A new judge – the Scottish novelist, critic, poet but more famously historian – Agnes Mure Mackenzie sets a competition for the best villanelle, rondel or rondeau expressing the emotions of a managing director of ‘B-rb-rry’s’ on the approach of a bank holiday. The competitions are starting to harp on about the rain! The coy hyphens disguise the stylish waterproof clothing made by Burberry:
Mackenzie writes engagingly in praise of a number of entrants – William Bliss catches her attention (she likes his quietly clever pun); but she also admires Prudence, J.L.Pepper, Seacape, James Hall and Lester Ralph. But plumps for Pibwob for the main prize. No villanelles make it through.
The B competition asks for a four line (max) verse that argues for a national game that can only be played in fine weather. Thinking about this one, it seems quite hard to make anything of: and sure enough, the entries are deemed poor. The winners, Xenos and BM/ZJL3, are certainly sub-standard:
The weather in 1931 was considered at the time to have been particularly awful. At the time this competition was set, this is how The Times recorded the weather:
There was a tornado in Birmingham in June, and, according to the magazine Nature, there was a notable tendency for the worst weather (in the south-east) to fall on weekends and public holidays. You can see the summary, written from the perspective of the following year, here. You may, however, be impressed by the heat in Tunbridge Wells and Croydon.