June 30, 2010

The V&A, part two


But first, a message from our sponsor: 


 . . . or at least chippings to mulch the flower borders.  Got back to the cottage last night to a message from the Tree Man.  He’d had the unofficial okay from the Arboreal Department** of the county council some weeks back but the paperwork has only just come through.  YAAAAAAAY.  22 July is the day I am to be rid of this turbulent . . . I mean this ungleblarging tree.*** 

            And then the fun begins.  The unofficial word was that the Arboreal Department would like to see another more suitable tree take Mr Ugly Tree Monster’s place, but I want a tree there, I just want some other tree.  Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’† is presently at the top of the list of possibilities.  Although I will have to consult about planting a new tree where an old one has just come out.  I don’t fancy replacing 1,000,000,000 cubic yards of soil to get rid of the traces of Mr Ugly. 

Meanwhile, back at the V&A:  This is the music stand I want.††

A rude bagpiper††† would so improve my artistic focus.‡



[Oh.  Flapdoodle.  I’ve only just noticed:  you’re going to have to click the Foot Photo big to be able to read the label about the rude bagpiper.  Hmm.  You may have to big-up the lecturn photo as well to see him.] 

[Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah . . . nearly there . . . ]

But the thing I have to tell you about is this. 

http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/architecture/smallspaces/index.html ‡‡

We only saw two of them and only got photos of one, but they are so absolutely fantastically fabulous I may have to go back before the show closes and find the other ones. 

Here’s the one we got photos of:


You climb up the ladder into its belly (you have to take your shoes off first), and there’s a tea kettle on the tiny grate in the infinitesimal fireplace and a built-in bench along the wall, and a table, and you want to pull out your notebook or your laptop‡‡‡ and settle in. 

It doesn’t actually get any more fabulous than this, but the other small built space tried:  it’s a tiny multi-storey ‘house’ made of bookshelves.  (There are reasonably evocative photos on the exhibition site.)  It’s just big enough around to contain its endlessly-turning-another-corner staircase§ and the rest is just . . . books.  Every ‘floor’ has a tiny two-seat-if-you’re-friendly padded bench tucked between the bends of the staircase and the rest is just . . . books.  The backs of the shelves have a single narrow board discouraging anything from falling outward onto the heads of the passersby, but for the rest, they’re all open, so you can peer through from either side.  And the books are all paperbacks, just ordinary paperbacks of the sort of thing ordinary people read.  Terry Pratchett, not The 1918 Index of the Proceedings of the Cathartic Knee Sock Society.  Cathy said she was sure there was a McKinley title in there somewhere if we only had the time to look.  We didn’t find one but it could have been there.  It was that kind of collection.

            And finally a random photo of Peter and me.  We took Cathy out to the local pub with the best food, the Hammerklavier and Rosebush, on the Mottisfont evening.  You may recognise the t shirt.  And the belt.

* * *


* The bad hell.  Not the nice hellhound hell.  Or even the dubiously unsafe but entertaining hellgoddess hell.  The bad hell. 

** A kind of small down-market Lothlorien.  The flets are covered with linoleum to protect them against the office furniture, and power, including wireless internet connection, is run off discreetly disguised solar panels, although the staff is expected to take their laptops home overnight and charge off the mains.  

*** Note that by the evening of the 21st of July I will have wound myself up into a fever of terminal guilt.  It’s not the tree’s fault it’s three hundred and twelve feet tall and ugly


†† I neeeed an inspirational music stand.  Blondel keeps harping on about stuff like passion and commitment.  A song is not a shopping list, he says.  Think about what the words mean.  —Gah.  I asked him if he had any advice about learning ‘off copy’ in his quaint phrase since one of the things that always happens to me even when I am reading^ it off the page, is that as soon as the accompaniment starts I go to pieces and lose my place.  He was silent a moment and then said, Believe that you’re right and then . . . jump off the precipice.

            Oh.  Thanks.  I feel better already.

 ^ Well . . . ‘reading’ 

††† Not only are these shoes deeply cute, but they are as comfortable as All Stars. 

 ‡ And passion, commitment, and precipice-jumping.

 ‡‡ I bet their luxury eco-friendly tree house holiday does not have lino on its floors.

 ‡‡‡ Or your iPhone

 § Being a bell ringer accustomed to climbing endless twisty bell tower stairs is valuable experience.

The V&A, part one


Today just vaporised.   It did not start well when the birds were singing and the sky was already blue and hot when I finally got to bed* this—er—morning.   Hellhounds and I went out for a sort of floppy lurch—IT’S TOO HOT.  HAVE I MENTIONED RECENTLY THAT IT’S TOO HOT?—and then I hit my desk and opened my email and—GAAAAAAH—there has got to be a better way to keep up with your friends than visits.  We’ve now got relatively immediate global text delivery**:  when are we going to be able to pop down to our local for a beer with a hologram of someone who lives four thousand miles away?***

            Meanwhile . . . one of the things that I do not want to forget to tell you about is Cathy’s and my expedition to the V&A—the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.†  The V&A is probably, if I’m only allowed one favourite museum, the one.  And this is probably because it’s so excellently three-dimensional—not just statuary but stuff.  How-people-lived stuff—there are exhibitions on now for ‘Grace Kelly, style icon’ and ‘Quilts, 1700-2010.’††   My impression is that pretty much everybody is on the bandwagon now, but when I was growing up, and when I was first venturing into museums on my own, of the big British and American ones, the V&A was the only museum who was upfront and unapologetic about its interest in stuff like beds and wallpaper and tools and shoes. 

            You can’t anything like get round it in a short afternoon, made shorter in this case by the tour we received from a museums-as-educators colleague of Cathy’s, during which they talked shop and I eavesdropped and thought (a) geezum dranglefab the money involved in all this and (b) engaging with the public is engaging with the public, be it via writing books or running museums. 

           So we sprinted.  The architectural studies for the hypothetical redevelopment of a bit of outdoor courtyard of the V&A were interesting in the wrong way—they brought out a kind of meta-dollhouse response in both of us, and I fear we ruined the transcendent contemplation of a very serious young man who was the only other person in the room at the time.  And if the V&A decide to use any of the plans for real, I hope they do not choose the Cthulhu Has Landed one.           

Person grappling with the semi-interactive info on St Margaret and her dragon.   http://is.gd/d8g5o   During which the person learns that St Margaret is one of the saints of childbirth, despite her having died a virgin†††, because of the bit about being swallowed by a dragon.  Given that she does the dragon serious damage getting out again I think, were I a woman in labour, I’d address some other saint.  Furthermore I think most of the dragons look friendly.  Sportive and helldragony. 

            Cathy did some muttering about non-linear presentation and the lack of it—and the difficulty of creating genuinely interactive exhibits.‡  We also cantered through ceramics and paused long enough to fail to build an interactive teapot because the drop-and-drag had burnt out.  But then there was this, which I asked her to write me a paragraph about: 

In the ceramics gallery at the V&A, there’s a little interactive station that’s beautiful in its simplicity.  Its point is to convey the following information:  1. There are different types of ceramics.  2. Each type is made of a different mix of minerals. 3. After they’re fired, you can feel and see the differences between them.
         The station itself consists of a little projecting shelf which is lit from underneath; inset in the shelf are round disks of different types of ceramics, like porcelain and stoneware.  A graphic on top of the shelf surrounding each disk shows you what the ceramic’s made of–% of quartz or silicate or whatever–kind of pie-chart style, so it’s very visually clear what they mean.  You can rub your fingers over the top of each disk to feel its surface and compare it to the others. And you can pass your hand between the light source and the disks, the shadow of your fingers showing you very clearly that porcelain is translucent, while the same thickness of stoneware is opaque, and so on.  Brilliant, simple, and attractive–just what I like in a museum interactive!

 . . . which makes me think about the hair-tearing part of being on a museum staff and seeking to engage the frelling public—because I was still sulking about the teapot and would have walked right past it, which, practical and tactile, is just my sort of thing, if Cathy hadn’t made me pay attention.  This little show-and-tell is so quiet.  You’re busy being dazzled by the sheer crowdedness of a good collection, and something simple and subtle is in danger of being overlooked in the glare (especially if there’s post-failure sulking involved).  It’s perhaps a bit like all those sensitive, detailed descriptions of (say) wallpaper and shoes in the novels we writers break ourselves to write, which no one ever reads because they’re too anxious to find out what happens.

            . . . Frell.  To be continued again.  It’s late, and I have to go practise singing. 

* * *

 * When I got back to the cottage this afternoon there was an envelope that had been put through my door:  ‘a note from a neighbour’ it said.  Uh oh, I thought, blanching, what am I doing that is so horrible that anonymous protest is the only option some one of my reserved British neighbours can imagine?  I try so hard not to scream *&^%$£”):>??###+!!!!!!! at rmmph o’clock in the morning when we’re tiptoeing in from the mews and I’ve just tripped over a hellhound.  Darkness, usually, since he’s rmmph-o’clock-in-the-morning coloured, but Chaos possesses a certain ghostly vertiginousness, especially when he’s feeling jolly and scampery, which he has a repellent habit of doing at unsuitable hours.

            It was from my neighbour-over-the-road.  The eldest daughter is having her twenty-first birthday party next week, and the note was to warn all of us in the immediate vicinity that the noise was liable to go on till one o’clock in the morning.  Fancy.  One a.m.  I’m shocked.  I really am.  What is the younger generation coming to, that a fine healthy exemplar can’t manage to stay up (loudly) past one a.m. on her twenty-first birthday? 

** When it’s in a good mood.   When all the wiring, including the wireless wiring, is connected.  When Mercury is not retrograde and Mars is not in the eleventh house.   And particularly when you’re in the middle of an over-friended fortnight and don’t want it to be working at peak guilt-inducing efficiency. 

*** I can’t remember, does the doc on VOYAGER have a beer with his mates, once he gets around to having mates?  And, even more important, can he carry large boxes of books up and down stairs? 


†† Cathy bought the exhibition catalogue for the quilts and I bought THE SUBVERSIVE STITCH, Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine, by Rozsika Parker, which, if you look closely you will see on the seat next to Peter in last night’s barefoot-wife-saluting photo.  It’s fascinating, even if I don’t remember 1970s feminism quite the way she does. 

††† Somewhat dismembered.  Yecch.  I forget how creeped out I am by the majority of medieval art, which is preoccupied with blood loss in disparate forms.  Cathy’s the medievalist. 

‡ Next time she comes we’ll go to the Science Museum and stand in an earthquake.

Hot Culture


So I put friend #2 on the train yesterday afternoon and was looking forward to a nice slow day today* of . . . frelling laundry, and picking up some/any of the stuff that seems to have accumulated on all flat surfaces,** preferably before the next visitor onslaught*** arrives and (conceivably) wants to put its suitcase down.† 

            . . . Having forgotten we were supposed to go to Tosca†† tonight at Grange Park.  Tickets were of course bought long before I found out that 23.2% of everybody I have ever met in my life was going to be pounding through Hampshire this fortnight. †††  Nor did I know till I got up this morning—to some sadist on the radio telling me with relish— that it was going to be the hottest day of the year.  Just the sort of weather you want to get seriously dressed up in and go sit in a small oppressive auditorium with a lot of other people in their best clothes. 

            I think I’m in love with Claire Rutter.‡  I saw her in Norma‡‡ last year and became her slave.  If she decides to widen her fan base and take the lead role in Alvin and the Chipmunks:  Carnegie Hall to Coney Island, I’ll probably go see it.  But after her Norma, Tosca was a no-brainer.‡‡‡   And she was fabulous.  It’s interesting, I don’t find her that persuasive an actress per se—she’s kind of an earnestly-going-through-the-motions performer—but golly can she put it over as soon as she opens her mouth.  And it’s not just that she has a great voice—she has enough great voice for two or three sopranos, it seems to me—she has huge emotional commitment to what she’s singing to you about, plus what I don’t know what else to call but authority.  She just totally makes you believe.

            [Man saluting barefoot wife.  It was too hot for shoes.  I don’t know how Peter is bearing his velvet jacket.]

            I didn’t myself feel that either the Cavaradossi or the Scarpia was quite up to her, although Scarpia in particular got a lot of applause at the end.   Cavaradossi is to some extent your basic disposable tenor§ role—he lives to suffer anguish, love the soprano, and die—but Scarpia has to dazzle and command.§§  He can’t just be wicked, he has to have charisma:  he has to be the kind of sick puppy you can’t look away from.  I felt that this Scarpia was pretty much your garden-variety thug.  He kills people, sure, but he doesn’t do it with any class.

            But Rutter . . . mmm.  Worthwhile.  Definitely worthwhile.

            And now maybe tomorrow can be a nice slow day of laundry, and sweeping the floor, and watering the garden, and deadheading a few million roses and pansies, and writing a novel, and—arrgh, blah, gah, frell—I’m supposed to have Fear No More and Come Away, Come Sweet Love, no no not memorized just prepared off copy by Tuesday. . . .

[Man descending stairs.  Yes, wife has put her shoes back on.]

 * * * 

* Having survived MY FOURTH AND LAST ENGAGEMENT AS RINGING MASTER this morning at service ring.  Niall got HOME today, or anyway he better had, or the hunting-down-and-killing clause will be invoked.  I was thinking about the Horrors of Command again this morning, and more intensely, it being service ring and all.  Now the first rule of service ringing is that you only ring what you can sound good at, because this is service ring, this is what we’re supposed to be for.^  And the first rule of handling your band is keep ’em coming back—by giving them something to do that makes them feel both clever and wanted.  This can lead to a certain amount of ringing-master dolour and desolation, as today.  So having thought of something to do, announced it, and grabbed your rope—the reality of Sunday morning being that you’re not likely going to have a chance to sit out—rather than standing there cheerfully/stoically ringing with everyone else, you’re busy worrying about what you’re going to do next.  And what if, furthermore, you’re conducting the freller?  I can’t think about this many things at once.

            [Man reading placard . . . ]

            Why didn’t I take up knitting or the French horn or rocket science or something simple and straightforward?


^ I have done my rant at you about people who learn to ring for their own amusement but can’t be bothered to pay their dues by showing up Sunday mornings.  Arrrrrgh. 

[ . . . about this]

** I may or may not do an x-rated blog post about my Drain Clearer.  Cathy and I were both weeping with laughter after I got it out of its mailing box.  It looked so ordinary in the catalogue. 

*** People have this disgraceful habit of travelling in the summer.  Stay home!  Stay home! 

† Can’t you just stand there and hold it?  What do you think this is, a hotel

†† http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tosca   The plot summary is kind of a long way down. 

††† Note that two more very familiar to this forum people will be appearing on these pages toward the end of the week. 


‡‡ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norma_(opera) 

‡‡‡ Tosca has the further advantage that it is one of the few operas Peter can be wheedled into going to without major arbitration and sulking. 

§ E lucevan le stelle, yes, yes, I know, very pretty aria, makes a great concert piece. 

§§ Speaking of commanding.  I wonder if he was ever a ringing master?

Aaaaaugh! Yet More Bell Ringing!


Cathy is GONE.  Taking FINGERZILLA WITH HER.  I meant to have one more blast of extreme, repellent* violence before she went but it was one of those things that fell out of the last-day schedule, the way things do fall out, especially of last days.  I wanted her to take some photos of me and the hellhounds.  I wanted to look at the quilt book she bought at the V&A.  I wanted more time to stroll her around Mauncester**.  There’s leagues of standard hellhound-hurtle Hampshire countryside I haven’t dragged her over yet. 

            But we got some of the important things done.  Roses.  Bell ringing. ***  The following, I want you to understand, were cleared for public scrutiny by the victim in question.  This was Black Bear last night being re-inducted into the wonders of yanking on a bell rope.  Her one stipulation is that I explain that she is a Geek Elemental and her t shirt says Sg:  Science Geek.†  

            That’s poor Roger on the left.  I worked him extremely hard last night.†† 

EMoon wrote: 

Ever think of using “fitness” and “no saggy upper arms” as a way to attract more ringers?

I totally use this when I’m trying to chat up the average middle-aged or approaching-middle-aged woman about bell ringing.  Every now and again I try this on a female person who looks at me like I’ve gone mad, but generally speaking you get their undivided attention at this point.  Unfortunately there are other aspects to bell ringing that you really have to mention, like showing up every week for practise and feeling like you’re making a total prat of yourself for months.  I try to minimise the fact that you go on feeling like you’re making a prat of yourself more or less forever, it’s just that the playing field keeps tipping in a different direction and the goal posts move around like they think they’re playing ninepins. 

            There was a slightly delicate moment last night as Cathy and I were leaving.  Sylvester came out just behind us—Sylvester is the beginner who rang his first plain hunt last night.  He’s not really one of ours, but he’s from a neighbouring tower, comes to us occasionally, and is a nice guy and completely welcome.  He was feeling, I think, a bit chirpy at having essayed plain hunt and not died of it, and was saying that he feels sometimes that he will never grasp the basics of method ringing††† but that people keep telling him that some day it will just ‘click into place.’  Uh. . . . Nooooooooo.  It will do nothing of the kind, unless maybe you’re one of these frelling genius ringers, but most of us are not.  No, what learning to ring is is a long slow grinding gradient that you obstinately toil up, leavened occasionally by brief electrifying flashes of insight.  Mercifully he seemed to find this heartening, which is a good sign;  willingness to grind is possibly the most important personality trait in a nascent ringer.

. . . No, there is no change-ringing belltower around here.

Okay.  I’ll let you off.   Feh.  Foiled by mere pragmatic circumstance.

 . . .  And the handbells are used to play music, which I gather isn’t a good thing.

Oh heavens!  Not at all.  Tunes on handbells rung by a good band are lovely.  It’s just a whole, whole, whole, whole different discipline.  I’ve done a very, very little tune ringing, and it’s a skill too, and the good bands put a lot of work into it.  But I know a few—a very few—handbell tune ringers and they tend to blanch and remember prior engagements in Canada if you suggest they might like to have a go ringing methods.  This includes at least one very good tower method ringer . . . who still won’t touch methods on handbells.  Methods on handbells is pretty Sisyphean.  I keep saying I haven’t the right shape of brain for method ringing, and that’s horribly true, and method ringing on handbells is the same squared, if not hexagonaled, and as such the clearest sign of my essential dangerous insanity.

            Which brings us back to Fingerzilla.  I’ve just had a look at the Orange phone web site—I’m already on Orange with the RaspBerry—and it’s all over their home page that the iPhone 4 went on sale a couple of days ago.  But when you try to click through to ‘buy iPhone 4’ , from any of several directions . . . you get a blank white screen.  Cue Twilight Zone music.  And background screaming, as of being munched. 

* * *.

* It’s the screams of the munched that are the most satisfying

** Claning wrote:

By the way, just how does one pronounce “Mauncester”?

Going by the examples of Leicester (“lester”) and Gloucester (“gloster”) it seems that Maunchester ought to be “monster.”

Yep.  I was wondering when someone would notice and/or call me on it.  And do you recognise where it’s from?

*** She says she doesn’t have time for another thing-you-do.^  Yo, Black Bear!  You told me yourself you’ve stopped curling!  You have an opening!

^ The word ‘hobby’ is one of my pet peeves.  Diversion.  Avocation.  Sideline.  Enthusiasm.  Frelling obsession.

† There was some discussion whether or not there needs to be a sixth volume of ELEMENTAL TALES.  Water, Fire, Air, Earth . . . Time.  And Geekery.

†† But he’d better show up for service ring tomorrow morning or I will send out a small, select company to discipline him. 

            I could get used to this authority thing.

††† Everyone feels like this in the beginningEveryone.

Ringing Maestro Robin (guest post by Black Bear)


I’m sure all of you are wondering just what it’s like to go bell ringing with Robin.  (And if you weren’t, why on earth weren’t you?)  I’ve done this before, mind you.  But I’ve never visited Robin’s home tower—and certainly not when Robin’s been deputy-ringing-master-temporarily-in-charge-while-Niall’s-away.  I had the pleasure of having beginning How To Pull A Rope Without Killing Oneself instruction (again—it might almost be sticking a bit) but I figure you all can find out about the basic mechanics of ringing from any number of sources.  Rope + bell + sheer terror = beginning ringing.

Instead, I thought I’d let you all know that Robin’s an excellent deputy-ringing-master.*  No lie!  Here, see for yourselves**:

As you can see, she’s got the whole thing well in hand.  But I’m sure any number of people can ring the hell out of…..erm….Double Gloucester Sudden Astonishment, or whatever it was.***  The thing that struck me this evening was more to do with the things that make one a good leader, whether one’s leading an evening tower practice or an Away mission on Omicron Ceti III.  Here’s what I noticed. 

A good leader pays attention.  We had a larger band this evening than was expected#, even without my somewhat lackluster presence on the floor.  Robin made sure that everyone got involved without being overbearing about it, looked out for the beginners to ensure that they all got a chance to ring a variety of stuff, and kept an eye on the clock to ensure that we were done on the dot of nine.  This was (I think) no mean feat.

A good leader rolls with the unexpected.  One of the reasons we had a larger group than expected was because two ringers from a tower in Upper Thighweld## happened to be in town and dropped in about halfway through practice—a gent who’s obviously a crack ringer###, and his son who looked to be about 10 or 11.  So suddenly our group grew by 2 people who hit both ends of the ringing skill scale (though the kid was I gather a decent ringer for being 10 or 11.)  They were of course instantly welcomed by all, and Robin adjusted whatever the existing evening plan% had been to accommodate them with nary a blink.

A good leader is nice to beginners/kids.  We had three kids there this evening.  Working in a children’s museum as I do, I get to see a lot of how adults behave with kids under the age of 15, and most folks, when talking to kids not their own, are frankly either a) patronizing, or b) indifferent.  Robin talks to kids as if they’re perfectly intelligent and worthwhile human beings—which should come as a surprise to no one, of course.  But she made sure that each one of the kids got to do something more than just call changes%%, and she looked them in the eye when she asked them if they were up for it.  Believe me when I say that’s a rare thing in adults who help teach kids to do difficult stuff like bell ringing. 

While I know Robin is going to be flooded with relief when Niall returns this coming week,%%% I just wanted to let all of you know that New Arcadia has been in good hands during his absence.  And also that this beginner had a marvelous time again.  If you’ve never tried ringing, I highly recommend it; it’s absolutely fascinatingly weird, and I’m always thrilled to get the opportunity to try it.=

PS.  Good Leaders also manage to utterly destroy Oakville, with some practice.  She’s been playing Fingerzilla while I write this. ==

* * *

* Blah eh erg gleep gah glory.  Tremble tremble tremble.

** We’re ringing plain hunt for one of our beginners.  A beginner who happened never to have rung plain hunt before.  Want to give it a try? I said, with my best evil-ratbag-in-training grin.  He said something closely resembling ‘blah eh erg gleep gah’ but agreed to have a go.   In the video I’m on the two^;  Roger, on my right standing with the poor beginner on the treble, has just said to me, in a doomy sort of voice, that I may have just overreached myself, and Edward^^, on my left, said, no, no, what’s the point of power if you can’t use it?, and I am replying in finest mwa ha ha ha way, misuse it, yes, absolutely.

         The  beginner did fine.  I think Roger had to have a second pint at the pub later to regain his nerve.

^ And my form is bloody terrible.  Any real ringers out there will despise me forever.  Cathy has had to resort to threats of violence  to make me let her hang the thing in public.   I will say in my defense that I was REVERTING slightly tonight under stress of circumstance. 

^^ Edward, our retired ringing master, the ratbag, who, when he showed up late this evening and I said hopefully, would you like to take over? replied smiling, Not particularly.

*** This is PLAIN HUNT.  It’s not even a method:  it’s the practise thingy before the real methods start.  Cathy did take one other video of us ringing Grandsire, which is a method, which bit of video also has the advantage that I am conducting and you see me bellow, Go Grandsire.  Fortunately she turned the camera off before the realisation hit that by saying go I am going to have to say stop which means I’m going to have to . . . figure . . . out . . . when . . . to . . . say . . . stop.  For some reason Cathy voted for the plain hunt clip . . . because she says I look like I’m actually having a good time.^

^ My t shirt, in case you can’t read it on your screen, says ‘Just hand me the chocolate, and no-one gets hurt’.  Sadly Cathy’s attempts to film my really excellent black and orange tiger striped sequinned All Stars failed.  Maybe I’ll take a still photo tomorrow.  To go with the photos of Cathy pulling on a bell rope.  Heh heh heh heh.


## It’s a funny thing, we’d just been discussing the rich cultural heritage of Upper Thighweld with Oisin earlier in the day.

###He could ring Double Gloucester Sudden Astonishment, no problem.

% Plan?  Plan?

%% We need them to keep coming.  Median age of bell ringers is something terrifying like over 50.  Yes, I said median. 

%%% Flooded!  Tsunamied!  Medium-sized-asteroid-annihilated!  The thing I confess that’s worrying me now is that by not totally buggering it up tonight, I’m liable to have more people sidling up to me and making provocative suggestions about other situations where a Deputy Ringing Master who doesn’t set fire to the bell chamber or make anyone cry could be of service.

= Cathy lives within reasonable commuting distance of a change ringing bell tower at home in America.  If Southdowner, B_Twin and Ajlr have all taken up bell ringing . . . I see no excuse for Black Bear not following their admirable lead.

== Are you kidding?  I’ve been promoted.  I don’t just smash weeny level-one Oakville to smithereens any more.

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