Sunday, 27 November 2016

Nature notes....

The recent activity on this blog has been predicated largely by my growing sense of despair at the direction this country seems to be heading..... (out of Europe), and the direction The United States of America seems to be heading..... (to Hell).

A vicious, puerile, ignorant, badly educated, racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic agenda is on the rise.........

Bad Moon.........

It is perhaps a little overdue, but timely, to remind myself that while my ability to affect any of these events or alter any of their courses is negligible, some things are immutable.

Photo taken yesterday morning by Jackie, through the cat-flap, while this one perched on our neighbour's cratch cover.

Jackie's photo again. This is Swan, (of our local breeding pair Flanders and Swan), on dawn patrol.

Mine this time. Max telephoto lens from the back deck towards the lock caught this fisherman unawares.

Dawn: Summer.

Dawn:late Winter early Spring...... ish......

Summer: local showers........

Layered sky.....



Jackie/Sunset Photobomb

A feather from The Dove of Peace, anointed by an Angel's tear, drifts slowly by and away...........

Beyond the Blue Horizon (By Michael Nesmith)

So there you go: twelve photos. Twelve months. Shitty year..........

But all the above were taken from Pippin's deck or hatches (with the obvious exception of the last, which features the eponymous Widebeam in the background.)

Nature will instruct us.

No matter how bad we try to make it, Nature will always offer us consolation.

There is beauty yet, for all that we do that is ugliness............

Take heart!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Stop Press!!!! Nigel Farage says something true!!!!

A quote from Our Nige, soon to be Our Man in Washington, it seems,,,,,,,
"For those of you who aren't particularly happy with what happened in 2016, I've got some really bad news for you - it's going to get a bloody sight worse next year."
He said this at a reception at London's Ritz Hotel hosted by millionaire Arron Banks to celebrate Nige's contribution to the Brexit victory.
Apparently, people cheered........
Well, whatever you think of him or his politics, there is absolutely no doubt that he has got this one absolutely right.
Proof, then, if ever it is needed, that even the most callow, self-serving and mendacious must, on some occasions, speak sooth.........
God help us all.............  

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Today, I am, after a long while, once again proud of my country........

This is supposed to be a boaters blog.

It hasn't had very much to do with boating for quite some time.

But then, murdered Labour MP Jo Cox lived on a boat, and I don't think that fact defined her every utterance either.

Today, Thomas Mair has been sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder.

I have just read the Judge's comments on the BBC website:

Thank you, Mr Justice Wilkie.

The so called Alt-Right, the Neo-Nazis, those with the nerve to call themselves 'nationalists' (and thereby 'patriots') will not win in this country.

Not this day.

To be a Patriot is to love your country.

To be a Nationalist is to hate your neighbours.

And were we not taught to love our neighbours as ourselves?..................

Let us do so then, in spite of, and in every respect, to truly spite, all of those who would bring hatred to their neighbour.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

In which I discover I have much in common with The Big Yin and The Big Apple............

First, a word from BBC news website:

Now, a word from one of my favourite Scotsmen:

And I am happy to report that, as of 18:35 hrs GMT, no more of my teeth have fallen out in disgust at The Donald's impending presidency......

Monday, 21 November 2016

On taking delight in an entirely new garden......

Well, new to me, at any rate.

The garden is the canon of music that I am now experiencing thanks to switching radio stations from BBC Radio 2 to Radio 3.

And I am a delighted child running around in it.

I am unable to name all the flowers that so enchant with their colours, form and scent.

I do not have the knowledge.

But sometimes, ignorance really is bliss.

Today I heard "Variations on a theme by Chopin " by Federico Mompou performed by Javier Negrin.

I've never heard of him, but the sound is of roses against a limestone wall, dew-bedecked in the dawn's early light.

It can still be heard by going to the Radio Three website and looking for Johnathan Swain's "Sunday Morning" programme.

It will be there for 29 days from today.

I think you'll like it.........

Now, all this pre-occupation with beauty and music while the world slides rudderless toward the abyss may seem a little fey: Nero and his fiddle while Rome burns........

Perhaps the true use of a blog should be to protest against this: call out, loud and proud, against the ascendant darkness. Muster the troops; paint the banners; Marchons! Marchons!


But what I'm seeking to do here is not merely distract us from our dread of the horrors to come.

Let us shout at the tops of our voices as the foundations of walls are dug and lists of names are made, while, in the marshaling yards, the trains of cattle trucks are assembled.

It may not do one scintilla of good, but we owe it to those who come after us to say that we tried.......

No, for now, it is of the utmost importance to share what is beautiful, the better that we might appreciate it, and above all, protect it.

There is precedent for this: during World War Two in London, Dame Myrah Hess gave lunchtime piano recitals. People who had never heard or cared for this sort of music before came in droves.

When stood upon the shore of the lake of the night, who would not wish to turn toward the light of great writing, music, art and culture.

Make no mistake, much will be destroyed in the next four years. many people will be hurt. Some will die because of the things that will be done.

But we must hold fast to that which is good, that which is beautiful, that which is kind and honourable and decent.

And let's share.

If anyone's got a favourite piece of music, leave a comment, perhaps with a link to it, so we can all have a listen.

For now, I'll leave you with this: It's on the Private Passions page of the Radio 3 website. It's the overture and Act Three Aria from Scott Joplin's little known opera "Treemonisha" sung by Willard White and played by the orchestra of the Houston Grand Opera.

Had we but known it, it's also a warning.........

Thursday, 17 November 2016

More tinkling of ivories

Thankfully the titular ivory tinkling is not that of more teeth falling out........

One's disgust at certain election results can only go so far, you know.....

(And may I suggest that the more immediately bewildered scroll back a couple of may begin to make sense.....sort of.....)

No, the ivories being tinkled tonight were those of a Concert Grand piano, live from The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

I was driving home from work at The Hole Making Shop (late shift:10:00 a.m. - 20:00) and on the radio I heard the most magnificent rendition of Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.5 in E flat major, courtesy of BBC Radio Three, The Halle Orchestra conducted by Andrew Manze, and Martin Helmchen at the piano.

It was bloody marvelous!

Of course, this seemingly sudden foray into the highbrow may come as a surprise to some of you.

It is all Chris Evans's fault.

Unable to stand him and his Radio Two breakfast show any longer, I re-tuned to Radio Three.

I took my time settling in, but after a while couldn't understand why I'd ever listened to anything else. (Actually, that can be readily answered in two words: Terry Wogan......late, great and much lamented, which I suppose is five more words.....)

So now, instead of a media multi-millionaire exhorting me to 'give what I can' to BBC Children In Need, I have acquired unlimited access to sublime music.

That sounds like a win/win.......

See if you can catch this evening's performance on Listen Again on the BBC website.

You've got 29 days from today left to listen......

Live from the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
The HallĂ© is conducted by Andrew Manze in a programme which begins on the storm-tossed oceans of Wagner's Flying Dutchman and ends in a work which became an emblem for the Finnish people.
Presented by Stuart Flinders

If not, google it and find a version of it on You Tube, or buy a C.D. or even a record (remember them?)

And as you listen, and are transported beyond the tiresome drudgery of these uncertain, dangerous and above all, thoroughly interesting times, remember that Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, and even Imelda Marcos didn't succeed in killing this music.

Bashir Assad hasn't.

Putin hasn't.

Isis haven't.

And Boris Johnson can't spell it.

And most importantly, whatever The Donald's presidency does inflict upon this poor benighted world, he won't kill this music either.

Take heart.


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A positive spin on extraction.......

I'll bet that gets the anti-fracking brigade flocking to this blog.

Shame really, as this post has absolutely nothing to do with fracking..........


But at least it'll get the numbers up.

(This is a good thing, as my worldwide audience had shrunk to a select 25 or so page views over the last twenty-four hours.

I reckon I'd get that if I left the computer on, let China walk over the key board, then posted the result..........

Of course, the real worry there is that none of you would notice..........)


Today, I had an appointment at the dentist.

(Jackie always suggests I get the two-thirty appointment. I always point out that our dentist is South African, not Chinese, so the joke, such as it is, doesn't really work.....)

Yep, my toof had been hurtee since a week ago Sunday when an errant bit of dried fruit in the breakfast muesli caused the dreaded 'whoops, dearie, that was expensive' sensation in the mouth.

I thought I'd maybe dropped a filling in one of the back nine which has had a lot of work over the years.

My dentist was sad to relate that the poor old tooth had split from top to bottom, was beginning to show signs of infection, and the only remedy was the titular extraction.

So out it came, in lots of broken pieces, accompanied by a sound track that included your usual cartoon DIY noises, (drilling, sawing, hammer and chisel etc), and, at one point, what sounded like a fairly hefty dry wood branch being snapped in two.....

Of course, I was up to my ears in lignocaine at the time, so never felt so much as a twinge.

This happy state of affairs changed rapidly as the drugs wore off, however,,,,,,,,

I have spent the late morning, afternoon and early evening in the kind of pain you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

Paracetamol was the only analgesic on offer, as aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen inhibit platelet function . They are of no use if you are, or have been, bleeding.....

I have news for you. Paracetamol is okay for your ordinary-everyday-run-of-the-mill kind of pain, but doesn't even get close to touching the serious post-dental "ouch" that throbs white in your gums in time with your heartbeat.

Thankfully, it is on the ebb now, so I've got off the sofa, (where I have had a not terribly enjoyable or constructive time chiefly spent alternately whimpering and dribbling) and decided to share this with the world..........

(Well, "a problem shared is a problem halved", or more accurately, "you can't beat a good whinge"........ )

I was tempted at first to reprise the link to "Little Shop of Horrors" that I used a few posts back to illustrate exactly what kind of 'hole the American dentist Walter Palmer is for shooting that beautiful lion.

On reflection, I thought it a bit unfair on my dentist, who is a lovely chap who not only did a really good job, but also probably has qualms about swatting flies, never mind the senseless slaughter of magnificent creatures......

So we'll give that one a miss......

No, what I want to do is continue the theme of the previous couple of posts and see if we can pin the blame for my misfortunes today, (like the tail in the children's game), on the Donkey that the majority of the Great American Public have just voted in  as President.

Where's Alastair Campbell when you need him, eh?

The link between The Donald and my teeth starting to fall out may seem a little tenuous, but I'm sure it's there.

Suggestions on the usual electronic post card please.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

After the Bad Moon Rises........

Odd that so soon after the election of Donald J Trump to The White House (and my previous post with the link to Creedance Clearwater Revival's rather apt song............), we should see a moon rise indeed, bigger, brighter and badder than it's been since 1948....

Is someone trying to tell us something?

Enough with the portents of doom!

Another great singer and songwriter has gone:

R.I.P. Leonard Cohen.

I've tried to set up a link to the You-tube clip from America's Saturday Night Live television show featuring the comedienne Kate McKinnon.

Here she opens the show by paying tribute to Leonard Cohen and simultaneously offering us, through her version of Hillary Clinton, something like a little hope.

Sadly, the link doesn't work.

I blame The Donald......

See if you can view it by Googling "Kate Mckinnon opens SNL as Hillary Clinton covers Leonard Cohen."

Wednesday, 9 November 2016