28 February 2012


To Tameko Daleko to collect papers and the latest Spectator.

As I emerged, suddenly finally the penny dropped ... that Maman was not here to share the reading: not when i got home, not when she got home from some oldies' luncheon kneez-up, not when back from Italy or Londino or an impatient spell in the Clinic ~ not whenever, not no time.

A sinking surging feeling - Jan 14 to Feb 28, took long enough - an empowering glow and a quickening tread.

I'd found a dangly battery-powered lamp at St Lidl's that can prop, hang, or magnetise.

"Oh that is useful. I can stay out weeding even later!"

Ain't no lights needed where she's now.

Prune n weed neath that celestial glow.

Heaven on earth, I was about to say, but it's heaven in Heaven now, innit, bless her and all who trowel under her.

Heavenly Toes ~ Keep the Almighty on His toes:

"Erm ... Marjorie? The seraphim tell me you want to move that tree ... I was rather fond of it where it was ... part of My 'purpose', doncha know?"

Well, your ways are more mysterious than I realised ... you'll never grow any decent apples there."

Actually, had rather a success with one ...

"Nonsense ... anyway, if you move it over by the Phipensia it'll also keep away snakes."

Actually, wot I was referring to. Worked a treat where it is ... BTL (Before The Lad)

Maman: Oh St Peter, if youre going that way, I could do with some shredding around the Adam-n-Eve pergola.

God: [waft of hand] "Done

Mum Evreka! But for Your sake dont let my son see that.

He'll be down to Stihl in a trice ... anyway, he's newly inspired by a kymatic cadeau [see left]so dont distract him now when he's all keen n all

L'Almighty [rumble of divine discontentment] "Say what? She's meant to be beavering away on a job for Me. Got Easter coming up, you know?"

Oh she can do that any time. Anyway, all that intoning and incense and metropolitoi in their finery, no one'll notice another ceiling.

Offerings - to the Owl and Hamburger for one of Lizzie's absinthe on the rocks [known to the cognoscenti as the 'Howlin' Bugger'] from where I dropped off some goodies for mademoiselle.

(Actually the frenchies have dropped that, did you know? No longer correcte to identify les non-marriés)

Smitless in Gaza - Because Caroline likes to know from which of her tsunami of tswain her prezzies come, she gets very snarky when she finds anonymous diamond tiaras on her doorstep.

I was right on it: I'd prepared a note to place atop the Arabian thoroughbred. But i forgot to attach it. Must've channeled my spitfire younger adviseuse du coeur calling me from the colonies, "Dad! NO smitten"

Yes, dear. What, like No Smoking?

Better not let on, or the Daubessa will be presenting me next with a delicately inscribed motto d'émotion:

"No Smitten"

All curlicues and hearts sliced a-thrain.

Sell a bomb when Clooney next cruises chez Philp to buy his usual wagon load.

19 February 2012


HOORAH! New book!

My faithful Corfuciosi Irregulars are always pestering me for more reviews but i'm choosy and I'm lazy and few seem to come along that I actually feel excited blood pumping thru the veins to put pen to keyboard.

Alas, few of you might buy this wonderful book, but I wish for your sake and enjoyment that do get to treat yourselves

I'm proud to say that the author is my very own first cousin once removed (see comment). My Kenton granny, bless her heart, could tell you to the nth strata who and where the family tree panned out so ... if Peter's mum, my auntie Mabel, was my maternal grannny's sister ... alors, so that's how this whole removal thing works. Got it.

Quick digression, look at the exquisite draughtsmanship of the family trees. Works of art in themselves.

Loipon, when the original In the Web came out, the internet web was hardly heard of - brilliant choice because, once Al Gore had invented it, every google brought up Pierre's chef-d'oeuvre.

I was in Hong Kong when this precise painstaking study came out and was able to strut my stuff as a sort of vaguely fringe member of the elite Eurasiae.

My own family's tree ~ proud just to gaze on it.

King of Hong Kong Cricket: a tiger at the crease. The umpires might as well have had fake arms attached to signal sixes and boundaries.

He gave me an idea that gained me much face when i played #8 at Hurstpierpoint and shared it with the games master: when facing the bowler in a monsoon HK rain, Peter wished he had mini-wipers on his glasses to clear his vision. Terribly clever, and the games master also wore glasses and found my suggestion both clever and 'committed'.

Beach House - I loved visiting here. Fell in love for the first real time with another visitor - Maureen Segrue.

Peter's ma, my Auntie Mabel, was just the nicest kindly woman - and a wonderful artist.

I think her fierce dog was called something like Rod and he'd go barking down to the landing strip as the sampans went by.

When i was back in hong kong to work, the house was rented out and some prick was reported in the SCMP as holding parties and made the beeg mistake of referring to the original owners in derogatory terms - oh poh poh. He clearly didnt know he was dissing one of the great Hong Kong families and a lot of us woz still around. He bit the dust.

Peter's dad, George, was an architect but i found much more interesting the tale that he used to race his car in reverse in the then-emptyish Kowloon main street. Always been tempted to try that myself, being a skilled reverser m'self.

Pete's brother, Mike, was a wonderful father figure to me when I holidayed in Kenton with maternal Granny. Now laid low by a stroke, cruel fate, but i remember the time when cousin Brian [why not just buy the frigging book and follow Peter's impeccable charts?] showed me a chapter in a brainy aerodynamics tome headed Hall's Extension of Thwaite's Theory. Talk about gobsmacked: to come up with a theory in the first place is bad enough, but to have the gall to extend on it ...

I also recall that Mike made a bet with colleague, the forfeit of which was that he'd go to work in a space suit.

Mike was a senior egg-head in some sober security-riddled company so for someone of his seniority to arrive a la Yuri Gagarin must've stunned the guards at the gate. Bless him and Didi.

Yes yes but what's the book about?

Blurb ~ I was rude enough in a previous draft to refer to the jacket copy as 'clunky'. OK, if that's how I felt, that's how I feel, but I certainly couldn't sum up the book to adequately convey its appeal and vigour.

Here's what I suggest: skim it and then leap within to savour Peter's prose before condemning it on the blurb alone. Here it is:

Clunky blurb:

"Early 1950s, in the Radio People store in Hong Kong's Kowloon, surrounded by hi-fi's, Guy Shea remarks to his teenage friend Peter Hall that he feels the owner, Albert Chan, is somehow connected to Hong Kong Eurasian families.

Seemingly insignificant at the time, the memory is retrieved when Geoffrey Chan, grandson of the late Albert, makes contact with the author more than fifty years later.

Prompted by Geoffrey's desire to provide information for the rumoured update, the ensuing emails develop into a spirited exchange regarding the use of Chinese and European names by individuals of multiple heritage.

This account shows the role of timescale, chance encounters and perspective in the process of genealogical research, alongside the issue of respecting people's wish to be self-defining.

"Meticulous and sometimes provocative, this updated edition of In the Web isn't just an important socio-anthropological and historical resource for academics whilst, offering an intriguing portrait of the Hong Kong-born Eurasian community.

Keenly anticipated, this new edition benefits from ongoing investigation over twenty years, resulting in extended genograms, rich anecdotes and answers to previously unresolved questions from the first book.

The text continues to occupy a unique position on this subject; the author sensitively balances personal experiences with rigorous research; the use of traditional archival sources now augmented by e-communication, online databases and advances in genetic science."

Yes, well ... I feel unfair just reproducing it here.

Quick now, turn to Chapter XV and read Peter's take on Eurasians. Then start from the start and prepare to be mesmerised, or just skim thru the wonderful photographs and then zap back and start on the words. Just read it.

A work of love and labour that reads like an adventure story. I'm on the second read and this time referring to the trees to keep a precise focus on Who's Who.

My spitfire younger daughter (Anna, 21, along with her sister, Georgina, First Cousine Twice Removed, as you see from the helpful anon commenteur) is studying business psychology at Evergreen college, WA state. Part of her studies introduced her to genealogy, which she seems to have taken deep to heart. I shall order this for her and she can contact the author direct with further excited questions. Good test: See comments for helpful guide to where my girls fit into all this.

Do you lot good too to get a handle on it. Go on, astound them all at the next family get-together.

A wonderful treat. I just wish my own mother had lived a few weeks more to enjoy it.

17 February 2012


Rummaging thru Maman's belongeries and junking at whim and will, I'm unearthing all sorts of journaux anciens that of course waylay me for hours.

Luverly edition of Harpers & Queen with what was regarded cool then, including an advert for Corfu.

I would have been on my third visit and zooming around with guitar and libido in dad's natty Fiat Spider [see below].

Et voila - the promised snap of me, 1978 vintage, about to vroom off to Nissaki and all points north in pursuit of pliant prettiness.

16 February 2012


Pupils at Sheffield's Springs Academy have been ordered to stop using slang while at school to improve their job prospects.

CHRIS HOWSE: Mum's favourite admired writer lays waste to the Sheffield idiots.

Mum swore Howse must be the Speccie's Dot Wordsmith.

We'd joke on her death bed that I was entrusted to nail the truth.

15 February 2012


With my long years in the States and goading my pals over cricket and Marmite, this is a dream.

I've posted it firmly on FaceBook and now to treat my equally numerous Corfucian Irregulars.

Ignore the Pythonian antics and listen rather to the wonderful invented vocab of the commentators: arlott, johnston, benaud et al never did it better.

That gravelly throatiness wherein the words dissolve into themselves and you swear theyre real words.

14 February 2012


~ and the Occupation ~

Just had a reminder from cousin "In t'Web" Hall (check out his Vol II) just how many people follow this blog.

Fastest way to catch the attention of the Vicar (who should roll in the aisle and this way can do so without being caught smiling by the faithful) and the local corfiot devoteds ~ post stuff here.

aisles - why is it rolling in the aisleS, plural. only one aisle in churches, non? go figure.

readership ~ cousin Pete inspires me to post the latest analysis of the jewel theft as i hone it.

  • it'll get me focused on fine tuning the vile tale

  • it'll get the story out there.

    Spoiler ~ I creamed the good stuff off long, long, before this whole divvying up nonsense was even mooted.

    No recompense for the baubles I intended for my babes in my 2003 Will, I grant, but one works with what one's reduced to.

    Jewel case - I didn't even know of this exquisite box until some years after the thieving of my jewels.

    Played right into my hands: maman produced it as something my girls could keep their jewelry in. Quick as a flash, I responded "Good excuse to return the jewelry they can keep it in."

    B'boum! Snookered, check-mate, what have you.

    Oh poh poh - talk about girate. Slam flounce glower. How we laffed.

    When Anna came out, I produced it with a wink and showed her some of the loot she and her sister would, actually, be storing therein. Less flouncing on that occasion but it didn't matter because we knew.

    Problem was that, unlike the Villa Thefti Express, they couldn't cart stuff home en voiture, so it's still here but that'll be sorted.

    More anon - no need lose the plot and move off the Deity topic.

  • 13 February 2012


    my georgina is going 'down' home, 1840hrs today.

    this is as good a song to send her on her way.

    10 February 2012


    Today a good day and i've been boring my facebook buddies with a string of photos that deserve a place here for my wider overseas and family readership.

    07 February 2012


    Classy entrance, classy strut to centre stage ... and when she hits that guitar and starts to holler ... lawd have merceh!