Blandings in Ayrshire

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David
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Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by David » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:33 pm

There must have been a Brigadoonish turn
somewhere along the road, one that we took
without noticing, so turning up here at last
to find ourselves the only guests, we seem
to have entered into a Plummy Wonderland.

And later, taking tea in the drawing room,
where Tatlers and Shooting Times evoke the very
best of Mayfair dentists' waiting rooms,
we wonder at the absence of aunts and gongs.

Still later, taking a turn around the grounds,
a maze of old-fashioned roses and ancient trees,
and me unaccountably not in spats,
around every fragrant corner we expect to find

Madeline Basset weeping in an arbour,
Gussie fretting about his precious newts
or that blighter Spode, fashioning dreams of power.

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Perry
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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by Perry » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:46 pm

Despite not being familiar with all the English and literary references, such as the locations and fictional characters, I think I understand the poem, and I like it. It is casual and droll and flows nicely. Everything about it seems well written. There's nothing awkward about it. I'll come back when I have more time and look up the names I don't know.

It is noteworthy that the names of places in England seem to immediately stir up impressions. As an American, I don't know these impressions, but I am guessing that Mayfair has a lot of doctors' offices in it. In the U.S., only a few places are so well known for a certain thing that the mention of them pulls up an image.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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JJWilliamson
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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:48 am

Hi David

Highly entertaining account of a visit to an elegant and old-style, country house hotel. The homage to P G Wodehouse
is delightful, in many respects, evoking a thousand memories. He was one of my eldest brother's favourite writers. Must delve again.

I wonder what the restaurant would have looked like with only one table booked. As for the food! No FOOD!!
What did you have for dinner? :)

Enjoyed

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by Firebird » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:04 am

Hi David,

My first impression when I glimpsed this poem was that it was a sonnet, based purely on its shape on the page. Then I looked again and s1 was five lines and s4 was three likes.

I don’t understand all the references but I enjoyed the sounds and the easy rhythms of the lines. It reads really well, which I expect of you to be honest.

I’ll check the references later when I have a little more time.

Enjoyed!

Cheers,

Tristan

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Perry
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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by Perry » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:27 pm

A country house hotel? That explains a lot. Probably converted from a manor house. The gong should have tipped me off, since a gong was struck to tell people to dress for dinner. (Guess where I learned that?) I'm kind of sorry that the U.S. isn't dotted with old manor houses to visit.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by 1lankest » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:42 pm

Satirical and humorous, a fitting tribute.
Really nicely done, highly evocative and well drawn. ‘Spats’ is a new one for me - great line that one!
No nits I’m afraid!

Luke

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by twoleftfeet » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:53 pm

Wonderful stuff,David!

The mention of gongs and aunts is a nice touch: I seem to remember that,in one story, Bertie avoided a summons from
the dreaded Aunt Agatha by shinning down a drainpipe..

I also like the "Plum/plummy" wordplay but I'm undecided about the capitalization.

In the last stanza - are all 3 in the arbour? (I suppose it doesn't matter) and is the would-be dictator Spode having a nap?

To me,"fashioning schemes of power" seems a bit contrived.Ending on (something like) "seizing power" would be better:
it's what all bona-fide dictators do,after all..

Cheers
Geoff
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by David » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:30 pm

Glad you liked it, Perry.

Well spotted, JJ - although it was a B&B, not a hotel. (The posh would say an hotel.) We dined out. It was rather charming, though, but sparked this riff on Wodehouse through no real fault of its own. We actually liked the place, but the sense of Wodehouse was irresistible.

Tristan, yes, it is 14 lines. I might have had a sonnet vaguely in mind, but it really didn't come out as one, did it? Still, I'm pleased you enjoyed it anyway.

And glad you liked it, Luke. I myself have never worn spats, but I was aware of them, as worn by toffs (on the telly) when I was growing up.

Thanks Geoff! I did wonder about "fashioning schemes of power" myself - after I'd come up with it - but I think I came up with it due to the genuine Spode connection: "While the leader of the Black Shorts, Spode is also secretly a designer of ladies' underclothing, being the proprietor of Eulalie Soeurs of Bond Street."

The last three lines are actually - and melodramatically and pretentiously - a despairing contemplation of the state of the world. Did that come over at all? Madeline is lamenting the general awfulness of everything, Gussy and his precious newts is climate change, and the ridiculous, overblown Spode is ... well, I can imagine you can guess. (There are probably at least three possibilities, but sadly, I expect, many more.)

Gloomy, moi?

Cheers all

David

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by Firebird » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:02 pm

David wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:30 pm
Tristan, yes, it is 14 lines.
Maybe I’m losing my ability to count (which wouldn’t surprise me), but I think it’s 16 lines. Two too many to be a sonnet. It was the poem’s shape that initially fooled me into think it might be a sonnet. You know, the three quatrains and a couplet.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by Macavity » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:42 am

The last three lines are actually - and melodramatically and pretentiously - a despairing contemplation of the state of the world. Did that come over at all?
I didn't see that David, but that could just be me (and no doubt my comment will prompt someone to say otherwise :D )

best

mac

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by twoleftfeet » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:40 pm

Macavity wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:42 am
The last three lines are actually - and melodramatically and pretentiously - a despairing contemplation of the state of the world. Did that come over at all?
I didn't see that David, but that could just be me (and no doubt my comment will prompt someone to say otherwise :D )

best

mac
I didn't get that either,David.
The world of Bertie and co. is not intended to be a reflection of the real word,is it?
A spot of gentle lampooning of the upper echelons - I see that,but..

Are you drawing a comparison between Spode/Mosley and the current shift to the right?

Geoff
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by David » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:13 pm

Firebird wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:02 pm
David wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:30 pm
Tristan, yes, it is 14 lines.
Maybe I’m losing my ability to count (which wouldn’t surprise me), but I think it’s 16 lines.
D'oh! I meant to count them, before posting my reply, but forgot.
twoleftfeet wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:40 pm
Macavity wrote: ↑Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:42 am
The last three lines are actually - and melodramatically and pretentiously - a despairing contemplation of the state of the world. Did that come over at all?
I didn't see that David, but that could just be me (and no doubt my comment will prompt someone to say otherwise )

best

mac
I didn't get that either,David.
The world of Bertie and co. is not intended to be a reflection of the real word,is it?
A spot of gentle lampooning of the upper echelons - I see that,but..

Are you drawing a comparison between Spode/Mosley and the current shift to the right?

Geoff
Ah well. It was just an afterthought, as the poem drew itself to an organic close. Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned it. Just let the idea marinate gently.

But yes, Spode is very like Spode of Spode Hall, i.e. the ridiculous Nigel himself, isn't he? (And Spode's already a gentle lampooning of Mosley, isn't he?)

Cheers all

David

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by Elphin » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:14 am

I have read this back and fire over the week. It grows on me even though the literary references are not ones I specifically know. However that PG Wodehouse Englishness is sufficiently in our national psyche ideas like Plummy a wonderland are easy to reference.

I like the Aunts and gongs.

Are there too many turns and turnings, perhaps?

The ending didn’t achieve what you intended but often I feel that is the deficiency of the reader, particularly on a forum when reading can be of the skimming variety. I wouldn’t be changing it. Could you use a different title to signpost the ending. Other than being factually accurate in its setting I am not so sure Ayrshire is doing enough for you.

Maybe another Ayrshire reference or even Scottish one in the poem... could Mayfair be Kelvinide or Ayr or Morningside for example?

Nicely crafted

Elph

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Re: Blandings in Ayrshire

Post by David » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:17 am

Thanks Elph. Think I'll leave the ending, for better or worse, but I don't want to accentuate it.

I do love PGW.

Cheers

David

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