Archive of January 2009

January 24

Gaudiness on Burns night

During the week I was fortunate enough to spot a Chambers Dictionary in a charity shop.  I seem to have forfeited every dictionary I owned with the collapse of significant relationships, so the opportunity to acquire one was welcome.  I prefer Chambers because I like to play Scrabble.  In a perfect world I guess I would have the Complete Oxford, but at £250 for the CD edition it is beyond my means.  One day perhaps their word of the day will coincide with the one I want, if it ever happens I'll feel just like I won the lottery!  Below I reproduce the definition from Chambers and after it the reason I featured it.

Gaudy - see under Gaud

Gaud - n. a.a large ornamental bead on a rosary (obs): a prank (obs); an ornament; a piece of finery; showy ceremony; festivity (obs), - vi (obs) to make merry, - vi to adorn with gauds (obs); to paint (eg the cheeks (obs; Shakespeare) -

gaudeamus L. (in Scotland let us be glad, opening word of a students' song) a joyful celebration among student. -

n gaudery finery -

adv. gaudily - n gaudiness - n gaudy an entertainment or feast, esp. in certain English colleges. - adj. showy; merry; gay; vulgarly bright. -

gaudy-day, gaudy-night [In part appar from OFr "gaudir", from L. "gaudere" to be glad , or "gaudium" joy; in part directly from L.]

I found it really interesting how this has been corrupted or adapted from the original Latin.  As a boy I remember the family had an urn on which was painted "Edamus, Bibame, Gaudeamusque!" which translates as "Eat, Drink, and make merry!".  If I remember rightly it may have had "Hic, Haec, Hoc!" on the other side, which was intended as a joke I guess.  Last weekend at meeting I saw the childrens' group had made an artwork about self-discovery which had the words "Open" and "Closed" as counterpoints and the same circle showed "Simple" and "Gaudy" also counterbalancing.  I am not sure the word "gaudy" was well chosen, it puzzled me at the time prompting my enquiry.  No doubt "Complicated" might work better, at least for me, because one of the Quaker values is indeed simplicity, but if this is to be in rejection of all that is "gaudy" it conjures up all sorts of visions of puritans rather than Quakers.

Tonight is also the 250th Burns Night and in honour of [[Robert Burns]] I reproduce a song he wrote as a young man which uses the word gaudy well enough.

Handsome Nell

Tune - "I am a Man Unmarried."

O', once I lov'd a bonie lass,
 Ay, and I love her still;
And whilst that virtue warms my breast,
 I'll love my handsome Nell.

As bonie lasses I hae seen,
 And monie full as braw;
But, for a modest gracefu' mein,
 The like I never saw.

A bonie lass, I will confess,
 Is pleasant to the e'e;
But, without some better qualities,
 She's no a lass for me.

But Nelly's looks are blythe and sweet,
 And what is best of a',
Her reputation is complete,
 And fair without a flaw.

She dresses aye sae clean and neat,
 Baith decent and genteel;
And then there's something in her gait
 Gars ony dress look weel.

A gaudy dress and gentle air
 May slightly touch the heart;
But it's innocence and modesty
 That polishes the dart.

'Tis this in Nelly pleases me,
 'Tis this enchants my soul!
For absolutely in my breast
 She reigns without control.


by Robert Burns

and on that note I shall close, but in parting let me mention that my plan is to stick with the Scots theme for the next post, which is intended to feature [[Hamish Henderson]], [[P.G. Woodhouse]], and [[Raymond Chandler]] with some kind of prize for anyone that can find the connection (they have one thing in common!).  Imay also add an audio clip from another Hamish, wait and see!

06:27 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: ,
January 23

Paul's Prayer to a Bear

This is a poem I wrote many years ago.  It appears in a published work of my father's called "lie Lines".

Jean's got the sneezles and weazles,
They sent for a doctor!
Then they decided to decorate a wall
So they telephoned a draper.
The draper was an elephant,
Jumbo came with lots of wallpaper.
Some was plain, some red and white,
Some was decorated with flowers,
Some repeated , some had towers,
Said me to he, "I think he is dead".
We rushed me and my downstairs and said
Only to see a bunch of hungry bears.
They all said at once "Let's eat them up!"
So they popped me and my inside
And drank from a cup.


Paul Wrighton (when young enough)


The post was inspired by the recent discovery by my sister of a listing on Amazon for the book, which appears to have appreciated since publication in 1996, when the cover price was "One pint or six mars bars"!

12:57 PM | 1 Comment | Tags: , , ,
January 17

My geeky blog

I need to make a post upate, for my own monitoring testing purposes (one disappeared recently in what I can only assume was an unscheduled site rollback!)

For any returning reader; there is a hiatus in my blogging - follow the link (click the title above) for the geeky details.

Hopefully resumption of normal, more frequesnt and regular, postings in line with the new theme will be imminent (I have no shortage of material, so there may even be an intial surge when I'm reasured the blog is "secure").

07:27 AM | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
January 06

The Ancient Smoker (A Parody)

Part I - The Curse


He is an ancient smoker, he stoppeth 'neath a tree

With thy long black pipe and glittering eye,

"Wherefore though stoppeth thee?"

The Public Bar is open wide, within a merry din,

The youth accosts the ancient soul "Thou can'st not go within!"

"I have the curse", the old man sighed

"Bin coming here for years,

My pipe and baccy both are banned",

The old man glared, the old man spake,

"Yet I will go within!

By God I'll fight for my right!"

"A pint", he quoth and settled in his place

The taproom glowed, the good beer flowed

Joy shone in his face, the din did grow

The banter flew, he joined that merry crew.

He struck his match, he puffed his pipe

The smoke was thick and strong

The banter dropped, the door flew wide,

A curse came from the throng

The barmaid shrieked, the landlord cried

"Thou can'st not do that 'ere!"

The banter stopped, the silence grew,

His curse was in his hand;

Now 'twas an angry crew

"Be gone!  Get out!  You're banned!

God save the Ancient Smoker

From the curse that plagues thee thus";

Sadly he slipped his moorings and crept into the night

The laughter grew the jibes flew too

He was a sorry sight


Part II - The Return of the Ancient Smoker


When he joins the Nick O' Tyne Line

Her masts the finest briars

See, she is Rizla rigged

Her crew all true born liars.

She sailed across the harbour bar

And nestled by the quay

He leapt aboard her crying

"I'm going back to sea!

Far from this land

Where smoking's banned

I'll smoke my pipe as is my right!"

They cast off and sailed away

Not to come back for many a day

To do their duty, not to pay it.


Part III - The Voyage of the Good Ship Nic O' Tyne


A fair wind blew, o'er the waves they flew

Leaving the land behind, they gave a cheer

He lit his pipe and drawing deep

He took a swig of beer

The silver moon sailed in the sky

Softly she was going up

And a star or two besides

His lips were wet, his throat was cold,

His garments all were dank

He was drinking as he slept

And still his body drank.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on,

A steady breeze still blew,

The mariners all gan work the ropes

As they were wont to do

They were a merry crew.

Like a flying horse they flew

Acorss the boundless Ocean

The sun shone bright, a fair wind blew,

They smoked and drank all day.

They drifted o'er the harbour bar

The rock shone bright, the kirk no less

That stands above the rock

The Harbour Bay was clear as glass

So smoothly was it strewn

In the bay all was dark

in the shadow of the moon

thus they quietly slipped ashore

Stowing their goods in a safe place

Crept out and locked the door


To Follow; Part IV - The return of the Happy Smoker


John Charles Wrighton, 2008.


(He only gave me the text thus far, having mislaid further pages, which he might post me at some future date!)

03:09 PM | 2 Comments | Tags: , , ,
January 05

I listened to this first thing on New Years Day and thoroughly enjoyed it, the words were so positive.  This is really a bit strange and something of an aberation from my normal taste in music - I guess I'm weird and somewhat eclectic from time to time....

07:01 PM | 0 Comments | Tags: