Friday 13 November 2009

Haggard Weather

Gloom and incessant rain today - the kind of weather that puts me in mind of Squire Haggard's Journal, that minor near-classic of English humour, in which every day's entry begins with rain, gales, floods, hailstorms, hurricanoes or somesuch grim and extreme weather - but never sufficiently grim to deter the Squire from his vigorous wenching, carousing and persecution of tenants, foreigners, clerics, dissenters and anyone else who might cross him. The Journal used to appear in the fondly remembered Peter Simple column in the Telegraph, in which the extraordinary Michael Wharton was left to his own devices for nearly 50 years, creating a world of his own, peopled by the likes of Dr Spacely-Trellis, go-ahead Bishop of Bevindon, the psychoanalyst Dr Heinz Kiosk, Hampstead socialist Mrs Dutt-Pauker (not to mention her grandson, the precociously bearded Bert Brecht), underwater motorycling ace Trevor Dimwiddie, Jeremy Clarkson prototype J. Bonington Jagworth, and Julian Birdbath, 'last citizen of the Republic of Letters'. (Squire Haggard, though, was not one of Wharton's own, but contributed by Michael Green.) Newspapers - and newspaper writers - were very different creatures in those days, and humour of any kind is hard to find in their pages nowadays(apart from the brilliant cartoons of Matt, grandson of V.S. Pritchett)...
And now, by way of spreading a little cheer, I pass on the day's top story. I like that quote: 'If the cat wasn't dead, I'd have killed it by now.'

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