Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom. (H. L. Mencken)


Last year we were amused at the antics of a crow in our garden, and I composed this haiku -

a crow on the bird
feeder does acrobatics
to reach the suet

This year we have a squirrel who is a trapeze artist. (I haven’t thought up a haiku so far.)


These familiar words were written by Ben Johnson (1572-1637). I don’t expect younger people will know the song, but I remember I sang it one year at a Sunday School party.

Drink to me only with thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine.
Or leave a kiss within the cup
And I'll not ask for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove's nectar sip,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much hon'ring thee
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be;
But thou thereon did'st only breathe,
And sent'st it back to me,
Since when it grows and smells, I swear
Not of itself, but thee.


This week’s painting is “The Jewish Bride” by Rembrandt (1606-1669)


Very few folk today will remember the name Christopher Stone. I was very young when he was “on the wireless.” He was the BBC’s first disc jockey.

Some time in the mid 1920s he had approached the BBC with the offer of playing gramophone records on the air. This was quite a novel suggestion, and the powers-that-be didn‘t think it would be popular. So the idea was rejected.

However they must have had second thoughts, for in 1927 this Army major began regular broadcasts playing records of light music. He soon became popular, for his manner was much more relaxed than the stiffness of the announcers of that time.

After some years on Radio Luxembourg and then Radio Lyons, he re-joined the BBC. In 1941 he created a serious incident when he broadcast birthday congratulations to Victor Emmanuel the King of Italy, adding “I don’t think any of us here wish him anything but good, poor soul!” Now, remember, we were at war with Italy!

Christopher got a telling-off, but the Senior Controller of programmes was sacked, and there followed a major tightening-up of rules about what could be said on the air.


For many years the names of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth were well-known in opera, musicals, radio and records, and here they are singing the main theme from “The Merry Widow” by Franz Lehar. Webster Booth died in 1983 aged 82, and Anne Ziegler’s death was in 2003 when she was 93.


It’s astonishing to realise that Rubik’s Cube first came on the scene in 1980. Invented by a Hungarian sculptor/architect Emo Rubik, its popularity soon spread around the world. I was amused by this little video. .


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