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2017-09-23 11:30 am

Remembering The Cuban Missile Crisis

The difference is we took Kennedy and Khrushchev seriously. I'm not sure they were really any wiser or more imposing than Trump and Kim but the world viewed them as statesmen and not as over-tired toddlers. Politics may not have changed in the intervening half century but I think the world has. We're less frightened, less respectful of power, less willing to put up with high level silliness.
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2017-09-22 11:31 am


Ah, Sun-flower, weary of time
Who countest the steps of the Sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;

Where the youth pined away with desire
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow
Arise from their graves and aspire
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go

William Blake
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2017-09-22 10:24 am

Chariot Of Fire

I'm told the human aura has a circumference of 26 feet. That's big. I paced it out and it's over halfway down the garden path. Unless you're living in a cavern in the Peak District your aura will constantly be overlapping other people's. Consider the implications. Imagine the radiant soup in a busy shopping street...

The Hebrew word for it is Merkabah which is the word used in tradition for the celestial chariot in which Elijah went back to heaven. I've been singing "Jerusalem" all my life and now I think I'm finally getting a handle on what Blake was talking about. "Bring me my chariot of fire" means something like "let me realise my full potential"- only "chariot of fire" sounds better.

We think our consciousness is trapped in our physical bodies but really we're travelling around in an invisible vehicle that would blaze out like the sun if we let it.
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2017-09-21 12:09 pm

Living With Machines

Ailz got a letter this morning from the DWP to say she's fit to carry on not working. I suppose this is the outcome of the medical reassessment she had a few weeks back, but nowhere does it explicitly state that this is so. Like most letters from the DWP it is composed in impersonal, computer generated stock sentences which have to be interpreted.

I don't watch much TV but one thing I am following is Mitchell and Webb's new show, Back- which has something of the same vibe as Peep Show and is shaping up to be as good- with Mitchell as a man to whom life has not been kind and Webb as the charming psychopath who moves in on his family. I guess I must be a fan. YouTube thinks I am anyway and keeps lobbing me decade old sketches from that Mitchell and Webb Look- for which I am grateful. It also lobs me documentaries about UFOs and the Beatles. It knows me. It knows me better than I know myself.
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2017-09-16 10:50 am

Winging It

The bees have discovered our sunflower and three of them are tucking in. A funny little plane, one of those unserious planes that look like they're made of balsa wood, is practising circles in the sky. I wonder how it manages to stay up then retract the thought quickly in case I spook the pilot and they lose their faith in their ability to fly.

I've been re-reading an old interview with Harry Dean Stanton, who has just died aged 91. Life, he says, is "all one big phantasmagoria anyway. In the end I've really got nothing to do with it. It just happens, and there's no answer to it." Nice one, Harry.
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2017-09-16 09:55 am

Crisis Averted

Can't get the sliding door to the living room to lock. O bother. Poke about. Shut door. Work lever. Open door. Nothing obviously wrong with the lock. Fetch screwdriver. Poke some more. Carry on for abut twenty minutes. O bother, bother, bother. Don't want to have to call in locksmith, but what other option is there? Oh, hang on a moment, one option might be to remove the tail end of the curtain from between the door and the door frame...
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2017-09-14 01:27 pm


Conservatives don't have a plan for changing the world- except by taking it back to how it was before- which if they have any sense they know to be a lost cause- and this makes them excellent and honest observers of the passing scene- equally sceptical of anything current or new. Some of the best journalists and satirists are conservatives.

In government- well- don't expect too much of them- and look to your liberties. Conservative visionary is a contradiction in terms.
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2017-09-14 12:02 pm


I like spiders. I'm less fond of the larders they accumulate in the corners of window bottoms.
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2017-09-13 09:45 am

Storm Aileen

Storm Aileen came barrelling across the UK last night. Ailz has found it odd to have her not so very common name in the headlines. She's glad she doesn't have to go into an office this morning and deal with the ribbing.

First thing I did this morning was check that my sunflower was still standing.
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2017-09-12 12:03 pm

Everyday Synchronicity

The more you take note of synchronicitous happenings the more you take note of them- or so I'm told- and that's why I'm recording this...

The other day I caught a trailer for a TV show I never watch. I saw it twice- and each time one of the actors really stood out. I couldn't tell you who any of the others were or what they were doing but this guy had me hooked. It was as if he had a big golden arrow over his head pointing down. His face was sort of familiar but I couldn't name him. I just felt he was significant, striking- and I wanted to know more.

Today he's all over the media in connection with a family tragedy.
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2017-09-12 11:18 am


We had a woman round to see to my mother's hair and she brought a three-year-old with her.

Ok, brain, you've got to start processing information faster if you want to keep up with a three-year old. Small children are wired to process as much information as they can in as short a time as possible. Almost everything is new and amazing. And it all needs to be understood and mastered. Gotta move fast, fast, fast...

Toy box, bricks, cat, remote controlled car, football, bird table, cat, horses, HORSES!, acorns, big stick, HORSES!, apple...
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2017-09-11 12:19 pm


When I was young a rainbow was a rare occurrence. If they showed up you took notice and went Ooh and Aah and summoned your loved ones to admire them. These days they seem to be appearing all the time. There was one this morning- a faint one; I caught it as it was fading back into the sky.

Was I a singularly unobservant child? No, I don't think so...
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2017-09-09 09:17 am

Visitors From Another World

Two of my mother's old racing pals came to visit yesterday- which was decent of them. The conversation was mostly about horses and dogs- not subjects on which I shine. My contribution was limited to piping up with- "We've got horses in our fields now"- and helping my sister with the catering. They are both convinced Brexiteers- one of them- who we'll call A- as a matter of the heart, the other-B- with arguments at her command. They hunt of course- and were deploring the passing of a large Sussex estate where hunts were once encouraged into the hands of a new owner who refuses even to correspond with the local MFH. "Who is he?" I asked. They didn't know. B pulled a face and said,"A businessman." A said he would regret slighting his neighbours- because farmers need one another's support. "He probably lives somewhere else," I said. B concurred. "He'll have bought it as an investment". "I suppose so," said A, "But I find that so hard to imagine."
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2017-09-05 11:37 am


Ailz went for a government health assessment yesterday. How long is it since the last one? Four years perhaps? Anyway, they seem to be coming think and fast. Mind you, I was reading the other day about a guy who was told (after fighting for it) that he had been granted his award for life and then a week or a month later received a follow up letter calling him in to be reassessed. That's really energy sapping. Why the government has to harrass the disabled like this is beyond me. It's not kind, it's not attractive- and I can't believe the sums it is dickering over are anything more than petty cash.

The assessment was in Chatham- a town we'd never visited before. The narrow high street has been pedestrianised and is full of charity shops, betting shops, shops with their shutters down and Primark. Next door is the Royal Dockyard- which seems to stretch for miles- a tourist destination which it costs an arm and a leg to get into. That's where the real action is.

The assessment took place in a funny little building just off the high street- which used to house a seaman's charity. They were running late. The guy on the desk had a big red nautical beard and was doing his best to make people feel valued and the clientele chatted and kvetched in the best British manner- like people are supposed to have done in the air raid shelters during the Blitz- doing their best not to succumb to the ambient negativity. We waited an hour and more beyond the time of our appointment.

The nurse who eventually interviewed us was wearing her best stone face but relaxed it when she found we weren't going to bite. We commiserated with her on her boxy office with its view of the side wall of the building next door and she said she and her colleagues swapped around so no-one had to endure the same cell indefinitely. I asked her if the rooms upstairs had a better view and she said "No". She had a lovely smile.

By the time we got out it was lunchtime and we drove out of town onto the Hoo peninsular and found a pub on high ground at Hoo St Werburgh looking out across North Kent Marshes.
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2017-09-03 09:40 am

Some Birds Are Smarter Than Others

There was a robin in the kitchen. If it had been a blue tit it would have been beating its wings at the window but it was a robin so it hadn't come in without memorising the escape route and when it saw me approaching it took itself off without any fuss.
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2017-09-01 11:58 am

George Dubya Who?

Ailz tells me that Trump supporters are saying their man is doing a better job vis a vis the Texas floods than Obama did with the floods in New Orleans.

And, yes, Trump does seem to be doing a good job (for a change). What is required in the wake of natural disaster is visible leadership, big gestures- all that kind of thing- and Trump, as a TV reality star- is good at taking up a lot of space.

But the thing his supporters have forgotten is that Katrina didn't happen on Obama's watch but George W Bush's. It was Bush who gave such a very good impression of a man floundering out of his depth- while the woman they identify as Michele Obama who was pictured out shopping three days after Katrina hit is actually Condi Rice.

It's odd. But they're not the only ones who seem to have forgotten George. The drama swirling around the Obama and Trump presidencies has cast a shadow backwards and eclipsed him. His name is rarely mentioned by either one-time supporters or one-time enemies. It's almost as if his two terms never happened- which is odd when you think how eventful his era was and how the wars he gifted the world with are still going on. At the time most of us had little doubt that he was the worst president of modern times, but that was then...
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2017-08-31 04:06 pm

Loving My Feet

I was hanging out with grandchildren last week (one of whom congratulated me on being a seven-year-old- just like herself) and I took a punt at a football and connected with the metalled path instead. I was wearing crocs- which offer little buffering- and it hurt considerably. Ever since then I've been treating my feet with more respect- wearing proper trainers instead of crocs and eschewing the mules I use indoors. Today I acquired a proper pair of slippers, with backs to them.
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2017-08-30 01:45 pm

After Much Consideration...

I've come to the conclusion that I prefer my literature on paper. I was on Amazon, looking at the latest collection of Kryon channelings by Lee Carroll and wondering whether to download it to my kindle- which would be quicker and cheaper- but settled on the hard copy because this is a book I may want to refer back to and re-read sections of- and I find that so much easier to do when I have tangible pages to riffle through.
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2017-08-29 04:50 pm

You Could Call It A Coincidence But I Wouldn't

I sent my granddaughters a postcard of Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth. Odd thing to send a couple of very young children but it seemed to make sense at the time. Perhaps I thought their mother would like it. Anyway, there's odder to come.

They received it this morning- delivered not by the postman but by the old gentleman through whose letterbox it had mistakenly been posted. He lives in the same village but his address is nothing like my daughter's. He said his wife had died the day before and Macbeth had been her favourite play.
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2017-08-29 11:39 am

A Bit Of A Round Up

It's 31 years since I quit the ministry of the Church of England. I don't think a great deal about the complications preceding and following on from that decision but when I do- as I did last night- I remember that I've actually had quite an eventful life. A friend from those days- who is still a member of the congregation I resigned from- says the parish is now being run in conjunction with another and attendance figures are down. It's to be expected. The Church of England is fading away- having served its historical purpose- and that's entirely right and proper- and not to be regretted

The school holidays are coming to end- and it only seems like the other day that they began. We got to see all but one of our grandchildren in the course of them. Also all our great nephews and nieces on my side of the family. It's always good to hang out with the future....

Our pressing business at the moment- only not that pressing- is getting this house off our hands. The man we asked to do an ad hoc valuation sent us some figures today. They were a teensy-weensy bit disappointing but they'll do; they give us room for manoeuvre.

The trees are turning. Once we've finished the plum crumble Ailz made yesterday I must see about picking our apples. Then we can have lots more crumbles and pies. I planted sunflower seeds rather late in the season and the surviving plants are a few days off coming into flower. I check on their progress once or twice a day.

I'm reading Morning Star- a forgotten novel by Henry Rider Haggard. It's set in ancient Egypt and is a nourishing stew of cheap romance and occult wisdom. When he writes badly he writes very badly, when he writes well he's excellent.

Ailz and I sorted through a drawer this morning. We have a fine stash of greetings cards and postcards waiting to be sent and need never buy another- well, not for several years. What's this cable for? Nothing we still use. Chuck it away.
Do we ever use table cloths? No. Are we ever likely too? No. So off to the charity shop with it.