Scrapbook: Week 37

September 10-16, 2022

SATURDAY 10 Businesses and organisations are feverishly trying to read the public mood. Should they shut up shop for a few days as a mark of respect? Or should they keep calm and carry on?

πŸ“Œ The project to create stitchworks depicting the leaves of common trees will go ahead as normal, with a gently bowed head and sombre music playing quietly on Radio 2.

Willow leaf…

πŸ“Œ Will and Kate and Harry and Meg all turned up at the same time in the same place to shake hands and chat with the public.

SUNDAY 11 In the radio play The Mysterious Affair At Styles the killer’s accomplice when unmasked by Hercule Poirot angrily calls the detective a “little egg-shaped monster”.

πŸ“Œ Not widely reported in these sombre times is a collapse of Russian supremacy in the occupation of eastern Ukraine.

πŸ“Œ Andrew Rawnsley has a confident analysis of the Queen’s role in British politics over the 70 years of her reign.

πŸ“Œ To Tate Britain for a look at the Walter Sickert exhibition before it closes next week. Also took in Cornelia Parker, who I knew nothing about but am now captivated by. My favourite room in the Sickert exhibition was the one showing images the artist had transposed from newspapers, theatre and popular culture into canvases.

Walter Sickert…
Cornelia Parker…

πŸ“Œ Concern for the Queen’s corgis following her death has been laid to rest by the Daily Mirror. They will be given a new home by Prince Andrew and his daughter Beatrice. The Mirror also reveals that sometime in the past one of the Queen’s corgis got frisky with one of Princess Margaret’s dachshunds and the result was an entirely new breed of dog henceforth know as the dorgi.

MONDAY 12 The BBC’s Soul Music radio programme featured a fascinating exploration of the Ben E King song Stand By Me. It included cover versions by, among others, John Lennon, and an epic recording of T Rex in the studio starting the song, then stopping to have a discussion about it. The programme went on to point up the song’s lasting influence, including its part in the cult film Stand By Me, based on the Stephen King story The Body.

πŸ“Œ Our Aldermanic elections on Thursday will go ahead as planned. Foodbank Liz has gone into leafleting overdrive.

TUESDAY 13 “Air Miles Charlie” and the more respectful “Charles The Busy” are the latest nicknames to use for our new monarch.

πŸ“Œ Helping out at a City Advice cost-of-living clinic it became obvious that too many ordinary families are being priced out of our market economy. One parent complained of her child’s school demanding payment for basic curriculum text books. Another was forced to stop working because her wages couldn’t even cover the cost of childcare.

πŸ“Œ Electric vehicles in Taiwan solve the re-charging problem by having battery-swap service stations.

πŸ“Œ There is no shortage of anecdotes about the Queen at the moment. The one I like most is that she was a very big fan of George Formby.

πŸ“Œ There has been a lot of analysis on the funny face Prince Charles pulled as he signed the declaration to make him King Charles III. It is said he wasn’t happy with his pen. Was it a gift from Meghan? asked one newspaper.

πŸ“Œ I’m not sure gushing obituaries come much faster flowing than the one by Matthew D’Ancona in the Tortoise.

WEDNESDAY 14 I’ve started to re-read Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct stories, starting with Cop Hater, but got sidetracked by a hankering for some Stephen King. Maybe it was a throwback to Monday’s Soul Music reference. I drew a blank in the e-books section of our local library, so I searched Kindle for something suitable to buy – ie, not too grisly, more psychological – only to discover that I already owned a Stephen King book. Two, in fact – Everything’s Eventual and Guns – which have sat forgotten in a cold corner of my vast digital collection for a number of years.

πŸ“Œ Unlike nearly every other columnist I read, Marina Hyde never ever looks in danger of tripping into pomposity. Funny but deeply serious at the same time is a fine art.

The idea that the UK is a cradle of free speech is one of those comforting stories the country likes to tell itself, when all manner of things from the libel laws to teachers being hounded to the Daily Mail devoting its entire front page to outrage that a comedian mocked Liz Truss says differently.

Marina Hyde, the Guardian…

πŸ“Œ The prospect of Vladimir Putin flying into a nuclear rage at setbacks in Ukraine have become a daily source of speculation.

It is not hard to conjure apocalyptic scenarios, especially when Europe’s largest atomic power station is on the frontline.

Rafael Behr, the Guardian…

πŸ“Œ On the very last day before an election in our ancient area of London a “wardmote” is held at which voters can eyeball those standing in the contest. Usually this is held in a crusty old walnut room in the deep City. Today’s wardmote, however, is to be conducted in a church, St Giles, who was the patron saint of lepers and beggars.

πŸ“Œ Unexpectedly, the Lord Mayor himself (Vincent Keaveny) turned up – to a chorus of “Oh Yea, Oh Yea, Oh Yea”, plus several rounds of “God Save The King” – to chair the wardmote at St Giles church. Robes, chains, swords and ceremonial headgear all made guest appearances. Sitting in church pews, their arrival from behind was first signalled by the throaty request “all stand” followed by the ominous beat of leather shoes on parquet flooring and the slow reveal of gold maces heavy robes and black tricorn hats. Then came the instruction to sit, which I took as my cue to play Wordle (got it in 4).

The Beadle has landed…

THURSDAY 15 It’s aldermanic election day and the drama is gripping. Our neighbour Sensible Sue, who helps old people claim their water-charge rebates, is standing against a pint-size lower-league toff tribute act who claims to be an expert at manipulating the establishment from the inside. We signed up last night to attend the final count. More to follow…

πŸ“Œ One of my Facebook friends asks: “Can anyone please recommend a non-proprietary liquid for cleaning binocular lenses?”

πŸ“Œ It will be all downhill after the Queen’s funeral, writes Andy Beckett. Support for the monarchy was already in decline, despite surface appearances to the contrary. The Queen was admired around the world for having a presence, but not too much of it; Charles will degrade the brand and even a majority of Britons will end up not really bothered what he says or does. Because unlike the Queen, he will say and do things, because he can’t help himself.

πŸ“Œ In conversation with my wife I described someone we know only slightly as “super annoying”. I asked: “Do you think she has mental-health problems?” “No, she’s American,” my wife replied.

πŸ“Œ At Headway Tim asked me if I was a monarchist and then told me about a dubious legend in which an eagle picked up a tortoise and dropped it on the King’s head, killing him. For that reason, he said, natives of the island of Gozo near Malta eye tortoises suspiciously and tell children to keep away from them.

πŸ“Œ One of my wife’s favourite songs in recent times is The Only Thing, a love song by Travis with Susanna Hoffs, lead singer with The Bangles. In it Travis singer Fran Healy tells Hoffs: “I was the record in the record shop that nobody wants to buy“, which are words I can well identify with.

πŸ“Œ Our neighbour Sue won a landslide victory in the aldermanic elections held today with more than 80% of the vote. In my mind, the result was never in doubt.

FRIDAY 16 The queue to view the Queen lying in state is now so long that the authorities are discussing when and how to close it. There has been some discussion in our house about which is the START and which is the END of a queue. Other considerations have been how one might turn queuing into a money-spinning enterprise. It could make our diminished nation once again rich and all-powerful

πŸ“Œ The race is on to get the massive #SewBros stitchwork wall-hanging started before The Geezers arrive next week to add their bit.

πŸ“Œ The Royal Queue has been closed temporarily. It will re-open once they work out how many more people can join and still have time to get to the front before the coffin departs for the funeral on Monday. News reports say David Beckham has been queueing since 2am.

πŸ“Œ In an ultimate attempt to justify its existence, the BBC turned the Celebrity Masterchef final into a demonstration of transparency by showing the contestants creating a 100-year anniversary afternoon tea party for a selection of BBC stalwarts. Kitty’s pyramid of profiteroles collapsed but, typical of the BBC, everyone laughed it off.

Read all of my scrapbook diaries…


2 thoughts on “Scrapbook: Week 37

  1. Your stitchwork is beautiful. I am doing cross stitch designs. I like Agatha Christies and have many of her books.
    It has been all about the Queen. I remembered a Nevil Shute book which is a lot about her. I think the book is In the wet. Thank you for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

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