George's Garden

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:59 am
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We were at a family birthday party in Highgate. After lunch I walked up hill with Mike and Jay (and, Jeez, is that a hill!) into the village to view the George Michael memorial garden- which occupies a green space- about the size of a regular suburban back yard- across from what used to be George's house. It was full of people- including some with brooms who were keeping it tidy- and there are tributes all round the fence and hanging from trees. I've never seen the like, at least not on such a scale.

The first picture has George's house in the background. Lots of famous people lived and live round here. Someone mentioned Jude Law. Someone else said Kate Moss or was it Kate Bush. Just down the road from George's house is one with two plaques on it- one for Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the other for J.B. Priestley.





Reading: Autumn

Sep. 24th, 2017 06:19 pm
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I bought a copy of Ali Smith's Autumn in the Oxfam bookshop in York last week, because they were playing Leonard Cohen and I ended up browsing the contemporary fiction section much more closely than I often do because I wanted to keep listening to it. It was the day the Booker shortlist had been announced so someone had been talking about the book on the radio as I was driving up; it sounded interesting so I thought I might as well buy it when I saw a copy there.

It's a strange book. Essentially, it's the story of a friendship between an elderly man and little girl, growing and developing across the space of years, but it's also a complicated web of allusions through which Smith considers questions of time, memory, love and art; key influences are Dickens (the opening sentence is "It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times") and Ovid's Metamorphoses although there are many others. Its time-hopping, non-linear format jumps between the aftermath of the Brexit vote (the novel was published last October and it was clearly written, fast, after the referendum), the 1990s, the Profumo scandal of the 1960s and World War 2 and the years immediately preceding it. It's funny and thought-provoking, melancholy and angry and also somehow hopeful. And the prose is beautiful and poetic. It's a short book, and a quick read, but I think it will stay with me.

sunning the backs of their necks

Sep. 24th, 2017 08:34 pm
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Last stalks of corn, sunning the backs of their necks #autumn #sunshine #oftheday

The weather was glorious this morning - sun and mist before we got up and just sunshine after we arose. We went for an early(ish) walk and spent the whole time exclaiming over how beautiful everything is. I was on a high anyway, because the transformation from exhausted to being normal - again - feels miraculous. At least it was only months this time, not years, but I'm still surprised how bad it was in retrospect compared with how bad I recognised it as being at the time. Anyway, it had to be the old medication, because I'm bouncing around now and stayed awake until almost 10pm last night, OMG.

Today I painted my golden rod-dyed silk with a solution of iron sulphate and got green stripes. I am very happy about this. Photos to follow.

And then my actual plans got put aside for a sudden burst of book-weeding. We've been meaning to sort the general fiction paperbacks for an age, and today we made a start. We began with the unsorted ones, squeezed onto two shelves and stacked on the floor in two teetering piles. We wiped off the massive quantities of dust and divided them into keepers and discards. By shelf-space, we discarded about 50%, and sorted a total of 5m of books. My estimate for the remaining task is another 23m. The proportion achieved surprises me, and I'm optimistic about completing the task and improving the room by the end of this year.

I was pleased to find my copy of 1066 And All That in the sorting process. So I reread it for the umpteenth time. Bad news: someone removed all the funny. Perhaps it isn't the real book, and I'll find the funny version later, or perhaps a sense-of-humour bypass is a side-effect of the new drug.

Tendons are healing again, and reasonably quickly.

Reading: St Mungo's Robin

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:23 am
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I wasn't quite ready to get my head out of fifteenth-century Scotland after finishing Gemini, so I thought I'd read the fourth of Pat McIntosh's Gil Cunningham mysteries. Set in Glasgow, about ten years after the end of Gemini, these books feel a bit like a extension of the world of the Niccolò series; some of the same historical characters appear in both and I like to imagine Dunnett's characters living their lives just off-screen. (Accidentally or on purpose, there are also a couple of cases where character names and nicknames end up being minor spoilers for points in Dunnett where knowing a character's full name rather than just their nickname would have given too much away, so if you're reading your way through Dunnett and care about remaining unspoilered I'd recommend leaving McIntosh until afterwards; I also enjoy McIntosh more for having read all of the Niccolò books now and understanding the historical background.)

In this book, Gil (now officially charged with investigating murders, after his earlier successes on an amateur basis) is called to a Glasgow almshouse where the unpopular Deacon has been found stabbed with no shortage of people who might have had a motive to kill him. He's also due to be married in a week's time and his investigations are both helped and hindered by family and friends arriving in town for the wedding, while he and his fiancée, Alys, are both suffering from pre-wedding nerves.

I enjoyed this a lot - the series really seems to be hitting its stride by this stage, with the core characters established enough to feel like old friends now; Gil's investigations manage not to feel out of place in the historical setting while still allowing him to do things like estimate times of death from the condition of a corpse. I did spot a couple of clues well ahead of Gil, and had worked out the identity of the murderer by about two-thirds of the way through the book, but then it's always nice to feel cleverer than the detective!

Bergen

Sep. 24th, 2017 09:49 am
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My mother has been watching bicycle racing from Bergen. The cameras track and follow the action through the streets of the town and up into the hills above the estuary. I don't take much interest in the sport but I'm enjoying the scenery. I love how the Norwegians paint their houses in bright primary colours.
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  • Neanderthals, like contemporary humans, had the sort of prolonged childhoods which lend themselves to intelligence. National Geographic reports.

  • The cool chill water of oceans is starting to be used to cool data centres. VICE reports.

  • Brazil is set to embark on a substantial process to restore Amazonian rainforest. VICE reports.

  • The Dawn probe found evidence of subsurface ice on rocky asteroid-belt protoplanet Vesta. Universe Today reports.

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  • A Canadian proposal at the NAFTA negotiations to liberalize migration across borders got shot down by the US.

  • Latin American governments have recently called for a radical liberalization of migration law worldwide.

  • Canada is in a potential position to take advantage of the DREAMers, if they are forced to leave.

  • Québec premier Philippe Couillard wants to encourage Anglos to move back to the province. Global News reports.

  • The resettlement of LGBTQ refugees is especially complicated. VICE reports.

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  • CBC notes that the Yonge and Dundas street artist scene is closing down under city regulations, including permits.

  • Emily Mathieu talks about how she conducts her journalism with some of Toronto's most marginalized as subjects.

  • The Globe and Mail notes the local controversy over having police officers permanently stationed in schools.

  • The idea that police who actively undermine the Special Investigations Unit should be seriously punished seems obvious.
  • Veteran NDP politican and LGBTQ rights advocate Cheri DiNovo is leaving politics to become a minister in church.

  • Finally, the Dundas West TTC station will be connected to the GO Transit hub less than 300 metres away!

havregrynskugler

Sep. 23rd, 2017 04:33 pm
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I am definitely feeling better, like I no longer have to keep pushing a massive boulder uphill. Hurrah!

Inside the birch: secret space #oftheday

This morning we went into town to do errands, slowly because the tendons are still recovering from the new boots, but we walked over 2km. Our visit coincided with Daventry's very first Food Festival and, somewhat to our surprise, it wasn't a bad event. There were at least four stalls offering locally brewed craft beers and ciders, so we came home with half a dozen different ciders. We would have bought some samosas and onion bhajis, but we were a little too early. The leaflet we were given for the (relatively new) health food store, has convinced me I've been missing out on something good, so I shall visit that next week.

I deposited the majority of my collection of fabulous shoes at one of the charity shops. It was a sad moment, but I'm hoping I'll stop missing them now they are no longer sitting forlornly on a shelf being all unwearable at me. On the upside, I found that with a 3/4 orthotic, rather than a full length one, I can wear more of the old shoes than anticipated (though, inevitably, the more boring part of the collection).

Our lunch was all planned around the giant, homegrown potatoes J gave me on Thursday. They are big enough that we only needed one between two, and we decided that baking would be the best way to enjoy its unadulterated potatoey deliciousness. We had a couple of different salads too and, oh yes, we might have opened one of those ciders to go with it. Omnomnom.

Never mind the hygge, get a load of these havregrynskugler I just made 😋

This afternoon I made havregrynskugler as recommended on twitter by Sofie Hagen. The recipe is dead simple - essentially it's chocolate buttercream with oats. I'm not a fan of buttercream, but the oats (and the Amaretto di Saronno I added) make these satisfyingly chewy balls of chocolatey goodness.

Remembering The Cuban Missile Crisis

Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:30 am
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The difference is we took Kennedy and Khrushchev seriously. I'm not sure they were really any wiser or more imposing than Trump and Kim but the world viewed them as statesmen and not as over-tired toddlers. Politics may not have changed in the intervening half century but I think the world has. We're less frightened, less respectful of power, less willing to put up with high level silliness.

the art of perception

Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:01 pm
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I had a lovely day yesterday. It was grey and gloomy, and intermittently torrential, but I drove over to meet my dyeclass friend and then go to Compton Verney to their - about to end if you're in the area and are interested - exhibition, Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception. It was perfect viewing for us, providing inspiration and insight for our printing and J's weaving.
We took our time there, because of my tendons and J's damaged foot, and had tea before we started and lunch after looking round. And then more tea. And we took advantage of the free bus service from the gallery back to the car park. We also talked and talked and talked some more.
It was a bit of a risk going out for the day because it was the first day of my new medication, so I was still suffering from the fatigue that is presumed to be an effect of the old medication, while the impact of the new drug is an unknown quantity. J is, fortunately, well-informed and thoughtful, so between us we managed my tiredness and made sure no plummeting blood sugar levels occurred. And I was still safe to drive home at the end of the day.

Swans #oftheday

Lazy photo of the day - zoomed from the car, without stopping and getting out.

Today has been rather lovely too. For a start it's beautifully sunny, so I have the doors open and washing drying outside.
Son of Boilerman turned up as promised around 8:30am and fixed my boiler whilst being chatty and delightful. While he did that, I pottered around gently and did things that needed doing, but without any frantic plan, which was rather nice.
And then I spotted the chap across the road who had been recommended to me as a potential gardener. So we looked around my jungle, agreed an hourly rate, and I now have a gardener. It seems like a perfect arrangement, as he lives a couple of doors away, is self-employed, and can just pop round when convenient for him. He's quite excited about clearing things back and then formulating a plan, and seems open to encouraging me to get involved.
Then the veg man arrived and once more, as his last delivery, I got to accept lots of free leftovers. It's not as epic as The Week of 18 Avocados, but I've got quite a lot of extra salad stuff, and a small mint mountain (a mint foothill). He turned up just as I was eating blue cheese on toast and thinking that it needed something fresh to complement it - pears and figs will do nicely, thank you.
I was supposed to let Percy out for a wander in his back garden around noon, but I failed at opening the back door. (Inadequate training.) So we went for a short stroll instead. On the way we met Ida, the tiny, super-enthusiatic dog who considers Percy to be her boyfriend. Much licking occurred. Everyone seemed very satisfied by this. On the way back I helped a delivery guy to find the right house and he was enthusiastically appreciative. (No licking occurred.)

In drug news, the new medication is definitely reducing my blood sugar. It's lower today than it has been for about a year. (It might be too effective, but we'll see.) I read up on the side effects of the old drug, pioglitazone, and it looks as though it may well be responsible for my peripheral oedema and weight gain as well as extreme fatigue. I wondered why I was getting oedema when the weather is cool, and obviously I blamed myself for the weight thing.
I don't usually read the side effects info. I used to, but concluded that the lists of possibilities are too all-encompassing to be useful and vague enough to make me paranoid. Now I wonder if that was a mistake, so I've read all the possible side effects of the new drug, alogliptin, which is basically all the same things as the old drug, plus a few more. Hopefully I won't experience any of them this time.
None of the side effects mentioned tendinopathy, but the timing fits...and one of the known side effects is an increase in broken bones, so that might not be wild speculation?

And now I have a whole sunny afternoon to myself with absolutely nothing on the Should Do list and many delightful ideas on the Could Do list.

Sunflower

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:31 am
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Ah, Sun-flower, weary of time
Who countest the steps of the Sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;

Where the youth pined away with desire
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow
Arise from their graves and aspire
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go

William Blake

Chariot Of Fire

Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:24 am
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I'm told the human aura has a circumference of 26 feet. That's big. I paced it out and it's over halfway down the garden path. Unless you're living in a cavern in the Peak District your aura will constantly be overlapping other people's. Consider the implications. Imagine the radiant soup in a busy shopping street...

The Hebrew word for it is Merkabah which is the word used in tradition for the celestial chariot in which Elijah went back to heaven. I've been singing "Jerusalem" all my life and now I think I'm finally getting a handle on what Blake was talking about. "Bring me my chariot of fire" means something like "let me realise my full potential"- only "chariot of fire" sounds better.

We think our consciousness is trapped in our physical bodies but really we're travelling around in an invisible vehicle that would blaze out like the sun if we let it.
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  • In this unseasonably warm September, Toronto tenants need more air conditioning than some landlords provide. The Toronto Star reports.

  • NOW Toronto notes the launch of a new Kent Monkman canvas, this one depicting a Dutch-Iroquois treaty signing.

  • The bizarre story of an ISIS supporter who tried to attack people at a Canadian Tire store is getting more bizarre. The Toronto Star reports.

  • There is a possibility the Ontario minimum wage increase could hurt employment outside of well-off Toronto. The Globe and Mail reports.

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  • If the separatists of Catalonia are triggering a confrontation with the Spanish government to create a majority ... Open Democracy reports.

  • Speaking as someone who could be classified as a settler himself, positioning myself and my arguments is key. MacLean's notes the importance of sensitivity to First Nations issues.

  • The United Kingdom does seem likely to get the selective access to the EU's markets post-Brexit some want. Bloomberg reports.

  • Expensive avocado exports are but some of the complications that could hit North America if NAFTA gets changed. Bloomberg reports.

  • Iceland, again, is displaying particular caution towards potentially overwhelming Chinese investment projects. Bloomberg reports.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:10 pm
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  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of dispatching a fleet of sail-equipped probes to map the asteroid belt.

  • Crux considers the importance of the invention of zero for mathematics.

  • D-Brief notes that Scotland's oldest snow patch is set to melt imminently.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper looking at the stability of multiplanetary systems in star clusters.

  • Imageo notes the modest recovery of icecaps in the Arctic this summer.

  • Language Log notes the importance of Kazakhstan's shift to using the Latin script for the Kazakh language.

  • The LRB Blog reports on a writer's visit to Helsinki.

  • The Map Room Blog notes a giant relief map of Guatemala, built to reinforce claims to what is now Belize.

  • The NYR Daily considers the continued salience of race in the fragile liberal-democratic world, in America and Europe.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders if the heavy-handed Spanish government is trying to trigger Catalonian independence.

  • Roads and Kingdoms considers the palm wine of Senegal, and its vendors.

  • Understanding Society considers the Holocaust, as an experience sociological and otherwise.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy makes a libertarian case for open borders.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi celebrates his meeting mutual fan Alison Moyet.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Belarus' cautious Belarusianization is met by Russia's pro-Soviet nostalgia.

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The Cavendish Cemetery, on the southwest corner of the intersection of routes 6 and 13, is famous around the world as the place where Lucy Maud Montgomery rests in eternal peace. Alongside her are buried many of her relatives, including her mother and her maternal grandparents, MacNeills all. A sign at the entrance asks visits not to leave artificial flowers.

Approaching Cavendish Cemetery #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #cavendishcemetery #latergram


Graves of MacNeills #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #cavendishcemetery #lmmontgomery #macneill #grave #latergram


Entrance #pei #princeedwardisland #cavendish #cavendishcemetery #lmmontgomery #latergram

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