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Various and divers matters. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
Various and divers matters.

First, an appeal.

 

As you may be aware – and if you are not, you ought really to have been – the ‘Simmer’ (and how apt that Scots word for the summertide has been this year) and other factors have been very hard on the barn owl population (which is not to say that one wants to panic, we are at the bottom of the usual four year cycle.  It’s simply that this cyclical downturn has been exacerbated by other stressors).  Now raptors and songbirds are at risk, the former because they do tend to eat the latter, the latter because of disease.  Parasitic Trichomonas infections that usually restrict themselves to cushats (oh, very well, you Sassenachs, to dove and pigeon) have spread into the songbird population, because the heat and drought have caused much more crowding at bird tables and bird baths.

 

Please to clean your bird tables, bird baths, and feeders.  And if you wish also to address the plight of the barn owl, as a separate consequence of the Great Broil of 2006, you may contact the Hawk and Owl Trust.

 

The Third Programme – now BBC Radio 3 – is celebrating an anniversary.  Simon Heffer pays tribute. 

 

It galls me to say this, but at this point, despite the West Lothian Question, which I consider to be a serious constitutional problem, and despite any number of other issues, I find myself preferring John Reid not only to his Labour rivals, but to ‘Dave’ Cameron.  On the other hand, a prime minister is not a president (news, I know, to Tony Blair), and Labour as a whole cannot, of course, be trusted.  If only there were a Third Way: a potential ‘ministry of all the talents’ that would include, say, Reid, Ann Clwyd, the Eustoneers, Chris Huhne, Michael Ancram, Tony Little, Tim Montgomerie, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones….

 

Now.  To fiction.  Can anyone (of the eight or so of you who actually follow Under a Dragon Moon) guess why it is – other than for the sake of atmosphere – I am including all these clips from the WWN whilst Our Heroes are on the Continent?  (A hint: think violins and a season of the year.)

 

I’ve run across a splendid quotation from Borges.  I shall use it the next time someone asks, ‘Why do we so rarely see JKR’s characters drinking tea?’ or some similar query about the under-representation of British life in the books (and then erects a lofty scaffolding of theory on the omission):

 

Gibbon observes that in the Arabian book par excellence, in the Koran, there are no camels; I believe if there were any doubt as to the authenticity of the Koran, this absence of camels would be sufficient to prove it is an Arabian work.
– Essay: ‘The Argentine Writer and Tradition’

 

Tea?  One might as well mention every occasion on which a character breathes.  This, by the way, is the sort of thing – the unexamined assumptions, the things taken for granted – that prompted me to create britpickery in the first instance.

 

On which head, let me also say this.  Like Montaigne – was it Montaigne? – ‘I would not write so much of myself if there were anyone else I knew as well’: that is, when I want an example of a rather boring and rather minor family, I use one of mine.  Well, I’m doing so once more.  Our dear tree_and_leaf mentioned, within the past fortnight, the Surname Profiler created by UCL, and its utility for putting characters in places and coming up with names.  Quite right.  But I want to address the other issue, which I have touched upon before, that of connexion and the larger web of kin.  After all, I can think, offhandedly, of a Scots friend whose surname not only indicates a Lancashire origin, but specifically proclaims ‘Oldham’, and so on (any relation to Ian and Betty, love?).  Therefore, I am posting a sort of pedigree that reflects that even the most boring provincial family, one that is heavily weighted to a particular area (the West Country, in this case), nonetheless has in its lineage Anglo-Welsh, Anglo-Irish, Scots, and Northern strains, Normans and Huguenots, and even, via a Spanish lady, Byzantine origins (as well as blood from Brittany, Flanders, Tuscany, and so on).

 

So.  From A to Z.  Acland, Allanson, Ambler, de Ayala, Babington, Batchelor, Benger, Berkeley, Bicknell, Blount, Bohun, Bowie, Burwell, Bussell, Byrd, Carroll, Carter, Chattan, Churchill, de Clare, Clarke, Clifton, Clinton, Cogan, Cooper, Corder(a)y / Cowdrey, Craufurd, Crouch, Crowley, Curtis, Darcy, Dawdy, Delamere, Denis, Devereux, Drake, Duff / McDuff, Early, Earth, Eaton, Fermin, Fettiplace, Fitzhugh, Freke, Freyne / Frayne, Garrison, Gaudet, Giffard, Grosvenor, Grove, de Guisnes, Gunn, Hale, Hart, Heath, Henderson, Hendon, Hinxman, Holles, Horne, Houston, Howard, Howell, Huish, Isham, Jacquelin, Jennings, Johnson, Joliff(e), Kinnaird, Lambourn, Langridge / Langrish, Lawford, Lee, Livingston, Lockwood, Lovell, Lowe, Ludlow, MacDonald / MacDonell, MacGillivray, Mackintosh, Mallet(t) / Malet, Markham, Marshall, Meredith, Meryng / Mering, Molyneux, Montagu, Mortimer, Neville, Ogbourne, Parrish, Paulet, Pelham, Penruddock(e), Percival, Peyton, Pinckney, Pitt, Plantagenet, Pleass, (de la) Pole, Popham, Porter, Poyntz, Pritchett, Pugh, Pyle, Pynsent, Randolph, Raymond, Rivers, Rogers, Rumbold, Sandys, Seymour / St Maur, Shaw, Smith, Still, Strickland, Talbot, Templar, Warburton, Ward, Wemyss, Willoughby, Windsor, Wrayford, Zouche.

 

Right, then.  Continuing in the Brit-picking vein, I am, as long promised, working on an essay regarding settlement patterns and demography in the British Isles.  It seems, however, to have spun off a more specific essay first: expect the short ‘biography’ of a river from its birth as a downlands chalk stream to its final subsuming in the Channel.

 

On a UaDM note, there are Tabard Mills adverts up.   


Finally, because I too can be shallow, here – via a Tottyland link to Bentblog – is a putative post-War Harry we can all get behind.  Or under.  
 

 

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Comments
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: September 29th, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
"...a putative post-War Harry we can all get behind. Or under."

Such red lips! Reminds me of something in Catullus that made all us freshman classicists snigger.

Not completely OT, but clinging by the fingernails, perhaps: watching my favorite TV cartoon character, Alastair Appleton (I wave to him when he comes into view like little kids wave to the Teletubbies), I saw a Wemyss coffee mug (what d'you call it, a beaker?) go for 320 pounds!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: September 30th, 2006 06:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Mmm, yes.

Vy much so.

As to the other, what's a few quid between friends, right? I don't care for coffee, in any case....
themolesmother From: themolesmother Date: September 30th, 2006 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Please to clean your bird tables, bird baths, and feeders ...

You'll be pleased to know that we do our bit for the bird population, even if it is among the perfidious French. Bird table will be going out pretty soon, and hubby always makes bird puddings from the old frying fat and proprietory birdseed. He hangs one outside our bedroom window and we derive endless entertainment from watching the great tits squabbling over it.

Can anyone (of the eight or so of you who actually follow Under a Dragon Moon) guess why it is – other than for the sake of atmosphere – I am including all these clips from the WWN whilst Our Heroes are on the Continent? (A hint: think violins and a season of the year.)

I sat down the other day and caught up on the story so far via your wemyssfics community but no chance to comment since so I'll do it now. I enjoy your writing so much and eagerly devour every new episode. It's great to see the whole tapestry in one place now. The way you intersperse the fragments of WWN programmes and asides like the Derwent Shimpling character study gives a powerful feel of the wizarding society that is the background to your main story. You now have my brain working overtime. Violins and a season of the year? The only things that come to mind are Vivaldi and the Proms but I'm sure it isn't either. I'm very bad at guessing these things.

Oh, and the Mary Sue joke ... priceless. I was drinking a cup of coffee at the time and I nearly wrecked my keyboard :-).

MM
wemyss From: wemyss Date: September 30th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks.

And you in particular ought to 'get' this, where you are....
eagles_rock From: eagles_rock Date: September 30th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have my mother to thank for my bird-bath cleaning habit. But not the birdlife-decimating mogs I sponsor; I doubt the RSPB would be pleased.

I've been going off John Reid a bit recently, though preferable to Gordon (whose dour, son-of-the-manse persona I found much preferable to his new touchy-feely nightmare attempts), I'm wondering if he's actually any good as a manager, and that's what I'd like to see for a change. 'Dave' I find rather personable, if a tad barking. I think he's in the wrong party, mind. Move over Ming!

Lee Jordan, big cheese at WWN, has created a World Service and he's having a Vivaldi/Stravinsky weekend. Plotwise, no idea. (Rambling follows...)

The Widow Zabini sings the blues? (Woke up this morning, got myself a wand?) (Ms Zabini regrets?) Narcissa Malfoy covers the Fashion Weeks in London, Milan and Paris; Wizarding Couture picks up post-War - robes are up, cleavage is in. 'Would like to meet' with Narcissa and Maria; dating advice/personal makeover for the shy/reserved wizard or witch. First up, Severus Snape.

I heard on the radio this morning that there's to be a 'Celebrity Wife Swap' programme, featuring Edwina Curry and John McCririck - I boggled much and thought I'd pass it along.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: September 30th, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh. Dear. God.

I missed the take-away Curry news (it evidently wasn't on 'Open Country' or 'Farming Today This Week'). Good God.

I am curiously excited by your notions about Tessa and Cissy. You may expect to see these used.
eagles_rock From: eagles_rock Date: September 30th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh. Dear. God.

Actually, worse than that. I've just seen a trailer. Channel 4, 9.00pm, this coming Monday. Lay in the brain bleach.

I had another thought about how people could have made a wee packet or two in times gone past (Malfoys etc), especially in Kent, Cornwall, Orkney Isles, Norfolk, Hebrides etc., if any of your cast have sea-faring backgrounds, or merely live near the sea - wrecking.

Warning - red herring:

So I've just typed that, then realised a wizard could accio loot off a ship; canonically it's possible over a distance, but is that only if you can see it in your mind or if it belongs to you? The latter cannot possibly apply, surely. Would 'salvaging' of treasure off sunken ships be possible by accio? Interesting possibilities for Muggle governments to 'get some use' out of their wizard populations, and for wizards to be helpful. Dreadful possibilities for theft generally.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: September 30th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Animagimousehole, the Cornish wrecking capital....

You interest me strangely.

Except about the Curry paste. Shudder.
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