2011 — 11 April: Monday

Cooler, but still sunny (at 09:10) it looks like a possible day for a trip to the seaside.1 First things first, including a cuppa and some ingredients gathering for my next few meals. And here's a photo of Christa and Peter on the Bournemouth pier, taken quite some time ago :-)

Bournemouth pier

John Sessions appears to like Stravinsky as much as I do.

My history lessons weren't...

... quite in this league. I was reminded, while reading Sarah Dunant's review of Craig Munson's book "Nuns behaving badly" — glorious title, by the way — that many years ago, for no good reason (except that it was lying around) I read Monica Baldwin's memoir "I leap over the wall". In general, it's fair to say that my exposure to Catholic nuns has been minimal (though one of Christa's aunts, who was one, did give me a nice photo book of Germany's many historical sites and buildings back in the mid 1970s when we visited her).

Take the convent in 1580s' Bologna, where the nuns are accused of getting involved in witchcraft. The idea of excitable young women reciting incantations over a bowl of water after lights out to try to locate a missing orchestra viola tells you as much about the need to alleviate the mind-numbing boredom of convent life as it does any darker desire to dabble with the devil. But enter the local inquisition, with its stark questions and starker threats, and it's amazing how these same young women suddenly suffer collective amnesia when it comes to the actual words used in the spell. Hidden away from the world, they may be innocent, even naïve, but they are clearly not stupid.

Sarah Dunant's review of Craig Munson's book in History Today

"Holy Sh1t" indeed :-)

A (more-or-less) revenue-neutral...

... morning, so far: two ERNIEs paid in, the petrol tank topped up and a batch of foody stuff lying around. It's 11:44, and there's a pleasant breeze mixed into the sunshine.

I was amused...

... to catch myself singing the old "round"2 Christa and I used to sing to while away some of the more tedious stretches of road to and from Meisenheim in, as it were, days of yore...

Heigh ho,
Nobody at home,
Meat nor drink nor money have I none...
Yet will I be merry.

... as I drove over to dear Mama's care-home a couple of hours ago. It was a little ironic given the very much healthier state of her bank account(s) compared to mine. She also managed to surprise me by twice using my name :-)

I was less amused...

... by today's letter3 from the IBM pension folk. Yet another singularity in the fund. Not much I can do about that. Except make a nice, strong, black coffee. It's 17:00 and both cloudier and windier than before.

A momentary dalliance...

... with Mrs Google, searching for occurrences of the phrase junkets for Bunterish lickspittles served to pinpoint what seems to be the original text of a supposed (and, I admit, amusing) reply from the UK Inland Revenue. I was sent a copy yesterday. The guilty party knows who she is. (Link.)

Although I read "Tamara Drewe" week by week as it was published in the Guardian it was still one of the first books I bought when I sort-of resumed book-buying about six weeks after Christa's death. In fact, I bought it on my first solo trip down to Bournemouth in January 2008. We were both keen fans of Posy Simmonds' work. I've just finished watching the Stephen Frears film version — it's excellent, and I had a smile on my face almost continuously during it. By contrast, parts of the "Red Carpet" extra on the DVD are toe-curlingly bad, but only nerds watch the extras.



1  Though, since the closure of the "Borders" bookshop down in Bournemouth, there's rather less to attract me down there, I have to admit.
2  She knew the German equivalent and would harmonise in that language.
3  Reading it left me, as usual, no wiser but considerably better informed.