See The Bellringer of Notre Dame, below.
Don't blame me!
This upcoming Thursday is the big day: our Great Summer Extravaganza at the Tanfield Railway.
I’ll be there at 1030 sharp and - even if I’m completely on my own (and, let’s face it, one day that’s surely going to happen) - I’m still going to relish my traditional truckshunter ride on the 1100 departure from Andrews House to East Tanfield. And back.
A splendid time is guaranteed - for me, at least!
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GREAT BEARDS OF HISTORY
Have you tried Serge’s Great Beard Quiz yet? It’s on his latest blogposting - number 233. You can see it if you click on his image on this page and follow the link to his blog.
It’s a cracking quiz! I think I know four of them - perhaps five, at a pinch.
It’s had an unsettling side-effect, though. It’s made me long for the days when men were proud to wear full facial hair - before they became emasculated and effete.
Er - perhaps that was a bit harsh but I’m sure you know what I mean….
Anyway - have a go. I reckon that, if you can get 8 out of 10 you rank as a champion pogonophile and will deserve some sort of award.
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THE GRANDEST TOUR OF ALL
In the last posting, I revealed my ill-hidden plans to travel round the world this autumn - and how I’d like you not to be backward in coming forward with your help and advice about the places I’ll be calling at, and leaving a trail of destruction and confusion in, as I make my way across the globe.
Thanks for the tips you’ve emailed me so far - keep them coming.
So far, I’ve asked about my first two ports of call - Hong Kong and Singapore. So now I’m adding my third - Perth.
This will be a very special destination for me. My cousin Jan and her family - husband Brian, daughter Kate and son Jon - emigrated to Perth some years ago and I’ve only seen them a couple of times since then.
For decades, we were all part of a close-knit ‘extended family’ - Jan is my Mam’s niece ( - her brother’s daughter). All of us - Mam included - were delighted that Jan and her family settled down so well over there and have made a wonderful new life for themselves. But we missed them terribly, nevertheless.
So my journey to Perth will have very special meaning for me. My entire trip has only been made possible by the legacy left to me by Mam - who was very close to Jan and her family. So, in a very real way, she will be travelling with me to Perth…
Even though Jan has planned a very busy schedule for me while I’m there, though, I’d still like to hear from you - specially if you’ve been there or have always wanted to go.
So please get in touch…
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THE BELLRINGER OF NOTRE DAME
This is a tasteless load of nonsense sent to me recently by the redoubtable Brenda. I’m laughing as I type...
After Quasimodo's death, the bishop of the Cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bellringer was needed.
The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process.
After observing several applicants demonstrate their skills, he had decided to call it a day.
Just then, an armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bellringer's job. The bishop was naturally incredulous.
‘You have no arms!'
'No matter,' said the man. 'Observe!'
And he began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon.
The bishop listened in astonishment, convinced he had finally found a replacement for Quasimodo.
But suddenly, as the armless man rushed forward to strike one of the bells, he tripped and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death on the street below.
The stunned bishop rushed down the two hundred and ninety five belfry steps. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before.
As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked 'Bishop, who was this man?'
'I don't know his name,' the bishop replied sadly, ‘but his face rings a bell….’
The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart, the bishop continued his interviews for a new bellringer for Notre Dame.
The first man to approach him said, 'Your Excellency, I am the brother of the poor armless wretch that fell to his death from this very belfry yesterday. I pray that you honour his life by allowing me to replace him in this duty.'
The bishop agreed to give the man an audition, but, as the armless man's brother stooped to pick up a mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest, twirled around, and dropped dead on the spot.
Two monks, hearing the bishop's cries of grief at this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side.
'What has happened? Who is this man?' the first monk asked breathlessly.
'I don't know his name,' sighed the distraught bishop, ‘but he’s a dead ringer for his brother…’
Thanks, Brenda. You’re a star!
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