Sunday, March 30, 2008


dragging heavy suitcases up the hill from the station with a grumpy tired 13 year-old my mind was way ahead of us and thinking about what to post here ...

but rather than thinking about the good holiday i've just had, i found myself thinking of all the work i have to trudge through this week.....

So I apologise to you, gentle blog folk, for very nearly posting something a bit moany and miserable. I'm ashamed of myself and have given myself a good talking to. How many times will i need to learn and relearn that whole living in the moment and being grateful and gracious and appreciating good things lesson?

It was a relaxing holiday which included baby-nuzzling, dog-wrangling, teenager-baiting, good eats, beach-combing, boot fairs and actually a surprising amount of sunshine between the rain and clouds and hail.

I am being proactive about the work anxiety and will go for an early swim tomorrow morning before I get started.

Furthermore, this SMILE will be my mottosloganimagefocus of the week.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stop the war

Photographs by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

You can see details and more of Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's photographs from Iraq here.

Augustine - writing about 1,500 years ago - says things which seem outrageous, outdated, ludicrous, bizarre and even damaging or dangerous. He also says things which suggest sharp insight into human nature and the operations of societies and governments, things which might have been written yesterday, and with specific reference to current global politics.

"The city of a single community. The simple truth is that the bond of a common nature makes all human beings one. Nevertheless, each individual in this community is driven by his passions to pursue his private purposes. Unfortunately the objects of these purposes are such that no one person (let alone the world community) can ever be wholly satisfied. The reason for this is that nothing but Absolute Being can satisfy human nature. The result is that the city of men remains in a chronic condition of civil war in which those who win oppress those who lose." (Augustine, The City of God 18,2)

"Thus it is that all men want peace in their own society, and they all want it on their own terms. When they go to war, what they want is to make, if they can, their enemies their own, and to impose on them the victim's will, and call it a peace. Even when wicked men go to war they want peace for their own society and would like, if possible, to make all men members of that society, so that everyone and everything might be at the service of one head. O course, the only means such a conqueror knows is to have all men so fear or love him that they will accept the peace which he imposes. For, so does pride perversely copy God. Sinful man hates the equality of all men under God, and, as though he were God, loves to impose his own sovereignty upon his fellow man." (Augustine, The City of God 19,12)

.... plus ca change....

Blogswarm in protest against the war, more details here.


We're away from home today for 10 days, visiting the in-laws - including new nephew. So I shall be in Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands - a curious mix of English seasideness, some vestiges of old Frenchness, small-island insularity, privileged wealth for some but ordinariness for more, good living and excellent pubs and restaurants, winding country roads, beaches but probably not the weather to make the most of them.....

I'm hoping for lots of sleeping, reading, walking, photography and will probably be popping into your blogs, but absent here.

Wishing you all a peaceful festival season

Saturday, March 15, 2008

wordless weekend

i've been still feeling, of late, the lack of inspiration i talked about in my last post....

.... and had decided to do a Wordless Weekend post, with just one or two photos.
No words.

As soon as I resolved on this excellent plan, I began thinking not only about which photos to post, but also of Words to accompany them....

i imagined myself on Monday or Tuesday, in a consecutive post, writing in wry and witty tones, about how hard I had found it to resist adding words to my Wordless post....

... and then my mind began to fill with words

words about my weekend

about words
and about wordlessness

about weariness
and feeling worn-down, washed-out

about the wordiness of my week - wordiness at work, words hiding - or not revealing - hidden agendas

about wandering and walking
and wondering

(and weediness)


about wild and wet (and wintry) weather
and wonderful waking wild wanton spring

wistfulness, wisteria

(and warmth! finally!!!!!!!!)

whither wordlessness?

winging its wishful wondering way around the world.

I would so love to also have something wise to say about weasels but.....

... anyone?

Saturday, March 08, 2008


wondering what to blog about (i have some ideas in mind but they don't really engage my enthusiasm)

i sat down to start writing, thinking i might say something about inspiration

as its something i seem to be lacking.

i think i hoped that thinking about inspiration might inspire me...

...nope, nothing here though.

I was reading something yesterday about John Milton who named a specific muse, Urania, as the heavenly source or inspiration of Paradise Lost. Urania, like a brooding dove with mighty wings.

Blake also claimed divine inspiration for his creativity and imagination - especially the angels who visited him.

I wonder if their poetry came easily to them, or if they had to work hard at it.
Is it less inspired if it takes a lot of effort?

"inspiration" suggests a sort of "gifting" - ideas, words, connections, images - simply there, available and waiting to be captured, written, expressed.

Which seems not too demanding a process - sounds appealing, a bit like unwrapping a gift.

Poor LG is finding school extremely uninspirational at the moment. Even in the subjects she most loves it doesn't seem that she is being encouraged to explore or express herself. Her Engish class began well this year with some classes on Shakespeare (Much Ado) which she thoroughly enjoyed. But now they are "doing" Jane Eyre.

Reading around the class.

I couldn't quite believe that english literature is still being "taught" like this. I was thoroughly put off reading Dickens at school by lessons where we took it in turns to read aloud from Great Expectations. I've not read him since, though he's on my "to read" list...

It seems to me that young people who enjoy reading will gain little from this tedious process, and those who don't aren't likely to have their minds changed.

I wonder who the muse of educational inspiration is? I think she's needed in England.

If something is "inspired" i think that is (partly) a way of saying something about its effect and impact, whatever its source.

I thought this was fairly inspired. (just click where it says PLAY)

Also this, which i saw last night.

and here is some Muse, one of LG's favourite groups, and i like them a lot too.

And these are inspired - vintage chocolate buttons.

Really good quality chocolate, in the shape of vintage buttons.
An inspired product and an inspired gift from my sister and nieces.

Monday, March 03, 2008

bananas and ducks

This morning I managed to get up, dressed and out of the house before I had time to think myself out of my plan to start swimming again.

Before I'd reached the end of the road the effort was justified by the discovery of this delightful local artefact:

Its one way to communicate, I suppose.

I was in the pool by 8.30, did more lengths than I'd told myself would justify the effort, and felt great. I always know that I'll find it energising and relaxing - so why do I put it off for so long?

I did then have to walk through town and shop with the haggard-googley goggle eyes. Which is the greater vanity: being too aware of the goggle eye effect, or not being able to bring myself to wear sunglasses to hide it, despite the bright sunshine, because its only just March for goodness sake?

And its exceedingly chilly, despite the sunshine. The ducks are all keeping their beaks well tucked in.

At least, I assume they do this for warmth?
Either that, or its some form of duck yoga.

Unless they too, of course, are trying to hide googley goggle eyes.