: Rainy Day Rambling
10th October 2019
to the Lexico On-line Oxford English Dictionary,
one definition of rambling is “lengthy and
confused or inconsequential writing or speech”.
include long-winded, garrulous, verbose,
wordy, prolix (?), digressive, maundering
(??), circuitous, discursive, circumlocutory
(!), periphrastic (?!), incoherent.
charges to which I plead guilty, even to
those which I hadn’t previously encountered.
include concise and pithy.
man who has raised Rambling to a written
art form, especially on Rainy Days, is John
Self who has edited and published a 212
page tome on the subject- Rainy
It is available at no good booksellers
but can be downloaded free on-line by clicking
on its title.
quote (with kind permission), this includes
the first ever published extracts from a
controversial file of documents recently
discovered in a derelict barn in Aspatria,
documents appear to have been written for
the Cumberland Courier but were never published,
presumably because their content was deemed
detrimental to the image of the Lake District
as a paradise for tourists.
has taken experts some time
to decipher the documents, so
badly affected were they by
mildew and wot rot. Many
of the pages had been chewed
by mice. Indeed, in many cases,
it has required a thorough forensic
analysis of adjacent mice droppings
to determine the text.
book contains some 60 entries
plus an Appendix that is essential
reading for the full comprehension
of the text. It would
be rude of (and tedious for)
me to seek to precis (or should
it be précis?) its full
contents but you can get a flavour
of these historical ramblings
from the various titles which
Annual Harriet Martineau
Your Beck and Fell
the on-going saga of Four Men
in Their Boots.
also introduces you to such
lovable characters as Luke Screewalker,
Diana Dubble-Barrell, Mr
Grevitrane and Mr Sneeezeweed.
in all, it is essential reading for anyone
interested in a rambling history of the
publication was discovered and brought to
my attention by Mike B who himself is not
unknown to have rambled from time to time.
Indeed his most recent such venture
was unearthed in a magazine called Taste
Talks in which, under the title “Tasty Business”
he rambled on about someone called Miles
Travelled, whoever he is. Or was.
course, to those of a certain age, the King
of Rambling was Syd Rumpo whose ditties
used to delight many a listener to Round
The Horne on the radio in the 1960s. Or
should that be “wireless”? Apparently
one can tell something about one’s class
according to which word one uses for a device
that, steaming with valves, emits sound
from a large wooden cabinet. Or alternatively
from ' earpiece which these days can
be truly wireless. You can get an
idea of the inestimable quality of Syd's
output by listening to him singing The
Ballad of the Woggler’s Mooly
and other classic folk songs.
modern times, radio (or wireless)
Ramblings are the province of
Claire Balding who, in the programme
of that name, manages to combine
the above definition alongside
the alternative meaning of “a
that’s the term used by Lexico
but to be more strictly accurate
(and as proven by Claire herself)
it is an activity that can be
undertaken not just by man but
also by woman, child or dog.
have seen the occasional cat
taken rambling on a lead but
such creatures, like many others,
prefer rambling with their own
by themselves as evidenced by
Rudyard Kipling. Indeed I know
many Ramblers who prefer that
mode including, it seems, John
Self. Not surprisingly given
did once ask Claire Balding
if she would like to come Rambling
with the BOOTboys.
envisaged showing her the wonders
of Mosedale Cottage coupled
with that of Uncle Monty (he
of Withnail fame) but she declined
the invitation, seemingly being
more interested in what Graham
was doing under a cape with
his pin-hole camera.
singing ramblers include Tom
Paxton who, warbling to his
hoped that all his Rambles brought
there is the gender / species
issue but as he was addressing
a specific male person perhaps
Tom can be forgiven.
the Joy being brought was not
a woman. Nor a person, dog or
a state of pleasure.
it was code for a woman of that
name bringing him pleasure.
had a contemporary (well, six
years older actually, being
born in 1931) called Ramblin'
Jack Elliott, another American
Folk Singer, who was influenced
by Woody Guthrie and in turn
influenced Bob Dylan.
was the mother of yet another
folk singer, Odetta, who allegedly
give him the nomenclature by
Jack Elliott, yeah, he can ramble
perhaps I, too, have rambled
on long enough and should now
relate the tale of this week’s
day forecast. Rambled, in sunshine, from
Witherslack through mucky Birks Farm to
Mill Side and Beck Head. Up through
woods to Witherslack Hall where it started
to threaten rain. It held off on the
climb to Yewbarrow but started again as
we dropped back down through the woods to
Witherslack. Arriving at the Derby
Arms we wondered if we should have rambled
further. However, it was not long
before teeming rain outside convinced us
that verbal rambling over a pint or two
was to be preferred. Is that concise and pithy enough
Don, Thursday 10th October 2019