Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 20 July 2012
Vorsprung Durch Technik
I mentioned yesterday that I have been spending quite a bit of time in builder's merchants recently, but I have not seen these T-shirts sold in German hardware stores which ingeniously solve the universal problem of 'builder's cleavage', when some bloke comes around your house to fix the plumbing or whatever, and you are forced to suffer his poor choice of working trousers.
The world of snooker overcame this problem years ago, by making extra-long waistcoats for when the player is leaning over the table to take a long shot, and even invented upside-down spectacles for when you have to rest your cheek on the cue. As usual, Germany is way ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to what is known these days as Construction Industry Solutions.
It doesn't seem like a year since H.I. conducted her Summer School, but it is - the first one begins next week. This is one reason why the replacement Volvo was needed urgently, as I have to transport her, some huge easels, books, materials and a load of light refreshments to the rural village hall on monday.
I have bought a number of books by the aforementioned John Aubrey since last year, and have come to the conclusion that the old 17th century gossip is following us around. He was closely associated with the church where she carried out the restoration or reinstatement of the medieval Doom Board (you can be taken straight to it by clicking on this link), and now I find that he was also related to the Long family, who were the local dignitaries of the village where her summer school is to take place, and whose ostentatious but beautiful tombs are sited in the church next door. He describes a female Long as a 'kinsman', and relates how she came upon her own apparition ('as if in a mirror') whilst out walking one day, and died shortly thereafter.
I think I now have pretty much everything that Aubrey wrote in book form, but the only one to have been published in his lifetime is the latest - a rambling and somewhat silly series of accounts concerning all things supernatural, including magick, apparitions, knockings, premonitions, etc. etc. It is this very book which caused a contemporary to describe him as 'maggoty-headed', which I thought a bit cruel until I read it.
In those early days at the dawn of science, anything that could not be ascribed to God was blamed on the Devil, and you could take the boy out of the Wiltshire countryside, but you could not take the Wiltshire countryside out of the boy.
As I write, there is a serialisation of the diaries of Samuel Pepys - a contemporary of Aubrey - on the radio, and he has taken a boy to Tower Hill to see a comet which is supposed to be hanging in the heavens. Normally he went there to witness executions. The boy says that comets are ill omens, and Pepys replies that it is a comet, not a curse. The beginnings of science. Pepys could not be described as a likeable person, but what a service he did us by writing down every sordid detail of his life, never expecting it to be published.
Anyway, what has this to do with builder's arses, I hear you say? Not a lot.