Thursday, 31 January 2013

Some local heroes reimagined by Sarah '27 Well St' Watkins

Burns as he would have looked in war bunnet

Grand Duke Nicholas, later Tsar Nicholas I, of Russia
who visited Moffat aged 20 in 1816, as he would have looked in tartan tam

James 'Ossian' Macpherson making a spectacle of himself
We are working on a new look for our Moffat Book events website. I asked Sarah Watkins of 27  Well St to reimagine some local heroes in fancy headgear for a collage, hence the images above.

In the tavern of commemoration

Derrida 'Of Hospitality' and Anthony Rudolf 'Rescue Work:Memory and Text'
Anthony Rudolf
I went into my library this morning, and casually picked up from the floor where (I am ashamed to say) it had lain for several days if not weeks, as if it had thrown itself off the shelf to be noticed, a very slim paper booklet, stapled together not bound. The booklet is the text of a lecture entitled Rescue Work: Memory and Text, an expanded version of the Pierre Rouve memorial lecture given by the poet and translator Anthony Rudolf in Sofia, Bulgaria on 22 Feb 2001, originally published in Stand 5 (3) 2004. I did not mention Holocaust Day in my blog, because I had nothing to say, but now - suddenly I find I do. I came to meet Anthony through my work building cultural bridges with Russia - at that time, the USSR. Tears sprang to my eyes and I found a lump in my throat, because the page where I opened the booklet has an account of life in Gandersheim, a Nazi labour camp, where a group of French prisoners gather to recite poetry to each other, including 'Heureux, qui comme Ulysses' - the verse I have inscribed on a pavement in my garden here in Moffat.
''Gaston opens the proceedings with a speech. He says: 'to keep going, each of us must emerge from his solitude and accept responsibility for all the others. They [ie the Nazis] have been able to dispossess us of everything save what we are'. One of the comrades, Francis, then recites Du Bellay's famous poem
          'Heureux qui comme Ulysse a fait un beau voyage
           et puis est retourne, plein d'usage et raison..'
Francis has trouble saying the poem: 'he was anguished as if he had to express one of the most rare, most secret things ever given him to speak; as if he feared that, brutally, the poem might break in his mouth'.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Porridge: the reader's guide

Mug suitable for porridge
I was raised on porridge made the right way, with water and salt. We were taught as children, during and immediately after WWII, that porridge when cold can be a packed lunch carried in the pocket. I have been experimenting recently with the optimum quantity to make, and the method, when preparing porridge for one. And before any reader protests that this has nothing whatever with books, let me remind them of The Paston Letters, the best-selling account of day to day life in 15th century England, and other meals in literature such as the stew in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse' or the all black meal in A Rebours. By the way, forget about making porridge in a microwave. For various existential and practical reasons, that does not  - cannot - produce the best result. I have tried making enough porridge for a week in a big saucepan. The drawback to this method is that you have to bring the whole lot to the boil often enough to keep it from going off in a room-temperature kitchen such as mine - unless you lug the whole lot into your unheated outer hallway which, again, in my particular case, means going downstairs. I have therefore settled, after some months or years of trials on the daily small saucepan and 'mug' method.The equipment required is as follows: a small ceramic dish known as a ramekin; a small saucepan, water (mine is usually filtered and boiled from the kettle) and a pinch of salt. In an ideal world, the preparation stage should take place the night before to allow the oats to soak. Step one:  place the ramekin in the saucepan and fill the ramekin with oats; tip oats from ramekin into saucepan; fill ramekin three times with water from kettle and add to oats; add pinch of sea salt; stir with wooden spurtle. Step Two: Bring to boil over low flame, stir . Leave for a couple of minutes to bubble then turn heat off and leave with lid on for a while. Spoon contents into large mug (pictured). Eat - if necessary on the go. It's easy if you are using a mug, including standing up in the most modern way at your eye level laptop. (that is not a joke).

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sidcup, navel of western civilization

Ian Fleming: chosen route
Harold Pinter, Nobel prize winner, chose Sidcup
Peter Sellers: set the trend
There is an obituary in today's paper worth reproducing in full, because it bears out a theory I have been testing on classrooms and other audiences for years: much great British music, literature and art was incubated in a shallow arc to the southeast of London, celebrated by Peter Sellers in 'Balham: Gateway to the south', and particularly Sidcup where the testy genius, cricket lover and winner of the Nobel prize for literature, Harold Pinter's, eponymous Caretaker had - significantly - claimed to have left his passport. Ian Fleming, in Live and Let Die, sent James Bond round the then notorious roundabout on the A20 at Sidcup's Ruxley Corner. Not far away, in leafy Lewisham, the young David Bowie and later Hanif Kureishi first breathed in the air of this British Parnassus.

Here is the obituary in full:

Jim Godbolt

Jim Godbolt, who has died aged 90, devoted 70 years to jazz as a band manager, booking agent, journalist and historian.

Jim Godbolt
Jim Godbolt Photo: POLLY HANCOCK
Though he played no instrument and periodically found himself forced to take work in other fields, he was always ready to serve the music he loved in any capacity and for little money. But an ungracious manner, beginning with the way he snapped “Jim Godbolt” down the telephone, did not win him friends, although there were times when he could inspire a certain astonished affection.
Every time he was ignored, slighted or sworn at, the offence was carefully remembered, to be grimly repeated in his memoir, All This and 10%. There were the regular misspellings of his name — as Goodolt, Godlio, Godolt, Goabit or Goldblatt — and the occasion on which he was told that he was not paranoid, as paranoia would have meant him imagining that people were trying to avoid him. It was not his imagination.
George Melly left a striking description of Godbolt: “Thin and tense, his head with its pointed features crouching between his shoulders as though emerging from its burrow into a dangerous world, his eyes as cold and watchful as those of a pike in the reeds. Around this thin, heron-like figure a whole comic tradition of disaster then descended.”
Godbolt was under no illusions about his charms. When the libel lawyer nervously reading All This wanted to eliminate a reference to a Len Bloggs, “a snarling anti-social inverted snob with a chip on his shoulder” , Godbolt pointed out that it was a portrait of himself.
James Godbolt was born in Wandsworth, south London, on October 5 1922. He went to Central School, Sidcup, where he failed to distinguish himself, then became an office boy with the stockbrokers Evans Gordon and Sandeman Clark. At 18 he left to earn £5 a week as a timekeeper on a building site and joined the No 1 Rhythm Club at Sidcup, Kent, before being called up by the Royal Navy to serve in armed trawlers in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
On leave in Cape Town, his appetite for jazz was further whetted when he bought 150 records from a hardware shop at one shilling each. He returned home to become manager of George Webb’s Dixielanders, which aspired to the authentic New Orleans style.
When the band collapsed with the withdrawal of the key members Humphrey Lyttelton and Wally Fawkes, Godbolt became a salesman for a signwriting firm, then an agricultural worker. Next he edited Jazz Illustrated, notable for its misprints before it folded after eight issues.
Although jazz at that time was rent by a bitter civil war between “trad” and modernist players, Godbolt steered clear of faction. He became a booker for the modernist Johnny Dankworth Seven and the traditionalist Graeme Bell Australian Jazz Band; protected the American guitarist Lonnie Johnson from fans on one provincial tour, and on another tried to keep the trombonist Dickie Wells sober. He also took on the management of the chaotic, hard-drinking Mick Mulligan band, worked for Lyttelton, toured Sweden with Bruce Turner’s Jump Band and ran a jazz club above the Six Bells at Chelsea. An enthusiastic cricketer, he was a member of The Ravers, which claimed to be the world’s only jazzmen’s cricket XI.
When pop music took centre stage in the 1960s, Godbolt was making his mark as agent/manager of The Swinging Blue Jeans during the period of their hit Hippy Hippy Shake. He managed to conceal his lack of enthusiasm for the new music when interviewed by Melody Maker, but when he went on to work for a large booking organisation his heart was not in it.
Taking a flat five floors up in a building without a lift near Hampstead Heath, he started out as a freelance journalist to earn the slimmest pickings. Eventually he was forced to work as a cleaner at the Savoy hotel and as an electricity meter reader, which left him with an aversion to dogs.
When his memoir was published in 1976, it sold only 400 copies. But two subsequent editions fared better, and Godbolt the author found himself in demand to review books and appear on radio programmes. Ever his own worst enemy, however, he was indignant to discover that those interviewed on Woman’s Hour were not paid; indeed, he was so indignant that he ended up being neither interviewed nor paid.
Another offer was writing obituaries for The Daily Telegraph. He became a frequent contributor, and could produce facts that could never be found elsewhere. Some members of the obituaries desk, however, were exasperated at being asked to sort out his prose and put up with his surly replies to queries. One of his more unusual submissions was two versions of the band leader Cab Calloway; one in standard English, the other in hepcat’s argot. Eventually an argument about the editing of his obituary of his brother, who kept a pub, led to the appointment of a more obliging wordsmith.
Goldbolt also wrote a two-volume History of Jazz in Britain (1984 and 1986), which addressed not only musicians but also critics, promoters, discographers and fans . When a second edition was published in 2005 it was accompanied by a four-disc set of 100 numbers culled from his personal collection. Godbolt’s last work, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Farrago (2007), drew on his recollections of editing the magazine Jazz at Ronnie Scott’s, which he had produced at the saxophonist’s club in Gerrard Street for 26 years.
Jim Godbolt knew that he possessed an unrivalled knowledge of British jazz. Those who knew him, however, will remember him as a character who could have stepped from the pages of Dickens.
He was unmarried.
Jim Godbolt, born October 5 1922, died January 10 2013

Thursday, 24 January 2013


 'The Hospitality of Abraham' aka the Holy Trinity, by Andrey Rublev c.1410
Will ye no come back again
Hospitality is on my mind. The guest is sacred to many cultures, including once our own.
I have ordered a book about it: On Hospitality by Jacques Derrida.I have a nasty feeling he may complicate the otherwise simple proposition that a guest may be a god in disguise. Biding farewell yesterday to a visitor, who offered his hand to me across the threshold I explained that he must either come back inside or that we should both stand outside: -->
'Не через порога'! (not across the threshold) as they say in Russia. Liminal spaces, neither in nor out, are to be avoided. Hence too, according to the structuralists (Levi-Strauss et al), the prohibition of certain meats or combinations of food. Nothing to do with practicality or fear of infection. Pork is taboo in some cultures because the animal has a cloven hoof but is an omnivore, therefore defies category. As it happens, I have eaten horse. The family of my French Caribbean penfriend, Any, from Guadaloupe, served it one evening as a treat when I stayed with them in Chalons-sur-Marne as it was then called, in 1956. By the way: the so-called massacre at Glen Coe, of Macdonalds by soldiers who included Campbells, is an example of the extreme abuse of hospitality,  'Murder under Trust', because the soldiers were ostensibly guests of the Macdonalds. A solemn highland tradition was thereby hideously violated when the soldiers turned on their hosts. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Needle Match - Соперничество (MBE Bi-lingual series (English/Russian) No.2: The Needle Match

A typical village cricket match
This second tale in our online bi-lingual series of parallel texts in English and Russian features again the problematic establishment figure of Sir Tim Bligh. Fortuitously, this month saw the publication of

An English Affair by Richard Davenport-Hines (3 Jan 2013)

a controversial history of the Profumo Affair, which involved Tim since he was Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's Principal Private Secretary. For the editor's reminiscences of these and earlier days please refer to Ernie Chilmaid's Chain Beer, No.1 in our Russian-English series. The heroic translation from English into Russian, as before, is by Philip Solovjov

A Needle Cricket Match.

Bill Chancellor, Harrow and Trinity College Cambridge, played cricket for a village situated in what he grandly called The Valley. The village was called Farningham and The Valley was the Darent Valley in North West Kent.

There were three other cricketing villages in the Darent Valley. Eynsford, Horton Kirby and Wilmington. And there was one other cricketing village and that was Swanley. Well,  Swanley was not quite a village. It was more a small town since Swanley had left its village status behind when the railways came with the junction of two lines to London one from Maidstone in the west and the other from Chatham in the east.  The new development around this junction left the original village intact, a backwater some two miles away perhaps close enough to be accepted as part of The Valley. It was in Swanley Village where Sir Timothy Bligh lived and he was captain of the Swanley Cricket Club.

Playing cricket for Farningham was a keenly contested affair and the village side was strong. Farningham often won the matches against the other villages and it became the village side to beat.

The annual match against Eynsford was a friendly affair perhaps because the Eynsford team accepted that Farningham invariably won so they simply enjoyed the occasion whatever the outcome. The match against Wilmington was always keenly contested. Wilmington was a strong side re enforced I suspect with players from nearby Dartford Cricket Club. Honours were hard fought but evenly shared between Farningham and Wilmington.

The really needle matches were those played between Horton Kirby and Swanley. I am not quite sure why but there was a kind of liaison between Horton Kirby and Swanley so that some of the players you played against when the match was with Horton Kirby turned up when playing against Swanley. And Swanley always played their matches on a Sunday perhaps that was because they couldn’t raise a full team on a Saturday since some of their players were engaged with Horton Kirby.

So it was a Sunday afternoon in mid July when the Swanley team arrived at the Farningham cricket ground to play against their rivals. It had been a dreary morning with no sun and low cloud. Although it had stopped raining the mornings misty drizzle had left fine droplets of water clinging to the grass in the outfield and the wicket was sodden.  The players of both teams had walked to and from the cricket square and the pavilion inspecting the condition of the pitch and looking glum. It was absolutely not cricket weather. If good sense prevailed the match would have been called off. But neither captain was prepared to abandon the challenge and stand the charge of weakness in the face of the enemy. So Horace Rogers Captain of Farningham Club tossed a coin and Sir Timothy Bligh Captain of Swanley Cricket Club won the call and elected to bat first.

The two umpires went out each carrying a towel for drying the ball. A pile of sawdust was provided behind the stumps at each end should the bowlers need it to cover their footmarks or for use in drying the ball. The ball soon became wet, the pitch was slow, and the bowlers run up became a muddy track covered with bright yellow sawdust. The Swanley batsman gradually began mounting a big score. It was difficult for the Farningham bowlers to keep foothold at the bowlers crease. The Farningham fielders seemed constantly to be picking a soggy wet ball from the long grass over the boundary. The score mounted. Farningham failed to take a wicket but toiled on doggedly. The sky began to brighten but not Farningham’s hopes. After about forty minutes Swanley had scored eighty odd runs without loss of a wicket. Then there was a short pause in play while Horace Rogers held conference with both his bowlers. He turned to the pavilion and called ‘More sawdust please’.

Tim Bligh had been standing on the boundary with a group of his teammates applauding every boundary and enjoying the disenchantment of the Farningham fielders. At the request for more sawdust he leapt into action with the alacrity of a spiked Stakhanonvite. He raced to the shed at the back of the pavilion, came out and ran across the field carrying two buckets of fresh sawdust one for each bowler. He heaped the sawdust carefully behind the stumps at each end. ‘Is that enough Horace?’ he asked obligingly, ‘Would you like some more?’

Now I happened to be fielding at deep square leg close to where the group of Swanley players were standing on the boundary. I overheard the conversation as Tim Bligh walked back carrying his two empty buckets. One player asked ‘Tim why are you chasing around doing their dirty work? Let them get there own sawdust for goodness sake.’ I can’t remember the exact reply but it went like this. ‘Listen up you guys. Listen to Tim he knows what he is doing. The light is improving the pitch is drying. We have got almost a hundred runs on the  board and we haven’t lost a wicket. The Farningham team for once are looking utterly dejected. We have got them over a barrel. They will have to bat on a drying wicket and we will easily bowl them out after tea. This afternoon we are going to give them the thrashing of their lives and I don’t want to give them the slightest reason to call on the umpires to abandon the match for want of a bucket of sawdust.  So now you know.’

By tea Swanley had scored more than two hundred runs for the loss of only four wickets. It looked like that thrashing would indeed happen The sun was beginning to break through but it did nothing to relieve the spirits of the Farningham team.

It was customary for each team to occupy a long table for tea the home side at one end of the pavilion the visiting side at the table opposite. Normally the banter from the Farningham table was boisterous while the visitors took their tea in relative quiet. This time the roles were reversed. There was a lot of noise coming from the Swanley table. The Farningham team were unusually sullen.

Bill Chancellor was apprehensive. After tea he and Arthur Page were to open the batting for Farningham. Arthur was a prolific run getter. On that afternoon no one thought for one moment that even he could do anything to salvage Farningham’s reputation from the impending disaster. After a while he said to Bill Chancellor, ‘Come on Bill finish your tea lets get padded up and get this job finished.’ Arthur faced the bowling. He made his intentions quite clear when he hit the first ball to the boundary for four.

The two batted on steadily until Bill Chancellor was out for twenty odd runs. The score was one wicket for seventy runs Arthur Page was approaching his fifty. Then John Pawson went in to bat. Arthur met him half way as he walked towards the wicket. A few years earlier Arthur had been teaching John maths at the local grammar school. He would have said something like ‘Look John just bat steadily keep your head down let me get the runs.’ That’s exactly what happened and the score drifted up to one hundred and then past one hundred before John was out.

The score was one hundred and thirteen for two wickets, Arthur Page was sixty four not out  and the stalwart Bill Lowrie was walking in to bat. The smiles were beginning to return to the faces of the Farningham supporters and the noise from the pavilion was getting louder. Then at about ten minutes before stumps were drawn at seven o’clock, Arthur Page hit the final boundary. He had scored one hundred and sixteen not out and together with Bill Lowrie he had successfully steered Farningham past the Swanley total. The Farningham team found it extremely difficult to contain their arrogance

It was an excited but deferential Horace Rogers who stood up and together with the rest of his team and applauded first both Arthur Page and Bill Lowrie and then the chastened visiting side as they came in. It was a disingenuous smile that stole across the face of Tim Bligh as he congratulated Horace Rogers and his team.

After a cricket match it was customary for the two teams to adjourn to the pub and enjoy a glass of beer. Tim Bligh with haste verging on the impolite was seen to quickly pack his bag and disappear home in his car. He was not a very happy man.

Whose fault was it then that such palpable enjoyment of victory was so rudely snatched from the grasp of the Swanley team? Well after the match one of the Swanley team was overheard saying, ‘If Tim hadn’t been so keen to give them that sawdust the match might have been abandoned and we would have been spared this humiliation.’

Well, Sir Timothy Bligh, Winchester and Balliol College Oxford, Private Secretary to Prime Minister Macmillan, then you were to blame.

ABH 5th January 2013.

Билл Чанцеллор, выпускник Харроу и Тринити-Колледжа, Кембридж, играл в крикет[1] за деревню Фарнингем, расположенную на северо-западе Кента, в долине Дарент, которую Билл величаво называл "Долиной".

В долине Дарент было еще три деревни принимавшие участие в матчах по крикету - Ейнсфорд, Хортон Кирби и Вилмингтон. Сванлей - еще одна деревня игравшая в крикет, была скорее маленьким городом нежели деревней. Сванлей превратился из деревни в город с приходом железной дороги со стыковкой двух линий на Лондон - одной из Мейдстона с запада и другой - из Чатема с востока. Старая деревушка, которой не коснулась застройка вокруг железнодорожной развязки, распологалась в двух милях от городка, но достаточно близко, чтобы считаться частью "Долины". Тим Блай, который жил в деревне Сванлей, был капитаном местной команды по крикету.

Будучи сильной командой, Фарнингем часто побеждал другие деревни, каждая из которых жаждала реванша, так что положение Фарнингемской команды было остро оспариваемо.  

Ежегодный матч против Ейнсфорда имел весьма дружеский характер, возможно потому что команда Ейнсфорда уже заранее смирялась с неизбежной победой Фарнингема и скорее просто наслаждалась игрой, нежели заботилась о результате. Матч же против Вилмингтона был всегда спорным. Вилмингтон был сильной командой, подкрепленной, как я подозреваю, игроками из близлежащего Дартфорда. Борьба была жесткой и награды делились поровну между Фарнингемом и Вилмингтоном.
Фарнингем остро соперничал с Хортон Кирби и Сванлей. Я не могу сказать точно, но между последними двумя командами была какая-то связь, так как некоторые из игроков Хортон Кирби выступали также и за Сванлей. Вероятно поэтому команда Сванлей всегда играла по воскресеньям, так как в субботу часть состава была на стороне Хортон Кирби.
Был воскресный июльский день, когда команда Сванлей прибыла в Фарнингем на крикетную площадку, чтобы сразиться со своими соперниками. Утро было унылым, вместо солнца на небе были низкие тучи. Хотя утренний дождь перестал моросить, трава была покрыта крупными каплями и поле[2]было насквозь промокшее. Игроки обеих команд с мрачным видом ходили туда-сюда между полем и павильоном, обследуя состояние линии подачи. Погода была явно не подходящей для игры в крикет. Если бы победил здравый смысл, матч бы отменили, но ни один из капитанов небыл готов показать свою слабость, отменив вызов соперника. Так что капитан команды  Фарнингем Хорас Роджерс бросил жребий, и подавать первым выпало капитану Сванлей сэру Тимоти Блаю.

Вышли двое судьей, каждый неся по полотенцу для просушивания мяча. За столбиками[3] по обе стороны поля была насыпана кучка опилок, на случай если боулерам[4]понадобится покрыть свои следы или высушить мяч. Вскоре мяч промок, линия подачи была медленной, а полоса пробежки боулеров превратилась в грязный след, усыпанный ярко-желтыми опилками. Бэтсмен[5]команды Сванлей постепенно начал набирать очки. Фарнингемским боулерам было сложно найти точку опоры на линии подачи. Игроки, ловившие мяч, постоянно поднимали промокшие мячи из травы за чертой поля. Сванлей повел в счете[6]. Фарнингему не удалось взять калитку, но они продолжали упорно работать. Небо начало проясняться, но это не усилило надежд Фарнингема на победу. Примерно после сорока минут на счету у Сванлей было восемьдесят пробежек без потери единой калитки. Во время небольшой паузы Хорас Роджерс, посовещавшись со своими двумя боулерами, обратился к павильону и крикнул: "Побольше опилок пожалуйста!"

Тим Блай стоял на границе поля с товарищами по команде, аппладируя каждому мячу, отбитому за черту поля, и наслаждаясь разочарованием ловивших мяч игроков Фарнингема. Но услышав просьбу принести побольше опилок, он бросился на помощь со рвением стахановца. Тим скрылся за сараем позади павильона и вскоре выбежал оттуда с двумя ведрами свежих опилок, по одному для каждого боулера. Тщательно осыпав поле опиками за каждой калиткой, Тим услужливо спросил: "Этого хватит, Хорас? Принести еще?"

Случилось так, что я ловил мяч недалеко от той группы игроков Сванлей, стоявших на границе поля, и услышал как один из них спросил Тима, как только тот вернулся со своими пустыми ведрами: "Тим, что это ты бегаешь за ними и делаешь их грязную работу? Пускай они сами носят свои опилки, чёрт бы их побрал!" Я не помню точный ответ, но было что-то вроде: "Парни, послушайте Тима, он знает что он делает. Небо проясняется, поле сохнет, у нас на счету уже почти сто пробежек и мы не потеряли ни одной калитки. Команда Фарнингема выглядит совершенно подавленно, дело в шляпе. После перерыва они будут отбивать на сохнущем поле, и мы их с легкостью выбьем. Сегодня мы их разгромим, и я не хочу подать им ни малейшего повода вызвать судей, чтобы прервать матч за нехваткой ведра опилок. Теперь вы знаете."

К перерыву на счету у Сванлей было более двухсот пробежек с потерей всего четырех калиток. Было похоже, что разгром действительно состоится. Солнце показалось из-за облоков, но это не взбодрило команду Фарнингема.

По обычаю, каждая команда во время перерыва на чай занимала по одному длинному столу в противоположных концах павильона. Обычно за столом Фарнингемской команды шумно болтали и шутили, а гости пили свой чай в относительной тишине. На этот раз все было наоборот. Со стороны стола Сванлей доносился оживленный гул, а команда Фарнингема сидела молча и угрюмо.

Билл Чанцеллор выглядел взволнованным. После чая они с Артуром Пейджем должны были начать отбивать за Фарнингем. Артур был мастером по добыче пробежек, но сегодня никто не думал, что даже он может сделать что-то для спасения репутации Фарнингема от надвигающейся катастрофы. Вскоре он подошел к Биллу: "Билл, допивай свой чай и давай кончим это дело." Артут встал напротив подающего. Он ясно дал понять о своих намерениях, когда отбил первый мяч за границу поля на четыре очка.[7]

Оба игрока стабильно отбивали мячи и вскоре Билл уже набрал двадцать добавочных пробежек. Счет был семьдесят пробежек и одна потерянная калитка, а Артур Пейдж приближался к пятидесяти. Тогда настала очередь Джона Паусона идти отбивать. Артур встретился с ним, когда тот подходил к калитке. Несколько лет назад Артур преподавал Джону математику в местной школе. Он сказал ему что-то вроде: "Смотри Джон, просто отбивай стабильно, держи голову низко, я позабочусь о пробежках". Точно так и случилось, счет подскочил до ста, а потом перевалил и за сто, прежде чем Джон вышел.

Счет составлял сто тринадцать пробежек и две потерянных калитки, Артур Пейдж набрал шестьдесят четыре пробежки, когда здоровяк Билл Лоури вышел отбивать. Улыбки стали возвращаться на лица болельщиков Фарнингема и шум с трибун усиливался. Примерно за десять минут до того, как столбики были вытащены в семь часов, Артур Пейдж отбил последний мяч за границу. Он набрал сто шестнадцать и вместе с Биллом Лоури успешно вывел Фарнингем вперед. Фарнингемской команде было трудно сдержать свое высокомерие.

Это был возбужденный, но почтительный Хорас Роджерс, который встал и со всей командой аппладировал сначала Артуру Пейджу и Биллу Лоури, а потом и пристыженным гостям. На лице Тима Блая появилась фальшивая улыбка, когда он поздравлял Хораса Роджерса и его команду.

После матча команды, по обыкновению, шли в кабак насладиться кружкой пива. Тим Блай торопливо, без особого почтения, собрал вещи и уехал домой на своей машине. Сегодня он не был счастлив.

Так чья же вина была в том, что настолько явное торжество победы было так грубо вырвано из объятий команды Сванлей? После матча кто-то из игроков Сванлей сказал: "Если бы Тим с таким рвением не носил им эти опилки, может быть матч бы отменили и мы были бы избавлены от этого унижения."

Так что сэр Тимоти Блай, выпускник Винчестер и Бейллиол-Колледжа, Оксфорд, частный секретарь премьер-министра Макмиллана, похоже что в тот раз это было вашей виной.

[2] В крикет играют на большом овальном поле, однако самые главные события происходят в центре, на специально подготовленной дорожке, которая называется линией подачи (pitch) или калиткой (wicket). Она представляет собой прямоугольник 20 метров в длину и три - в ширину.

[3] На противоположных концах дорожки находятся калитки, состоящие из ивовых столбиков (stumps) - 71 см в высоту и общей шириной в 22 см - с лежащими на них перекладинами (bail).

[4] Боулер - игрок подающей команды, бросает мяч, находясь рядом с одной из калиток, в сторону другой, стараясь при этом попасть в калитку.

[5] Бэтсмен - игрок бьющей команды, стоящий рядом с калиткой, старается её защитить, отбивая мяч используя биту.

[6] Счет каждой команды представлен в виде двух цифр. Например, счет 84/4 означает, что команде удалось выполнить 84 пробежки, при этом она потеряла четыре калитки.

[7] Если мяч отскочил (или выкатился) за границу поля, бьющая команда получает 4 очка. Если мяч при этом вылетел за границу поля, не коснувшись земли, то бьющая команда зарабатывает 6 очков.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Candle ends and stale cake: Austerity Cooking part three

R. Little, Moffat baker's shop. The narrow frontage may be due to a tax on frontage in the 17th century.
In the course of making sure my mouse has as little encouragement as possible to visit my kitchen, today I discovered a piece of stale ginger cake bought from Moffat's baker R. Little Ltd over a year ago. The cake had not gone mouldy, so I began to think how I might use it. Stale cake can be the basis of trifle-type desserts. Basically, you need to soak the cake in some suitable liquid - in the case of this cake, perhaps rum or ginger wine, and then add a custard and perhaps some preserved fruit - stem ginger? -  and/or nuts. Ginger was always my favourite flavour of rock. One can buy pieces of ginger rock in Moffat's iconic family-owned and run Moffat Toffee Shop, for texture, and perhaps top with a scoop of stem ginger ice cream. I continued to make my contribution to saving the planet by heating the remains of a scented candle by heating the tin that held it in hot water, and tipping the considerable residue into another tin with a similarly challenged candle of the same scent (hyacinth).

I watched three excellent films yesterday on TV: The Hours - an exceptional study of the loss of the will to live in three linked characters, told in each case through the unexpected medium of a party with explicit reference to Virginia Woolf's haunting tale Mrs Dalloway. The excellent cast includes Meryl Streep; Nicole Kidman,Tom Cruise's Australian ex, unrecognisable in a false nose, Julianne Moore and our own Miranda Richardson. I am not ready to turn in my dinner pail ( a propos: I also watched an episode on TV of the new Blandings, which was funny in a toe-curling cartoonish way). I then watched 'It's Complicated' with Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep and Steve Martin - highly recommended if you can catch it 'On Demand' (the new Sky thing) and lastly The Bourne II - the denouement where the mystery agent played by Matt Damon finally discovers his true identity  with Albert Finney playing a character clearly intended to represent J Edgar Hoover in his shambling fat old age. I found myself wondering when and why the Americans started to worry about treachery within. Or perhaps it is a perennial theme

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Ernie Chilmaid's Chain Beer - Ржавое пиво Эрни Чиллмейда

The Lamb Inn, Swanley Village, Kent
Moffat Book Events is launching a bi-lingual series of texts, poems and prose, in English and Russian. Moscow- based Scottish author, Ian Mitchell says:

Bi-Lingual Editions


How on earth do you translate “Да, нет, наверно” into English, or “Yer heid’s full o’ mince” into Russian? And what is the difference between “ретро стайл” and “ретро в стиле” or even “в ретром стиле”? Likewise, how should one render in Russian the world of difference that exists in the British and Commonwealth, but not American, mind between “two nudges and two winks” and “nudge, nudge, wink, wink”?
These and a thousand other questions like them, some of almost impossible difficulty and others totally impossible, fascinate anyone interested in the cultural, intellectual, conversational, commercial, emotional or human interchange between English-speakers and Russian-speakers. This is especially so for someone like me whose command of the other language is less than total. But I suspect that applies to practically everybody, to some extent.
I used to host a books programme on Голос России (in English, of course), and one of my first interviewees—why do Russians always call them “interlocutors”, which is an ugly word, as well as an inappropriate one?—was the doyen of all Moscow-based, English-speaking Russian-language experts, Michele Berdy. She had just published her fascinating book about this subject, The Russian Word’s Worth.  I asked her if after all her education and experience, which included interpreting for Nancy Reagan, and in the light of the fact that she had lived and worked in Russia for thirty years, whether she by now had achieved full mastery of the language. “If I live here another hundred years,” she replied, “I will still make mistakes and there are things I still will not get right.” (The programme can be listened to at this link:
One of the best ways to work on your language is to study parallel texts, and so the launch of a new series of online bi-lingual translations from Russian into English, and English into Russian, with an audio reading in both languages, is particularly welcome. This is an early initiative in the larger programme for the UK Year of Russian Language and Culture 2014. The idea is to publish material which will range from what the critics call “fine writing” to what the rest of us call “fun reading”. (Incidentally, Michele Berdy told me that one of the hardest words to translate into Russian is “fun”, and that the common statement today, “Мы имели фан”, is not even understood by Russians in the same way that an English-speaker would understand the idea of having had fun.)
My personal hope will be that this programme will go some way towards dispelling the conceited exceptionalist myth of the Русская душа. Michele’s publisher is Natasha Perova, the moving spirit behind Glas, Russia’s only publishing house dedicated to modern Russian writing in English. In another programme in the same series, Natasha said to me: “There is no such thing as the mysterious Russian soul. There is only bad translation.”
Наоборот, I hope the programme will help Russians understand things like the mysterious soul of cricket, which is the subject of one of the first numbers in the series. Speaking as a Scotsman and a sailor, I can say with confidence that you don’t have to be Russian to find the love of cricket a total mystery. But the English land-lubber would doubtless reply that there is no such thing as boredom, only a bad choice of entertainment.
Either way, cricketer or wet bob (what on earth is that in Russian?), I am sure everyone will find these texts and this series both useful and, in their own various ways, фан.

Ian Mitchell
January 2013
The first tale in the new series is Ernie Chillmaid’s Chain Beer, by Barty Hotchkiss.
Barty Hotchkiss comes from a long line of engineers. His father devised a way of renovating the bulky elements on a papermaking machine without a long shut down. Otherwise repairs were time consuming and stopping mill production was very expensive. After graduating in English and teaching for a short time Barty joined his father’s engineering business before buying his own company producing equipment for security watermarking papers such as bank notes. He lives in Stockholm with his second wife Pia. Until recently he was a long serving director of the Aldeburgh Cinema near where he used to live and can sing ‘Honeysuckle Rose’*

*Editor's note - Honeysuckle Rose is a song made popular by the late Fats Waller.
Sir Tim Bligh** (see editor's note below)  took over the Priory Swanley Village, which had been his father Sir Edward Bligh’s** house round about 1960. Sir Edward and Miss Hall his house keeper moved to Holmesdale in Horton Kirby opposite the Rogers at Court Lodge.

Once he lived in The Priory, one of the first things Sir Tim Bligh did, no doubt exercising authority as Macmillan’s Private Secretary, was to pull rank on the Swanley Town Council and persuade them to change the name of the lane running past his property from the name Tweed Hill to Park Lane. Hence his address became The Priory, Park Lane. The Swanley Village people didn’t know whether this was some kind of a joke or an attempt to flatter the circumstances of his address. Some local people were annoyed particularly Ernie Chillmaid who owned The Lamb pub opposite the Priory.

One thing Tim Bligh couldn’t do was to change the popularity of The Lamb. This I am sure he would liked to have done since the weekend cars parked in front of the entrance to The Priory whilst their owners were merrily imbibing in The Lamb must have given rise to a certain amount of annoyance.

The Lamb had been in the Chillmaid family for more than one hundred years. It was a beer house. It was not licensed to dispense wines and spirits. This meant of course the beer had to be in excellent condition. If the beer was bad no customers would bother to come to the Lamb since there was no alternative drinking. Ernie Chillmaid knew how to look after his beer. He took great pride in his cellar work. His draught beer, straight from the barrel, had a reputation among discerning boozers for being the best draught beer in the locality. Hence, no doubt much to the annoyance of Sir Tim, The Lamb was a very popular pub.

One summer evening two students discovered The Lamb. They were from the Rose Bruford College (see for a current exhibition on Stanislavsky at Pushkin House in London) in Sidcup. They had caught a 21 Bus to the top of Button Street walked through Farningham Woods and were passing through Swanley Village on their way to Swanley where they were to catch a bus back to Sidcup. They came upon The Lamb. It seemed a friendly place. There were one or two people standing outside talking together and enjoying the early evening sun with their glass of beer.

The two students decided to stop and take a glass of beer. They enjoyed it. They took another. Very soon they were joining in the banter with the locals in the Public Bar. They asked the landlord, ‘How long have you been here?’ ‘More than a hundred years.’ was Ernie Chillmaid’s reply followed by much laughter. The student persisted, ‘This is really good beer. The best beer I have tasted for a long time. How do you keep it so?’

Ernie Chillmaid put one hand on his beer pump handle and another on the bar and said with great authority. ‘Well I look after my cellar. I keep the place tidy, I keep the pipes and the pumps clean and I rotate the barrels in proper order. And there’s one last thing. In my cellar I keep a rusty old chain. Now last thing at night when all you happy fellows have gone home I go down into the cellar. I open the bung in each barrel in turn. I put in my rusty old chain and give it several twists. That’s the beer you are drinking.’

Several weeks later four students appeared in the Public Bar of The Lamb. ‘Now what can I get for you young gents?’ Ernie Chillmaid asked. ‘We would like four pints of your rusty chain beer please landlord.    ABH 4th jan 2013
Ржавое пиво Эрни Чиллмейда

Примерно в 1960 году сэр Тим Блай унаследовал “Монастырь”[1], дом своего отца сэра Эдварда Блая в деревне Сванлей[2]. Сэр Эдвард и его домохозяйка мисс Холл перебрались в Холмсдейл, Хортон Кирби в Корт Лодж напротив Роджерс.

Поселившись в “Монастыре”, сэр Тим Блай одним из первых дел, несомненно пользуясь своим авторитетом частного секретаря[3]Макмиллана[4], вынудил городскую управу переименовать проходящий вдоль его владении переулок с Твид Хилл на Парк Лейн[5]. Так он получил новый адрес – “Монастырь”, Парк Лейн. Жители деревни Сванлей не знали то ли это какая-то шутка, то ли попытка польстить себе своим адресом. Некоторых из них это раздражало, в особенности Эрни Чиллмейда, владельца расположенного напротив  трактира “Овечка”.

Чего не мог Тим Блай, так это изменить популярность трактира. Я уверен он был бы рад это сделать, так как автомобили веселившихся в трактире посетителей, припаркованные прямо перед входом в “Монастырь” конечно могли послужить поводом для раздражения.

Семья Чиллмейдов владела трактиром более ста лет. Это был пивной бар без права продажи вин и крепкого спиртного, таким образом пиво, соответственно, должно было быть в наилучшем состоянии. Кто бы пришел сюда за плохим пивом, если другой выпивки тут нет? Эрни Чиллмейд умел следить за своим пивом и с большим трепетом относился к своей работе в подвале. Его разливное пиво, прямо из бочки, имело среди взыскательных любителей выпить репутацию лучшего разливного пива в округе. Так что, несомненно, к великой досаде сэра Тима “Овечка” была невероятно популярна. 

Одним летним вечером два студента набрели на “Овечку”. Они были из колледжа Роуз Бруфорд в Сидкапе. Доехав на 21-ом автобусе до Буттон Стрит они миновали Фарнингэмский лес и проходя через деревню Сванлей направлялись в Сванлей, чтобы оттуда уехать обратно в Сидкап. Когда они подошли к трактиру, им показалось что это весьма дружелюбное место. Двое людей стояли на улице и разговаривали, наслаждаясь ранним вечерним солнцем и своим пивом.

Студенты решили остановиться тут на кружку пива. Им понравилось и они взяли еще по одной. Вскоре они разговорились с местными. Они спросили у хозяина: "Как давно вы здесь?" "Более ста лет" прозвучал ответ Эрни Чиллмейда сопровождаемый гулким хохотом.  Студент настаивал: "Это прекрасное пиво, давно я такого не пробовал, как вы сохраняете его в таком виде?"

Положив одну руку на свой пивной насос и другую на бар Эрни Чиллмейд гордо сказал: "Я слежу за своим подвалом. Содержу его в чистоте, чищу трубы и насосы и вращаю бочки в правильном порядке. Но есть еще одна вещь. У меня в погребе лежит старая ржавая цепь. Последним делом ночью, когда вы ребята расходитесь по домам, я спускаюсь в подвал, открываю по очереди пробку в каждой бочке, и окунаю туда свою старую ржавую цепь по нескольку раз. Это и есть пиво, которое вы пьете.

Через несколько недель четыре студента появились в трактире. "Чем могу вас угостить молодые люди?" спросил Эрни Чиллмейд. "Хозяин, нам бы пожалуйста четыре пинты вашего ржавого пива." 

[1] Великобритания полна зданиями, которые когда-то принадлежали к церкви, но были преобразованы к светскому пользованию во время ликвидации монастырей при Генрихе VIII. “Монастырь” - одно из таких зданий.

[2] Сванлей на карте Гугл

[3]Гражданская, а не политическая должность.

[4] Сэр Гарольд Макмиллан, премьер-министр Великобританиитого времени.

[5] Парк Лейн является также эксклюзивным адресом в Центральной части Лондона, граничащий с востока с Гайд-парком и с запада с кварталом Мэйфер.

-->Translated by Philip Solovjov 
Born in Moscow, Russia (1985) Philip Solovjov studied Philosophy in University of Tartu, Estonia and Photography in Tartu Art College, Estonia. In 2011, after graduating with BA in Photography, moved to Edinburgh where he works as a freelance photographer specializing in Fine Art landscape photography. Since 2003 Philip has participated in group and solo exhibitions in Australia, Estonia and Latvia. His forthcoming exhibition at the Moffat Gallery is his first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom.

**Editor's footnote: As a child of about 11 years of age, I was admonished by Sir Edward Bligh for describing some recent incident involving great loss of human life as 'tragic'. He explained to me that tragedy strictly speaking refers to the calamities attendant on the flaws in character of a noble protagonist. His son Tim, a civil servant then working at No 11 Downing St, later to be appointed PPS to Prime Minister Harold Mamillan, invited me to witness Messrs Bulganin and Khrushchev's visit to Downing Street on their famous visit to the UK in April 1956 -  see Some years later, he took me (with his rather shy brother) to the opening of the Playboy club in Mayfair, just across from the flat where I was installed at the time by my rather careless parents who frequented the nearby Dorchester hotel and appear to have been unaware that Curzon Street and Shepherd Market, not far down the road from my flat, was a red light district. Later still, Tim effectively gave me my first job. He arranged an interview with Denis Hamilton, then head of Thomson Newspapers in the UK who offered me a traineeship as a reporter on the South Wales Echo in Cardiff in 1965.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Mickey, but not a mouse

Emily Hahn
Today is the birthday of the woman The New Yorker called "a forgotten American literary treasure." That's Emily Hahn, born in St. Louis, Missouri (1905), known to family and friends as "Mickey."
In college, she changed her major to Engineering after an advisor told her that a woman's brain was "incapable of grasping mechanics or higher mathematics." The male students and faculty discouraged her, but in 1926, she became one of the first women to get an engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She went to work for a mining company in St. Louis, but they would only let her do menial office tasks, so she left after a year.
Hahn was always on the move -- one of her catchphrases was "Nobody said not to go." After college, she and a friend dressed as men and drove across the United States in a Model-T Ford. She wrote letters home to her brother-in-law, which were later published in The New Yorker. That began a career with the magazine that would last almost 70 years. She was also a tour guide in New Mexico, worked for the Red Cross in the Belgian Congo, lived with a tribe of Pygmies for two years, and crossed Africa on foot.
At 30, Hahn moved to Shanghai, where she lived in a red-light district and worked as the China correspondent for The New Yorker. She had an affair with the poet Sinmay Zau, and took up smoking opium. She once said: "I always wanted to be an opium addict," and eventually she became one. It took two years of regular smoking, but she persisted. And then she kicked the habit through hypnosis.
In 1941, she gave birth to a daughter, the result of her affair with Charles Boxer, who was the head of British army intelligence in Hong Kong. Hahn and Boxer were married four years later and had another daughter together. The family settled in England, but after five years of domesticity, Hahn was on the move again. She got a place in New York City and made frequent visits to her husband and children back in Dorset.
And through all of this, she wrote: 54 books and more than 200 articles for The New Yorker. Her books all got good reviews, but she was hard to pigeonhole, because her style flowed from genre to genre. Her very first book, Seductio ad Absurdum (1930), was a comic look at men's wooing techniques. She wrote about her travels throughout Asia, including her wartime romance with Boxer, in China to Me (1944). She wrote many biographies and a few novels. She wrote books about diamonds, and the Philippines, and apes. And just a couple of months before her death, she published her first poem in The New Yorker. It was called "Wind Blowing."
When Emily Hahn died in 1997, at the age of 92, her granddaughter Alfia Vecchio Wallace gave her eulogy. In it, Wallace said: "Chances are, your grandmother didn't smoke cigars and let you hold wild role-playing parties in her apartment. Chances are that she didn't teach you Swahili obscenities. Chances are that when she took you to the zoo, she didn't start whooping passionately at the top her lungs as you passed the gibbon cage. Sadly for you, your grandmother was not Emily Hahn."

(entry from today's online The Writer's Almanac)