Thursday, 31 October 2013


Ophelia Hedre is finishing her daunting ordeal. Now, protected from the winter's keen tooth, she can face the world with the satisfaction of achievement. She visits Wosni Galbraith (the curator of the Institute of Lyrian Archeology and Kabbalah scholar) who greets her thus: 'Blessings upon your knees, may you see the face of the king.  Be aware than the Qabbala weaves connections between 'blessings'(ברכות) and 'knees'(ברכיים).' She is puzzled, and asks in reply 'Who is this guy called Wry Mo, who has a famous Irish Grandmother?'  To this the sage again responds, 'Words are only letters, and letters are only words.'

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Balfour Graffiti

The storm passes and the locals gather around the scraggy once-proud roundabout to check the welfare of the Great Elm. Here and there a minor branch has disappeared, as have many of the leaves, but essentially the tree is intact. A collective sigh of relief. Loretta finishes painting graffiti outside the post-office before hurrying off to continue her current research into the Balfour Declaration (1926) which defined the role of the British monarch as symbolic head of the Commonwealth, and the autonomy of nations within that framework. She can’t understand why this so upsets the inhabitants of the Middle East.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Spot the Apostroph

In the new spirit of openness, Sister Veracitude invites Chattalot and Winkworth to discuss the Secret Texts of the Convent. Both the awakened kaballist and the conscious pataphysician (hence the apostroph) try not to desire, but to elevate the value of the world they adapt themselves to by the way they consider it. (This teddy-bear of a quote from MAYBE QUARTERLY 2.1 is cited by Sister Bebarabilia when she gives her emotional vote of thanks). The unusual archeological commentator and the quirky curator of archeology  later quench their thirst with an excellent mulled brew at the 'Never a True Word' snug.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Winkworth remembers Harrison

What lies beyond the realm of metaphysics?  Obviously this is where we enter the realm of Pataphysics which Alfred Jarry (1873–1907) described as "the science of imaginary solutions".  He wasn't alone. Amongst others who considered the symbolic links between the properties of objects and their lineaments was Boris Vian, singer-songwriter-philosopher-engineer-novelist who penned the controversial peace song 'The Deserter'. For many years he lived with his partner, Ursula Kübler, in the shadow of the Moulin Rouge.  However according to Mandible Winkworth  it was Legrand, Bergman and Bergman who wrote 'Like a circle in a spiral Like a wheel within a wheel'.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Jueju poetry - you either like it or hate it.

Augustus Albi has restarted his Creaive Thuikining class, now focussing on Writing. Yamima is writing poetry, and so far has come up with a single line ‘Rough winds do keel the greasy pot’.  Balustrade Chattalot is sure he has heard these words before, perhaps in some past remembrance of sweet silent thought.  He himself is turning his hand to Jueju ( 絕句; literally: "broken off lines"), a style of jintishi poetry that was popular among Chinese poets in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It consists of a matched pair of couplets, with each line consisting of five or seven syllables.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Here's looking at you kid.

One is so used to seeing Telemachus striding across the wood-engraved hills that it comes as a shock to see him stumble slowly into the local coffee shop where he orders a mint and nettle tisane.  He has just returned from Casablanca where he contracted a local infection. He smiles shyly as he describes the problems he had with his travel permit. Winkworth is puzzled for he has read a similar story about Albert Camus. Although he preferred football to philosophy, Camus believed that the absence of religious belief can simultaneously be accompanied by a longing for salvation and meaning.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Sister Veracitude has decided that the ways of the convent are too fixed, and that if the community is to survive they will need to introduce innovation regardless of need (a common misconception to which not only governments are prone). She decides therefore to formalise the links that have been established between the sisters and ladies next door. She therefore asks Mandible Winkworth to arrange a meeting between herself and Madam Cosima. The two women discover a shared interest in the Book of Pleasant Journeys into Faraway Lands, or الآفاق اختراق في المشتاق نزهة (most often known as the Tabula Rogeriana).

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Book of Atsilut (ספר אצילות)

Sister Gertrude’s mission was successful, and the two residual cats (Rethenu and Djhai) are duly rehoused in the two-home solution. But the manuscript of the Book of Atsilut remains with Sister Gertrude who every now and then peeps at an enticing pasuk. By the end of the week she is completely engrossed in kabbalah but the resulting emotion gives her a fever. By Monday morning she is running a high temperature and feels like a Soaked Sponge. Sister Perfectry tries to cure her with tarot cards. She sits with her and draws out a card. It is the Ace of Wands.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Masereel as Velltisch Reelism

When Zebedee Thurlough, landlord of the 'Never a True Word' pub, advertised for a part-time bar assistant, he was overwhelmed by the number of applicants.  Eventually he appointed Yamima, who now works full time at Moudis, but still needs a few extra evening hours to pay for her Art Degree.

She is specialising in printing techniques, and is studying the woodcuts of Frans Masereel. She hopes to create a modern velltisch version of 'Mon Livre d'Heures' with lino cuts for her degree. However she must also write a dissertation so today she is interviewing Madam Cosima (who knew Masereel in Saarbrücken).

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Solomon's Way - Catch up (3)

Yadidiah predicts that 'The Way will be' (Solomon was famously trained in the Dao). When Gertrude returns to the convent it transpires therefore that the fattest cat, Khuru,has died. The nuns assemble for a special mass. Of the remaining nuns, only Sister Maleze still speaks fluent Latin (due to her frequent bouts of depression and her penchant for sacrimental wine, Gertrude calls her the Blue Nun). Sisters Porigamy, Metamoreful and Gretal are all bound by an oath of silence, Sister Perfectry is a little strange, and Sister Bebarabilia is from Huddersfield, so only Veracitude, Gertrude and Sister O'Higgins are really normal.

J'irai cracher sur vos tombes

Ethel is shocked by Vian’s novel, ‘J'irai cracher sur vos tombes’, which she borrowed from Sister Gertrude. Unlike her erstwhile co-nun, for Gertrude life at the convent  is satisfying and comfortable. Basically she does what she wants. However today she is serving her community, and has travelled to the Institute of Lyrian Archeology where Curator Wosni Galbraith has an archive of Kabbalah related documents. Gertrude  is following up an esoteric interpretation of Solomon's judgement (Kings I Verse 3) that is suggested in the lost book of Atsilut, so that she can advise Sister Veracitude in the matter of the three cats. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Beyond the River

The Sisters of the Cruxicogentes Convent of Theodora (Order of the Purple Relic) thought they had overcome the problem of an infestation of mice by acquiring three rotund tabby cats called Rethenu, Djhai and Khuru. Unfortunately the only Sister capable of dealing with the moggies was Sister Frida who as we know has now departed (and is planning what Sister Maleze calls ‘an unholy union’ with ex-Sister Ethel). The remaining Sisters have various cat allergies. Sister Veracitude decides to divide the cats between two local spinsters. The remaining problem is who should receive two and who should receive one, and which. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Erotic Woodcuts - Catch up (2)

In these pages, for reasons of modesty (sic),  we have only occasionally mentioned Madam Cosima’s Personal Services Agency (especially the erotic art collection).  Madam Cosima herself was born in Saarbrücken where her father taught at the Art school together with Frans Masereel the illustrator who can justifiably regarded as the father of the illustrated wordless novel.  Loretta has received copies of Masereel’s 1919 ‘Passionate Journey’ and the 1592 English edition of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili from a secret admirer who is aware of her interest in woodcuts. Rosetta however has lavishly coloured illuminated manuscripts she has borrowed from the convent.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Afarn. Seatre!

During the restoration works at the Regency Pile, Malvolio Claxendell is staying in a small (bijou) b&b.  Although it is comfortable, each night at about 2.30 am he is woken by the same loud farewell conversation.
He cannot sleep trying to interpret the message. Tonight, to divert himself, he works on a new idea. Behind the Pile is a plot of land ideal for an open air theatre. He sketches some designs, then turns to the glass of iced vodka that awaits him.  As he falls asleep he works out the message.
‘Have fun.’
‘See you later.’

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Rough winds – catch up (1)

Let us catch up, and see where everyone is, as the rough autumn winds begin to shake the boughs of the Great Elm.

Ethel and Frida, are pondering whether to postpone their civil partnership, and wait till they can get married. Hedre and Tabitha are settling into their new studio. Malvolio Claxendell is plastering the walls of the Regency Pile, while its previous owners, (in their new mews apartment) Felix Karlosoroff and Frab Lotus are entertaining Yevgeny Huxtable, the Rev. Lanzarotte and Ahmed Savi who are planning a musical soiree. Suddenly Frab gets a call from his business associate Cortally Bakewell.

Friday, 11 October 2013

It’s raining in my heart (KK)

The seasons change, and the nights draw in. In the salons of Seven Dials the locals gather around the crackling logs, and watch Television videos.

Television was, of-course, an early post-punk group formed in the late 70s by Tom Verlaine when he was dating Patti Smith. He took the name of the French poet, Paul Verlaine, whose volume, ‘Chansons pour elle’, is the autumnal present that Ethel has bought for Frida from Yifitsin Print Bookshop. As the rain begins to fall, Frida flings open the window and repeats the verse, ‘Il pleure dans mon Coeur Comme il pleut sur la ville.’

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Thane of Baile na Drochai

Far to the north, the Thane of Baile na Drochaid is pondering the systemic implications of Internal Markets in large organisations.
Inspired by the yeasty air of Glasgow Green, he decides to communicate with Demon Baal, the enigmatic Ngamara of Lords. Speeding past a stationary observer, he finds a rare telephone box, and calls his colleague. They discuss the political situation, and the state of the modern novel, and only when they have said goodbye does the Thane remember that he didn't mention the socio-structural problem. But he has worked out how many tea drinkers it takes to change a lightbulb.  

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Come the day, cometh the van.

Today Hedre and Tabitha move into their comfortable and spacious studio apartment that just a short while ago was the meditative cell of the late Sister Missikin of hallowed memory. They clean throughout then start the process of home-building. The white van they have hired is still half-full when they finish, so in a fit of abandoned renewal they drive it to the dump and discard half their life.  The priority is arranging the pictures - but they squabble over what to do with the Jack Vettriano prints, and end up going to the 'Never a True Word' pub instead.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Tevye and the madeleines

Ethel has decided to study French literature (much of which was previously forbidden reading when she was a nun).  She starts (under the tutelage of Balustrade Chattalot) with Proust, who she thinks is an odd character, obsessed with very small sponge cakes made from génoise cake batter. 

Ethel doesn’t like madeleines, so she doesn’t know that they were named after Madeleine Paulmier who cooked for Stanisław Leszczyński, the King of Poland who was born in Lvov. When he abdicated (1736) he founded the Académie de Stanislas at Lunéville, and devoted his life to science. Sholem Aleichem was also born in Lvov.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Sharing Elderberry Wine in Truffle

An Albanian friend has lent Tom Purdue a donkey,  and he is following an old neolithic pathway to the coast. Essentially it is a dirt-track but it is associated with the Parsifal legend. Leaving the delights of Giverny, Tom travels to the twin villages of Duffle and Truffle, to meet the venerable Rabbi Oud Ramonides who is taking the waters. The two men sit in a bar sipping sweet elderberry wine, and discussing the difficulties of looking after donkeys in the modern age. Oud has a  cousin in Spain who works for a donkey sanctuary, but she has profound spiritual problem.