Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Ernie Chilmaid's Chain Beer - Ржавое пиво Эрни Чиллмейда

The Lamb Inn, Swanley Village, Kent
Moffat Book Events is launching a bi-lingual series of texts, poems and prose, in English and Russian. Moscow- based Scottish author, Ian Mitchell says:

Bi-Lingual Editions


How on earth do you translate “Да, нет, наверно” into English, or “Yer heid’s full o’ mince” into Russian? And what is the difference between “ретро стайл” and “ретро в стиле” or even “в ретром стиле”? Likewise, how should one render in Russian the world of difference that exists in the British and Commonwealth, but not American, mind between “two nudges and two winks” and “nudge, nudge, wink, wink”?
These and a thousand other questions like them, some of almost impossible difficulty and others totally impossible, fascinate anyone interested in the cultural, intellectual, conversational, commercial, emotional or human interchange between English-speakers and Russian-speakers. This is especially so for someone like me whose command of the other language is less than total. But I suspect that applies to practically everybody, to some extent.
I used to host a books programme on Голос России (in English, of course), and one of my first interviewees—why do Russians always call them “interlocutors”, which is an ugly word, as well as an inappropriate one?—was the doyen of all Moscow-based, English-speaking Russian-language experts, Michele Berdy. She had just published her fascinating book about this subject, The Russian Word’s Worth.  I asked her if after all her education and experience, which included interpreting for Nancy Reagan, and in the light of the fact that she had lived and worked in Russia for thirty years, whether she by now had achieved full mastery of the language. “If I live here another hundred years,” she replied, “I will still make mistakes and there are things I still will not get right.” (The programme can be listened to at this link: )
One of the best ways to work on your language is to study parallel texts, and so the launch of a new series of online bi-lingual translations from Russian into English, and English into Russian, with an audio reading in both languages, is particularly welcome. This is an early initiative in the larger programme for the UK Year of Russian Language and Culture 2014. The idea is to publish material which will range from what the critics call “fine writing” to what the rest of us call “fun reading”. (Incidentally, Michele Berdy told me that one of the hardest words to translate into Russian is “fun”, and that the common statement today, “Мы имели фан”, is not even understood by Russians in the same way that an English-speaker would understand the idea of having had fun.)
My personal hope will be that this programme will go some way towards dispelling the conceited exceptionalist myth of the Русская душа. Michele’s publisher is Natasha Perova, the moving spirit behind Glas, Russia’s only publishing house dedicated to modern Russian writing in English. In another programme in the same series, Natasha said to me: “There is no such thing as the mysterious Russian soul. There is only bad translation.”
Наоборот, I hope the programme will help Russians understand things like the mysterious soul of cricket, which is the subject of one of the first numbers in the series. Speaking as a Scotsman and a sailor, I can say with confidence that you don’t have to be Russian to find the love of cricket a total mystery. But the English land-lubber would doubtless reply that there is no such thing as boredom, only a bad choice of entertainment.
Either way, cricketer or wet bob (what on earth is that in Russian?), I am sure everyone will find these texts and this series both useful and, in their own various ways, фан.

Ian Mitchell
January 2013
The first tale in the new series is Ernie Chillmaid’s Chain Beer, by Barty Hotchkiss.
Barty Hotchkiss comes from a long line of engineers. His father devised a way of renovating the bulky elements on a papermaking machine without a long shut down. Otherwise repairs were time consuming and stopping mill production was very expensive. After graduating in English and teaching for a short time Barty joined his father’s engineering business before buying his own company producing equipment for security watermarking papers such as bank notes. He lives in Stockholm with his second wife Pia. Until recently he was a long serving director of the Aldeburgh Cinema near where he used to live and can sing ‘Honeysuckle Rose’*

*Editor's note - Honeysuckle Rose is a song made popular by the late Fats Waller.
Sir Tim Bligh** (see editor's note below)  took over the Priory Swanley Village, which had been his father Sir Edward Bligh’s** house round about 1960. Sir Edward and Miss Hall his house keeper moved to Holmesdale in Horton Kirby opposite the Rogers at Court Lodge.

Once he lived in The Priory, one of the first things Sir Tim Bligh did, no doubt exercising authority as Macmillan’s Private Secretary, was to pull rank on the Swanley Town Council and persuade them to change the name of the lane running past his property from the name Tweed Hill to Park Lane. Hence his address became The Priory, Park Lane. The Swanley Village people didn’t know whether this was some kind of a joke or an attempt to flatter the circumstances of his address. Some local people were annoyed particularly Ernie Chillmaid who owned The Lamb pub opposite the Priory.

One thing Tim Bligh couldn’t do was to change the popularity of The Lamb. This I am sure he would liked to have done since the weekend cars parked in front of the entrance to The Priory whilst their owners were merrily imbibing in The Lamb must have given rise to a certain amount of annoyance.

The Lamb had been in the Chillmaid family for more than one hundred years. It was a beer house. It was not licensed to dispense wines and spirits. This meant of course the beer had to be in excellent condition. If the beer was bad no customers would bother to come to the Lamb since there was no alternative drinking. Ernie Chillmaid knew how to look after his beer. He took great pride in his cellar work. His draught beer, straight from the barrel, had a reputation among discerning boozers for being the best draught beer in the locality. Hence, no doubt much to the annoyance of Sir Tim, The Lamb was a very popular pub.

One summer evening two students discovered The Lamb. They were from the Rose Bruford College (see for a current exhibition on Stanislavsky at Pushkin House in London) in Sidcup. They had caught a 21 Bus to the top of Button Street walked through Farningham Woods and were passing through Swanley Village on their way to Swanley where they were to catch a bus back to Sidcup. They came upon The Lamb. It seemed a friendly place. There were one or two people standing outside talking together and enjoying the early evening sun with their glass of beer.

The two students decided to stop and take a glass of beer. They enjoyed it. They took another. Very soon they were joining in the banter with the locals in the Public Bar. They asked the landlord, ‘How long have you been here?’ ‘More than a hundred years.’ was Ernie Chillmaid’s reply followed by much laughter. The student persisted, ‘This is really good beer. The best beer I have tasted for a long time. How do you keep it so?’

Ernie Chillmaid put one hand on his beer pump handle and another on the bar and said with great authority. ‘Well I look after my cellar. I keep the place tidy, I keep the pipes and the pumps clean and I rotate the barrels in proper order. And there’s one last thing. In my cellar I keep a rusty old chain. Now last thing at night when all you happy fellows have gone home I go down into the cellar. I open the bung in each barrel in turn. I put in my rusty old chain and give it several twists. That’s the beer you are drinking.’

Several weeks later four students appeared in the Public Bar of The Lamb. ‘Now what can I get for you young gents?’ Ernie Chillmaid asked. ‘We would like four pints of your rusty chain beer please landlord.    ABH 4th jan 2013
Ржавое пиво Эрни Чиллмейда

Примерно в 1960 году сэр Тим Блай унаследовал “Монастырь”[1], дом своего отца сэра Эдварда Блая в деревне Сванлей[2]. Сэр Эдвард и его домохозяйка мисс Холл перебрались в Холмсдейл, Хортон Кирби в Корт Лодж напротив Роджерс.

Поселившись в “Монастыре”, сэр Тим Блай одним из первых дел, несомненно пользуясь своим авторитетом частного секретаря[3] Макмиллана[4], вынудил городскую управу переименовать проходящий вдоль его владении переулок с Твид Хилл на Парк Лейн[5]. Так он получил новый адрес – “Монастырь”, Парк Лейн. Жители деревни Сванлей не знали то ли это какая-то шутка, то ли попытка польстить себе своим адресом. Некоторых из них это раздражало, в особенности Эрни Чиллмейда, владельца расположенного напротив  трактира “Овечка”.

Чего не мог Тим Блай, так это изменить популярность трактира. Я уверен он был бы рад это сделать, так как автомобили веселившихся в трактире посетителей, припаркованные прямо перед входом в “Монастырь” конечно могли послужить поводом для раздражения.

Семья Чиллмейдов владела трактиром более ста лет. Это был пивной бар без права продажи вин и крепкого спиртного, таким образом пиво, соответственно, должно было быть в наилучшем состоянии. Кто бы пришел сюда за плохим пивом, если другой выпивки тут нет? Эрни Чиллмейд умел следить за своим пивом и с большим трепетом относился к своей работе в подвале. Его разливное пиво, прямо из бочки, имело среди взыскательных любителей выпить репутацию лучшего разливного пива в округе. Так что, несомненно, к великой досаде сэра Тима “Овечка” была невероятно популярна. 

Одним летним вечером два студента набрели на “Овечку”. Они были из колледжа Роуз Бруфорд в Сидкапе. Доехав на 21-ом автобусе до Буттон Стрит они миновали Фарнингэмский лес и проходя через деревню Сванлей направлялись в Сванлей, чтобы оттуда уехать обратно в Сидкап. Когда они подошли к трактиру, им показалось что это весьма дружелюбное место. Двое людей стояли на улице и разговаривали, наслаждаясь ранним вечерним солнцем и своим пивом.

Студенты решили остановиться тут на кружку пива. Им понравилось и они взяли еще по одной. Вскоре они разговорились с местными. Они спросили у хозяина: "Как давно вы здесь?" "Более ста лет" прозвучал ответ Эрни Чиллмейда сопровождаемый гулким хохотом.  Студент настаивал: "Это прекрасное пиво, давно я такого не пробовал, как вы сохраняете его в таком виде?"

Положив одну руку на свой пивной насос и другую на бар Эрни Чиллмейд гордо сказал: "Я слежу за своим подвалом. Содержу его в чистоте, чищу трубы и насосы и вращаю бочки в правильном порядке. Но есть еще одна вещь. У меня в погребе лежит старая ржавая цепь. Последним делом ночью, когда вы ребята расходитесь по домам, я спускаюсь в подвал, открываю по очереди пробку в каждой бочке, и окунаю туда свою старую ржавую цепь по нескольку раз. Это и есть пиво, которое вы пьете.

Через несколько недель четыре студента появились в трактире. "Чем могу вас угостить молодые люди?" спросил Эрни Чиллмейд. "Хозяин, нам бы пожалуйста четыре пинты вашего ржавого пива." 

[1] Великобритания полна зданиями, которые когда-то принадлежали к церкви, но были преобразованы к светскому пользованию во время ликвидации монастырей при Генрихе VIII. “Монастырь” - одно из таких зданий.

[2] Сванлей на карте Гугл

[3] Гражданская, а не политическая должность.

[4] Сэр Гарольд Макмиллан, премьер-министр Великобритании того времени.

[5] Парк Лейн является также эксклюзивным адресом в Центральной части Лондона, граничащий с востока с Гайд-парком и с запада с кварталом Мэйфер.

-->Translated by Philip Solovjov 
Born in Moscow, Russia (1985) Philip Solovjov studied Philosophy in University of Tartu, Estonia and Photography in Tartu Art College, Estonia. In 2011, after graduating with BA in Photography, moved to Edinburgh where he works as a freelance photographer specializing in Fine Art landscape photography. Since 2003 Philip has participated in group and solo exhibitions in Australia, Estonia and Latvia. His forthcoming exhibition at the Moffat Gallery is his first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom.

**Editor's footnote: As a child of about 11 years of age, I was admonished by Sir Edward Bligh for describing some recent incident involving great loss of human life as 'tragic'. He explained to me that tragedy strictly speaking refers to the calamities attendant on the flaws in character of a noble protagonist. His son Tim, a civil servant then working at No 11 Downing St, later to be appointed PPS to Prime Minister Harold Mamillan, invited me to witness Messrs Bulganin and Khrushchev's visit to Downing Street on their famous visit to the UK in April 1956 -  see Some years later, he took me (with his rather shy brother) to the opening of the Playboy club in Mayfair, just across from the flat where I was installed at the time by my rather careless parents who frequented the nearby Dorchester hotel and appear to have been unaware that Curzon Street and Shepherd Market, not far down the road from my flat, was a red light district. Later still, Tim effectively gave me my first job. He arranged an interview with Denis Hamilton, then head of Thomson Newspapers in the UK who offered me a traineeship as a reporter on the South Wales Echo in Cardiff in 1965.

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