Hyderow Jenny: the Chalybeate Spring at Tunbridge Wells is flowing again…

February 21, 2015

I picked this book up in a second-hand bookshop yesterday. Finding it and beginning to write of the image on its cover has evolved (as of the last twenty minutes) into one of those coincidences…

Image (76)

In the process of composing a post about this rock formation on Rusthall Common, Tunbridge Wells (still to come), I’ve just discovered that within the last twenty four hours it has been confirmed that the waters of the chalybeate spring, around which the spa town grew, are flowing steadily again, after the spring mysteriously dried up in May last year for the first time in over 400 years (news here). I posted about the drying-up of the spring here.

with a grit as hard as the trent of the thimes but a
touch as saft as the dee in flooing and never a Hyderow Jenny the
like of her lightness at look and you leap, rheadoromanscing long
evmans invairn, about little Anny Roners and all the Lavinias of
ester yours and pleding for them to herself in the periglus glatsch
hangs over her trickle bed, it’s a piz of fortune if it never falls from
the stuffel, and, when that mallaura’s over till next time and all the
prim rossies are out dressparading and the tubas tout tout for the
glowru of their god, making every Dinny dingle after her down
the Dargul dale

James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, page 327.

That the personification of the River Liffey (the river of life) and all rivers in Finnegans Wake is Anna Livia Plurabelle, the spouse of Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, is apposite considering that Mrs Humphreys, the occupant of a cottage adjacent to the spring, is said to have become the first ‘dipper’, inaugurating a long tradition whereby the women dispensing the water were appointed by the Lord of the Manor of Rusthall (see here).  In this respect she is, like Anna Livia (ALP) ‘spawife to laird of Manna’ (FW 242.25-26). Indeed, the name ‘Rusthall’ is derived from the Old English for a well with red-coloured waters, suggesting the spring was known of long before its ‘discovery’ in 1606. Ominously, in 2008 the title of Lord of the Manor, the common land and the chalybeate spring at The Pantiles was bought by TargetFollow, a property development company based in Norwich (see here). Were the Naiads offended?

Nature’s simplest atom and mother of all matter, hydrogen feeds the stars as well as interlaces the molecules of their biological descendants – to whom it ultimately whispers the secrets of quantum reality.

Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand, ‘Hydrogeny’ (2010), from here.

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