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Christmas market at Stratford

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Yesterday we went to the Christmas Market at Stratford-on-Avon. A very interesting town, with many beautiful old houses, including one that belonged to Shakespeare's father John and is very likely to have been the playwright's birthplace. As we were leaving just at sunset the lights were coming on and the scene was almost magical.

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Richard Walker

What our book club is reading

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I’ve read it before but not for many years, and I once saw it performed live.

Now rereading it, I see what an extraordinary and unique piece of work it is. Whatever could have put this into Shakespeare’s mind? And humour is not often durable, but the rustic players in Act 3, Scene 1 made me laugh aloud; it’s still very funny after 500 years.

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Richard Walker

Sonnet 71

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What a marvellous beginning this sonnet has:

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell...

And it’s echoed by a famous sonnet of Christina Rossetti:

Remember me when I am gone away, 
Gone far away into the silent land; 
When you can no more hold me by the hand, 
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

I think the second is a thoughtful response to the first, and I think perhaps its standpoint is nobler. Read them both and see. What you think.

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Richard Walker

A Cheese By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

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Edited by Richard Walker, Monday, 11 Jan 2021, 00:54

A stunning map of different names for "cheese" across the regions of Europe. There are some interesting geographical patterns, but a few suprises too. Cheese is from Latin caesus = cheese but in Rome nowadays cheese is fromaggio, but notice Sardinia is more conservative. Good to see Manx and Friesian are recognised.

Credit: https://i.imgur.com/v8rfMC4.png

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Richard Walker

Sonnet and Haiku

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Edited by Richard Walker, Tuesday, 10 Feb 2015, 02:28

One of the verse forms I most admire is the sonnet, and another is the haiku. There are many differences but both display a classic structure and an economy of expression.

A favorite sonnet of mine is Shakespeare 73.

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
I tried to compress this into a haiku. Here is my attempt.
It's autumn now
Smell of burning leaves. Winter follows
Hold tight, hold tight.
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