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COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Tuesday, 31 March 2020

No worst, there is none (Hopkins)

    " O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep".

"Under a comfort serves in a whirlwind" - what exactly does the penultimate line mean? Any ideas? A reference to Job, Prometheus, King Lear? Some screen shots from books found on the internet below (no mention of what the grammatical construction itself conveys or signifies).

George Orwell on hospitals in the first half of the 20th century (1946)

It's hard to think that this was published within my own lifetime.

George Orwell, from How the Poor Die, November 1946:
“Anaesthetics were a turning point, and disinfectants were another…Moreover, the national health insurance has partly done away with the idea that a working-class patient is a pauper who deserves little consideration. Well into this century it was usual for ‘free’ patients at the big hospitals to have their teeth extracted with no anaesthetic. They didn’t pay, so why should they have an anaesthetic – that was the attitude. That too has changed…I would be far from complaining about the treatment I have received in any English hospital, but I do know that it is a sound instinct that warns people to keep out of hospitals if possible, and especially out of the public wards…and it is a great thing to die in your own bed, though it is better still to die in your boots. However great the kindness and the efficiency, in every hospital death there will be some cruel, squalid detail, something perhaps too small to be told but leaving terribly painful memories behind, arising out of the haste, the crowding, the impersonality of a place where every day people are dying among strangers.”

How things have changed since 1946 (and especially since July, 1948), and how greatly we all value and depend on the NHS!

Of related historical interest, from Adventures in Two Worlds by A. J. Cronin, 1952 (reminiscences of a doctor):

“There was plenty of interesting work for me. Under the medical-aid scheme which had engaged me, all the miners paid a small weekly contribution to the society and were entitled thereby to free medical treatment for their families and themselves. In actual fact, this scheme can definitely be regarded as the foundation of the plan of socialised medicine which was eventually adopted by Great Britain. Aneurin Bevan, who was mainly responsible for the national project, was at one time a miner in Tredegar, and here, under the local aid organisation, the value of prompt and gratuitous treatment for the worker was strongly impressed upon him.
  There is certainly virtue in the scheme, but it also has its defects, of which the chief one, in Tredegar, was this–with complete carte blanche in the way of medical attention the people were not sparing, by day or night, in ‘fetching the doctor’. In a word, the plan fostered hypochondriacs, malingerers, and those obnoxious ‘hangers-on’ who haunt a doctor’s surgery in the hope of obtaining something–spectacles, crepe bandages, cotton-wool and dressings, even a Seidlitz powder–for nothing.”

Monday, 30 March 2020

Poem Exchange. Wang Wei.

I have just received an email asking me to take part in an email poem exchange. I decided not to participate, but here's the poem I would probably have chosen:

“Late in my life I only care for quiet.
A million pressing tasks, I let them go.
I look at myself; I have no long range plans.
To go back to the forest is all I know…
            You ask – but I can say no more
About success or failure than the song
The fisherman sings, which comes to the deep shore.”

Wang Wei, tr. Vikram Seth.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Traditional Greek Easter Exodus Banned

From Greek Reporter

"Greek authorities are warning citizens that the traditional celebration of Easter is out of bounds this year due to the coronavirus pandemic".

A Time of Gifts

Audio book, Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts

A favourite opera - Janácek: From the House of the Dead (Z Mrtvého Domu)

A serious theme for our times.

Missing the Med? Can't concentrate on long books?

Some short reads to remind you of the sea and summer days.

Three short exercise walks: three companions

Three companions (on my iPod) for my last three walks - I've been accompanied by the calming voices (a different singer each day, about 12 songs each) of Howlin' Wolf, Tom Waits and Doc Watson (his 'Docabilly' album).

Not everybody's choices, I admit. I kept at least five metres away from any other human being. My companions couldn't have been any closer - via my ear-bud headphones.

Music can help to keep us sane.

From Docabilly, Doc Watson:

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Singing the Blues

Train of Love

Thunder Road / Sugarfoot Rag

Bird Dog

Other days:

Tom Waits, Hold On

Tom Waits, Blind Love

Tom Waits, Time

Tom Waits, Hope that I don't fall in love with you

Howlin' Wolf, Smokestack Lightnin'

Howlin' Wolf

Home schooling

A break from lessons:

This could be a helpful book: Lisa Carne’s “Natural Curiosity: Educating and Nurturing Our Children at Home”. I haven't read it but I have referred it to family members while schools are closed.

An interview with Lisa Carne about home education and her book ‘Natural Curiosity’

Friday, 27 March 2020

The World Music Foundation (WMF) Podcasts; Paramount Records

Some interesting podcasts available from WMF

Sample podcast on Paramount Records (well worth a listen, even if you know most of the story and the artists mentioned):

The Journal of Modern Hellenism, Archives

A great resource:


Andre Gerolymatos

Early Nineteenth-Century British Drama and the Greek War of Independence

Staging Transcultural Relations: Early Nineteenth-Century British Drama and the Greek War of Independence, Alexander Grammatikos, The Journal of Modern Hellenism, JMH 34 (2019): Special Issue

"This paper examines two British Romantic dramas written during the Greek War of Independence and its aftermath: George Burges’s The Son of Erin or the Cause of the Greeks (1823) and John Baldwin Buckstone’s The Maid of Athens; or, the Revolt of the Greeks (1829). The paper discusses the plays’ portrayals of transcultural interactions between Greeks and Europeans (Irish and British) and argues that the two dramas encourage audiences to see similarities between themselves and Greeks, while also critiquing British apathy toward the Greeks’ efforts to achieve liberation. Despite Burges’s and Buckstone’s shared support for the Greek war, however, an important difference between the two texts exists: while The Son of Erin maintains a relentless attack on the British government for aligning British politics with Ottoman policies and remaining indifferent toward the Greek war, The Maid of Athens suggests that Britons who take advantage of Greeks’ subjugation misrepresent Britain’s true feelings about the Greek War of Independence".

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Ionesco: Killing Game/Jeu de Massacre/Here Comes a Chopper/Το παιχνίδι της σφαγής. An absurd disease.

I've just ordered a volume of Ionesco's plays, with Here Comes a Chopper, also translated as Killing Game (French title Jeu de Massacre). 

An LA Times review from 2008:

A 2005 UK production:

"We are the victims of an absurd disease..."

Victims of an Absurd Disease:
Jeux de Massacre and Ionesco's Theatre of the Absurd

by Alexandra Silber and Justin Flagg
(these consequentially became the programme notes for Here Comes A Chopper, Glasgow, May 2005):

"This play is about death: how each of us will face it for ourselves. Do we gracefully surrender to the inevitable end, or do we fight until our bodies collapse beneath us? Who will bury us? Who will inherit? Who will weep for us? Who won’t?

It is also about loss: how we face the death of our friends, our family, our lovers; parents losing children, husbands losing wives; losing control of our daily life, our food, our water; losing the sense of our responsibilities and our place in the universe.

Finally, it is about society: does it really have the power to save us from the scourge, or is it in itself the secret cause of our disease?

The allegory of a town seized by plague, and ultimately destroyed in spite of the best efforts of the council and the populace has clear connections to the world we know. One need only consider the unavoidable headlines that assault our senses on a daily basis: The endless debates over the cause and response to global terrorism; epidemics, poverty and starvation in Africa; AIDS, Cancer, MRSA and an ageing society; and the scientific and religious quarrels over the beginning and ending of life, to name just a few. Reflecting on our own predicament, the absurd behaviour of Ionesco’s fictional townspeople becomes hauntingly recognisable".

I was prompted to obtain and read this play by the following Facebook posting of a passage from the play in Greek translation, Ευγένιος Ιονέσκο, Το παιχνίδι της σφαγής  (use Google translate to get the gist of it):

" Σας συγκέντρωσα εδώ για τελευταία φορά, στην πλατεία της πόλης μας, για να σας ενημερώσω: Μας συμβαίνει κάτι εντελώς ανεξήγητο. Δεχθήκαμε επίθεση από ένα λοιμό αγνώστων αιτιών. Οι γειτονικές πόλεις και χώρες μας έχουν κλείσει τα σύνορά τους. Στρατός έχει κυκλώσει την πόλη μας. Κάθε είσοδος και έξοδος απαγορεύεται. Μέχρι χτες ήμασταν ελεύθεροι, όμως από σήμερα είμαστε σε καραντίνα.
Συμπολίτες κι επισκέπτες της πόλης μας, μην επιχειρήσετε να δραπετεύσετε, γιατί θ’ αντιμετωπίσετε τα πυρά των στρατιωτών που καραδοκούν σε κάθε έξοδο της πόλεως. Χρειάζεται να οπλιστούμε με όλο το θάρρος που διαθέτουμε. Επίσης χρειάζονται γερά χέρια ν’ ανοίγουν τάφους. Τα οικόπεδα, οι ακάλυπτοι χώροι, οι αυλές, τα γήπεδα, όλα επιτάσσονται, γιατί τα νεκροταφεία γέμισαν. Επίσης ζητώ εθελοντές να επιτηρούν τα μολυσμένα σπίτια, μήπως κάποιος μπει ή βγει. Θα ορίσουμε ορκωτούς επόπτες που θα επισκέπτονται τα σπίτια … για να αναφέρουν στις αρχές, προκειμένου να απομονωθούν οι πιθανοί φορείς. Όποιος μπαίνει σε μολυσμένο σπίτι θα θεωρείται ύποπτος και θ’ απομονώνεται εκεί μέσα. Φυλαχτείτε από τους υπόπτους. ΚΑΤΑΓΓΕΙΛΕΤΕ τους για το καλό του συνόλου! Ζητάμε γιατρούς, νεκροθάφτες, σαβανωτές και κάθε χρήσιμη για την περίσταση ειδικότητα. Κάθε πολίτης οφείλει να προσφέρει στον συνάνθρωπό του: να τον επιτηρήσει ή να του κλείσει τα μάτια. Το σύνθημά μας είναι, «Θάψε τον πλησίον σου, μπορείς!». Αντίδοτο για τον λοιμό δεν έχουμε βρει. Προσπαθούμε να τον περιορίσουμε, μήπως μερικοί τυχεροί επιβιώσουν, όμως αυτό είναι άγνωστο. Απαγορεύονται οι συνεστιάσεις και όλα τα θεάματα. Τα καταστήματα, τα εστιατόρια και τα καφενεία θα λειτουργούν ελάχιστες ώρες, για να περιοριστεί η εξάπλωση ψευδών ειδήσεων. Διότι υπάρχει η υποψία πως το κακό που μας βρήκε προέρχεται από κάτι ανώτερό μας, από τον ουρανό, και καθετί από τον ουρανό διαβρώνει σαν αόρατη βροχή τις στέγες, τους τοίχους και τις ψυχές μας. Όπως σας είπα, αυτή είναι η τελευταία δημόσια συγκέντρωση. Ομάδες πάνω από τρία άτομα θα διαλύονται. Επίσης, απαγορεύεται να περιφέρεστε άσκοπα. Όλοι οι πολίτες επιβάλλεται να κυκλοφορείτε ανά δύο, για να επιτηρείτε ο ένας τον άλλο. Τώρα γυρίστε στα σπίτια σας και μείνετε εκεί. Θα βγείτε μόνο σε περίπτωση μεγάλης ανάγκης."

Killing Game (scene in Greek)


Library of Congress, Complete US National Recording Registry Listing

National Recording Registry Class Produces Ultimate 'Stay at Home' Playlist
Search here (complete registry):

Greece: a self-isolation song/Romance in a small space - Βόλτα σ' ένα παπουτσι

Romance in a small space!

Γιαννης Μηλιωκας - Βόλτα σ' ένα παπουτσι

Giannis Miliokas- Volta S' Ena Papoutsi

The song (1990) predates the current crisis by thirty years, but it has been rediscovered and is still very topical.


Ένα δωμάτιο η μικρή μας γειτονιά

και το μπαλκόνι σου μισάνοιχτο συρτάρι

Μου χαμογέλασες στου μπάνιου τη γωνιά

σου τηλεφώνησα κι εγώ απ’ το πατάρι

Απόψε θα βγούμε

θα πάμε στην κουζίνα

θα σε περιμένω δίπλα στο καλοριφέρ

κι άμα θες μετά μπαίνουμε σ’ ένα παπούτσι

και πάμε να τα πιούμε στου σαλονιού το μπαρ

Ένα χαμόγελο το φως του φεγγαριού

Τ’ αστέρια φώτα κάποιας άλλης πολιτείας

Μέσα στα μάτια σου το τέρμα του ουρανού

κι ουρανός ένα παιχνίδι μπαταρίας

Απόψε θα βγούμε

θα πάμε στην κουζίνα

θα σε περιμένω δίπλα στο καλοριφέρ

κι άμα θες μετά μπαίνουμε σ’ ένα παπούτσι

και πάμε να τα πιούμε στου σαλονιού το μπαρ

Στίχοι για το τραγούδι Βόλτα σ’ ένα παπούτσι Μηλιώκας Γιάννης του έτους 1990 σε στίχους Μηλιώκας Γιάννης και σύνθεση Μηλιώκας Γιάννης από το album Greco Maskara.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Lockdown photos and books to read

Looking for a book to read. I can't concentrate on my Czech language revision (Duolingo has stopped sending me reminders). Maybe some Byron or William Barnes? More Orwell? Sit in the garden?

Time to tidy up? Sort them out? Just a few of the shelves:

Edwin and Willa Muir

Ritsos and Tsaloumas

Camus, Kerouac, Durrell...

Dionysios Solomos, On the Death of Lord Byron; Greek Independence Day, Εθνική εορτή ανεξαρτησίας. Διονύσιος Σολωμός - Εἰς τὸν θάνατον τοῦ Λόρδου Μπάϋρον.

 Greek Independence Day, 25 March, 2020

"Freedom fighters, lay down your swords,
Weep a while by Byron's corpse!"

(my free paraphrase).

Lord Byron on his death bed (Wikimedia Commons)

"Liberty, cease for a moment
Striking hard with your sword;
Now approach here to lament
By the body of this noble lord".

Translations of the first and forty-fifth stanzas by M. Byron Raizis

Stanza 45:

"In Greece now people rejoice,
For the Man she was seeking
Is seen coming, and his voice
Like a war drum is beating".

"For a moment, Liberty,
Let the war, the bloodshed sleep;
Hither come and silently
Over Byron's body weep".

Translation of the first stanza by Romilly Jenkins

Λευτεριά, γιὰ λίγο πάψε
νὰ χτυπᾶς μὲ τὸ σπαθί.
Τώρα σίμωσε καὶ κλάψε
εἰς τοῦ Μπάιρον τὸ κορμί.

Καὶ κατόπι ἂς ἀκλουθοῦνε
ὅσοι ἐπράξανε λαμπρά.
ἀποπάνου του ἂς χτυποῦνε
μόνο στήθια ἡρωικά.

Πρῶτοι ἂς ἔλθουνε οἱ Σουλιῶτες,
καὶ ἀπ᾿ τὸ Λείψανον αὐτὸ
ἂς μακραίνουνε οἱ προδότες
καὶ ἀπ᾿ τὰ λόγια ὁποῦ θὰ πῶ.

«Ἡ Διχόνοια κατατρέχει
τὴν Ἑλλάδα. Ἂν νικηθεῖ,
τ᾿ ὄνομά σας ξαναζεῖ».

From Adrian Mitchell's Byron is one of the dancers


The castle at Navarino
commands the battle scene
where Codrington delivered
what Byron had begun.


Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Andreas Kalvos, Three verses from Ode To Chios (1824). ᾨδὴ Ἕκτη. Εἰς Χίον

ᾨδὴ Ἕκτη. Εἰς Χίον

στροφὴ α´.

Ὡς ὅτε ἀπὸ τὸ στόμα
κρέμεται τῶν θνητῶν
αὐλὸς λελυπημένος
καὶ ἡ φωνή του μὲ᾿ κόπον
τρέμουσα ἐκβαίνει·


Ὡς μέσα εἰς τὰ πολύδενδρα
δάση τὸ βράδυ εἰσπνέει
τὸ τεθλιμμένον φύσημα
Μεσημβρινὸν καὶ φαίνεται
θρῆνος ἀνθρώπων·


Εἰς τὸν ἠρημωμένον
αἰγιαλὸν τῆς νήσου
οὕτω φέρνουν τὰ κύματα
καὶ τὸ παράπονόν τους
ᾑ Ὠκεανῖδαι. 

As when the flute's
plaintive sound
leaves the mouth of mortals
and the trembling voice
hardly comes out,

or in the evening
through thick woods,
the doleful wind
floats along
like a human dirge,

on the deserted coast 
of the island,
so the ocean-daughters
heave up waves 
and their laments.

Andreas Kalvos on Lord Byron: from Ode, The British Muse (1826)

Ἀνδρέας Κάλβος - Ὠδαί

ᾨδὴ Πρώτη.

Four verses from The British Muse

Ἡ Βρεττανικὴ Μοῦσα

Ὦ Βύρων· ὦ θεσπέσιον
πνεῦμα τῶν Βρεττανίδων,
τέκνον μουσῶν καὶ φίλε
ἄμοιρε τῆς Ἑλλάδος

Ἰδοὺ ἡ Ἑλλὰς σοῦ ἑτοίμασεν
ὄχι τὸν χρυσὸν κύκλον
τὸν τοὺς κροτάφους φλέγοντα
τῶν ἀργῶν βασιλέων
ἢ τῶν τυράννων·...

Ἀλλὰ στέφανον ἕτερον,
στολὴν ἔνδοξον, ἔντιμον,
ἀξίαν νοὸς δικαίου,
ἀνδρὸς ἀξίαν γενναίου

Σὲ ἡ Ἑλλὰς εὐγνώμων
ὡς φίλον μεγαλόψυχον
ζητεῖ νὰ στεφανώσῃ,
ὡς παρηγορητήν της,
ὡς εὐεργέτην.

Ah Byron, divine spirit
of the British Isles!
Child of the Muses,
ill-fated friend
of glorious Greece!

Greece has prepared
not the golden crown,
lighting the temples
of idle kings
or tyrants

but another crown,
a glorious, honoured
ornament, worthy
of a mind tuned to justice,
of a brave liberal man...

In recognition, Greece
wants to crown you
as a magnanimous friend
as her comforter
and benefactor.

From the translation by George Dandoulakis, Andreas Kalvos, Odes, Shoestring Press, 1998

ISBN: 1 899549 L18


Monday, 23 March 2020

A Walk on the Coastal Path with Old Friends (social distancing, Burton Bradstock)

My old friends Mark and Sue drove down from Wiltshire on Saturday for a walk by the sea.

We kept a good social distance. I have just found one of the poems he wrote as a teenager. It still seems relevant. I have his permission to publish it here.

It may be one of the last walks any of us oldies will be allowed to enjoy for quite a while.

(A poem by Mark Allen, written at the beginning of the 1960's)

Here's an equally cheerful, optimistic poem of my own, which is included in my new collection, Reading the signs (Colenso Books, February 2020):

Walking the coastal path
 from West Bay
 to Burton Bradstock

Some people leap
from the top of sheer cliffs.
Others are buried
    by landslides.

Planned or unplanned,
life's all cliff-falls and ifs.

There's no saving hand.

Rocks erode, land subsides.

Jim Potts

As an afterthought, a very short poem from the same collection:

Taken  short 

Your heart could stop
at any time.
Better smell those roses.

Coronavirus: PM to rush in emergency laws as UK heads towards lockdown, Sky News/MSN

Warning to stay away from beaches and beauty spots as thousands flock to coast, Dorset Echo

Stay home. Save lives

"The advice is now clear and simple, stay home and save lives. We are urging you to only visit the Coast Path as part of your allowed daily exercise and encourage you to strictly follow social distancing rules. You can find additional information links below and advice from us on how to exercise safely during the pandemic.

To avoid putting unnecessary stress on local services, we urge holidaymakers, second homeowners and campers not to visit the south west during the outbreak. We will be doing all that we can to bring the South West Coast Path into people’s homes virtually at what is a challenging time for us all."

Official Government guidance:

"Only leave your home for one of four reasons:

Shopping for basic necessities such as food and medicine. Shopping trips should be as infrequent as possible

One form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle. This should be done alone or only with people you live with

Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. This includes moving children under the age of 18 between their parents' homes, where applicable. Key workers or those with children identified as vulnerable can continue to take their children to school.

Travelling to and from work, but only where work absolutely cannot be done from home".

To reiterate, from the PM:

"That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

One form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household;

Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and

Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

That's all - these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no.

You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home".

"West Dorset MP Chris Loder tells visitors who are blatantly disregarding the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and Prime Minister to ‘wake up’ and to stay at home. The MP’s message comes after crowds were gathering on the beach at Lyme Regis and at West Bay and at campsites over the weekend, putting themselves and others at risk with a total disregard for Government advice to stay at home or to keep a safe distance from others. Chris Loder says: “We have a massive community movement going on here to help those in need and it is totally ignorant of visitors during this pandemic to not listen to the Government’s advice, thus making this important work more difficult and putting our community at increased risk. While there may not be many cases so far in Dorset, the community here is of a higher-than-average age and therefore much more vulnerable. I know it goes against the grain, but we must temporarily close the door to tourists until this pandemic has passed; and that means visitors need to listen to the advice, just as we do”. The West Dorset MP says we must maximise local resources and minimise community risk and tourism only goes to aid a potentially deadly wave of Coronavirus. Already growing rapidly in other parts of the UK, Coronavirus is making its way from London on to the West, with the Hampshire County Council area now having the highest number of cases of any local authority area in the country, with 138 cases reported on Saturday. Chris Loder says: “I really do need to get the message through – holidays are not essential in the current climate; however, it seems visitors do not yet understand that. Potentially bringing the virus and sharing it here with others is not something we’re geared up to cope with”. Considerable numbers of people have raised concerns on social media this weekend from West Dorset’s popular tourist towns, such as Lyme Regis and Bridport and from neighbouring campsites who are concerned that visitors continue to flock in to the area after this weekend – seemingly oblivious to the impending crisis, even though the coffee shops, pubs and restaurants are closed. Diligent and sensible local communities are alarmed that, although they are maintaining social distancing within their neighbourhoods - as Government has advised, that visitors behave as though nothing has changed. With an aging demographic, the South West is set to be one of the most vulnerable to coronavirus and locals are worried. Chris Loder continues: “We look forward to welcoming visitors back with open arms when we are through this current crisis, when our rolling countryside, Jurassic Coast and bustling market towns will give you a holiday to remember; but for now we ask you, please, to stay at home”.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

An encounter with Patrick Leigh Fermor, Julia Klimi photographs



UK Postal Services and Parcelforce Updates

From Royal Mail - Changes to service

Signing for and receiving items

"In order to protect both our people and customers as much as possible, we are minimising contact during delivery. We will not be handing over our hand-held devices to customers to capture signatures but instead log the name of the person accepting the item. Additionally, for all customers where we need to deliver any item that won’t fit through your letterbox, we will place your item at your door. Having knocked on your door, we will then step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve your item. This will ensure your item is delivered securely rather than being left outside".

From Parcelforce:

Last Updated 17th March 2020

"Public Health England (PHE) has advised that people receiving parcels are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19). From experience with other coronaviruses, we know that these types of virus don't survive long on objects, such as letters or parcels. This complements the highly publicised guidance from PHE for people to wash their hands more often than usual using soap and hot water.

We are actively monitoring this rapidly evolving situation. We take the health and safety of our people and customers very seriously. We have provided guidance to our people, our customers and communities in which we operate, to help prevent the spread of any infection. We are doing so in line with preventative guidance from PHE.

Changes to our delivery procedure in relation to signing for and receiving items in the UK

In order to protect both our people and customers as much as possible, we will not be handing over our hand-held devices to customers to capture electronic signatures. Our drivers will instead log the first and last name of the person accepting the item, then put 'XP1' in the signature field, and we will record the geolocation of the delivery. This will apply to all deliveries that normally require a signature.

If recipients are unable to come to the door or are self-isolating, we will post a customer contact card in the normal way, advising of other ways the recipient can arrange to get their item. For example, by getting a friend or family member (who is not resident with someone who is self-isolating) to collect the parcel from their local Parcelforce depot or Post Office branch, as specified on the card. They will need to bring along the card we left and a form of ID in the name of the person the item is addressed to. Examples of suitable ID are specified on the card".

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Jim Potts, World Poetry Day: Ποιήματα, μετάφραση: Βασίλης Πανδής

Some of my poems in Greek translation by Vasilis Pandis, in, for World Poetry Day.

A complete surprise, thank you Vasili!

Βασίλης Πανδής - 21 Μαρτίου 2020

Edwin Muir in Prague, 1947 and 1948. Foreword to Czech anthology of new English Poetry. Mezi dvěma plameny: Nová anglická poezie

A rare photo, given to me by Mary Bosdêt: 
Edwin Muir (far left); Dr. Arna Rides, or Dr. Ridesová (fourth on right),
Kounic Palace courtyard, Summer 1947, Prague

Miss J.M.Bosdêt, Mary Bosdêt, the British Council’s Archivist and Registrar in Prague at the time - later a teacher and language school inspector- took this photo in the courtyard of the Kounic palace in the summer of 1947: “Edwin Muir is on the left and the newly-arrived Arna Rides is the Eton-cropped five-footer”, she explained).

Mezi dvěma plameny: Nová anglická poezie, 1948

From Muir's ten page foreword from the anthology in Czech edited by Jiří Kárnet and Josef Nesvadba, Mladá fronta, Prague, 1948.

The foreword was translated by Jiří Kárnet.

Table of contents:

Předmluvu k antologii, v níž jsou zastoupeni básníci Dylan Thomas, David Gascoyne, C. D. Lewis, W. H. Auden a George Barker, napsal Edwin Muir.

Vydáno 1948, Mladá fronta

Překlad František VrbaJiří KárnetIvan JelínekJarmila UrbánkováJosef NesvadbaJan TumlířArnošt VaněčekKamil BednářJiří ValjaJiřina Hauková


Three of Edwin Muir's poems (Merlin, The Wayside Station and Confirmation (a love poem to his wife, Willa), also appeared, in Czech translation, in this Karel Offer anthology published in 1948:

See also, Edwin Muir, The Labyrinth

Miroslav Holub, on 1948:

"We entered literature by shutting up. By complete silence. By a complete distrust of everybody.
It was a perfect lesson in Creative Non-writing. It was a shortcut to an almost biological feeling of the absurdity of everything, including one's inner self".

From Poetry against Absurdity, Poetry Review, vol. 80 No 2. Summer 1990. Translated by Ian and Jarmila Milner.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

UK: A level and GCSE exams cancelled

From Metro

"A Levels and GCSEs have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The move was announced by Boris Johnson, although he did not offer any firm details of how an assessment will now happen. The Prime Minister told a press conference: ‘Exams will not take place as planned in May and June.’ He added: ‘We will make sure that students get the qualifications they need and deserve for their careers.’ When pushed for more details about what will happen to the 16 and 18-year-olds who have been studying for two years, he continued: ‘I totally understand people’s frustrations. ‘We will make sure they are not impeded as a result of the decisions we are having to take. ‘They will get the qualification. I don’t want to go into detail about when and how but it will be done fairly and in a way that protects their interests.’"

Read more:

From The Times: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson announces closure of schools in England

Coronavirus, Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team Report - Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand

Read report here (pdf, 20 pages), Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, 16 March 2020

West Dorset: Photographic Miscellany

All photographs copyright