TT: Goodbye For Now…

Hands Around the World

ALAN: I just checked, and our first Thursday Tangent was published on 1st June 2011. So we’ve been writing them for almost seven years. And in all that time, we haven’t missed a single week. I think we deserve to be very proud of how chatty we’ve been. If my arm was long enough, I’d reach across the world and give you a congratulatory pat on the back. And if your arm was as long as mine, I’m sure you’d do the same for me.

JANE: You are a properly restrained Yorkshireman, no matter how long you’ve been in New Zealand, and never mind how long you’ve been with your exuberant Australian wife.  If you think I’d settle for a pat on the back, you’d be wrong.  I’d give you a hug so tight you might need to worry about your ribs.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve often been asked how we got started writing the Tangents.  It’s pretty simple.  I’d write one of my Wednesday Wanderings posts, then Alan would say something in the Comments.  I’d answer, and sometimes we’d go back and forth right there.  Other times, the discussion went sideways, and we’d continue it via e-mail.  I had so much fun that eventually I asked Alan if he wanted to take them public and so we did.

ALAN: When you suggested that we start writing the Tangents on a formal basis, I found the thought very scary. But it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done. Even when the discussion veered off into areas that I knew little or nothing about, the research I had to do to bring myself up to speed was fascinating and it taught me a lot.

JANE: I agree that the Tangents have been a heck of a lot of fun.  I’ve learned a lot, too.  The time we compared healthcare systems was incredibly enlightening.  I also really enjoyed our long journey through every British king named Henry – with quite a few who weren’t sandwiched between.

Do you have any particular favorites?

ALAN: Yes. The ones where you explained the jargon and the vagaries of the American educational system that had puzzled me so much when I came across references to it in novels were really quite enlightening.

JANE: I’ll always be happy to translate American language and customs for you!

A reminder to our readers…  Alan has done a free e-book that contains all of the Thursday Tangents.  You can download it here It makes great short reading for when you’re stuck waiting on line or in a waiting room or whatever.

ALAN: Actually, the e-book contains only a sample of the Thursday Tangents. We’ve written more than 350 of them and, even in these digital days, that’s an awful lot of information to put in a single book.

But there’s an index and links to all of the Tangents here.

JANE: Thanks for the correction!  350?  Wow!  I had no idea we’d been so noisy.

As I said above, Alan and I enjoy chatting.  If we come up with another topic or so, I’ll post them as a special feature to my blogsite.  I’ll let you know in advance when one is coming, but you can always check the blogsites Tangent category from time to time to see if new posts have shown up on the site.

ALAN: Let me conclude this chat with something else that is probably new to you.

There’s a British satirical magazine called Private Eye which has a poet in residence whose “name” is E. J. Thrib (17½). Whenever a famous person dies, E. J. Thrib (17½) writes a poem which is always titled In Memoriam and whose first line is always:

So. Farewell then…

Thrib usually mentions something appropriate about the deceased and often compares some notable characteristic of the deceased with his friend Keith (or sometimes with Keith’s mum). Thrib’s poems generally have no rhyme, no rhythm, little reason and often they make very little sense. Nevertheless, E. J. Thrib (17½)’s opening line has become world famous in the UK and is very much a part of Britain’s culture.

JANE: I’ve never heard of that.  Are you going write us a verse?  Please do!

ALAN: Not me – but perhaps E. J. Thrib (17½) can oblige. I’ll ask him.

E.J. THRIB (17½):

So. Farewell then Thursday Tangents.
Sines and portents fill the page and each writer
Cosines their name on the dotted line at the end.
But only when the angle is right.
What will Keith’s mum read now
On bleak Friday mornings when
The coffee is cold and the breakfast toast
Lacks marmalade to spread?

JANE: Damnit!  You’ve made me tear up, which is ridiculous.  Therefore, I refuse to say “farewell” instead I’ll say, “until next time”…

11 Responses to “TT: Goodbye For Now…”

  1. Dawn Barela Says:

    I have enjoyed the Thursday Tangents for the last couple of years. I am going to have to go back and read them from the beginning. I will miss them, and will be watching for any new ones.

  2. John C Says:

    Thank you both for letting us listen in on your chats.

  3. King Ben's Grandma Says:

    Tangents are wonderful. I often find myself going off on one. I will miss joining your’s, but I understand it is time to rest. Seven years of weekly conversations is quite an accomplishment with everything else you do.🍀🍻💐✨

  4. James Mendur Says:

    Since I cannot compare with E. J. Thrib (17½), I will simply say:
    Thank you.

  5. CBI Says:

    Thank you for almost seven years of sharing. Blessings to you both, and God speed.

  6. Daniel M Says:

    It’s been a great ride! Many thanks.

  7. mittsusaru Says:

    Thank you both for so much entertainment and enlightenment. Thursdays will just not be the same.

  8. futurespastsite Says:

    “Until next time…” I’ll hang onto that!

  9. janelindskold Says:

    Thanks for the enthusiasm. It means a lot to us both!

  10. Louis Robinson Says:

    350!?! how on earth did you…. oh, of course! 52 Thursdays a year, for 7 years. Lord, that’s a lot of Thursdays. Where did all those weeks go?

    Well, I wish you weren’t shutting down, but when you gotta go, you gotta go. Godspeed.

    And, of course, neither Wanderings nor wot i red is going anywhere, so we still get our rations. Don’t we?

    • Alan Robson Says:

      Thank you, all of you. Your enthusiasm for the tangents is lovely. And thank you particularly Louis — I’ve really enjoyed your observations about the topics that Jane and I have discussed. We think alike, you and I. That’s always a good thing.

      And I don’t seem to be able to stop myself writing “wot i red” columns…

      If that last reference puzzles any of you, take a look at:

      Read well,


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