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For Lindy and All Who Asked How My Birthday was going

August 13, 2019

Thanks for the good wishes and my best to your Mum on her 93rd and to you for having to handle it!

Alas the weather didn’t quite co-operate. I went out for about half an hour last night hunting shooting stars but all I caught was a slight sore throat from the cold night air. I keep telling myself that  one year, one year! I’m going to get myself organised enough to go where there’s no light pollution and spend the night of the Perseids shower celebrating my birthday in style. But this year wasn’t it. What with me going to the games convention Handycon at the weekend (1) and one thing and another it wasn’t to be.

Instead I took myself to a nice but tiny restaurant in Marlow where I treated myself to their ‘Lunchtime Gourmand Menu’. I nearly  didn’t because to me ‘gourmand’ implies eating far too much. Whereas what they gave me was a large number of courses but with smaller portions than if I had ordered their a la carte or set menu and with wines selected to go with the meal (and introduced by a cute young lady who told me what I might expect to taste: dammit now I wish  I’d written down the names of the wines…). It was lovely from the ‘amuse bouche’ to the ‘panna cotta’ and I must see if I can do it again some year. My brother and sister in law are taking me to a posh place in Radnage for their ‘tasting’ menu when I get back.

There was a fellow at a nearby table who used the phrase ‘our Polish friends’ in that jolly but defamatory way. And I thought “I bet he reads the DAILY TELEGRAPH.”

This was what sprang to mind because there had been a question on Quora (my favoured internet pontificating platform) about what British people think about  the Torygraph and I was thinking of answering it. When I got home I tried to use the incident in my answer… and discovered that I have what can only be an irrational prejudice against the publication. I haven’t read it since I was bored and without reading material one day  in the nineties. I picked up a copy of the TELEGRAPH someone had left lying around and found myself reading to my astonishment that John Major was an orator for the ages and bound to be a great asset to the Tories in the upcoming election. I put it down under the conviction that it was clearly  a newspaper for lunatics. And the fact that Major won the next election has not dissuaded me of this conviction. But when I came to write it down as a formal answer it seemed mean spirited and close minded of me so I didn’t bother. (2)

I read and approve of your exercise and diet program. It would be nice if the difficulty I have had getting into some of my shirts when I was deciding what to pack for Dublin inspired me to get back on the diet… Perhaps it will. After the Worldcon. Perhaps.

I envy you the chance to refurbish your place and tremble at the responsibility  of owning property. It’s just as well it isn’t a temptation for me but only a fantasy.

As to reading I just finished CIVIL WAR: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms by Trevor Royle which was massive and told me a lot more than Christopher Bloody Hill did back when we were doing the seventeenth century for A-Level. Everything from the Scots throwing their prayer stools at the Bishop to Samuel Pepys going to see Major General Harrison hung, drawn and quartered ‘and he looking as cheerful as a man could under those circumstances’.

And then I read a John M. Ford fantasy ‘The Last Hot Time’ which is beautifully written if rather light. The elegiac tone might be because Mike Ford was dying when he wrote it. (Goes and checks the facts… Hmm he died (very young) six years after this book was published.) The poems he composed to be the lyrics of the songs sung in the nightclub are just lovely and I would like to think someone has the good taste to give them music.

And as to writing… This is what I’ve managed to do today. I think I’ll go and post it on WordPress for the enjoyment of a greater public.



  1. Which was fun and allowed me to shift a large number of games I’m never going to play again and replace them with more games…. I also came down with something that made my nights sweaty and unpleasant… But went away with extra strength LemSip once I recognised what was wrong with me. I expect to come down with two or three varieties of Con Crud in Dublin. Note to self: pack some Lem-Sip….
  2. There is further evidence of the narrowness and prejudice of my political judgement in the astonishment I felt when I first heard that Ken Livingstone was a rising light in the Labour Party right after first seeing him interviewed.
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