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Perhaps it is because he’s been mulling on the heyday of the British Empire compared to the state of things now.  Perhaps it’s because he’s been rereading the Flashman series.  No doubt it’s a combination.

At any rate, Robbo was suddenly seized with the desire to hear how Flashy’s favorite tune, “Drink, Puppy, Drink” goes.   Catchy tune, ain’t it?

The lyrics seem to be harder to find on these here Intertoobs.  Here’s one verse and the refrain:

Here’s to the fox In his earth below the rocks!

And here’s to the line that we follow,

And here’s to the hound With his nose upon the ground,

Though merrily we whoop and we hollow.

– – –

Then drink puppy drink, And let every puppy drink

That is old enough to lap and to swallow;

For he’ll grow into a hound,

So we’ll pass the bottle ’round,

And merrily we’ll whoop and we’ll hollow. (Repeat refrain)

From what Flashy lets fall, I gather there are many, many more verses associated with the song.


Regular port swillers may be somewhat surprised that ol’ Robbo, being such an inveterate Anglophile, hasn’t had much of anything to say about Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, which wraps up today.

Well, the truth of the matter is that I have found all the pageantry and hoopla to be more saddening than anything else, calling to attention as it does the wretched decline of a once great nation, over which downfall it has been Elizabeth’s unfortunate lot to reign. Of course, GB’s plunge into the depths has been the result of socio-economic forces, none of which is under HM’s control and many of which, perhaps, are unstoppable.  Still, as the monarch she is the personification of the kingdom, and I’m sure that each successive blow to its standing as a beacon of civilization has had a corresponding effect on her own spirit.

I will say for Elizabeth that she has played her part with a public dignity that is altogether admirable, but I can’t bear to imagine what she must say and think to herself inwardly.

For some reason or other, I got thinking of Constantine XI Palaiologus, the last Byzantine Emperor.  By the mid-1400’s, the Byzantine Empire, which had once spread all across the eastern Med, was reduced to the area immediately around Byzantium itself.   One version of the fall of Byzantium to the Turks in 1453 that I read reports that Constantine himself fell defending the gates against the final Turkish charge that burst them.

Now, I’m not suggesting that London is going the same way as Byzantium, at least not literally, but I suddenly had a vision of Elizabeth at the doors of the Tower, a great two-handed broadsword in her mitts, laying waste to the armies of villainy seeking to gain entry.   Something tells me the old girl could take out a few of the forces of darkness before they got to her.

Here’s to today’s transit of Venus:

You go, girl.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Pardon my absence over the past couple days.  Alas, I was not, as Tubbs imagines, “slurping that Portuguese Ripple, then climbing an extension ladder to clean the gutters – all the while singing ‘Elvira’.”  That was two weeks ago.  Nor was I running guns to a band of recalcitrant Jacobites holed up in a mountain compound in South America.  (Not that you need to know anything about that.  Better just forget I mentioned it.)

No, the dull fact of the matter is that I’ve spent most of the past few days in bed, hacking away and generally being unpleasant to those around me.  (People respond to being sick in various ways.  Me? I just want to be left the hell alone.  The port swiller family do not always seem to realize this, and are therefor shocked, shocked when snarled at by self.)

At the moment, although feeling more generally fit than I have, I’m still faced with a dilemma:

1.  I have to cough a lot.

2.  It hurts like the devil to cough.

I know, I know: Waa, waa, waa.  Basta!

However, despite my bronchial condition, duty required that I put in at least a couple of public appearances over the weekend.

First was the installation of the middle gel as a chorister at the National Cathedral, which took place at Evensong on Sunday.  It was a very nice little ceremony, marred only by the fact that the “banners” used in the processions were long silvery-gold streamers set atop whippy twenty foot poles and heaved about vigorously by the acolytes.   “If streamers come, can liturgical dancers be far behind?” thoughts I.  Fortunately, no hoofing took place.

Second was the graduation of the eldest gel from St. Rita of the Misunderstood Adolescence, which occurred last evening.  Again, a nice little ceremony albeit on a much smaller scale.  And Father S was good enough to remark to me afterwards that he has seen great spiritual growth and maturation in the gel over the past couple years.  I certainly hope so – the high school she’s off to this fall, in addition to being a far larger school than anything she’s experienced heretofore, is notorious for working the kids awfully hard.  I’ve an idea that the change is going to come as an extremely rude shock to her.  (By the bye, I have never, ever understood people who claim junior high and high school to have been the best times of their lives.)

One thing I didn’t manage was the Nats game on Saturday afternoon.  While the rest of the port swiller family went, I stayed home and watched on teevee.  (A sweet 2-0 win over the Braves, with Strasburg striking out nine.) Of passing note, despite the near sellout crowd, many of whom came specifically to see him, Dierks Bentley did not play the post-game concert.  Apparently, his father passed away unexpectedly, causing a last minute cancellation.  Instead, the producers scrounged up Big and Rich.  B&R, for the benefit of the Mothe, are another country outfit, at least in name.  Their musick actually tends to veer toward hard rock, and frankly, I don’t like it a’tall.  Neither do many other people, apparently.  Mrs. R reports that although everyone understood why Bentley had to cancel, they were still pretty miffed, and the stadium emptied out mighty fast after the game was over.

So there you have it.


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June 2012