More Dido lingo

Another great post. How goes the festival?


whale-ships 19th-century whalers processing whale blubber

In “Croopus! A Dido Twite Lexicon” I listed some of Dido’s colourful language in the Wolves Chronicles, some of it genuine — variously Cockney and from other parts of Britain — and some of it Joan Aiken’s own invention (which, oddly enough, often seemed perfectly genuine). There undoubtedly were the inevitable omissions and, as further novels in the series are read, there’ll naturally be additions. Here’s the first of what will probably be part of an ongoing exercise (expect more addenda as time goes by) listing terms used by Dido in Night Birds on Nantucket.

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A youngster’s reading list

I’m enjoying reading this book thoroughly. Polly is a quality children’s literature character, very much in the mould of Dido Twite. I’m not sure of Tom’s intentions at the moment though and I’m thinking that Seb will have a greater part to play as the narrative progresses?


Scilla in the Banzoota school library ‘Scilla in the Banzoota school library’ by Quentin Blake in Joan Aiken’s The Winter Sleepwalker

In an ongoing discussion on Goodreads which began a few years ago one reader noted that one of Diana Wynne Jones’ novels — Fire and Hemlock — “mentions a number of books that DWJ probably liked herself.” This noted children’s author, as many authors do, had included quite a few semi-autobiographical details in her fiction; and in Fire and Hemlock one character, Tom, lends or recommends a number of titles to the young Polly. They’re all intended to obliquely reference traditional ballads like Tam Lin, which is about a human rescued from the Queen of the Fairies by his own true love.

In a review of Fire and Hemlock which I posted both here and on Goodreads I agreed: “Jones’ book references — quite apart from their relevance to the plot (as when Tom insists that Polly reads the book on fairy…

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~ Happy Birthday Joan Aiken ~ 4 September 1924 — Joan Aiken

“Some of you may know a town called Rye. In that town is a narrow cobbled street…Mermaid Street, and an old haunted house built by an astrologer.” So begins Joan Aiken’s story A Jar of Cobblestones, soon to appear in a new Virago collection “The Gift Giving” which includes many that she set in […]

via ~ Happy Birthday Joan Aiken ~ 4 September 1924 — Joan Aiken


Paid a visit to the musical instrument stores in Cardiff, Wales today. Went first and foremost to PMT to get some Adam F5 studio monitors to complete my home studio set up. Made the most of the 25th anniversary celebrations and the 10% discount (my first 25 customer envelope didn’t contain the 25% discount card). The always super helpful Mike Podesta got me the best deal available. The store later tweeted a photograph of some old geezer that could do with a shave and some exercise:

Bought myself a new copy of “Olias of Sunhillow” too.

Star Trek, Synchronicity and other Random Ramblings

I know there are many important issues that need to be talked about in this world but nothing I post here is going to change anything so apologies for the inanity of this and all other posts.

I am a Star Trek fan. And I can’t help it.

I spent some time yesterday roaming the corridors of Youtube on a quest to find some fan made Star Trek films. I found many. Some of them were laudable works of love, others not so well realised. For me, most suffered from the same problem of vfx and audio quality. Script writing doesn’t seem so much of an issue now that mainstream ‘shows’ are so poorly written. It was great to see so many ex-official-series’ actors involved and I hope that Michael Dorn gets his “Captain Worf” series off the ground and running.

I also spent some time watching the Next Generation actors in action at comic conventions. This was a bitter-sweet experience. Sometimes the actors seem to appreciate  the fan base attention other times, I’m sorry to say, I thought them downright rude.

Finally the point of all of this: I watched an entertaining dialogue between William Shatner and Sir Patrick Stewart at a convention in Montreal. In the video, there is a good deal of joking about the question of which episode was Patrick Stewart’s favourite. He explains that it is an episode which was a speculative script – one which was submitted by a writer in the hope of being made into an episode rather than travelling via the usual commissioning process. I almost punched the air with joy – “The Inner Light” is one of two my all-time favourite Star Trek episodes. The flute theme from the episode has even been expanded into an orchestral arrangement.

The reason I mention this at all? In the manner in which the universe conspires to pull itself together and join its own dots, it just so happens that this particular episode is being broadcast this evening on the UK Sky channel at 6.00 p.m. GMT. Despite the fact that I own the episode on DVD, I shall be setting the timer to record (Captain) and, if the boss lets me, watching it in real time too.

What a happy end to my summer break.

Have a happy bank holiday fellow UK dwellers.

York, and a new beginning

I returned to York this past weekend . It’s a beautiful place and it was as hard as ever to leave my son behind for his final degree year. More so because it’s become very obvious that he’ll almost certainly settle there permanently.


Unusually, I made the journey back alone. I’d taken quite a few of the CDs that inspired my love of World music and played them at a suitable volume for the 5 hour trip (a lot of traffic problem en route). I hadn’t played the music for some 10 – 15 years but can see where a lot of the early Earth Balm tracks and general sound originated. If I haven’t already done so, I’ll create a page listing some of these CD albums and, if they are still available, create links to Amazon etc. “Sacred Ceremonies” and “Hemisphere No More” were the two stand-out CDs.

One of the significant things for me, was that I had time to think about a new name for my music to replace Earth Balm.

I’ve also managed to load up the Mac Pro with the software I need and already use.