2008 — 11 June: Wednesday

Another midnight (00:21 to be precise), seven months since she left us, another picture of Christa. This shows her standing at the front door of our Old Windsor house, proudly clutching some of her beloved roses — nasty, pollen-filled, horrible smelly things:

Christa's Old Windsor roses, 1978 or so

(I'm joking, my love, as you know perfectly well!) G'night.

Throw those curtains wide...

From the "Elbow" lyrics of "One day like this". It's pleasantly cooler and 10:40 already. Snail mail perused, as are the two pages of the recent Observer piece on IQ (sent to me by my old ex-ICL chum [and one-time LEO programming instructor] John Smythson). He and I are conducting a minor round of email pingpong as he (repeatedly) disputes the fact that he omitted the "/" from my website's URL ahead of the "~david". I don't know what his browser environment is as he operates within the clutches of AOL but, not surprisingly, the URL fails without that solidus.

Despite the strawberries (and Big Bro has instructed me [from Chile] to save some for him) I shall have to make a supplies foray sooner or later today. Ho hum.

Some people say I'm a cynic... dept.

Douglas Rushkoff has a blog (who doesn't?) and takes it upon himself to address the US economy:

... traditionally, when wealth disparity got too great and there wasn't enough money in the right places, the wealthiest bankers temporarily suspended their greed to bail out the system. Or progressive tax policies opened corporate coffers, permitting a "New Deal" that employed people while rebuilding the infrastructure required to make real things and provide real services to citizens.

Today, however, such temporary restraints on greed are systematically untenable and philosophically unthinkable. Conservatives are still so angry about New Deal reforms of the 1930s that they have infused politics and banking with an economic ideology that sees any regulation of worker exploitation or predatory investment as anti-capitalist, anti-American, and even anti-God.

Douglas Rushkoff on his blog

Heaven forbid!


Lunched (before I set off, actually) on my reduced fat prawn cocktail and the rest of one chunk? sprig? whatever of lettuce. (Yes, I know you liked it, my love, but I only eat it 'cos [or rocket?] it's supposed to be good for me, not because I like the stuff.) And the supplies foray has been undertaken, in Eastleigh for a change (and the other kind of change: a cost-saving). It's 13:41, the temperature is down to 20C, the barometer has twitched slightly higher, the cloud cover is increasing and becoming darker, the breeze is getting up a bit. Just maybe the weather forecast is on target. We shall see. Meanwhile, I have scanning and sorting to fill the shining hours of this afternoon.

And only my second cuppa of the day so far. Slurp. BBC 6Music is a marvellous contrast to the vox populi crap on Radio 4. Ever onward.

Kilts out of kilter... dept.

Since it was the Daily Torygraph (taken by the vicar of Old Windsor) that sparked my first intense discussion with Christa one evening in April 1974, I retain an ambivalent relationship towards it. I now learn from either (or both) Adam Sisman and Simon Heffer (there are two separate articles) who are both reviewing Hugh Trevor-Roper's posthumous "The Invention of Scotland", that:

[Trevor-Roper] is amused that the dress of cannibalistic, savage highlanders should be appropriated by lowlanders as a national costume. He points out that an Englishman essentially invented the kilt, something too horrible for the Scots to confront; and that the myth of the tartan as a national (as opposed to a regional) dress was perpetuated most by two impostors who passed themselves off as the heirs to the true Stuart kings. (Heffer)

The kilt was devised by a Lancashire industrialist as a convenient form of dress for his Scottish employees; while the clan-based differentiation of the tartans was the invention of two brothers calling themselves the Sobieski Stuarts, who in 1842 published their Vestiarium Scoticum, an elaborate work of imagination which served as a pattern-book for tartan manufacturers. (Sisman)

Adam Sisman and Simon Heffer in The Torygraph

Making sense of things... dept.

In between the slide scanning, and the colour and contrast adjusting, and the cups of tea, and the apricots and cherries (Christa's favourite fruit) I've been reading, and have just finished, one of the books from my seaside trip this week: Virginia Ironside's "You'll get over it" subtitled 'The rage of bereavement'. It's a bit ironic, I suppose, to find so much comfort and wisdom from an "agony aunt" who herself admits, on page 1:

I would blithely send out leaflets to bereaved people — leaflets which told of the stages of grief and were full of kindly, sympathetic advice. Then my father died. And nothing made sense any more.

Virginia Ironside in You'll get over it

All I can say is: she knows how I feel! Cracking piece of writing, Gromit. But now (19:17) it's really time for a spot of food. I think I shall indulge myself with "The Falklands Play" by Ian Curteis on BBC4 tonight. And I think my next "read" will be Nick Rosen's very interesting-looking How to live off-grid1 — he's also the chap behind this web site.



1  Another of my Bournemouth acquisitions this week.