Tuesday, 18 March 2008


So there you have a brief exploration of two perfect English locations created by E F Benson.

For me Riseholme will always mean Piggy and Goosie romping about the stocks on the Green, Daisy Quantock falling prey to her curry cook guru and the fraudulent Princess Popoffski, Georgie Pillson's very platonic crush on Olga Bracely and Lucia reading Pepino's Flotsam and Jetsam next to Perdita's border at the Hurst.

Favourite images of Tilling include the question "Any news" when friends meet during morning marketing, Major Benjy shouting Quai Hai for his breakfast, Quaint Irene always behaving endearingly badly, Diva Plaistow failing to control the mangy Paddy, the Padre's strange talk in archaic Scotch and mouse-like Evie's squeaks.

Susan Wyse, swathed in sables and wearing her MBE, waves from the Royce with the late Blue Birdie pinned to her hat and Algernon bows to one and all.

In the meantime Georgie dusts his bibelots whilst Lucia, in mayoral robes, yet again gives a rendition of the Moonlight Sonata.

Through all this, a resentful Elizabeth Mapp-Flint looks on with gritted teeth.

Bridge, gossip, snobbery, drama and conflict: Riseholme and Tilling have it all. I normally re-read the Mapp and Lucia canon at least once a year - usually in that dreary few weeks after Christmas. It's always like a pleasant holiday to revisit unchanging Riseholme and Tilling: I commend it.

Until next time, Au reservoir!


Here are some brief answers to the Mapp and Lucia Reference Quiz in the Introduction. I emphasise that they are intentionally pithy and are generally amplified in the relevant entry in the Glossary. Subject to that, here they are:
  1. Who was Miss Wethered: Joyce Wethered (1901-1997) , arguably the greatest female golfer of all time
  2. What does "lobgesang" mean: hymn of praise.
  3. Who was Sir Sidney Lee : editor of the Dictionary of National Biography and expert on Elizabethan art and politics and much else.
  4. What are the Vanderbilt Conventions: opening bids in bridge devised by Harold S Vanderbilt.
  5. What is a "schwarm" : a sentimental enthusiasm or crush.
  6. Who was Mr Montagu Norman: Governor of the Bank of England 1920-1944.
  7. Who said "Wait and see": the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, repeatedly in about 1910.
  8. What is a Commination Service: a service marking the beginning of Lent, including a general accusation of transgressions.
  9. Who allegedly said "My lips are sealed": PM Stanley Baldwin on 10 December 1935. He actually said, "My lips are not yet unsealed."
  10. What is Culbertson: a bidding system in contract bridge devised by Ely Culbertson (1891-1955).
  11. What does "Sursum corda" mean: Lift up your hearts.
  12. What is "shikarri": big game hunter or his guide.
  13. What was "Pretty Fanny's way": whatever goes with the territory and must be accepted from some kinds of exceptional person - from"An Elegy: to an Old Beauty" by Thomas Parnell.
  14. What does "Wigs on the Green" mean: a warning that an altercation will ensue.
  15. What was the Chantrey Bequest: a large bequest of funds to the Trustees of the Royal Academy to buy British art of the highest quality for the nation.
  16. Who was Quintus Curtius : actually the biographer of Alexander the Great. Uncharacteristically, Fred seems to have confused him with Mettus or Marcus Curtius who, according to legend, jumped into the abyss and saved Rome.
  17. Who was Coue: a French psychologist and pharmacist (1857-1926) who introduced a method of psychotherapy and self-help based on optimistic autosuggestion.
  18. What is samite: heavy fabric of silk often woven with gold or silver thread, used in the Middle Ages for expensive clothing.
  19. Who said "I shall not pass this way again" : Stephen Grellett (1773-1853).
  20. What was the Carlisle Holbein: possibly the gift to the National Gallery in 1909 of Hans Holbein's portrait of Christine of Denmark by Rosalind Frances Stanley, Countess of Carlisle - unless you know better!    

                           APPENDIX 2

Here are some brief answers to the Mapp and Lucia New Year Reference Quiz 2012 in the Introduction. They are reletively pithy and are generally amplified in the relevant entry in the Glossary. Subject to that, here they are:

1. What is an Elzevir?

The Elzevirs were seventeenth century Dutch booksellers renowned for printing, with high typographical standards, reliable yet inexpensive classical texts in a small format, largely serving university needs – which came to be known generically as “Elzevirs”. Their classical series in the petit form opened with Horace and Ovid in 1629

2. What does “Desipere in loco” mean?

"to indulge in trifling at the proper time." It appears to be taken from Horace: 4 Odes, xii. 28 Dulce est Desipere in Loco - "It is delightful to play the fool occasionally" or perhaps even "it is nice to throw aside one's dignity and relax at the proper time."

3. What does “scalloped” mean?

Scalloping is usually achieved by baking in a casserole with milk, cream or a sauce and often with bread crumbs

4. What was unusual about the inhabitants of the dovecote at “The Hurst”?

Lucia had several pigeons of Copenhagen china, which were both immortal as regards cats and also carried on the suggestion of humour in furniture

5. What is a “burning ghaut”?

Based on the Hindi "ghat" (or steps), the term "ghaut" refers to a series of steps leading down to water, often a holy river, such as the stairs in Benares or Varanasi to access the Ganges. A "burning ghaut" is a level spot or funeral pyre at the top of a river ghaut, often on a levee or raised bank, on which Hindus cremate their dead. The term is used in the writings of Rudyard Kipling.

6. Who or what is a “Contadina”?

A Contadina is a female Italian peasant or perhaps, more lyrically, "a woman of the fields”

7. What is “stertorous”?

Marked or accompanied by heavy snoring or breathing in this way - like Lady Ambermere’s pug

8. Who was Hermes?

An Olympian god in Greek mythology, Hermes, the son of Zeus and the Pleiade Maia, is messenger of the gods - identified with the Roman god Mercury - sharing his role with Iris. He is the patron of boundaries and travellers who cross them, and also of shepherds, the cunning of thieves, orators, poets, athletics, weights and measures, invention and of commerce generally

9. Who was Gemaliel?

Grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder, Gamaliel the Elder was a leading authority in the Sanhedrin in the mid first century. He is celebrated in the New Testament as a highly respected Pharisee doctor of Jewish law who advised his fellow members of the Sanhedrin not to put to death St Peter and the Apostles. His authoritative advice was unwelcome, but acted upon.

10. Who wrote “Sally in our Alley”?

The "Sally in our Alley" mentioned appears to have been the original 1725 song of Henry Carey (1693 - 1743), "Sally in our Alley," which had long been a traditional English country dance. Since "Queen Lucia" was published in 1920, it does not appear that Fred was referring to "Sally in our Alley" the romantic Ealing comedy film directed by Maurice Elvey which made a star of Gracie Fields, which included what became her signature song. The film was not released until 1931 - but its title and theme clearly referred back to Carey's original song

11. Who was Madame Blavatski?

Controversial theosophist, traveller and prolific writer Helena Petrovna Blavatsky/Blavatski (nee von Hahn) (1831 - 1891) set up the Theosophical Society. As Editor of "The Theosophist" magazine, she influenced spiritualism and related fields. Many critics were very sceptical of her views and denounced her as a fraud - and much else besides

12. Where does the phrase "All the perfumes of Arabia" come from?

The line "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand,” comes from Act V, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's "Macbeth."

13. Who wrote "Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song”?

This is a quotation from "Prothalamion" by Edmund Spenser (1552 -1599). The line is also echoed in The Fire Sermon in "The Waste Land" by T.S.Eliot, whose publication in 1922 pre-dated that of "Lucia in London" in 1927.

14. Who wrote “The very pulse of the machine"?

The line comes from "She was a Phantom of Delight" a poem written by William Wordsworth (1770 -1850) in 1807, probably about his wife Mary Hutchinson

15. What links Miss Mapp and Clement Scott?

Poppies: Miss Mapp adorned an outfit with cut-out red poppies and Clement Scott (1841-1904) wrote a popular poem called "The Garden of Sleep" where the term "Poppy-land" first appeared

16. What have Miss Mapp and King John in common?

Both lost items in the Wash. Miss Mapp was extremely cross that the laundry in Tilling mislaid items in the wash that appear to have been unmentionable if not invaluable. Similarly, in his final campaign King John reputedly lost an invaluable part of his baggage train - including the Crown Jewels - as he crossed one of the tidal estuaries which empties in to the Wash.

17. What does Pepinos’ late Aunt Amy Lucas have in common with singer and writer Sandy Denny, actors Kenneth More and Daniel Massey, comedian Arthur Askey and J Bruce Ismay, MD of the White Star Line?

They were all laid to rest at Putney Vale Cemetery. Opened in 1891, it stands on 47 acres of parkland, surrounded by Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park.

18. What does Fred have in common with Sir Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones?

Both quoted from the poem "Adonais" - an elegy on the death of John Keats, author of Endymion, Hyperion etc - by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Benson quotes the line in Chapter 7 of "Miss Mapp" whilst Mr Jagger recited verses from the piece on 3 July 1969 in Hyde Park at a memorial concert following the death of guitarist, Brian Jones.

19. Who was the “Infidel poet”?

Referring to the tragic early death of perhaps the finest English Romantic lyric poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) an obituary in "The Courier," a leading Tory newspaper in London remarked somewhat ungenerously : "Shelley, the writer of some infidel poetry, has been drowned: now he knows whether there is a God or no."

20. When or where is “The voice that breath’d over Eden” usually sung?

At weddings


Here are some brief answers to the Mapp and Lucia Spring Reference Quiz 2012 in the Introduction. They are reletively pithy and are generally amplified in the relevant entry in the Glossary. Subject to that, here they are:

What item did both Algernon Wyse and his sister Amelia, Contessa di Faraglione wear? A monocle

What motto is inscribed upon Lucia’s bench in Perdita’s garden? A stone bench bore the carved motto "Come thou north wind, and blow thy south, that my gardens spices may flow forth."

What is an odontoglossum? An orchid.  Amongst the most varied and colourful of the orchid family, the intricate veining and spotting of the spectacular and flamboyant flowers of the odontoglossum (Greek odon (tooth) and glossa (tongue)), has led to it being called the "Butterfly orchid."

What is suttee? Suttee is the Indian custom of a widow burning herself soon after her husband's death, either on his funeral pyre or by some other means of immolation. It was outlawed in India by the British in 1829 and became rare in India - and even more infrequent in Riseholme in Worcestershire.

What is “La ci darem?” The beautiful duet "La ci darem" is performed in Act I Scene 2 of "Don Giovanni" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, premiered in October 1787.

What is a palfrey? "Palfrey" usually refers to expensive, well-bred riding horses in the Middle Ages and later, which were often popular with ladies - even some queens - and nobles for ceremonial occasions, hunting and riding generally.

What is Della Robbia? Italian sculptors, the della Robbias from Florence were noted for terra cotta roundels of the kind featured above the archway in the garden of "Mallards.” Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) developed a pottery glaze that made his pieces more durable outdoors and suitable for the exterior of buildings. Luca's nephew Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525) was also a sculptor as was his grand-nephew, Giovanni, specialising in ceramics, especially altar pieces made of glazed terra cotta which were more colourful, less costly and cheaper to transport than marble.

What was the Neapolitan Narcissus? The original of the Narcissus was discovered in 1862, in what has been described as a "non-descript house in Pompeii" and was perhaps the last antique statue from Italy to enjoy considerable fame, or at least sufficient to merit replication in a garden in Tilling in Sussex.

• Who was Duse? Often simply known as "Duse," Eleonora Duse (1858-1924) was a famous Italian actress, a rival to the great Sarah Bernhardt and arguably of equivalent stature in the history of theatre.

What happened at Richborough? Evocatively set amidst the east Kent marshes, close to the Isle of Thanet to the north of Sandwich, is the settlement of Richborough (Rutupiae). It is recognised as the landing place of the Claudian Invasion in AD43, comprising four legions under Aulus Plautius. Now some two miles from the sea, Richborough stood at at the southern end of the Wantsum Channel, which is now silted up. It was recognised as the Gateway to Britain, long before Dover. A Roman fort was built on the site of this first landing to which walls were added in AD287 with an 80 foot arch. It became an increasingly large civilian settlement with temples, an amphitheatre and mansio.

When did the Churching of Women take place? The Churching of Women is a ceremony wherein a blessing is given to mothers after recovery from childbirth. While not a required ritual it should be carried out as soon as the new mother is able to leave the house.

Whom did Lucia, as a child, see perform Lady Macbeth? Dame Ellen Terry (1847-1928), perhaps the leading Shakespearean actress of her time. In a career spanning nearly seven decades, Ellen Terry appeared in Shakespeare - notably Portia in the Merchant of Venice and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing - Shaw and Ibsen. Ellen Terry appeared as Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth" in 1888, in a production featuring incidental music by Arthur Sullivan.

Who was President of the Browning Society? Isabel Poppit, free-spirited daughter of Susan Poppit, later Susan Wyse. Let Mallards Cottage to Georgie and took a small unplumbed brown bungalow with extremely limited facilities amongst the sand dunes where she could pursue her taste for a more uncomplicated life and a regime of regular sun baths. Isabel's sun baths each usually took about three hours - if fine. Her mother Susan commented that Isabel called it the Browning Society and she must not miss a meeting.

Who enjoyed a “villegiatura” and what is it? Algernon Wyse usually came back to Tilling about mid-October, and let slip allusions to his enjoyable visits to Scotland and his villeggiatura (so he was pleased to express it) with his sister the Contessa di Faraglione at Capri. The term "villeggiatura" means a country holiday or stay at a country seat.

Who wrote “Home is the sailor, home from the sea”? The line came first from Robert Louis Stevenson who in "Requiem" wrote:   Home is the sailor, home from the sea,  And the hunter home from the hill."

Later, as a tribute to Stevenson, referred to as "RLS," A.E.Hausman wrote:   XXII - R.L.S. Home is the sailor, home from sea:  'Tis evening on the moorland free...

Where did Georgie, Lucia and Olga lunch after the gala opening of “Lucrezia”? The Ritz in Piccadilly

Where did Olga Bracely hold her villa party? The fashionable resort of Le Touquet in Northern France

Where did Lucia hide and weather her replica of Major Benjy’s crop? Amidst the foliage of a Clematis Montana outside her bedroom window at “Mallards House

Who said “Peccavi”? Elizabeth Mapp-Flint regarding her unilateral rejection of Lucia and Georgie’s submissions of pictures to the art exhibition in Tilling. "Peccavi" is Latin for, "I have sinned." Most famously the word reputedly formed the short, notable message dispatched to his superiors by General Sir Charles Napier (1782-1853). Napier had been ordered only to put down the rebels in the area and, by conquering the whole of Sindh Province, in what is now Pakistan, he had greatly exceeded his mandate. His punning message "Peccavi" (I have sinned (Sindh)) therefore cleverly encompasses both his conquest and transgression. Some authorities contend, however, that the true author of the pun was a teenage girl, Catherine Winkworth who submitted it to "Punch," which then printed it as factual report in 1844

What was the Portland Club? Reputedly the oldest bridge club in the world, founded some time before 1815 as the Stratford Club. The Portland Club was named as such in 1825. Based in London, it was the recognised authority on the games of whist and bridge

APPENDIX FOUR                                                                                 

Here are some brief answers to the Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy- "Queen Lucia"-Winter-Trivia Quiz 2013. They are reletively pithy and are generally amplified in the relevant entry in the Glossary. Subject to that, here they are:

1. Where do the words “solemn gladness” come from?

“In Memoriam” by Alfred Lord Tennyson:
“From every house the neighbours met,
The streets were fill’d with joyful sound,
A solemn gladness even crown’d
The purple brows of Olivet.”

2. Where is the quotation commencing “Much have I travelled…” carved and where does it originate?

The quotation is carved upon a bench in the garden at “The Hurst” in Riseholme. It is the opening of “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” a sonnet written by John Keats in October 1816

3. What does “troppo caldo” mean?

Too hot, in Italian

4. Other than Lucia, who said “too ill-advised, too sudden”?

Daisy Quantock refers to Lucia's oft-repeated quotation from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," by Juliet in Act 2, Scene ii

5. Who prefaced every remark by “Haw, hum”?

Colonel Boucher in Riseholme, regularly said “Haw, hum” often with the addition of “By Jove!”

6. What is a stymie?

In golf, a stymie is a situation on the green when an opponent's ball is blocking the line between the hole and the ball to be played: an obstructing ball may now be lifted and replaced by a marker. The term has come to mean an obstruction or impediment.

7. Other than being plays by William Shakespeare, what do “Othello”, “Hamlet” and “Midsummer Night’s Dream” have in common?

They are the names of bedrooms at “The Hurst,” the last being that of Lucia

8. What is the origin of “terrible as an army with banners”

Here the description is being applied to Daisy Quantock after the burglary by and flight of the Guru. Again, this is a quote from the King James Bible: Song Of Solomon (Canticles) Chapter 6: 4~10

9. Who said “Thy kingdom is divided”

Described in the book of Daniel, the Babylonian king Belshazzar profaned the sacred vessels of the enslaved Israelites. As prophesied by the writing on the wall and interpreted by Daniel, Belshazzar was killed and succeeded by Darius the Mede. The original phrase "Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians" is taken from Daniel 5:28. This verse is part of Daniel’s interpretation of the famous “handwriting on the wall”. Daniel predicted that Babylon would be divided and given to the Medes and Persians who were camped outside the city. To Lucia, Olga's new ways including romps, the gramophone and cigarettes threatened her previously unchallenged dominance in the village.

10. What does “Lingua Toscana in bocca Romana," mean?

The phrase Lucia employed Lingua Toscana in bocca Romana (the language of Tuscany as pronounced by a native of Rome) refers to the elegant ideal for spoken standard Italian. As ever, however Lucia was only seeking by sophistry to conceal her utter lack of fluency and did not fool the knowing Georgie one iota.

11. What is a Margherita?

A daisy in Italian – hence Princess Popoffski referred to Daisy Quantock as Margherita

12. What are accidentals?

An accidental is a note whose pitch is not a member of a scale or mode indicated by the most recently applied key signature.

13. What did Olga Bracely mean by “the best sort of Claude”?

This is most likely a painterly reference. The strongest case can be made for Claude Lorrain (born Gellee, c.1600/1604 - 1682) who was traditionally referred to just as "Claude" and noted particularly for his landscape paintings.

It can also be argued that a modern young performer such as Olga Bracely would be an admirer of, Claude Monet (1840-1926), the founder of French impressionist painting. Monet is recognised as an exponent of plein-air landscape painting and for his mastery of colour and light and the depiction of sun and water, notably on the Thames. However, if Olga had meant the French impressionist, perhaps she would have been more likely to refer to "the best sort of Monet"?

14. What kind of piano did Lucia play in Riseholme?

A Steinway Grand piano

15. Name three authors whose works were set out in Elzevirs on display at “The Hurst”

Horace, Persius and Juvenal

16. When is “Domani”?
Tomorrow - in la bella lingua

17. Who was also married at the same time as Colonel Boucher and Mrs Jane Weston?

Their servants Elizabeth Luton and Atkinson

18. What is the name of Olga Bracely’s husband?

Georgie Shuttleworth (although on one occasion he is apparently incorrectly referred to as “Charlie”)

19. What is a “promesso”

A male betrothed person –thus Colonel Boucher was promesso of Jane Weston

20. What is the origin of the phrase “a bow drawn at a venture”?

This phrase means to make a random remark which may hit the truth and, is also taken from the King James Bible, 1 Kings 22:34: "A certain man drew a bow at a venture and smote the King of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded."


Here are some brief answers to the "HE-WHO-IS-TIRED-OF- "LUCIA IN LONDON"-IS-TIRED-OF-LIFE- QUIZ 2013." They are reletively pithy and are generally amplified in the relevant entry in the Glossary. Subject to that, here they are:

1. When Daisy Quantock asked Georgie Pillson, What do you do with slugs, Georgie?” what did he reply?

Georgie panted out, “Pretend you don’t see them”

2. What biblical incident did Fred say Daisy Quantock’s weeding most resembled?

The Slaughter of the Innocents

3. Lucia wore a little white cap to mourn the death of Pepinos’ Aunt Amy. On what occasion did she wear one before?

The death of Queen Victoria on 22nd January 1901.

4. Whom did Georgie Pillson say “sounded not like a she but a he”?

His sisters Hermione and Ursula Pillson

5. What is a Kit-cat?

A portrait, less than half-length, including the hands

6. Whom did Lucia’s smart friends from London say Daisy Quantock resembled when she hurried by on the Green in Riseholme with averted face?

The Red Queen from “Alice in Wonderland”

7. Apart from the question of good manners, why was it wrong to make this analogy?

The Red Queen is a fictional character from the novel “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll. The Queen of Hearts is the character in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” The Red Queen and Queen of Hearts are often confused, although Carroll himself confirmed the two are very different.

8. What term was used for a “wireless” on its introduction to Riseholme?


9. What was the origin of humble pie?

A pie often made from offal, such as the heart and entrails of a deer. An Umble pie was by mistaken word division from numbles, the offal of a deer, from the Old French nombles, ultimately from Latin, lumbulus, a little loin

10. What is a fibula?

The leg bone on the lateral side of the tibia. In around 1670, it was used to describe a clasp or brooch. It derives from the Latin fibula, a clasp or brooch.

11. What are finials and crockets?

Respectively architectural devices usually in stone to decorate an apex or gable and a hook-shaped decorative element common in Gothic architecture

12. What is moraine?

Any glacially formed accumulation of debris such as soil or rock

13. Who was “SP”?

Stinkpot, Lord Shyton, notorious, soon to be ex-husband of Babs Shyton

14. Whom did Tony Limpsfield dismiss thus: “Simply nothing to say about him. He has trousers and a hat…”

Pepino – Philip Lucas, husband of Lucia

15. Where did Aggie Sandeman call a “foul spot”?


16. Whom did Lucia describe as having “that little vein of coarseness”?

Adele, Duchess of Brixton

17. Who said “I don’t know of any standard of valuation for the old clothes of deceased queens”?

Robert Quantock

18. What did Daisy Quantock plant under her window in Riseholme?

Brussels sprouts or broccoli

19. In what untoward activity was Mr Simkinson the gardener engaging in the potting shed to bring about his dismissal by Daisy Quantock?

His crossword and smoking a pipe

20. What did Lucia suggest was the cause of death of Lady Ambermere’s Pug?

Cream and cake


Here are some brief answers to the "MISS MAPP TRIVIA - QUIZ 2013." They are reletively pithy and are generally amplified in the relevant entry in the Glossary. Subject to that, here they are:   
1. What is curveting?

To leap about or frolic, when applied to a horse – or Isabel Poppit

2. What was the traditional public greeting between friends on meeting in Riseholme and Tilling?

“Any news?”

3. What did the Padre give up for Lent?

Playing bridge

4. What is Tilling’s favourite “delicious malaprop?”

“Au reservoir!”

5. Where did Miss Mapp first hear the delicious malaprop used?

Riseholme, during a visit to friends

6. What piano did Susan Poppit own (a) a Bechstein (b) a Bluchner or (c) a Broadwood?

An upright Bluchner

7. What did Isabel Poppit collect: (a) Spoons (b) Spoonbills or (c) Spoonerisms?

Spoonerisms - in the back of the book where she collected Malapropisms

8. Name the three main ingredients of the Poppit family recipe for redcurrant fool

Redcurrants, champagne and old brandy

9. What did Queen Mary say to Susan Poppit on her award of the MBE?

“So pleased!”

10. Who owned the toy shop in Tilling?

Mr Dabnet

11. When modelling as Adam for artist Quaint Irene Coles, what did Mr Hopkins, the fishmonger, wear: (a) long johns (b) nothing – au naturel (c) little bathing drawers (d) a snood and a splash of Old Spice?

Little bathing drawers

12. When she met Miss Mapp lounging outside the door of her new studio, as what was Quaint Irene Coles dressed: (a) a lobster (b) a jockey (c) Mussolini or (d) a nun?

A jockey

13. When Diva found Miss Mapp was amply stocked with coal, she conjectured that she was also hoarding food. Fred remarked that luck attends the bold and constructive thinker: “the apple…fell far from the tree precisely when Newton's mind was groping after the law of gravity...." Was Newton (a) the star of the film “Treasure Island” (b) the seventeenth century English physicist and mathematician, or (c) the town in Massachusetts after which they named the delicious Fig Newton biscuit

A seventeenth century physicist and mathematician

14. The Wyses originated in Whitchurch. Where did the Mapps come from: (a) Margate (b) Mumbai (c) Maidstone or (d) Milwaukee?


15. What was “snapdragon”?

A parlour game in which raisins or grapes are snapped from burning brandy and eaten. Played in England, Canada and the US, traditionally on Christmas Eve

16. When Major Benjy and Captain Puffin were inebriated on the night of the famous challenge, what word could they not pronounce?


17. Sitting in her crimson lake gown, depressed about the relationship between Mrs Poppit and Mr Wyse, Miss Mapp was “weary of earth”. Where does this phrase come from?

A nineteenth century hymn

18. In what soup did Captain Puffin drown after suffering a stroke: (a) petite marmite (b) oxtail (c) parsnip and coriander (d) mock turtle


19. When the Padre saw Major Benjy’s snowdrop button hole what did he remark?

“Snow drops, i fegs!”

20. Whom did Fred say spoke of the “birthday of her life”

Miss Rossetti


Here are some brief answers to the "Mapp and Lucia Trivia Quiz 2013."   They are generally brief and are sometimes amplified in the relevant entry in the Glossary. Subject to that, here they are:   
1. Which ladies were the main rungs on the “ladder of lessors and lessees” in Tilling? (Pray remember, two rungs does not make the answer right)       Elizabeth Mapp, Diva Plaistow and Irene Coles

2. What does “Cattivo ragazzo!” mean?            " Naughty boy!"

3. Where in 1588 did Queen Elizabeth address her troops from a white palfrey?       Tilbury

4. Who owned the palfrey ridden in the pageant?       The milkman in Riseholme

5. What part in the pageant did Georgie Pillson say Daisy Quantock might just as well have offered Lucia as that of Drake’s wife?                 "A confused noise within"

6. Which newspaper photographed Georgie Pillson in his costume as Drake?      "The Birmingham Gazette"

7. What did Fred call “the magic casement”?    The window of the Garden Room at "Mallards"

8. Where does the quotation “the calmness of despair” originate?    "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allen Poe

9. When Lucia had again performed the “Moonlight Sonata” at an interminable po di mu at “Mallards” to what or whom did Major Benjy say he was “devoted”: (a) Beethoven (b) the Faeries, bless ‘em (c) Champagne (d) Shopping, or (e) Chopin?               (e) Chopin

10. Who was “that baleful bilinguist”?       Amelia, Contessa di Faraglione

11. With what word – in English - did Elizabeth Mapp test Georgie Pillson’s knowledge of Italian? For a million extra points, what was the word in Italian?      Paperknife - in Italian, "tagliacarte"

12. What Latin phrase did Lucia apply to Georgie Pillson for obtaining the draft letter in Italian from Mrs Brocklebank?       Deus ex  machina

13. Where did Georgie Pillson holiday during the Contessa’s stay in Tilling and Lucia’s feigned influenza: (a) Florence (b) Formby (c) Foljambe (d) Frinton, or (e) Folkestone?        (e) Folkestone

14. What did Major Benjy say Georgie Pillson’s yachting cap was “only fit for”?      A popinjay

15. During supper at “Starling Cottage” after Lucia and Elizabeth had been swept out to sea in the flood, what did Major Benjy exclaim (famously enough to be the subject of a question on “Mastermind”)?  "Thank  God I live on a hill!"

16. What did Lucia detest: (a) snow geese (b) Snow White (c) snowdrops, or (d) showgirls?      (c) Snowdrops

17. Who found the Padre’s new umbrella lost in the flood on Boxing Day 1930?   The Padre of the Roman Catholic church

18. Which solicitor drew up Lucia’s will?    Mr Causton

19. What make or brand of pyjamas did Major Benjy wear?    Jaeger

20. What “sad narcotic exercise” did Georgie Pillson enjoy?       Needlework


Here are some brief answers to the "Lucia's Progress" Trivia Quiz 2013. Since the questions are all simply multi-choice, the correct answer is indicated by emboldening and underlining.  They are sometimes amplified in the relevant entry in the Glossary.

1. In what shares did Lucia first invest in her career in finance /speculation: (a) Syrian Army (b) Siriami (c) Sliced Salami, or (d) Slightly Barmy?

2. In what career was Catherine Winterglass engaged before becoming an investor/speculator: (a) Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University (b) Top model  (c) Governess, or (d) Welder?

3. Whom did Lucia suggest Georgie Pillson resembled in his Van Dyk goatee: (a) Gelasius (b) Godfrey Wynn (c) General Haig, or (d) Geraldo?

4. Where did Major and Mrs Mapp-Flint honeymoon: (a) Morecambe (b) Monaco (c) Margate, or (d) Monte Carlo?

5. With what beverages did the Mapp-Flints celebrate their coup at the Casino: (a) Vermouth and Absinthe (b) Brown ale and Babycham (c) Lager top and a Snowball, or (d) Champagne and Port and lemon?

6. Which of the following did Fred say Lucia unable to do: (a) knit (b) arm wrestle (c) play the banjolele or (d) swim?

7. With what malady was Georgie Pillson afflicted: (a) Swine ‘flu (b) Shingles (c) Sciatica, or (d) Sinusitis?

8. What did Lucia call Beethoven: (a) “deevy” (b) “deafy” (c) “dopey”, or (d) “Deidre”?

9. How did Lucia describe Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony: (a) “A Walk in the Black Forest” (b) “Fate Knocking at the Door” (c) “Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” or (d) “Poptastic”

10. What did Quaint Irene playfully call Georgie: (a) “Itsy-bitsy Casanova” (b) “Roguey-poguey Romeo” (c) “Rinky-dinky Tinkerbell” or (d) “Rootin’ – tootin’ – high–fallutin’ Don Juan”?

11. Which of the following did Lucia not consider trying as she approached her fiftieth birthday: (a) flying (b) public exhibitions of physical drill (c) circus skills or (d) speculation in shares?

12. How old was Elizabeth Mapp estimated to be shortly after she married Major Benjy: (a) 24 (b) 33 (c) 43 or (d) 76?

13. On reading Lucia’s volume “Health in the Home” what did Georgie feel might cure Foljambe’s moroseness: (a) Camomile (b) Camembert (c) Calomel or (d) Cannabis?

14. When Lucia spoke to Georgie of “my Attic day” was she speaking of: (a) promoting Greek culture (b) sorting out jumble for the Church sale (c) lagging her loft with insulation or (d) hiding in the rafters of “Mallards House” each Tuesday to avoid Elizabeth Mapp-Flint?

15. Which of the following was not a member of the Pankhurst family: (a) Emmeline (b) Christabel (c) Sylvia or (d) Elizabeth?

16. What was Elizabeth Mapp’s favourite colour: (a) Taupe (b) Apple green (c) Biscuit or (d) Puce?

17. What was the birth-weight of the baby of Amelia, Contessa di Faraglione: (a) 6lbs (b) 8 lbs (c) 11 lbs or (d) 27 lbs?

18. What term did Lucia use to describe Elizabeth Mapp’s feigned pregnancy: (a) window-dressing (b) wind egg (c) wind–up or (d) pickled egg?

19. What word did the letters “APO” on glass found under the garden of “Mallards House” come from: (a) Apollo (b) Apology (c) Apollinaris or (d) Apoplexy?

20. What did “Percy’s gay brother,” Georgie call the call the broken pipe for which they were searching at “Mallards House:” (a) fragrant and floral (b) noisy and noisesome (c) active and stinkful or (d) baleful and odoriferous?


Here are some brief answers to the "Trouble for Lucia" Trivia Quiz 2013. Since the questions are all simply multi-choice, the correct answer is indicated by emboldening and underlining.  They are sometimes amplified in the relevant entry in the Glossary

1.  What did Georgie Pillson call Lucia’s affectations as Mayor: (a) egalo-megalo-mayorolo mania (b) a sad, bad, power-mad fad (c) an insane, vain bane or (d) an unfair, hard-to-bear mayoral nightmare?

2. What did Georgie suggest Lucia would allow him to do at her Mayoral Banquet (a) perform the cabaret (b) jump out of a cake (c) act as toastmaster or (d) hand the cheese?

3. What did Lucia claim was traditionally used to deliver fish from Tilling to the Royal Court in London (a) pigs of Tilling (b) Shetland ponies (c) mules or (d) camels?

4. Of which liner did Georgie dream: (a) Titanic (b) Lusitania (c) Queen Mary or (d) Love Boat?

5. What did Quaint Irene call Botticelli’s Venus (a) “an anaemic flapper” (b) “a blowsy slapper” (c) “an urban rapper” or (d) “a sweetie wrapper”?

6. What colour was Georgie’s new dinner suit: (a) apple green (b) ruby red (c) biscuit colour or (d) shocking pink?

7. On what basis did Lucia open Diva’s tea shoppe: (a) incognita (b) in absentia (c) in flagrante delicto or (d) in mourning?

8. What did Susan Wyse tell Lucia that “it’s when we get on in life we must be careful about”: (a) pills (b) wills (c) hills or (d) thrills?

9. What did Lucia wish to establish between Tilling and London: (a) the Tilling Pottery Train (b) the Royal Fish Express (c) the Sussex Seafood Steamer or (d) the Cinque Ports Whelk and Winkle Wagon?

10. Which of the following did Algernon Wyse not specify as the comforts of interests in the life of his wife Susan, MBE: (a) her fur coat (b) her Royce (c) her shopping (d) her bridge or (e) her enthusiastic solo performances of freestyle jazz tap?

11. To what did Algernon Wyse attribute the faint smell in the vicinity of Blue Birdie’s shrine: (a) escaping gas (b) defective sewers (c) defective taxidermy, or (d) quail from Capri being “not quite what it should be”?

12. What did Georgie mean when he said he was going to “tickle her up about the fire pot”: (a) tease Lucia about twice knocking over the workman’s brazier whilst riding her bicycle (b) playing a popular Edwardian parlour game (c) essaying preliminary connubialities or (d) reviving another ancient Tilling Mayoral tradition, as in beating the bounds or throwing hot pennies to urchins.

13. What property of Elizabeth Mapp-Flint was delivered in error to Lucia: (a) a pair of dentures (b) an item of ladies’ intimate apparel (c) a tin of emulsion in biscuit colour or (d) a leather riding crop?

14. For what alleged offence was Lucia summonsed to appear before Tilling Magistrates: (a) insider dealing in shares (b) illegal gambling at Diva’s tea shoppe (c) noise pollution for playing the pianoforte after 10pm. or (d) dangerous riding upon her bicycle?

15. When both ladies were “so pleased with their dialectic” and Elizabeth Mapp-Flint said she would “pop in for tea”, what did Diva say that would be: (a) “charming” (b) “alarming” (c) “calming” or (d) “disarming”?

16. To what did Lucia say that Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony contained “the key”: (a) the Master’s Soul (b) The Master’s Piano (c) the Master’s Front Door or (d) the Master’s Shed?

17. What did Georgie say was Lucia’s “real metier”: “to do a good deed every day” (b) “to render the trivialities of life intense for others” (c) “to Morris dance and play the harmonica” or (d) “to climb every mountain and ford every stream”?

18. When introducing himself to the audience before his talk, Major Benjy described himself as a “plain old campaigner who had seen a good deal” of what in his time: (a) Chicago (b) Shakira (c) Shikarri or (d) Skegness?

19. For what did Susan Wyse confuse Olga Bracely’s surname on her first visit to tilling: (a) Bracegirdle (d) Bracing (c) Bracelet or (d) Braemar?

20. Whom did Lucia belatedly describe as “the first composer in Europe”: (a) Signor Cortese (b) Beethoven (c) Ivor Novello (d) dainty Scarlatti?


1 comment:

Pamela said...

Thank you for a marvellous read.

Pamela Knight, New York