Enthusiasms

Containing whatever I enthuse over

Flat sale and house purchase

Posted by clissold345 on October 25, 2015

This account of the sale of my flat and the purchase of a house may be of interest to people.

I decided to get my flat on the market before I started to look for a house. I thought that my flat might be on the market for a month or two before I got a good offer, so I thought that I’d have plenty of time to look for a house.

I started to get valuations of my flat from estate agents in June 2015. One estate agent gave a guide price significantly higher than the others. I thought this guide price was too high but I decided to sign up with this estate agent anyway. As it turned out this estate agent was (more or less) right since I got an offer close to the guide price within five days of my flat going on the market. My buyer was a cash buyer and had bought property from the estate agent before and was supposedly willing to sign the contract and then wait up to six months to completion. That sounded very good to me. I accepted the offer and took my flat off the market.

It later turned out that my buyer apparently didn’t mean literally that he’d be willing to wait up to six months after exchange. He probably meant that he was willing to wait a number of months for me to find a house. I’ll be charitable and assume that he never meant to deceive me about this.

At that point (when I accepted the offer) I hadn’t got a solicitor but it was straightforward to find one. I chose one that had online reviews. This solicitor turned out to be fairly good. One problem later on was that my solicitor told me that I had to pay an extra fee because I have a share of the freehold (there are two flats in the house and the owners of the flats share the freehold). I didn’t mind the extra fee but I wasn’t pleased to find that I had to pay the extra fee immediately and it wasn’t included in the “no sale/no fee” guarantee covering the rest of my solicitor’s fees for selling my flat.

When I put my flat on the market I didn’t realise that so much would depend on the goodwill of my co freeholders. My buyer has been in communication with them and without assurances of their goodwill I think my buyer might have pulled out. I’ll be glad when my flat is sold and I no longer have to think about leases and co freeholders (though in this case I have been lucky and my co freeholders have been helpful).

At some point in August or September my buyer decided to take out a mortgage, so he was no longer a cash buyer – but he didn’t immediately tell me. He had a mortgage valuation done in September and in October (at short notice) produced a mortgage offer where exchange had to occur on or before 28th October. He asked his mortgage broker if he could have an extension to this date but his mortgage broker apparently said this would not be possible.

With a buyer lined up I needed to find a house. I started to view houses in early August. I was worried what my buyer and my estate agent would say if I took a long time to find a house – but I wasn’t going to buy a house to please them. By good luck and some hard work on my part I found a suitable house (a house I really liked, and if the purchase goes through the house I’ll very likely live in for the rest of my life) quite quickly and had an offer accepted on it on 24th September 2015.

I decided to arrange the survey on the house before seeing the Contract Pack and making additional enquiries. This turned out to be a good idea since within a day or two of the survey being done my buyer produced his mortgage offer. Without the survey I would not have agreed to aim to exchange on 28th October. However with the survey done I decided to agree.

To be continued …

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Beltesassar’s Short Animation Festival

Posted by clissold345 on May 20, 2015

Many of the animations listed below are available individually online. Alternatively, many of the parts of Beltesassar’s collection are still available as torrents. I haven’t watched all the animations but I’ve marked some of my favourites by two asterisks (**).

Part 1:

25 Ways To Quit Smoking (1989) Bill Plympton.avi (26.2 MB)
Au Bout Du Monde – Konstantin Bronzit (1998).avi (106.5 MB)
Balance – Lauenstein (1989).avi (51.7 MB)
Birthday Boy [Sejong Park] 2004.avi (103.8 MB)
Blackfly – Christopher Hinton (1991) .avi (59.7 MB)
Bunny – Blue Sky Studios – Chris Wedge (1998).avi (97.6 MB)
Cowboys (Phil.Mulloy,1991).avi (170.3 MB)
Crac – Frederic Back (1980).avi (144.2 MB)
** Father and Daughter – [Dudok de Wit] 2000.avi (38.5 MB)
Gopher Broke – Blur Studio Jeff Fowler (2004).avi (173.3 MB)
Harvie Krumpet [Adam Elliot] (2003).avi (195.3 MB)
Intolerance & Intolerance II – Phil Mulloy (2000 & 2001).avi (253.8 MB)
Mike’s New Car – Pixar.avi (62.4 MB)
More – Mark Osborne (1998).avi (186.4 MB)
Pixar – Ice Age Extra(Gone Nutty).avi (42.9 MB)
Rejected – Don Hertzfeldt – 2000.avi (103.2 MB)
Rocks [German title: Das Rad] Germany-pp.avi (65.8 MB)
[directed by Chris Stenner, Arvid Uibel and Heidi Wittlinger]
Special Delivery – John Weldon & Eunice Macaulay (1978).avi (78.8 MB)
Strange Invaders [Cordell Baker, French subtitles, 2002].avi (69.5 MB)
Tango – Zbigniew Rybczynski (1982).avi (44.8 MB)
The Big Snit – Richard Condie (1985).avi (82.3 MB)
The Fly [Ferenc Rófusz, 1981].avi (19.9 MB)
The Old Lady and the Pigeons – Sylvain Chomet (1998).avi (143.6 MB)
The Periwig-Maker – Schaffler (1999).avi (125.4 MB)
The Sandman – Paul Berry – (1991).avi (72.6 MB)
The Cathedral – Poland-pp.avi (53.3 MB)
Vincent – Tim.Burton.avi (66.3 MB) [narrated by Vincent Price]
Ward 13 [Peter Cornwell] (2003).avi (199.5 MB)

Part 2:

Alison Snowden and David Fine (1987) – George and Rosemary.avi (101.3 MB)
Arkelope – Roslyn Schwartz (1994).mpg (54.1 MB)
Calypso is like so – Bruno Collet (2003).avi (108.5 MB)
Chris Landreth – Bingo The Clown (1998).avi (35.1 MB)
Eugene Fedorenko – Every Child (1979) [UNICEF].avi (64.1 MB)
Grasshoppers – Bruno Bozzetto (1990).avi (51.3 MB)
Konstantin Bronzit – Switchcraft (1994).avi (35.7 MB)
Luxo Jr – Pixar (1986).avi (34.7 MB)
Sex & Violence – Bill Plympton.avi (45.0 MB)
** The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa – Caroline Leaf [German version] (1977).avi (83.2 MB)
** Voyage To Next – Faith & John Hubley (1974).avi (154.7 MB)

Part 3:

Bill Plympton – The fan and the flower (2005) – Narrated by Paul Giamatti.avi (83.7 MB)
Fallen Art (Tomek Baginski, 2004).avi (142.6 MB)
Ferenc Cakó – Stones (2000).avi (102.3 MB)
Flatlife – Jonas Geirnaert (2004).avi (73.3 MB)
Georges Schwizgebel – La Jeune Fille Et Les Nuages [The Young Girl and the Clouds] (2000).avi (52.9 MB)
Matt Abbiss – Play (2003).avi (12.5 MB)
Norman McLaren – Lines Horizontal (1962).avi (100.0 MB)
Raoul Servais – Siren (1968).avi (110.0 MB)
Sven Martin – Ritterschlag [Knighthood] (2003).avi (50.0 MB)
The Chain – Phil Mulloy (1997).avi (97.0 MB)

Part 4:

Blur Studio – In The Rough (2004).avi (230.6 MB)
Bruno Bozzetto – Baeus (1987).avi (80.1 MB)
Genre – Don Hertzfeldt (1996).avi (19.5 MB)
Joanna Quinn (1996) – Famous Fred.avi (298.9 MB)
Peter Lord (1996) – Wat’s Pig.avi (122.9 MB)
Pjotr Sapegin – Huset Pa Kampen [The House in Kampen] (1998).avi (49.0 MB)
Ring Of Fire – Andreas Hykade [French subtitles] (2000).avi (230.9 MB)
** The Mermaid [Rusalka] – Aleksandr Petrov (1997).avi (120.6 MB)
** The Monk and the Fish – Dudok de Wit (1994).avi (89.3 MB)

Part 5:

9 – Shane Acker (2005).avi (90.92 MB)
A Grand Day Out – Wallace & Grommit 1991.avi (181.86 MB)
Angry Kid – Peter Lord [2002].avi (23.09 MB)
Annie and Boo (2004) Johannes Weilund.avi (251.42 MB)
Badgered (2005) Sharon Colman.avi (38.39 MB)
Bill Plympton – The Exciting Life Of A Tree.avi (47.21 MB)
Bob’s Birthday – Alison Snowden & David Fine.avi (102.7 MB)
Charade – Minnis – 1984.avi (13.13 MB)
Chris Landreth – Ryan (2004).avi (149.84 MB)
Konstantin Bronzit (2003) – The God.avi (33.03 MB)
La Linea 145 (Cavandoli).avi (22.54 MB)
Michael Sieber – Wunderwerk [Miracle] (2002).avi (80.11 MB)
** Norman McLaren – Neighbours (1952).avi (126.83 MB)
Pedro Serrazina – Tale About the Cat and the Moon (1995).avi (55.39 MB)
Raoul Servais – Chromophobia (1966).avi (109.33 MB)
Richard Condie – The Apprentice (1991).avi (85.5 MB)
Ring – Anna and Bella – 1984.avi (35.03 MB)
Ryan Larkin – Syrinx (1965).avi (22.03 MB)
Suzie Templeton – Dog [2001].avi (16.42 MB)
The History of the World – Phil Mulloy (1994).avi (54.73 MB)
** The Man with the Beautiful Eyes [2000] – Jonathan Hodgson [poem by Charles Bukowski].avi (102.24 MB)
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations Of Jasper Morello [2005 – Anthony Lucas].avi (175.05 MB)
** The End of the World in Four Seasons [1996] – Paul Driessen.avi (278.19 MB)
Tim Webb – A Is For Autism (1992).avi (99.17 MB)
** Wendy Tilby (1991) – Strings.avi (116.4 MB)

Part 6:

Adam Elliot – Cousin.mpg (44.8 MB)
** Bob Godrey – Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit (1961).avi (48.6 MB)
Frederic Back – Illusion (1975).avi (181.9 MB)
Guard Dog – Bill Plympton (2004).avi (60.3 MB)
Ishu Patel (1977) – The Bead Game.avi (63.8 MB)
Michèle Cournoyer (1999) – Le Chapeau (The Hat).avi (66.3 MB)
Pád [The Fall] – Aurel Klimt 1999.avi (67.0 MB)
Pixar – The Chubbchubbs.mpg (97.5 MB)
Poumse (1990) Mikhail Aldashin.avi (48.0 MB)
Priit Pärn – 2003 – Karl Ja Marilyn [Karl and Marilyn].avi (349.0 MB)
Tatsuo Sato – Nekojiru-so (Cat Soup) – 2001.avi (379.2 MB)

Part 7:

Andreas Hykade (1995) We Lived in Grass.avi (254.5 MB)
Bruno Bozzetto – Una Vita In Scatola (1967).avi (54.5 MB)
Franck Dion (2004) L’inventaire fantôme [The Haunted Inventory].avi (79.7 MB)
George Dunning – Three Blind Mice (1945).mpg (72.2 MB)
Ishu Patel (1984) – Paradise.avi (178.9 MB)
Jeff Newitt – Loves Me, Loves Me Not.avi (42.9 MB)
** John Schnall – Goodnight Norma… Goodnight Milton… (1988).avi (43.7 MB)
Le building – Marco Nguyen (2005).avi (17.8 MB)
Marc Craste – Jojo in the Stars (2003).avi (170.7 MB)
Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase (1992) Joan Gratz.avi (45.1 MB)
Paul Claerhout – Scaredy Cat! (1988).avi (8.8 MB)
Paul Driessen – The killing of an egg.avi (31.8 MB)
Priit Pärn – Hotel E (1992).avi (363.9 MB)
Matthias Müller – Phantom.avi (11.4 MB)
Rubicon (1997) Gil Alkabetz [German version].avi (79.3 MB)
Stan Brakhage (2001) – Love Song.avi (95.6 MB)
The Other Side (1993) Mikhail Aldashin.avi (45.9 MB)
Wilfred Jackson – The Grasshopper and the Ants (1934).avi (90.0 MB)
Winsor McCay – 1911 – Little Nemo.mpg (80.6 MB)

Part 8:

78 Tours (Georges Schwizgebel, 1985).avi (31.1 MB)
Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby – When the Day Breaks (1999).mpg (94.4 MB)
Aubier & Patar – Babyroussa, the Babiroussa.avi (86.0 MB)
Bill Plympton – Push Comes To Shove (1991).avi (155.9 MB)
Brad Caslor & Christopher Hinton – Blowhard.mpg (92.7 MB)
Bruno Bozzetto – Self Service.avi (92.2 MB)
Christmas (1996) Mikhail Aldashin.avi (179.8 MB)
Daniel Greaves (1997) Flatworld.avi (311.6 MB)
Disney – 1953 – Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom.mpg (102.9 MB)
Don Hertzfeldt – Intermission.avi (35.1 MB)
Evelyn Lambart (1974) Mr. Frog Went A-Courting.mpg (43.9 MB)
Garik Seko (1982) Ex Libris.avi (93.8 MB)
John Halas (1963) Automania 2000.avi (77.8 MB)
Jolly Roger – Mark Baker (1998).avi (68.3 MB)
Osamu Tezuka (1984) Jumping.avi (25.2 MB)
Piotr Dumala – Zbrodnia i Kara [Crime and Punishment] (2000).avi (354.7 MB)
Quest – Tyron Montgomery & Thomas Stellmach (1996).asf (24.4 MB)
Repeat (1995) Pavlatova.avi (123.9 MB)
Suzan Pitt (1973) – Jefferson Circus Songs.avi (95.2 MB)
The Cunning Little Vixen (2003) Geoff Dunbar.avi (400.0 MB)
Van Goethem (1986) A Greek Tragedy.avi Video (32.4 MB)
Winsor McCay – 1912 – How A Mosquito Operates.avi (38.1 MB)

Part 9:

Ryan Larkin – Walking (1968).avi (59.91 MB)
Gil Alkabetz – Morir de Amor.avi (178.16 MB)
Gilles Cuvelier – Chahut (2005).avi (116.4 MB)
** Georges Schwizgebel – L’homme sans ombre [The Man with no Shadow] (2004).avi (88.61 MB)
Michael Dudok de Wit – The Aroma of Tea (2006).avi (40.41 MB)
Frank & Caroline Mouris – Frank Film (1973).avi (180.34 MB)
Tyron Montgomery & Thomas Stellmach – Quest (1996).avi (73.46 MB)
Piotr Dumala – Franz Kafka (1991).avi (179.63 MB)
Paul Driessen – Au bout du fil (Cat’s Cradle) (1974).avi (120.01 MB)
Marcell Jankovics – Sisyphus (1974) .avi (24.49 MB)
Michael Theodore – Color Dream no.246 (2006).avi (23.39 MB)
Don Hertzfeldt – The Meaning of Life (2005).avi (125.58 MB)
Arnaud Demuynck – Signes de Vie (2004).avi (124.84 MB)
Suzan Pitt – Asparagus (1978).avi (110.19 MB)
Erik van Schaaik – Vent (2004) .avi (40.17 MB)
Alexei Petrov – The Cags (2005).avi (21.78 MB)
Atlan Berland Ferrie – Overtime (2005).avi (72.01 MB)
Jeremy Clapin – Une Histoire Vertebrale (A Backbone Tale) (2006).avi (93.15 MB)
Pixar – Scrat – No Time For Nuts (2006).avi (75.98 MB)
Géza M. Tóth – Maestro (2005).avi (57.24 MB)
Richard Webber – Purple and Brown 7 (2006).avi (8.16 MB)
Blur – Good Song (2004).avi (40.88 MB)
Run Wrake – Rabbit (2005).mov (56.88 MB)
Peter Peake – Humdrum (1998).avi (32.2 MB)

Part 10:

Alexander Petrov – The Old Man and the Sea (1999).avi (734.7 MB)
Bambi meets Godzilla – Marv Newland (1969).avi (15.9 MB)
Emile Cohl – Fantasmagorie (1908). avi (3.4 MB)
Hedgehog in the Fog – Yuri Norstein (1975).avi (127.7 MB)
Ivan Maximov – Bolero (1992j.avi (106.1 MB)
Jiri Trnka – Story Of The Bass Cello (1949).avi (130.2 MB)
L’homme aux bras ballants [The Man with Dangling Arms] – Laurent Gorgiard (1997j.avi (108.1 MB)
Le Papillon – Antoine Antin and Jenny Rakotomamonjy (2002).avi (22.8 MB)
Le Paysagiste (Mindscape) – Jacques Drouin (1976j.avi (118.5 MB)
My Baby Just Cares For me – Aardman and Nina Simone.avi (25.0 MB)
Op Hop Hop Op – Pierre Hebert (1966).avi (35.5 MB)
Reci Reci Reci – Michaela Pavlatova (1991).avi (114.9 MB)
Ryan Larkin – Street Musique.avi (121.3 MB)
** Terry Gilliam – Story time (1968).avi (89.1 MB)
The End – Chris Landreth (1995).avi (53.9 MB)
The Lump – John Weldon (1991).avi (134.7 MB)
Tyger – Guilherme Marcondes ( 2006).avi (69.3 MB)

Part 11:

A Gentlemen’s Duel – Blur Studio (2006).avi (167.44 MB)
Chuck Jones – What’s Opera Doc (1957).avi (139.25 MB)
Comedy of Horrors – Will Vinton Productions (1991).avi (185.38 MB)
Jackie Wilson – Reet Petite.mpg (30.57 MB)
Lumaaq, an Eskimo Legend – Co Hoedeman (1975).avi (71.61 MB)
Night Angel (Jacques Drouin & Bretislav Pojar, NFB of Canada, 1986).avi (145.65 MB)
Piet Kroon – T.R.A.N.S.I.T. (1998).avi (147.84 MB)
Piotr Dumala (1987) – Sciany (Walls).avi (70.74 MB)
Pixar – Sesame Street light and heavy.avi (8.8 MB)
Priit Parn – Time Out (1984).avi (119.71 MB)
Roger Allers – The Little Match Girl (2006).avi (29.91 MB)
[Error in listing: not “Bob Godfrey & Zlatko Grgic (1979) – Dream Doll.avi (125.71 MB)”]
Strange Invaders – Cordell Baker [2002].avi (87.78 MB) [Duplicate]
Suzie Templeton (2006) – Prokofiev’s Peter And The Wolf (Making Of).mpg (211.31 MB)
Suzie Templeton (2006) – Prokofiev’s Peter And The Wolf.avi (391.24 MB)
Yuriy Norshteyn (1979) Skazka skazok (Tale of Tales).avi (700.02 MB)
Zdenko Gasparovich – Satiemania (1978).avi (154.84 MB)

Part 12:

Anthony Lucas – Holding Your Breath (2001).avi (80 MB)
Dreams and Desires – Family Ties (Joanna Quinn, 2006).avi (150 MB)
Dusan Vukotic – Surogat (1961).avi (72 MB)
Eternal Gaze – Sam Chen (2003).avi (188 MB)
George Geertsen – The Men in the Park (1971).avi (139 MB)
Golovanova – Cat And Clown (1988).avi (119 MB)
Guilherme Marcondes – Into Pieces (2004).avi (20 MB)
** John Hubley Faith Hubley – The Hole (1972).avi (163 MB)
Koji Yamamura – The Old Crocodile (2005).avi (126 MB)
Lenny Bruce – Thank You Mask Man (1971).avi (113 MB)
Luis Cook – The Pearce Sisters (2007).avi (131 MB)
Mark Baker – The Hill Farm (1989).avi (349 MB)
Michael Dudok de Wit – Tom Sweep.avi (19 MB)
Mike Booth – The Saint Inspector (1996).avi (65 MB)
Osama Tezuka – Legend of the Forest (1987).avi (319 MB)
Oskar Fischinger – Spirals (1926).avi (37 MB)
Paul Driessen – An Old Box.avi (210 MB)
Robert Breer – 70 (1970).avi (53 MB)
Silly Symphonies – The Old Mill (1937).avi (96 MB)
Stan Brakhage – Water for Maya (2000).avi (45 MB)
Wendy Tilby & Amanda Forbis (1999) – When The Day Breaks.avi (104 MB) [Duplicate]

Part 13:

Allegretto – Oskar Fischinger (1936).avi (29 MB)
Christopher Hinton – Nibbles (2003).avi (57 MB)
Down to the Bone (Hasta los huesos) – Rene Castillo (2001).avi (85 MB)
Gene Deitch – Munro (1961).avi (58 MB)
Jan Lenica – Nowy Janko Muzykant [Janko the Musician] (1960).avi (107 MB)
Jeff Scher – Trigger Happy (1997).avi (39 MB)
John & Faith Hubley – Doonesbury (1977).avi (299 MB)
Larry Jordan – Moonlight Sonata (1979).avi (80 MB)
Leigh Hodgkinson – Moo(n) (2004).avi (36 MB)
Len Rye – Free Radicals (1958).avi (46 MB)
Madame Tutli-Putli (2007).avi (204 MB)
Panique au Village [Le Gâteau] – Stephane Aubier & Vincent Patar (2000).avi (29 MB)
Paul Driessen – Le Peuple De L’eau [The Water People] (1992).avi (160 MB)
Phil Mulloy – Intolerance III.avi (229 MB)
Puleng – Ali Taylor.avi (47 MB)
Stephan-Flint Müller – Fliegenpflicht Für Quadrat Köpfe [Bow Tie Duty for Squareheads] (2004).avi (266 MB)
Tale of How – The Blackheart Gang (2005).avi (87 MB)
This wonderful life – Liam Kemp (2003).avi (319 MB)

There are also Parts 14 to 17. I may list them here when I have more time.

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Krazy Kat January 21st 1922

Posted by clissold345 on December 23, 2014

The photo shows panels 1 and 5 from the strip published on January 21st 1922. This strip was one of a small number of experimental colour strips published in 1922. Quoting Krazy Kat I’m going to call it the “Door Mice” strip. (The mouse is not Ignatz. He’s presumably a cousin of Ignatz. Ignatz appears (brick ready to hand) at the end of the strip.) Krazy Kat is concerned that such a small and delicate creature is carrying round “a door so heavy with weight”. He/she knocks at the door and enters the mouse’s non-existent house to point out politely that (amongst other defects) the door “lacks the very very essentials of helpfulness”. In the last panel the mouse raises the door above his head to block the brick thrown (as usual) from the hand of Ignatz. Krazy Kat does not notice.

Posted in Art | Leave a Comment »

Hiroshima August 6th 1945

Posted by clissold345 on December 22, 2014

Apparently only five photos have survived from the day the bomb fell on Hiroshima, all by the same man — Yoshito Matsushige, a 32-year-old newspaper photographer. He was at home on the morning of August 6th 1945 (the bomb exploded at 8:15 a.m.), a little more than a mile and a half from ground zero. Later, he made his way into the city. One of the photos he took (shown here), around 11 a.m., was of badly burned junior high school students on the Miyuki Bridge. Police are attempting to treat their burns with cooking oil. What appears to be rags are, in many cases, skin hanging from arms and legs.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1959)

Posted by clissold345 on April 3, 2009

Here is my summary of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1959) directed by Jiri Trnka:

Dawn breaks. Lysander courts Hermia (dark-haired). Demetrius arrives to visit Hermia. Lysander and Demetrius fight over Hermia. Lysander uses his flute instead of a sword. Theseus orders Hermia to marry Demetrius. Athens prepares to celebrate the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. Hermia and Lysander run away to the forest. Demetrius follows them and Helena (light-haired) follows Demetrius.

The artisans rehearse Pyramus and Thisbe. They are disturbed by other rehearsals and leave town in order to rehearse in peace in the forest. Oberon tries to make love to Titania but she refuses. Oberon sends Puck to fetch a magic flower. The flower grows out of a broken column. It has power over snails, statues and sheep.

Oberon watches the artisans arrive in the wood, then Lysander and Hermia, then Demetrius and Helena. Puck mistakenly puts a spell on Lysander (instead of Demetrius). Titania sleeps. Oberon frightens away her attendants. Puck separates Bottom from the other artisans and casts a spell to give him the head of a donkey. Oberon puts a spell on Titania. Titania falls in love with Bottom. Titania’s attendants pamper Bottom.

Puck puts a spell on Demetrius so that he loves Helena. Demetrius and Lysander fight. Puck prevents them from hurting each other. Puck tires out the four lovers until they unknowingly fall asleep side by side. Puck gives Lysander the antidote. Oberon gives Titania the antidote. Titania falls into Oberon’s arms. Dawn breaks. Oberson, Titania and their attendants retreat. Oberon reminds Puck to take the donkey’s head off Bottom.

Thesues and Hippolyta, out hunting, stumble on the sleeping lovers. Hermia’s father spares Lysander. The wedding celebrations start. (There are now three weddings to celebrate not one.) The artisans perform Pyramus and Thisbe, which is poor until Puck transforms it into something magical. Oberon orders Puck to stop meddling. Puck puts all the mortals to sleep. Oberon and Titania and their attendants drink a toast to the three couples.

(The photo shows Oberon, the magic flower, and the sleeping Titania.)

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Victory: an Island Tale

Posted by clissold345 on November 21, 2008

Here are a few notes on Joseph Conrad’s novel Victory, which I have just finished reading.

When Heyst meets Lena it is her voice that captivates him:

“But her voice! It seduced Heyst by its amazing quality. It was a voice fit to utter the most exquisite things, a voice which would have made silly chatter supportable and the roughest talk fascinating. Heyst drank in its charm as one listens to the tone of some instrument without heeding the tune.” (Part 2, chapter 1)

I confess that Conrad’s exceptional writing style has much the effect on me as Lena’s voice on Heyst. Heyst is a very limited character but Conrad keeps me interested in him. Once Jones, Ricardo, and Pedro arrive on Samburan the novel descends into melodrama but Conrad (mostly) keeps me interested anyway.

The key chapters are perhaps Part 3 chapters 1 to 5, which cover Heyst’s and Lena’s relationship on Samburan before the arrival of the Threat from Outside (that is, Jones, Ricardo, and Pedro). Heyst is still repeating his father’s ideas, the ideas he has lived by for so many years:

“I only know that he who forms a tie is lost. The germ of corruption has entered into his soul.” (Part 3, chapter 3)

He doesn’t entirely realise that he has (partially) abandoned his father’s ideas:

“The girl he had come across, of whom he had possessed himself, to whose presence he was not yet accustomed, with whom he did not yet know how to live; that human being so near and still so strange, gave him a greater sense of his own reality than he had ever known in all his life.” (Part 3, chapter 3)

Heyst doesn’t entirely understand Lena, and Lena doesn’t entirely understand Heyst. She thinks of him as “a strange being without needs”, whereas in fact she is essential to him, he needs her. In the melodramatic climax to the novel Heyst and Lena, without checking with the other, decide on a plan to safeguard the other: Heyst orders Lena to flee while he distracts the villains and Lena decides that Heyst will be saved if she can somehow gain possession of the villains’ knife. Heyst acts to save Lena but he will not act if it is just himself who is in danger.

Jones, Ricardo, and Pedro are creatures of melodrama. They are instantly recognisable each time they reappear, Conrad’s descriptions of them are, by his high standards, (mostly) lazy and repetitive, they have little or no inner life. (However, Ricardo has more inner life than the other two.)

Posted in Literature | Leave a Comment »

Shady Subjects

Posted by clissold345 on June 5, 2008

Certain subjects, such as the playing of encrypted dvds on a computer, the locking of mobile phones, and (in the UK) the activities of TV license inspectors, seem to be shady, that is, they seem disreputable and it is difficult to gather precise information about them.

I want to provide a snippet of precise information about the locking of mobile phones (locking them so that they only work on one network). If a network sells you a cheap phone I think it is reasonable for them to lock the phone to their network until they have recouped the cost of the phone, and made some profit on top. However, I think that once the cost of the phone is recouped it should be straightforward, and free, for the owner to get the phone unlocked.

If you buy a second-hand mobile phone and find it is locked (locked to the wrong network) what do you do? One possibility is to take it to one of the independent phone shops, who for a fee will unlock it. I believe that virtually any mobile phone that has been on sale for a year or two can be unlocked (regardless of the network).

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Le Chevalier au Lion

Posted by clissold345 on March 8, 2008

Yvain or “Le Chevalier au Lion” (The Knight of the Lion) is a romance written about 1175 by Chrétien de Troyes (of whom almost nothing is known). I give three extracts below. These extracts are passages that I find interesting and that I can understand fairly easily.

[Extract 1] After a fierce fight Yvain splits Esclados’s skull. Esclados is fatally injured. Yvain pursues him without mercy:

En la fin, son hiaume escartele
Au chevalier messire Yvains.
Del cop fu estonez et vains
Li chevaliers; mout s’esmaia,
Qu’ainz si felon cop n’essaia,
Qu’il li ot desoz le chapel
Le chief fandu jusqu’au cervel,
Tant que del cervel et del sanc
Taint la maille del hauberc blanc,
Don si tres grant dolor santi
Qu’a po li cuers ne li manti.
S’il s’an foï, n’a mie tort,
Qu’il se santi navrez a mort;
Car riens ne li valut desfansse.

(At last my lord Yvain crushed the helmet of the knight, whom the blow stunned and made so faint that he swooned away, never having received such a cruel blow before. Beneath his kerchief his head was split to the very brains, so that the meshes of his bright hauberk were stained with the brains and blood, from which he felt such intense pain that his courage nearly failed him. He had good reason then to flee, for he felt that he had a mortal wound, and that further resistance would not avail.)

Si tost s’an fuit, com il s’apansse,
Vers son chastel, toz esleissiez,
Et li ponz li fu abeissiez
Et la porte overte a bandon;
Et messire Yvains de randon
Quanqu’il puet aprés esperone.
Si con girfauz grue randone,
Qui de loing muet et tant l’aproche
Qu’il la cuide panre et n’i toche,
Ensi cil fuit, et cil le chace
Si pres qu’a po qu’il ne l’anbrace,
Et si ne le par puet ataindre;
Et s’est si pres que il l’ot plaindre
De la destrece que il sant.

(With this thought in mind he quickly made his escape toward his town, where the bridge was lowered and the gate quickly opened for him; meanwhile my lord Yvain at once spurs after him at topmost speed. As a gerfalcon pursues a crane when he sees him rising from afar, and then draws so near to him that he is about to seize him, yet misses him, so he [Esclados] flees, and he [Yvain] chases, so close that he can almost throw his arm about him, and yet is not able to reach him, and so close that he can hear him groan for the pain he feels.)

[Extract 2] Esclados dies of his wound. His followers are enraged and bewildered when they cannot catch Yvain (who is now invisible):

Et disoient: « Ce, que puet estre?
Que ceanz n’a huis ne fenestre
Par ou riens nule s’an alast,
Se ce n’ert oisiax qui volast
Ou escuriax ou cisemus
Ou beste ausi petite ou plus,
Que les fenestres sont ferrees,
Et les portes furent fermees
Lors que mes sire en issi fors;
Morz ou vis est ceanz li cors,
Que defors ne remest il mie.

(They said: “How can this be? For there is no door or window here through which anything could escape, unless it be a bird, a squirrel, or marmot, or some other even smaller animal; for the windows are barred, and the gates were closed as soon as my lord passed through. The body is in here, dead or alive, since there is no sign of it outside there. …)

La sele assez plus que demie
Est ça dedanz, ce veons bien,
Ne de lui ne trovomes rien
Fors que les esperons tranchiez
Qui li cheïrent de ses piez.
Or au cerchier par toz ces engles,
Si lessomes ester ces gengles,
Qu’ ancor est il ceanz, ce cuit,
Ou nos somes anchanté tuit,
Ou tolu le nos ont maufé. »

(… We can see more than half of the saddle in here, but of him we see nothing, except the spurs which fell down severed from his feet. Now let us cease this idle talk, and search in all these corners, for he is surely in here still, or else we are all enchanted, or the evil spirits have filched him away from us.”)

[Extract 3] Laudine, Esclados’s widow, is overcome by grief. Her attendant Lunete urges her to set aside her grief and find a new champion to defend her kingdom:

« Si feroiz, dame, s’il vos siet.
Mes or dites, si ne vos griet,
Vostre terre, qui desfandra
Quant li rois Artus i vendra,
Qui doit venir l’autre semainne
Au perron et a la fontainne?
N’en avez vos eü message
De la Dameisele Sauvage
Qui letres vos en anvea?
Ahi! con bien les anplea!
Vos deüssiez or consoil prendre
De vostre fontainne desfandre,
Et vos ne finez de plorer!

(“Indeed you shall, my lady, if you will consent. Just tell me, if you will, who is going to defend your land when King Arthur comes next week to the margin of the spring? You have already been apprised of this by letters sent you by the Dameisele Sauvage. Alas, what a kind service she did for you! you ought to be considering how you will defend your spring, and yet you cease not to weep! …)

N’i eüssiez que demorer,
S’il vos pleüst, ma dame chiere,
Que certes une chanberiere
Ne valent tuit, bien le savez,
Li chevalier que vos avez:
Ja par celui qui mialz se prise
N’en iert escuz ne lance prise.
De gent malveise avez vos mout,
Mes ja n’i avra si estout
Qui sor cheval monter en ost,
Et li rois vient a si grant ost
Qu’il seisira tot sanz desfansse. »

(… If it please you, my dear lady, you ought not to delay. For surely, all the knights you have are not worth, as you well know, so much as a single chamber-maid. Neither shield nor lance will ever be taken in hand by the best of them. You have plenty of craven servants, but there is not one of them brave enough to dare to mount a steed. And the King is coming with such a host that his victory will be inevitable.”)

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Acme Novelty Library (hardcover)

Posted by clissold345 on January 19, 2008

The full title of the book is “The Acme Novelty Library Final Report to Shareholders and Rainy Day Saturday Afternoon Fun Book”. This is the large (9.5″ x 15.5″) hardcover book by Chris Ware, published in 2005, with 108 numbered pages (and a few extra unnumbered ones). The book contains comic strips about many characters, including Rusty Brown, Chalky White, Big Tex, Quimby Mouse, an unnamed superman, Jimmy Corrigan, and others. There are also project pages (telling you how to build a variety of paper models) and many pages of spoof adverts.

I’m fascinated by Ware’s visual inventiveness and energy. For example, there are two strips, in tiny panels, on the edges of the cover. On pages 10 and 11 he gives the board for an elaborate game (the game of life?). The project pages for creating the “Miniature Working Acme Novelty Library” include tiny books, which (of course) are about Jimmy Corrigan, Quimby Mouse, etc.

Many of the characters are male, middle-aged, lonely and frustrated. Quimby Mouse himself is tired, no longer young and in love. I don’t understand why Chris Ware spends so much time exploring such characters, after all there isn’t much character to explore. Chalky White starts as Rusty Brown’s stooge but he develops more character. The strips I was most moved by (well, more moved by) are those, near the end of the book, dealing with Chalky and his teenage daughter Brittany. I’d like to see more of Brittany as she grows up.

The photo shows Chalky and Rusty at school sports. Monday 26th March 1973.

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Piers Plowman

Posted by clissold345 on December 28, 2007

Piers Plowman is a Middle English allegorical narrative poem (written apparently by a William Langland). There are three main versions of the poem: A, B, and C. Parts of the poem are very lively. The quotes that I give are from the B text (in twenty books/passus).

A mouse advises the rats to let the cat be (even though it sometimes kills them):

‘Though we hadde ykilled the cat, yet sholde ther come another
To cracchen us and al oure kynde, though we cropen under benches.
Forthi I counseille al the commune to late the cat worthe,
And be we nevere so bolde the belle hym to shewe.
The while he caccheth conynges he coveiteth noght oure caroyne,
But fedeth hym al with venyson; defame we hym nevere.
For bettre is a litel los than a long sorwe:
The maze among us alle, theigh we mysse a sherewe!
For I herde my sire seyn, is seven yeer ypassed,
“Ther the cat is a kitoun, the court is ful elenge.”
That witnesseth Holy Writ, whoso wole it rede–
“Vae tibi, terra, cujus rex puer est.”
For may no renk ther reste have for ratons by nyghte.
For many mennes malt we mees wolde destruye,
And also ye route of ratons rende mennes clothes,
Nere the cat of the court that kan you overlepe;
For hadde ye rattes youre [raik] ye kouthe noght rule yowselve.
I seye for me’, quod the mous, ‘I se so muchel after,
Shal nevere the cat ne the kiton by my counseil be greved,
Ne carpynge of this coler that costed me nevere.
And though it costned me catel, biknowen it I nolde,
But suffren as hymself wolde [s]o doon as hym liketh–
Coupled and uncoupled to cacche what thei mowe.
Forthi ech a wis wight I warne — wite wel his owene!’ [Prologue]

Meed, a beautiful richly-dressed woman, speaks in favour of mede (reward, pay, bribery):

“It bicometh to a kyng that kepeth a reaume
To yeve men mede that mekely hym serveth —
To aliens and to alle men, to honouren hem with yiftes;
Mede maketh hym biloved and for a man holden.
Emperours and erles and alle manere lordes
Thorugh yiftes han yonge men to yerne and to ryde.
The Pope and alle prelates presents underfongen
And medeth men hemselven to mayntene hir lawes,
Servaunts for hire servyce, we seeth wel the sothe,
Taken mede of hir maistres, as thei mowe acorde.
Beggeres for hir biddynge bidden men mede.
Mynstrales for hir myrthe mede thei aske.
The Kyng hath mede of his men to make pees in londe.
Men that kenne clerkes craven of hem mede.
Preestes that prechen the peple to goode
Asken mede and massepens and hire mete also.
Alle kyn crafty men craven mede for hir prentices.
Marchaundise and mede mote nede go togideres:
No wight, es I wene, withouten Mede may libbe!” [Book/Passus 3]

Gluttony is on his way to church to be shriven but he stops off at the public house for a quick drink of spiced ale:

Now bigynneth Gloton for togoto shrifte,
And kaireth hym to kirkewarde his coupe to shewe.
Ac Beton the Brewestere bad hym good morwe
And asked of hym with that, whiderward he wolde.
“To holy chirche,” quod he, “for to here masse,
And sithen I wole be shryven, and synne na moore.”
” I have good ale, gossib,” quod she, ” Gloton, woltow assaye?”
” Hastow,” quod he, “any hote spices?”
“I have pepir and pione,” quod she, “and a pound of garleek,
A ferthyngworth of fenel seed for fastynge dayes.”
Thanne goth Gloton in, and grete othes after. [Book/Passus 5]

When Wastour refuses to work in return for food Piers sets Hunger on Wastour and his companion:

“I was noght wont to werche,” quod Wastour, “and now wol I noght bigynne!”
And leet light of the lawe, and lasse of the knyghte,
And sette Piers at a pese, and his plowgh bothe,
And manaced Piers and his men if thei mette eftsoone.
“Now, by the peril of my soule!” quod Piers, “I shal apeire yow alle!”
And houped after Hunger, that herde hym at the firste.
“Awreke me of thise wastours,” quod he, “that this world shendeth!”
Hunger in haste thoo hente Wastour by the mawe,
And wrong hym so by the wombe that al watrede hise eighen.
He buffetted the Bretoner aboute the chekes
That he loked lik a lanterne al his lif after.
He bette hem so bothe, he brast ner hire guttes;
Ne hadde Piers with a pese-lof preyed Hunger to cesse,
They hadde be dolven bothe — ne deme thow noon oother.
“Suffre hem lyve,” he [Piers] seide “and lat hem ete with hogges,
Or ellis benes and bren ybaken togideres.” [Book/Passus 6]

Christ, in the form of light, demands entry at the gates of hell:

Eft the light bad unlouke, and Lucifer answerde,
“Quis est iste?
What lord artow?” quod Lucifer. The light soone seide,
“Rex glorie,
The lord of myght and of mayn and alle manere vertues —
Dominus virtutum.
Dukes of this dymme place, anoon undo thise yates,
That Crist may come in, the Kynges sone of Hevene!”
And with that breeth helle brak, with Belialles barres —
For any wye or warde, wide open the yates.
Patriarkes and prophetes, populus in tenebris,
Songen Seint Johanes song, “Ecce Agnus Dei.”
Lucifer loke ne myghte, so light hym ablente. [Book/Passus 18]

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