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The annotated Drink Up Thy Zider, Part One. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
The annotated Drink Up Thy Zider, Part One.

Drink Up Thy Zider:[1] A South Hams Pomona[2]
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Author’s Notes:
I apologise in advance that what might have been a fluffy ‘wee pretendy’ prompt (to borrow Billy Connolly CBE’s description of the Scottish parliament),[3] and was doubtless intended to be, took on rather a life of its own, including what Tollers[4] called ‘references to ... older matter ... and glimpses that had arisen, unbidden, of things higher or deeper or darker than [the] surface’: I made two mistakes. Imprimis, I erred in wondering what brought Draco into the City,[5] which might have been survivable. Secundum, I fatally erred in asking what might bring a war-weary war leader to the West Country[6] to grow apples.

I must thank my keen-eyed editors:[7] my fellow Scot of the diaspora, tree_and_leaf, for acuteness and expert knowledge; my fellow Nato old soldier, sgt_majorette, for well-spotting the errors that spotted and blotted the MS, and for ensuring it was not wholly unintelligible to overseas readers; my fellow West Countryman, l_aqrchard, whose advice I really ought to have taken more widely, for rare insight and earthing; and my Antipodeanly-exiled fellow subject blamebrampton, for brilliantly savage editing of my wilder fancies (although we shall never agree on the handling of ellipses). Any – or, rather, all – remaining errors and infelicities are my own damned fault and almost certainly arise from my not having listened to my editors.

I owe as well a debt of gratitude to the following persons and entities, here given in no particular order: South Hams District Council; Mr Tim Pollard[8] of the Council office and the tree wardens[9] of the District; the England Test side generally and Broad S in particular for helping me persevere (although they also delayed me woefully in writing, as one cannot fail to follow the Ashes at all costs); several now-deceased grouse in N Derbs on the Glorious Twelfth; Headway UK, Reg Charity No 1025852; Peter Ackroyd CBE; England in Particular / Common Ground, Gold Hill House, 21 High Street, Shaftesbury, Dorset SP7 8J, Reg Charity No 326335, http://www.commonground.org.uk/index.html, for more than I can well say; Sue Clifford, Angela King, and Philippa Davenport, for work with apples, local distinctiveness, and much more; Orchard Link, PO Box 109, Totnes, Devon TQ9 5XR, http://www.orchardlink.org.uk/, for their work in the preservation of traditional apples and cider; the Royal Agricultural Society of England, Reg Charity No 209961; CAMRA; the RSPB, Reg Charity No 207076; Dr Olympia Bobou of BNC, for many happy discussions of the persistence of pastoral and the influence of Classical models upon England; Professor Richard Jenkyns of LMH, who helped spark those discussions; the Royal College of Organists, Reg Charity No 312847; Natural England; the Royal School of Church Music, Reg Charity No 312828; the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, Reg Charity No 235825; Hubert Pragnell and the National Trust, Reg Charity No 205846; Simon Schama CBE; the South Devon Hunt (Mr D Ellis, Sec’y); the British Beekeepers’ Association, Reg Charity No 212025; the Dartmoor Hunt (Mrs C Johnson, Sec’y); the British Deer Society, Reg Charity No 1069663; the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (Patron, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh), Registered Industrial and Provident Society No 28488R; the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Reg Charity No 269442; the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Reg Charity No 1113753; the Countryside Alliance, Reg Charity No 1121034; the Mills Archive Trust, Reg Charity No 1091534; the Hampshire Mills Group, Reg Charity No 1116607, and the Wessex Mills Group; the Devon Wildlife Trust, Reg Charity No 213224; and many others. If you are at all diverted or pleased by this story, or these notes, or indeed if they absolutely displease you, please consider donating to one or more of the charities listed, which must not be judged by my poor scribblings.

I need hardly say, but shall, that no actual person or entity mentioned herein is in any way linked to this rubbish, and that all fictional persons and entities are precisely that, and have no living counterparts that I know of.

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It was another perfect and wholly seasonable day in Budleigh Babberton. It being a Saturday in the Year of Our Lord 2024, Horace Slughorn rose precisely half an hour after his weekday wont. It being a Saturday in mid-July, the seasonal and seasonable perfection of the day inhered in a gentle sea-breeze, a flawless sky, and the distant susurration of the sea – the innumerable laughter of the waves,[10] Horace observed to himself, as he had done every morning since the fall of Voldemort – upon the pebble beach of Budleigh Babberton. Gazing placidly from his window, hygienically open top and bottom, Horace drew a deep breath of the famed seaside ozone, and luxuriantly exhaled it, for the nine-thousand-five-hundred-eighth-and-sixtieth matutinal time since the fall of Voldemort.

Panta rhei,[11] he reflected cheerfully as he observed with satisfaction the familiar and unchanging scene. Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis,[12] he solaced himself as he went through his unchanging round. For the nine-thousand-five-hundred-eighth-and-sixtieth time, he undid his gorgeously oriental and resplendent bathrobe, with its tasselled cord that in its fringed and knotted ends so satisfactorily echoed the bone acorn of the window blind, and began to divest himself of his voluminous silk pyjamas of more than oriental splendour. Quite so, he thought happily as he sank into his sybaritic morning bath (for the nine-thousand-five-hundred-eighth-and-sixtieth time since the fall of Voldemort): Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.[13]

As he adjusted his tie and slipped his plump puggy-paws into his slippers,[14] preparing to pad downstairs to his breakfast, Horace Slughorn (for the nine-thousand-five-hundred-eighth-and-sixtieth time since the fall of Voldemort) dwelt blissfully upon th’ eternal flux and the mutability of all things, upon time’s whirligig[15] and the ringing grooves of change.[16] Why, one’s own schedule was subject, was it not, to so many decisions and instances of change and mutability: with whom to dine, whom to invite to tea, which direction, indeed, to take in one’s morning constitutional....

For the nine-thousand-five-hundred-eighth-and-sixtieth time since the fall of Voldemort, Horace Slughorn (having disposed of a light[17] breakfast recruitment of porridge, Manx kippers, kedgeree, eggs and gammon, streaky rashers, devilled kidneys, Oxford sausages, smoked haddock croquettes, scones, clotted cream, jam, and tea) changed his slippers for a comfortable pair of boots, polished so as to reflect the rays of the sun in more than oriental splendour,[18] shook a few drops of scent upon a pocket handkerchief, selected his favourite July hat and best-beloved[19] Summertide walking stick, and waddled forth to take – for the nine-thousand-five-hundred-eighth-and-sixtieth time since the fall of Voldemort – a leisurely stroll taking in Victoria Lane (capital teacakes at the Tea Cosy);[20] the briefest traverse, sadly unavoidable, of Station Road; and the Marine Parade (very pleasant, the Jollyboat, there, very sound as to iced buns); and his leisurely return by way of Fore Street (quite reliable wine merchants, Guddle and Flugg, and he really must remember to indent for another dozen of Madeira); the Esplanade (Tibbetts were a very present help in times of trouble,[21] as butchers went, and it wouldn’t do not to stop and discuss arrangements for his monthly dinner party, the more so as the Hon. Mrs Selling, relict of a Very Senior Admiral Indeed, and dear old Mrs Lacement the bishop’s widow were both well enough to have accepted his invitation this time ’round); and Silver Street (where he simply must speak firmly with the laundry regarding his missing vests.[22] Fortunately, he could recruit himself with tea and cakes at the Ropewalk after the doubtless abrasive encounter had ended).[23] Truly, he thought, tempus edax rerum.[24] And so, meditating the while upon the fate of Ozymandias’ statue[25] and how, as he had seen (vidi nihil permanere sub sole),[26] nothing under the sun endures, Horace Slughorn kept – for the nine-thousand-five-hundred-eighth-and-sixtieth time since the fall of Voldemort – the noiseless tenor of his way.[27]

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It was a miserable day in London – in Wizarding and Muggle London alike. The air was foul, hot and sticky, treacly, and clamorous with the perfectly ghastly noise of tourists and trippers – American tourists, worse still; Muggle trippers, worst of all – en masse (and a massive lot they were, a sort of stampede of bipedal bovines) and in full throat and cry (well, bellow). So, at least, thought Draco Malfoy, who, at the very shock of noon, was still huddled in bed, curled into what he understood was called a fœtal position (he rather suspected he looked, instead, quite like a prawn), and resolutely refusing to leave his bed or indeed to bare his face to the cruel and heartless world beyond the linens and blankets beneath which he was cowering abjectly. He suspected that someone had tampered with the calendar: yesterday had been the Friday, hadn’t it, and it, not today, must surely have been the dread Thirteenth? Thinking back to the day before, and that ghastly, shattering summons, he shuddered. At least he could wallow properly: Scorpius was spending this part of the hols in the country with Narcissa. No one could force him to come out from beneath the blankets and face up to – Bugger.

Draco realised, with a sudden horror, that he had been too upset the night before to change his wards to exclude…. ‘Go away, Pansy.’

‘The lump beneath the duvet lives and speaks!’

‘And you, Zabini, can sod right off. Go. Away. Stand not upon the order –’[28]

He ought really to have known better. Pansy – Nott, now: she had brought off a saving marriage to Theo, whose sterling reputation for judicious neutrality had put him on the bench after the Restoration settlement (as a judge: not even Theo could have managed to take Orders and become the first Slytherin bishop in centuries) and his lady wife Pansy back into Society despite That Unfortunate Suggestion on the night the Dark Lord had fallen (Draco refused to allow Potter any credit for not having Pansy taken out and summarily executed, as should surely have happened had it been Draco who’d defeated a Dark Lord and then found that one of his former mates had suggested sacrificing him as a sort of Danegeld)[29] – Pansy, despite that unforgettable gaffe, and Blaise, were, after all, Slytherins.

And that is why, thirty minutes after, Draco, if still mutinous and dramatically pouting, found himself bathed, shaven, dressed, and chivvied out of his town flat and into splashing out for a damned expensive luncheon for the very traitors who had broken into his bout of epic self-pity and bathed, shaved, and dressed him at wand-point before frogmarching him out to buy them a lunch he could no longer well afford to buy them.

He was certainly far, far too shattered to eat. Recalling Friday’s interview with Sir Bennett Goldstein, it was all he could do not to be copiously sick at table.

‘Ah. Mr ... Malfoy.’ Sir Bennett Goldstein had been far drier and, incredibly, more acid than had even Severus Snape, and it was already apparent that this summons was quite likely to make a lecture from the late and universally unlamented Lucius Malfoy, and possibly even an audience of the equally late and equally unlamented Tom Marvolo Riddle, appear in comparison a happy hour of backbiting and illicit tuck in the Slytherin common room. ‘So good of you to join us.’ The Goblins to Sir Bennett’s left and the still more fearsome auditors to Sir Bennett’s right smiled, grimly. Draco was simply thankful that he saw no one from DMLE: with his luck, it should surely have been a Weasley.

‘Draco Malfoy... Yes. When you left Ministry employ after the King’s Cross terror attack, and the death of your late wife, you were at a loose end.’ Sir Bennett did not consult the files before him. Draco, sitting in a much lower chair across the table and alone, was irresistibly reminded of his trial before the Moot, in the first days after the end of the Great Rebellion. ‘It was at Blaise’s suggestion that we took you on. Blaise has never taken any interest in the operations of Goldstein & Zabini – for which fact, in the light of recent events, I can say only,
baruch haShem – yet I trusted his judgement. It shan’t happen again, I assure you. I was, you will understand, assured that there was more to you than my grandson Anthony had seen at Hogwarts: cruel, bullying, and a coward; a proud and prating peacock, forever preening yourself on the glory and antiquity of your ancestors – who were, after all, common hedge-wizards in a howling wilderness when my fathers were priests in the Temple of Solomon.[30] Tony’s dear wife, the good Eleanor, insisted that she had known your late wife and kept up the acquaintance, and that you were not the child you had been. Your Ministry record and references asserted that you were clever, honest, and reliable.

‘These claims I cannot reconcile with your actions. And it is our inability as a firm to
reconcile your records that results in our conversation today, Mr Malfoy. Goldstein & Zabini have served as the merchant and private bankers to the Wizarding world for a very long time, Mr Malfoy: since well before anyone had heard of your ... ancient and distinguished ... family. Since before the establishment of Gringotts, in fact. Who after all should be the merchant bankers of Wizard-dom, if not Jews and Lombards? For centuries, this house has been the conduit, the means of interchange, the correspondent bank between the Muggle and magical banking communities. There have been lean times, and worse than lean.

‘Yet you, Mr Malfoy, have managed something new in our long experience. We have yet to get to the bottom of your errors and defalcations. We have yet to plumb the depths. Yet even now, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have done something historic at last, beside which the spectacular failures of the Muggles Leeson, Kerviel, Hamanaka, and Madoff, and of the Squib Roberto Calvi, and of the Wizard Agha Hasan Abdei, pale. No, more than that: you have managed to jeopardise the banking system and create losses that dwarf the
combined losses associated with BCCI, Barings, Banco Ambrosiano, Sumitomo, Bernard L. Madoff Investments, and Société Générale. You are in fact now the equal of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. To be fair, I attribute this rather to incompetence than to malice: if this situation cannot be salvaged – and I again stress that we have not even now determined the sheer, breathtaking scope of it: I congratulate you on a truly historic achievement – the economy of the Wizarding world will be reduced to barter, and you certainly are not poised to profit nor have you profited from this utter, insane idiocy!’

Sir Bennett had paused to take a deep and calming breath. ‘You will notice that no one from the Ministry is present. I have informed the Minister of this situation, of course. He has given us three days to plumb the depths of your incompetence, and four to propose a solution. You are not presently being given in charge, or currently assisting the MLE with their enquiries, for but one reason, Mr Malfoy. That reason is simple, and the Minister and I agreed it: if so much as a breath of what has happened were to pass beyond this room, the economy of the Wizarding world – and much of the Muggle, as well – would instantly collapse. I have been given one week to prevent this, as well as to deal with the very minor and inconsiderable question of your fate. And the Minister and I agreed the Gringotts proposal to allow you to remain at large – under spells that will prevent you from making any attempt to speak of this matter to anyone or to leave the realm, and which will deliver you immediately to this room Friday week at this hour.’

Draco had opened his mouth – to protest or to beg, he could not say – and left it open as he screamed in agony, as a Gringotts Goblin, without any warning, had cast the Goblin trammelling spells upon him, delivering worse pain than a Crucio at the hand – or wand – of the late and wholly unlamented Lord Voldemort. How he had crawled from the room and made it home and to bed, he’d no idea.


‘ – too, too truly rural, darling.’

‘What?’

Devon, love,’ said Blaise. ‘Cows, and, um, sheep, I suppose. Clotted cream and cider and rustic merriment. We leave – well, you and Pans leave: I’ve business to see to first – tonight.’

‘I can’t – aaargh.’

‘Leave the country. No reason you can’t leave town. And so you shall, darling,’ said Pansy. ‘No, don’t try to speak – that was painful, wasn’t it? Really, darling, simply because you’re under a hex to stop you speaking of it, doesn’t mean we are.’

Draco goggled.

‘Typically Goblin,’ said Blaise, disdainfully. ‘They cannot conceive that you’ve friends – and cunningly Slytherin friends at that. So of course they didn’t think to stop us speaking.’

Draco dared not reply – and for more reasons than his yet-burning throat. He wasn’t altogether certain if he should be grateful for their loyalty or appalled by their knowledge.

‘I have learnt some discretion, darling, being married to Theo.’ Pansy’s indiscreetly loud and penetrating tones, so like a laying peahen, suggested to Draco that he were wisest to be at once grateful for their loyalty and appalled by their knowledge. ‘And Theo certainly couldn’t have this come before him, so there’s no reason I mustn’t be involved. As for darling Blaise –’

‘I shall join you tomorrow, and as to the intervening time, ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no more lies than is customary, love. Justin and I must have speech of a chap or two about your little matter – ah, ah: don’t try speaking – one chap, I rather think, who can resolve this.

‘Now. The rustic little place we’ll be stopping at doesn’t commonly take PGs,[31] love, but in your case –’

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[1] A famous Wurzels song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ud2F_K546qg. The Wurzels are – well, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wurzels; http://www.thewurzels.com/. Zider of course is cider, and I don’t mean apple juice, my dear Yanks: http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=aboutciderandperry.

[4] JRR Tolkien.

[5] Of London. As a synecdoche, the financial world: vide Wall Street.

[6] Southwestern England, assuredly including Devon.

[7] I detest the term ‘beta’: it is a technical term, not a literary.

[8] Whose surname – and that alone – inspired my Mr Orchard.

[10] ποντίων τε κυμάτων άνήριθμον γέλασμα: Æschylus.

[11] Everything flows: a redaction of Heraclitus’ philosophy.

[12] Times change, and we change with them: a paraphrase of …

[13] … Ovid, in the Metamorphoses, Liber XV. That we still read Ovid proves the point that indeed all changes, yet naught is lost.

[14] Sluggers has much in common with Allingham’s ‘Uncle William’ in the Campion stories.

[15] Willy Shagsper, Twelfth Night.

[16] Tennyson, ‘Locksley Hall’.

[17] Sic.

[18] Does anyone nowadays read the Just So Stories, I wonder?

[19] Just so.

[20] This is nakedly purloined from Innes’ Death at the President’s Lodging. Gott as proggins, specifically.

[21] Ps. 46.

[22] Doubtless, given the perverse workings of the author’s mind, lifted from Michael Gilbert’s Smallbone Deceased. Mind you, the entire sodding story is equal parts Miss Read and Anthony Price. As the old woman said of Hamlet, ‘It’s all quotations.’ Please do bear in mind that a vest is not a waistcoat. I believe Yanks call vests as ‘tee-shirts’, which would appal the secretary of any golf club I know of.

[23] Budleigh Babberton – like Budleigh Salterton – is very typical in being a South Coast town now battening wholly upon seaside trippers and the elderly of the middle and upper-middle classes, a sort of genteel anteroom of eternity; and its geography reflects this. Silver Street and Fore Street are relics of its mediæval laying-out; the Esplanade and Marine Parade, of its seaside resort days, both being esplanades, corniche-like, paseos; and Station Road is, in Budders Babbers as in any English village or town, the grubby but necessary thoroughfare that arose When the Railways Came. There are all manner of social distinctions at play here, and it is very much Sluggers’ nature to be acutely sensitive to them.

[24] Ovid again. Time is, indeed, that which devours all things.

[25] Do they still teach Shelley in schools?

[26] A paraphrase of a verse from Eccles. 2, common on sundials: I have seen that nothing under the sun endures.

[27] Gray, ‘Elegy Written in Country Churchyard’, as I should hope you well knew.

[28] Macbeth, naturally.

[29] Look out your Kipling. Or consider appeasement – and the EU.

[30] Shades of Disraeli.

[31] Paying Guests. Blamebrampton acutely observes (http://community.livejournal.com/hd_career_fair/16670.html?thread=866846#t866846), ‘The thing I liked most about that joke was its double-sidedness: he doesn’t normally take PGs, but in your case he’ll make an exception – on the face of it, it’s a compliment, but underneath, it’s, “Hang on, why is he happy to make me pay?”’

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Comments
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: November 29th, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Does anyone nowadays read the Just So Stories, I wonder?

Well, I did, though that's a while ago.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 11th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Can't be that long ago, young 'un.

And of course you did.
absynthedrinker From: absynthedrinker Date: January 11th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
the seasonal and seasonable perfection of the day inhered in a gentle sea-breeze, a flawless sky, and the distant susurration of the sea

Pure Wemyss! A joy forever!

Peace,
Bubba
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 11th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Bless.

You're too kind. And too long absent from these scenes; my eye is rejoiced to see you once more.
azurelunatic From: azurelunatic Date: June 20th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I, also, am a childhood reader of the Just So Stories! Dad would remark "Graciously waving her tail" after certain of Mama's statements.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 20th, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

Kipling goes in and out of critical fashion...

... and yet never loses favour with children and wise adults, and other Cats Who Walk Alone. I commend you and yr father in having excellent taste; and I thank you for ploughing through my foolery and kindly stopping to comment.
azurelunatic From: azurelunatic Date: June 20th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Kipling goes in and out of critical fashion...

And most excellent foolery it is! This is not my first time through. I return every now and then, as it is a particular favorite.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 20th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

For which I hope I am properly thankful.

I am certainly obliged.
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