Pot-pourri six-and-twenty


Somerset Maugham used to write his numbers “backwards”, German-style: six-and-twenty, sex und zwanzig. I don’t know if that was the rule in “oulde” english. Maugham had his heyday around the thirties. I’ve never read english numbers written so by anyone else. Regardless, here is Pot-pourri six-and-twenty. Fasten your seat belts.

The above: “Global warNing”. Paris, 2016. Don’t let Jane Birkin’s lovely eyes fool you: YOU have been warned. About Brexit. About Trump. About… what is next?


Barcelona. 2016. Photo (c)ourtesy Gini. (I haven’t got a clue what it is…)


Liberty Island, New York. November 8th. Source unknown.


Conakry, Guinea, West Africa. c.1960. My father is on the left, the Air France offices were close by. The tall tree in the background is called a “fromager”. I never understood then why the name, since it it did not produce “fromage”, cheese. In Latin America it is called Ceiba. At sunset, between the roots, a beggar used to sit down to panhandle. He was a leper. The first time I saw him, I remember asking my father: “Dad? Why does the man have no nose?”


My little sister, Gaëlle, portrait by my mother, Renée. c.1960.


The original. Saint-Leu-la-forêt, France, c.1960. On “summer” leave from Africa, I remember a ferocious cold. Global warMing had not started yet.

The Sphynx and pyramids at Gizeh, c.1938. Taken by my father just before WWII.


Colonial street window. c.17th century. Tlalpan, Mexico city, 2016.


Halloween in Tlalpan. Mexico city.


Cheetah and cubs, Serengeti, Tanzania, East Africa, c.1969. We were quite lucky to spot this mother and her 3 cubs. Cheetahs are much easier to approach than “Chui”, the leopard. For Cheetahs, litters generally have 3 to 4 cubs. All fluffy. 🙂 Cheetahs are easy to tame. Friends of ours in Nairobi had two adult cheetahs, living in the garden.


The Captain, c.1954, in Karachi, with Zahman, the bearer. I realize that Grandbaby Gonzalo, 6 months old the day after tomorrow, is not much younger… 🙂

Thank you for flying Equinoxio Timeways. Until next flight, y’all have fun naw!



35 thoughts on “Pot-pourri six-and-twenty

  1. Under this dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/twenty%E2%80%93six you find a definition of 26 as follows “six and 20 : two times 13” as your father used to write it. But you need to scroll down the page a little bit. And as a lot of German/English words have the same linguistic origin (six and twenty or sechs and zwanzig are obviously quite similar) may be in the Older English it was still common to write it in the way your father did it. The Latin way of writing the numbers is always the other way roud: twentysix, ventisei, vingt-six, a.s.o. Hope this helps ..

      • Lots of english speakers may read it. 🙂 But they are aware that 60% of english vocabulary comes from French. Via the Normands who were former Vikings. Weird.

      • Sorry, my wife is a Romanist and you made her laughing, really. So I will not try to explain you why Charlemagne is considered as a German king. Cultural misunderstandings can be sometimes amusing, but fortunately we now have Europe with open border and must not bother about such matters any more.

      • Hehe! By Romanist, do you mean Latinist? I do agree Charlemagne was a german king. The Franks were a germanic tribe. But they were few, only 70,000 I think, so they took over Gaul and adopted the local gallo-roman language. And spoke it with a german accent. :=) Which is why french is the only Romance language with a german accent and pronunciation: The E is german, the R, the G, etc. 😉

  2. Fascinating photos of the Sphinx, Brian. What an interesting time to be in Egypt!
    I’m not an expert, but I think numbers were often used in the Somerset Maugham way. The very famous nursery rhyme Sing a Song of Sixpence has the line “Four and Twenty Blackbirds baked in pie”. Just about every English child would have learned that until very recent times. It dates from the 18th century, so it was in common suage then!
    Hope all’s well, Paul

    • A lovely song (just checked it out. My nursery rhymes were in Frog). About Egypt, it is strange, my father sort of… passed thorough without seeing much. Such was the colonial life then. European compounds where they lived together with very little contact with local life. I mean, he spent all his childhood in Egypt without learning Arabic! A childhood friend of his did though. And spoke fluent. 🙂

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