Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Narnia in Glasgow

So, not surprisingly, a family visit turns out not to be the time for some researched blogging (unless the blogging is about the visit). So I have't had the time to write up the Lewis/Anscombe piece, which is still pending. Instead, here's a bit of C. S. Lewis news for those who might have missed it. 

The University of Glasgow's CENTRE FOR FANTASTY is hosting an event later this month: 

From Spare Oom to War Drobe: A Journey to Narnia with Katherine Langrish

This event is scheduled for Thursday June 17th (about two weeks from now) at 5pm to 6.30 BST (which I make out to be about nine in the morning, Seattle time --a great improvement over the middle of night timing of some transatlantic events).

I haven't read Languish's book, which contrasts the experience of reading Narnia as a child vs. revisiting it as an adult. Perhaps her approach will lift some of my antipathy to the Narnia series. 

Here's the link: 


--John R.

--current reading: DOROTHY AND JACk; also a light novel.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Warnie Lewis, ditchcrawler

So, a while ago the new issue of THE JOURNAL OF INKLINGS STUDIES arrived --always a welcome event. The two articles that stood out for me this time around were a piece on Warnie Lewis's experiences as a ditchcrawler -- that is, the owner of a narrow canal boat he used to take little holidays exploring various spots all around Oxford -- and an insightful well-sourced look at the famous Lewis-Anscombe debate.

The canalboat piece is by Don King, who I hope will expand his researches into Captain Lewis (as he was at the time) into a book one of these days. While Warnie's boat sometimes gets a passing mention in his brother's biographies, I had no idea that Warnie wrote several essays about his experiences,* including advice to help others better enjoy their shared hobby and how to cope when things go wrong.

King's article quotes generously from eight essays, which are very much in the voice of W.H.L. as we know it from his journals. The Bosporus, which he had built to order, emerges as a leisurely alternative to the Lewis brothers' walking tours. Unfortunately Warnie only got to enjoy the boat from 1936 through 1939, when wartime restrictions and rationing made it too hard for him to carry on.

The other piece is more complex and I think deserves a separate post of its own (though it'll take me a day or two to get it drafted).

current reading: LETTER OF JOSEPH CONRAD (the bookmark dropped out and had trouble finding my place, so decided to take a hiatus) and a light novel (more portable)

*published in THE MOTOR BOAT AND YACHTING magazine.

The Cat Room Has Kittens


Quite a crowd in the cat room today, even with the two sisters/bonded mother cats pair (Willow and Maple) having already been adopted. We had senior pair TIKA and KINDA, young LEO DECATI,  little ROCKY ROAD (the solitaire kitten, off in a cage of his own), and eight little grey kittens — some light grey, some dark as black; some smooth, some with a bit of fluff; all adorable.

So, a dozen cats in all. First things first, so I got the leash on TIKA and took her out. She didn’t seem to enjoy herself much, but still think the change will do her good in the long run. She mostly sat on the half-high cat stand outside the room and watched everything go by. I also carried her about some. Next came KINDA, who did his usual explorations all over. He got some good comments by staff and customers alike. When he (reluctantly) went back in I put him and his sister back in their cage. Whoever recommended the blanket blocking their vision from the rest of the room was right: both settled down and didn’t do any hissing or growling aimed at the other cats that I heard.

LEO DUCATI had his turn next, and explored even more than Kinda. He turned on the charm and made a big impression on folks he encountered during his explorations. I wanted the kittens to have a turn, so eventually he had to go in and I put him back in his cage, where he settled down.

Then it was Kitten Time. I took them out of their cages one at a time and gave them the run of the place. After that it was kittens everywhere. I liked how they have distinct personalities already in what toy each likes, favorite spots to hide in, tolerance at being petted, and the like. Little Road kept to himself, except when one or two of the grey kittens sought him out to see what game he was playing. He likes to seek out interesting places —say, beneath the cushion atop the bins.

I hope both kittens and senior cats find new homes soon. 

Reminder: Next Friday (the 11th) I won’t be able to come in that day for my usual shift.

—John R.