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Christmas Surprise

I got me a Chrissy pressie.

I put up a post a short time back, telling you all of my love for Thomas Grays Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes.

Well, that posting led me back to this one, from some years earlier, and in turn I read this comment from Permanentexpat, who, incidentally, I haven’t seen around these parts for some time.

Anyway, To His Coy Mistress. I hadn’t read that for simply ages darling, so I did a quick Google, and came up with the Wikipedia page. It looked worth spending some time on, with a whole load of good stuff about the poem, but I was a bit busy at the time so I stuck the link into my Must Read Later list and got on with my life.

So, later finally arrived yesterday and I had a read.

Now, bear with me, this is going somewhere. Causality can be a long chain and a wonderful thing.


So, To His Coy Mistress, under Allusions in other works Wikipedia made a reference to a work by the sainted but sadly ill Sir Terrence Pratchett; a sort story called # ifdef DEBUG + "world/enough" + "time", which seems to make some sense – if you are familiar with the various BCPL derived programming languages where that is a valid statement. I have never read that one,or, at least, I had no memory of it, so I did a quick Google again.

Seems the story was published in a book called Once More* With Footnotes. Now, the book was a limited edition, only 2,500 in the first printing, and that ten years ago. What are the chances of getting hold of a copy? Pretty slim I guessed.

I went and had a look on Amazon, and there it is all right, as at today prices for an as new copy ranging from $386 to $949.

That’s pretty much it, isn’t it? Unless the book is republished, after ten years out of print, or Sir Terry sticks its contents up on the net, I can kiss goodbye to reading it.

What to do but have another look at the Amazon page? See what others have to say maybe? I have a few minutes so lets look around I sez to myself.

Then I have a good look at the cover illustration…..

“Hel…lo” I sez. “Wot?” I sez. “No. Can’t be” I sez.

I look at the illustration a little more.

“Nah” I sez again. “Can’t be” I sez again.

Then, I get up and go to my bookshelf, piled with books, literally thousands I have bought over the decades, and rummaging through a pile I haven’t looked at for years I pulled out a slim volume, dusty, but in pristine, I mean first class, mint condition. There it is – Once More* With Footnotes.

I remembered the book, just not its title. I must be getting old.

See, stick up a posting and who knows where it will lead you.

If Permanentexpat ever turns up here again I must remember to thank him.


  1. Simon Jester says:

    # ifdef DEBUG + “world/enough” + “time” is also included in “A Blink of the Screen”, a recently published collection of Sir Pterry’s shorter writings.

  2. permex says:

    I shortened me name!
    I visit here every day without fail & with enormous pleasure. I don’t comment when I’ve nothing pertinent to contribute which may go far in explaining my ‘absence’.
    Today’s an exception.
    I first read ‘To his coy mistress’ in an anthology of his favourite verse by General Wavell….that’s going back a bit! His other choices are, in the main, excellent….a book worth owning & occasionally mining for pleasure.
    I haven’t checked, but maybe the well-known book suppliers have copies available.
    Keep it up, Cats & the team….you often make my day!

  3. Laird says:

    I hope you’ve posted it to Amazon by now, Cats. Could make a quick few hundred.

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