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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Monday, 28 May 2012

I am a seeker...

... after my beer mats that I bought in the late 1990s in order to play the Jolly Good Fun wargame in 42mm. So, after work, I dug through the dust, the cobwebs and general rubbish in my shed, looking for the beer mats. I didn't find them, but, curses, I found this:

Why ? Why now ? After the great Hawker Weather Build ! The article is from the January 2006 issue of Scale Aircraft Modelling, vol. 27, no: 11. Of course, the Hurricane that I built for the Hawker Weather Build (that really should have 'TM' after it now) was an Academy Mk IIc. Now, I did, of course, make some changes, notably the Volkes filter, but skimming the Scale Aircraft Modelling article, I discover other problems. But, wait! I am a kit basher, and proud of it!

My previous post led to a series of replies from His Grace and Springinsfeld about a small Nordic creature that I had not previously heard of - a Tomten. These fellows are protectors of farms and land in the North, but they also demand good manners from their hosts. I do not, as far as I know, have a Tomten as a garden protector, but I do have:

Pan as a boy. I bought this curly haired fellow from a shop in Eton, only yards from the River Thames, so he is well founded. There was quite a cult of the little woolly-legged chap in the late 19th and early 20th century. My favourite mentions of him are in Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (one of the funniest books ever written in the English language, and, strangely, the bedtime reading of the late Albanian Communist dictator, Enver Hoxha) ; and in The Wind in the Willows, where he keeps a watching eye on the river creatures, in a passage that, when I last read it, made the hair on my neck bristle. I fancy, too, that Pan appears in Robert Louis Stevenson's canoe memoir, though I can't quite remember. Actually, that book by RLS is as interesting as his more well-known Travels With Modestine.  I can feel myself rambling, but, then, that was, in part the purpose of the blog. So, I will say a little more to whet your appetite for Hoxha - a school master, trained in France, an aficiando of the clean shaven look (as a moustache wearing chap, I must protest, but that would have given me a one way ticket to the labour camp), someone who took his revolver to the Cabinet table (I could imagine our late, unlamented Premier, Gordon Brown, would have preferred to have done that), an out and out Stalinist, and a devotee of Norman Wisdom...

In my fondness for sort of garden gnomes, I also have this in my garden:

A very fine Green Man who guards the door into the garden. Much fantasy has been written about the Green Man, but the plain fact is that we know very little indeed about him, or what he represents.  With one exception, all the Green Men in England are in churches, but what they said to our forefathers we do not know. Interestingly, the common pub name of 'The Green Man' actually refers to Robin Hood, and, of course, his 'greenness' refers to paganism. But it is lost.

Finally, a photograph I took this morning before going to work, showing the full glory of 'Arthur Bell'. Note, too, my neighbour's mop.

P.S. on the painting table - the Bay of Pigs Cubans, and the Me Bf109 G-10.


  1. Thanks for sharing more of your arcadia with us.
    I like the idea of the old gods in Puck of Pook's hill by Kipling too.
    I think I read something else by Graham in which he enthuses about his 19th century classicism/paganism and sensing the old gods around him- can't recall what it was though.
    By the way do you know the song about Pan by the Waterboys?It is on their album Dream Harder and is called the return of Pan...

    1. That's interesting - put your thinking cap on and see if you can remember what it was by Graham. No, I didn't know about the Waterboys' song - I'll youtube it!

  2. I think I need an "Arthur Bell" now! Beautiful!

    1. It is quite the most amazing rose. The key, of course, is laying the shoots horizontally, and it certainly throws out new growth each year - up to around 15 feet in length. Who would think that something as pedestrian sounding as Arthur Bell would be so stunning?

  3. Hmmm, I am finding it very hard to keep up with following my favourite blogs, and I missed this post completely until now. We too have Pan residing in our garden, and the renaissance of his cult during the late 19th and early 20th century is a fascinating subject. It's a funny thing this blogging lark, one thinks one is a bit eccentric, and then one discovers a raft of like minded fellows.

  4. Now we need a photo of the Springinsfeld Pan. And do you know of any decent writing on the Pan cult in the late 19th and e. 20th ?
    'Raft' is probably the right word - small-ish, extempore and taking on water ...! But, you're right; I'm surprised how much I look forward to the posts on the blogs that I like - yours included!