Bonnie Dundee!

🎶and a life on the ocean wave🎶

Six weeks into the New Year and already a highlight that will take some beating. What was it? Only the Ocean Liner exhibition at the newly opened V&A Gallery in Dundee!

I have always liked art deco (well, most of it) and a great deal of what I like is integral to the golden age of ocean liners of the 1920s and 30s, so the exhibition was a real treat.

An armchair from the first-class dining room on the Île de France.
Side chairs and a lacquered side table from the Grand Salon of the Normandie, the supreme liner of the era.
Evening attire as worn by some of the beautiful people of the 1920s and 30s.
Gents’ dookers and ladies’ cozzies of the era.
A wall in the first of the exhibition’s salons festooned with original posters advertising ocean liners of the era.
Normandie. IMHO the most iconic of the ocean liners and an equally iconic poster.

The Normandie poster, above, was the inspiration several years ago for one of my own, used to advertise a meeting of the Marine Laboratory Science Operations ‘Coffee Club’ (including its venerable ‘Traybake of the Month’ competition), and incorporated the rather less-well-appointed Fisheries Research Vessel Scotia:

FRS Scotia, Le Club de Café et Le Traybake du Mois. Magnifique!

A limerick a week #82

Swipe right for Scotsmen!

As a student many years ago, I once lost a bet (and a fiver!) because I felt sure that whomsoever it was that played the male lead in Play Misty For Me, it certainly wasn’t Clint Eastwood. Doh!

“Misty,” huh? We have that right on a play rack. Thanks for calling”.

The film itself is about a woman obsessed with a radio DJ who she thinks ‘does her wrong’; thereafter her obsession with him becomes increasingly psychotic. The same theme is repeated in Fatal Attraction whereas the protagonist in another obsession movie, Misery, is more concerned with an author’s decision to kill off her favourite literary character.

Although I have serious reservations about the portrayal of mentally ill women in movies as merely ‘deranged obsessives’, all three films came to mind earlier this week when I saw an astonishing dating request in The Scotsman (I wasn’t trawling through its Lonely Hearts column, the entry just jumped off the page – honest!). You can read it yourself, look:

Maybe ambitious, maybe wishful, maybe sad – probably innocent – but just a bit spooky!

Does it preface a leap into a brave new world for Maria and her unfulfilled ambition? Does its roots lie in a sorrow of sorts? Or is it just a bit weird?

I’m sure it’s heartfelt and innocent, but I need a limerick so, with the help of the aforementioned movie genre, I shall capriciously interpret it as creepy! Here goes:

An Austrian Frau called Maria
Seeks a Scotsman that she can revere,
But I’ve seen Misery
And Play Misty for Me,
So she’s Fatally Attractive, I fear!

Quotes that made me laugh #33

Theresa may, but she probably won’t

Theresa May has been the target of many negative comments due to her unwillingness to meet with the public during the current UK election campaign, instead surrounding herself with her acolytes in carefully stage-managed events. The general consensus is also that she has done herself no favours by refusing to take part in any of the televised election debates.

So, having made herself a target, it is no surprise that the estimable Victoria Coren-Mitchell had this to say about May when hosting a recent edition of Have I Got News For You:

After Theresa May missed the debate, the Mirror referred to the absent Prime Minister as ‘Chicken Theresa May’. You can order ‘Chicken Theresa May’ in a restaurant near me. It’s thin-skinned, boneless and refuses to be grilled.

A limerick a week #37

I counted them all out and  … Oh s**t!

So there we were, all packed and ready to leave with Priscilla for a three-day break in whichever part of Scotland was forecast to have the least rain and, on this occasion, it meant that we headed to the North Sea coast of northern Scotland.

Somewhere around Alness, my inamorata realised that she’d left her undies at home – not the ones she was wearing, obviously, just the extra pairs that she’d meant to pack. “But I counted them all out” came the plaintive cry, “I just forgot to pack them!”. Replacements were sourced and, by late afternoon, we found a wee gem of a campsite (with utilitarian loo and shower facilities) run by a surprisingly cheerful minister of the Free Church of Scotland at Portmahomack, a small village on the Tarbat Peninsula in Easter Ross.

The sunset was spectacular and set the scene for another successful outing in Priscilla.

Sunset over the Dornoch Firth as viewed from Portmahomack.

Here’s the limerick inspired by the trip:

A chorus of chortles and snickers
Met the news that travelled as quick as
The fleetness of light,
 Which made worse her plight,
The day she lost sight of her knickers!

Postscript: We’re not supposed to refer to the Free Church of Scotland as the Wee Frees anymore as it is deemed offensive. That’s a shame because instead of calling the campsite ‘a wee gem …’ I could have called it ‘a Wee Free gem …’ with no offence intended. It’s odd how some nicknames can become institutionalised as an affectionate shorthand whereas others are deemed offensive. The Wesleys’ Holy Club at Oxford University was originally nicknamed the ‘methodists’, in a pejorative sense, as they lived by ‘the method’, only for them to take on the name as a badge of honour, thus becoming the Methodists as known today.

… and here’s a joke with Methodists in it:

How many Christians does it take to change a lightbulb?

Charismatics: Only one. Hands already in the air.
Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.
Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.
Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.
Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.
Episcopalians: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.
Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, thermometer bulb, or tulip bulb. Church wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish.
Lutherans: None. Lutherans don’t believe in change.
Jehovah’s Witnesses: Three. One to screw in the bulb, and two to knock on your door and ask you if you’ve seen the light.
Amish: What’s a light bulb?

A limerick a week #25

So long and thanks for all the fish …

I saw this campaign poster in the press recently, exhorting the Thomas Cook group to stop promoting ‘swim with dolphin’ events on its package holidays. In many instances the dolphins are captive animals in marinas. Pretty disgraceful really, so it’s a serious limerick this week.

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.” Douglas Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

So:

I really agree with the notion
That it’s time to set wheels into motion
To close down the shows
Because everyone knows
That dolphins belong in the ocean!

… you can, of course, be otherwise entertained on your holidays by members of your family acting as surrogate dolphins!

Here we have Firstborn encouraging ‘Flipper’ to jump over an obstacle:

“Squeal, squeal, squeak?” “What’s that, Flipper? No, of course you’re not the only albino dolphin!”
“The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double-backwards-somersault through a hoop whilst whistling the ‘Star Spangled Banner’.” Douglas Adams.
“Squeeaaal, squeeeaak, squeak, squeal??!!!!!” “Of course I won’t post this picture Flipper. Honest!”
“… and just remember it’s the head end that you’re supposed to blow bubbles from!”

(No sprats, sardines or spouses were injured in the making of this montage)