Elegy to Rab ( Jan 1958-July 2004)[reversion 1]

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Elegy to Rab ( Jan 1958-July 2004)[reversion 1]

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu May 21, 2015 8:46 pm

REVERSION

As Carus Green consoles her flags, the tees
remove a marker. Swallows on the wing
collide, and in July the pond-traps freeze
as mute swans raise their heads to mourn and sing.

A swarm of bees discards its pollen garters,
the drones decide to spurn their bloated queen;
wild rabbits fill the foxholes with young martyrs
and blind-eyed moles complain about the scene.

The River Kent adjusts her course; Helvelyn
sighs and hides her corrie tarn as ravens
caw by Castle Hill. They ring a bell in
Inbhir Air to guide him to the Havens.

He warmed our Lakes and followed Herdwick trails;
I hope he'll haunt the bonny fells before the boatman sails.

REVISION 2

As Carus Green consoles her flags, the tees
remove a marker. Swallows on the wing
collide, and in July the pond-traps freeze
as mute swans raise their heads
--------------------------------to mourn and sing.

A swarm of bees discards its pollen garters,
the drones decide to spurn their bloated queen;
wild rabbits fill the foxholes with young martyrs
and blind-eyed moles complain about the scene.

The River Kent adjusts her course; Helvelyn
groans and hides her corrie tarn as ravens
caw by Castle Hill. They ring a bell in
Ayrshire towns to guide him to the Havens.

He calmed our lakes, unveiled the stars,
-------------------------perceived the Sacred Way;
his soul released the bonny fells,
-------------------------then sailed across the bay.

REVISION 1

As Carus Green consoles her flags, the tees
remove a marker. Swallows on the wing
collide, and in July the pond-traps freeze
as mute swans raise their heads
--------------------------------to mourn and sing.

A swarm of bees discards its pollen garters,
the drones decide to spurn their bloated queen;
wild rabbits fill the foxholes with young martyrs
and blind-eyed moles complain about the scene.

The River Kent adjusts her course; Helvelyn
groans and hides her corrie tarn as ravens
caw by Castle Hill. They ring a bell in
Ayrshire towns to guide him to the Havens.

He calmed our lakes, perceived a sacred star;
his soul released the bonny fells,
-------------------------then sailed across the bar


Notes for reader:

After much thought I'm opting for this scansion. My original intent was to keep the iambic pattern flowing:

S3

The RIV/er KENT/ adJUSTS/ her COURSE/; HelVEL/yn ... 5 iambs with fem ending
^ GROANS/and HIDES/ her CORR/ie TARN/ as RAV/ens ...headless iamb, 4 iambs with fem ending
^ CAW/by CA/stle HILL./ They RING/ a BELL/ in ...ditto
^ AYR/shire TOWNS/ to GUIDE/ him TO/ the HAV/ens. ...ditto


This keeps the scan within the line unit (touch of licence perhaps) and only uses one substitution per line. I'm viewing a fem ending as a poetical device, rather than a substitution. So the headless iamb makes its first appearance in L2, the earliest it should in S3. The trochaic version is acceptable, I believe, and I'm still not sure if a line with a first foot H.I. should end on a feminine syllable. It confuses things. Still, all the end rhymes are fem so there's some consistency. (says me talking myself into a corner) :)

ORIGINAL

As Carus Green consoles her flags, the tees
remove a marker. Swallows on the wing
collide, and in July the pond-traps freeze
as mute swans raise their heads
-------------------------------to mourn and sing.

A swarm of bees discards its pollen garters,
the drones decide to spurn their bloated queen;
wild rabbits fill the foxholes with young martyrs
and blind-eyed moles complain about the scene.

The River Kent adjusts her course; Helvelyn
groans and hides her corrie tarn as ravens
call by Castle Hill. They ring a bell in
Ayrshire towns to guide him to the Havens.

He warmed our Lakes, Loch Lomond's shores agree;
I hope he'll haunt the bonny fells
------------------------------------beside the Irish sea.
Last edited by JJWilliamson on Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:17 pm, edited 16 times in total.
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by ray miller » Fri May 22, 2015 5:17 pm

I like the first 8 lines very much. I'm losing the rhythm here each read

groans and hides her corrie tarn as ravens
call by Castle Hill. They ring a bell in


He warmed our Lakes, Loch Lomond's shores agree; - not quite sure what to take from this, I get the impression it's led by a need to rhyme with Sea.

as mute swans raise their heads
-------------------------------to mourn and sing
He warmed our Lakes, Loch Lomond's shores agree;
I hope he'll haunt the bonny fells
------------------------------------beside the Irish sea

There's obviously a reason why you've dropped the end of the lines like that, but I can't work it out.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by JJWilliamson » Sat May 23, 2015 7:15 pm

Thanks Ray,
For looking and thinking about this elegy to a good friend of mine
who died of heart failure at the age of 46. Robert (Rab) Munro was his name.
He was born in Ayr, Scotland, moving to Kendal around 1976. I met him circa 1985
and we remained friends until his death. I read a poem at his funeral (not this one),
one I'd written specially for the day. His parents asked for a copy after the service
so I sent them a revised version which they kept until their deaths. I still have a copy.
ray miller wrote:I like the first 8 lines very much. I'm losing the rhythm here each read ...I've used strict iambic pentameter for the first two quatrains. I've fully enjambed S1 then end-stopped 75% of S2. I'm attempting to develop the rhythms as the poem progresses.

groans and hides her corrie tarn as ravens
call by Castle Hill. They ring a bell in

I knew S3 would raise an eyebrow or two, including my own. I've enjambed S3 but have taken the liberty of borrowing the feminine syllable at the end of L1 to work with the first syllable of L2. In other words I've split the iamb. :) I'm sure this has a name but I can't remember what it is. 'Bloody crap' probably. Similarly with
L2 & L3 then L3 & L4. It should read as iambic pentameter all the way if strung out. I wanted to change the rhythm again before embarking on my end-stopped closing couplet. With a few nudges I could employ conventional I.P. See what you think. I might have overthought this one. Enjoyed it though. :)

The RIV/er KENT/ adJUSTS/ her COURSE/; HelVEL/yn GROANS/ and HIDES/ her COR/rie TARN/ as RAV/ens CALL/ by CAS/tle HILL./ They RING/ a BELL/ in AYR/
shire TOWNS/ to GUIDE/ him TO/ the HAV/ens.

I have 41 syllables and have dragged my first closing feminine syllable to the end of L4.


He warmed our Lakes, Loch Lomond's shores agree; - not quite sure what to take from this, I get the impression it's led by a need to rhyme with Sea.

Yes, I needed a G G end rhyme in the couplet and have end-stopped for impact (ish). I think the lack of enjambment brings the rhyme to the fore.
He was a regular visitor to the shores of Loch Lomond. When I visited this region he was always a welcome distraction at The Tap O' the Brae. So the close is a metaphor for how he seemed to bring cheer wherever he went. He often said that the Lake District and the Lochs of Scotland were special. I agreed, so did the shores of Loch Lomond. That's it really.

as mute swans raise their heads
-------------------------------to mourn and sing
He warmed our Lakes, Loch Lomond's shores agree;
I hope he'll haunt the bonny fells
------------------------------------beside the Irish sea

There's obviously a reason why you've dropped the end of the lines like that, but I can't work it out.
Ah, I dropped those lines for balance. L14 is written in iambic heptameter and L4 sticks out because each word is monosyllabic.
So by dropping the lines I maintain the balance and thoroughly confuse the reader. :D

Thanks again, Ray, for your great observations

Best

JJ
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by Macavity » Mon May 25, 2015 7:27 pm

hi JJ,
I feel your response to Ray probably sums up the poem's focus on craft. The use of nature also seems to distance from the personal. I guess that is your choice and in that style the poem works fine. I've heard of a headless iambic, but with a nine syllable line following an eleven (five stresses on both lines).

all the best

mac

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by dedalus » Tue May 26, 2015 5:22 am

A woderful piece even without/ but made better by the attention to craft.
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by Antcliff » Tue May 26, 2015 10:45 am

Hi JJ

With Ray in liking the first 8..

...and not the last couplet, where the content looks overwhelmed by rhyme needs. "The shores agree" looks a bit like padding. And the closing geographical reminder "beside the irish sea" feels as if it is padding out the padding? IMHO = a new closing couplet is needed. Good stuff here though, JJ. I wouldn't want to give the impression that it is otherwise just because I am handing you the rubber for that last couplet. :D


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Seth
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Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue May 26, 2015 9:00 pm

Thanks, mac

Yes, the headless iamb in a nine syllable line. L2 has 10 syll's with a fem' ending which also jumps around the corner with the extra fem' syllable
finally remaining unused in L4. I'm looking very closely at that technique, hoping some extra research will jog my memory. I can always experiment with
a few alternatives. Ah, the intricacies of enjambment.

Best

JJ
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed May 27, 2015 12:00 am

Thank Seth

I'll definitely rethink the closing couplet. I have a drawer full of rubbers, pencils etc but I could always use another. :) The sea was a reference to the Lake District fells, where we'd walked and climbed many times over the years. (not all of them mind you) So, it was a personal note that clearly isn't finding its mark, can't find its mark without an extra clue. I might just attempt to rejig by enjambing the couplet. Something I rarely do but worth considering.

Delighted the overall effect was pleasing. I was attempting to show how sudden death has an impact beyond the expected norms, with the world about us displaying unusual behaviour. The weather, his favourite golf course, rivers, fells, lakes, birds, bees and animals all seemed out of kilter as if they were in some way reacting to the news. Still, I'm pleased the poem registered on some level. Thanks for that.

Best

JJ
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed May 27, 2015 12:11 am

dedalus wrote:A woderful piece even without/ but made better by the attention to craft.
- Brendan
Thanks, Bendan, for the positive review, appreciated. I've enjoyed writing sonnets and form poetry for years and find myself
dallying in that department from time to time. Actually, I'm a fan of just about everything poetic. :)

Best

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by Macavity » Wed May 27, 2015 3:45 am

AYRshire/ TOWNS to/ GUIDE him/ TO the/ HAVens.
JJ if you keep the 10 syllable line with these stresses aren't you simply producing a trochaic line? The scanning has to be within the line unit?

all the best

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by David » Wed May 27, 2015 5:20 pm

Blimey. All this technical talk is making me dizzy. But I like the result a lot. Oddly enough, S3 is my favourite. So musical. I thought the first eight lines a bit imprecise and confusing - Carus Green consoles her flags? Tees remove a marker? Swallows on the wing collide? And that's just the first two and a half lines. But even they are extremely melodious, and that counts for a lot. For me.

I share the general dissatisfaction with the "agree" line, but I like the longer closing line. It feels quite classical.

Good poem, JJ.

Cheers

David

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed May 27, 2015 6:34 pm

Macavity wrote:
AYRshire/ TOWNS to/ GUIDE him/ TO the/ HAVens.
JJ if you keep the 10 syllable line with these stresses aren't you simply producing a trochaic line? The scanning has to be within the line unit?

all the best

mac
Thanks again, mac

Yes, that line is certainly trochaic with a feminine ending. If I keep the scan entirely within the presented lines I get:

The RIV/er KENT/ adJUSTS/ her COURSE/; HelVEL/yn ...4 iambs fem close
GROANS and/ HIDES her/ CORRIE tarn/ as RAV/ens ...3 troches, 1 iamb
CALL by/ CAStle/ HILL. They/RING a/BELL in/...5 troches
AYRshire/TOWNS to/GUIDE him/ TO the/ HAVens./...5 troches

The strung out version is iambic all the way but I can't find a definitive answer for the splitting of a metrical foot
for the sake of enjambment, form and consistency. I'm absolutely certain I've read something at some time about the split foot
but it could easily have been a DON'T DO IT reprimand from an expert sonneteer. Could write a spoof poem called The Three Sonneteers. :)
I would prefer to rewrite L1 completely if trochaic verse is to be the dominant meter.

Got me thinking, mac.

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed May 27, 2015 8:45 pm

David wrote:Blimey. All this technical talk is making me dizzy. It's all grist to the mill. :) But I like the result a lot. Thanks for that Oddly enough, S3 is my favourite. So musical. Ah, one vote for S3 and its risky rhythm I thought the first eight lines a bit imprecise and confusing - Carus Green consoles her flags? Tees remove a marker? Swallows on the wing collide? And that's just the first two and a half lines. But even they are extremely melodious, and that counts for a lot. For me. Melodious will do for me. We were both members of Carus Green Golf Club. The incongruity of those lines represents the banality of the images. A tee would/could never remove the place marker simply because the owner had died, swallows never seem to collide, water wouldn't freeze in July and the swans are mute. A misnomer imo as they make a hell of a hissing sound when provoked. They would never sing, however. The news has disturbed the general equilibrium of all things natural.

I share the general dissatisfaction with the "agree" line, but I like the longer closing line. It feels quite classical. ...I agree :) Seriously though, I'm probably going to keep the closing line and revise L13.

Good poem, JJ.

Cheers

David
Thanks a lot, David, for your thoughts and suggestion. A nudge here and there might yield a dividend or two.

Best

JJ
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by k-j » Thu May 28, 2015 4:40 am

I was quite struck by this poem, I think it's good.

I don't think the indent/line-break in line 4 adds anything. It's your basic iambic line, not sure why you'd break it like that.

In general the rhyme and metre are very well done. Line 11 does seem short, even accepting license and varied lines and all that. It just seems short.

"The Havens" I assume is a pub?

Ditto with the last line. It's a great line, a worthy alexandrine - and those are very hard to write - but I don't know why you've split it.

EDIT - of course the last line is more than an alexandrine. It's a fourteener!
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004)

Post by JJWilliamson » Thu May 28, 2015 9:57 pm

Thanks k-j

For dropping in to share your thoughts, appreciated.
k-j wrote:I was quite struck by this poem, I think it's good. ...Pleased you liked it

I don't think the indent/line-break in line 4 adds anything. It's your basic iambic line, not sure why you'd break it like that. ...It was nothing more than balance. I thought that line jutted out a bit. So I then did the same with the final line because it is a 'fourteener'. I might just change that, thanks.

collide, and in July the pond-traps freeze
as mute swans raise their heads to mourn and sing.


In general the rhyme and metre are very well done. Line 11 does seem short, even accepting license and varied lines and all that. It just seems short. ...I'll take a look at that during revision. Thanks again.

"The Havens" I assume is a pub? ...Ah, the Havens is more of a harbour with the last ship at anchor. A boat across the water to the afterlife.

Ditto with the last line. It's a great line, a worthy alexandrine - and those are very hard to write - but I don't know why you've split it.

EDIT - of course the last line is more than an alexandrine. It's a fourteener! ...Yes, that line is written in iambic heptameter. :)
Thanks again for the salient questions and positive comments.

Best

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 1]

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun May 31, 2015 2:14 am

Revised. Thanks to all concerned.

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 2 revised couplet]]

Post by Ros » Sun May 31, 2015 10:28 am

This reminds me a little of Auden, stop all the clocks etc - similar reactions from the natural world. I'm not finding the first sentence is working for me - is Carus Green a golf course? It's too obscure to grab this reader. I think the last couplet works now.

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 2 revised couplet]]

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun May 31, 2015 6:36 pm

Ros wrote:This reminds me a little of Auden, stop all the clocks etc - similar reactions from the natural world. I'm not finding the first sentence is working for me - is Carus Green a golf course? It's too obscure to grab this reader. I think the last couplet works now.

Ros
Hi Ros

Thanks for the comments and pointer. Yes, Carus Green is a golf club just off the road to Burneside; It's one of two courses in Kendal. I posted a poem "Miracle by Kendal's Greens" not so long ago and that poem covers the other course which is inspirationally called Kendal Golf Club. Says what it does on the tin. :)
I'm not sure how to get past the Carus Green problem. I thought the following lines hinted at golf but I can see how it might be difficult to penetrate.
Obscure place names can be such a bother. Thinkin' on it.

Pleased the couplet is an improvement but I must confess I'm still glaring at it. Who the hell invented the closing couplet. :)

Thanks again

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 2 revised couplet]]

Post by David » Sun May 31, 2015 6:48 pm

Ros wrote:This reminds me a little of Auden, stop all the clocks etc - similar reactions from the natural world.
Yes, I thought that too but - as I said - I think yours don't work so well, JJ. But, because I have already said that, I won't the labour the point again.

And - apart from "agree" - I much prefer your original ending.

Damn tricky stuff, this versification, ain't it?

Cheers

David

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 2 revised couplet]]

Post by Ros » Sun May 31, 2015 6:54 pm

I think perhaps the images are just a bit too strained - a golf course consoling its flags is hard to imagine. Swallows colliding is easier to see, as is mute swans singing (though perhaps mourning and singing is too much). Bees discarding pollen is fine, garters unnecessary and to me a slightly old-fashioned term. Rabbits being eaten is business as usual, surely? And I can't see why they count as martyrs - to what cause?

I like the idea and mood of this very much, but I think it needs a more ordinary touch. Things like the swallows, simpler but acting oddly.

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 2 revised couplet]]

Post by Macavity » Sun May 31, 2015 8:53 pm

This discussion may be of interest JJ:

http://www.everypoet.org/pffa/showthrea ... dless-Iamb

all the best

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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 2 revised couplet]]

Post by Ros » Sun May 31, 2015 9:11 pm

Ah, the gentle joys of pffa.
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 2 revised couplet]]

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun May 31, 2015 10:07 pm

David wrote:
Ros wrote:This reminds me a little of Auden, stop all the clocks etc - similar reactions from the natural world.
Yes, I thought that too but - as I said - I think yours don't work so well, JJ. But, because I have already said that, I won't the labour the point again. ...point taken.

And - apart from "agree" - I much prefer your original ending. ...Honestly, so do I. I'm still muttering at that line and yes it's damn tricky stuff. I wrote a sonnet once in strict I.P. all the way, every line more or less end stopped, and still ended up with half a dozen, or more, alternatives in the close. Talk about brick walls. :)

Damn tricky stuff, this versification, ain't it?

Cheers

David
Thanks David

for returning to this sonnet to share your opinion. Much appreciated.

Best

JJ
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 2 revised couplet]]

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun May 31, 2015 11:23 pm

Ros wrote:I think perhaps the images are just a bit too strained - a golf course consoling its flags is hard to imagine. Swallows colliding is easier to see, as is mute swans singing (though perhaps mourning and singing is too much). Bees discarding pollen is fine, garters unnecessary and to me a slightly old-fashioned term. Rabbits being eaten is business as usual, surely? And I can't see why they count as martyrs - to what cause?

I like the idea and mood of this very much, but I think it needs a more ordinary touch. Things like the swallows, simpler but acting oddly.

Ros
Thanks Ros

for popping back in to highlight the problems you're having with S1. David holds a similar opinion, feeling much as you do, citing imprecision and confusion as the main culprits. I think much of this poem is daft in some respects and I'd hoped the confusion and general mayhem would highlight the state of derealisation the masses were experiencing. You're right, much of this IS something of a stretch and perhaps I'm missing the mark entirely.

I still have several pairs of garters. (no I haven't) The 'garter martyr' rhyme is my pride and joy. The bumble bee gathers pollen as a source of food for the hive, storing it in pollen baskets on its legs. These baskets resemble garters which would never be discarded. They would accidentally introduce pollen from plant to plant as they searched for food, never intentionally wasting a grain. So, it runs against the grain.

Ah, right on the button. Foxes eating rabbits is expected, people hunting rabbits for a bunny pie is/was quite normal. However, parent conies depositing their young into the jaws of certain death is beyond the pale. It's completely unexpected, and therefore quite shocking.

'Martyrs' is a tricky one. The term is broadly used as a religious expression for those who died for their cause; the English Martyrs being a case in point. I'm essentially using it in the context of bearing witness to and refuting fixed beliefs. Rab could not have died. This is exemplified, rationally or irrationally (much like indoctrination) by the impending doom of the kits. The parent warren dwellers behave irrationally because of their refusal to believe/accept the news, with the kits acting as sacrificial bunnies to the slaughter. That's always assuming they didn't have a change of heart. (my preferred outcome). It could be argued that the kits would simply run away; an option I decided to ignore as it was clear they were all bonkers and who knows what the foxes were up to.

Loved your comments, Ros, and I hope this helps to clarify my strange way of thinking. I've probably muddied the waters with my convoluted ramblings,
so please accept my apologies in advance.

Best

JJ
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Re: Elegy to Rab (1958-2004) [revision 2 revised couplet]]

Post by JJWilliamson » Sun May 31, 2015 11:35 pm

Macavity wrote:This discussion may be of interest JJ:

http://www.everypoet.org/pffa/showthrea ... dless-Iamb

all the best

mac
Thanks very much, mac. That link is just perfect and I'm still digesting the contents as the discussion twists and turns.
I'm still looking at S3 AND the couplet so this link will be very close to hand when I revise further. Decisions revisions. :)

Ros, I see you have some experience with pffa, "The gentle joys of pffa" sounds ominous. :)

Best

JJ
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