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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Simon Brett, 100 Publications

Congratulations to Simon, on his 100th publication, and the award of the OBE in the 2016 New Year's Honours.

"Seriously Funny… and Other Oxymorons". Simon's 100th publication is a modern book of oxymorons, from 'alcohol-free wine' to 'compassionate Conservatism'.

Simon writes: "2017 is a significant year in my writing career. Three books will be published – Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen, Seriously Funny... and Other Oxymorons and a new Fethering, The Liar in the Library. The middle one, Seriously Funny..., will be my 100th publication. Which is some kind of achievement... although, as I always say, if the first one had sold better, I wouldn’t have needed to write so many (but for the fact that I have such fun writing them)".

Complete inventory of Simon Brett's books

Simon Brett's biography

With thanks to Jeremy Eccles, for drawing my attention to Simon's 100th publication.

EU-U.K. Relations After Brexit

Germany Drafts Outline of EU-U.K. Ties Post-Brexit, Paper Shows, from Bloomberg Politics

Robin Falck's Wood Cabin - Micro House

Impressive design

"When I was done with it I named it Nido (Italian for 'birds nest')".

Robin's Micro House

96 Sq. Foot Finnish Micro-Cabin


Monday, 16 October 2017

Equifax Data Breach - What To Do

More than 15 million people affected by Equifax data breach - from Which?

"Some 15.2 million UK client records were compromised in the cyber-attack on Equifax last month. The credit reporting agency revealed yesterday that more than 690,000 UK consumers are likely to have had sensitive details stolen. These include email addresses, passwords, driving license numbers, phone numbers and partial credit card details".

G. P. R. Pulman, Dialect Poetry, East Devon

An interesting lot sold at auction by Bonhams, 10 November 2009.

PULMAN (GEORGE PHILIP RIGNEY) Vade Mecum of Fly-fishing for Trout; Being a Concise Practical Treatise on that Branch of the Art of Angling, FIRST EDITION, AUTHOR'S PRESENTATION COPY.

Sold for £1,020 inc. premium.

A number of "East Devon" dialect poems were published in the Sherborne Journal from 1840.

Pulman, from Aminster, wrote at one point (1st May, 1842; 1842 edition of Rustic Sketches) that his dialect poetry was written in "a sort of medium brogue between the broad Somerset and Dorset, without much tinge of the pure Devon".

George Pulman also wrote as Piscator.

Rustic Sketches: Being Rhymes on Angling and Other Subjects Illustrative of Rural Life, Etc. (1853)

View online here (Hathi Trust)

Online Books by G. P. R. Pulman

Past Posting, Christmas Poem

Catalonia's Separatist Bid; VOA, David Rennie and Guests

David Rennie, Moderator, VOA - David Rennie of The Economist, along with Linda Feldman of The Christian Science Monitor and Richard Latendresse of the French Canadian broadcaster TVA this Saturday and Sunday on the Voice of America

The Maltese on Corfu, World War II

The fate of the Maltese in Nazi-occupied Corfu, Times of Malta

"German forces occupying Corfu, Greece, sought to deport the Maltese inhabitants to Germany for forced labour in May 1944".

Mary Shelley's Bournemouth Legacy

Frankenstein author Mary Shelley's Bournemouth legacy, BBC Dorset

"Before she died on February 1 1851, one of her last requests was to be buried in Bournemouth, even though she had never lived in the town".

From Dark Dorset

Full fathom five thy father lies.
 Of his bones are coral made.
 Those are pearls that were his eyes.
 Nothing of him that doth fade,
 But doth suffer a sea-change
 Into something rich and strange.
 Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell...

Waiting for Hurricane Ophelia (sorry, Storm Ophelia...); Sahara Dust

So far, only a strange yellow light in the darkly overcast sky. 
Sahara dust? Spanish and Portuguese wildfires? Can't capture it with my camera.

Czech election and the Euro

Czech election stalemate on joining euro, EU Observer

Andrej Babis stresses that the Czech Republic should keep its koruna.

"We don't want the euro here. Everybody knows it's bankrupt," he said in an interview with the Bloomberg news agency. "I don't want another issue that Brussels would be meddling with."

Portuguese man-of-war, Dorset beaches: Lyme, Charmouth, Bournemouth, Swanage

From BBC News

Greek Political Satire: Photoshopped Collage Cartoons

Prime Minister Tsipras arrives in the USA, en route to the White House

Στο Λευκό Οίκο ο πρωθυπουργός.

'Beware Greeks bearing gifts' - or promoting Greek exports?

Posted on Γκόρτσος @gortsos (Facebook) - with some amusing comments

Another cartoon (please send credit details if known):

Θα είμαι πάντα δίπλα στα λαϊκά στρώματα

(a common saying, here involving a play on words in Greek: stromata can mean either mattresses or levels:

"I will always remain alongside the common people"
"I will always be alongside the working people's levels (or mattresses)"

Apart from the fake news:

Investment Is the Missing Ingredient as Greece Rebuilds Economy, Bloomberg

There's a lot of truth about 'comparative surveillance methods' in the next one, too (via Greek Gateway)

Russian Poetry and Landscape

I read a lot of Czech and Slovak poetry when I was posted to Prague, but I never really explored the Russian poets, perhaps because I have no knowledge of the Russian language. My work in London (after Czechoslovakia) took me later on official cultural relations visits to Moscow, Tbilisi and Kiev (Ukraine in bleak mid-winter), so I was able to develop some conception of the varying landscapes and the impact of the changing seasons in the (then) USSR.

Recently I have been revisiting two old anthologies of Russian poetry in English translation:

A Book of Russian Verse, edited by C.M. Bowra, 1943

Post-War Russian Poetry, edited by Daniel Weissbort, 1974

In his introduction, Maurice Bowra  (later Sir Maurice Bowra, Warden of Wadham College, Oxford) writes evocatively about the influence of the Russian landscape:

Quite a contrast with my previous posting on the 'Great Field' of Poundbury in Dorset!

See also, MARINA TSVETAEVA, from “Poems to Czechoslovakia”

Russian Bells

The BBC TV Series, Russia with Simon Reeve, offered insights into the landscape and current conditions in the countryside of different regions.

Poundbury, Dorset: The Future of the Great Field


Sunday, 15 October 2017

Relevant to the EU (and Brexit)? The Future of European Civilisation; Albert Camus on Europe.

"Oh, wearisome condition of humanity!
      Born under one law, to another bound…" 

Fulke Greville

"Europe has lived on its contradictions, flourished on its differences, and, constantly transcending itself thereby, has created a civilisation on which the whole world depends even when rejecting it. This is why I do not believe in a Europe unified under the weight of an ideology or of a technocracy that overlooked these differences".

Albert Camus

I'm not sure of the source of the Camus quote. Can anyone help? I will have to check whether he expressed similar views at the Athens round table seminar, The French Institute, 28 April, 1955: 

The Future of European Civilisation, Seminar in Greece, 1955

Το μέλλον του ευρωπαϊκού πολιτισμού
Συζήτηση στρογγυλής τραπέζης υπό την προεδρία του Άγγελου Κατακουζηνού

Themistoklis Mourtzanos

«Ο ευρωπαϊκός πολιτισμός είναι ένας πλουραλιστικός πολιτισμός, είναι ο τόπος της ποικιλομορφίας των σκέψεων, των αντιθέσεων, των αντιτιθέμενων αξιών και της ατέρμονης διαλεκτικής. Αυτός ο πλουραλισμός, που υπήρξε πάντοτε το θεμέλιο της έννοιας της ευρωπαϊκής ελευθερίας, μου φαίνεται ότι είναι η πιο σημαντική συμβολή του πολιτισμού μας». Albert Camus.

"European culture is a pluralist culture, it is the place of the diversity of thoughts, contradictions, opposing values ​​and endless dialectics. This pluralism, which has always been the foundation of the concept of European freedom, seems to me to be the most important contribution of our culture. " Albert Camus

Elsewhere, Camus said and wrote:

"L'Europe, à cause même de ses désordres, a besoin de l'Angleterre et, si misérable que ce continent puisse apparaître, il est sûr que l'Angleterre ne pourra se sauver sans l'Europe. Les préjugés ou l'indifférence que vos hommes politiques nourrissent souvent à l'égard du continent sont peut-être légitimes, ils n'en sont pas moins regrettables. La méfiance peut être bonne en tant que méthode. Elle est détestable en tant que principe : il vient toujours un moment où le principe contredit au fait. Les faits disent que pour le meilleur et pour le pire l'Angleterre et l'Europe sont solidaires. Ce mariage peut sembler mal assorti. Mais un de nos moralistes a dit : il est de bons mariages, il n'en est point de délicieux. Puisque le nôtre n'est pas délicieux, faisons au moins qu'il soit bon, car le divorce est impossible".

Albert Camus, Conférence faite en Angleterre, 1951. Albert Camus, Œuvres completes, Nouvelle édition Tome III 1949-1956, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, n° 548

"The UK will reportedly be offered a goodwill gesture at a crucial summit in Brussels this week as EU nations seek to break the deadlock over Brexit".

Stonehenge, Dietary News

What did neolithic man eat after a hard day at Stonehenge? From Robert McKie, The Observer

Fig, a film by Nikolas Kolovos; From Sweden to the Zagori Villages for a Fig; Zagori Location

"I wrote the script first and on an excursion I made to the Zagorohoria, when I saw the place with the rivers, the inaccessible mountains, the wilderness of the environment, I immediately thought: 'This is the arena'."

Κατά πόσο ο τόπος ορίζει τις ιστορίες που λες;
Η ιδέα για την συγκεκριμένη ταινία ήρθε μετά από μια προσωπική περιπέτεια του πατέρα μου. Ετσι αποφάσισα να κάνω αυτή την ταινία. Εγραψα πρώτα το σενάριο και σε μια εκδρομή που έκανα στα Ζαγοροχώρια και βλέποντας τον τόπο εκεί με τα ποτάμια, τα απροσπέλαστα βουνά, την ερημιά που έφερνε ο χώρος. σκέφτηκα κατευθείαν: «This is the arena».

A photograph from


An interview with Nikos Kolovos

On Homer's "Winged Words" ; ἔπεα πτερόεντα

Observations on the phrase, by Herbert Jordan

Other comments and interpretations

Friday, 13 October 2017

Bermuda: "Whoever sails near to Bermuda coast" - Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke (1554-1628), from Caelica (1633)

About Fulke Greville

Complete Works - Free ebook  (The Works in Verse and Prose Complete of the Right Honourable Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke)

Sonnet LIX, p 68-69

Extracts from two more poems, by Waller and Moore:

From Edmund Waller (1605-1687), on Bermuda (From The Battell of the Summer Islands)

“Bermudas, walled with rocks, who does not know
That happy Island…how Heav'n smiles
Upon those late-discover'd isles!"

“…the kind spring, which but salutes us here,
Inhabits there and courts them all the year…
Heaven sure has kept this spot of earth uncurst
To show how all things were created first.”

Poem in 3 Cantos, pages 121-128

From Thomas Moore (1779-1852), “Why Did I Wake?”

“Before I laid me down to sleep
  Awhile I from the lattice gazed
Upon that still and moonlit deep
  With isles like floating gardens raised.

I felt as if the scenery there
   Were lighted by a Grecian sky,
And then I breathed the blissful air
    That late had thrilled to Sappho’s sigh…”

Complete poem here

On Li Ch'eng, Landscape Painter of the early Sung Dynasty (some LANDSCAPES)

Luxuriant Forest among Distant Peaks - Andrew Ray/Plinius 

some LANDSCAPES, October 12, 2017

Aboriginal Rock Art; Alan Cunningham, 1821; Colonial Attitudes to Aboriginal Art Discoveries; Sir George Grey; Joseph Bradshaw

Apart from the rock painting discoveries of  Sir George Grey (Wandjina,1837/1838) and Joseph Bradshaw (1891, Bradshaw/ Gwion Gwion figures), I was interested to read of Alan Cunningham's discoveries in June, 1821. Cunningham was a naturalist and explorer.

Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia, Performed Between the Years 1818 and 1822, Captain Philip Parker King

Alan Cunningham's discoveries on Clack Island, June 21, 1821, quoted by Captain King:

"The remarkable structure of the geological feature of this islet led me to examine the south east part, which was the most exposed to the weather, and where the disposition of the strata was of course more plainly developed. The base is a coarse, granular, siliceous sand-stone, in which large pebbles of quartz and jasper are imbedded: this stratum continues for sixteen to twenty feet above the water: for the next ten feet there is a horizontal stratum of black schistose rock, which was of so soft a consistence, that the weather had excavated several tiers of galleries; upon the roof and sides of which some curious drawings were observed, which deserve to be particularly described: they were executed upon a ground of red ochre, (rubbed on the black schistus), and were delineated by dots of a white argillaceous earth, which had been worked up into a paste. They represented tolerable figures of sharks, porpoises, turtles, lizards (of which I saw several small ones among the rocks,) trepang, star fish, clubs, canoes, water-gourds, and some quadrupeds, which were probably intended to represent kangaroos and dogs. The figures, besides being outlined by the dots, were decorated all over with the same pigment in dotted transverse belts.

Tracing a gallery round to windward, it brought me to a commodious cave, or recess, overhung by a portion of the schistus, sufficiently large to shelter twenty natives, whose recent fire-places appeared on the projecting area of the cave.

"Many turtles' heads were placed on the shelfs or niches of the excavation, amply demonstrative of the luxurious and profuse mode of life these outcasts of society had, at a period rather recently, followed. The roof and sides of this snug retreat were also entirely covered with the uncouth figures I have already described.

"As this is the first specimen of Australian taste in the fine arts that we have detected in these voyages, it became me to make a particular observation thereon: Captain Flinders had discovered figures on Chasm Island, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, formed with a burnt stick; but this performance, exceeding a hundred and fifty figures, which must have occupied much time, appears at least to be one step nearer refinement than those simply executed with a piece of charred wood. Immediately above this schistose stratum is a superincumbent mass of sand-stone, which appeared to form the upper stratum of the island." (Cunningham MS.) *.

From John White's Journal
List of plates

Captain King:

p 25, Clack Island

p. 26

p 27

See also:

George Grey, Volume 1

15.1. Figure drawn on the roof of Cave, discovered March 26th.

"On this sloping roof the principal figure (Number 1) which I have just alluded to, was drawn; in order to produce the greater effect the rock about it was painted black and the figure itself coloured with the most vivid red and white. It thus appeared to stand out from the rock; and I was certainly rather surprised at the moment that I first saw this gigantic head and upper part of a body bending over and staring grimly down at me".


"It would be impossible to convey in words an adequate idea of this uncouth and savage figure; I shall therefore only give such a succinct account of this and the other paintings as will serve as a sort of description to accompany the annexed plates. The dimensions of the figure were:

Length of head and face 2 feet.
Width of face 17 inches.
Length from bottom of face to navel 2 feet 6 inches.

Its head was encircled by bright red rays, something like the rays which one sees proceeding from the sun when depicted on the sign-board of a public house; inside of this came a broad stripe of very brilliant red, which was coped by lines of white, but both inside and outside of this red space were narrow stripes of a still deeper red, intended probably to mark its boundaries; the face was painted vividly white, and the eyes black, being however surrounded by red and yellow lines; the body, hands, and arms were outlined in red, the body being curiously painted with red stripes and bars".

15.2. Figure drawn on side of Cave, discovered March 26th.

"Upon the rock which formed the left hand wall of this cave, and which partly faced you on entering, was a very singular painting (Number 2) vividly coloured, representing four heads joined together. From the mild expression of the countenances I imagined them to represent females, and they appeared to be drawn in such a manner and in such a position as to look up at the principal figure which I have before described; each had a very remarkable head-dress, coloured with a deep bright blue, and one had a necklace on. Both of the lower figures had a sort of dress painted with red in the same manner as that of the principal figure, and one of them had a band round her waist. Each of the four faces was marked by a totally distinct expression of countenance, and, although none of them had mouths, two, I thought, were otherwise rather good looking. The whole painting was executed on a white ground, and its dimensions were:

Total length of painting 3 feet 6 3/4 inches.
Breadth across two upper heads 2 feet 6 inches.
Ditto across the two lower ones 3 feet 1 1/2 inches."

15.3. Oval drawing in Cave, discovered March 26th.

"The next most remarkable drawing in the cave (Number 3) was an ellipse, three feet in length and one foot ten inches in breadth: the outside line of this painting was of a deep blue colour, the body of the ellipse being of a bright yellow dotted over with red lines and spots, whilst across it ran two transverse lines of blue. The portion of the painting above described formed the ground, or main part of the picture, and upon this ground was painted a kangaroo in the act of feeding, two stone spearheads, and two black balls; one of the spearheads was flying to the kangaroo, and one away from it; so that the whole subject probably constituted a sort of charm by which the luck of an enquirer in killing game could be ascertained".

15.4. Figure drawn in Cave, discovered March 26th.

"There was another rather humorous sketch (Number 4) which represented a native in the act of carrying a kangaroo; the height of the man being three feet. The number of drawings in the cave could not altogether have been less than from fifty to sixty, but the majority of them consisted of men, kangaroos, etc.; the figures being carelessly and badly executed and having evidently a very different origin to those which I have first described. Another very striking piece of art was exhibited in the little gloomy cavities situated at the back of the main cavern. In these instances some rock at the sides of the cavity had been selected, and the stamp of a hand and arm by some means transferred to it; this outline of the hand and arm was then painted black, and the rock about it white, so that on entering that part of the cave it appeared as if a human hand and arm were projecting through a crevice admitting light.

After having discovered this cave I returned to the party and, directing them to prepare for moving on, I ordered that as soon as all was ready they should proceed past the cave, so that all would have an opportunity of examining it, and in the meantime I returned in order to make sketches of the principal paintings. The party soon arrived and, when my sketches and notes were completed, we retraced a portion of our route of this morning, moving round the sandstone ridge through one portion of which I saw a sort of pass which I thought might perhaps afford us a means of egress. I therefore halted the party and moved up with Corporal Auger to examine it. After proceeding some distance we found a cave larger than the one seen this morning; of its actual size however I have no idea, for being pressed for time I did not attempt to explore it, having merely ascertained that it contained no paintings".

Volume 2:

Grey, G (1841), Journals of two expeditions in north-west and Western Australia, 1837-1839, T. & W. Boone, London

George Grey's 1838 drawings of the Wandjina cave caused speculation about the paintings' origins.

See also: Grey's Northern Kimberley Cave-Paintings Re-Found: A. P. Elkin, Oceania, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Sep., 1948), pp. 1-15 (accessible on JSTOR)

See also, description of Chief Inspecting Surveyor Frederick Slade Brockman’s 1901 Kimberley expedition report and photographs by the botanist and naturalist Dr F M House (Kimberley Society, pdf)

"Dr House documented numerous remarkable Aboriginal paintings on almost every available smooth, vertical face in the sandstone ranges, and the report of the expedition contains many exceptional photographs of some of the larger sites".

Brockman biography

See also, Forgotten Images: Charles Price Conigrave and the Kimberley Exploring Expedition of 1911, Rainsbury, Michael P., Questia

See also, History of Kimberley Exploration, Kimberley Society

Wandjina Rock Art Photographs, Kimberley Society

Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) Rock Art Photographs, Kimberley Society

Rock Art - Other, Photographs, Kimberley Society

"Kimberley paintings have on occasion endured a peculiar array of ethnocentric European appraisals...The comments of Grey in doubting Aboriginal authorship for the Wandjinas are telling of nineteenth century attitudes to Aborigines and their culture...All laboured under false assumptions drawn from Grey's sketches, which were inaccurate and stylised renderings, possibly produced from memory" - The Kimberley, Horizons of Stone, Alasdair McGregor and Quentin Chester, 1992.

'Alien abductions', Kimberley Aboriginal rock-paintings, and the speculation about human origins: on some investments in cultural tourism in the northern Kimberley, Anthony Redmond, The Free Library.

River and coast: regionality in North Kimberley rock art, Rainsbury, Michael P., University of Durham (pdf) -

Finding Oceania : organizing a collection of Oceanic photographs and albums at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Cassie Lomore Ryerson University (Download pdf)  

The Australian Aboriginal, Herbert Basedow, with 146 illustrations, Adelaide, 1925; Chapter 28, Aboriginal Art (pages 297-398)


Go to;view=1up;seq=393


Mamadai and Wanalirri

Where wandjina shelter.

The god-like face on rock and cave,

Mouthless image of creator.

Round eyes on bark, on canvas, slate:-

Make the rains come soon, come late.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

Corfu, Greece: Castello proposals; Castello Bibelli, Kato Korakiana

TAIPED receives proposals for historic edifice on Corfu, eKathimerini

Stockholm My Love (film trailers)

Trailer for "Stockholm My Love" starring Neneh Cherry, directed by Mark Cousins, shot by Chris Doyle. 

"A city symphony, a love letter to Stockholm, a journey towards recovery from a bad thing. With new music by Neneh Cherry, and old music by Benny Andersson (of ABBA) and Franz Berwald".

Stockholm My Love – new trailer starring Neneh Cherry.

Subscribe to BFI Player to see the whole film...  "Discover classic cinema - Enjoy landmark classic and cult films from across the decades. Free for 30 days, then £4.99 a month - cancel any time"

Weymouth , A Film from 1958

A film from the British Film Institute

This film was released at about the same time that I was taken for my first day-trip to Weymouth!

"This film contains many views of Weymouth and its many attractions, starting with its royal connections. We then see families enjoying themselves on packed beaches, a Punch & Judy show and a Royal Navy open day on a frigate. A junior talent show is followed by a beauty contest and also a look at the working port. Sea fishing and other sports and pastimes are featured. We visit locations outside Weymouth before returning to a King Neptune ceremony and an all-girls tug-of-war.

The warship seen in this film was HMS Grenville, originally a U Class destroyer launched in October 1942. In her time she served on anti-submarine patrols in the North Atlantic, supported the Anzio landings in the Mediterranean and took part in the D-Day landings in 1944. After serving in the British Pacific Fleet she returned to Portsmouth in 1946. After an extensive refit, starting in 1953, she was converted into a Type 15 frigate, as F197, and received a new commission as leader of the 2nd Training Squadron based in Portland, which is close to Weymouth. In the early 1960s she was in Gibraltar but returned to Portsmouth, where she would eventually become a surface weapons trial ship. She was scrapped in 1983".

Lament from Epirus: An Odyssey into Europe's Oldest Surviving Folk Music, Christopher King, 2018

Lament from Epirus: An Odyssey into Europe's Oldest Surviving Folk Music

This W.W. Norton title will be released on May 29, 2018. Eagerly awaited!

Poundbury, from the Temple of Minerva, Maiden Castle, Dorset

Minerva/Athena on Maiden Castle?

Athena, Attic Red Figure

Athena Cult

Athena and the Owl

Widecombe Fair, Folk Song from Devon; Uncle Tom Cobley and all...

An authentic snatch of  the Devonshire folk song "Widecombe Fair", sung by the late Tony Beard, on a programme about the travel writer H.V.Morton (BBC Radio 4 Extra) - go to 14.40 point of the programme.

The origins of the song (BBC), Uncle Tom Cobley and all...

Tony Beard

Older recordings:

Widecombe Fair - Charles Tree - Baritone - Uncle Tom Cobbley - 78 rpm - HMV 102

"Uncle Tom Cobleigh an' All " Sung by J H Scotland Imperial Record 969

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Edward Lear and Mount Athos, King's College, London, 16 October 2017

Edward Lear and Mount Athos

King's College, London, Small Committee Room (K0.31) Strand Campus, 16/10/2017 (17:30-19:00)

A seminar with Stephen Duckworth (independent scholar).

"Edward Lear, the landscape artist and nonsense poet, had wanted to visit Mount Athos during his first visit to Greece in 1848. He was thwarted through a cholera outbreak around Salonica which had led to the closure of the Holy Mountain to all travellers. In 1856 he was successful in reaching Athos and spent three weeks there, though not without the illness of both himself and his servant Giorgio. However well over fifty drawings resulted from his visit to all twenty main monasteries, and these are some of the finest depictions of architecture in its setting that he made. His views on the monks are another matter. His journal of the visit hasn’t survived but letters to his sister Ann and some of his friends have. Extracts have been published, but this well illustrated paper makes full use of his extensive correspondence".

William Barnes, On Somerset, A Paper Given in Wincanton, 1869

With many thanks to Louisa Gillett, Office Manager, Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, Somerset Heritage Centre.

From The Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society For The Year 1870, Part II

"In Somerset men, as men of Wessex, there may be a little British blood, though I believe there may be less of it in Somerset than in Dorset...Then another proof that Somerset people are children of the West-Saxon settlers, is that they have, down to the Ax, the Wessex folk-speech, for Somerset differs from Dorset only a little in vowel sounds, while in grammatical form and words it is the same" - William Barnes.

See also:


"In preparing this second edition of my relative’s work, I have incorporated the results of observations made by me during several years’ residence in Somersetshire, in the centre of the district. I have also availed myself by kind permission, of hints and suggestions in two papers, entitled ”Somersetshire Dialect,” read by T. S. Baynes in 1856, and reprinted from the Taunton Courier, in London, in 1861. During the forty years which have elapsed since the first edition, very much light has been thrown on the subject of Provincial Dialects, and after all much remains to be discovered. I consider with Mr. Baynes that there is more of the pure Anglo-Saxon in the west of England dialect, as this district was the seat of classical Anglo-Saxon, which first rose here to a national tongue, and lasted longer in a great measure owing to its distance from the Metropolis, from which cause also it was less subject to modern modification".


Font at Yarlington Church, William Barnes

St. Michael's Tower, Glastonbury Tor;
 a sculptured stone, William Barnes

From the invaluable William Barnes, The Somerset Engravings, Laurence Keen, 1989

 A Glossary of the Dorset Dialect with a Grammar of its Word Shapening and Wording, 1886:

"The forms of folk speech do not change at the map boundaries of the Counties, but rather at ridges and streams...there is no perceptible change of speech within the three miles between Gillingham, Dorset, and Mere, Wilts" - and Wincanton, Somerset, he might have added.

"It once seemed to me, that, as the Britons were much mingled with the English in Dorset, and as we Dorset men have therefore some British blood, the mingled thought of the English and Saxon mind in the West, might have taken the unmoulded tense-forms, from some such analogy, as we even now will give unusual forms of words. I have heard a child, who had most likely learnt that his zung or sung, should be sang, take brang, as the past-tense of bring". 

See also

On County Dialects

Dorset, Audio Trail: Hardy's High Road; South Dorset Ridgeway

Audio Trail: Hardy's High Road, from Dorset AONB

"Discover more of the secrets of the South Dorset Ridgeway and download this audio trail. Share the experience of both experts and local residents as they talk about the landscape, wildlife and personalities associated with Hardy's High Road. The walk starts in Broadmayne and follows in the steps of Thomas Hardy with incredible views of the coast. Passing reference to the Dorset dialect poet William Barnes and the incredible chalk figure of the Osmington White Horse can also be heard. Listen to Yettie band member Bonny Sartin sing Barnes’ famous poem Linden Lea. The tour is designed to be played on an iPod, mobile phone or mp3 player. You can take it with you as you enjoy the walk or listen to the complete tour at home".

Hardy's High Road (pdf)

John Blackmore at The William Barnes Society

John Blackmore, from Bruton, Somerset, is an English and Drama teacher at King Arthur's Community School, a secondary school in Wincanton, Somerset.

Last night, at the AGM of The William Barnes Society, he performed his own settings or arrangements of poems by William Barnes.

Here are two of the songs he sang (these are recordings from Soundcloud}:

The Gate A-Fallen To

Linden Lea - a rearrangement of the Vaughan Williams setting

William Barnes Society Facebook page

I have now tracked down the paper given by William Barnes in Wincanton in 1869 (published 1870):

"A Paper on Somerset. Read before the Somerset Archaeological Society at Wincanton. Published by F. May, Taunton. Reprinted from the Proceedings".

With many thanks to Louisa Gillett, Office Manager, Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, Somerset Heritage Centre. From The Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society For The Year 1870, Part II (see posting to follow shortly).

Portland Immigration Removal Centre, Dorset

Portland Immigration Removal Centre, the Verne to revert to men's prison - from Dorset Echo:

"HMP the Verne will change function to a Category C male adult prison just three years after a multi-million-pound re-role when it became an Immigration Removal Centre (IRC).  A Home Office spokesperson said: 'The Verne Immigration Removal Centre will be closing and will be reopened as a Category C prison in 2018'."

Monday, 9 October 2017

Dorset County Museum: £11.3m lottery grant for extension

Dorset County Museum extension gets £11.3m lottery grant, BBC News

"With the NHLF funding in place, the museum requires a further £1.6m to meet its target for the project of £15m. Earlier this year planners approved proposals to reconfigure and extend existing buildings, install a shop front and demolish un-listed buildings. The project is due to be completed by 2020".

View from Dorchester, digital (pages 1 and 3) - see also page 3 article, "Dismay over cuts to public transport in Dorchester area".

DC Leaves; Competing Colours; Leaves and Berries

From my daughter in Washington DC:

From Dorchester, Dorset, in return:

Russian Bells

From BBC Radio 4

"From Mussorgsky to Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, the unmistakable sound of bells rings through the greatest pieces of Russian music. Composer Llywelyn ap Myrddin takes us on a musical journey todiscover the 'voice of the Russian sky' amid the throng at the Rostov-the-Great Bell Festival. With the aid of pianist Yaroslav Timofeev and musicologist Gerard McBurney, Llywelyn sheds light on the unique complexity of the Russian bell's sound, its chaotic overtones and harmonics, and why its wild untuned state must have enraptured The Mighty Five composers in their quest for a truly national school of Russian music during the 19th century".

Other masterpieces:


Alfred Schnittke Hymn № 4

Hares on the Mountain, A Somerset Blues?

From Folk Songs from Somerset, Series 1, Cecil J. Sharp and Charles L. Marson, London, 1904.

I think if I were attempting this song, I might approach it as a proto country blues song, replacing the fourth line of each verse (Fol diddle dero, fol diddle dee) with a harmonica line.

Various folk versions on YouTube:

Steeleye span - Hares on the mountain

Ignore the unfortunate comments.

Shirley Collins and Davy Graham - Hares On The Mountain

Neeka - Hares on the mountain (LIVE)

Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell - Hares on the Mountain

Corfu: Tax Evasion; Ionian Islands

From Greek Reporter - Ionian Islands ‘Champions’ in Tax Evasion, Tasos Kokkinidis

"Figures from the Independent Authority for Public Revenue reveal that in the island of Corfu, for example, 59% of businesses inspected were found to be evading tax".

Study: Greek State Loses Up To €16 Bln per Year From Tax Evasion, Greek Reporter, March 2017

Financial Police Raids at Popular Tourist Resorts Reveal Rampant Tax Evasion, Other Offenses, Greek Reporter, July 2017

Other Greek News

Homes Worth Up to 300,000 Euros to be Exempt From E-Auctions, Greek Reporter