Monthly Archives: June 2011

Double Rainbow

This strange weather has its compensations.
The picture is large, just click on it.
(the explanation is here. No? Okay. Just enjoy the photo).

Note the dead tree. Another consequence of the weird weather.

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Salinger: Catcher in the Rye

I had another root around in my bookcases the other day and came across this. It proved to be a difficult book to read, not because of its content but because the pages kept falling out. Like Brideshead, it is a book I hadn’t read but had often wondered about (strange, isn’t it? going through life wondering what a book is about and not reading it). My renewed interest arose from hearing that Salinger had died, and the media hype about whether or not he had other unpublished gems lying around. The answer to that is probably not; Catcher wasn’t the only book he had published, and the world hasn’t heard much about the others. When Catcher was published in 1951 it received a mixed reception, mostly because of its coarse language, generally unacceptable at the time. I suppose I liked it so much because it reminded me of some of my mates at school.

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If you just happen to be able to read Welsh, and if you want to buy a copy of the Highway Code, and if you are in Edinburgh, then Halfords has just the thing for you. Don’t all rush…

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Jenkins: The Armed Man… again

It’s rather like buses. You wait for one to come along…

I bought the National Youth Orchestra’s CD The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace as soon as it was on the shelves. Then I waited ten years before I managed to attend a live performance. That was in November last year (sung by EUMS).

Yesterday evening I attended another performance of the work, this time at Dunfermline Abbey and sung by the Abbey Choristers. I have to be honest here. The choir is fairly small. When I heard they were going to tackle this work I thought I’d misheard. Yes, Jenkins, Armed Man… that thing usually sung by a choir the size of a Cecil B DeMille cast. But surely they wouldn’t do the whole work? Surely they would do extracts? I’m glad I’m not a betting man because I would have lost. Miserably.

The other day I vowed never to use the word ‘stunning’ again. Luckily I don’t have to use it now, because it was used last night by the person thanking the choir (and small orchestra) at the end of the performance.
(How about ‘brilliant’? Am I allowed to use the word ‘brilliant’?)

It might not have crossed the minds of those present that the choir was sitting within easy haunting distance of Robert the Bruce. The brass cover of his tomb was right behind them and depicts, perhaps unsurprisingly, an armed man.

Arm’d man = man in armour

Robert the Bruce is also here, keeping an eye on Edinburgh. Read it through before you condemn me for muddling The Bruce with Mel Gibson. Or with Bob the Builder.

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Real Bread

I am old enough to remember the baker coming to my parents’ house with a basket of freshly baked bread on his arm. Like the milkman, he drove an electric van. I’m sure this practice continued in some country areas well after it ceased in cities like the one I lived in. Bread was bread. You bought it in… well, bread shapes, with square sides and crusty, risen tops. You could get small or large, brown or white. Then came sliced bread, which had to be wrapped, of course. The range on sale increased to include thick sliced or thin sliced. It no longer smelt, nor tasted, very much like bread – and it took around ten days to go mouldy. Because of that, and its lack of bread taste and bread smell, it didn’t seem much like food.

A few months ago I bought a loaf of real bread*. I don’t mean the kind of bread the baker used to bring round in his electric van, I mean the kind of bread people were eating before such vans were invented. The loaf I bought didn’t look particularly like bread (not rectanglar, not in floppy slices). Nor did it taste much like bread, not the kind of bread I had become used to, anyway. All I’m going to say about this bread is that since buying that first loaf I won’t even consider buying any other kind.

Here’s one I bought earlier:

I see there is a Campaign for Real Bread. When you get the page with the map, click on the ‘Real Bread’ (in green, under the map) to learn what real bread – and the other stuff – is.

*from here

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