In this blogposting...
*Robinson’s Grand Tour
Now let’s be ‘avin’ ya...
In former years - in those far off salad days when I was but green in deed - I used to think that, generally speaking, palindromes were little more than utterly trivial wastes of time. It’s all very well to concoct a sentence that reads backwards as well as forwards - and yet somehow pointless if the result makes no sense at all. Rats live on no evil star seems to me to be complete drivel. Madam I’m Adam is useful only if you’re called Adam and there’s a woman nearby who you think wants to know your name. Able was I ere I saw Elba can only have been declaimed by Napoleon - and even then, he would have said it in French.
The only palindrome I ever found that had any sort of literary merit was A Man, A Plan, A Canal - Panama! It not only meets palindromic criteria but also makes a modicum of sense. In its own elegant way, it even tells a story (of admittedly limited scope)
I was therefore delighted to hear once again from Martin, in Houghton-le-Spring. He has sent me proof, if proof were ever needed, that one of mankind’s more endearing qualities is the relish with which he is prepared to wallow in complete trivia, to bathe in the warm waters of his own fruitless yet joyful inventiveness.
There is, apparently, a whole family of Panama! palindromes. There’s even a kind of Panama! fan club, whose members occupy their time in attempts to lengthen the original Panama! palindrome to inordinate and ludicrous proportions. The idea seems to be to make it endless so that it stretches, ad infinitum, to the far reaches of hyperspace where no-one but Patrick Moore (whom God preserve) will ever find its conclusion.
Stage One: A man, a plan, a cat, a canal – Panama!
I’m not sure if there is any historical evidence for feline involvement in the construction of the waterway, but I’m prepared to turn a blind eye to the truth on this occasion.
Stage Two: A man, a plan, a cam, a yak, a yam, a canal – Panama!
The cat has disappeared and been replaced by an engine part, a kind of huge cow and an exotic fruit. But still this is Central America, so you never know.
Stage Three: A man, a plan, a cat, a ham, a yak, a yam, a hat, a canal – Panama!
The cat has returned (as they do), this time accompanied by some meat and an item of headgear. Credulity is being stretched to the limit. It snaps completely at...
Stage Four: A man, a plan, a canoe, pasta, heros, rajahs, a coloratura, maps, snipe, percale, macaroni, a gag, a banana bag, a tan, a tag, a banana bag again (or a camel), a crepe, pins, Spam, a rut, a Rolo, cash, a jar, sore hats, a peon, a canal – Panama!
Were it not for the fact that heros is misspelt, this would be a truly magnificent palindrome. I love that a banana bag again (or a camel)!
Martin quite clearly needs to get out more. Although where exactly he would go in Houghton-le-Spring is a matter of some conjecture.
ROBINSON’S GRAND TOUR
Thankyou for all the advice, tips, hints, wrinkles and recommendations you’ve sent me about the towns and cities I’ve asked you about so far on my Grand Tour. They’ve all been carefully logged for further research and investigation.
It’s time now to move on to the next stage of my journey; to Verona and Venice.
The route taken by the Munich-to-Verona express is said to be one of the prettiest in Europe and I’m looking forward to it immensely. And when I get to Verona, I’ll be in the city of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Two Gentlemen of... There’s a complete Roman amphitheatre there, too. But what else?
From Verona I will be taking a day trip by train to Venice. Yes, I know that a few hours in one of the world’s great cities seems to be rendering it an almost perverse disservice. Indeed, quite a few people have been roundly critical of the fact that I’m not giving each destination the time it deserves.
My only counterblast is that, to a certain extent, the destinations are a kind of bonus. The holiday is all about the train journeys themselves. Please try to understand, dear reader.
Having said that, I’d love to hear what your experiences of Verona and/or Venice have been, or what unexpected and hidden delights you can find out about either or both of them.
Still on my Grand Tour...something rather amazing happened today.
I went to good old Marks and Spencer’s to find some cargo shorts and a safari jacket for my trip and the lass who said Can I help you? as I looked vaguely round the racks turned out to be none other than Yvonne Salisbury. Yes, that Yvonne Salisbury. Munich, it turns out, is her most favourite place on earth. So much so that she runs a website called insidersmunich.com and has won an award for the travel book she’s written about the city.
Isn’t it a small - and deeply coincidental - world? Take a look at her website. And the next time you’re in Marks’ say Hello from me.
I showed a slightly cropped version of this posting’s picture above blogposting 193. However, everyone seems to have been so engrossed in the correspondence between the Lady Euphemia Overall-Burke and myself that no-one at all asked what it was a picture of.
Until someone does ask, I intend to keep re-posting it. So there.
The next AGM which I will be able to attend will probably take place in wcm 12 Showery. Please feel very free to decide on which date, and at which venue. You could even have your own AGM to make those decisions.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all - at either or both!
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