Meet Mr Whippy

Meet Mr Whippy, a Chinese weatherloach. A very fascinating chap.

Feeds on the bottom. Feeds on the top. Gets right underneath. Gets all around the sides.

Will poke head out of the water and frisk the air with his whiskery barbs.
Sometimes he hides.

Apparently, he will tell me when a storm is coming; by frantically whizzing around, jumping and splashing, getting extremely agitated.

Sometimes Mr Whippy will lie there, very still, waiting and watching, witnessing and wondering, lost in seemingly deep cogitation: What effect will Bexit have on the British economy? Will the price of fishflakes go up? Is Donald Trump a parodic inversion of Vladimir Putin? Are the both of them a pair of psychopaths?

Who is that bald biped staring at me through the glass? When’s he going to get his finger out and lob in some supper? Etc etc.

Mr Whippy is half fish and half something else. Like a seal crossed with an eel.
One day he’s going to jump right out of that bowl.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Kents Cavern

Kents Cavern is only just down the road from St Marychurch. I’ve never been.

You’re asked not to shoot vids, but you can take photos

Kents Cavern 2

The baldy boy to the left there was a hobbit our tour guide. He was doing his best. It was like being in a juvenile school party. Kind of like ‘Cave Watch for Kids’.

The cavern itself was, indeed, very cavernous. And slipperous.

Kents Cavern 3

You’d want to come here if you were illustrating fantasy fiction books.

It took about an hour to slip around these dark drippy bowels of the earth.

If you ever want to get a sense of what it might be like walking around inside your own colon (complete and compacted with hard fecal like extruberances) come on down to Kents Cavern – you’ll fascinate yourself.

Words & Photos: Ian Nisbet

Real Tennis

real tennis(Illustration: Hazel Brown)

I am finding it incredibly difficult to keep abreast of the “scoring” in a tennis match, (writes Hazel) mostly to do with my misunderstanding of numbers, plus, the oddity of the scores ie: 15’s…30’s…40’s etc. So I thought it best to find out just how this game originated, how the scoring was invented and how it developed. Real Tennis: The History of the Game of Tennis.

Apparently, the game goes back in time to the  Greeks and Romans, who it seems loved playing tennis! It was a hand ball game back then..called..(.in French, jeu de paume). The Roman legionaries, moving into France (Gaul ), took the game with them playing it against the walls of the old towns,outside Castles and Monastaries. In fact the word, Tennis, is thought to stem from the Anglo-Norman imperative “tenetz!” A warning cry given by the server, “Take this! Play!”

The shape of the court, as we know it today, evolved slowly over the middle ages, by the end of the 15th century, approx dimensions were agreed on.

Tennis is traditionally thought of as the Game of Kings, and it was the ecclesiastical high-ups who first put their stamp of approval on the game. During the Middle Ages, players began to protect their hands with a leather glove. Later this glove was to acquire gut strings in the shape of a guitar; later a short handle was added to it – a battoir. This was covered in vellum, which led to the stealing of manuscripts by unscrupulous persons.

It is a well documented fact that between 1550 and 1700 there were no fewer than two hundred and fifty courts of various shapes and sizes in Paris alone. Henry V111 was a huge fan of the game, which historians now refer to as ‘real tennis’. There are many fascinating stories woven around this 15th century game of Kings and Princes.  I believe the scoring was developed by using a clock: 15 minutes…the first score..30 minutes..then 40 minutes and so on… So this explains the unusual numbering, which I was finding totally baffling to my none mathematical brain!