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Ten Tall Men is wonderfully strange, I just listened to it and read the lyrics. it is really marvelous and completely unique.
Ten Tall Men is by John du Feu.
Cheers, Birthe. Hope you're well and cheerful. I'll send you the play it came from if you like. It's definitely as weird as the song. We're fine down here in summery Salento. It's lovely and warm and not stressful at all which is the best thing. Daphne's sister comes on Wednesday so we're looking forward to that. My friend in Holland is dying of pancreatic cancer but he's amazingly cheerful in spite of that. We are communicating daily and a couple of weeks ago I went up to see him there. He's one of the people mentioned in the theatre book I sent you. Did I send you it - or did I dream that? His name is Matthijs.
On Saturday a couple of friends of ours are having a little ceremony to celebrate their relationship. There'll be about 100 people from several countries so I'm doing the ceremony for them as a kind of unofficial celebrant. I've written it all in three languages. It will be fun - I hope. In the end I'm going to join them together forever with a magic wand that I've had to make myself. Would you believe the party shop here didn't have a single magic wand in stock. It's a scandal! My friend in Holland says I should complain to the government but I don't think I will. He also said I should write a book about lunching ones way around Salento. Brilliant idea but I don't think I can muster the energy. Life's too short, as he has found out and is now teaching me!
Stay in touch, Birthe, and let me know if you want to read the play. It's called Markinch - for reasons I can't actually remember anymore - and it has two acts. Love from us John and Daphne xx
Thank you, John, yes you sent me the book, and I would love to read the play. I just sent you an email, so I have answered you note before I got it! Your party sounds wonderful - like the parties my family in Denmark put on. It is almost impossible to get people here to participate in seriously fun parties. All the best from Birthe
What a wonderful poem, fantastic lyric. I enjoy reading your lyrics before eI listen to the song, you are a really good poet, and I know more about words than about music. This is wonderful.
Best from Birthe
Geraldine is a beautiful poem, a lovely song, very lovely. When you sing it you make it sound like a French lei, a roundelay, repeating Geraldine. I is so full of love and feeling, You could submit it as a poem to lit. reviews. Just wonderful.
Best from Birthe
Dear Birthe. You're very kind. Sorry I haven't been communicating recently. We've had an exhibition of Daphne's paintings then a trip to Rome then a visit from a friend. Now I'm about to translate a very sensitive letter from a Dutch friend who wants me to send it to a mutual friend in England. The Dutch friend is dying and I only found that out today so I must work on it. I will be in touch again soon and thanks hugely for listening to the song and being so much better than me at staying in touch. Let me know what you are up to now. Best wishes John xx
I am very sorry your friend is dying, and I think your help will help both your friends and you. We, not you yet - are at the age when beloved friends die. It is good to live long, but there are so many losses. We are going to Rome next week, at artichoke season - very greedy, we rent an apartment close to the center, and stay for ten days. I love Rome. We will go to Ostia again, and to Tivoli again. Any possibility of seeing you and Daphne there for a day or so?
Again - your lyrics are really wonderful
best from Birthe
Sorry it has taken me this long to reply - you are probably in Rome by now. It's a pity but I'm afraid we can't come to Rome while you're there. We have just been in Rome and we're due back there next month but, for now, we have to be here. We hope you have a wonderful time. Rome is so much fun. It would have been nice to meet you - instead we will be eating artichokes here! And fresh peas and broad beans straight out of the field. It's great living in Italy - even just for the vegetables. Lots of love John and Daphne xx
Ak ak - on the eve of our departure we have been stopped by the Schrenger Agreement. My passport runs out on the 20th of May, and Italy requires that passports of tourists do not expire until at least three months after a visit. We did not know this, I found out when we could not check in on line. All these years we have traveled to everywhere in Europe, and have never heard of the Agreement. I guess we have been lucky to have newish passports - but this time I really flubbed it. United gives a partial refund, but the apartment we rented will stand empty, and we will not get any Roman artichokes....AAAAAGHHH. I feel enormously, stupendously stupid - but we are not devastated.
It is awful, but not terrible.
your silly friend Birthe
Birthe, what a terrible shame. You must feel really let down. I didn't know that either but then we are European citizens and now also residents of Italy so I suppose it wouldn't apply. Well, we'll eat some Roman-style artichokes in your honour. The ones we get here are from the farmer down the road but its the thought that counts. Do something special this week, so special that you end up thinking 'thank heaven we didn't go to Rome - we would have missed this!' Love and greetings (and commiserations) John and Daphne xx