The tomb of the Venerable Bede in Durham Cathedral.
I'm not a religious man but I've always found the quotation on the wall particularly beautiful...
'Christ is the Morning Star who,
When the night of this world is past,
Brings to his saints the promise of the Light of Life
And opens Everlasting Day'.
* AGM XXXVII
* The Daily Wisecrack
Go for it…
Our next, momentous, AGM will take place at 1100 on Saturday 27 October at Bede’s World in Jarrow. It’s a lovely, atmospheric and - of course - historic site. You can find out much more about it here: http://www.bedesworld.co.uk
(If the link doesn’t work, cut and paste it into your browser’s Search box.)
You will see from the website that there’s an admission charge but don’t worry about that - the AGM will take place in the tea room, which is in Jarrow Hall, outside the site itself. Going into the museum and grounds to explore will be an optional extra.
And remember - wherever we are and whatever we do, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.
THE DAILY WISECRACK
The other night I found myself scrabbling about under my bed looking for whatever it was that had just made an eerily unsettling noise and woken me up. As it turns out, my cat Halki had been playing with a dislodged fridge magnet from the Severn Valley Railway which scared the wits out of her - and roused me from my slumbers - by clanging loudly as it attached itself to the radiator.
I don’t know how she managed to de-attach it from the fridge in the first place, or why she chose that particular magnet when there were others much lower down the fridge door. Perhaps she has a thing about trains.
In any case, riveting though that anecdote undoubtedly is, it’s not the point of this little diatribe.
Whilst fumbling about in the dust and cat-hairs under my bed - and trying to avoid Halki’s brutal claws at the same time - I chanced upon an innocent-looking folder marked (under several layers of industrial-strength grime) ‘programme feature ideas’.
Judging from the dates on the documents it contained, the folder had lain there undisturbed for seven years, which is some kind of record, even for me - and says quite a lot about how often I spring clean.
The folder contained dozens of emails, which I had laboriously printed out at the BBC back in the days of the Blue Bus programme. They’d been sent to us over a period of several weeks by enthusiastic listeners and contained a whole raft of items which I obviously thought were worth keeping; they could be used, I must have decided, during any embarrassing gaps during the show, of which there were regrettably a large number.
Amongst the jumble of papers was a paperclipped sheaf on top of which I had scrawled The Daily Wisecrack, consisting of dozens of cheeky put-downs and personal insults which I could have used in my daily, on-air dealings with Paul. Presumably, they were sent in by a sympathetic listener who realised that my verbal reactions were not as sharp, as incisive or as rapid-fire as Paul’s and that I needed all the help I could get.
Unfortunately, I do not know who that listener was. The top pages of what was a very long email are missing. But, if it was you, my apologies for not having the courtesy to thank you at the time - and for not having the gumption to actually use the wisecracks themselves when they were most needed.
For the record, though, here are the first few examples on the list. Imagine, if you would, Paul’s reaction if I’d come out with a few of these….
Can I borrow your arse for a few days while my face is on vacation?
He suffers from diarrhoea of the mouth - and constipation of the mind.
Did your parents have any children that lived?
Most people live and learn. You just live.
Your purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.
Do you have to leave so soon? I was about to poison your coffee.
He doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fear’. But then again, he doesn’t know the meaning of most words.
If you can think of any more as deliberately unkind as these, email me...
SAVE OUR WORDS
This is my ongoing campaign to disinter words from the obscure end of English vocabulary - words which have inexplicably fallen into unmerited disuse. For others, see postings 385 and 388.
Today’s word is - wait for it….
It means ‘small talk, chatter’. If you manage to get to the AGM, you’ll experience some inaniloquence yourself. You may even contribute some of your own….
Post comments on this blog or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org