Teaboy is what I am. While I do occasionally sip coffee, it is the old stewed leaf juice that I need first thing to get my thingummybobs working. Unlike some, I have to be up and about for hours before I can bear coffee.
People ask me if I wake up grumpy in the morning. I reply no. I just bring her some coffee. Mrs X is wired differently. She once went into a Glasgow coffee shop and asked for a big cup of Americano. Two pounds, she was told. Then she asked how much for a refill. Told they were free, she immediately asked for two refills.
Even if we are now allowed back in that shop, I am worried at news the cups you get in Scotland are mostly stronger than those you buy in Spain or Italy. We Scots brew it, stew it and particularly percolate it so it’s stronger than they have it in the home of the Espresso. Gosh.
I will cut down but there is still nothing like endless coffee and shortbread to watch a film on TV. Sometimes an old film comes on the box and you get unexpectedly caught up in it. With so many channels where you can catch up on some of the older flicks for flick all. No charge.
At the weekend, Mrs X settled on the sofa with a glass of something else that was wet as the film Ivanhoe was starting. It’s Sir Walter Scott’s highly-imaginative yarn, of course, of derring-do in the 12-century as lionhearted Richard I returned from the crusades.
This was the 1982 made-for-TV version with Anthony Andrews and the master of cool, James Mason. She’s a sucker for these old films because they have all these awfully violent battles as they swing battleaxes and swords at each other’s heads and throats but not a drop of claret is actually seen being spilt.
Special effects had no need of ketchup. Although run through with swords and daggers, soldiers’ bodies lay prostrate. No seeping of crimson from severely injured horses and cattle. A bloodless coo.
In the book, the writer’s mastery of the language was evident. “Gurth, the son of Beowulph, is the born thrall of Cedric of Rotherwood,” he wrote. I know what thrall means. It is from the Gaelic word tràill. No, look it up yourself. About time, readers of this column did some work instead of leaving it all for me to do.
To the ladies: “I tell thee, proud Templar, that not in thy fiercest battles hast thou displayed more of thy vaunted courage than has been shown by woman when called upon to suffer by affection or duty.” Wonderful language by Sir Wally just to say all blones always get what they want. His words are so bright, they make your heart sing.
Herself was engrossed when I barged into the living room and I was ordered to pipe down. However, I quickly found got into that fancy lingo that was dreamed up by him wot wrote it. So when my Vino de Blossom Hill ran low I thought I would let loose some carefully-chosen mediaeval phraseology on yon goggle-eyed dame on the sofa gobbling up the last of the Maltesers.
“If you please, madam, I would address you. With thy beauteous look upon thy face, you with thy endless look at yon box of pictures in the corner of my chamber, wilt thou listen unto me?” Yes, it worked alright. The look on her mush. As her jaw slowly fell open at my eloquence, I followed that up with the direct command: “Recharge my goblet, wench.”
Straightaway I knew I shouldn’t have said that. The look on her face. I was gobsmacked. That was because, as she pushed past me in a supreme huff, her goblet smacked me right in the gob. It was an accident. I won’t sue. Just forgive me, please.
Now here’s a thing. The screenplay of the best-known Ivanhoe film with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Taylor was written by a Hollywood scriptwriter called Aeneas Mackenzie. Aye? Such a very northern Scottish name, I thought. Then I found out he also wrote Buffalo Bill from 1944 and Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. with Gregory Peck and James Robertson Justice, which was released in 1951. What’s my point?
He also wrote The Ten Commandments, which starred Charlton Heston and came out in 1956. It was no surprise he went for a film with such a Presbyterian title. That is because the Hollywood scriptwriter is officially listed on the international movies database as being from, yes, Stornoway. It’s true. Never having heard of him in my puff, I wonder if any dear readers will know anything of this fellow. He should be remembered. The boy done good.
After all, am I perchance related? Although he passed away in 1962, maybe a connection with Aeneas, however tenuous, would still get me onto the latest version of Ivanhoe which is about to start filming. Maybe they are looking for a producer, director, teaboy …