Monthly Archives: April 2018

Remedial for grumpiness

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There was a certain amount of complaining going on today.  I grumped round the grass with a struggling mower for the third time in a week (that’s how bad it was) and grumped at the slugs that have had a go at the baby rudbeckia.  There was also a fair bit of Flufferscussing as by some inspiration she managed to deposit in any doorway I was about to walk through.  She did some cussing of her own as I refused to let her sit on the sofa.

By the pond I found this poor tiny relic.  Surely not a victim of predation, as even its little paws are still attached; maybe caught out by the icy weather we had a few weeks ago, and freeze-dried on its way to the water?

I settled for half an hour on the paving, pretending to be a tree stump, and watching for little plips and swirls.

The more fortunate newts were fossicking about; always difficult to know how many, but I saw one with a pale spine sprinkled with freckles, two with yellow or cream stripes all down their backs, one olive brown with leopard spots, one plain olive with a fine dark dorsal stripe, and one almost black and nearly invisible, plus a couple of juveniles.

Newts don’t seem to have red-eye problem so much as golden eye problem when the light reflects.

This is not what newts are meant to do.  Assuming it was another corpse, I scooped it out, upon which it leapt into action and squiggled off my palm.  If not moribund, it must be one of Nature’s eccentrics.

I ought to be feeling five years younger

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and possibly five pounds lighter, but at present it’s more a case of inward niggles, wondering which typo or howler has made it through the proof-reading.  There has to be at least one. Also worrying slightly about the jokes.

Always risky, jokes.  But once I had had the eating weasels rule pointed out to me, the Epistle of Barnabas just had to go in.  And once the Epistle of Barnabas was in, one might as well have Warwick the Kingmaker as well (“Are you Edmund Mortimer?  If not, have you got him?”)  And then somehow The Sorrows of Werther crept into the general stirabout.

It may have been injudicious.  I carefully remind myself:  who cares what THEY think?

Not all Judith

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From the dear old days when upon marriage you lost not only your surname, but first name as well:

Round about 1902 Mrs Aeneas Gunn went, with Mr Aeneas Gunn, to a cattle station in the Northern Territory of Australia.  This was not a destination for wimps.

Her two books have been condensed for a more modern audience, probably a good thing as even in this form the narrative is diffuse.  Mrs Gunn’s authorial voice is both permanently arch and continually patronising – towards the indigenous people, naturally, but also to the Chinese, the rustic stockmen and pretty much anyone else she happened to meet (except Mr Aeneas Gunn).  It has to be said that they all seem to have patronised her first (including Mr Gunn), for being a townie, and, of course, for being a woman, so perhaps one should not be too indignant about her attitude on this occasion.

That might not sound promising, but I read every page with attention.  Here we have a voice from a tiny, transient foundational community that has disappeared from all knowledge.  And the story, beneath the archness, is one of great pathos.

In another corner of the nest:

Having all the pieces is a surprising and gratifying outcome.

Shopping

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I suppose one might want a giant supermarket one day … so I went to find it, just in case.  (Click an image for the gallery)

Mud on the boots

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Someone forgot to turn on the rain.   (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)

Serendipitous

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Found on a second-hand bookstall for a modest 50p:

This autobiographical account of Christabel Bielenberg’s experiences during World War II in Germany, as the Irish/English wife of a German lawyer, depicts a slow awakening:  from youthful preoccupation with their own careers, family life and friends to the conviction that the developing Nazi regime was monstrous, and eventually to the belief that it must be opposed.

No doubt memories must have been subject to the rewritings of time, as the book was not published until 1968, but the mélange of trivial and terrifying, ludicrous and horrific incidents, along with Bielenberg’s refusal to take sides along national lines, creates an unusual voice.  Towards the end of the book Bielenberg describes what it was like to summon up enough courage deliberately to walk into the Gestapo HQ in Berlin, and try to lie her husband out of Ravensbruck after his arrest for complicity in an attempt to kill Hitler (of which he was indeed guilty – if that is the right word).

At the time of reading I was entirely absorbed in this extraordinary scenario. It was only later that I realised the serendipity of finding a commentary upon the Book of Judith in this improbable source, just at the moment I need it.

Locked up

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The rivers are well up with the continuing rainy weather, and my attention paused as I crossed this rushing water.  It’s the first time I’ve seen one of these bridges with declarations by padlock all over them.  As a symbol of personal love, I could only find it depressing, and it didn’t do anything for the line of the footbridge either.

Elsewhere, I watched a fairly senior cleric hit a two feet tall chocolate egg with a claw hammer.  Hmm.