I have been in a bit of a lather today. While stopping for a cuppa at the Recalcitrant Herbalist at the bracing hour of 8:30 (I always have a pot of her hemp pick-me-up on the way to Tai Chi on The Strand On The Green), I heard that nice Mr Naughtie on the radio saying that registration for voting for the Scottish Independence Referendum was due today. I raced home as fast as the two-seater would carry me, which is rarely close to the legal limit even in street-lit areas, to ensure that the appropriate forms had been acquired and processed, so that I may place my ‘X’ in the preferred box on the day of the long-anticipated plebiscite.
Imagine my devastation upon arriving at the abode to be calmly informed by my man that the decision is to be made solely by the bekilted populace North of the Border. Now, I am no expert in divorce, but I always assumed that both parties were at least tacitly involved in any decision. I am not planning to reveal which way I would have voted, but my choice had much to do with the prospects of enjoying another Home Wimbledon Champion, bearing in mind the tepid performance of England’s players in recent memory.
Such matters of international import could be played as a Let in comparison with the mastery of the form of tonight’s Poets. Louise Nicholls returned to us from the far Antipodes to describe an impromptu concert in a Boston Subway Station. Nick Barth has been standing in the sun and looking at planes for far too long. James Priestman made a welcome return to read a Triptych from the Wilderness. John Hurley gave us a thumbnail sketch of a neighbour from the Old Country. Caroline Am Bergris wrote to us from a moment spent by the fire in a cave in Spain. Marilyn Keenan wrote a very strong piece from the Eastern Front. Helen Baker has been to Sir John’s other pad and a friend of hers fell in love with a sarcophagus. Finally Alan Cambers has been to the Southern Cross, at least that is where he suspects he might have been.
Leafing through the PP archives the other day, I was stopped in my tracks by an entry mentioning Scottish Nationalism from 1934. In that year the group took it up one themselves to invite the eminent Scottish Poet and Nationalist Hugh MacDiarmid to their midst to relate some of his most notorious poems, including ‘A Drunk Man Looks At The Thistle’. The great man seemed reluctant at first, only gathering enthusiasm when he learned that Pitshanger Manor was also the Ealing Public Library. On arriving at the Workshop, MacDiarmid is described as being a trifle distracted. According to the Archivist, he would only be persuaded to read once he had secured a book concerning the architecture of Westminster Abbey and had ascertained from the group where he could borrow a heavy trolley and a fast car. According to the archivist, MacDiarmid seemed obsessed with the various subjects of ‘Stones’ and bizarrely, ‘Scones’. Why the crazy-haired Nationalist thought he would obtain a Cream Tea or a bottle of Ginger Wine in Westminster Abbey on a Tuesday night is beyond comprehension and historians are stumped about the affair to this day. If you have a clue as to what MacDiarmid was planning in 1934, do write in and if you have been, thank you for reading.