Friday, 30 March 2012
A hero of our time
A Scotsman ploughs a lonely furrow, commenting on English usage in faraway Moscow, safe from the slings and arrows of the politically correct consensus - do visit his blog for gusts of non-pc fresh air http://elerussians.blogspot.co.uk. A recent post mentions the current 'jerrycans' furore and Moffat, birthplace of Hugh Dowding architect of the Battle of Britain victory of 'the few'. I live in Moffat now, but was born in north Kent, a hop and skip away from Biggin Hill, under the skies where the B of B raged and where the dreaded V2 rockets later droned overhead until their engines cut out and they dropped silently with their deadly cargo onto their victims. Our house was built in 1939 on the edge of farmland, in a former orchard. One day my mother looked out of the kitchen window and saw a light aircraft landing in the garden. The pilot got out and asked my mother 'Which way to Biggin Hill?' In a re-run of the 1969 Harry Salzman Battle of Britain film on TV the other day, two young pilots were sent up into battle with only 7 and 12 hours training respectively. On the subject of TV, in an otherwise good documentary last night on BBCTV4 Art Nouveau - Sex and Sensibility, the presenter Stephen Smith pronounced 'Cymric' 'simrik' - clearly not connecting the word with Plaid Cymry which is pronounced to rhyme with Cumbria because both refer to our indigenous culture, the 'fellow countrymen' or 'cymbrogi'. In the language spoken by all those aborigines, the letter 'y' is pronounced 'u' - so it is Bob Dull'un, Dull'un Thomas and so on. Tut Tut. Or should that by 'Tyt Tyt'. Before we leave the subject of Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts etc or in Russian 'Moderne' we all have a treat in store in October when we will celebrate the publication of our Moffat Book Events chairman Andrew Wheatcroft's new book on The End of Empire. Goulash and Tokay all round (it's the Austro-Hungarian empire we're talking about)!