Archive for December, 2003

Moominland Midwinter

Tuesday, December 30th, 2003

We had a proper snowfall during the course of the night: we awoke to find a luminous turquoise sky, and a monochrome landscape, everything seemed to be greyish black except the snow, lying along every branch and twig, and even in fat clouds along the taller weeds and grasses — it is so cold that […]

Useful Gifts

Friday, December 26th, 2003

My dear friend the Barbadian antiquary has given me a thoughtful and useful present. It is a nineteenth-century edition of that hoary piece of scare-mongering St. Malachi’s Prophetia de Summis Pontificis which gives you a list of the pontiffs and their arms until the end of time. John Evelyn, if I remember right, saw a […]

O Come All Ye Faithful

Friday, December 26th, 2003

We went off to Christmas Day Mass yesterday, and I was struck once again by the Scottish Catholic congregation’s marked antipathy towards singing: the church in question includes among its regulars a Lancastrian couple, strongly musical, who have been doggedly attempting to raise standards for some time now, in the teeth of what is beginning […]

Goodwill towards Dogs

Wednesday, December 24th, 2003

Miss Cat and Miss Dog are entirely failing to enter into the spirit of the season, alas. War has broken out: we suspect that at the back of it all is Miss Dog being required to answer for the crimes of her friends, in true nursery fashion. The Geordie Ambassador turned up the other day […]

Ms Winterson (Christmas) Moonlighting

Sunday, December 21st, 2003

We thought that we ought to share a curious fact with our readers. Yesterday while we were waiting for our luncheon in the pleasant fishing hotel on Speyside, I flicked through the current (Christmas) number of that journal called by its friends and contributors The Death but more generally known as Country Life. There was […]

Waiting for the Snow

Sunday, December 21st, 2003

We have made a very rare expedition to the snowline and are now waiting for the snowline to move down to us: it is now lunchtime, the weather warnings have veered from the frankly sensational to the apocayptic but in our sheltered valley it is, if rather windy, bright and clear.
Not so yesterday when we […]

The Triumph of the Will

Friday, December 12th, 2003

We have been slowly conducting an unseemly altercation over the course of the last week. Miss Cat, despite her aristocratic pretensions, is liable to worms. This comes of snacking on voles of a mid-morning: once in a while, it becomes indelicately obvious that she has eaten the wrong rodent, so something has to be done. […]

The Flying Basilica

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003

Rogue Semiotics has a lovely picture today of a dirigible in the form of a cathedral to which in a spirit of seasonal bounty I feel we should subjoin the original flying basilica for the edification and entertainment of all. I went there once (Loreto, where it landed) with a priest who kept muttering about […]

Climb Every Mountain

Sunday, December 7th, 2003

We have just been down to Fife to visit our old friend the Fox-Boiler. He is a painter by trade, and he was having a little exhibition. (He is known as the Fox-Boiler because of his inventive and admirably direct approach to roadkill. Much though I like and admire him, I have never, ever, under […]

Art House Publishing

Thursday, December 4th, 2003

The Reaktion author’s guide in an indirect way, opens up vistas: people who write on the visual arts are by and large an unglued bunch: we get a distinct impression from it of all the truly awful things that their authors have done to them over the years. We have nonetheless taken the liberty of […]

Water Sports

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003

Today was complicated by the need to wander into my place of detention and give a lecture on Macbeth – omission of italics entirely deliberate. That is, a lecture on Scottish politics in the 11th and 12th century; the Earls of Orkney, the Mormaers of Moray, and the Kings of Alba (by the way, […]

Multicultural Britain

Monday, December 1st, 2003

Dr Biswell sent us a note on Mancunian retail therapy which seems worth recording:
‘Just back from Asda, which was (as usual) a hoot. The best moment was when I saw a large green sign that said “HAPPY EID” plus presumably the same in Arabic.This had been placed, or rather suspended on wires, directly above the […]

Honest Toil

Monday, December 1st, 2003

The Geordie Ambassador turned up in the afternoon on the Marshall Plan Tractor. trailing, like Jovian thunderclouds, the remnants of a terrific hangover, and we all set about the first instalment of leaves. It is almost unbelievable how many leaves a mature tree produces. Even though they are now a bit rotten and wet, the […]