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Far more than anyone can possibly wish to know about me, really. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Far more than anyone can possibly wish to know about me, really.

Or, In which we are introduced. (Don’t you know what ‘ther’ means?)

This is a Welcoming Post, insofar as I’m particularly welcoming. Oh, I’m not, really, a Completely Horrid Person: it’s merely that I prefer dogs and horses to people, commonly, and books to anyone and anything save perhaps dogs and horses. This may be why I Am Much Nicer Online Than In Person.

ETA: Perhaps the most important thing that ought to be known, as it appears to be a deal-breaker (ghastly Americanism) for many people in fandom (particularly as I am making this edit on 7 November 2012, ahem, and for cause), is that whilst I tend to keep my political opinions to myself or to a dedicated (and relatively desultoryGladstonianliberaltory account), I am a Classical Liberal, which, nowadays, puts me in the Conservative Party, although I despise its current leaders (if you can call them that), modernising trimmers, huggie-hooders, hoodie-huggers, Wets, anti-Thatcherites, and Cameroonian poons and oiks. If you must know, that means that I believe in free men, free minds, and free markets; despise tyrannies of the Left as of the Right; believe the UK wants to be out of the EU immediately; and judge foreigners and foreign leaders, Americans included, solely by whether they are or are not well-disposed towards the interests of Crown and country. Again, I do not spend a great deal of time at this particular account on politics and economics (or indeed philosophy, if you're a PPE sort of person); I equally shan
’t accept that I, because my views are different to those prevalent in fandom, I ought not to be able to speak as freely as the rest of you, or want to conceal my views so as to Get On in Fandom Society (further note: I am a proud Betjemaniac), or must Mind My Tone. My friends in fandom (as in life) range from Reaganites to noted singers of the Red Flag, and I am tolerant of all views, although not willing to pretend I do not think some of them to be damned silly. If you are not thus tolerant, or conceive that all fen must think alike or, if they do not, must keep silent, it should probably save heartache for all concerned if you do not friend me to begin with, few if any of my posts being locked in any event.

I’ve a blog in the steerage class of the Torygraph, a Twitter feed, and a Last.FM account (I expect I’ll also succumb to Spotify in due course). What I say there and who I follow and who follow me and what I listen to gives you a shockingly accurate measure of me. I am slowly (necessarily so) putting bits of my library on Facebook, and the whole boiling is probably all too revelatory. Or reveal-a-Tory.

I am a partner in Bapton Books and the author of Sensible Places: essays on place, time, & countryside; The Confidence of the House: May 1940; co-author of The Transatlantic Disputations: Essays & Observations and When That Great Ship Went Down: the legal and political repercussions of the loss of RMS Titanic; and co-editor and co-annotator of The Complete Mowgli Stories, Duly Annotated, and The Annotated Wind in the Willows, for Adults and Sensible Children (or, possibly, Children and Sensible Adults), all of which are available in Amazon Kindle editions, UK and US.

The best advice I ever had of Tom Strathclyde was, Always use an American ISP, they’ve civil rights over there. Sometimes I do just as he advised.

Out of localism, I support Hearts and Pompey. Although mine is the C of E side of the family, I support Tottenham (COYS!) as heartily as do my Jewish cousins. For obvious reasons, I support Trowbridge Tigers in the GFSN.

Why, yes, I am as bent and as pre-decimalisation as a nine bob note.

So much for footer (why the Wall Game never became the great international sport instead, I’ll never know). It has its merits. But, really, there’s only one game, truly, and truly it is the beautiful game: Cricket.

Whilst one lives in hope that, some day, Wilts will no longer be a minor county, one supports ad interim Glos and Hants and Somerset.

I am a fanatic about cricket: be warned. Unwary American friends have been seduced into it by my agency.

When I am absent and off-line, as my friends will attest, it may mean I am writing. Equally, it may mean I am Engaged in Rural Pursuits (no, not fit and likely lads, though there’s always time for them: I’ll make time). Or I may, as season dictates, be hunting, shooting, or angling. Or beekeeping or breeding Clumbers or down the local for a pint. I may be twitching, or being a steam railways anorak.

The protective colouration of tweeds and an interest in field sports saved me from being recognised as an æsthete who wanted to be debagged and tossed into Mercury pond: that and being a basso despite being on the small, pink side, as I yet am. (My American friends who are fond of the programme are Glee-ful to say that I resemble even now, if aged, a Tory, British, blond, floppy-haired Kurt Hummel / Chris Colfer – yes, Femme and Noe, that is to your address.)

I am rather firmly convinced, in my darker moments, that I am the only non-grandee Tory in the modern Conservative Party and the last living orthodox Anglican in the C of E.

My parents are dead now; I am in the uneasy position of being the head of the family, which in common parlance means disentangling the affairs of Uncle George, his wife my aunt Caroline, and their spawn, the Terrors of Lake (loyally named Anne, Mary, James, and Richard). Uncle George is most famous amongst my friends for having said, of a trip to the Continent, that the scenery was quite nice and the French were actually tolerable, but the food was, well, frightfully French. Sometimes one despairs.

And that I think is more than enough to be going on with. Poke about: you’ll find God knows what.

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62 comments or Leave a comment
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femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: January 30th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do not know whether to use a cricket or Tottenham icon in reply to you. D: D: D: Oh, fine, going with Tottenham. COYS, indeed. (We won't talk about the current Fulham match. Oh, no. We won't. /0\)

And you are a terrible seductor when it comes to cricket. I'll have you know I was up watching last night's ODI...just so I could flail about Finny.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 30th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Seductive, yes.

That's just what everyone says of me.

tudorpot From: tudorpot Date: January 30th, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do let us know when the book comes out- Churchill's life is a particular interest of mine.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 30th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

I shall.

Indeed, I'll quite likely be tiresome about it.
absynthedrinker From: absynthedrinker Date: January 30th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
A Clumber named Bosie was the light of my life when I was a child. He was my constant companion and truest friend. Though he wasn't one for sport, he could always be depended on for tea and a book. God bless you Bosie wherever you are!


Edited at 2011-01-30 05:38 pm (UTC)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 30th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

You named a Clumber for Lord Alfred Douglas.

I concede. You are actually gayer than I am. I wasn't sure that was possible.

Well done (and FABULOUS), you gorgeous man.
noeon From: noeon Date: January 30th, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

Also know as Pookie, or Frightfully Grumbly but Sweet Underneath Pookie for short.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 30th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hsst. Shush.

You're ruining my carefully-constructed image of Inspiring Terror.
pathology_doc From: pathology_doc Date: January 30th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do, sir, let us know when your book comes out. :)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 30th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

I doubt I'll shut up about it, actually.

Thanks, old man.
kestrelsparhawk From: kestrelsparhawk Date: January 30th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay, I am bewildered. What is the difference between "hunting" and "shooting"? Thanks to Dorothy Sayers and Ngaio Marsh, I do have a sense of "angling."
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 30th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC) (Link)


Huntin' involves horses, hounds, and a fox.

Shootin' involves birds as a rule.
blueboyfey From: blueboyfey Date: January 30th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
You will not be swaying me with any cricket themed seductions. No sir. There are no more avid fans of cricket than there are in India and if living there did not persuade a deep and loyal following, even when imbibing in drinks and soliloquy with known and disgraced players alike (they for the drinks and me for the prose), then I doubt I will be vulnerable now. However I am interested in the social theory of cricket, including having written some academic things about Appadurai's take on the sport as a signpost to nationalism during the twilight years of colonialism as well as enjoying that particular ethnographic film on cricket in the Trobriand Islands. It seems cricket is truly a creole sport and perhaps a great leveler as well?

But if there is one thing I learned to truly appreciate about cricket from living in South Asia, it is the invaluable use of a cricket bat for chasing rabid monkeys from one's kitchen.

In any case, I do look forward to reading your political musings (have already clicky clicked your handy link to The Guardian) and no, I am not fluent with politics in the UK, and yes, indeed, I can therefore enjoy it without reservation!

wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 31st, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

One can but try.

I look forward to all of it.
thisgirl_is From: thisgirl_is Date: January 30th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
While I suspect that we should probably avoid talking about politics (I can't find a party in this country that seems to be worth supporting, but my politics are pretty firmly to the left (except when they aren't)), I can happily geek out with you over steam locos. When I was up in York some years ago, some nice gents at the NYMR were kind enough to let me into the shed where they were restoring the Sir Nigel Gresley. Benefits of being a moderately attractive female with an interest in a male-dominated pursuit, I suppose!

It is nice to think that you might understand how excited I was to get up close to the actual Mallard. So few people do!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: January 31st, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

I do indeed.

I want a heritage steam railway icon.

Ad interim, here:

altri_uccelli From: altri_uccelli Date: January 31st, 2011 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Am v. excited about your book. Coincidentally, I was just reading about the Dunkirk invasion after having had a conversation with someone about Connie Willis's newest novel, which apparently takes place during it.

I'm also secretly delighted that you described your appearance, only because I find not knowing what people look like a very unsettling part of becoming acquainted over LJ. I develop mental images of everyone despite the lack of (usually) any information. (Should I admit that I imagined you stout and tweedy?)

Now I have femme on my flist so I think I'm a goner for the cricket.
altri_uccelli From: altri_uccelli Date: January 31st, 2011 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Er, 'evacuation,' of course.
danajsparks From: danajsparks Date: February 19th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I came across your journal through the hp_essays comm. I'm slightly addicted to HP meta, and I suspect that you may have some interesting essays that are locked. Would you be willing to friend me back so that I can read them? Thanks!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 20th, 2012 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Of course.

Morning to you.
tigersilver From: tigersilver Date: May 6th, 2012 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Clumbers! Effing Clumbers! I wants me one of those but they won't fit in my kitschy kitchen (oh the woes of the tenant farmhouse folk)(filk) (fen).
This is why I love thee, this is. So delightfully brutal. Where can I purchase The Book? Amazon?
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 6th, 2012 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)


All the books - which are now several - are to be found, with links to Amazon Kindle editions and the paperbacks, at http://baptonbooks.co.uk/Our-titles.php.

And Clumbers are almost as delightful as tigers.
inamac From: inamac Date: August 6th, 2012 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
After the delights of hp_friendship I am going to have to 'friend' you. It will be so nice to have someone on my list who doesn't have the vapours if I express a mild interest in the doings of the local hunt (sadly about to be split between neighbouring countries), or some approval of the current Government's attempts to instil some sense of responsibility in the populace. Also what are now, apparently, called 'heritage breeds' of dog. (We will have to differ on the intricacies of Cricket - I have lived with a Yorkshirewoman for 30 years and even she has failed to infect me.)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 6th, 2012 09:09 am (UTC) (Link)

The Clumbers and I are delighted and honoured.

I am, truly, pleased as a Suffolk Punch. Welcome, O After Mine Own Heart. (And w/r/t cricket, I shan't lose hope of yr eventual enlightenment....)

PS: whose country is yours? Not the Puckeridge, is it? Or is the E&SH breaking up?

Edited at 2012-08-06 09:30 am (UTC)
tigersilver From: tigersilver Date: August 21st, 2012 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I do hope we manage to meet. I think (fear) you shall find me sadly scattered but I have great hopes of you, my dear. Have I mentioned I was raised literally right nigh a hive of Italian honeybees? In my bedroom wall, natch. My mother kept them but lo! she did not keep them only in boring old hives, no! They must needs inhabit the house, too! I found my sense of mortality startling early, as you can presume.
But yes, it would be (for me) a fine instance of serendipity, meeting in the grand hopefully non-eventful year of 2013. Engineered, perhaps, but that's alright. All the best moments have a little thought going into them from the start.
I look forward.
Cheers!(O, and I'm ordering your book. Yes, I am. It will be elevating. I need a lift.)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: August 21st, 2012 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)

How lovely.

And how kind of you.
pathology_doc From: pathology_doc Date: September 25th, 2012 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I return to this post for discussion of a small point in your articles on Grandees and Grocers:

the master of logistics and of the Materielschlacht

The Duke was indeed a master of logistics, but I always understood that his true gift was the optimisation of the sometimes limited materiel he had with which to conduct his schlacht, a limitation his successors a hundred years later would labour under when they tried (some might say 'were obliged') to conduct operations beyond the means of their nation's industry. Wellington, as with Sir John Moore before him, could (and did) withdraw and try again when he was once more ready, but there was no Line of Torres Vedras for French or Haig.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: September 25th, 2012 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, yes.

Although it can be argued, I think, that the duke as PM and Privy Counsellor always pushed innovation and industrialisation for just those reasons arising from just that experience. And the duke shd never have accepted the imposition of the enemy's will as French did - I absolve Haig, whose achievements are well beyond those commonly allowed him (due to Lloyd George's political malice) - because the operational element of the duke's genius in the Materialschlacht was to deny the enemy the means of subsistence and cut off his supply, even when the enemy possessed interior lines and a (pre-duke) functioning tail.
germankitty From: germankitty Date: November 7th, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think we could be further apart politically if we tried (coming, as I do, from parents who were staunch Social Democrats for as long as I remember and have inducted me very early and firml in their camp), but I'm not rabid about it -- and from what I've learned of you, neither are you w/r/t "missionarizing". Thus I think we can cheerfully continue to coexist, respecting each other's viewpoint while agreeing to disagree. :)

(To bring it back to fandom, there's Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, right?)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 8th, 2012 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Is there?

I must confess I have seen little sign of diversity of opinion - or at least of tolerance of diverity of opinion - in fandom.

That is why I treasure such friends as you.
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