Archive for August, 2004

A Genuine Puzzle and some Nabokoviana

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Here, citizens is the portrait of Sir Neil O’Neill painted in Dublin in 1680 by the Recusant painter John Michael Wright. You will observe the suit of Japanese armour. Yes, the suit of Japanese armour. Proverbially, the Society of Jesus get everywhere in the seventeenth century including Japan and Ireland (where indeed, in 1644, the […]

Storm Damage

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

As some of you will already have been told on frantic little postcards, the phone lines (and therefore this journal) have been out of action for the last few days. There was on Wednesday night, I am told, an uncommonly spectacular electrical storm. Apparently there were celestial pyrotechnics on a scale almost-unknown at this latitude. […]

Polyvalent footsteps

Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

In September I am going to my mother’s country to look at archives and pictures of martyrs and at holy bones and their packaging. Not a holiday as such, work: I do not take holidays in that country (it has an enervating climate and the kitchen doesn’t open until nine thirty at night, and when […]

Dr Biswell takes up Marketing

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

We were contemplating, over a lard-free luncheon, the fact curious fact that lard is one of the very few substances nobody tries to sell you. I mean, you can buy it in the supermarket, it’s there if you want it, but there is no attempt to encourage you. The blocks are wrapped in white, and […]

Buzz and Hum they Go

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

According to the Anglo-Saxon, calendar, what we call August was ‘Weodmonath’ (Weed Month). They had a point: weeds are not in short supply. We were driving around Speyside the other day looking for bonny purple heather and found that the hillsides were blanketed with the dull cerise of willow-herb. However, up here in Pictland, […]

Yea Verily, The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

Thursday, August 12th, 2004

Nine o’clock at night is not the hour everyone would choose for an outbreak of jolly shepherding, but we have day jobs, in our way. We decided that it was time we wormed the sheep — a job which has been postponed for a while due to one thing and another, and also, to a […]

Scottish Journalism

Saturday, August 7th, 2004

The Turriff Advertiser (locally known, not entirely with affection, as The Squeak) produced a non-story so perfect it seemed to us a quintessence of local non-journalism. The Squeak Names and Shames. Here goes:
A blemish in Turriff’s flourishing display of hanging flower baskets was promptly removed on Wednesday. Compared to the majority of the attractive baskets […]

An Intervention from Dr Biswell

Monday, August 2nd, 2004

One of the discoveries that has come back from Manchester in Dr Biswell’s boxfiles is an index card, formerly the property of the poet John Shade, which contains a pencilled translation into English of a traditional Zemblan rabbit-hunter’s song. Shade bequeathed the card to Prof Charles Kinbote, who in turn passed it on to Anthony […]

Scribblers on the Roof

Sunday, August 1st, 2004

Life has been so replete with incident that we haven’t had time to report it. Yesterday saw Dr Biswell and the Man From Maryport attempting, with ultimate success, to re-roof the garage with corrugated aluminium sheeting. Dr B. said, in conclusion, that it was fair to say that everything which could conceivably have gone wrong […]