If Not Nearly Dead, Then Very Actually Dead

The above is a phrase from a sitcom, but I can’t remember which.  I’ll look it up in a sec, but I think it’s probably Blackadder.  One person who is definitely very actually dead is of course the King; and last night we watched highlights of the procession and the reception of the body by the cathedral.  Most of the fun came from trying to spot people we knew: apart from the Bish (who we don’t really know personally, except that he came to open Sound Cafe) we only spotted a couple, though I’m sure there were many more in the congregation.  Anyway, I watched the broadcast, which came from the giant pink Barbie-bubble in Cathedral Square, with a mixture of emotions.  I felt some sense of pride at belonging to a place which is hosting such a significant event; but the service was a mixture of the moving and the ridiculous; and the commentary was reminiscent of how the Beeb does Royal Weddings, Jon Snow sounding more like Nicholas Witchell than his usual dry and sceptical self.  What was odd about the service was that prayers were being said for Richard.  I suppose in such a ceremony you could hardly avoid it, but it seemed odd to be praying for someone who’d been dead for 500 years.  Then again, why should it?  If there is such a thing as eternal life, then 500 years is but the blinking of an eye.

During the day you can see the queue filing past the coffin on a Channel 4 webcam; I initially thought I wouldn’t bother but when they explained that the pall had been specially made with images of people involved in the excavation, I thought perhaps I might.  Though I don’t fancy lining up for several hours.  Worth seeing, but not worth queueing to see, perhaps?  I’m sure Dr Johnson would have agreed.


A Third Term?  No Thanks

Many of us feel that even one term of David Cameron is one too many; but today the media seems to have got itself into a frenzy over a chance remark of his (or was it?) that he won’t stand for a third term.  So what?  He has yet to win a second (and let’s hope he doesn’t, for all our sakes) but for God’s sake!  They’ve turned an idle comment into a major news story.  It is utterly ridiculous.  Ten minutes of yesterday’s PM were given over to this non-story, and it was the top of the news this morning.


Let us turn to other matters.  It has struck me that no-one plays card games any more.  In my youth we used to play snap, beggar my neighbour, whist, gin rummy and of course cribbage.  No pub was complete in my view unless it held a pack of cards and cribbage board behind the bar; and the air would resound with cries of ‘fifteen six and two’s eight’ and ‘one for his nob.’  Where the nob – or possibly knob – comes from I don’t know, and this article from the Independent doesn’t tell me either, though it does claim that the poet John Suckling invented the game:


Cribbage is full of arcane sayings, all of which were known to my Granddad who loved the game and made his own cribbage boards.  One thing the Independent article doesn’t mention is that a way of saying you have no points is to throw your cards down and say ‘nineteen.’  It’s impossible to score 19 in cribbage…

Anyone fancy a game?  I’m sure we’ve got a board knocking around somewhere.

And yes, it was Blackadder.  It’s in this episode somewhere


Kirk out