Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fox Hunting

Bad day yesterday with some rib and back pains. The pain reminds me of the hugs I received from a Spanish nun after I went fox hunting when I was a member of a convent in the UK. Every week, we would have a community meeting after a silent breakfast (always hard for me since I am chatty in the morning). Mostly, these meetings were about updates in the convent, or announcements like "Ev los' me jumper in the woods". The rules for the chapter meetings were that we could speak honestly and open. I loved the community and the nuns dearly, but we did sometimes have surreal disagreements. At one meeting the Spanish nun accused "Geoffrey" of killing her "chickadees" -several of her chicks were found dead outside of her pen. Now, at the convent there was "Geoffrey" the gardener, and "Geoffrey" the cat (owned by a priest) - this caused a lot of confusion at the meeting...

Spanish Nun: Geoffrey killeda my chicks!
Priest (owner of the cat): Certainly not.
Another nun: Geoffrey was out all day on the tractor!
Priest: My cat does not drive tractors. I was with Geoffrey all day.
Me: What? Geoffrey goes back to Flempton at 4...and...rides a bike...wears tweed...
Priest: I meant Geoffrey the cat. My cat.
Mother Superior: It was not Geoffrey. Or Geoffrey. I observed a the West Garden. David, it needs to be dispatched.
Me: You mean you want me to write it a letter?
Mother Superior: No.There is an Enfield in the cellar.
Me: What the hell, oops, sorry everybody...what the heck is an Enfield?
Mother Superior: Simply the finest rifle ever produced in England.
Nun: Yes! Simple bolt mechanism! Cracking!
Old Jesuit Priest: What about the Bren? I cradled that one in my hammock when I served in India. Quite powerful.
Me: Huh?
Mother Superior: The Bren is Czech, not British. We don't need the machine gun.
Me: What the f**k?, I mean what the fudge? Sorry everyone. you want me to kill Geoffrey the gardener, Geoffrey the cat, the fox, or what? I've never handled a gun before and...
Mother Superior: The fox will suffice for now.
Old Jesuit (sucking on his pipe): Right Davy. You are a Yank. Cowboys and all that. Yankee Doodle Davy.
Priest: Righto. Good meeting and bless the Lord. Happy hunting Davy!

I left, found the Enfield in the cellar, found the ammunition. I feared that the ammo would be so ancient it would blow up in my face, but the nuns actually kept a recent stock. I went out to the West Garden, opened a gate. In five minutes I saw the fox - the cutest thing in the world. I shot five rounds into a ditch and the fox left. We seemed to have an understanding - the fox, or Geoffrey, or Geoffrey, never bothered the chickens again. The Spanish nun was so grateful that to this day I still have back pains from her hugs.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Old Man

I met many eccentrics in the UK. Britain seems to breed them. There was an old man who would often frequent the convent. I'll have a lot more about him. He would come there for peace and relaxation. I've forgotten his name, and I am certain he is long passed (I met him when he was 80). He was extraordinary, and had many tales. He came from London, worked in a Dutch shipping firm in Egypt, and knew 15 languages. He married a German woman before the war (he was fluent in German). His wife was extricated back to Germany and he was drafted and sent to Greece since he knew Greek. Then he fled to Crete after that was invaded. Finally, he was captured and sent to a POW camp in Germany just 5 miles from away from his wife. His father-in-law visited once - the Kommodant told him, "You can see him once. But this never happened. Think of this favor after the war and bring him whatever you want." He later made a crystal radio in the camp out of used gum wrappers, and it is now in the British Museum. He was then liberated. I wouldn't have known any of this until we were watching TV together. "Call him J̌uḡašvili! His name was NOT Stalin!" after we watched a documentary. Then, I started to ask questions...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cover and Introduction

The cover of Galehaut (or Gallehaut as I sometimes called it).  Someone once defaced it with a coffee mug. The pattern is based on  a William Morris design (I drew all of it).. I was a  member for the Morris Society for years. And I had the privilege to stay in many rooms of the Manor where they had original Morris wallpaper.
The second page. The wreathing calligraphy in the middle says "Meleager"

Now will I weave white violets, daffodils
    With myrtle spray,
And lily bells that trembling laughter fills,
    And the sweet crocus gay:
With these blue hyacinth, and the lover’s rose        5
    That she may wear—
My sun-maiden—each scented flower that blows,
    Upon her scented hair.

Right. Now I can get on about how I delivered the flowers and got my clothes clean.

Galehaut - Page 1.

The first page of Galehaut, my secret diary.

Roughly translated, it reads:

"Catharsis" (so named after Katharina)

"I, according to my good memory and copies, have done set down in print to the intent that noble lovers may  see and learn the noble acts of love. The gentle and virtuous deeds that were used in those days. Humbly, all noble lords and ladies, with all other estates, of what estate or degree they be, shall see and read in this said book and work that they take the good and honest acts in their remembrance and to follow the same therein. They shall find many pleasant histories and renowned acts of humanity, gentleness, and chivalry."

More to come soon as we translate. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ah. The Key.

Right. Another brief note from the editor. This is, according to "Davy" the key to his diaries.

It is in English, Greek, German, French, and Hungarian. If anyone could help me out, I would be grateful.

It was a hastily taken picture.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another Brief Note From the Editor


"Davy" - the author of this diary - is now sleeping in his chair, right over there. Just something I slipped into his tea. I've taken this opportunity to grab his laptop (by that I mean computer) and tell you some facts.

We had been spending this lovely Autumn evening in front of his fireplace, transcribing and translating his diaries. I do this as a favor. And perhaps I am a bit voyeuristic.

But it has been truly maddening. Microscript, idiosyncratic, and written in boustrophedon style. Do you know what that means? It means each line left to right and then right to left. Backwards.

Now here are the facts. I am of a certain station, one perhaps "Davy" cannot comprehend. I have status. I have privileges and obligations. I still have 400 hours of court-ordered community service picking up trash on that damn road.

So, as we sat there, "Davy" with Galehaut in hand and that incessant shit-eating grin that nostalgia brings, I lunged. I grabbed his precious Galehaut and held it over the fire.

"I am not for free!", I screamed. "My time! This insane text! You will find a way to repay!"

I'm not ashamed. I am beyond shame. I threatened to burn his entire past unless...

And now there will be ads. Oh yes. I will "monetize" this blog. I need my share. He cares little for the material world, but I do. And I am crucial to this journey.

So. You will soon see a "Pay-Pal" link. Ads - we will have no control over their content. Apparently the algorithms scan the text and try to match up something appropriate. Perhaps "1 Weird Trick For Lumbago" (Oh! Lumbago. How I love that word, it sounds like a secret ingredient for the perfect pesto. Add oregano, rosemary and lumbago).

More likely, as we get further into his diary, you will see the strangest juxtapositions of ads. Prophylactics here, bibles and lexicons there. I care not.

So. Back to his tale. Much has already been written.

The Editor.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Note From The Editor


I am helping "Davy" transcribe his diaries for this tale. He has provided me with a long glossary and a Greek dictionary. I am "The Editor". I have been given access to this blog and will from time to time comment on his posts.

We have received some complaints that his style is "enigmatic". That he is "guilty of the twin sins of omission and elision." Thank you for your comments.

Please be patient. All will be revealed. These diaries, especially that goddamn "Galehaut", are incredibly cryptic. We will translate and paint the picture soon.

In the meantime, I suggest you read this "blog" with some equipment:

- A Bible.
- A copy of the "Decameron" by Boccaccio.
- A copy of "The Divine Comedy" by Dante.
- A dictionary.
- Pepys would help. He was also an abnormal diarist.
- "Repetition" by Soren Kierkegaard. There will be much "ressentiment". Look both quoted words up.
- Internet access, of course.
- Perhaps a good stiff drink. Things will not get pretty.

Thank you. The Editor.

Ah yes. And soon that story of how he arrived. And why he needed, immediately, to depart from another in Waterloo Station.

  "Be inconstant, nonsensical; do one thing one day and another the next, but without passion, in an utterly careless way that does not, however, degenerate into inattention, because, on the contrary, the external attentiveness must be just as great as ever but altered to a formal function lacking all inwardness."