Sunday, 22 August 2010

a nameless kind of hell

I wrote yesterday about Greyfriars, the ruins of a Franciscan Monastery near the lost city of Dunwich.  As I said, I knew nothing about it.  I was reading W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn this morning whilst supping the first cup of tea of the day.  It's a book about travelling through Suffolk whilst thinking a lot.  That's the sort of thing I do. Anyway -there it is, synchronicity in action, some very informative stuff about the way Dunwich was taken by the sea and how the ruins I came upon were first built around 1230.  They were abandoned and rebuilt after 1238.  However, according to good old Wikipedia, the sea has continued to erode the cliffs and the ruins will probably go the way of the rest of Dunwich. The Ship nearby is the only pub, it's a bit gastropub but serves a welcome pint of Adnams. Dunwich, by the way, was a city of some 3000 and was considered the capital of East Anglia.

Whilst I am writing this, I am listening to a fascinating Radio 4 documentary of Peter Warlock the composer.  Again, syncronicity in action as he was featured heavily in Electric Eden. Complete nutter - he wrote folk songs, rode around naked on his motorbike and enjoyed the occasional menage a trois and had "a kitchen swimming in beer".  Sounds like a lively sort of guy who was probably born about 30 years too early.  Shame he burned out and committed suicide at the age of 28. Why do people think the Pogues were so new and rebellious.  I was in a band that got banned from a pub in 1974! For fighting!!  It's a long story. Anyway, Warlock would have enjoyed being in a band with me. Actually, he probably wouldn't have, no one else did.

I have had the most bizarre and infuriatingly frustrating situation for the past six months or so. I own a copy of 1990 by The Albion Band on vinyl, I would love to have it on my iPod. I have bought three copies of it from sellers on Amazon as it's not readily available on cd. Not a single one works on my Bose or on any of the computers in the house.  I've sent each one back and recieved a refund although the current one is suspicious as it plays on his cd player.  I've discovered that it works on the cd/radio alarm by our bed and in the car but that isn't terribly helpful as I can't get it downloaded into a more useful format.  I understand the guy may be a suspicious but I've found that people never believe you unless you can prove it.  Oh well, I guess I'll have to give up on my quest.  It seems to me that there's a "digital pressing error" (I made that up).  Anyone out there who can help?  I'm not mad, it really won't work!

Anyway, today as I'm sure you are aware is St Bartholomew's Eve.  It is a day when traditionally schoolboys would pit their wits against each other.  No one knows why.  However, tomorrow is St Bartholomew's Day.  Not much is known about him at all but he was flayed alive and beheaded; he became ironically the patron saint of people who work with knives (and tanners). It's also Plague Sunday next week.  If you've ever been to Eyam in Derbyshire, you'll know all about it.  Mind you, it's only celebrated in Derbyshire.  In fact, it's probably only celebrated in Eyam.

I'm sure some of you know that in English pubs ale is sold in pints and quarts.  Years ago in taverns when the customers got a bit unruly, the bartender used to yell at them to "mind your pints and quarts and settle down".  That's where the phrase "mind your Ps and Qs" comes from. Another one of those fascinating facts tomorrow!


Martyn Cornell said...

"mind your pints and quarts"

Err, sorry Dave, afraid not - no one is certain where the expression comes from, but as Michael Quinion says, it ain't nuttin' to do with ale.

Dave Leeke said...

Oh well, so much for St Austell's Brewery then! It's on their menu as an interesting fact.

By the way? Where's the book you were going to send me?