Hot Toddy with Turmeric. Finally! A Cure for the common cold. Or further evidence towards sectioning? The booze poetry of Wendy Cope and Phillip Larkin. Nicholson Baker: Peacenik.

Driven insane, more insane, by the quick return of a cold I am treating it with a hot toddy, fresh lemon and crushed ginger. I told Ruth, excitedly, that I had added turmeric, which has many health benefits and sometimes appears in recipes alongside lemon and ginger. Upon tasting she said, “Yes, you have.”

Never mind, here’s Wendy Cope on whisky, from Uisce Beathe

The plash and glub of amber liquid/ streaming into tumblers, inches deep, Life water, fire-tanged

which reminded me of Larkin’s Sympathy in White Major

When I drop four cubes of ice
Chimingly in a glass, and add
Three goes of gin, a lemon slice,
And let a ten-ounce tonic void
In foaming gulps until it smothers
Everything else up to the edge,
I lift the lot in private pledge:
He devoted his life to others.

While other people wore like clothes
The human beings in their days
I set myself to bring to those
Who thought I could the lost displays;
It didn’t work for them or me,
But all concerned were nearer thus
(Or so we thought) to all the fuss
Than if we’ d missed it separately.

A decent chap, a real good sort,
Straight as a die, one of the best,
A brick, a trump, a proper sport,
Head and shoulders above the rest;
How many Iives would have been duller
Had he not been here below?
Here’ s to the whitest man I know-
Though white is not my favourite colour.

I’ve been enjoying Nicholson Baker’s Paul Chowder novels, musings of a mid life poet, full of intriguing theory and goss. There’s a little romance, lots of Quaker-ish peacenik stuff, some of which is naive but it also takes in the poetry career of the founder of the CIA. He is one erudite, digressive motherfucker. Can’t agree on Philip Larkin – ‘his acid is too corrosive’ but there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had from these informative, highly entertaining novels. Thanks to him I can look across the coast to Eastbourne and it’s now glamorous: Debussy wrote ‘La Mer’ in the Grand Hotel (or at least finished it there.). Hear here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOCucJw7iT8

Nicholson Baker The Anthologist Travelling Sprinkler (the latter on Serpent’s Tail, my old publisher. Although he has fewer cadavers. And no kinky stuff.)

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