Posted Jun 17, 2019
Despite not contributing much to this site over the last couple of years, I've gradually got a few leftover entries into the Guide and have finally reached the total of 250 solo edited entries. I've got a new badge on the Pliny version of my Personal Space.
Posted Apr 18, 2019
The h2g2 Pliny system has been down since (I think) 28th March 2019. The techs are looking into it.
I spotted a strange behaviour in Ripley yesterday, and this leads me to believe that the system is getting confused about dates. Perhaps the date format is set different on one server from the others. It might also explain why the Pliny Problem started around the time of the Daylight Saving Time change.
I've outlined this theory to the chief among the techs.
Posted Jun 7, 2018
As I've written elsewhere, I've just received a facsimile edition of the First Edition of Tolkien's 'The Hobbit'.
Apparently there were only 1,500 books in the first printing, and they can now fetch up to £50,000 at auction. One which was signed by the author in Elvish sold for £130,000.
There's a heart-warming tale of an old man in Dublin in the 1980s buying a second-hand copy of The Hobbit in a jumble sale (presumably paying a pound or two). He gave it to his granddaughter as a birthday present. Earlier this year, she got €30,000 for it in an auction.
This got me wondering whether our first editions of CS Lewis's Narnia books are worth anything. Mrs G bought six of the seven books in Greens' second-hand bookshop in the 1980s. They had all been previously owned by the same person. 'Prince Caspian' is missing from the set. Three of them appear to be first editions.
I lugged them into town yesterday and showed them to the guy in the rare bookshop. He wasn't interested. He said that without dustcovers they're worth very little, and they're not in great condition either.
On the tram home, I started reading The Magician's Nephew, and finished it later the same day. I remember reading that book in one day when I was only 8.
The First Hobbit
Posted Jun 5, 2018
I've ordered a copy of The Hobbit which is a facsimile of the first edition. It's due to arrive tomorrow.
Tolkien wrote The Hobbit in the 1930s. In it, Bilbo the Hobbit goes on an adventurous journey. Along the way he finds a magic ring which will turn the wearer invisible. This is a useful tool and Bilbo uses it get out of lots of tricky situations.
The Hobbit was very successful. The publishers pressed Tolkien for a sequel so he came up with the idea of The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo's ring was now more than just a tool. It carried much of the spirit of Sauron, the Dark Lord, so it corrupted its wearer. This didn't quite match the references to it in The Hobbit. Particularly, the character of Gollum who had carried and worn the ring for 500 years, was far too nice - he engaged in the riddle game with Bilbo on the understanding that if Bilbo won, Gollum would give him the ring. This just didn't match with Tolkien's new conception of the Ring.
So he rewrote The Hobbit in a second edition and this was published in 1951. Every edition since then has included this revised text, although there have been a few other small changes. First editions of The Hobbit with the original text are available but rare and worth thousands, so up to now there wasn't much chance of getting a hold of one.
This new facsimile edition will make the original text available for a relatively modest sum - it's still about €40 but I want it.
Posted May 18, 2018
I've become interested in Stone Circles. I decided to give myself a good overview of them, but not to get too much into the details.
I reckon the best way to learn about anything is to write an article about it, so I've been working on an entry: A87875635.
I visited a few circles over the last 25 years, but I read that more than half of the circles in Ireland are in West Cork, so on my recent week's holiday in West Cork, I went to and photographed three different circles. That's enough to give me a flavour.
There's a really weird type in Northern Ireland, so my next task will be to drive to Tyrone to see the ones at Bealagh. Since this involves a drive of three hours there and three hours back, I don't think I'll persuade any of my family to come with me.
Once that's done and written up, I can move onto some new topic.