Just Doing This Now…

No energy for a good rant this week so today’s blog hasn’t really got a theme and is more of a personal ramble. If you’re up for it put on some comfy-but-sturdy walking shoes and grab a bottle of spring water, but I’ll not be offended if you decide to just put your feet up and watch the telly instead. Unless it’s Jeremy Kyle, of course, which is offensive by definition.

A funny old week without any OU deadlines to worry about. Not sure how I feel about that yet, but the word ‘uneasy’ certainly seems appropriate. Have to wait and see…

Walking back from the cash-point after collecting son’s spending money (he’s off to Edinburgh next week with his BFF) I was hit by a couple of drips of rain and there seem to be quite a few filfy looking clouds floating about up there. Such a contrast to the little fluffy Orb-worthy white ones (lil-lil-little-li-li-li-little fluffy clouds) that dotted the sky on Tuesday when I spent the afternoon cycling round the park and lake with a friend before returning home, sore-bottomed but pleasingly invigorated, for some chicken thighs and couscous and lashings of grown-up’s ‘pop’. Do those drips mean summer is over and we’re back into the realm of ‘wettest whatever on record’ and ironic comments about hosepipe bans? I hope not – I like sunshine and beer gardens and li-li-little fluffy clouds and stuff, and they took a long time getting here this year.

After far too much grown-up’s pop I ventured into town to have a few pints in a pub I used to frequent regularly as a ‘yoof’ but haven’t used for years. There was an absolutely lovely barmaid working who was spending time between serving customers framing some really interesting ‘type-art’ she had created with an antique manual typewriter – Hopefully an old Imperial, which was my vehicle of choice back in the day. Not an easy art form to describe, but surprisingly evocative stuff comprising layers of mostly random text typed at different velocities through a ribbon that has certainly seen better days. Dunno, maybe it’s something to do with me being a reader/writer and having all those emotional connections to ‘text’ in various forms, but I found them fascinating. I have offered to write her a unique piece which I hope to swap for one of her unique pieces. Who knows, maybe one day one or both of us will make a great deal of money from the trade. That is, of course, assuming that she doesn’t read whatever it is wot I have wrote and decide to back out of the deal. Chiz Chiz.

Talking of writing – I had a pleasant surprise in the post yesterday when I found out that I’ve had one of me pomes make the K&SPS folio again this year. As always, I was a little surprised about the one selected. The reasons for ‘surprise’ have varied down the years, but this year it was because it was, IMO, the least technically accomplished of the three I submitted. That said, the one I really rated – a four stanza declaration of love written to Pope Joan (Google it!) – fell at the first fence because the judge didn’t pick up on the references. Perhaps a footnote is in order! Having said that, there was a glaringly obvious historical error I’d failed to notice, so perhaps I got my just deserts!

Another pleasant surprise yesterday was that I discovered an online twitter community of ‘Molesworth’ fans. I first discovered Nigel Molesworth (the curse of st. custard’s) when I was about eleven and I found a battered copy of Down With Skool! in my local book exchange. For the life of me I can’t think why – poor speling and beetles drawn on neecaps asside – I connected with these books in the way I did, because Nigel’s 1950’s public skool education, “nothing but kanes, lat. french. geog. hist. algy, geom, headmasters, skool dogs, skool sossages, my brother molesworth 2 and masters everywhere” was as different from mine own very casual seventies secondary experience as chalk is from dairylea triangles, but I did, and they’ve been a guilty pleasure ever since.

As an eleven year old I probably got about a quarter of the references, and even reading them now I feel overshadowed by the breadth of Nigel’s intellekt, but I could definitely identify with the kaning and sossages, and the combination of Geoffrey Willans’ words and Ronald Searle’s illustrations could sweep me away to another world populated by children even scruffier, sillier, uglier and grumpier than those I diskarded in my own skool.

Buying books at the P&P Book exchange was an odd experience, and I used the place because I was unaware until the age of around fifteen that council estate kids were allowed to use public libraries. When you bought a second-hand book from the book exchange it would have a price written in pencil on the cover and a single stamp inside saying ‘may be exchanged for half cover price when used towards next purchase’. In this way I was, over a period of time involving much scrimping and saving and many trips with salvaged deposit-paid corona bottles to the local grocers, able to read the entire catalogue of Molesworth books, along with a variety of other titles ranging from Mad Magazines through to works of science fiction by the likes of Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. I remember buying my first Penguin Modern Classics there too, and still own several yellowed and stained Spike Milligan’s bearing that navy blue ‘trade-in’ offer on the inside cover.

You can now buy ALL FOUR of the Molesworth books in one paperback, and they have, quite rightly, been designated ‘Penguin Classics’ too. Available brand spanking new for less than a tenner you’d be daft not to, really. And while you’re there have a look at Searle’s other masterwork ‘St. Trinian’s’ too.

Anyway, advert over (and I would add there’s nothing in the above recommendation for me apart from the opportunity to populate the world with other people whose first choice spelling for ‘school’ will be ‘skool’ and who can’t look at a cloud without hearing in the back of their heads the words of fotherington-tomas greeting the brand-new day), I’d best get on with some work. If you’ve read to the end, thanks. If you haven’t it is prolerbly because you are uterley wet and weedy and orlso hav a face like a flea and could not lift wot the French call a concombre. And I diskard you. Obviously.


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