August Books

Non-fiction 11 (YTD 52)
The Bloody Sunday report, Vol IX
The Bloody Sunday report, Vol X
A Viceroy’s Vindication? Sir Henry Sidney’s Memoir of Service in Ireland, 1556-78
Faith in Europe?, by Jean Vanier, Mary McAleese, Timothy Radcliffe, Bob Geldof, Chris Patten and Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
The Moldovans: Romania, Russia and the Politics of Culture, by Charles King
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, by Thomas Merton
Comrade J: The Untold Secrets of Russia’s Master Spy in America After the End of the Cold War, by Pete Earley
Back To The Vortex, by J Shaun Lyon
The Bookseller of Kabul, by Åsne Seierstad
Mistress Blanche: Queen Elizabeth I’s Confidante, by Ruth Elizabeth Richardson
Aké: the Years of Childhood, by Wole Soyinka

Non-genre fiction 5 (YTD 36)
Soul Mountain / 灵山, by Gao Xingjian
A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute
Dubliners, by James Joyce
The Rosary, by Florence Barclay
A Farewell To Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

SF (not Who) 9 (YTD 55)
Black Blade Blues, by J.A. Pitts
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Sinai Tapestry, by Edward Whittemore
Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia, by David Day
A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
The Wizard Knight, by Gene Wolfe
Diaspora, by Greg Egan
The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents, by Terry Pratchett
Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman

Doctor Who 9 (YTD 46)
Longest Day, by Mike Collier
Doctor Who Annual 2011
Legacy of the Daleks, by John Peel
Wishing Well, by Trevor Baxendale
The King’s Dragon, by Una McCormack
The Ring of Steel, by Stephen Cole
The Pit, by Nigel Penswick
The Slitheen Excursion, by Simon Guerrier
Fallen Gods, by Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman

Comics 3 (YTD 12)
With the Light… / 光とともに…, vol 2, by Keiko Tobe
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, by Bryan Lee O’Malley

8/37 (YTD 42/202) by women (McAleese, Seierstad, Richardson, Barclay, Shelley, McCormack, Orman, Tobe)
5/37 (YTD 16/202) by PoC (Soyinka, Gao, Tobe, O’Malley x 2)
16/37 owned for more than a year (A Fire upon the Deep [reread], Northern Lights [reread], Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, The Wizard Knight, Frankenstein [reread], Faith in Europe?, Longest Day, Legacy of the Daleks, A Viceroy’s Vindication?, The Pit, A Town Like Alice, Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopaedia, Dubliners, A Farewell to Arms, Diaspora, Wishing Well)
Three rereads (YTD rereads 14/202)
~11,000 pages (YTD 63,100)

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August Books 36-37) Two Doctor Who books in which Thera explodes

35) The Slitheen Excursion, by Simon Guerrier
36) Fallen Gods, by Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman

As sometimes happens, my scheduling of Who books in my reading pile produced an odd synergy, with Simon Guerrier taking the Tenth Doctor back to a Slitheen incursion on ancient Athens, and Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman (in a Telos novella) taking the Eighth Doctor to the soon-to-be-destroyed citadel on the island of Thera. Both storied feature the cataclysmic Thera eruption at a distance (of space in The Slitheen Excursion and of time in Fallen Gods), both have a character called Deucalion, both have the Doctor in unlikely combat with bulls owing more to contemporary Spain than ancient Knossos, and both feature a strong female viewpoint character who is effectively the one-off companion for the story.

I thought that they were both also rather good, in very different ways. The Slitheen Excursion is in most ways a standard alien invasion New Series Adventures romp, but lifted partly by the total absence of fart jokes for the Slitheen and mainly by the strong presence of June Brown, a contemporary classics student who bumps into the Doctor while on holiday in Athens and helps him go back in time to defeat the nefarious plans of the green slimy shape-shifters. Perhaps it helped that I was listening to the audio as narrated by Debbie Chazen, who really gave June a credible voice, but I found myself hoping (despite knowing that it wouldn’t happen) that the Doctor would take her with him at the end. There is an article to be written about last year’s spate of companion-free Tenth Doctor adventures, on TV, audio and paper.

Fallen Gods is on quite a different level (and not really one for the kids). Here the Doctor links up with Alcestis, a lapsed priestess from a temple on Thera, and together they try to deal with the demons shapes like bulls threatening the population; this inevitably brings the Doctor to the court of the local king where he ends up discovering the awful secret behind the kingdom’s success. Alcestis turns out to have a lot more behind her than first appears, and the ending is pretty gruesome if also loyal to the themes of Greek legend. I see that one reviewer perceived the book as a prequel to The Time Monster but really, Fallen Gods makes a lot more sense.

So, two Who books strongly recommended to the classicists, and indeed others.

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Whoniversaries 31 August: Roy Castle, Gerry Davis, Michael Sheard, The Dominators #4

i) births and deaths

31st August 1932: birth of Roy Castle, who played Ian in the Doctor Who and the Daleks movie with Peter Cushing (1965).

31st August 1991: death of Gerry Davis, script editor of Doctor Who from The Celestial Toymaker (1966) to part 3 of The Evil of the Daleks (1967), co-writer of The Tenth Planet (1966), The Highlanders (1967), and Tomb of the Cybermen (1966-67), and sole writer of Revenge of the Cybermen (1975)

31st August 2005: death of Michael Sheard, who played Rhos in The Ark (1966), Dr. Summers in The Mind of EvilPyramids of Mars (1975), Lowe in The Invisible Enemy (1977), the Mergrave in Castrovalva (1982), and the Headmaster in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988)

ii) broadcast and production anniversaries

31st August 1968: broadcast of fourth episode of The Dominators. Jamie and Cully manage to destroy a Quark; the Dominators threaten to take revenge by killing the Doctor.

31st August 1990: John Nathan-Turner resigns as producer after a decade, and the Doctor Who production office is closed by the BBC.

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August Books 35) Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman

I must have read this over a decade ago – I seem to remember buying the first two books shortly before the third came out – and it’s interesting to discover which bits have stuck in the mind and which seem new. Pullman’s world-building is simply superb. It’s not just the places – Lyra’s Oxford, the Fens, the Arctic wastes – but also the rules of the world – the most memorable and horrifying moment of the book is that point near the end of Chapter 16 when it looks as if Pantalaimon and Lyra are going to be separated, and it is a really impressive achievement to make the reader care about what happens to a child’s relationship with her dæmon.

I was slightly surprised (my memory of this book having been contaminated by the third volume) that there is not much about religion here – a fair bit about the evil ecclesiastical bureaucracy, but that is not quite the same. Also, because I was looking for them, I spotted more resonances with C.S. Lewis this time. There’s the Oxford setting to begin with; Mrs Coulter clearly draws from the White Witch; note also that Lyra thinks she is a magician’s niece. Pullman is, however, much the better writer: none of his non-human characters are talking cuddly toys, and his world is one where horrible things routinely happen but are none the less horrible for that.

Looking forward now to rereading the other two in a couple of months.

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Whoniversaries 30 August: Terror of the Zygons #1, The Leisure Hive #1, Real Time #5

broadcast anniversaries

30th August 1975: broadcast of the first episode of Terror of the Zygons, launching Season 13. The Doctor, Harry and Sarah, responding to the Brigadier’s appeal via space-time telegraph, land in the neighbourhood of Loch Ness which looks strangely like Sussex. Oil rigs are being wrecked in the North Sea; while tending to a survivor, Harry is shot and injured by a servant of the enigmatic Duke of Forgill. As Sarah visits him in hospital, she is grabbed by… a Zygon!!!!!

30th August 1980: broadcast of the first episode of The Leisure Hive, launching Season 18. Poor K9 gets short-circuited on the beach at Brighton; the Doctor and Romana head for the famous pleasure planet, Argolis, but the Doctor, investigating a mysterious chamber, apparently gets torn apart. (Perhaps symbolic of new producer John Nathan-Turner’s plans for the show.)

30th August 2002: release of fifth episode of webcast Real Time. Cybermen, viruses and the Time Portal; by this stage I’d lost interest in it but I will give it another go some time.

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August Books 34) Aké: the Years of Childhood, by Wole Soyinka

Rather a sweet memoir of growing up as the headmaster’s son in colonial Nigeria before and during the second world war. I liked it more than Chinua Achebe; there seemed to me to be more interrogation of political and gender power structures – one memorable scene has Soyinka’s mother yelling her rage down the phone at the local British official at the Allies for bombing the (non-white) Japanese rather than the (white) Germans. The other point that grabbed me was the lip-smacking portrayal of Nigerian cuisine. I would like to know more about West Africa in general, and I guess Nigeria is the way into it as the regional power; and I guess that Soyinka is one of the better ways into Nigeria.

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Whoniversary 28 August: Tutte Lemkow

births and deaths

28th August 1918: birth of Tutte Lemkow, who played Kuiju in Marco Polo (1964), Ibrahim in The Crusade (1965), and Cyclops in The Myth Makers (also 1965). He also choreographed the dancing scenes in The Celestial Toymaker (1966).

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Whoniversaries 27 August: Peter Craze, Paradise of Death #1, Krakatoa

i) births and deaths

27 August 1946: birth of Peter Craze, brother of Michael ‘Ben Jackson’ Craze, who played Dako in The Space Museum (1965), Du Pont in The War Games (1969), and Costa in Nightmare of Eden (1979).

ii) broadcast anniversary

27 August 1991: radio broadcast of episode 1 of The Paradise of Death, starring Jon Pertwee, Elisabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney as the Third Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith and the Brigadier. Sarah and her dimwitted assistant Jeremy Fitzoliver investigate the new Space World tourist attraction on Hampstead Heath; The Doctor and Brigadier are looking into it as well, and the Doctor apparently falls to his doom from a very high tower…

iii) historical date referenced in canon

27 August 1883: eruption of Krakatoa: the Third Doctor says he witnessed it in Inferno (1970), there is evidence in Rose (2005) that the Ninth Doctor was there too, the Tenth Doctor and Rose narrowly escape the explosion in the Doctor Who Adventures story Under the Volcano (2006) and the eruption releases the alien Xylok which becomes Sarah Jane’s computer, Mr Smith, as we discover in The Lost Boy (SJA 2007). August is a good month for volcanic eruptions (cf Pompeii on the 24th).

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August Books 32) The Pit, by Nigel Penswick

Gosh, this Seventh Doctor novel is pretty poor. Lots of good ideas, including William Blake, disappearing planets, Cthulhoid monstrosities and the secret history of Rassilon, but thrown together really hastily so that the reader must find some real motivation to make sense of it all, and I could not find that motivation.

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August Books 31) A Farewell To Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

Continuing my discovery of Hemingway, I started A Farewell to Arms with no knowledge of the content at all. I soon realised that it was about the Italian front in the first world war where Hemingway had served as a medic, which I was aware of from Haldeman’s “The Hemingway Hoax”, but then became rather delighted when I realised that I vaguely know the area in question, now the eastern part of Slovenia. (I once stumped a leading French intellectual over dinner in Ljubljana by asking him which nineteenth-century French ruler is buried in Slovenia. The answer is Charles X.)

It is, of course, a great, gritty, utterly unheroic depiction of war, with deaths, horrible injuries, and what some have called emergency sex. The Frederick Henry’s struggle then shifts to his relationship with Catherine Barkley. You know that it is doomed from the start, because it’s that kind of book, but I was still startled by the bleak suddenness of the ending. It’s a sparse, clear picture of people thrown together by conflict, and how lives end in that situation, as ever told in Hemingway’s crystal prose.

I am becoming a Hemingway addict, something I never quite expected.

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August Books 30) Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Since I hardly ever go the cinema, I don’t know when I’ll see the movie, but I must say I liked the first volume: Scott and all his friends are well-drawn characters, and the sheer insanity of ending the book with the first of Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends duelling with the unfortunate Scott, video-game style, at the scene of an abortive gig is very engaging. I also liked the depiction of the Canadian background, hemmed by by snow to the north and the USA to the south. I wasn’t sufficiently charmed to go on about it at great length here, but I was sufficiently charmed to buy another volume.

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Mysterious activity of early August

The relatively new stats feature on LJ rarely delivers much of interest, but I did notice something interesting around 3-4 August when traffic to my account doubled:

I have to say that my posts on 3 and 4 August were not really sufficiently interesting to warrant that sort of attention, and my first thought was that perhaps a link to an old post – maybe, I flattered myself, the series on the Bloody Sunday report – had found their way onto some very populous but closed online community (a number of obvious possibilities occurred to me), and been widely shared around there, though with nobody leaving any comments.

But I do not think this is the case now, after checking the time distribution of hits over the two days in question:

Looks to me like this must have been a bot of some kind, passing by three times in just over 24 hours. Some new search engine, gearing up for a launch, perhaps? Has anyone else noticed unusual activity of this kind around that time?

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UUP leadership candidates

My thanks to Bobballs, who has posted links to the statements made so far in the UUP leadership campaign. I’ve gone through them – it didn’t take long – and my big conclusion is that I wish I had also done this for the SDLP leadership election a few months back. My secondary conclusion is that neither candidate seems terribly strong on substance, and on the evidence so far, the UUP led by either of them can look forward to more years of the same. My fisking of the two below:

Tom Elliott’s main piece so far is this article in the Newsletter. His points are as follows:

  1. It is important for grassroots unionists to be allowed to express their opinions (no indication given as to how this might happen, or as to whether he distinguishes between the UUP’s membership and "grassroots unionists" as a whole).
  2. "Some politicians would have us believe that the Union has never been more secure. And yet, the unionist vote has never been smaller throughout the history of Northern Ireland." (These two statements are presented as if the second is intended to disprove the first. Of course, one interpretation – mine, as it happens – is that because the Union is perceived as secure, voters feel less need to vote for parties that bang on about it all the time.)
  3. Threats to the Union come not only from those "committed to murdering their way to a united Ireland" but also from "Scottish nationalists, and Welsh nationalists and English nationalists and little Northern Ireland nationalists". (How does Elliott plan to combat the threat from Scottish, Welsh and English nationalists? And who are the last-named of these?)
  4. Three paragraphs advocating what has been called (by others) "civic unionism"; more on this below.
  5. Three paragraphs on the prospect of Martin McGuinness as First Minister. This is the most deluded section. Having failed to win a mandate to change the current arrangements at the ballot box in May, Elliott now proposes to persuade the Conservatives in Westminster to "vigorously pursue the changing of this legislation to undo these mistakes and ensure that unionism once again has the right to appoint the First Minister as the largest designation in the Assembly". How Elliott will do that with no MPs, and without agreement from Sinn Féin, is left to the imagination. (Probably he will write more articles about it in the Newsletter and send photocopies of them to David Cameron.) Whatever David Trimble’s faults, he at least always realised that London was never going to legislate to undo a deal which the main parties in Northern Ireland had agreed. And Elliott raising this issue is positively dangerous for the party, because it reminds those voters who care about it that the best way of preventing McGuinness from becoming First Minister is to vote DUP!
  6. No single unionist party – Elliott has been tagged as the ‘Unionist unity’ candidate in some quarters, and it’s interesting that here he doesn’t state his own preference but instead says that ‘it is clear’ that it won’t happen.
  7. His vision is "a grassroots settled mindset [which grassroots?] on the future of the Union, which has Northern Ireland firmly embedded as an integral part of it". Ringing prose indeed.

Basil McCrea’s opening statement is even shorter on convincing specifics. The entirety of the first half is taken up with bemoaning the party’s poor election results. We then move on:

  1. "Now is the time for a UUP re-invigorated, re-energised and re-positioned under new leadership to take advantage. The party must be bold and radical. It must capture the mood within the electorate for change." (Stirring words, but is there actually a mood within the [Northern Irish] electorate for change? Or rather sullen acceptance of the status quo?)
  2. "[The UUP] must offer candidates that reflect and relate to the widest possible section of the electorate." This is the most interesting thing said by either candidate (note that it was emphasised also by Ian Parsley, who of course is not himself a UUP member but is hoping for their endorsement in next year’s elections), and I will expand on it below.
  3. "[The UUP] must realise that the electorate has moved on. It must develop a new vision for unionism – inclusive, positive and pluralist. Our role is to build a consensus to make Northern Ireland work, to make politics work" – again, interesting that McCrea like Elliott has internalised the ‘civic unionism’ paradigm; more on this below.

The statement finishes with more fluff, but slightly better written than Elliott’s.

If I were a voter in this election, I would support McCrea on the basis of these statements, purely because he seems to have started to grasp the problem of internal party organisation. The killer blow to the UCUNF project came several weeks before the election when the few Catholics who had managed to get selected by the Conservatives (none had been selected by the UUP) pulled out of the process. There may well have been particular factors in each of these cases, but the overall picture was that no normal Catholic need consider candidacy with the UUP or with any group allied to it. (Sir John Gorman, whatever his qualities, is not a normal Catholic.)

It’s not enough, though, just to run a couple of Catholic candidates, for two reasons. First, for most Catholics, the UUP’s big problem is that it was the party of single-party Stormont rule; it was the Unionist regime from 1921 to 1972. When I have taxed senior UUP members about this in the past, their protest has been that the ancien regime was actually a rather good government, which of course closes down the discussion immediately. The UUP needs a better narrative for what happened in the middle decades of the last century. Of course it is still struggling for a narrative for what has happened this century, so perhaps I should not expect too much.

The second problem is that the UUP’s failure to run Catholic candidates, though embarrassingly visible, was much the least of its problems in May. What kind of serious political organisation starts a campaign by tossing aside its only elected MP, and fails to select a candidate in its most winnable seat until the day before nominations close? Will we see, in next year’s elections, the UUP over-nominating as usual – running too many candidates, partly out of hubris from long past electoral peaks and partly to push local party disuptes to the electorate to resolve? (The electorate have a history of responding by choosing neither option.) The new UUP leader needs to construct a system of very tight central control of campaigning, as well as having a coherent vision; form, as well as content. Neither candidate convinces me on the content, and McCrea has only the slightest inkling of problems with form (Elliott may have more ideas but is so far silent on them).

Finally, the other issue I want to pick up on is the question of civic unionism, which both candidates adopt as a given without using that term: McCrea talks of "a new vision for unionism – inclusive, positive and pluralist", while Elliott wants "a Union in which everyone can have ambitions and opportunities to work to better themselves economically and provide for their families; a Union which is prosperous, and which supports our businesses and farms rather than impeding them; a Union which protects the rights of the most vulnerable in our society, and provides for our children and older people." The originator of the ‘civic unionism’ concept was Norman Porter, who himself has since moved away from it, but it has clearly become accepted wisdom in UUP circles.

My problem with it is that I miss the intellectual argument that a good society – inclusive, positive and pluralist, or nice to families, businessmen, farmers, children and old people – is necessarily one located within the Union. It seems to me that you can prioritise the Union (or a United Ireland, or a confederal Belgium for that matter) as a constitutional concept, or you can promote a state which is generally nice to all of its citizens, but you have to choose one as the priority over the other, and my choice will always be for the second, with deep suspicion of anyone who tells me that the only way to achieve that is by accepting their vision on the first. And my suspicion is that more voters in Northern Ireland are beginning to feel that way; and I am not sure that any party with ‘Unionist’ in its name can ever appeal to them.

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Whoniversary 26 August (and one I missed earlier)

i) births and deaths

None that grabbed me.

ii) Broadcast anniversary

26 August 1991: first broadcast of the so-called ‘Pilot Eisode’, the first mounting of ‘An Unearthly Child’ which was not shown in November 1963.

iii) date specified in canon that I should have noted two days ago

24 August, 79 AD: Vesuvius erupts, destroying the city of Pompeii, as witnessed by the Seventh Doctor and Mel in Big Finish audio The Fires of Vulcan (2000), and by the Tenth Doctor and Donna in The Fires of Pompeii (2008).

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August Books 29) The Rosary, by Florence L. Barclay

This romance novel was apparently the best-seller of the year 1910, so I thought I would test the durability of its appeal. What immediately struck me was that this tale of the young English gentry working through the difficulties of their love lives in order to reach the safe haven of engagement and marriage is exactly the kind of thing that P.G. Wodehouse was parodying (there is even an eccentric Duchess with peculiar taste in pets here); so even if nobody actually reads The Rosary these days, it has a certain legacy.

It is well enough written – I certainly liked it much more than 1909’s bestseller – with the plot concerning a youngish woman who turns down a proposal of marriage because she feels she is not beautiful enough for her artistic admirer, though she lies and tells him that he is too young for her. She then travels around the world, bitterly regretting her choice, and on hearing that her young man has been struck blind by a plot device, persuades a friendly doctor to allow her to nurse him while pretending to be someone else who just happens to have a similar voice to the woman he loves. Well, you can guess how it ends, but it would probably make a decent film, either set in 1910 or updated to the present. Though we might skip over the unexpected revelation two-thirds of the way through that she had gained nursing experience in the Boer War (why did this not come up earlier?) and I suspect that the author is not well-informed about Scottish marriage law (oh, darn, I gave away the ending).

The Rosary of the title, incidentally, was a very popular song of the day which our heroine sings, thus convincing our hero that she is the one for him. If you really want to hear it, I’ve found a Vera Lynn rendition on Youtube, though I could have done without the picture sequence.

And my friends list have satisfied me about the sperm.

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August Books 28) The Ring of Steel, by Stephen Cole

Stephen Cole has rarely disappointed me, and I thought that this was one of the better Doctor Who audiobooks out there: read by Arthur “Rory” Darville, whose own character isn’t actually in it, we have the Eleventh Doctor and Amy getting mixed up in an environmental protest in the Orkney Islands and discovering, inevitably, that there are aliens behind the new technology involved. But it’s not quite your standard alien invasion story – turns out in fact to be rather a clever plot, assisted by excellent sound effects and other incidentals. Strongly recommended.

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August Books 27) Mistress Blanche: Queen Elizabeth I’s Confidante, by Ruth Elizabeth Richardson

This book is about the woman who might possibly have been at the back of Richard Curtis’s mind as he wrote the character of Nursey, played so memorably by Patsy Byrne in Blackadder II. Originally from the bilingual county of Herefordshire, from a long Welsh-speaking lineage (as were her cousins the Cecils) she happened to get assigned a position in the household of the baby princess Elizabeth when in her mid-20s, and by the time Elizabeth took the throne a quarter century later was basically the only survivor of the early days. She lived to her early 80s, dying in 1590, at the heart of the court to the end. She never married, and so amassed a substantial property empire, which provides a lot of documentation of her life.

The book is a local historian’s labour of love: thorough in its research on documents (including several poems in Welsh about Blanche Parry’s immediate ancestors) and also on artworks which may depict her and places with which she was associated. It does not have a lot of scholarly apparatus; there’s little here about the nature of kingship or queenship, and I found the discussion of religion a bit confusing – Richardson suggests that Blanche Parry must have played an important part in getting the Bible translated into Welsh, but there is no smoking gun.

The Welsh link does intrigue me as an area where I would like to understand better what was going on. Apart from Blanche’s family, and her cousins the Cecils, another Welsh family had made it big in politics a bit earlier – their home county of Hereford had seen the beheading in 1461 of Welsh knight Owain ap Tewdwr, whose grandson Henry Tudor took power in England in 1485 and was Elizabeth I’s grandfather.

However, I was entirely satisfied about the one thing I really wanted to know – did Blanche Parry have any dealings with Sir Nicholas White in Ireland? As it turns out, it’s absolutely clear from his surviving correspondence that she was his channel to the queen. His main contact in London was Cecil / Burghley, who he had known since they were both young men; presumably he had encountered Cecil’s slightly older cousin as well. When he successfully raided the Earl of Desmond’s treasure train, he sent the spoils to Cecil with instructions to split them with Blanche. (See previous entry.) So I got what I wanted from the book, even if it’s not the most academically rigorous volume I have read on the period.

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Dingle of the Husseys: Journal of an Expedition to the Dingell, A.D. 1580.

My occasional bits of research into the life of my ancestor continue, here with a lengthy account of a military expedition against the Earl of Desmond in June 1580, which took him and the Lord Deputy from Limerick right across what we now call County Kerry, as far as Dingle. I have cut and pasted this from an online edition of Selections from Old Kerry records : historical and genealogical : with introductory memoir, notes and appendix, edited by Mary Agnes Hickson and published in 1872 by Watson and Hazell of London. The notes in parentheses are hers; there is much here that I would like to comment on some time but it will have to wait.

Lymericke, July 22, A.D. 1580.

MY singular good Lord, — I do here send your Lordship a diary of our late journey in Munster, from our first setting forth from Lymericke until our return thyther agayntwelfth of June we set oute of Lymericke, with the whole armie, the Lord Justice taking his way to Askettyn (Askeaton) and the Erle of Ormond to Kylmallocke.

The thirteenth my Lorde Ormonde marched from Kylmallocke, over Slieve-Ghyr, by the waie of the Viscount Roche's countrie, and camped that night three myles beyond Buttevant, at a place called Lysgrifyn in Ownybaragh, a territory belonging to the Viscount Barry, having with him of his own force, 120 horsemenne, 100 Irish footmen. 210 shott on horse back, and 3 bands of English footmenne, whereof were Captain St. George Bowser (a painful serviceable gentleman), Captain Makworth, and Captain Dowdall, with a great number of caradg (carriages) which do greatly slow his service.

The fourteenth my Lord Justice moved from Askettyn towards Aherlow, through the grete wood, where he founde some cattel, and camped that night within a mile, one of another.

The fifteenth, the Viscount Roche, David Barry, sone and hcire to the Viscount Barry (his father being sicke) Mc Donough, O'Keeffe, and O'Kallaghan came to us with certain horsemenne and footmenne to whom we gave order that all the keriaghes (carriages) of the country should draw near our campe, as we wished to refresh us with vittaile (victuals) for our journey, promising that they should not be otherwise touched, and yet they durst not trust us, but fledde afar off. We removed and camped altogether that night in Mac Donough' s countrey called Dowally (Duhallow) by a river called the Brodewater, which falleth into the sea by Youghal. The contrie from east to west is xxiii miles longe, and xii miles brode, consisting of goodlie woodes faire rivers, and good arable land and pasture. In it there are of pety lords, under McDonough, O'Keefe, O'Kallaghan, and McAwlev, with whose powers and his own, he is able to make 400 footmen, xii horse, and 100 gallowglasse, and although that his country standeth on the hyther syde of the mountain of Slievelougher, yet the Earl of Clancarthy doth challenge (i.e. claim dominion over) him and his underlings, because they were originally some of the Mac Carthies.

The sixteenth we geave streight commandment to the Viscount Barry's sonne, the Viscount Roche. Sir Cormoc Mac Teige Mac Donough, O'Keeffe, O'Kallaghan, and .Mac Auley, that they should have alle their force and keriages to the est of the contrie to interrupt the passage of the traytours, to and fro : the mountayns till our retorne, which they observed not, to the gret hindrance of the service, and their own trouble as your Lordship shall hereafter perceive. We then parted companie, my Lord of Ormonde taking his course, with his force, over the mountayn of Slievelogher, one waie into the wylde mountainous contrie of Desmond, leving most of the keriagcs in the care of Mac Donough, as well to limit the traytours and their goodes, which now fled thyther, as also to bring with him the Erle of Clancartie, and the rest of the Lds of Desmond, of whom we stode much in doubt : and my Lord Justice, on whom I waited, marched towards Kerrye, through Mac Donough's contrie by his Castel of Kanturk, where the Lord Justice was met by Mac Donough's wife, a perty (pretty) comelye woman, sister to the now Countesse of Desmond, by another, who spake good English and entertayned the Lord Justice the best waye she could, and camped that night at a place called Glanossyran (qn. Glaushcroon) adjoining to a faire river and grete wood.

The seventeenth we marched towards the foot of the mountayn of Sleavloghra, which beginneth at Bally-McAuley, and is fourteen myles over to the playnes of Kerry, in which passadge our carrages and horses stucke in, by the continual rayne which we have had, and that evening we descended from the mountayn into Kerry, we looked for and pitched our campe at a place within three myles of the Island of Kerry called Kilcushny. The horsemenne, which were in the northward, discovered a prey dryving from the pleyn betwixt the Island and Traly to Slceavelogher wood, and when word was brought to the Lord Justice, he, taking his horse, leaving the campe settled, accompanied only with myself, Mr. Spresor, and viii horsemenne, followed on the spur, commanding two bands of footmenne to march after, and a vi miles from our campe towards the heighte of the mountayns we overtooke xvee cowes of the Erle's proper dery (dairy) of the Island, besides a number of small cattel which were stayed by Mr. John Zouch and his horsemenne. We took one of the drivers prisoner, who told us that they were the Erle's cattel, confessing also that if we had hanged in the mountayns but one hour longer, from coming down so soon upon the pleyns, we had taken the Erie, the Countesse, and Saunders! lodged there where we were encamped, saying that he was so suddenly taken that he had no leysor (leisure) to take his horse, but was lifted up betwixt the gallowglasses of the Mac Swynies, and conveyed away by them into the woodes of Desmond ; and, for confermacion thereof, we took from them certayn 'cleeves' (wicker baskets) wherein we found the Erle's provision of aqua vitæ, women's kerches (kerchiefs), Saunders' rych Spanish Preste's cloak, and for my porcion his "Sanctus Belle" and another toy after the manner of a crosse, supporting a booke, which I have sent your Lordship, with the remainder of them when you have done to Mistress Blanche. The soldiers found certain vestments and covers of calicoe, so near was the bad Erle, and his "Legate a latere" bested in his own Privie Chamber and Countye Palenteyne of Kerry ! Without this goode happe we had nothinge to feed us last night, and by this preye we had plentye of fleshe and milke, but neither brede, wine, nor bere, the space of foure dayes. The soldiers felle a killinge of the calves, and the cowes felle in such a roaring for them, as they were like to have broken into our campe that night, and over run all our cabins.

The eighteenth we went to view the Island, which is a high monstrous castel, of many roomes, but very filthye and full of cow-dung ! thence to Castel-Magne, where we camped that night, to the great comfort of the Ward, who was kept in close by the traytours, and a certain Sept of the Erle's followers, dwelling on the Reyver Mange, called the O'Moreartaghes (O'Moriarties). Thyther came there to us the Lord Fitz-Morrice, and his eldest son Patrick, with xvi horsemenne and gallowglasses, and xvi shott, well appointed and victualled, and attendeth the Lord Justice to the Dingell and back agayn.

The nineteenth, in our journey from Castel-Magne to the Dingell, which is xx miles off, we camped at a place which is near the Bay of Dingle, called "The Inch," where my Lord Justice and I did practyse our best skyll to gather cockles for our supper.

The twentyeth we came to the Dingell, where Sir William Wynter, Captain Bingham, and Mr. Fowlke Greville came to us from aborde the Queen's shippes, which laye in the Bay of Dingel, a mile to the west of the Haven of Dingell. A part of that daie we passed in reviewing both havens and the towne, and also in considering what place were fittest to fortify for defence of both, which, after a long debating between the Lord Justice and the Admiral, was agreed to be in the Haven of Ventrie ; they are both notable havens, and such as into which the greatest ships of charge may at all times enter. In the Irish Ventrie is called Coon Fyntra, which is almost as to saie " White Sand Haven," because the strand is white sand, full of white shells ; and Dingle Haven is called in the Irish Coon e daf deryck, which is almost to say " Red-ox-Haven," and took that name of the drowning of an ox in that haven, at the first coming over of the Englishmenne from Cornwall, which brought some cattel with them. We find the chiefest merchantes of the towne's houses rased, which were very strong before and built castel-wyse, — done by Sir John of Desmond, and the Knight of Kerrie, as they say, cursing him and Doctor Saunders as the root of all their calamities. The Burgesses were taken into protection by Sir William Winter before our coming, to helpe buildinge the towne againe, whose names are those following,

Bonvilles. Baileys. Skurlocke.
Kleos als Knolls. Rices. Sleynes.
Horgetts. Teraunts. Angells and Goldings.

One of the eldest of them told me that soone uppon the conquest of Englishmen in Ireland, a gentleman named "De La Cousa" was lord of that town and builded it, whose issue in manic years after finding the towne escheated to the House of Desmond, and by that reason it is called to this daye " Dingell de Couse."

The next daie being the twenty-first we went to see the Forte of Smerwicke, five myles from the Dingell to the westward, accompanied by Sir William Wynter, Captain Bingham, and Mr. Greville. The thing itself is but the end of a rocke shooting out into the Baye of Smenvicke, under a long cape, whereupon a merchant of the Dingell, called Piers Rice, about a year before James Fitz-Maurice's landing, built a perty castel under pretence of gayning by the resort of strangers thythir a fishinge, whereas, in very truth, it was to receive James at his landinge, and because at that very instant tyme, a ship laden with Mr. Furbisher's newe found riches happened to presse upon the sandes near to the place, whose carcase and stones I saw lie there, carrying also in his mynde a golden imaginacion of the cominge of the Spaniards, called his bylding Down-enoyr, which is as much as to say, " The Golden Downe." The ancient name of the Baye, in the Irish tongue, is the Haven of Ardcanny, compounded of these words Ard and Canny, and signifieth " Height," and " Canny," as derived from a certain devout man named Canutius, which upon the height of the cliffs, as appears at this day, built a little hermitage for himself to live a contemplative there, and so is it as much as to say " Canutius's Height ;" and afterwards by the Spaniards it was called Smerwicke, by what reason I know not. James Desmond did cut a necke of the rocke from the mainland, to make it the stronger, it lyeth equal with the maynlande, having a hole, with grete labour, digged into it, and to my measurement, it conteyneth but 40 foote in length, and 20 for brode, at the brodest place, now all passed and judged by menne of skyll a place of noe strength. The whole ground whereof it is parcel, is a peninsula, within which the Knight of Kerry's house standeth, and is called "The Island of Ardcanny." We went then aborde the Queen's shippes, with some merrie scruple, whether the realme should be without a governor, whereas the Lord Justice was uponne the sea ; but hunger moved us to make a favourable construction of the lawe. We had grete entertainment on boarde, and the Admiral and the reste of the Captains lente us of their stores to refresh our camp withafl, both byer (beer) and byskett for two dais, which we stretched to fower, and sent theyr pinnace to Castel-Mayne. After our coming from aborde, the Admiral shott off an ayre (discharge) of ordnance whereoff one demi-culverin in the stemme did flame, and therewith the master-gunners cabin brake out the side one grete piece of tymber, and like to have made fowle worke, but God be thanked, no manne hurte, nor the ship brought out of plight to serve. All this while the Erle of Ormonde was over agaynst us in this journey through the mountayn of Desmond, towards Valentia, whose fyres we might discern from us by the baye, about ten miles over.

The twenty-second, having well refreshed our soldiers, and agreed on the plan of fortifications, with other matters for answering the service both by sea and lande. we returned back to Castel-Mayne, camping that night at The Inch, beside the Baye of Dingell. I have forgotten to lett your Lordship understand, that the ships hath made themselves a sort of castel upon the shore, and hath their cattel passing about it, which they take from the natives by marching farre into the countrie.

The twenty-third, we came to Castel-Magne where we found the pynance of the victuals at the Castel syde, and the master which guided her thyther, told my Lord Justice that he had sounded the channel, and durst undertake to bring a ship of c tons within a stone's cast of the castel ; and, truly, it is built on a notable place to rule both the counties of Kerry and Desmond, on both sydes of the River of Magnc.

The twenty-fourth the Erle of Ormond came to us to Castel-Magne, in his route into Korke, bringing with him the Erle of Clancartie, O'Sullivan-Beare, O'Sullivan-More, O'Donoghuc-More, McFynin of the Kerrie, McDonogh, O'Keefe, O'Kallaghan, McAwley, and alle the rest of the L L of Desmond, except O'Donoghue of Glantlesk, which was with the tray tours. Manie of them do not obeye the Erle of Clancarty, and yet they came with the Erle of Ormonde, without pardon or protection, whose credit is great among them ; and by whose example of loyaltie and faithfulnesse to her Majestie, they are greatlie drawne to theyr dutie, contrarie to the pernicious persuasions that hath been used to them. They humbly submitted themselves, humbly acknowledging their dedes, and swearing fealtie and allegiance to her Majestie, with profession from thence forth devotedlie to serve her, after a dutiful fashion, by the Erle of Ormonde these brought a prey of iooo kyne, and slewe fower principal gentlemen of the Mac Fyneens and O'Sullivans.

The twenty-sixth, after storing of Castle-Magne with victuals, we marched thence towards Corke, through part of Desmond, the Erle of Clancartie's contrie, and camped that night by the fayre river of Lawyn (Laune), tween " The Palace," one of Clancartie's chiefe houses and Downelow (Dunlogh) a house of O'Sullivan-More's rased by the Erle of Ormond in the last warre of James Fitz-Maurice. The river hath in it many big muscles, where in are found many fayre perles.

The twenty-seventh, we marched by the famous Lough Leyn, out of which the ryver of Lowgen doth spring, and falleth into the sea beside Magne. The Logh is fulle of salmon, and hath in it eleven islands, in one of which (Innisfallen), there is an abbey in another a parish church, and in another (Rosse) a castel, out of which there came to us a fair lady the rejected wife of Lord Fitz-Maurice, daughter to the late McCartie-More (elder brother to the Erle). It is a circuit of twelve miles, having a faire plaine on one side, faire woodes and high mountaynes on the other side, thence we passed bv the entrie of Glanflesk, that " famous Spelunck," (Spelunca, hiding place), whereof the traytours make their chief fastnesse, and, finding neither people nor cattel there, we held on and camped that night in O'Kallaghan's countrie, by the river of Brode water which passeth by Youghal.

The twenty-eighth we camped by the edge of Muskerry, in Sir Cormac Mac Teige's countrie.

The twenty-ninth we marched to Corke, where the Maiour and citizens receive the Lord Justice after their best manner. We met there with the wheat and malte which your lordship sente for the provision of the army, to their grete comfort ; and here I must lette your Lordship to understand, that your grete care and providence in sending hither of said shippes and good store is gretely commended, for it is gretely murmurred that the same is miserably misused and delayed by the victuallers and their ministers both before and after it cometh thyther, besydes the length of tyme ere it came. We camped before the cittie the space of fower dayes, during which tyme we entreated the citizens for the loan of 3 or 4 LI (£3— 400), who, after many persuasions used to them, lent the Lord Justice c LI (£100) in money ; c LI (£100) of wynes ; and offered him another c LI (£100)'s worth of fishes, pork, and beofe (beef) and such other havings for the souldiers, which, I assure your Lordship, was gretely pulled down with their journies and ill waies, ill wether, and grete want of brede (bread), whereof some dropt by the waie. They are able to endure alle this, if they had but bredde, the lack whereof is the only derthe here, and nought els.

N. W.

The bit about the two senior officials gathering cockles for supper is rather sweet. Though I somehow doubt that they picked enough for all of the troops…

This is all just a few months before the Siege of Smerwick.

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Whoniversary 25 August: The Bane invade

date specified in canon

25 August 2006: Maria Jackson and the annoying Kelsey team up with Sarah Jane Smith to thwart the invasion plans of the Bane and rescue the young Archetype, who is adopted by Sarah and renamed Luke. (As seen in Invasion of the Bane, SJA 2007)

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Whoniversaries 24 August: The Dominators #3, Maria moves in

i) births and deaths

None that caught my eye.

ii) broadcast anniversary

24th August 1968: Broadcast of episode 3 of The Dominators (1968). Zoe, Cully and the other Dulcians are being used by the Dominators as slave labour. Cully escapes, but the Doctor is captured, and yet another episode ends with falling masonry.

iii) date specified in canon

24th August 2006: Maria Jackson and her father move in across the road from Sarah Jane Smith; later that night Maria sees Sarah talking to an alien being. (SJA: Invasion of the Bane, 2007)

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A peculiar quote from the best-selling novel of 1910

Pauline, the American girl mentioned in the previous extract, seems fated to play the supporting female romantic role in Florence Barclay’s 1910 novel, The Rosary. But I was startled by a phrase in this passage from Chapter X of the book, where she reflects on how she will never marry Garth “Dal” Dalmain, the male lead:

But after her maid had left her, Pauline switched off the electric light and, drawing back the curtain, stood for a long while at her window, looking out at the peaceful English scene bathed in moonlight. At last she murmured softly, leaning her beautiful head against the window frame:

“I stated your case well, but you didn’t quite deserve it, Dal. You ought to have let me know about Jane, weeks ago. Anyway, it will stop the talk about you and me. And as for you, dear, you will go on sighing for the moon; and when you find the moon is unattainable, you will not dream of seeking solace in more earthly lights—not even poppa’s best sperm,” she added, with a wistful little smile, for Pauline’s fun sparkled in solitude as freely as in company, and as often at her own expense as at that of other people, and her brave American spirit would not admit, even to herself, a serious hurt.

Not even whose best what???!!!???

(And do you find it gives you a wistful little smile like Pauline’s????)

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August Books 26) The King’s Dragon, by Una McCormack

One of the July crop of New Who books, by of this parish. Starts by hinting that it may be a Doctor Who version of Beowulf (main setting is the small city of Geath, ruled by Beol) but goes in quite a different direction – ending up with a nod or two towards Star Trek with a running subtext of sardonic political commentary. This will all be above the heads of the age group who are the main audience for this series of books, but their parents will enjoy it all the same.

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August Books 25) The Bookseller of Kabul, by Åsne Seierstad

The more I hear and read about Afghanistan, the more I realise I don’t know. I recently attended a conference of experts where a full day was taken up with discussions of how quickly, and with how much dignity, Western troops can realistically be withdrawn; this not being one of my areas of expertise, I mostly sat and listened.

Seierstad’s book rather adds to my confusion. The book purports to be her interpretation of the lives of the Afghan family she lived with in Kabul for three months, anonymised and told through their viewpoint rather than hers. She vividly depicts an intensely patriarchal society, religious in observance rather than belief, traumatised and decapitated by years of war; much along the lines of what I have read in Khaled Hosseini’s novels, though restricted in time to those few months of 2002 shortly after Karzai first came to power (and reminiscences of earlier periods).

But is it accurate or fair? Her host vehemently protested the fairness of her depiction (and her utter failure to disguise his identity adequately) and the latest news is that his younger wife has won damages for what the book says about her. And the fact that the details are so intensely disputed by those in a position to know about them makes one suspicious about the extent to which Seierstad has got the big picture right.

We all bring our own baggage to our interpretation of what is going on in other people’s lives, and I suspect that Western journalism – or perhaps more broadly, the instinct to tell a story which is interesting to a Norwegian or European audience – may not be the best way of letting the voices of Afghans themselves be heard where it matters. My own feeling (which of course reflects my own biases of intellectual formation and professional experience) is that anthropologists, more than other commentators, have quite a lot to offer in helping the understanding of situations like Afghanistan, certainly more than journalists who drop in (let alone the ‘military experts’ who tend to dominate domestic discourse in the West). I don’t know of any such work on Afghanistan itself, but if I ever need to work up a more detailed knowledge of the country, I will start there, rather than with any more books like this one.

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