The Japanese League Cup, formerly called the Nabisco Cup for snacking reasons, is now the Levain Cup. (Levain is really just the name of one of Nabisco's product lines.) (It's also the French word for sourdough.)
On June 21st it was the Canadian Championship final, first leg: Toronto 1 - 0 Vancouver.
On June 23th it was NSÍ Runavík 2 - 1 B36. The Faroese league now takes a month off.
Tomorrow in Euro 2016: England [1 - 2] Iceland. [Iceland are the new Brazil. (They go by their first names.) England ... England.]
Luca Gasparotto has signed with Falkirk.
[I missed this: Morton visited Dundee and played them to a 1 - 1 draw June 24th. New signing Gary Oliver scored.]
On June 24th it was Drogheda United 1 - 2 UCD. The season is at the halfway point. UCD sit in second place and the promotion playoff zone, but the chances of their catching first-place Limerick, who have not yet lost a match, are slim.
The League of Ireland First Division (which is really the second division) consists of eight clubs. When did each of them enter the First Division, and were they relegated from the Premier Division, or brought in from below?
Drogheda United 2016 (relegated)
Limerick 2016 (relegated)
Athlone Town 2015 (relegated)
UCD 2015 (relegated)
Cabinteely 2015 (newly licensed)
Shelbourne 2014 (relegated)
Cobh Ramblers 2013 (re-licensed)
Waterford United 2008 (relegated)
Clearly Waterford United are the heart and soul of this league. They are presently in sixth place.
June really is the dead end of the year in Scottish football. There are 14 dates in June on which Morton have never played, and on the other 16 they've played only one game per date. What were they up to those 16 days in June? The Summer Cup. The Summer Cup was a cup competition of the Southern League during World War Two. Morton never won the cup, but they reached the semifinals in 1943 and 1945. It was revived for two years in the early Sixties but was held in May that time.
The 2015-16 SPFL restructured by Pythagoras:
Monad (enters Champions League): Celtic.
Dyad (enters Europa League): Aberdeen, Hearts.
Triad (makes the split): St Johnstone, Motherwell, Ross County.
Tetrad (safe from relegation): Dundee, Inverness CT, Partick, Hamilton.
Pentad (promotion/relegation zone): Kilmarnock, Dundee United, Rangers, Falkirk, Hibs.
Hexad (the Championship): Raith, Morton, St Mirren, Queen of the South, Dumbarton, Livingston.
We are not yet in England. We stopped en route so that Monsieur could confer with the English general staff. Therefore he has installed us, Madame and I, at BLANK. I can't tell you where, as he reminded me to be very discrete about anywhere I go in the armed sector. So, I won't tell you the name of the town, but I'll help you work it out for yourself by giving you a rebus. You see, our town begins with A, and you get there by taking the Northern railway line. It's known for its cathedral and its duck pâté. Have you figured it out?*
We are in a small family pension. At the moment the only ones here are four women. They take their café au lait together in the morning, my mistress included, and then they head off to their hospitals or workplaces. They don't return until dinner, and all day the house is empty and lifeless. Yesterday, I tried to read, then to sew, but I was bored being alone, so I went for a walk in the town to occupy myself.
The thing I find most attractive about BLANK is the display window of the patissier that makes the famous duck pâté. I had given it a good looking-over, and was about to return, when I noticed beside me, standing on a bollard, a little duck that was also looking in the window. I don't know where it came from. I didn't see it arrive. It was looking in so seriously! Then I thought that it might be an orphan, that its parents might be in one of those pâtés, and that made me teary-eyed. And then I reflected that it was dangerous for that duck to remain where it was. I gently picked it up in my arms and decided to carry it to the country.
So there I was, going through the town. People, most of them French or English soldiers, laughed when they saw me. Some of them called, "Quack! Quack!" I laughed too, but I didn't let go of my plan, or my duck.
Upon leaving the town, I came to a lake. I imparted liberty on my little orphan. It didn't hesitate to dive into the water, and as it paddled away it turned its head and quacked. It seemed to me that it was saying thank you.
That cheered me up. I was in the mood again to do something fun. Then it came to me that I might be able to fish for frogs in this lake. I quickly made a fishing line from a bit of string, a bent pin, and a lure made of red cloth, as I'd done before back home, and I got started.
It worked very well. I caught one, two frogs. With a yank I sent the third one flying. A huge voice shouted, "Pay attention, you!" It so startled me that I dropped my line. The frog had slapped a passing soldier right in the face! I said, "Excuse me, Monsieur le militaire."
But he shouted even more furiously, "That's gendarme to you!" As if it were easy to tell a policeman from a soldier, when they all dress the same, in horizon blue or khaki.
Next, he demanded to see my papers. I brought out my safe-conduct, you know, the one with the stamps all over it. It seemed that he wasn't done yet. He explained to me that in order to walk about in the countryside I must have a red stamp. He said, with a terrible demeanour, "Grave, very grave. Contravention!" And he brought me before his superior, holding me by the arm as if I was a robber. I was ashamed.
Happily the chief was very kind! He said, "She has a nice face." And then he read over the safe-conduct, observing, "In service of an officer ... Confidential diplomatic mission ... Good ... Let's give it the red stamp." And he found a place to add another stamp to my paper.
Perhaps from seeing his boss be so agreeable, the gendarme came to regret acting so meanly. He gave me smiles and courtesies, and recommended that I push on by the same route tomorrow until I reach the English airfield, where you can see the exercises. I'll do that for sure.
FIRST ACT.An English airfield in the area of BLANK. Six o'clock in the morning. Fine weather.
Dramatis Personae. Major Tacy-Turn, camp commander. His First Lieutenant. Flyers, Country People, Bécassine.
The Major (speaking to his First Lieutenant slowly as if it takes an effort to get each word out of his mouth): Orders ... for ... the morning ... all units ... to be airborne.
The lieutenant is keen to relay the order. Right away, a joyous animation reigns in the camp. The machines are pushed out of the hangers. The engines roar and backfire. The major approaches a group of flyers eager to take their places in the aeroplanes. He stops beside a captain, second in command, who arrived at camp the day before.
The Captain: Are you squadron leader, Major?
The Major: No! ... (With effort) I'll remain in camp ... alone.
The Captain: Alone! With no one to talk to! How boring!
The Major: No ... on the contrary. (He drifts off.)
Discrete laughter in the squadron. The captain learns from his comrades that their chief, head of the flying aces, has a horror of speaking, and suffers real agonies when constrained to do so.
The aeroplanes roll onto the runway, and take flight, each one following at a fixed distance. The major watches their manoeuvres through his binoculars. Finally, the captain, the last to take flight, is away.
The Major (with an expression of intense pleasure): Alone!
At that moment his attention is directed to a clamour rising from the edge of the camp. Stolidly he fills his pipe and lights it. Then, with long strides, he heads toward the disturbance.
Beyond the fence some local villagers have gathered. They are cheering on the aircraft and their pilots. In the midst of the curious we spot Bécassine, who has come on the advice of the gendarme the day before.
Bécassine(enthusiastically shouting, gesticulating and waving her lace cap): Oh! How wonderful! ... You would think they were birds! ... Take that, Boches! ... Vivent les aviateurs! ... Vive la France! ... Vive l'Angleterre! ... Vive les Alliés!
The major is so thunderstruck by the torrent of words that for a moment he stands frozen in place. Then he marches up to Bécassine and glares at her fixedly like a liontamer with a ferocious beast.
The Major(with a violent gesture): Oi! Move along! Right now! Chatterbox! (His expression of profoundest contempt.)
Bécassine, not understanding a word, curtsies mechanically, and then runs for her life, terrified.
Detail from a painting by Alfred Decaen and Jacques Guiaud showing the queue at the Félix Potin shop on the boulevard de Sébastopol in November 1870. Potin pioneered the concept of house brands (of sugar and chocolate particularly) and was synonymous with waiting in line. Source.
Euro 2016 started June 10th, and continues until July 10th. It's a tournament featuring the top 24 national teams in the UEFA zone. Scotland are not in it, and in fact have not been in it since 1996. There is, however, one group of Scots involved: referees, including Willie Collum, the man who put the word offish in official.
Collum has refereed the Scottish Cup final twice, in 2013 and 2015. This past season he was temporarily assigned to the Championship after a row over his officiating in a Premiership match between Inverness and Aberdeen. During that spell he officiated Morton's 0 - 4 loss to Rangers, and Morton's 3 - 1 loss to St Mirren, not to mention Morton's 3 - 0 loss to Celtic in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals, so obviously he hates us.
Scottish assistant refs: Francis Connor, Douglas Ross, Bobby Madden, John Beaton. Madden refereed Morton's 2 - 1 loss to Raith on October 3rd. Beaton officiated at St Mirren 1 - 1 Morton, November 20th, and Annan 1 - 4 Morton in the Scottish Cup, February 6th.
Morton is the measure of all things.
The Scottish national team is absent, but England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are all in the tournament.
The Netherlands did not qualify for this tournament either, but Iceland did. Let's follow them in Group F:
June 14th: Portugal 1 - 1 Iceland
June 18th: Iceland 1 - 1 Hungary
June 22nd: Iceland [2 - 1] Austria
Which countries are in both Euro 2016 and the men's soccer competition at the Rio Olympics? Germany, Portugal, Sweden.
June 15th: France 2 - 0 Albania. No cards or penalties. Scottish economy collapses.
Monsieur Bertrand has been here several days, with his wife, known to everyone as Madame Thérèse, to distinguish her from my mistress, Madame de Grand-Air. Madame (my one) permitted me to enter the salon while Monsieur Bertrand recounted all that had happened to him and to Zidore on their return to the Front, after the marriage. It was as moving as the motion pictures.
It seems their injuries were still causing them trouble. And on top of that the Boches had launched their dirty pharmacy of gasses. That left them somewhat incoliqués (I'm not certain if that's the word Monsieur Bertrand said*). Then the colonel came to see him in the hospital. The colonel told him: "You can't return to the Front. Go recuperate at home. I'll work on getting you a staff position."
As Monsieur Bertrand was finishing his story, there came a knock at the door. It was a military courier with an envelope. I went to take it, but he wouldn't hand it over. He said, "No, it's for your master. I must hand it to him directly." I nearly got angry, because I don't enjoy people inplying that I have dirty hands.
But I respect the army too much to argue with someone in uniform. I showed him in. Monsieur Bertrand signed a receipt for the letter, and after he had read it he explained that he was to go on a series of missions to the staffs of the government's allies, and that he was authorized to take Zidore along as his orderly. It moved me to think that little Zidore, whom I practically brought up, would be hobnobbing with all those great generals, kings, and emperors. That made me fearful that he would forget and despise me. I mentioned this when we were having our dinner.
He replied, "Don't you worry, mam'zelle. Once you've see Verdun or the Somme, nothing can surprise you. Aside from the pleasure of being beside my officer, the place I most want to be is in the trenches with my comrades." What a brave boy! And to think that there are millions like him! I was unable to keep myself from kissing him.
*The word might have been incolore.
The next day, while I was tidying the salon, Madame la Marquise and Madame Thérèse were chatting in the next room. Without meaning to, I heard Madame say, "You are wrong, my dear Thérèse, she will be nothing but an embarrassment to you. It will be foolishness upon foolishness." I well understood that it was me they were talking about.
Madame Thérèse replied in a light, playful voice, "It's possible, auntie, but she is so good and so devoted!" And then they came in and asked me whether I would consider accompanying the young Madame, who was to follow, as much as it was possible, her husband on his journeys.
Me, I wished my good mistresses could remain together forever, because I love them both, and to leave one or the other would break my heart in two. Then I began to cry like a big idiot, and I said I would go along with whatever they wanted.
"Well, then, Bécassine," said Madame Thérèse, "Since my aunt gives her consent, you'll come with us. We must pack your trunk for our long journey. Let's go look together at what you will need to buy." We climbed up to my room.
I was ashamed to lead her up the back staircase. But, though she is a countess, she is straightforward and not proud. She played at hunting for cobwebs, which that lazy concierge never sweeps! Young people are amused by anything.
We went through the clothes in my trunk and my chest of drawers. Once she had seen everything, Madame Thérèse wrote out what I would need to buy. It was an endless list. She handed me the paper and some money.
She told me that after my shopping I was to go to the Ministry, where she would be collecting the safe-conducts and other necessary paperwork, and to be sure to arrive no later than five o'clock. It was already two, so it was essential to get moving. I was so hurried that I fell on my behind on the stairs.
In times of war it's not easy to do your shopping. There's a crowd in every store! And not enough employees. You have to queue up almost like at Potin for sugar. I ran from Bon Marché to Printemps, and from there to the Louvre. I hadn't bought half the things on my list when I spotted a clock marking four hours and a half. And Madame Thérèse expected me by five! I fired a hearty thank you at the clerk who had been serving me and galloped for the Ministry.
I was about to go in when I remembered what Madame had said: "We must take your portrait. Go to Rapid Photography. I've warned them to watch out for you. In a quarter of an hour it will be done." I had forgotten all about it.
A happy idea came to me. I jumped into a taxi. (It was lucky to find one without a customer.) I returned to the house and climbed the stairs four at a time to my room. I grabbed the portrait that my godchild Boudou painted of me, which I told you all about in my book Bécassine in Time of War. I wrapped it. As quickly as I had climbed the stairs, I descended. I jumped into my taxi and returned to the Ministry.
You have to be as crafty as a Parisian to find your way in that place. There are kilometres of hallways, tons of doors, and you don't see a soul. After ten minutes of trooping around, I arrived in front of a door that said:
"INFORMATION. Enter without knocking."
I went in, and found a man, or rather, two legs, a pair of hands, and a newspaper. I hadn't even opened my mouth when he shouted, "What do you want?"
Then, another, hidden by the first because he was poking the fire, stood up. He had an agreeable face, and he said in a genteel voice, "See here, Grinchard, don't be so miserable! What would you like, Mademoiselle?"
I explained that I had come to find my mistress, who was here for our safe-conducts. He rubbed his nose with an embarrassed air, and said, "We have a lot of offices for safe-conducts. You don't know which one your lady went to?"
I replied that I only knew that it was the office of a very kindly gentleman, because I had heard Monsieur Bertrand tell Madame, "Please give my best wishes to the amiable Maurice."
Then Grinchard said, "The amiable Maurice, that's Monsieur Maurice Croissant, and it's always him that the ladies ask for." He instructed me on where to find him. He's not really mean, Grinchard, he just has a big voice. We parted good friends as the two of them shook my hand.
I located the office easily, where I found Madame, who was chatting with the amiable Monsieur Maurice in a salon. On seeing me he said, "Ah! Here's our young girl. Here, my child, sign your safe-conduct right there." I did as he told me. He pounded it all over with his rubber stamp, so that you hardly knew how to pick it up, it was so moist with ink.
Then Madame said, "Bécassine, give him the portrait from Rapid Photography."
"I didn't have time to go there," I said, "but I brought a much nicer one." And I unwrapped and showed them the painting my godson had made. I was proud of my quick thinking. Without a doubt it was funny, because Madame and Monsieur laughed until the tears came. My idea was drole, but it made no difference. What was needed was a very tiny portrait, not much bigger than a postage stamp, to stick on the safe-conduct. So it was arranged. They took my picture the next morning at the Rapid studio.
I delivered it to Monsieur Croissant. Not only is he very amiable, he's also clever. He found a way to add more stamps to the safe-conduct that was already covered in them. Now I'm cleared to go to England. We leave tomorrow.