2nd july 2003

brekekex koax koax

Journal, 18th April 1858
Frogs are strange creatures.

[ Sir Froggy (for it is he) writes: Ay ay is rite is rite we bees werry werry strainch
but not so strainch as yorseff Sir Henry werrin a wiskry fais an a adjicktivle hat
crowtsin byda pont peerin at ower bredrin ]

One would describe them as peculiarly wary and timid, another equally bold and imperturbable.

[ Sir F: rubbage to firs one is poor judgmint
but yay huzza yis froggis is bold bold and neva eva is been turbd not by nobobbys ]

All that is required in studying them is patience. You will sometimes walk a long way along a ditch and hear twenty or more leap in one after another before you, and see where they rippled the water, without getting sight of one of them. Sometimes, as this afternoon, when you approach a pool or spring a frog hops in and buries itself at the bottom. You sit down on the brink and wait patiently for his reappearance. After a quarter of an hour or more he is sure to rise to the surface and put out his nose quietly without making a ripple, eyeing you steadily.

[ Sir F: is you soprizd wy wdlnt it bee so
we is tryn to fine owt wot in beezlebubbis name yor doin
isn it bizzy doun at the pensil faktry toady
can you not fine sum beter ockyoupayshun than drivin us pore braiv froggis nuts ]

At length he becomes as curious about you as you can be about him. He suddenly hops straight toward you, pausing within a foot, and takes a near and leisurely view of you. Perchance you may now scratch its nose with your finger and examine it to your heart's content, for it is become as imperturbable as it was shy before.

[ Sir F: you wanta wotchit busta this is jus carm befor sturm orl meri hel wil soon be brakin loos if yous pots a fut rong
oo look he he froggi can se his reflickshun in yor elascit sidid bootees a nise shine on thos Sir Henry ]

You conquer them by superior patience and immovableness; not by quickness, but by slowness; not by heat, but by coldness. You see only a pair of heels disappearing in the weedy bottom, and, saving a few insects, the pool becomes as smooth as a mirror and apparently as uninhabited. At length, after half an hour, you detect a frog's snout and a pair of eyes above the green slime, turned toward you.

[ Sir F: git an stay out go on gway

altho wen Sir Henry has gon home fer his tea it get a bit lonly here wiv only the newts
it wer nise to hav som a tenshun ]

- Thoreau

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3rd july 2003

text for an undrawn cartoon

Man (to pianist in bar): D'you do requests?
Pianist: Sure, what would you like?
Man: Oh, I don't mind - you choose.

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5th july 2003

jamais de la vie

In the train, the guy opposite is wearing blue suede shoes. I've never seen any before, at least not that I can remember. In the jostle on the way out onto the platform, I'm careful where I put my feet.

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8th july 2003

planet as lava lamp


On the Library of Congress website, one of the exhibitions is entitled Earth as Art, a collection of interesting or peculiar satellite photographs. There's a long list of other stuff they have online, of which I most enjoyed the Timbuktu manuscripts and the rather Family-of-Mannish When We Were Young, photos of children.

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10th july 2003

from H.G.Wells' wastebasket

The machine was at last ready for use, and he settled into its padded seat and passed his hands over the controls.
'First, the future, by Jove!' and he twisted the dial to take him a few years hence.
His first perception was one of a tremendous pain in his joints and muscles; his next, that his vision was blurring and dimming. He slumped in the seat, almost unable to lift his head. With a great effort, he moved the dial back to its original setting, and normality was restored.
After some thought, he decided to try travel into the past, but was again disappointed when he found he was becoming too short in the leg to reach the controls; lest he be trapped in infanthood, he returned to the present.

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11th july 2003

Large white cloud near Bilsington, Kent - by Fay Godwin

Cut Grass

Cut grass lies frail:
Brief is the breath
Mown stalks exhale.
Long, long the death

It dies in the white hours
Of young-leafed June
With chestnut flowers,
With hedges snowlike strewn,

White lilac bowed,
Lost lanes of Queen Anne's lace,
And that high-builded cloud
Moving at summer's pace.

- Philip Larkin

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14th july 2003



As a veteran of umpteen rock'n'roll tours, visits to Avebury and Stonehenge always have me screaming, 'But who did the catering?'
- Julian Cope

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15th july 2003


August 1899
How wearisome is the labour of writing my miserable music, when there is learning the bicycle, and fifty thousand other nice things to do.
- Edward Elgar

                                        * * *

Regarding today's date: Swithun or Swithin was an early Bishop of Winchester, who died in the year 862. On his deathbed he asked to be buried outside the north wall of his cathedral where passers-by would walk over his grave, and raindrops from the eaves fall upon it in benediction. This wish was granted, but for less than a century: they dug him up in 931 and put him in a flashy shrine inside the building, where rain never falls unless the Roof Appeal isn't doing very well.

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17th july 2003

a bosom for a pillow

Thoreau made a camping trip in July 1858, to the mountains of New Hampshire. Here's his still-useful luggage list:

Three strong check shirts.
Two pairs socks.
Neck ribbon and handkerchief.
Three pocket-handkerchiefs.
One thick waistcoat.
One thin (or half-thick) coat.
One thick coat (for mountain).
A large, broad india-rubber knapsack, with a broad flap.
A flannel shirt.
India-rubber coat.
Three bosoms (to go and come in).
A napkin.
Pins, needles, thread.
A blanket.
A cap to lie in at night.
Tent (or a large simple piece of india-rubber cloth for the mountain tops?).
Veil and gloves (or enough millinet to cover all at night).
Map and compass.
Plant book and paper.
Paper and stamps.
Botany, spy-glass, microscope.
Tape, insect-boxes.
Jack-knife and clasp-knife.
Fish-line and hooks.
Soap and dish-cloths.
Waste-paper and twine.
Iron spoon.
Pint dipper with a pail-handle added (not to put out the fire), and perhaps a bag to carry water in.
Frying-pan, only if you ride.
Hatchet (sharp), if you ride, and perhaps in any case on mountain, with a sheath to it.
Hard-bread (sweet crackers good); a moist, sweet plum cake very good and lasting; pork, corned beef or tongue, sugar, tea or coffee, and a little salt.

That plum cake: I want some. Very good with the tea.

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23rd july 2003
Acts chapter 8

The wider world sometimes worms its way into the Bible: here's one of the results. The simple language lulls us into a false sense of reportage, but the details of the chariot (was it waiting for horses? for the light to change?) and the book produce a rich mimesis.
The Ethiopia of which Candace was queen is modern Sudan - her dynasty is described on a pyramid in Meroë.


24th july 2003
Variations of an Air

after Lord Tennyson

Cole, that unwearied prince of Colchester,
Growing more gay with age and with long days
Deeper in laughter and desire of life
As that Virginian climber on our walls
Flames scarlet with the fading of the year;
Called for his wassail and that other weed
Virginian also, from the western woods
Where English Raleigh checked the boast of Spain,
And lighting joy with joy, and piling up
Pleasure as crown for pleasure, bade me bring
Those three, the minstrels whose emblazoned coats
Shone with the oyster-shells of Colchester;
And these three played, and playing grew more fain
Of mirth and music; till the heathen came
And the King slept beside the northern sea.

after W.B. Yeats

Of an old King in a story
From the grey sea-folk I have heard
Whose heart was no more broken
Than the wings of a bird.

As soon as the moon was silver
And the thin stars began,
He took his pipe and his tankard,
Like an old peasant man.

And three tall shadows were with him
And came at his command;
And played before him for ever
The fiddles of fairyland.

And he died in the young summer
Of the world's desire;
Before our hearts were broken
Like sticks in a fire.

after Walt Whitman

Me clairvoyant,
Me conscious of you, old camarado,
Needing no telescope, lorgnette, field-glass, opera-glass, myopic pince-nez,
Me piercing two thousand years with eye naked and not ashamed;
The crown cannot hide you from me,
Musty old feudal-heraldic trappings cannot hide you from me,
I perceive that you drink.
(I am drinking with you. I am as drunk as you are.)
I see you are inhaling tobacco, puffing, smoking, spitting
(I do not object to your spitting),
You prophetic of American largeness,
You anticipating the broad masculine manners of these States;
I see in you also there are movements, tremors, tears, desire for the melodious,
I salute your three violinists, endlessly making vibrations,
Rigid, relentless, capable of going on for ever;
They play my accompaniment; but I shall take no notice of any accompaniment;
I myself am a complete orchestra.
So long.

- G.K. Chesterton


28th july 2003
tent show

The (Indonesian) puppet Chepot was chasing the dangerous Red Worm around the stage, twisting and racing in pursuit. From the dark audience came the crass sound of the Nokia Tune. Chepot stopped dead and whipped around to glare at us.
- No! he screeched.
- No mobile phone!


31st july 2003

* * *  huzza holiday happiness here  * * *

bhikku will be away until towards the end of August. Have fun and be good.

Constable - Cloud Study