Monthly Archives: January 2012

Six Degrees – Julia Child

I watched the excellent Julie and Julia on DVD today and suddenly realised I have an impressively direct Julia Child namedrop. Here it is –
I once had coffee with friends (well, friends of the parents of a friend) in Cambridge Massachusetts, whose garden backed onto the house where Julia Child lived and filmed her TV programmes. This was in the 1980s, so Julia may have even been in residence. I didn’t see her though.
Julia Child – how to make croissants

Eskimo Kitty Kiss


Boll favours the traditional Inuit style of greeting. But, as you can see, she occasionally gets a bit carried away and licks my nose.

You Say Pirrats, I Say Pirates – Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

A presenter on Sky News just pronounced ‘piracy’ as ‘pirracy’ (‘i’ as in ‘it’). How odd.
Perhaps he was thinking of the correct British pronunciation of ‘privacy’ (‘i’ as in ‘it’ rather than ‘i’ as in ‘eye’).
Of course, it’s not always that way round. In the UK, we say ‘missile’ with the second ‘i’ pronounced like ‘eye’. Whereas the Americans say ‘missile’ as in a ‘missal’ in church or a ‘mistle thrush’.
And then there’s ‘fertile’. We pronounce the second syllable as ’tile’ of course. But they say ‘furtle’. So a fertile turtle would be a ‘furtle turtle’. How ridiculous. How wrong. Sorry American friends. But it’s preposterous and you must stop it now.

The Scroobious Pip

As you probably know, I’m rather partial to Dans le Sac and Scroobius Pip. If you’re not familiar with their oeuvre, check out Thou Shalt Always Kill and Letter from God
Mr Pip, who hails from Stanford-le-Hope in Essex (where Joseph Conrad once lived) refuses to reveal his real name and insists on Scroobius. So I decided to research its origins, and discovered it’s a deliberate misspelling of ‘Scroobious‘.
The original Scroobious Pip was an Edward Lear creature who had no idea who or what he was.
Lear’s handwritten manuscript for Scroobious Pip was found unfinished after his death in 1888 and published as a fragment in 1953.
But then, in 1968, it was completed by Ogden Nash no less. Here it is –
The Scroobious Pip
The Scroobious Pip went out one day
When the grass was green, and the sky was grey.
Then all the beasts in the world came round
When the Scroobious Pip sat down on the ground.
The cat and the dog and the kangaroo
The sheep and the cow and the guinea pig too.
The wolf he howled, the horse he neighed
The little pig squeaked and the donkey brayed,
And when the lion began to roar
There never was heard such a noise before.
And every beast he stood on the tip
Of his toes to look at the Scroobious Pip.
At last they said to the Fox, ‘By far,
You’re the wisest beast! You know you are!
Go close to Scroobious Pip and say:
Tell us all about yourself we pray,
For as yet we can’t make out in the least
If you’re fish or insect, or bird or beast.’
The Scroobious Pip looked vaguely round
And sang these words with a rumbling sound:
‘Chippetty Flip, Flippetty Chip.
My only name is the Scroobious Pip.’
The Scroobious Pip from the top of a tree
Saw the distant Jellybolee,
And all the birds in the world came there,
Flying in crowds all through the air.
The vulture and eagle, the cock and the hen
The ostrich, the turkey, the snipe and the wren.
The parrot chattered, the blackbird sang
And the owl looked wise but held his tongue,
And when the peacock began to scream
The hullabaloo was quite extreme.

And every bird he fluttered the tip
Of his wing as he stared at the Scroobious Pip.
At last they said to the owl, ‘By far,
You’re the wisest Bird. You know you are!
Fly close to the Scroobious Pip and say:
Explain all about yourself we pray,
For as yet we have neither seen nor heard
If you’re fish or insect, beast or bird!’
The Scroobious Pip looked gaily round
And sang these words with a chirpy sound:
‘Chippetty Flip, Flippetty Chip.
My only name is the Scroobious Pip.’
The Scroobious Pip went into the sea
By the beautiful shore of Jellybolee.
All the fish in the world swam round
With a splashing squashy spluttering sound.
The sprat, the herring, the turbot too,
The shark, the sole and the mackerel blue.
The flounder spluttered, the porpoise puffed
And then the whale began to spout,
And every fish he shook the tip
Of his tail as he gazed on the Scroobious Pip.
At last they said to the whale, ‘By far
You’re the biggest fish – you know you are!
Swim close to the Scroobious Pip and say:
Tell us all about yourself we pray!
For to know you yourself is our only wish.
Are you beast or insect, bird or fish?’
The Scroobious Pip looked softly round
And sung these words with a liquid sound:
‘Pliffity Flip, Pliffety Flip,
My only name is the Scroobious Pip.’
The Scroobious Pip sat under a tree
By the silent shores of the Jellybolee.
All the insects in all the world
About the Scroobious Pip entwirled.
Beetles and bugs with purple eyes,
Gnats and buzztilential flies,
Grasshoppers, butterflies, spiders too,
Wasps and bees and dragon-flies blue,
And, when the gnats began to hum,
bounced like a dismal drum,
And every insect curled the tip
Of his snout, and looked at the Scroobious Pip.
At last they said to the Ant, ‘By far
You’re the wisest insect, you know you are!
Creep close to the Scroobious Pip and say:
Tell us all about yourself we pray,
For we can’t find out, and we can’t tell why,
If you’re beast or fish or a bird or a fly.’
The Scroobious Pip turned quickly round
And sang these words with a whistley sound:
‘Wizzeby Wip, Wizzeby Wip.
My only name is the Scroobious Pip.’
Then all the beasts that walk on the ground
Danced in a circle round and round,
And all the birds that fly in the air
Flew round and round in a circle there,
And all the fish in the Jellybolee
Swam in a circle about the sea,
And all the insects that creep or go
Buzzed in a circle to and fro.
And they roared and sang and whistled and cried
Till the noise was heard from side to side:
Chippetty Tip! Chippetty Tip!
Its only name is the Scroobious Pip.

The Peacock Has Landed

Hi. Bolly and I are back after five weeks up north with the parents (grandparents in Boll’s case). December started off with quite a kerfuffle. Dad had an accident, then Mum had a stroke. But they’re now on the mend and Mum’s recovering really well from the aphasia which was thankfully her only symptom.