cake crumb. But I have only very happy memories of that German town, so why are my eyes filling with tears?

The evening repast has thundered down the gullet (19:48 or so) and the listening for the last quite a while has been that indefatigable Pacific recording chap, David Fanshawe. Heavens! I was listening5 to his Pearl Divers of the Arabian Seas about 30 years ago, surely? And wasn't he the chap who introduced us to that wonderful Missa Luba used so effectively in Lindsay Anderson's film If back in 1968? I must be getting old, it occurs to me.

Socially whirling dervish... dept.

People are being very nice to me. I'm delighted to say that I have lunch dates lined up for Monday through Wednesday. It's a far more pleasing prospect than the thought that Young Turks from "The 'Jam' generation" (their choice of listening, that is) are slowly taking the reins of political power here in the Benighted Kingdom. I am indeed getting old! So, if I can find my pipe and slippers, perhaps I shall curl up in front of the TV for some high-class vegetating.



1  As discovered the hard way!
2  See what I did there? A common word ending in "mt". Thank you, Geoff, for extinguishing my misery!
3  I have little or no idea of what is going on in that country. I have no idea what British military forces are doing, or hoping to achieve, there. I seem to recall that most of the heroin in the UK originates there. I also still have my 1978 edition of the Penguin Atlas of World Population History that describes the country thus: "Although today remote from the currents of world affairs..."
4  Straight into the garage, too, at just the right angle to let me get out without crippling myself.
5  Before I joined IBM in 1981, I used to supplement my meagre ICL salary by regular freelance record and hi-fi equipment reviewing for three magazines published by Haymarket. This would have been when I could still have heard The Mosquito, of course!