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Monday, 31 December 2018

New Year's Eve, Fifty Years Ago

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn, 
Frae mornin' sun till dine; 
But seas between us braid hae roar’d 
Sin' auld lang syne.


Castle Cary, Somerset, 31st December, 1968

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.


Castle Cary, Summertime:


The answer? Not a lot!
 Revising a paper for publication - have to meet a deadline.

"Farewell, wold year!"

(William Barnes)

See also:

Dorset Museum - "Framed drawing of William Barnes, by Benjamin Fossett Lock as a New Year card, 1887. Kept by Thomas Hardy in his study".

Germany: Amazon and Ebay Sales Taxes, Draft Law

From DW: Germany moves on Amazon, Ebay over sales taxes

"The German cabinet has approved a draft law which would oblige online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon to collect sales taxes for transactions involving foreign sellers".

Friday, 28 December 2018

Κρίστοφερ Κινγκ, μουσικολόγος, μουσικός παραγωγός και συλλέκτης δίσκων γραμμοφώνου - ΗΠΕΙΡΩΤΙΚΟ ΜΟΙΡΟΛΟΪ, Christopher King

Lament from Epirus, now available in Greek translation:

Κρίστοφερ Κινγκ
Οδοιπορικό στην αρχαιότερη ζωντανή δημώδη μουσική της Ευρώπης

Το ηπειρώτικο μοιρολόι παρηγοριά για την ψυχή 

TA NEA - Γιατί ο Κρίστοφερ Κινγκ ακούει κλαρίνα στο Ζαγόρι;

From Doma Books:

Συνηθίζουμε ν’ αντιλαμβανόμαστε τη μουσική σαν μια μορφή ψυχαγωγίας ― σαν μια πολυτέλεια, τελικά σαν κάτι το περιττό. Και πράγματι η μουσική που συνήθως ακούμε αυτόν το σκοπό έχει: να διασκεδάσει. Ποια ήταν όμως η πρωταρχική λειτουργία της μουσικής; Για ποιο λόγο άρχισαν κάποτε οι άνθρωποι να τραγουδούν και να χορεύουν;

Ο Κρίστοφερ Κινγκ, βραβευμένος μουσικός παραγωγός και μανιώδης συλλέκτης δίσκων γραμμοφώνου, υποστηρίζει ότι η μουσική στην πρωταρχική της μορφή είναι ένα γιατρικό για τις πληγές της ψυχής ― κάτι εξίσου απαραίτητο με τον αέρα και την τροφή.

Σταδιακά η μουσική έπαψε να έχει αυτή τη λειτουργία. Τα εύθραυστα πολιτισμικά οικοσυστήματα μες στα οποία η μουσική επιτελούσε το ιαματικό της έργο καταστράφηκαν.

Μ’ εξαίρεση μια απόμερη γωνιά της Ελλάδας, στις εσχατιές της Ευρώπης ― την Ήπειρο. Εδώ, σαν από θαύμα, κρατήθηκε ζωντανός ένας πανάρχαιος τρόπος ζωής που επέτρεψε στη μουσική να διατηρήσει το θεραπευτικό της ρόλο. Ο Κινγκ αναλαμβάνει να μας ξεναγήσει σ’ αυτόν το σκληρό μα μαγικό τόπο, όπου η μουσική γίνεται ένα με την ποίηση, το χορό και τη γιορτή.

Ο Κινγκ γράφει για την ιστορία της Ηπείρου και το μεγαλείο του το­πίου, για τα πανηγύρια, τα τσίπουρα και τους Τσιγγάνους οργανοπαίχτες, για τα συλλογικά βιώματα και τις κοινές αναμνήσεις. Μας μιλά για τη μουσική σαν θρήνο, σαν νανούρισμα και σαν παρηγοριά. Μας μιλά γι’ ανθρώπους που ξέρουν να πενθήσουν και ξέρουν να γλεντήσουν.

Συνδυάζοντας το φιλοσοφικό στοχασμό με την ιστορική περιγραφή, τη μουσικολογική ανάλυση με την ανθρωπολογική ματιά, η παθιασμένη και παιγνιώδης αυτή αφήγηση παίρνει τελικά τη μορφή ενός ερωτικού γράμματος στη μουσική και τους ανθρώπους της Ηπείρου.

Plastics and Unprofitable Recycling

From NordicScience (August 2018) - Why is so little plastic actually recycled?

"Recycling is not just about consumers separating used plastics, paper, metal and glass into the right bin. It’s all about markets for our used goods. A group of researchers decided to figure out why most plastic that is recycled in the Nordic countries eventually finds its way into the trash. The bottom line answer is simple: It’s just not profitable enough to use recycled products".

Plastic fightback begins as Skye reaches its limit, December 28, 2018, The Times

"She (Ms Houlsby) and her partner, Tom, are setting up a community interest company to transform the plastic into filament for 3D printers. There are also plans to recycle the rubbish into a range of maritime products that can be made and sold on the island."

Related - NordicScience, May 2018:

Focusing on microplastic in honey or beer masks a much bigger problem

Seagrass Meadows; Marine Habitats

Seagrass Meadows , Science Nordic, August 2018: New study reveals the first quantitative global evidence for the significant roles that seagrasses play in supporting fishery productivity.

Anglo-Saxons and Vikings

From Science Nordic: The Anglo-Saxons were worse than the Vikings

"Linguistically, the Anglo-Saxons practically eradicated the native Britons. The question is: was it ethnic cleansing?"

Chesil Bay Stones, Portland: Sculpted and Quarried, Preserved, Inscribed and Rejected

 Photo: NP

Other photos from a sunny day and an amazing sunset:

Photo: MP

Chesil Cove Sunset Photos: NP

Photo: NP

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Pinetop's Boogie Woogie (December 29, 1928); Clarence "Pine Top" Smith

Where it all began, 90 years ago - it was recorded in Chicago on 29th December, 1928.

A good one for a New Year's Eve party!

Pine Top's Boogie Woogie

The original Vocalion 78rpm recording

I found a 1940's UK Brunswick 78 at Bridport market yesterday. Boogie Children!


Influences? See Peter Silvester, A Left Hand Like God, The Story of Boogie-Woogie, 1988 (pp 46-47)

Syncophonic No. 4 by Axel Christensen (1925, Jazz piano)

Special Delivery Blues, Sippie Wallace, Hersal Thomas

Suitcase Blues, Hersal Thomas (1925)

Brexit Views from UK-based Foreign Press Journalists; Corbyn Faces Backlash

BBC News: What journalists for the foreign press make of Brexit?

"Brexit has been dividing opinion in the UK, but what do UK-based foreign journalists make of it all?
Foreign correspondents from outlets in Italy, the US, France, Germany, Norway and Ireland give their perspectives".Produced by Lorna Acqua and Alex Dackevych

Related: Corbyn faces furious Labour backlash over backing Brexit (The Observer)

A renegotiated Brexit would go ahead under Labour government - Corbyn (Reuters)

Corbyn has given up on Europe. For the good of Britain, we cannot, David Milliband, Guardian Opinion Piece

Does the EU need us more than we need them? Andrew Walker, BBC News

Brexit has made the UK a global joke. How will we rebuild our reputation? John Kampfner, The Guardian, Opinion

Related, BBC 4, As Others See Us

"2019 is a year of potentially momentous change for the United Kingdom, and in a new series of five programmes, Neil MacGregor visits five different countries to talk to leading political, business and cultural figures to find out how they, as individuals and as members of their broader communities, see Britain".

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Dorset Countryside, Christmas Walks, AONB

From Dorset AONB

"We've come up with some great places to go during the 12 days of Christmas - all with outstanding views, lots of fresh air and plenty of space to let off steam!"

Lambert's Castle north of Lyme Regis find out more

Langdon Hill near Chideock find out more

Stonebarrow near Charmouth find out more

Eggardon Hill near Bridport find out more

Pilsdon Pen near Beaminsterfind out more

St Catherine's Chapel Abbotsbury find out more

Black Down near Portesham find out more

Hilfield Hill north Dorset find out more

Okeford Hill near Blandford Forum find out more

Hambledon Hill near Blandford Forum find out more

Durlston Country Park near Swanage find out more

Povington Hill near Tyneham, Purbeck find out more

Friday, 21 December 2018

Thomas Hardy: A Christmas Story for Young People?

From The Thomas Hardy Society website (The Thieves Who Couldn't Help Sneezing, at Section Five, Uncollected Stories)

See also: "The Thieves Who Couldn't Help Sneezing"

Ideal for a fourteen-year-old.

From the temporary "Pop-Up" museum, Dorchester

Tomorrow's Museum for Dorset |
 Unit 14, Pope Street | Brewery Square | Dorchester | Dorset | DT1 1GW)

A Fireside Story (The George Hotel, Castle Cary):

They're not yet into Hardy...

The Thieves Who Couldn't Stop Sneezing, by Thomas Hardy, 1877

Many years ago, when oak-trees now past their prime were about as large as elderly gentlemen's walking-sticks, there lived in Wessex a yeoman's son, whose name was Hubert. He was about fourteen years of age, and was as remarkable for his candour and lightness of heart as for his physical courage, of which, indeed, he was a little vain.

One cold Christmas Eve his father, having no other help at hand, sent him on an important errand to a small town several miles from home. He travelled on horseback, and was detained by the business till a late hour of the evening. At last, however, it was completed; he returned to the inn, the horse was saddled, and he started on his way. His journey homeward lay through the Vale of Blackmore, a fertile but somewhat lonely district, with heavy clay roads and crooked lanes. In those days, too, a great part of it was thickly wooded.

It must have been about nine o'clock when, riding along amid the overhanging trees upon his stout-legged cob Jerry, and singing a Christmas carol, to be in harmony with the season, Hubert fancied that he heard a noise among the boughs. This recalled to his mind that the spot he was traversing bore an evil name. Men had been waylaid there. He looked at Jerry, and wished he had been of any other colour than light grey; for on this account the docile animal's form was visible even here in the dense shade. "What do I care?" he said aloud, after a few minutes of reflection. "Jerry's legs are too nimble to allow any highwayman to come near me."

"Ha! ha! indeed," was said in a deep voice; and the next moment a man darted from the thicket on his right hand, another man from the thicket on his left hand, and another from a tree-trunk a few yards ahead. Hubert's bridle was seized, he was pulled from his horse, and although he struck out with all his might, as a brave boy would naturally do, he was overpowered. His arms were tied behind him, his legs bound tightly together, and he was thrown into the ditch. The robbers, whose faces he could now dimly perceive to be artificially blackened, at once departed, leading off the horse.

As soon as Hubert had a little recovered himself, he found that by great exertion he was able to extricate his legs from the cord; but, in spite of every endeavour, his arms remained bound as fast as before. All, therefore, that he could do was to rise to his feet and proceed on his way with his arms behind him, and trust to chance for getting them unfastened. He knew that it would be impossible to reach home on foot that night, and in such a condition; but he walked on. Owing to the confusion which this attack caused in his brain, he lost his way, and would have been inclined to lie down and rest till morning among the dead leaves had he not known the danger of sleeping without wrappers in a frost so severe. So he wandered further onwards, his arms wrung and numbed by the cord which pinioned him, and his heart aching for the loss of poor Jerry, who never had been known to kick, or bite, or show a single vicious habit. He was not a little glad when he discerned through the trees a distant light. Towards this he made his way, and presently found himself in front of a large mansion with flanking wings, gables, and towers, the battlements and chimneys showing their shapes against the stars.

All was silent; but the door stood wide open, it being from this door that the light shone which had attracted him. On entering he found himself in a vast apartment arranged as a dining-hall, and brilliantly illuminated. The walls were covered with a great deal of dark wainscoting, formed into moulded panels, carvings, closet-doors, and the usual fittings of a house of that kind. But what drew his attention most was the large table in the midst of the hall, upon which was spread a sumptuous supper, as yet untouched. Chairs were placed around, and it appeared as if something had occurred to interrupt the meal just at the time when all were ready to begin.

Even had Hubert been so inclined, he could not have eaten in his helpless state, unless by dipping his mouth into the dishes, like a pig or cow. He wished first to obtain assistance; and was about to penetrate further into the house for that purpose when he heard hasty footsteps in the porch and the words, "Be quick!" uttered in the deep voice which had reached him when he was dragged from the horse. There was only just time for him to dart under the table before three men entered the dining-hall. Peeping from beneath the hanging edges of the tablecloth, he perceived that their faces, too, were blackened, which at once removed any remaining doubts he may have felt that these were the same thieves.

"Now, then," said the first--the man with the deep voice--"let us hide ourselves. They will all be back again in a minute. That was a good trick to get them out of the house--eh?"

"Yes. You well imitated the cries of a man in distress," said the second.

"Excellently," said the third.

"But they will soon find out that it was a false alarm. Come, where shall we hide? It must be some place we can stay in for two or three hours, till all are in bed and asleep. Ah! I have it. Come this way! I have learnt that the further closet is not opened once in a twelvemonth; it will serve our purpose exactly."

The speaker advanced into a corridor which led from the hall. Creeping a little farther forward, Hubert could discern that the closet stood at the end, facing the dining-hall. The thieves entered it, and closed the door. Hardly breathing, Hubert glided forward, to learn a little more of their intention, if possible; and, coming close, he could hear the robbers whispering about the different rooms where the jewels, plate, and other valuables of the house were kept, which they plainly meant to steal.

They had not been long in hiding when a gay chattering of ladies and gentlemen was audible on the terrace without. Hubert felt that it would not do to be caught prowling about the house, unless he wished to be taken for a robber himself; and he slipped softly back to the hall, out at the door, and stood in a dark corner of the porch, where he could see everything without being himself seen. In a moment or two a whole troop of personages came gliding past him into the house. There were an elderly gentleman and lady, eight or nine young ladies, as many young men, besides half-a-dozen men-servants and maids. The mansion had apparently been quite emptied of its occupants.

"Now, children and young people, we will resume our meal," said the old gentleman. "What the noise could have been I cannot understand. I never felt so certain in my life that there was a person being murdered outside my door."

Then the ladies began saying how frightened they had been, and how they had expected an adventure, and how it had ended in nothing after all.

"Wait a while," said Hubert to himself. "You'll have adventure enough by-and-by, ladies."

It appeared that the young men and women were married sons and daughters of the old couple, who had come that day to spend Christmas with their parents.

The door was then closed, Hubert being left outside in the porch.

He thought this a proper moment for asking their assistance; and, since he was unable to knock with his hands, began boldly to kick the door.

"Hullo! What disturbance are you making here?" said a footman who opened it; and, seizing Hubert by the shoulder, he pulled him into the dining-hall. "Here's a strange boy I have found making a noise in the porch, Sir Simon."

Everybody turned.

"Bring him forward," said Sir Simon, the old gentleman before mentioned. "What were you doing there, my boy?"

"Why, his arms are tied!" said one of the ladies.

"Poor fellow!" said another.

Hubert at once began to explain that he had been waylaid on his journey home, robbed of his horse, and mercilessly left in this condition by the thieves.

"Only to think of it!" exclaimed Sir Simon.

"That's a likely story," said one of the gentleman-guests, incredulously.

"Doubtful, hey?" asked Sir Simon.

"Perhaps he's a robber himself," suggested a lady.

"There is a curiously wild wicked look about him, certainly, now that I examine him closely," said the old mother.

Hubert blushed with shame; and, instead of continuing his story, and relating that robbers were concealed in the house, he doggedly held his tongue, and half resolved to let them find out their danger for themselves.

"Well, untie him," said Sir Simon. "Come, since it is Christmas Eve, we'll treat him well. Here, my lad; sit down in that empty seat at the bottom of the table, and make as good a meal as you can. When you have had your fill we will listen to more particulars of your story."

The feast then proceeded; and Hubert, now at liberty, was not at all sorry to join in. The more they eat and drank the merrier did the company become; the wine flowed freely, the logs flared up the chimney, the ladies laughed at the gentlemen's stories; in short, all went as noisily and as happily as a Christmas gathering in old times possibly could do.

Hubert, in spite of his hurt feelings at their doubts of his honesty, could not help being warmed both in mind and in body by the good cheer, the scene, and the example of hilarity set by his neighbours. At last he laughed as heartily at their stories and repartees as the old Baronet, Sir Simon, himself. When the meal was almost over one of the sons, who had drunk a little too much wine, after the manner of men in that century, said to Hubert, "Well, my boy, how are you? Can you take a pinch of snuff?" He held out one of the snuff-boxes which were then becoming common among young and old throughout the country.

"Thank you," said Hubert, accepting a pinch.

"Tell the ladies who you are, what you are made of, and what you can do," the young man continued, slapping Hubert upon the shoulder.

"Certainly," said our hero, drawing himself up, and thinking it best to put a bold face on the matter. "I am a travelling magician."


"What shall we hear next?"

"Can you call up spirits from the vasty deep, young wizard?"

"I can conjure up a tempest in a cupboard," Hubert replied.

"Ha--ha!" said the old Baronet, pleasantly rubbing his hands. "We must see this performance. Girls, don't go away: here's something to be seen."

"Not dangerous, I hope?" said the old lady.

Hubert rose from the table. "Hand me your snuff-box, please," he said to the young man who had made free with him. "And now," he continued, "without the least noise, follow me. If any of you speak it will break the spell."

They promised obedience. He entered the corridor, and, taking off his shoes, went on tiptoe to the closet door, the guests advancing in a silent group at a little distance behind him. Hubert next placed a stool in front of the door, and, by standing upon it, was tall enough to reach to the top. He then, just as noiselessly, poured all the snuff from the box along the upper edge of the door, and, with a few short puffs of breath, blew the snuff through the chink into the interior of the closet. He held up his finger to the assembly, that they might be silent.

"Dear me, what's that?" said the old lady, after a minute or two had elapsed.

A suppressed sneeze had come from inside the closet.

Hubert held up his finger again.

"How very singular," whispered Sir Simon. "This is most interesting."

Hubert took advantage of the moment to gently slide the bolt of the closet door into its place. "More snuff," he said, calmly.

"More snuff," said Sir Simon. Two or three gentlemen passed their boxes, and the contents were blown in at the top of the closet. Another sneeze, not quite so well suppressed as the first, was heard: then another, which seemed to say that it would not be suppressed under any circumstances whatever at length there arose a perfect storm of sneezes.

"Excellent, excellent for one so young!" said Sir Simon. "I am much interested in this trick of throwing the voice--called, I believe, ventriloquism."

"More snuff," said Hubert

"More snuff," said Sir Simon. Sir Simon's man brought a large jar of the best scented Scotch.

Hubert once more charged the upper chink of the closet, and blew the snuff into the interior, as before. Again he charged, and again, emptying the whole contents of the jar. The tumult of sneezes became really extraordinary to listen to--there was no cessation. It was like wind, rain, and sea battling in a hurricane.

"I believe there are men inside, and that it is no trick at all!" exclaimed Sir Simon, the truth flashing on him.

"There are," said Hubert. "They are come to rob the house; and they are the same who stole my horse."

The sneezes changed to spasmodic groans. One of the thieves, hearing Hubert's voice, cried, "Oh! mercy! mercy! let us out of this!"

"Where's my horse? said Hubert.

"Tied to the tree in the hollow behind Short's Gibbet. Mercy! mercy! let us out, or we shall die of suffocation!"

All the Christmas guests now perceived that this was no longer sport, but serious earnest. Guns and cudgels were procured; all the men-servants were called in, and arranged in position outside the closet. At a signal Hubert withdrew the bolt, and stood on the defensive. But the three robbers, far from attacking them, were found crouching in the corner, gasping for breath. They made no resistance; and, being pinioned, were placed in an out-house till the morning.

Hubert now gave the remainder of his story to the assembled company, and was profusely thanked for the services he had rendered. Sir Simon pressed him to stay over the night, and accept the use of the best bed-room the house afforded, which had been occupied by Queen Elizabeth and King Charles successively when on their visits to this part of the country. But Hubert declined, being anxious to find his horse Jerry, and to test the truth of the robbers' statements concerning him.

Several of the guests accompanied Hubert to the spot behind the gibbet, alluded to by the thieves as where Jerry was hidden. When they reached the knoll and looked over, behold! there the horse stood, uninjured, and quite unconcerned. At sight of Hubert he neighed joyfully; and nothing could exceed Hubert's gladness at finding him. He mounted, wished his friends "Good-night!" and cantered off in the direction they pointed out as his nearest way, reaching home safely about four o'clock in the morning.

The things we do to try to amuse grandchildren...

A medieval Nativity, British Library

I think they prefer being out in the snow, wearing more modern gear
 (Mont-Tremblant, Canada):

Θεμιστοκλής Μαρίνος (1917- 2018); Themis Marinos; Ήρωας του Πολέμου και της Εθνικής Αντίστασης

I have just learnt the sad news of the death (on his Name Day) of Themistocles (Themis) Marinos, at the age of 101. Themis was born on Zakynthos in February 1917. My sincere condolences to June and the family.

Τα συλλυπητήριά μου.

Update from Penny:

"Η εξόδιος ακολουθία του Θεμιστοκλή Μαρίνου θα τελεστεί στον Ναό Μεταμορφώσεως του Σωτήρος, Πλατεία Κεφαλαρίου, την Πέμπτη 27 Δεκεμβρίου 2018, στις 11 π.μ.

Όποιος επιθυμεί, έχει τη δυνατότητα αντί στεφάνων να πραγματοποιήσει δωρεά στο Σωματείο Φίλων της "Εστίας" (Κέντρο Φροντίδας Ατόμων με Νοητική Υστέρηση

Εστία || Estia :: - Αρχική - ESTIA's website, a Special Vocational Centre for the Mentally Handicapped in Athens, Greece.
στον παρακάτω λογαριασμό:
IBAN: GR 020260-950000901009227430

Photos by Jim Potts


Obituary from eKathimerini:

From Kathimerini:

Ο Θέμης Μαρίνος, ο τελευταίος σαμποτέρ του Γοργοποτάμου, ήταν ένας γενναίος στρατιωτικός και σπουδαίος οικονομολόγος. Ήρωας του Πολέμου και της Εθνικής Αντίστασης, με μεγάλη προσφορά στην πατρίδα. Από τους τελευταίους μιας σπουδαίας γενιάς.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Cats in Literature, British Library Course; Dr. Catherine Parry; January - February 2019

Course Outline

British Library:

Thursdays 10, 17, 24, 31 January and 7, 14 February 2019
Times 18.00-20.00
Location Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre

Course description "There are many cats prowling through the fiction, myths and fables, poetry and philosophical essays of Western literature. They might talk or wear human clothes, keep company with witches, symbolise human characteristics, or slip, sleek and graceful, through human life in their own independent way. This course explores cats in Western literature and considers how humans imagine them and write about them. For humans, cats often seem to be duplicitous creatures; they are by turns aloof and affectionate, killer and pet, wilfully independent and self-indulgently home-loving, vicious and docile. Such contrariness has inspired many different ideas about cats, and across history they have been perceived as cherished pets, associates of the devil, symbols of female sensuality and sexual depravity, and anthropomorphic moralisers, and they are, accordingly, both loved and reviled in Western culture. This course traces such imaginings of cats in literature, asking what makes cats so fascinating, appealing and unsettling. H. P. Lovecraft celebrated the “free soul” of cats, and Chateaubriand their “almost ungrateful character”; join us to discover these and many other ways that humans imagine cats in writing".

"This course is led by Dr Catherine Parry. Catherine lectures at the University of Lincoln and writes on animals in literature. She has authored Other Animals in Twenty-first Century Fiction (2017) and further work on science fiction, rurality in British fiction, and the environment and farming in British shepherd’s calendar life-writing. At present, she is researching relationships between humans and captive chimpanzees in life-writing and popular science-writing".

See more details

Dr. Parry tells me that the course members will also be reading "The Cat of Portovecchio, Corfu Tales" by Maria Strani-Potts as part of Week 3, "Cats and women":

"There is a longstanding association between the feline and the feminine. Bastet was, among various duties, goddess of maternity and the home, while in Mediaeval Europe cats – along with toads, hares and other animals – were witches’ familiars. By the 19th century, cats were functioning as figurations of female beauty, danger, wilfulness and perversity, sexuality and promiscuity. This week we will consider relationships between representations of cats and women in Baudelaire’s ‘The Cat’, a Victorian morality tale called ‘Pussy’s road to ruin’, and Don Marquis’ verse narrative Archy and Mehitabel".

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Vivienne Pittendrigh, 1935-2018, RIP

Vivienne Pittendrigh introducing a Divertimenti in Corfu chamber music event.

Music was Vivienne Pittendrigh's life and passion, which she shared with Corfiots and enthusiasts from all over the world, loyal followers of Chamber Music Holidays and Festivals, and of Divertimenti.

Vivienne organised outstanding recitals and concerts, as well as tours and excursions to fascinating parts of Greece and Albania. Her determination, personal involvement and total commitment shone out at all times, and her generous hospitality. Resident on Corfu for perhaps three decades, she moved house often in recent years; she cared deeply about the island, its future prosperity and its cultural life, and persevered even when faced with sometimes exasperating administrative and infrastructural challenges. Luckily she had many supporters, sponsors and collaborators. She was more of a citizen of Greece and Corfu than an expat, and leapt to the defense of the island whenever she felt it was unfairly criticized for environmental shortcomings.

Chamber Music Holidays started in London in 1982.

Vivienne founded the Divertimenti in Corfu Festival with the then Mayor Sarlis in 1991.

Her online profile provides the following brief biographical details:

"Born and educated in Sydney Australia, P.L.C Pymble Sydney, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Radio, Television and Concert performances during and after studies.
Teacher Piano, strings, chamber music and orchestra at P.L.C. Pymble.
Taught Business and Legal English as Consultant at Ministry of Justice Vienna and Ministry of Agriculture Hungary. Summer School Director Language School,at Chelsea College London".

Vivienne had also lived in Bournemouth, Dorset. Like the Durrells, she felt more at home on Corfu.

She had a wide network of friends, musicians and other musical contacts in countries like the Czech Republic, Austria, Greece and Australia - all around the world, in fact.

Vivienne will be much missed. I am personally grateful for the wonderful musical experiences she offered us, and for her friendship and hospitality over the years.

I am informed that the funeral will be at the British Cemetery, Corfu Town, on Wednesday, 19th December, 2018.

Sydney Morning Herald Notice

«Έφυγε» η Vivienne Pittendrigh, «ψυχή» των Divertimenti in Corfu, Enimerosi Online

Συλλυπητήριο μήνυμα του Δημάρχου Κώστα Νικολούζου για το θάνατο της Vivienne Pittendrigh
"Δημιουργός και «ψυχή» των Divertimenti in Corfu και των Γιορτών Μουσικής Δωματίου, η Vivienne ήταν μια πολίτης του κόσμου που προσπαθούσε διαρκώς να μας κάνει κοινωνούς της μαγείας της μουσικής.
Γεννημένη στην Αυστραλία, είχε επιλέξει να ζει τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες στην Κέρκυρα στην οποία αισθανόταν «σπίτι» της και νοιαζόταν γι αυτήν.
Οι φίλοι της σε όλον τον κόσμο θα τη θυμόμαστε με αγάπη για την καλλιέργεια της και την επιμονή με την οποία υπηρετούσε τους στόχους της".¨

Egypt: Saqqara Tomb

Egypt tomb: Saqqara 'one of a kind' discovery revealed, BBC News

"Archaeologists in Egypt have made an exciting tomb discovery - the final resting place of a high priest, untouched for 4,400 years...The tomb, found in the Saqqara pyramid complex near Cairo, is filled with colourful hieroglyphs and statues of pharaohs. Decorative scenes show the owner, a royal priest named Wahtye, with his mother, wife and other relatives".

Egypt discovers untouched tomb in the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, Euronews

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Richard Pine on the Art of Translation

From eKathimerini

"As a xenos who needs to read Greek literature in translation, I am starved of material. I have read almost everything available in English, but this is only a fraction of what I need to read – both the older works and the contemporary".

Friday, 14 December 2018

"Ebenspiel". "Englandspiel", Allied Espionage Disaster, WWII, BBC World Service, Outlook, Witness; SOE, The Netherlands, The Dutch Resistance

A disastrous two-year operation, which was new to me - concerning the Dutch Resistance and SOE during WWII. Compiled and narrated by Alex Last.

From BBC World Service, Outlook, the 44.17 point.

Spy fiasco cost Britain 50 agents, Independent, 21.9.1998

Brexit: Britons to pay €7 when travelling to EU after Brexit (Euronews)

From Euronews

"British citizens will be required to pay €7 every three years when travelling to EU countries, but will not require a visa".

BBC News report

Travellers' Currency rates (MailOnline)

Sally Zu-Zaz, and a Skaros!

Some other early rockers: We're Gonna Rock, (Wild) Bill Moore

Recorded for Savoy Records on 18 December 1947

From Hugh Gregory, "The Real Rhythm and Blues", 1998, on the honking sax genre:

"It is the brass section - especially a blazing horn riff - that complements the shouts and intemperate hectoring from the lead vocalist. Even on instrumentals these riffs lay bare the bones of R&B. But despite the uncultured vulgarity- or perhaps the blazing freneticism - of many of the great horn solos, the pedigree lay in the artistry of their exposition".

If you don't share my enthusiasm for such "uncultured and frenetic musical vulgarity" try something for a more rural and reflective  mood:

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Dorset: Hospital Travel Times

Longer Dorset hospital travel times 'won't affect patients', BBC News

Spain: 'Brexpats' - Concern about the Future

'Brexpats' in Spain worry about their future, Euronews

England: Household Waste Recycling Down, Incineration Up (A Memo for Corfu)

From Tom Bawden, inews: Household recycling rates go down as waste incineration rises

"Campaigners warned that the waste crisis is deepening after new government figures revealed that household recycling rates are falling – while more rubbish is being disposed of through burning. English households recycled 44.8 per cent of their waste in the year to March 31, as the amount of rubbish that was incinerated increased by 6.5 per cent to 10.8 million tonnes, according to the latest figures".

"Waste incinerators collectively produce the same amount of air pollution over the course of a year as 250,000 working lorries, according to a study published in July by the UK Without Incineration Network, a network which campaigns for a moratorium on new incinerators and a tax on the burning of waste".

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Norman Ackroyd, Artist, Etcher, Printer; British Landscapes.

I read with interest an article about Norman Ackroyd in the Daily Telegraph Review section of 8 December, 2018.

Mark Hudson writes:

"Ackroyd has an uncanny ability to conjure, from this recalcitrant conjunction of elements, effects of breathtaking subtlety and sensitivity, Delicate veils of spray and wheeling flocks of seagulls bring a touch of the Wagnerian sublime to his images of the British coastline...among the most resonant modern British landscapes in any medium"."

It sent me looking for more of his etchings.

I found his website:

I was delighted to find an etching of South Cadbury Hill, 1992  in the section England, South Counties.


Norman Ackroyd: The Furthest Lands

Yorkshire Sculpture Park Centre

17 Nov 2018–24 Feb 2019

"YSP presents an exhibition of work by Norman Ackroyd CBE, RA, one of Britain’s foremost landscape artists and contemporary printmakers working today. The Furthest Lands showcases a vast range of work that explores the western edges of the British Isles".

From YouTube:

Norman Ackroyd - What Do Artists Do All Day? Part 1

Monday, 10 December 2018

Snowboarding in China; Skiing on Artificial Snow

Grandchildren and other youngsters having fun in Wanlong and Genting, part of the Zhangjiakou ski area which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics. All the snow is artificial, from snow cannons: