2014 — 23 August: Saturday

Nothing particular planned for today1 though there's always a world of quality pottering about waiting for me to finish my wake-up cuppa... Here, by the way, is the current range of colours displayed by our "Is it autumn yet?" test piece of wood from yesterday's ramble:

Verging on autumn?

Compare and contrast with the appearance a mere five weeks earlier:


We don't often repeat one of our routes quite so soon, but yesterday's walk yielded a nice crop of damsons that is already being turned into "damson brandy". Plus a not-so-nice crop of shin-based nettle stings necessarily entailed in their picking from a tree whose location must remain our closely-guarded secret.

Given the drop...

... in school exam "successes" this year, perhaps I shouldn't be too 'shocked' to be told that concepts such as the Coriolis effect can be responsible for getting an SF novel by Peter Watts ("Echopraxia") classified as diamond-hard.

It is literally...

... not every day that I discover I've somehow managed to overlook the release of a Kate Bush album. Which is why I'm now listening to "The Red Shoes" for the very first time. Yet Wikipedia assures me it appeared back in 1993. Some completeist, heh?

In (marginally) related news, I finally managed to trick Win8.1's execrable Explorer into allowing me to delete a bunch of files that were cluttering up my C: drive in one of those dreadful Libraries that Windows introduced back in the equally execrable days of Vista. (I prefer to keep files where I prefer to keep them. And I dislike the presence of automatically-generated, but hidden, system files stopping me from doing that without making it truthfully clear about what they're up to.)

And while I'm moaning... surely it shouldn't be so simple to crash Microsoft's own "Paint" program in this day and age? Furthermore, it has never yet succeeded in "attempting to recover your data". I've learned to just kill the thing off and start again.

Fanfare, please!

My online list of video titles inches further towards probably-unattainable accuracy (or do I mean 'completeness'?) — here. Meanwhile, my tum is already starting to ask "What about an evening meal, then?" It's been a long time since my lunchtime snack.

I've been savouring...

... the autobiography I bought recently by Winston Graham, finished shortly before his death. There's a delicious pun at the end of chapter seven, in which he's been describing some people he mingled with as a member of the Savile Club:

In view of his military background one would have expected [Humphrey] Hare to be right wing in politics; in fact the very reverse. He fought in the Spanish Civil War on behalf of the government against Franco, and teamed up with two others of similar lineage and persuasion: Nancy Mitford and her then husband, Prod, as he was known in the Savile, that is the Hon. Peter Rennell Rodd.
As Franco began to gain the upper hand they were involved in the bitter rearguard action before Barcelona. One of the three then perpetrated one of the best puns of the decade. As they hastily chartered a ship to convey many of the government's most prominent supporters out of reach of Franco's vengeance, he — or she — said: 'Well, I've heard of people having all their eggs in one basket. I have never before heard of anyone having all their Basques in one exit.'

Date: late 1930s

Nancy Mitford was an amazing woman. You only have to glance at her letters. I have two collections of them, one concentrating just on her exchanges with Evelyn Waugh... Meanwhile, the pre-Prom jazz programme has just featured a version (sung by Claire Martin) of Joni Mitchell's "Two Grey Rooms" that has (I gather) tended to be overlooked. (It's at the end of the "Night Ride Home" album.) So it seems I may yet be on the lookout for the album "Time and Place" come late September.

I thought...

... I was doing pretty well to turn up one of those two books in less than 5 minutes, but the growing hunger pangs defeated me before I found the other, and I shall now call off the hunt until I've satiated the inner man.


Mitford and Mitford-Waugh letters

Here's a tiny extract from a letter Waugh wrote to her a little before I was born:

Gas chambers were not a Nazi invention. All 'Progressives' like Lord Ponsonby believed in them and called it Euthanasia and had a Society all the Fabians belonged to simply to build gas chambers and that is what Health Centres are for besides castrating men and sterilizing women and giving french letters to children. Didn't you know? So take Prod by the hand & lead him to Peckham where the Donaldsons will deal with him in a jiffy.

Date: January 1950

Mr Postie...

... has done his best to ensure I'm entertained this weekend:

4x BDs



1  So far, as usual :-)