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Saturday, 16 March 2013


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"This is a fairly hefty book, as you would expect given its title, and so it is odd that I haven't the remotest idea how I came by it."

Lessee now David, whether we might loosen the hinges and screws and the rust of that memory of yours. A Pelican Book you say?

A pelican is a seabird of a sort izzinit? Begins with the letter "P" just like one or more sorts of seabirds?

"However, at the beginning of the journey, just as I was about to join the main A303 I did the most extraordinary thing - I actually picked up a hitch-hiker! ... a delightful travelling companion - lively, intelligent, curious, slightly eccentric and full of that cheerful optimism which used to be part of the charm of the young at heart but which these days seems to have deserted so many of them. ...

"I do hope that my stern mentor, 'DM', is reading this - because during a coffee break, my young companion produced a very odd and eclectic selection of books from his rucksack. He immediately rose even higher in my estimation because anyone who reads books is halfway to being a good egg even before you know them. Amongst this collection of literary oddities I spotted one of those old, paper-back 'Pelican Books'

I wonder whether that "delightful travelling companion" is still in possession of his cheerful optimism, regarding say, his travelling companion?

Apt title here Mr. Duff.

I recognize you typed Penguin - but that's a pretty close relative of a Pelican. In the publishing world anyways.

You need to go to SpecSavers, JK - oh, just remembered that will not mean anything to you 'over there' so try this which at the end will lead you to others:

Don't recall sending me 'the funny' featuring the traffic "mishaps" with the SpecSavers adverts?

I might need to though as I don't see you've addressed whether the book came from that rucksack.

No, it didn't, JK, *that* book was a 'Pelican' which was an off-shoot from the 'Penguin' brand. There was also a 'Puffin' brand from the same stable consisting of children's books. Here endeth your first lesson in English publishing history but you can read more here:

On the other hand, you could always skive off up into 'them thar hills' and check on the still! By the way, talking of rustic Arkie habits, I am enjoying one of the 'Bobby Lee Swagger" books in which the Arkie hero holds off an entire North Vietnamese battalion with his sniper rifle! An absolute corker!

Hume was famously good company.

I don't need read that stuff David - clue?

Aha! So that's where Hunter found the model for his hero:

DM, you may be right but I'm not sure how deep felt his merriment was:

David Hume could well find the company of The Poker [Club] a relief from a skeptical depression - "Most fortunately it happens that since reason is incapable of dispelling these clouds, nature herself suffices to that purpose ... I dine, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends; and when after three or four hours amusement, I return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strain'd, and ridiculous, that I cannot find it in my heart to enter into them any farther".

It doesn't matter how he felt: the point is that he was good company.

You may well be right, DM, even if I have to make allowances for your Jock solidarity and I do remember reading somewhere that he was jolly company but what about all those other 'Glums'? Come on, you'd rather be on the other table, wouldn't you?

I'm pretty sure that Rousseau would be a tedious Dave Spart, Napoleon a tiresome know-all, and Ernest Hemingway so deeply bogus that I'd be tempted to punch him. As for Oscar Wilde: I was told off at school for inventing screeds of my own Wildeisms on the grounds that it was too easy to do and I should have a go at someone more difficult.

I'll grant you that Augustine, Knox, Wesley, Kant, and Bentham sound like a bunch of bog-blockers though.

Yes, I rather suspect that 'Boney' would try to dominate the conversation much as he tried with Europe; and Machiavelli, I suspect, would remain silent but observant. I would be happy for Casanova to chip in his tanner's worth, even if it was a bunch of lies, because it might, at this late stage of my life, explain my minimal success with the ladies.

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