Thursday, January 31, 2008

senior management

shaun's birthday

our senior and best-loved driver is retiring today ... vic and rod do the honours
and then vic and glen see that shaun leaves the building on time and that his feet don't touch the ground

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

a bargain from the excellent oxfam bookshop in reigate ... and a very short true story

i met a girl in a little country town who wanted to become a nurse and couldn't wait to leave school

to gain some experience, after taking her exams, she worked part-time for two weeks during her final summer term, at a local home that provided sheltered accomodation for the elderly

before catching the bus home to her village that afternoon, she ran around to my place to describe how, on her very first morning, she was quite startled when they asked her to go and bathe an old lady who was no longer able to leave her room

what did you do ?

i rolled up my sleeves of course !

.... and as she was undressing her, so she discovered that the old lady had a multitude of beautifully drawn tattoos ...

what did you think when you saw them ? i asked

i said to her ... blimey, i bet you could tell me a few stories ! where did you get them tattoos ?

and the old lady's reply began ... i was a dancer in paris during the nineteen twenties, my dear ...

next afternoon, same time, the girl came back to see me again

she had reported to the matron for instructions that morning

i'm afraid your old lady has died in the night ... could you go in and bathe her again ?

did you ? i asked

of course ! said the schoolgirl

Thursday, January 24, 2008

... and by golly there woz light ! ... antique gas guzzler by horse guards parade

turkish gun ... on a posh english gun carriage

i'm not fond of guns, but this one has some charm, and illustrates the peculiar vanity of those who bear arms ... made in 1524, "captured" ( does that mean looted ? ) by the british in egypt in 1801 .... when it was already two hundred and seventy something years old ...

the gun itself is said to have been made by murad, son of abdullah, chief gunner in 1524 for "the Solomon of the Age, the great Sultan Commander" ...

the carriage which supports the gun was "executed by mr. ponsonby" c.1804 and constructed in the royal carriage department, founded by J & E Hall, Dartford.

captain scott ... of the antarctic

and sterna suggested this link
which is exquisitely appropriate ... thanx

life's little ironies ... sooner or later, what goes around, comes around

an ukrainian restaurant has opened in one of the buildings that face the crimean war memorial

Saturday, January 19, 2008

look in to my eyes and obey me ... you will go to the dulwich picture gallery !

interrred on this spot ... the founders of the dulwich picture gallery

the new coen brothers' film no country for old men ...

( picture of mccarthy and the coens reproduced without permission from time magazine )

you couldn't ask for better evocations of the western landscape than cormac macarthy's

he is a writers' writer

blood meridian and no country for old men are beautifully written stories which i regret having read because they are so disturbingly violent

for many people the depiction of violence in any art form tends to have a kind of pornographic fascination ... many of the cinema's customers could best be described as "users" ... so i've always tended to avoid films that are remarked for their violence & i can't justify going to see this one ... i'm not sure that the tradition of the violent western is needed any longer although i'm willing to accept that the arts must always be free to respond to whatever is fundamental in human existence

however ... despite these gripes, i did enjoy this article about the actor tommy lee jones in yesterday's guardian

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

cast iron at the V&A ... the worshipful company of salters

a relic of the salters' guild ... i think their motto translates as "salt flavours everything"

after another visit to the v&a ... the re-write of pride and prejudice can wait no longer ...

the original plot seems a little lacking in proper drama ... maybe i can re-introduce the menage a trois scene, deleted by austen's publishers in a moment of editorial pusillanimity, where lord nelson and lady hamilton, having been thrown out of beckford's fonthill on christmas eve, make their way north through blizzards to gargle brandy with mister d'arcy and his cousin mister rochester on new year's eve

a slow read

I’m slowly finding my way towards the end of a book of essays by Susan Sontag, which I bought more than two years ago. The title is “Where the Stress Falls” and I’m inclined to think it is a very poor title because her work has very little to do with what we call Stress, and much more to do with Emphasis. Each page offers a cornucopia of ideas, felicities, and fresh perspectives, yet somehow, whilst enjoying her sweet-natured conversational style, I never stuck with it for more than a few pages at a time. When we go out in to the world each day, I think we often look at what we encounter as if “through our friends’ eyes”. Why we don’t have the confidence of our own perceptions is hard to explain. Maybe we value the insights that others provide more than our own, as though they were lifeboats on a sea of confusion, more likely it is just our way of sustaining a dialogue with absent friends.

legal tender

= 0.99 US dollars at today's exchange rate,

or one old Bank Of England ten-bob note down Memory Lane