2008 — 26 Jan: Saturday, and nothing but administrivia!

Just a placeholder, basically, at 00:19 or thereabouts. Dishes done, light snack prepared and consumed. Washing machine loaded. Final cuppa tea cooling towards quaffability. It's amazing how tasks and things to do keep piling up, isn't it? How Christa found the time (and energy) to get done the vast range of things she did with such apparently effortless ease continues to baffle (and occasionally vex) me. But I'm learning. Slowly.

Just tell me why BBC Radio 3 leaves it so late to broadcast wonderful Charlie Haden jazz concerts... Yawn. (00:36 and counting.)

Time to get up, I guess

Good grief! "What did Delaware, boy?" (BBC Radio 2, 09:27, Perry Como) — haven't heard that1 in over 40 years! In search of better audio nourishment, I see that you can catch up on Phyllis King and Ivor Cutler ("King Cutler") on BBC 7 — my recording of that was, I'm sure, originally on Radio 3. How times change, heh? I see you can even currently catch the superb pair of Alan Plater plays (partially) about bringing "railway" time to Wales 150 years ago. What a violent contrast with Jonathan Ross.

One of those plays is called "Only a matter of Time". My sister-in-law Lis, who reads these jottings in an entirely different time zone in NZ, notes last night's comment and responds (overnight) accordingly:

I have to "laugh out loud" at your observations of things you have to do each day ....... (that presumably Christa did!!) ... I know I do "nothing" BUT .... feeding the rabbit, washing the clothes, hanging them out, ironing, filling the water trough, shopping, cooking, feeding the fish, etc etc — all these little things are what makes up the daily toil. But I am very glad that you are doing these lovely walks — I am so envious...


She forgot the five Sudoko puzzles she gets through each day. Earlier in the year, she told me: "Anyway — I am looking forward to you visiting — it will be so different for you — we do have a totally different lifestyle to UK people — I don't do stress/busy/ or rush.......when the girls in the supermarket say to me "are you having a busy day?" — I reply — no I don't do busy or stress.....they look at me in bewilderment. I print off 5 sudokus every day from the internet — from simple to evil to squiggly....which keep me going most of the day. I am sure we will find stuff to do". We shall have to see, Lis, won't we?

Precious bits of paper

As I tidy up, sort out, think about what to discard, and so on, I do come across an extraordinary range of bits and bobs. Was there ever, for example, a nicer "Post-It" note than this?

Christa adores me

I think I'm making some progress; I mentioned here the power of such poignant talismans but finding this Post-It brought a feeling of gladness rather than sadness. I'm also pleased to say that — having had a trial run, as it were, on the photos I took at Cathy's dinner this week — I've now reworked the very last photo I ever took of Christa, and refreshed it here, making it less gloomy! (I'm still getting the hang of Photoshop Elements 5.0, but am becoming more and more impressed by its ability to rescue this dodgy photographer from his many mistakes.)

Soothing chatter

Having first nipped out2 for a batch of healthy fruit & veg and the first Radio Times for several weeks3 (nice to see that it's still light at 16:30 or so) I'm now just (19:05) back from a couple of hours of very pleasant chatter over at Andrew's in Winchester.4 I was, of course, the one exercising my abstemiousness as my three companions sampled a bottle or so of what seemed to be a very nice red. But I've long been of the opinion that drinking doesn't mix with driving, so no problem. Besides, as a student, I probably drank enough for an average lifetime. Don't we all?

Soothing walking

And I shall be back over there bright but not too early tomorrow morning for a walk on Winchester Hill, packed lunch5 in rucksack, camera in hand, muddy boots on feet. What a picture! By the way, to my correspondent who claimed to have spotted a wrinkle in yesterday's shot of Highclere Castle, all I can say is you try taking a crisp shot at that range with full telephoto, hand-held, in the teeth of a freezing gale at the top of Beacon Hill, hanging on to a bush (as Mike put it) by my teeth! Besides, all I did by way of post-processing was lighten up the contrast and tickle the colour balance the merest tad. Not a "wrinkle image" command in sight, even on Photoshop's comprehensive tool bar.

Soothing abluting and viewing

As I've now prepared another iPod playlist for tomorrow's Dinner Party Club I think I can relax to the point of contemplating a hot bath, a ditto supper, and my latest DVD acquisition Shoot 'em up — not my normal fare but then, what is normal these days? Besides, it has the reliable Clive Owen and the interesting Paul Giamatti and the attractive Monica Bellucci. And even if it's as daft as the write-up on IMDB suggested, it's only 83 minutes lost! Best is, it was free (for services gladly rendered!)

At it again... department

I remember enjoying a book called Innumeracy very much. Its author is back, pouring his cold logic on religious claims:

"Either everything has a cause, or there's something that doesn't," he writes. "The first-cause argument collapses into this hole whichever tack we take. If everything has a cause, then God does, too, and there is no first cause. And if something doesn't have a cause, it may as well be the physical world."

John Allen Paulos

The reviewer (Michiko Kakutani) from the New York Times is not very impressed. But then, I host a quotation here that suggests the editorial position of that paper on this topic was already fixed over two years ago.



1  And a string of other, worse, puns, long since expunged from the memory banks.
2  I suspect if I were not able to drive I would by now be stark, staring mad.
3  If the BBC is going to start repeating gems such as those Plater plays, I'm obviously going to have to start inspecting their schedules a lot less casually.
4  Thanks, chaps, for the chatter and the offer of supper but I'm determined to raise my culinary skills a little beyond the rudimentary (towards the elementary alimentary, perhaps?) hence today's veg shopping. Christa made a point of keeping me full of all this healthy green stuff (not that everything I bought today was that colour) and I wish to continue the tradition even as I sadly note that both Lis and I know her own healthy eating didn't succeed in warding off her cancer.
5  Mustn't forget to take some more bread out of the freezer.