9 December 2016


Just in case you were wondering where I have gone this weekend, we are driving down to London on Saturday morning. We will be staying with The Beloved Daughter overnight and dining in a local Nepalese restaurant with The Beloved Son who will be joining us from Highbury which is in North London. The Beloved Daughter's beau will also be there.

Weather permitting I will walk on Wandsworth Common on Sunday morning. Then there'll be lunch and a lazy afternoon before we travel on to Rugby in Warwickshire. I have booked a hotel there for Sunday night. Rugby is where the game of rugby began when during a football (soccer) match in 1823, William Webb Ellis picked the ball up and ran with it. It's a great story.

So folks, this is my absence note... Back home on Monday night.

8 December 2016


Adam Driver as Paterson
No police sirens in "Paterson". No guns blazing or inspired detectives spotting murder clues. Nobody from the glitterati, no fast cars screeching round corners. No. This is a quiet and beautifully crafted film about ordinary lives. Not much happens in it and yet I found it curiously engaging.

Jim Jamusch directed it, lovingly and meticulously, and he recently said this of "Paterson"; “Life isn’t dramatic, always. This is about the day-to-day. It was less intentionally an antidote to all this action, violence, abuse of women, conflict between people, but I’m sure that’s part of it. We need other kinds of films. With my films, my hope is that you don’t care too much about the plot. I’m trying to find a Zen way where you are just there each moment and you’re not thinking too much about what’s going to happen next.”
Golshifteh Farahani as Laura
In "Paterson", twins appear on several random occasions without comment. They are just there, part of the town's scenery. The central character is a bus driver co-incidentally called Paterson like the New Jersey town that provides the film's setting. Every day he gets up early leaving his wife Laura dreaming in bed, except on Saturday when she is up early, manically decorating cupcakes to sell at the local farmers' market. She has various dreams of fame and fortune and artistic leanings that are always black and white in colour. Perhaps she is a little crazy but she loves Paterson all the same.

In four or five brief moments, the camera focuses on a framed  photograph of Paterson in a previous life - in his US Marines uniform but no mention is made of that experience or how it might have affected him. It is just there - slightly tantalising but deliberately untapped Then there's the pet bulldog, Marvin. When left in the house one evening he chews up Paterson's notebook of poems. The lines often came to him while bus driving and making poetry was obviously his biggest aspiration in a town that was once home to the great American poet William Carlos Williams.

There is humour in "Paterson" and there is a sense of how life trundles on for most of us - unexceptional, undramatic and ordinary. Jamusch was right - we do need other kinds of films and for me, "Paterson" was a sweet and rather lovely film - at times melancholic and meaningless. By the end you feel you have got to know both of the Patersons quite intimately - the east coast town and the bus driver.who traverses it.
Marvin the English bulldog in "Paterson"

7 December 2016


There are an estimated 130,000 miles of public footpaths in Great Britain. They go here, there and everywhere, leading us to secret places, taking us away from our everyday lives.  This is not the first time I have created a poem that bears the title "The Path".  For example, looking back I wrote another one in March of this year. See here.

6 December 2016


"The words a man says are as deep waters..." - The Bible

In today's episode of "Quiztime", competitors will be given two contrasting quotations. Your task is simply to decide which quote came from the mouth of Donald J. Trump, esteemed 45th President Elect of The United States of America and which quote was delivered by the late Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, 17th President of Cuba.

A "Men do not shape destiny. Destiny produces the man for the hour."
B "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything …Grab them by the p***y … You can do anything."

A "Warfare is a means and not an end. Warfare is a tool of revolutionaries. The important thing is the revolution! The important thing is the revolutionary cause, revolutionary ideas, revolutionary objectives, revolutionary sentiments, revolutionary virtues!"
B “They said, ‘How are you going to change the pageant?’ I said ‘I’m going to get the bathing suits to be smaller and the heels to be higher’.”

A "A person who's flat-chested is very hard to be a 10, OK?" 
B "I feel my belief in sacrifice and struggle getting stronger. I despise the kind of existence that clings to the miserly trifles of comfort and self-interest."

A "They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?"
B “You know, it really doesn`t matter what the media write as long as you`ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

How did you do? The producers of "Quiztime" make no apology for the difficulty level of this demanding quiz. The answers will be proudly tweeted by Donald J. Trump on his Twitter feed later this month. Unfortunately, "El Comandante" will be unable to assist with this process

5 December 2016


It's nice to share photographs with blog visitors. Some of you have  occasionally written complimentary comments about them. Such words are much appreciated. Sharing pictures is more motivational than saving them for my eyes only. If nobody else saw them, what would be the point?

Here are three more pictures, taken in the last three days. Below you can see an ancient squeeze stile I came across when walking between two farms in north east Derbyshire. The squeeze stile remains when the hedge or stone wall in which it once sat disappeared. long ago. The squeeze stile allowed people to squeeze through to the next field but not livestock.
From Ringinglow on Friday afternoon, I looked across the valley of The River Porter to the old tower of Lodge Moor Hospital as a rainbow fell on Harrison Lane. The hospital was demolished years ago and now an up-market housing estate surrounds the tower. Soon after this my camera battery flashed its exhaustion. It was a pity because soon afterwards the rainbow sharpened its colours and formed an impressive arc, framing our city down in the valley.
I took this next picture at The Great Pond of Stubbing where, as you can see, there's a little stone boat house. No boats are moored within it these days. I imagine long ago Edwardian summer days when little groups from the big house at Stubbing Court would saunter down to spend a pleasant hour or two boating on the pond with a wickerwork picnic hamper and a bamboo fishing rod. Not Stubbing Pond or Stubbing Lake but The Great Pond of Stubbing - maybe a good title for a new murder mystery.

3 December 2016


Well, I don't know how long it has been there but when creating a new blogpost one of the facilities available on the top bar in Blogger is "insert special characters".  Click on the second of the three dropdown menus there and you will find emojis. 

As I don't possess a mobile phone, I was only dimly aware of what emojis are and how they might be used. I guess they either replace words or reinforce previously expressed sentiments. It is amazing how many different notions and emotions can be suggested with these little symbols. Some of them are very clever indeed.

I have applied certain emojis to members of the blogging community - henceforth to be called blogonauts. Some days even I can be insane. I hope that Blogger don't send that white van over again today. I hate being trussed up in that canvas straitjacket...
πŸ‘°= Librarian - a German princess with secrets... and "Holzofen-Dinnede" in her Swabian belly.
πŸ™‹= Jennifer - a South Carolinian princess with dogs, a parrot and a husband.
πŸ‘¨= Terry - Hinckley's "man of the year". What an amazing accolade!
πŸ‘Ί= Steve - chief enforcer  at The American School library - "Bring em back!"
😜= John Gray - blogger extraordinaire and animal lover - no, not like that!
πŸ’†= Queen Helen from Brissy, queen of quilting and holiday planning.
πŸ‘§= My name is Sue, how do you do? "Here, there and everywhere..." - thanks to John Winston Lennon.
πŸ‘©= Mama Thyme/Mama Bear - Miss Colorado 2016 and lovely mountain lady in fur.
πŸ‘΅= Mrs Weaver, illegal Lincolnshire immigrant - aka Emma Dale.
😻= Lee on Tamborine Mountain - foxy lady and damned good cook.
πŸ˜‡= Ian Rhodes - happy halo man and king of the Sunday Round-Up.
😁= Mr Graham, Laird of Eagleton, IπŸ’—Lewis  showing off his new teeth.
πŸ™Ž= Jan Blawat, feisty no nonsense Sloughhouse chicken woman.
😊= Red - a Canadian glass half full happy chappy eskimo teacher guy.
πŸ˜‰= Chris the Newhaven Pedestrian winking at the world.
πŸ‘΄= Mr Rhymes, senior blogger and wise monitor of blogging morals.
πŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘ΈπŸ‘Έ= What is the collective noun for a group of princesses? A herd? A gaggle? Here are Princesses Kylie, Coppa G, Lesley, Libby, Frances, ADDY and Alphie before they descend on their favourite downtown dive - "The Flaming Yorkshire Pudding" to guzzle down shots and dance like dervishes deep into the night.
Did I miss somebody? Oh yeah, I missed you! πŸ˜ˆ You little devil!  

1 December 2016


Andy Woodward - brave whistleblower re, sexual abuse in boys' football
Here in  Great Britain, a secret door has been pushed open. Beyond that door in the dank shadows of recent history, vile child abuse has been exposed. This awfulness happened at the behest of several perverted football coaches.. They took advantage of dozens of young boys and overpowered them with their careless lust.

We have seen ex-professional footballers on our television screens, revealing their terrible secrets. Some of them have been in tears. Such things are very hard to talk about - even when you are a grown man. How much harder it would have been to talk about such things when these tortured men were boys.

"How was the football practice Jimmy?"

"Oh fine mum but afterwards Mr Smith buggered me in the back of his Cortina."

It doesn't work that way.

I wonder if there are any other countries in the world that are as  diligent in their rooting out of past abuse as Great Britain seems to be. We keep delving into the shadows, pulling out the monsters when in so many other countries the secret door is double-locked.

I pause to wonder what turns a man into a child abuser. Surely they didn't just wake up one day stretching and yawning and thinking - "Oh I am bored. I think I will go out and abuse a child today." It would be instructive to learn about the backgrounds of these abusers and what made them so. Of course forgiveness would be absurd but it is arguably far too facile to view these predators as evil devils without stopping to consider their life journeys.. Are abusers born or made?