Entrance to the underworld.
When I was at school I edited with a friend a literary magazine to which both pupils and parents contributed. Among the senior contributors was the poet Kathleen Raine whose collected poems I have in front of me. I remember one of her poems in particular. It was called Amo Ergo Sum. It began with the lines "Because I love,/ the sun pours out its rays of living gold/ pours out its gold and silver on the sea." I it remember especially because it was my first of many encounters (anticipating my later employment as an editor which extended for some time into the era of hot metal) with a compositor, or type setter. Knowing nothing of type or magazine layout at the time, I remember feeling immense gratitude for his help. Only his unfamiliarity with Latin and Descartes caused surprise when he referred to the author of the poem as Ergo Sum. It is the wrong reason for remembering a beautiful poem, but such is the way events work on us.
Chris who cuts what remains of my hair is a gourmet. He tells me that he has just cooked and eaten some "Kobe-style" beef. Kobe beef is exceptionally tender, evenly marbled meat, which is to be produced in the remote region for Japan form which it gets its name. Legend has it that each animal is looked after by its own keeper and massaged daily with sake. The animals are said to be sustained on beer and corn. Some farmers in the UK and elsewhere in the world are now producing tender beef with similar care and attention (hence Kobe style), though I doubt that the detail matches the myth either in Japan or elsewhere. I ate some of the genuine stuff once in Japan and can vouch for its tenderness and flavour. Chris says that having cooked and tasted Kobe style beef he is now intent on trying the real thing. He has found a supplier who charges £160 per kilo. "It's cheaper than going to Japan," he says.