Saturday, 4 May 2013

After Heaven

Having speculated about heaven, I suppose one must also mention the other place, (although only while touching wood, of course).

I think my favourite vision of that unattractive region is the one Lord Redesdale, the father of the Duchess of Devonshire, came up with. He had a horror of anything sticky so, when his youngest daughter asked him what his definition of hell was, he answered, "Honey on my bowler hat."

I learnt this from an exceptionally funny article reposted from the Telegraph on the excellent Patrick Leigh Fermor blog here.


  1. When I was single and living in a group house, we briefly had a man living there who liked honey in his tea. By the time we tired of him and asked him to leave, there was no horizontal surface in the common areas without its honey. You could not see it, but anything you picked up--cup, plate, book--hesitated a little before it came free. Lord Redesdale would not have liked it. But then, as rendered by his daughter Nancy, he did not like going into other people's houses anyway.

    My wife remembers my housekeeping as it was when she met me, and I'm not sure she really believes there ever was somebody was asked to move out for being too messy. But there was.

  2. Yes, when you've chosen a story it is always best to stick to it, so to speak. There's some kind of short story to be wrenched from The Man who Loved Honey, don't you think?

  3. Thank you for the link to the story of the amazing Mitford family. I had no idea how many complications in family relationships were possible and yet how many of them could survive for so long. It becomes difficult to see them as real people and not caricatures, yet they are. Aren't they?

    1. I think their essence (alas there's only one of them left so I suppose I should say 'her essence') is that they go through life as if in an absurdist play in which they are caricatures of people making the best of the bad hand they've been given. I also think the surviving one's got a point when she complains that no-one is funny any more. My father - also of that generation - when in a good mood was funnier than anyone I've met in later generations, and so were others of his ilk.