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One of the ways that Mrs. Robbo and I markedly differ from each other is in our respective approaches to dealing with the problems of overlapping commitments – social events, gel-centric extracurriculars, that sort of thing.  Frequently we will find ourselves in the position of trying to be in half a dozen different places at the same time, especially on weekends.

The difference is that Mrs. R will literally almost break her neck in order to try and hit all of those targets.  I, on the other hand, have no qualms whatever about ducking, dodging or otherwise ignoring what I consider to be the less important ones and only focusing on what’s absolutely mandatory.

Usually, we manage to sort out some kind of compromise between the two.

As I think about it, I begin to see this as a felicitous arrangement:  I keep Mrs. R from going mad, and Mrs. R keeps me from becoming a recluse.


As part of its ongoing fundraising drive, the local classickal station is flogging a CD entitled “Fright Night,” which contains all the usual classickal warhorses one associates with Halloween – Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre”, Dukas’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, the Bach D minor Toccata and Fugue and the like.

The way in which the deejays are bending over backwards to build up the creepiness of this CD reminds me irresistibly of, and is about as convincing as, Count Floyd:


I sure couldn’t do it.

Now, an endless loop of the “Bolero”?  That would be really scary.

And I’ve got a date with Mrs. Paul tonight…..


Meanwhile, those of you so disposed should go read this young man and rejoice at the sight of a candle in this world of darkness.  As he quotes GKC as saying,“The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

As I quote the Puppy-Blender, “Indeed.”

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

Regardless of whether you consider the Norman victory to be a Very Good Thing or a Very Bad Thing, you might enjoy the following poem by Marriott Edgar:

I’ll tell of the Battle of Hastings,
As happened in days long gone by,
When Duke William became King of England,
And ‘Arold got shot in the eye.
It were this way – one day in October
The Duke, who were always a toff
Having no battles on at the moment,
Had given his lads a day off.

They’d all taken boats to go fishing,
When some chap in t’ Conqueror’s ear
Said ‘Let’s go and put breeze up the Saxons;’
Said Bill – ‘By gum, that’s an idea.’

Then turning around to his soldiers,
He lifted his big Norman voice,
Shouting – ‘Hands up who’s coming to England.’
That was swank ‘cos they hadn’t no choice.

They started away about tea-time –
The sea was so calm and so still,
And at quarter to ten the next morning
They arrived at a place called Bexhill.

King ‘Arold came up as they landed –
His face full of venom and ‘ate –
He said ‘lf you’ve come for Regatta
You’ve got here just six weeks too late.’

At this William rose, cool but ‘aughty,
And said ‘Give us none of your cheek;
You’d best have your throne re-upholstered,
I’ll be wanting to use it next week.’

When ‘Arold heard this ‘ere defiance,
With rage he turned purple and blue,
And shouted some rude words in Saxon,
To which William answered – ‘And you.’

‘Twere a beautiful day for a battle;
The Normans set off with a will,
And when both sides was duly assembled,
They tossed for the top of the hill.

King ‘Arold he won the advantage,
On the hill-top he took up his stand,
With his knaves and his cads all around him,
On his ‘orse with his ‘awk in his ‘and.

The Normans had nowt in their favour,
Their chance of a victory seemed small,
For the slope of the field were against them,
And the wind in their faces an’ all.

The kick-off were sharp at two-thirty,
And soon as the whistle had went
Both sides started banging each other
‘Til the swineherds could hear them in Kent.

The Saxons had best line of forwards,
Well armed both with buckler and sword –
But the Normans had best combination,
And when half-time came neither had scored.

So the Duke called his cohorts together
And said – ‘Let’s pretend that we’re beat,
Once we get Saxons down on the level
We’ll cut off their means of retreat.’

So they ran – and the Saxons ran after,
Just exactly as William had planned,
Leaving ‘Arold alone on the hill-top
On his ‘orse with his ‘awk in his ‘and.

When the Conqueror saw what had happened,
A bow and an arrow he drew;
He went right up to ‘Arold and shot him.
He were off-side, but what could they do?

The Normans turned round in a fury,
And gave back both parry and thrust,
Till the fight were all over bar shouting,
And you couldn’t see Saxons for dust.

And after the battle were over
They found ‘Arold so stately and grand,
Sitting there with an eye-full of arrow
On his ‘orse with his ‘awk in his ‘and.

Greetings, my fellow port-swillers!

The monsoon season seems to have returned to my neck of the woods.  For the last three days, I have gotten my socks and shoes thoroughly soaked every single morning and evening.  I hate wet socks and shoes.

Last evening Ma Nature served up a particularly violent thunderstorm (that, I believe, spawned a tornado or two) which caught me good and proper on my drive home to the port-swiller residence.   One of the features of said residence, which sits on a hillside,  is a drainage system incapable of handling rainfall over a certain modest rate.   Deluges such as the one we had invariably clog the field drain and cause a large lake to form in the driveway, which sometimes even overflows into the garage.  By the time I got there last evening, said garage was  a couple inches deep in water, although by then the bulk of the storm had moved on.

Anyhoo, Mrs. Robbo and I were scheduled to attend a dinner for the parents of the kids in the eldest gel’s Confirmation class at RFEC.  (As regular readers who have followed my religious rantings here will understand, I am of decidedly mixed feelings about this biznay.  That, however, is a post for another time.)  As a matter of fact, I had been looking forward to it, as, questions of orthodoxy aside, this is a pretty interesting crowd of people, and our hosts always go rayther overboard in laying out a spread.  Having duly washed away the stains of commuting, we set out again into the night.  By this time it was merely sprinkling, although lighting continued to flash all around the horizon.  And although I had been in something of a grump up to this point over the bloody weather, I began to feel that there was a distinct possibility that I would soon be able to put all that behind and settle down to enjoy myself.

The party was at a house set fairly far out in the outer ‘burbs.  To get to this house, once one finally breaks clear of the main, traffic-clogged artery, one goes up and down hill a bit, finally crossing a small stream just before arriving.   As we crawled along in the dark (streetlights here are few and far between) through patches of fog, our eyes peeled for the constant menace of Kamikaze Bambi, I hadn’t given this stream any real thought.  So imagine my surprise when we came up only to discover the bridge over it entirely covered with a roaring cataract of floodwater, and four or five other guests milling about on the hither side, wondering what to do.   Eventually, telephone contact having been established with the house, our host walked down to the far side.  It began to rain again.  There then ensued a conversation across the water that went something like this:







Eventually, through a sort of improvised, headlight-lit,  semaphore-cum-pantomime, we came to a mutual understanding that no, nobody was going to attempt to ford the stream and that the party was off.  (We learned later that the police had, in fact, arrived shortly after we left to block the road.  Apparently, somebody got swept off that very bridge during another deluge a month or two ago and the coppers weren’t taking any chances.)

By this time, Mrs. R and I were both becoming somewhat fatigued, as it was now well past our normal din-dins.  As we were no great way off from a regular pub of ours, we decided to make good our loss and head over there for ye traditional olde Irish cuisine featuring bacon cheeseburgers and pinot noir.   Imagine our consternation when, upon entering the place, we were informed that the power had been knocked out by the storm and that the kitchen was closed.  And not only there, but at every other restaurant in the vicinity.

As one grows older, one recognizes that there are times when one suddenly realizes that Fate has drawn a bead right on one’s forehead.  Resistance, in such cases, is futile.  “Well,” said Mrs. R, “Do you want to go over to the mall and try and find some dinner there?”  The mall was a goodish way off, along another commuter-clogged artery.  “No,” I said, firmly.  “I have now been driving about in the rain for something near three hours.  I’ve had enough.  Let’s just go home and forage.”

Of course, we hadn’t expected to eat at home and our shopping schedule hadn’t been prepared for this sudden change in plans, so our options were pretty limited.  Mrs. R, having looked them over, muttered that she was no longer hungry and went off to bed.  And that is how Ol’ Robbo, starting the evening believing he was going to be wined and dined in  lavish fashion, debating questions of religion, politics and current events and swapping war stories about adolescents,  wound up instead munching on a plate of Lightning McQueen chicken nuggets and watching old Monty Python reruns.

Before she toddled off, Mrs. R said, “Oh, well, look at it this way – At least you can blog about all this.”

Why, yes.  Yes I can.


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October 2011