Saturday, June 20, 2009

Clearing the decks

Well, I said a few days ago that I had finished my essay, which I am now calling "Transparent Walls: Stained Glass and Cinematic Medievalism." But there was one more stage, to send it to a few people to read. One came back with some extraordinarily helpful technical advice; the other drew attention to the embarrassingly large number of apologies, signposts and diffuse explanations that were really clogging up the essay. I'm lucky to have such good friends and relations (any one else channelling A.A. Milne with that phrase?); and have spent a cold winter's day correcting mistakes, unclogging the essay, converting footnotes to endnotes and writing an abstract. I have just pressed "send" to move it off my desk onto someone else's.

We are heading out tonight to a winter solstice feast. I'm taking the two small left-over Christmas puddings I've had in the fridge for (1) six and (2) eighteen months. I poured extra brandy over them last night and they look as fresh as when they were first cooked. We are all invited to bring a seasonal poem to read, and I have been practising the first six stanzas of Henryson's Testament of Cresseid. Go here for text, with glosses and recording. But here's the text:

Ane doolie sessoun to ane cairfull dyte
Suld correspond and be equivalent:
Richt sa it wes quhen I began to wryte
This tragedie; the wedder richt fervent,
Quhen Aries, in middis of the Lent,
Schouris of haill gart fra the north discend,
That scantlie fra the cauld I micht defend.

Yit nevertheles within myne oratur
I stude, quhen Titan had his bemis bricht
Withdrawin doun and sylit under cure,
And fair Venus, the bewtie of the nicht,
Uprais and set unto the west full richt
Hir goldin face, in oppositioun
Of God Phebus, direct discending doun.

Throwout the glas hir bemis brast sa fair
That I micht se on everie syde me by;
The northin wind had purifyit the air
And sched the mistie cloudis fra the sky;
The froist freisit, the blastis bitterly
Fra Pole Artick come quhisling loud and schill,
And causit me remufe aganis my will.

For I traistit that Venus, luifis quene,
To quhome sum tyme I hecht obedience,
My faidit hart of lufe scho wald mak grene,
And therupon with humbill reverence
I thocht to pray hir hie magnificence;
Bot for greit cald as than I lattit was
And in my chalmer to the fyre can pas.

Thocht lufe be hait, yit in ane man of age
It kendillis nocht sa sone as in youtheid,
Of quhome the blude is flowing in ane rage;
And in the auld the curage doif and deid
Of quhilk the fyre outward is best remeid:
To help be phisike quhair that nature faillit
I am expert, for baith I have assaillit.

I mend the fyre and beikit me about,
Than tuik ane drink, my spreitis to comfort,
And armit me weill fra the cauld thairout.
To cut the winter nicht and mak it schort
I tuik ane quair - and left all uther sport -
Writtin be worthie Chaucer glorious
Of fair Creisseid and worthie Troylus.

A day off tomorrow for cooking and having some other folk for dinner; then it's back to the Garter. I'm giving myself a day in the State Library on Monday, reading Anstis's 1724 edition of the Black Book, the Register of the Order, and will treat myself at lunchtime at Mr Tulk's cafe with the radicchio and talaggio* focaccia, which is almost as much fun to say as it is to eat.

It's very satisfying to finish and send off a discrete piece of work. I'm looking forward to returning the books and DVDs to the library, and cleaning my desk and piles of books and papers belonging to this project. I've also finished my ARC assessments, so I'm clearing the decks (desk) in all kinds of ways. Really, soon, there'll be nothing to do but finish writing this book.

taleggio. (thanks, Anthony. Yeah, Middle Scots is easy: it's the Italian that's tricky!)

5 comments:

Anthony said...

"radicchio and talaggio focaccia" does seem set up to trip Kath and Kim at every hurdle [or should it be "taleggio"?]. I recall a great comedy sketch featuring Shaun Micallef as a waiter in an Italian restaurant busily correcting diners as regards their pronunciation. "Bruschetta" was the starting point, then it was all down hill from there

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thanks for correction.

Kath and Kim and Stephanie, then.

Anthony said...

No, no, I just thought it a typo in your case. Nothing so serious as to draw the ire of Shaun-the-waiter

Kathleen said...

I love the point at which the books go back to the library. (Particular the inter-library loans, always makes me feel doubly virtuous.)

Lovely timing with the solstice celebration.

WhatLadder said...

I am, like, utterly offended that I am not on this list of peopel you send stuff to read.

LOL

No, really. I have not forgotten about the socks. I am the mother of a child who takes ballet srsly. It consumes MY LIFE.