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Just a twilight meme at evening, when the vespers shadows fall.... - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Just a twilight meme at evening, when the vespers shadows fall....

This is a meme where you ask about people’s interests (from their LJ profile). Comment on this post, and I’ll pick six of yours, and you explain them on a post you make. Then you post this on your journal and it becomes a never ending spiral... and good fun.

My assignment from tree_and_leaf was:



Cold Kitchen Hill

(Brixton Deverill / Kingston Deverill / Monkton Deverill, nr Maiden Bradley, Wilts)

A fascinating site.  Long barrow, tumuli, 5500 years of occupation, ‘Hill of the Wizard’, site of a rural Romano-British temple.  And of course all the Ludlows and Seymours, with all the history that implies.


Herbaceous borders

Gertrude Jekyll lives on!  Wonderfully labour-intensive, highly traditional, demanding of a sophisticated æsthetic, eminently suitable for bee- and butterfly-attractant plants, and in many ways the epitome of all things British.


Real cider

Orchards, like hedgerows, are important habitats and essential to preserving biodiversity.  Pace the poet, also, it is the apple that is ‘loveliest of trees’, I may add.  The preservation of traditional cider equates to the preservation of traditional orchards.  The preservation of traditional orchards, and the making of real cider, equates to the preservation of traditional rural folkways, and to the preservation of local distinctiveness.  Orchards are also of course very important places for organic pigs and sheep.  Cider is indispensable in cookery (and the more recondite exercises in making washed cheeses); and, simply as drink, real cider is precisely what the adjective implies, the most honest taste remaining in these catchpenny days.


River Till

Well, it may drown two men to the River Tweed’s one, but that’s not the point.  Flodden, the nature reserve at Ford Moss, the Heatherslaw Light Railway … but these are not the point, either.  The River Till, simply, means angling.  Salmon and their grilse, sea-trout, the current brown trout recovery project, grayling: superb fishings on every beat, superb water.


Oh, very well.  I’ll confess.  Yes, as an angler, I revere the River Till you were referring to.  But my reference was to the winterbourne of that name that more-or-less-heads in the Orchestons south of (ahem) Tilshead and runs through Shrewton, Winterbourne Stoke, and Berwick St James to its confluence with the River Wylye at Stapleford.  The Plain, the downs, much archæology.  But you knew that.



Old Sarum, Salisbury, the Cathedral, Constable’s views, the Sarum Rite … need you ask why, truly?  I mean to say, I could rather easily go on, and on, but whole paragraphs of my fic already do.  The most magnificent cathedral in England; the ancientry of Old Sarum – for which, in its days as a rotten borough, Pitt the Elder was MP; Cynric, Alfred, Billy the Conk, and Domesday Book….  But we could be here days on end.


White horses

Alton Barnes to Uffington, these are the totems of Wessex, the new as much as the old, evocative of Great Alfred, GKC’s poetry, and the faint, rhyming echoes of a vast antiquity, and they ever haunt my imagination.



9 comments or Leave a comment
From: tree_and_leaf Date: November 18th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you; I confess I knew nothing of your River Till, but I'm glad to learn of it. And incidentally, isn't 'winterbourne' a wonderful word?
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 19th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

It is a lovely word.

And as for the meme, please be so good as to elaborate upon:

Ballads (such a vast subject)
Black Forest ham (why not Bradenham?)
Stormy weather (do resolve the ambiguities, please)
Erich Kaestner (I don’t do umlauts)
From: tree_and_leaf Date: November 22nd, 2007 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: It is a lovely word.

Ballads: well, I enjoy verse, and I like stories, so the combination is appealing, whether it be the Border Ballads, both historical or supernatural (see for example the 'Battle of Otterburn' or 'True Tammas' as particular favourites - I remember my grandfather pointing out the exact spot where Tammas met the Queen of Elfenland), or those by named authors. "Kunstballaden" in the German term, and the German tradition has produced some fine ballads too. Among my favourites are Fontane, who had a great enthusiasm for Scotland, and indeed wrote a number of fine poems on Scottish themes (including a good poem on the Tay Bridge Disaster, though it's not a ballad). Ballads from the oral tradition are especially valuable, because they're a link with an otherwise obscure past.

Black Forest ham: well, I am living at the source, and I believe in eating locally where possible. It's a different sort of creature to British ham, being smoked rather than cured (both methods, of course, have their virtues). Proper Black Forest ham has a particularly intense flavour and is smoked over pine-wood; it ought to be lean and dense-fibred, as tis characteristic for traditional local breeds of pig, which are small and tough - as are the local breeds of cattle, which are among the smallest in Europe. People think of the Black Forest today as a tourist idyll with fairly decadent habits with regard to food, but it's not that long since life was very hard here indeed.

Stormy weather: wind, in particular, as long as it's not a hurricane. I rather enjoy walking on a wild day, especially if there's hot tea (and perhaps warm scones or the like) at the end of it, and particularly by the sea. I also rather like lying in bed listening to the rain and wind beating on the window or roof; it makes a warm bed all the more welcoming.

Erich Kästner: is most famous for his children's books, in particular 'Emil and the Detectives', which are charming and funny, though often slightly darker than they appear to be. But Kästner was a prolific writer, a poet, journalist and film author, the latter both for adults and children; the films are very good, but generally only available in German. His writing for adults is often somewhat pessemistic, though leavened with humour and an appreciation for the way people muddle on, trying to do their best. His poetry can be comic or reflective. The Nazis viewed his work as decadent; Kästner, who didn't want to leave the country (for a variety of reasons, partly because he felt that it was his job as a writer to bear witness, partly because he had doubts about his ability to cope as an exile, and also because he didn't want to leave his mother), watched as his books were burnt. He continued to write under pseudonyms or for publication in Switzerland, and survived the war.

Mishearings: not a serious interest, but they generally amuse me, especially the odd things people can make out of song lyrics. Paul Simon's song about 'the horse on seventh avenue', for instance.

Manzoni, Alessandro: Italian poet, playwright and novelist of the ealy nineteenth century. Best known for 'The Betrothed', a historical novel in someways rather reminiscent of Walter Scott, telling the story of two lovers who are seperated due to the cruelty of their feudal lord, who would rather like the girl for himself; a series of complicated events ensue and the two meet many striking characters. It's a very Catholic book; one of the complications is that the heroine promises to become a nun if her lover's life will be saved... Verdi wrote his 'Requiem' for Manzoni.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: November 18th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh, herbaceous borders!

loupnoir, the lady who wrote The Durmstrang Chronicles, has orchards, and is in a cidering frenzy at this very moment.

I don't have six interests...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 19th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmmm. So loupnoir is really Rose Grant?

And you, my dear, both possess interests and are endlessly interesting.

Do please educate us upon:

Barbie dolls
Orenburg lace
New York City
And, for fun,
Ballet and lace-knitting
leni_jess From: leni_jess Date: November 19th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
How many years is it since I've read that grim old verse about Tweed and Till? (Can't find my Book of Scotland, either. Fortunate that Google works.)

I've only had 'real cider' once: the west-country father of a friend brought a great jorum of it up to London. It was busy with continuing ferment. Tasted okay, though. Most of the dishes I cook with cider are curries - apple cider is a useful marinade for a vindaloo. Curious, that.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 19th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Zoider curry, lass? Eeee, bist that woize?

Dites-moi, pourquoi:

Cesare Borgia (and not the rest of the triptych of posioners)
Australian Chamber Orchestra
Castrati, er, countertenors (well, bargain-counter-tenors)
Frogs (are the French truly that popular in Oz?)
Pet Shop of Horrors (new to me)
Cats (I’m a dog person. Enlighten me)

lily_fayline From: lily_fayline Date: November 24th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm afraid I am a lurker type come to ask for permission to friend; I read your Gates of Ivory, Gates of Horn and was mesmerised, and found the journal equally interesting to keep track of. For the sake of sportsmanship I have just jotted down a few interests, but as it is Saturday past midnight, a few grains of salt are in order.
So: can I friend you?
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 25th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

Come ben! Ye'll have had your tea.

Welcome aboard. Friend away (indeed, you need never ask: I'm always delighted to make a new friend). And thank you for your kind words.
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