Monday, 30 September 2013

Cruxicogentian Woodcuts

Mandible Winkworth is examining the woodcuts in his new copy of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Unlike Lanzarotte he is not blinded by the weighty shadows of the present. He sees clearly that within the marginal notes are numerous Cruxicogentian symbols. It would be a matter of great interest to the Sisters of the  Convent of Theodora (Order of the Purple Relic) if there were indeed a subjunctive link to the book. However before he appraises them of this information he must verify its authenticity. He takes it to Cortally Bakewell who runs an occasional valuation session at Zangwill’s Bazaar. Cortally is impressed.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

A Drunken House Swap

Malvolio Claxendell persuades Percy Hackney (the Editor of Floreat Hova) to commission an article on his Da Vinci project.  It is Hedre who lands the job, and he and Claxendell meet at the snug of the ‘Never a True Word’ pub.  

The article is polished off in half an hour, and a few pints later they are consoling each other.  Hedre has huge debts accruing on the Regency pile and Claxendell hates Missikin’s spacious detached cell.  Well-oiled they agree to swap. Hedre and Tabitha can develop the spacious cell as their retirement studio, and Claxendell will take over the Regency pile.  

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Professor of Nihonga

At Giverny,  Tom Purdue is sketching. This is achieved with difficulty as visitors to the garden keeping pushing past him. One Japanese tourist however watches his artistic endeavours with interest. She is a professor of the history of Nihonga in particular the work of Hoshida Shunso. Monet admired Nihonga, but he never visited Japan. The professor smiles at Tom, and as she strolls away he notices that she too is wearing a startlingly orange sun hat. He looks down at his drawing and realises that he seldom uses colour. Perhaps he should choose some other other place to sketch.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Tom's grandfather always loved Paris

Tom Purdue has been invited by the curator of the Petit Palais in Paris to write an article on the frescos of the garden portico by Paul Baudouin. She offers him tea in the garden cafe and they sit discussing the project in the peristyle. Tom is aware that he is living Ethel and Frida's dream, so he buys them each an orange sun hat (they no longer don the habit). Later in the Parc Monceau he visits the memorials to Maupassant and Chopin, before finally remembering to visit La Madeleine, built to Vignon's Napoleonic design.  Tom's grandfather always loved Paris.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Verlaine's spirit

Pascale said that there is no justice without force as there will always be evil. Ethel and Frida have left the convent, and after a humanist wedding ceremony have travelled to Paris in search of the cultural background of Paul Verlaine.  in Rue Pascale at the Rambo bookshop they discover a copy of La Hypertexte Originale, and clicking on Page One they are transported to the suburb of Mantes la Jolie. Only when they spot the picture of Sister Missikin do they realise that they are still in Hove, and have imbibed one of Ahmed’s special tisanes.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Hypnerotomachia of Lanzarotte’s doubts

In a moment of self-doubt the Rev. Lanzarotte takes his volume of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili to Yifitsin Print Bookshop. It reminds him too much of his feelings for Lorettta. Samuel Quinine (shopkeeper and local archivist) looks through the lavishly illustrated tome. The text of the book is written in a bizarre language. Italian, full of words based on Latin and Greek roots without explanation, with illuminated Arabic and Hebrew words. There seem to be elements of an invented new language together with pseudo hieroglyphs. He places it in the shop window where it catches the attention of Mandible Winkworth, who buys it.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Aubergine Kvetch

The diminutive figure of Rabbi Oud Ramonides struggles down the street. The wind is so strong it is blowing people along. He is visiting his daughter, Kugarita Zinfandel, and they are meeting at Moudi’s Emporium. He stops for a moment to shelter by the Great Elm, and spots his daughter scurrying towards him. She throws her arms around him, and drags him to the café. They stumble in, and collapse into the nearest chairs. Ahmed welcomes them with a complimentary cup of Tantric Iftar, a tisane of his own blend of exotic herbs, and they order the Friday special – Aubergine Kvetch.

Bibi in Dire Straits

The French poet Verlaine who wrote ‘Long Sobs of Autumn Violins’ (used as a code to launch Operation Overlord in 1944) was attracted to the Bohemian lifestyle, and identified with a colourful vagabond called Bibi, who haunted the bars of Montmartre and the Latin Quarter. Nicknamed ‘la purée’ (in dire straits), Bibi’s leering grin and dandyish clothes caught the attention of Picasso who painted his portrait in 1901. 90 years later, Dire Straits recorded ‘On Every Street’, the favourite track of Sister Gertrude who has today brought the album into Moudi’s Emporium for Rosetta. Together with Ahmed they savour the music.

Another assignation for Loretta

Loretta has many assignations with clients of Madam Cosima’s Personal Services Agency, but today she is meeting the Rev. Lanzarotte on a personal matter.  To avoid embarrassment they arrange to meet at the cafe in the park.  As she waits, she watches two young men whose kites have become entangled and are crashing earthwards. When the Vicar of St. Scruples (C-of-E) arrives she pours out her troubles. ‘Our lives have become entangled,’ she sighs. ‘I love someone, but we are just like those two kites.’ Lanzarotte holds his breath in hope, but only one of the kites rises again in the wind.

Yossi Benayoun walks alone

At his first match with Chelsea in 2010, the ‘Diamond of Dimona’, footballer Yossi Benayoun, committed the cardinal sin of belting out the de facto Liverpool anthem ‘You’ll never walk alone’.  Half way through he realised his blunder, so switched to singing in Hebrew. He didn’t stay with Chelsea for long. The Anfield song comes from Carousel, when Nettie comforts Julie whose husband, Billy has killed himself to avoid capture during a failed robbery.  Now Tabitha is singing it to comfort Hedre who is facing massive compensation bills following the collapse of his roof when the Regency pile was briefly uninsured.

Coenobite Musings

After the funeral of Sister Missikin there is a sober commemoration. However once all the visitors have left the Convent doors are bolted and the traditional Nun’s Wake begins.  Now the coenobite gals have a raucous knees up. Sad though it is, everyone was waiting for Sister Missikin to die. Yamima wants to go full time at Moudi’s, Sisters Ethel and Frida have fallen in love and want to leave the convent to get civilly married, and Malvolio Claxendell wants his Queen Victoria Daguerreotype back. Meanwhile at the local rag (Floreat Hova) the Editor has a gap in this week’s edition.

Missikin’s Atonement

The convent is preparing an elaborate funeral for Sister Missikin, which will involve a musical composition by Yevgeny Huxtable. Missikin had nothing to atone for, but when she died she left everything to a children’s charity in Turkmenistan ‘so that her sins would be forgiven’. She also left a silver statue of the Magic Dragon to Kolya, great grandson of her only ever boyfriend, Lustral Quinine. (Lustral’s son Samuel is the owner of the Yifitsin Print bookshop). When Missikin is moved to the morgue, Malvolio Claxendell comes to examine the cell that is now his. His insensitivity and timing are appalling.

Life and Death (Yifitsin Print)

Yifitsin Print, the local Independent Book Shop, has not yet appeared in these pages, perhaps because the owner (Samuel Quinine) is quite reticent. Nevertheless it is one of the jewels of Hove. Today Sister Ethel is visiting, and has found a copy of the  autobiography of Haim “El Mu’allim” (المعلم  lit. “The Teacher”) the de facto ruler of Acre who built the fortifications and in 1799 saved his city from Napoleon’s seige.  Ethel buys the book to read to the ailing Sister Missikin. Sadly when she returns to the convent it is too late and Sister Missikin has breathed her last.

It was just after the war…

Sister Missikin is breathing heavily. Her room is cool, and somewhere there is tranquil music playing. Life is not being gentle with the elderly nun. From time to time she thrashes out and moans. She is clutching a crumpled photo of a couple in their 20s with the Palace Pier behind. It is the young Sister Missikin standing with a handsome young man.   The dying nun opens her eyes, and looks around, then sees the picture. She smiles, and gradually her body relaxes. She sighs, and says one word. ‘Yes.’ Then she shuts her eyes and soon she is again asleep.

Obsessed with the Tannhauser Overture

Heine’s poem Elementargeister (1837) was one of Wagner’s inspirations for Tannhauser. When (at their mediation meeting) Huxtable explains this to Felix and Frab they are fascinated and the ice is broken. However when Huxtable learns that Felix has no connection with Scabby Felix (the Iron Grunge octet) he grovels abjectly (as one does).  He had been thumping out the Overture in annoyance that the group had ousted him from his weekly musical  slot at the ‘Never a True Word’ Pub,  Coincidentally Heine’s brother, Maximilian was a physician in St. Petersberg, and his grandson was the doctor who treated Sister Missikin’s father.

Sound Advice

In 2003 it was decided that the decibel would not be included in the international SI measurement system. Named after Alexander Graham Bell (the first man to make a nuisance phone call) the logarithmic unit that measures sound has caused conflict ever since. For example, Felix and Frab, who have just moved into their mews studio,  are using it in their dispute with Yevgeny Huxtable who thumps out his piano version of the Tannhauser Overture all day long while Felix is trying to do his screen-printing. Tom Purdue offers to mediate, and they all meet at the local Coffee House.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Third Party Insurance

Rancote and Paracel Documenters is not exactly a law firm, but they do dabble in house conveyancing.  Hedre consults their Mr Paracel who does the legal necessaries. Sadly he puts the wrong date on the third party insurance. On the day of completion Hedre and Tabitha visit the Regency Pile with Erskine Fedder, the ceiling expert. He sucks his teeth as he prepares the estimate, but when he prods at the architrave the south-eastern corner of the roof collapses. By the time the ambulance arrives, the late Mr Fedder’s estimate is no longer valid, and Hedre’s insurance is not yet in force.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Amongst the detailed woodcuts

Rev. Lanzarotte is reading the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a popular romance from 1499 Venice.  In it he discovers the story of a dream within a dream. Like Poliphilo on his way to seduce Polia, Lanzarotte too has dreamt of  adventures with dragons, and wolves and castles. And like Poliphilo with Polia, he starts to embrace Loretta (the most popular of Madam Cosima’s young ladies). But she fades into memory, and he wakes. He is puzzled, for in the detailed woodcuts, he sees repeatedly the figure of a young Sister Missikin. A sign, he decides, as he goes to visit the ailing nun.

Septicaemia v Louis Blanc

When Malvolio Claxendell threatens to take the Convent to court in order to retrieve the Victorian daguerreotype, Sister Verasitude (the Mother Superior) consults her lawyer who strongly advises her (following the precedent set in the case of E.K.Septicaemia v Louis Blanc, 1948) to settle out of court. In a landmark mediation, the Convent offers Claxendell the freehold of Sister Missikin’s spacious detached cell, redeemable after her death, provided the ailing nun can keep the daguerreotype on loan until her demise. ‘Sounds good to me,’ says Claxendell. On the same day Felix and Frab finally accept Tabitha’s offer for the Regency Pile.

The Mughal Manuscript

Mandible Winkworth and Malvolio Claxendell place a wooden statue of Ganesh and a mouse on the glass counter at the Rare Manuscripts Department of the Jubilee Library.  The curator whispers, ‘It may be Hoysala dynasty.’  They want her to see the dusty scroll they have found hidden in a recess under the mouse but they can’t release the secret catch. They push, press and struggle.  Suddenly there is a loud sound of splintering glass, and the counter shatters.  The statue falls and breaks. A small mouse shoots across the room and out, past stunned readers shaken awake from their laptop trances.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Yamima is well inscribed

Tom Purdue goes to Moudi’s to buy  Rosh Hashana apples and honey for the cake. But the usual Tuesday morning meeting is interrupted by a police raid following a tip-off that pornographic material was being traded at the Emporium. Chief Detective Inspector Raymond arrives and his team spend two hours interviewing Ahmed, Tom, Sister Gertrude, Rosetta, and the unfortunate Yamima who has just started her morning shift. Eventually they issue cautions and depart carrying priceless illuminated manuscripts, which (after extensive viewing) they intend to destroy. Hedre turns up with the photographer from Floreat Hova unfortunately too late for all the fuss.

The Book of Chronicles

At Seven Dials life is buzzing despite the disruption around the roundabout (which has been closed for the duration).  In her spacious detached cell at the convent the ailing Sister Missikin remembers the day in 1930 when her father escaped from the gulag, and managed to smuggle his family out of Leningrad, and across to Donegal, where he became a rag and bone man. In 1939 Missikin became a novice at the Cruxicogentes Convent of St Decodence in Donegal. Now Sister Ethel moistens the dying nun’s brow and (recalling King David) reads her verses from the Kama Sutra. To no avail.

The undeniable fall of Mandible Winkworth.

It is not very often that Telemachus, Hedre and Tom Purdue find themselves together in the same place, a fact which amuses Lucien when he sees them attending the International Pseudoenquiry Book Fair in Hamburg. Lucien tweets this fact to Mandible Winkworth who is also currently in Germany at the Flowering of Bach Annual Horticultural, Maths and Music Festival in Eisenach (of which he is the Patron). Sadly he again has an accident, falling down the stairs of the Bergfried tower at the symbolic Wartburg Castle. A collection is made when news of the accident reaches the residents of Seven Dials.

Malvolio goes Geo-Wriiting

Outside the local Coffee House Malvolio Claxendell is uncertain. Which way does he need to go to cross the Seven Dials roundabout? By the Great Elm he bumps into Sister Frida. They share an uncomfortable moment as they wait for the traffic to ease, and are then obstructed from crossing by a line of chattering school children in yellow polo shirts. Eventually they reach the far side, and Sister Frida looks nervously at Claxendell. ‘Are you still thinking of taking the Convent to court?’ He glares at her. ‘Not if you give me back my Daguerreotype!’ They go their separate ways.

The February Revolution and the birth of Missikin.

Hedre and Tabitha are arguing about the Regency pile. Hedra has commissioned a survey, which has highlighted the extent of subsidence and woodworm. Tabitha says the building is nevertheless worth preserving. During the subsequent stand-off, Felix Karlosoroff takes the property off the market. When he tells his partner Frab, the normally placid counter-tenor storms off, and goes to visit the ailing Sister Missikin, who is dreaming of the spires of Petrograd, where she was born during the February Revolution (March 1917). Her father was a close friend of Alexander Kerensky, and she often visited the Russian statesman’s grave in Putney Vale.

Decomposition (the amended script)

Shakespeare once asked himself, ‘What if the Hodge conjecture were true?’ He rewrote the final lines of Hamlet’s soliloquy, which then read, ‘Soft you now, fair Ophelia. The locus of all points on thy base where, O Nymph, the cohomology of thy fibre, in thy Orisons, is a Hodge class, then (be all my sins remembered) thy subset is algebraic.’ According to Henry Irving this version was a runaway successs in the Lyceum performance when Ellen Terry played the ghost of Mrs Lobochevsky. Yesterday Frab Lotus, joint-owner of Zangwill’s Bazaar of Curiosities, acquired the original amended script annotated by Ellen Terry.uzuli, and Bob Dylan. Simon de Montfort (the son) would have been proud.

The answer, my friend, is a lonely aeolian.

Telemachus strides across the hills, and from the ridge spots the site of the Battle of Lewis (1264) which Henry III handled rather poorly. Then, jumping forward 250 years he recalls that the last British king that died in battle was in fact James IV of Scotland. What was odd was that (to be honest) James should have won the Battle of Flodden. Perhaps he was in a pickle, or pixilated (no, not pixelated). Far in the distance, Telemachus spots a lonely aeolian and thinks of the Azeri poet, Fuzuli, and Bob Dylan. Simon de Montfort (the son) would have been proud.

C’est la Daguerreotype – the name is there.

In the garden of the Institute, Malvolio Claxendell is working on his survey. He has reached Volume 20 of the complete works of Leonardo da Vinci, and is now collating details of the technology available in 1848. His study is however disturbed by the racket of a noisy demonstration against the new roundabout at Seven Dials. He goes out and sees amongst the protesters Sister Frida who is showing the Victoria daguerreotype to Loretta Cordian. He asks where she acquired it, and points out his name emblazoned along the left edge. “That was stolen from my attic last year,” he insists.

Victoriana at Zangwill’s Bazaar

The sun is beating down as Sister Ethel and Sister Frida leave the convent grounds for their daily constitutional. They cross the roadworks at Seven Dials, and as they pass Zangwill’s Bazaar of Curiosities, Frida spots an old daguerreotype of Queen Victoria in a pewter frame. This would be an ideal gift for the ailing Sister Missikin, who has a collection of Victoriana.  They haggle over the price with Cortally Bakewell (joint owner of the Bazaar) and agree on seventeen pounds including VAT. (Frida does not know that it only cost Bakewell three pounds, and VAT is not due on antiques).

Demosthenes and Lysias overdo inventio, dispositio, elocutio and memoria – but are okay with actio.

We now meet Felix Karlosoroff, wandering anxiously along the beach. He lives in a Regency pile which he can no longer afford to maintain.  His partner, Frab (short for Ferabdurus Lotus), has persuaded him to relocate to a small mews studio (near that of Yevgeny Huxtable), but the move depends on selling the pile. So he worries as he wanders, and he comes across the diminutive figure of Tabitha Atributeho, who by chance is looking for a property. He invites her to view the large, loved, but sadly dilapidated building, and she falls in love with it. All looks very promising.

The Library at Pollards Hill

Pollards Hill had never looked so serene and beautiful. The Astorian bookseller trotted up to the library through the peaceful rural lanes, and in the surrounding meadows newborn lambs gambolled in the summer sun.  The bookseller carried a rare copy of Mendel, the roman-a-clef by Gregory Cannan. The librarian  offered him six old shillings for it.  Several years later a Mr. Will Potter borrowed the book from the library but forgot to return it, so that it was eventually inherited by his grand-daughter, Missikin, who now lies listlessly in bed listening while Yamima reads extracts from the book.

Global Brickworks celebrates the Centenary

There are special prayers this evening at the Convent to commemorate the Battle of Grossbeeren, when (200 years ago today) the Prussians (under Von Bülow)  repulsed the French army.  Of course Napoleon was furious (you know what he was like).  Today at the Old Chapel Arts Centre Rev. Lanzarote is arranging a memorial ceilidh to celebrate the life of Sacco and Vanzetti who (despite dubious evidence) were executed on this day in 1927. And today Global Brickworks Arts are mounting the centennial project of the famous 1913 Hull Fair, the year when on August 23rd citywide celebrations greeted a new arrival.

Togidubnus and the Obelisms

 Undoubtedly Togidubnus (Ruler of the Regni) was a pragmatic opportunist. His (assumed) unrecorded relationship with Claudia Ruffina was the cause of much gossip in the market-place.  Unbeknownst to the Regnirex however this gossip was described in detail in an exquisite parchment document (with obelisms) that two thousand years later resurfaced at Zangwill’s Bazaar of Curiosities at Seven Dials, where it was purchased by Tabitha Atributeho.  When she and Hedre  had the scroll valued it was worth so much that they decided to sell it, and buy a retirement studio where they could devote their mature years to fine arts and crafts.

Ptolomy and the Horn of Plenty

Loretta, the most popular of Madam Cosima’s young ladies, is a firm believer in the astrology of Ptolomy. Dedicating his observations to Syrus (a devotee of Sufi Incidentalism) the old philosopher arranged the planets into pairs of opposites, categorising them as  benefic (moderately warming or moistening) or malefic (excessively cooling or drying); masculine (drying) or feminine (moistening); active and diurnal (suited to the qualities of the day and aligned with the nature of the Sun) or passive and nocturnal (suited to the qualities of the night and aligned with the nature of the Moon). Loretta being born in Twickenham is benefic. is no longer valid, and Hedre insurance is not yet valid.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Missikin’s Recovery (but will it last?)

Yamima thinks that Sister Missikin is sleeping too much in her final days. As she leaves (after cleaning the cell) she puts the latest Scabby Felix album on the CD player. Later Missikin’s carers – Sister Ethel and Sister Frida – find her smiling and tapping, appetite restored and her mood a trifle over-elevated.  Is this because of Ahmed’s herbal remedy, or (as Frida thinks) the clashing discords of Iron Grunge? Sister Ethel receives a text message from Madam Cosima next door at the personal services agency. Would the sisters please turn down the music as it is disturbing her girls at work.

בלוט איז נישט קיין וואַסער – The Dream of Telemachus

In the old Dao Legend. Ch’ung-yang stands on a towering outcrop overlooking the straits where Dongzhen, the Master, sails in the Boat of Light. The Master does not know that the vessel is heading near treacherous rocks, for he is fleeing from the forces of the Raging Dragon. On the far side of the straits, Zuanshi, the prophet-philosopher, fears for all traffic along these waters. He calls to warn the Master, but Dongzhen preoccupied with his flight assumes that Zuanshi is a Dragon-worshipper, and tacks to the right towards the rocks. At that moment Telemachus wakes. It was but a dream.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Daughter of the Man from the Land of Uz

Yamima (an honoured member of a women’s masonic lodge) has a part-time morning Job at Moudi’s.  In the afternoons she cleans the cell of Sister Missikin, at 96 the oldest nun at the convent.  As she leaves the café, Ahmed gives her a herbal remedy for Missikin’s digestion problem. As she leaves Yamima passes Sister Gertrude who coincidentally is carrying an illustrated fragment of a document which was removed (last April) from the 11th century manuscript of ‘Moralia in Job’ (by Saint Gregory), a treasure of the Abbey of Saint-Pierre at Préaux, Normandy. Gertrude tells Ahmed that Sister Missikin is ailing.

Scabby Felix inhabits noman’s land…

This Tuesday Rosetta does not appear at the usual time, and Sister Gertrude gets chatting with Hedre who has returned to the Dials with an unlikely suntan, and sporting gaudy holiday gear (plus a Paxtonian beard). Her gossip intrigues him as it encompasses the recent behaviour of Rev. Lanzarotte and a certain young lady, the provocative performance of the Toy Sprouts Dance Troupe at the Old Chapel Arts Centre, and the stunning new album by Scabby Felix that is steadily climbing the charts.  As she talks, Hedre busily scribbles down her words for his column in Floreat Hove, the local rag.

Gelink’s Thesis

When Malvolio Claxendell visited the reading room at the Institute of Lyrian Archeology he discovered a nineteenth century thesis by Vladislav Gelink. This posited the idea that Leonardo da Vinci had levels of technical knowledge that far exceeded what was at the time culturally and scientifically possible, and that he had therefore somehow discovered the concept of time-travel. This idea had been around before, but in this paper Gelink indicated, point by point the pre-existing knowledge necessary for each of Leonardo’s inventions to work. Claxendell is now undertaking a survey to discover the precise date to which Leonardo travelled.

There are other illustrated manuscripts

Ahmed has noticed that each week Gertrude brings a different illustration, each more revealing than the one before. He can no longer restrain his curiosity and asks the nun. She explains, “These are from the Tyrian scrolls. The complete Uncial collection. The convent’s most valuable possession. At that moment, Madam Cosima sweeps in. Gertrude hastily slips the manuscript under the table. “Rosetta, I have a gentleman who wishes to have a word.”  Meekly Rosetta follows her out. Ahmed asks to have another look, but Sister Gertrude is most discreet, but offers to bring him some less valuable but more salacious manuscripts.

The ornamental goblet of Diane de Poitiers

Mandible Winkworth wanders into Moudi’s to purchase some of Ahmed’s exotic tisane.  He is holding a brass ornament, which he has just bought at Zangwill’s Bazaar of Curiosities. Ahmed examines it, and declares it to be worthless. Neither of them knew that it was made for Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II of France.  On his death it was reclaimed by Henry’s wife, Catherine de Medici. Authentication is in a parchment roll, hidden in the base of the ornament. It is worth nearly £45000. Winkworth gives the ornament to Reverend Lanzarote as a donation for the forthcoming Jumble Sale.

We’ll meet again

Ahmed is puzzled by the unusual alliance formed between Sister Gertrude of the Order of the Purple Relic, and Rosetta, the most demure of Madam Cosima’s young ladies. They meet on Tuesday mornings, and sit in earnest conversation until lunchtime. He had wondered if the Sister was evangelising, but her raucous laughter suggested otherwise. This morning Rosetta has returned the ‘Best of Vera Lynn’ CD that Gertrude loaned her, and Gertrude brings out another illuminated parchment manuscript. They both lean forward to examine it and giggle. Ahmed catches a glimpse of an extremely suggestive image of excessive intimacy among three people.

Danish Oranges and Lemons

There is an old illustrated manuscript in the Convent of Theodora (of the order of Cruxicogentes) next to Moudi’s Emporium.  This manuscript, the Liber Pontificalis (which documents Papal history), states that Saint Clement (who originally asserted the authority of Bishops as Rulers of the Church) personally knew Saint Peter. Clement (the patron saint of the Cruxicogentes) bears as a symbol the anchor (related to his martyrdom) for he was tied to an anchor and drowned in the Black Sea at the start of the reign of  Trajan, in the year 101 ad. (The nuns and Mme Cosima’s ladies all love him).

Monday, 2 September 2013

Moudi’s Emporium

In 1841 the opening of the Brighton Main Line railway led to the residential development of Seven Dials in Hove. In 1848, Mr Montague Hamilton built a small terrace of three semi-commercial units that are now at the heart of the neighbourhood. The High Down Bakery occupied the central edifice for seventy years. It is in this building that Moudi’s Emporium is now located. To the south is Madame Cosima’s personal services agency (an upmarket brothel), and to the north stands the small convent of Theodora (of the order of Cruxicogentes). From these two establishments Ahmed draws his ‘most regular customers’.

Ahmed’s Tantric Tisane

The scene shifts to the other side of Seven Dials. Here the zeitgeist differs somewhat from that of Claxendell’s cronies. Opposite the Great Elm is Moudi’s – run by Ahmed, son of the original patron Mahmoud Savi.  The Emporium is popular in the neighbourhood, even though it can’t match the facilities of the local Coffee House.  It has three tables where customers can imbibe thick Turkish coffee with cardamom, cinnamon tea or Ahmed’s own tisane of exotic herbs, which he calls Tantric Iftar. The café sits uncomfortably wedged between two neighbouring buildings, from where nevertheless it draws its ‘most regular customers’.