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Oct. 28th, 2009

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Putting the clocks back means that winter arrives not gradually but with a bump. One day it's early autumn, the next you're eating your tea in the dark.

I woke this morning with Stephen Foster on the brain- and walked down to breakfast singing. What a great tunesmith he was, but- o dear me- those lyrics! I've been considering whether there's any way to rejig Old Uncle Ned for a modern audience- short of throwing away the original lyric and writing a new one- but I don't think there is. You can replace the racially offensive words with neutral ones but the tone of the thing is still patronising. Foster was an abolitionist in real life, but his songs- written to be performed by white folks in blackface-  sentimentalise slavery.  At least some of them do. The rest are parlour ballads that sentimentalise women. 

I felt myself starting with a cold about a week ago and immediately fought back with echinacea tablets. For a while it was touch and go, but I think I've beaten it- and as from today I'm cutting my daily intake from three tablets to one. I didn't think anything could stop a cold, but apparently echinacea can. It's a good thing to know. 

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