Friday, May 02, 2008

Ephemera - The German People

[A letter presumably to The Times.]

Edinburgh, December 2, 1940

SIR, "H" states that he does not know what are Sir Robert Vansittart's qualifications to act as Chief Diplomatic Adviser to the Government. Let me enlighten him.

Sir Robert became Assistant Clerk to the Foreign Office in 1914, First Secretary in 1919, Counsellor in the Diplomatic Service in 1920, Secretary to Lord Curzon in 1920, Assistant Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister in 1928, Permanent Under Secretary of State at the Foreign Office from 1930 to 1938., Diplomatic Adviser to theForeign Secretary since then.

"H's" comment, therefore, that Sir Robert's qualifications do not seem to include any general knowledge of Germany or of the German peoples is manifestly absurd. It would be interesting to know the qualifications which "H" possesses to enable him to state that the Germans are not to be "lumped together as a pack of wolves," and are not a united people in one realm under one leader. I can only say that I see little evidence of regional or racial differences among Germans in their Army or Diplomatic Service. I am &C. Ex-RAF"

A Happy Christmas!

"Made nigh by the blood of Christ."

What an interesting expression. It means brought close, but is rarely found outwith the context of its Ephesians 2 v. 13 origin, in paraphrase or direct quotation.

I have scrawled through the first 150 references of 730 to it on Google Books. Not one gave the phrase being used outwith its sacred context. It is the sort of phrase that really ought to be put to bed. Near-on-all modern writers are enclosing it in brackets, or offering some explanation to its meaning. Language changes and therein there are losses as well as new vocab.

If any one is able to track down a secular, non-mimicking usage of this phrase, then post a comment and let us know.

Kirkcaldy Promenade, The Esplanade and Ravensraig Point

Kirkcaldy's Prom was never its prettiest quarter. (I live off it, so feel I have a certain legitimacy in saying so.)

This view on the postcard is looking north towards the Hutchison's flour mill, which is still in operation. The wall is substantially the same, as is the harbour wall with the boating club shed, which is currently for sale, on the end of it. In general terms, the scene is remarkably similar, unmistakable even, however there are several changes of note.

The harbour currently features a veritable forest of posts, signs and lamposts, all every bit as ugly as the stone ones in this picture. The large white sheds at this end of the harbour have been demolished and replaced with housing, which now strafes the harbour area. The roadway is now wider and the grass verges have been removed. And the church at the far end of the Prom has been demolished.

The car nearest to us is reg. SSP 72, making it pre-1963, but can you identify it?