Monday, April 20, 2009

The Blog

Basically house-bound by my illness my blog is giving me great pleasure. I get feedback from unexpected sources. In particular ex-teachers who write (or even ring) to ask for more on education. Then I get literary types who ask for more comments about poems, others’ work as well as my own.

This morning I had a lovely email from Ali Carew. She been clearing her vegetable garden and found some gooseberry cuttings she just poked in had all taken. I agree with her about the satisfaction of your own propagation. By coincidence she had just read yesterday’s comments about gooseberries. She also liked the one about being a fresher at Canterbury university. Her parents met there, members of the SCM (student Christian Movement). Their friend Jimmy Gardiner called it the Society for Courtship and Marriage. By another coincidence, Gardiner, a historian, lectured me on the French Revolution. He planned a biography of Massey our second longest serving Prime Minister but he never got round to writing it. Pity! I am reading Bruce Farland’s rather pedestrian life of the premier at present. He pays credit to Gardiner. Farland upsets this English teacher. Cattle were not ‘droved’ to the West Coast from Canterbury. How can I wrestle with the complexities of a complicated man when I am rewriting his biographer’s script.

Someone asked why write about strawberries and gooseberries. I’m a curious man. I ask questions. And like to share the answers. I follow leads. That’s the teacher in me. New facts, new poems, new thoughts, last classes notes on the blackboard, I added them to the lesson. I had a look at currants but there’s little to add to what I wrote about gooseberries. I looked at currants as in raisins and sultanas and reconfirmed that that usage comes from a corruption of the word Corinth. Currants – a small seedless grape come from the Levant but especially from the area around Corinth.

Harvey McQueen

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