Monday, 24 April 2023

The game is up

The jury remains out on precisely which drugs W Shakespeare had been smoking when scribing Cymbeline, but we'd all like to know. It's not commonly staged: In 1970 (I think) I performed in a production of this play, directed by a far-sighted teacher of English; I saw it again on the West Yorkshire Playhouse stage the evening before one of my weddings in 2006, and then once more last Saturday, produced by the RSC in Stratford.

I managed to enter the auditorium with some very cocky foreknowledge of this madness, but had forgotten (before checking) that this is where the phrases Boldness be my friend (A1,s6), The game is up (A3,s3), and I have not sleep one wink (A3,s4) originate. Now you know.

It's fairly well known that he got a little wacky towards the end, but this play scales amazin' heights; the appearance of Jupiter at the end, descending from heaven amid thunder and lightning, was even better that that depicted by my late friend Peter Gleeson on the Hele's School stage half a century ago. The RSC could have taken advice from us on the length of the play, which kicked off at 7.15 and let us out at 11pm, with two very short intervals. During the second interval we got to look inside a props cupboard which included a dead chicken and a dead goat. How I wanted to nick one (or both) of these.

In preparation we viewed Anne Hathaway's cottage, which remained in Hathaway hands into the C20. There was, recently, a Hathaway gathering at the place, when those attending did not have to pay the £13 entrance fee. I told them I was a Hathaway and asked for a refund: while too courteous to tell me to bugger off, they weren't giving in.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel has corridors that make you feel you are in an Escher drawing

Interesting, but insufficient to make the shocking service bearable.

Anything else? The usual RM hotspots.

Saturday, 18 March 2023


Having gone over 68 years knowing nothing about Rabelais, I fear I have come to him too late to take maximum advantage.

It surely suffices to draw attention to his list of candidates for toilet paper (appended here) - among my favourites are "Mother's gloves" and "A cormorant".

Of the goose, Rabelais notes But to conclude, I say and maintain that there is no arse-wiper like a well-downed goose, if you hold her neck between your legs. You must take my word for it, you really must. You get a miraculous sensation in your arse-hole, both from the softness of the down and from the temperate heat of the goose herself; and this is easily communicated to the bum-gut and the rest of the intestines, from which it reaches the heart and the brain.

  1. A lady's velvet mask
  2. A lady's hood
  3. A lady's neckerchief
  4. Some earflaps of crimson satin
  5. A page's bonnet, all feathered in the Swiss fashion
  6. A March-born cat
  7. His Mother's gloves, well scented with maljamin
  8. Sage
  9. Fennel
  10. Anise
  11. Marjoram
  12. Roses
  13. Gourd Leaves
  14. Cabbage
  15. Beets
  16. Vineshoots
  17. Marsh-mallow
  18. Mullein, which is as red as your bum
  19. Lettuces
  20. Spinach-leaves
  21. Dog's Mercury
  22. Persicaria
  23. Nettles
  24. Comfrey
  25. His Codpiece
  26. The Sheets
  27. The Coverlet
  28. The Curtains
  29. A Cushion
  30. The Hangings
  31. A Green Cloth
  32. A Table-cloth
  33. A Napkin
  34. A Handkerchief
  35. An Overall
  36. Hay
  37. Straw
  38. Litter
  39. Cow's Hair
  40. Wool
  41. Paper
  42. A Kerchief (again)
  43. A Pillow
  44. A Slipper
  45. A Game-bag
  46. A Basket
  47. A Hat... and some hats are
    • Smooth
    • Shaggy
    • Velvety
    • Of Taffeta
    • Of Satin
    ...though the best of all are the shaggy ones
  48. A Hen
  49. A Cock
  50. A Chicken
  51. A Calf's Skin
  52. A Hare
  53. A Pigeon
  54. A Cormorant
  55. A Lawyer's Bag
  56. A Penitent's Hood
  57. A Coif
  58. An Otter
  59. A Well-downed Goose

Wednesday, 4 January 2023


To Llundain, to see in the new year, inter alia.

Thursday 29th was an outing to Fulham to play in the EBU Year End Open Pairs event. Partner was the ever understanding Jerry F, who tolerated a number of schoolgirl errors on my part to allow us 49% in the morning sesion and 47% in the afternoon. I count this as a triumph and know we'd beat 50 in another outing. Jerry, if he as as wise as I suspect, probably wouldn't permit another outing to occur: here is a picture of Jerry in motion, warming up for the day, and the record of how it went.

Friday 30th, to Holborn for the latest of a sequence of beery chats with P and J. Whether the world will actually improve as a result of our analyses of its problems is unlikely, and perhaps the world didn't even know we were there. We last attempted this in 2018, so perhaps of most interest is the before-Covid/after-Covid comparison. Can you tell which is which?

Saturday 31st, to Ashford and around for a Porkrun, and to make the Yuletide visit that was kiboshed by a mysterious esophegeal complaint. Urban highlights were an elegant OOU Post Office,and the partially restored Burton, now a splendid Polish cafe:

And a very jolly visit to the Enkelkinder
Blywyddyn Newydd Dda - let it be better than its predecessor. At the very least, let's not break any ribs.