Friday, May 2, 2014

Suppose it were Friday xciv: Casual is a relative term

    We have casual Fridays,
    we have take-your-daugh-
    ter to work Fridays; we
    probably have bring-your
    own-St-Émilion Fridays.
    Just yesterday, we had
    the annual workingman's
    day, and suddenly anoth-
    er Friday. What an en-
    lightened calendar, we
    do live by.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What did a country house weekend do for Tom?

I take it that as you have 
come alone
you have been unsuccessful.

Not at all.
I have come to remind you - 
you have made a decision.

Are you thinking that I
have changed my mind?

No. You will not be ready
to change your mind
Until you recover from
having made a decision.

I sometimes wonder, how our
reading represents a series
of decisions about texts al-
most as much as writing does.

The Little Augury blog enab-
led this question to be re-
freshed in a posting on the
30th, of several estimable
writers as they appear in a
scrapbook of a noted country
house. I take the liberty of
reading that information in
this way, but it deserves a
glance from everyone.

For my part, I'm simply glad
of an excuse to revisit an
artist I've cited extensive-
ly, with a frustration I've
found invigorating, of ever
being sure I've been right.
In this state I think one
finds the natural pitch of

T.S. Eliot
1888 - 1965
The Cocktail Party
  A Comedy
  I, iii
Harcourt, Brace, 1950©

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I remember, Geordie's birthday is today

to me, was born 29 April
in the Santa Ynez valley,
not far from the seaside
town where I summered as
a boy. Geordie helped me
to raise Robbie and Whit,
and then there was a gap
before Thorny. The first
such gap, between Geor-
die's whelping and join-
ing me on Russian Hill,
expired on Bastille Day,
serving notice of Cham-
pagne's continuing elo-
quence, while acquaint-
ing me with a maxim to
which I've ever since
gladly adhered: never
inflict a great vintage
upon a great occasion,
for nothing could be 
more symmetrically su-

   For those of us who find it useful
   to make periodic audits of our lives,
   it is probably common ground that we
   soon discover that for the exercise
   to be challenging does not necessarily
   require it to be morbid; we also learn
   that while there is real value in ask-
   ing the question, 'Why am I doing this?'
   there is not always a neat and comfor-
   table answer; I don't think that matters.

   Let no one think I am laying claim to
   have done anything important. I am un-
   wavering in my belief that [mine] is
   essentially an ephemeral affair; frivol-
   ous, even. That for me is part of its at-
   traction and its romance .. closely bound
   up with pleasure; both the giving and the
   taking of pleasure.

rmbl, a project I do not think of as a blog, is a manifestation of a taste for the lark, which Jo-han Huizinga had the wit to historicise in Homo Ludens (1938), not the ideal year for promulgating the primacy of the spirit of play in culture. The lark is never afforded an inter-val, however; its char-acter is to interrupt.

I observe a timely interval
of comparative silence this
May, not that it's any more
possible to restrain Huizin-
ga's antic herald, than it
is to enhance his song with
Champagne. In his silence I
still don't doubt his trill.

Hugh Cavendish
A Time to Plant
  Life and Gardening
 at Holker
op. cit.

ii  Photo Hedi Slimane

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fiduciary metrics, revisited

At a Christ Church [College,
Oxford] Governing Body Meet-
ing, when the investment of
college capital was being
discussed, someone advocated
the general principle of in-
vestment in land, since for
300 years this had always
proved profitable. 

'But you must remember', 
interposed Hutchinson, the 
Treasurer, 'that the last 
300 years have been a very 
exceptional period.'

Hugh Trevor-Roper
December, 1942
The Wartime Journals